Northern Stage Announces 2019-20 Season: THE SOUND OF MUSIC, and More!
Northern Stage announces its 2019-20 Season, a season of plays that thematically reflect on the past to move into a more positive future. The company's 23rd Season will feature two world premieres by women writers, non-traditional casting in classic plays, and an overall season more diverse and reflective of the world. "Northern Stage continues to evolve from a local theater with a regional impact to a regional theater with a national impact," says Northern Stage Producing Artistic Director and Director of the BOLD Theater Women's Leadership Circle Carol Dunne. "New Works Now and the BOLD Circle enable us to nurture work by emerging artists and women writers. The diverse voices on stage this season elevate our work and challenge us to change lives by including the stories of humanity that are often overlooked and rarely told."
Northern Stage kicks off the 23rd Season with the New York debut of Only Yesterday by Bob Stevens this September, the company's third Off-Broadway transfer. Northern Stage cultivated Only Yesterday through New Works Now and then presented the world premiere to sold-out houses in 2018. Writer Bob Stevens (The Wonder Years, Murphy Brown, Malcolm in the Middle) brings to life a little-known night when John Lennon and Paul McCartney were becoming the most famous young men on earth. Stranded in a hotel room in Key West, they find inspiration for the music that changed the world. Carol Dunne (Northern Stage: Once, Dear Elizabeth, Disgraced, and Northern Stage's Trick or Treat at 59E59 Theaters) will direct, with the full cast from the original Northern Stage production returning for the New York premiere.
Northern Stage is thrilled to open the main stage season with A Doll's House, Part 2, Lucas Hnath's imagined sequel to Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House, presented in the company's 2017-18 Season. Many years have passed since Nora's shocking exit. Now, there's a knock at the Helmer's door. This contemporary classic reflects on the social constructs that drove Nora from her home and brings healing to the family as they embrace a world where women can pursue their dreams. A Doll's House, Part 2, playing September 18 - October 6, is America's most produced play this season and is directed by Avalon Foundation Chair of the Humanities and Professor of Theater at Dartmouth College Peter Hackett (Northern Stage: Oslo, Noises Off, and Northern Stage's Orwell in America at 59E59 Theaters).
For the first time in the company's history, Northern Stage offers two world premieres in one season. The first, Jordan, playing October 16 - November 3, is a hauntingly relevant drama by Brenda Withers, Huntington Theater Playwriting Fellow, Dartmouth alum, and co-creator of the New York hit Matt & Ben. A woman's world is turned upside down when she discovers that a hacker has invaded her online life. The mysterious presence, however, doesn't seem interested in her money or her data but something much more elusive. Directed by Northern Stage BOLD Associate Artistic Director Jess Chayes, Jordan asks its audience to examine how much we give away online and what we risk in our new age of information and technology. Northern Stage and the BOLD Theater Women's Leadership Circle have supported the play's development process. Jordan was a finalist for the 2018 Dartmouth College Neukom Institute Literary Arts Playwriting Award, a new collaborative initiative between Northern Stage and the Neukom Institute for Computational Science that recognizes and encourages dramatic works that engage with questions around technology and society. "This collaboration is a shining example of the way in which the arts and sciences can work together creatively to highlight the possibilities of the future," says Director of the Neukom Institute Daniel Rockmore. "We are excited by the strong response of the playwriting community to our Neukom Prize and look forward to our continued work with Northern Stage to bring these imaginative works to the stage." The Neukom Institute's 2019 Award-winner will be announced this spring.
Northern Stage ushers in the holidays with the beloved family musical, The Sound of Music, with music by Richard Rogers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, and suggested by "The Trapp Family Singers" by Maria Augusta Trapp. Based on the true story of the Von Trapp Family Singers, this classic brings audiences on a journey of personal growth and hope amidst the horrors of World War II. Playing November 20 - January 5, The Sound of Music will feature Northern Stage education students directed by Northern Stage's 2018-19 BOLD Resident Director Maggie Burrows (Northern Stage: Buyer & Cellar, Mad Love, Last of the Red Hot Lovers, Fox on the Fairway).
As always, the new year brings new plays to Northern Stage with the seventh annual New Works Now festival, a weekend immersion in new plays, new artists, and new stories. Northern Stage will offer free staged readings the weekend of January 10. New Works Now has produced three Off-Broadway transfers: Orwell in America (59E59 Theaters in 2016), Trick or Treat (59E59 Theaters in 2018), and Only Yesterday, debuting in New York this September, and many shows have become full productions in Northern Stage main stage seasons (Orwell in America, Mad Love, Trick or Treat, Only Yesterday, and Venus Rising).
Northern Stage welcomes back acclaimed Shakespeare director Stephen Brown-Fried (Macbeth at Northern Stage) to direct Shakespeare's epic King Lear, January 22 - February 9. Considered by many to be the greatest of Shakespeare's tragedies, King Lear tells the story of a kingdom and a family unraveled by ego, pride, and fear. The production will star Northern Stage favorite Jamie Horton (Northern Stage's Orwell in America at 59E59 Theaters) and feature students participating in the Dartmouth Experiential Term at Northern Stage.
Next up is the second world premiere of the season and New Works Now 2019 audience favorite, Citrus, a choreopoem by Celeste Jennings that chronicles the struggle and resilience of Black women in America from 1840 through the present day. With music, dance, and spoken word, an intergenerational cast illuminates the experiences of and pays homage to Black women in this poignant and uplifting performance piece. Celeste Jennings, winner of the 2018 Kennedy Center Hip Hop Theater Creator Award, returns to the Upper Valley after graduating from Dartmouth College, where she developed Citrus with a fellowship through the Department of Theater last spring. JaMeeka Holloway-Burrell directed the piece at Dartmouth and in New Works Now and returns to direct next season. "The first time I read this play was a cathartic experience, and I was more excited about a piece of theater than I had been in a very long time," says Holloway-Burrell. "Citrus is truly a script in a league of its own, and it has been my pleasure to witness its transformative power. This piece explores the subterranes of stories we think we already know and reminds us that there is always more. Most importantly, this play reminds us of the humanity of Black women."
The season closes with rock-and-roll musical Million Dollar Quartet by Floyd Mutrux and Colin Escott, playing April 15 - May 24. On December 4, 1956, rock-and-roll icons Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins gathered for the first and only time at Sun Records in Memphis for what would be one of the greatest jam sessions ever. Directed by Carol Dunne, Million Dollar Quartet brings that legendary night to life and features a score of rock hits including "Hound Dog," "Blue Suede Shoes," and "Folsom Prison Blues." The cast acts, sings, and plays their own instruments in this electrifying musical.
There's something for everyone in Northern Stage's 2019-20 Season, a season that will uncover complex truths of the past and present, inspiring audiences to reimagine the future. 2019-20 Subscriptions are now on sale. Single tickets will be available for purchase June 24. For tickets and information, call (802) 296-7000 or visit northernstage.org.
Northern Stage (northernstage.org) is a regional non-profit LORT-D professional theater company located in White River Junction, VT. Northern Stage actively engages its audiences with world-class productions and extensive educational and outreach programs in its new home, the Barrette Center for the Arts. Founded in 1997, the company has offered more than 150 professional productions of new works, classics, and musicals. Now in its 22nd Season, Northern Stage serves over 50,000 people. In 2014, the company launched a new play festival that has cultivated five world premiere productions and two Off-Broadway transfers. A robust educational program focuses on professional training in a nurturing and supportive environment for students of all ages. Offerings include student acting ensembles, a summer musical theater intensive, and an expansive theater-in-the-schools residency program. Northern Stage's breadth of programming supports the company's mission to "change lives, one story at a time."
The BOLD Theater Women's Leadership Circle, run by Northern Stage's Producing Artistic Director Carol Dunne, was established in 2017 by the Pussycat Foundation in the spirit of longtime Cosmopolitan magazine editor Helen Gurley Brown and renowned filmmaker David Brown. With a mission to create a network of women artistic directors in professional regional theaters across the United States and empower them to address issues preventing women from advancing in theater leadership, the BOLD Circle offers major support of artistic initiatives focused on women artists and creates a formal mentorship program to train and prepare future women artistic directors to lead, create, innovate, and enhance the place of theater in American culture.