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VIDEO: Arena Stage's 2020/21 Season Will Begin January 2021; Announced During Livestream Event

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VIDEO: Arena Stage's 2020/21 Season Will Begin January 2021; Announced During Livestream Event

Arena Stage Artistic Director Molly Smith and Executive Producer Edgar Dobie announced the updated 2020/21 Season during a livestreamed event with the Washington Post's Peter Marks.

The first three productions Celia and Fidel, Seven Guitars and Toni Stone were previously scheduled in the 2019/20 Season but were cut short due to COVID-19 restrictions. Musicals American Prophet: Frederick Douglass In His Own Words and Life After will round out the season calendar. The five-production season which includes two world premieres, one Power Play and two musicals will begin January 22.

The season livestreamed event can be viewed below:

"We are a theater that focuses on American plays, American ideas and American artists. The double impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement have made us as Americans more introspective than before," states Arena Stage Artistic Director Molly Smith. "It's a time for looking deeply inward. We need a combination of soulfulness and joy-Arena's season offers both thought-provoking and joyful projects that provide a powerful antidote to this moment in time. The season is full of soul and champagne, with energizing stories and soaring music."

The season opens in January with Arena Stage's seventh Power Play, Celia and Fidel. Originally produced in the 2019/20 Season, Celia and Fidel, opened and closed on the same day because of the pandemic. Written by Eduardo Machado and directed by Molly Smith, this captivating story follows Fidel Castro's rise to power, his political partner and closest confidant, Celia Sánchez, who inspired a revolution, and their fight over the children of the revolution, and the future of a nation.

Toni Stone, the "must-see play" (Theatermania) based on the real-life woman who became the first female athlete to play professional baseball in the Negro Leagues will receive its Washington premiere in March. Award-winning playwright Lydia R. Diamond and director Pam MacKinnon tell the vibrant story of Stone's life as she throws curveballs both on and off the field.

Longtime Arena favorite Tazewell Thompson returns to direct August Wilson's Seven Guitars starting in April. The untimely death of a gifted blues guitarist forces seven friends to reunite unexpectedly. Wilson's fifth play in his American Century Cycle is the culmination of Arena's August Wilson Festival, celebrating the noted playwright during Arena's 70th Anniversary Season.

The world-premiere musical American Prophet: Frederick Douglass In His Own Words co-written by award-winning playwright Charles Randolph-Wright (Arena's Born for This: The BeBe Winans Story, Broadway's Motown the Musical) and Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Marcus Hummon will open in May. Randolph-Wright directs this powerful musical about one of the most notable human rights leaders and impassioned agitators who changed the course of history with his own revolution.

Our final show of the season brings the exciting new voice of acclaimed young Canadian composer, Britta Johnson. Her compelling musical, Life After, directed by award winner, Annie Tippe (Octet), makes its East Coast premiere in August. This award-winning work explores the messiness of loss and the complexities of love, when a young girl unravels the secrets of her recently deceased father.

Arena Stage has and continues to prioritize the safety of its staff, artists and audiences in its planning to re-open the building and theaters. "Our North Star remains the health and wellbeing of our employees and artists. Equally, it is our duty to adhere to all health authority directives in creating a safe place for our many patrons to gather to enjoy a production. Arena Stage finds its resiliency in the value our many supporters have placed on our enterprise and the confidence they are all expressing in our mission to create a safe place where all are welcome," said Executive Producer Edgar Dobie. "Let's keep Arena in the low risk cohort of institutions that will emerge from this pandemic changed for certain and as purposeful as ever."

Arena for more than 70 seasons has been a home for exhilarating theater, dynamic artists and meaningful programs and events. Even with a closed building, Arena continues to innovate and engage audiences and artists by going virtual with a full and robust roster of creative online programs. The Looking Forward Season continues with weekly and monthly events including Molly's Salons, Broadway dance classes, Masterclasses, Civil Dialogues, over 45 gifts of art, an Artists Marketplace, Facebook watch parties and two world-premiere films, May 22, 2020 and Inside Voices: a film by Arena Stage's Voices of Now ensembles. Arena Stage's Community Engagement team has continued to connect with young artists through its virtual camp, the new audition intensive and its Voices of Now ensembles. To learn more about the Looking Forward Season, visit: arenastage.org/lookingforward. Stay tuned for an exciting announcement about the Fall/Winter online season.

Subscription packages are now on sale and may be purchased by calling the Arena Stage Sales Office at 202-488-3300 or by visiting arenastage.org. All current subscribers will be contacted by the Sales Office to discuss their options and confirm their show selection.


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