The American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.), under the artistic direction of Diane Paulus, is pleased to announce the productions that will be part of the A.R.T.'s 2011/12 Season.
A.R.T. Artistic Director Diane Paulus remarked: "Our 2011/12 Season features projects that combine music and storytelling to explore our collective heritage and unique histories. The year will include musical theater inspired by Americana, jazz, folk, and indie-rock, as well as plays with humor and grand expressions of humanity. This will be a season of extraordinary tales, glorious music, creative invention, and community created through shared experiences - a true A.R.T. season and one we promise should not be missed."
The 2011/12 Season will include:
THE GERSHWINS' PORGY AND BESS
by George Gershwin, Dubose and Dorothy Heyward, and Ira Gershwin
adapted by Suzan-Lori Parks and Diedre Murray; directed by Diane Paulus;
choreographed by Ron K. Brown
In 1935, Porgy and Bess premiered at the Colonial Theater in Boston. Now, 76 years later, the A.R.T. brings back Porgy and Bess in a new production featuring internationally renowned stars Audra McDonald as Bess, Norm Lewis as Porgy, and David Alan Grier as Sporting Life. A.R.T. Artistic Director and Tony Award nominee Diane Paulus directs this revival adapted by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks (Topdog/Underdog, The America Play, Venus) and OBIE-winning composer Diedre Murray (Running Man, Best of Both Worlds). This classic American tale is set in the 1930s in Catfish Row, a neighborhood in Charleston, South Carolina. Bess, beautiful and troubled, turns to Porgy, the crippled beggar, in search of safety after her possessive lover Crown commits murder. As Porgy and Bess's love grows, their future is threatened by Crown and the conniving Sporting Life. This heartbreaking love story boasts some of the most famous and beloved works from the Great American Songbook, including: "Summertime," "Bess, You Is My Woman," "It Ain't Necessarily So" and "I Loves You, Porgy."
When the project was announced in November 2010, Suzan-Lori Parks remarked, "I am thrilled to be part of the wonderful team working on Porgy and Bess. Our approach is fresh and respectful; we're working to retain all the best-loved elements of the original while crafting a piece that speaks to contemporary audiences."
Spokespersons from the Gershwin family added, "The fusion of musical styles in Porgy and Bess is distinctly American. It has had, and continues to have, a successful life in opera houses around the world yet it contains some of America's most beloved jazz and popular standards. The Gershwin family and the Heyward trustees are thrilled that the American Repertory Theater will be premiering a re-imagination of Porgy and Bess for a whole new generation of theatergoers. We cannot wait to see the results of Diane Paulus', Suzan-Lori Parks', and Diedre Murray's collaboration as they venture forth from the original. We believe audiences will fall in love with their vision of this masterwork for the 21st century."
Loeb Drama Center • August 17, 2011 - October 2, 2011
by Rick Burkhardt, Alec Duffy and Dave Malloy
with music from Franz Schubert's Winterreise, Op. 89, D911 (1828)
directed by Rachel Chavkin
The OBIE-winning hit music-theater event - that wowed audiences and critics alike in its sold-out runs at the Ontological-Hysteric Theater and New York Theatre Workshop - is a theatrical explosion of Franz Schubert's song cycle Winterreise. Filled with fantastical touches and inventive arrangements, Three Pianos is a colorful and imaginative evening exploring Schubert's music, life, and times. Set on a blustery winter night, three friends, each manning a piano, lead the audience through fragments of Schubert's famous work while grappling with fundamental questions about the nature of music and drinking too much. The three pianists slip into a wild reenactment of a "Schubertiad," a musical salon party thrown by Schubert and his friends, connecting the two groups through the centuries. An evening of hilarity and heartbreak unfolds, in which the audience is invited to the party. Compositional mayhem, shifting rivalries, and some unfortunate butchery of the German language ensue.
"5 Stars.... The (creative) trio is a real-life music-theater supergroup... Full-blooded and full-bodied, Three Pianos lifts it's glass to music, to Schubert and to the type of friendship that can make you laugh off heartbreak. It's also a superb evening. Cheers." TimeOut New York
"The best antidote to winter's bitter dregs... Like being cozily tucked away with a clutch of nerdy music-loving friends, Three Pianos transforms Winterreise's spectral solitudes into a parable of artistic community." The Village Voice
Loeb Drama Center • December 7, 2011 - January 8, 2012
AS YOU LIKE IT
by William Shakespeare
featuring members of The A.R.T. /MXAT Institute for Advanced Theater Training Class of 2012
"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players" in Shakespeare's beloved pastoral comedy As You Like It. This classic tale follows Rosalind and her friend Celia's escape from a deadly conspiracy into nature's wild, liberating arms. What follows is an unconventional romance with everything from wrestling matches to cross-dressing shepherds culminating in a finale so joyful that spring will seem just around the corner. Building on the success of the 2010 - 2011 Season's sold-out Alice vs. Wonderland on the Loeb Mainstage, As You Like It will feature members of the graduating Institute Class of 2012.
Loeb Drama Center • January 13, 2012 - January 28, 2012
WILD SWANS - World Premiere
by Jung Chang
adapted by Alexandra Wood
A world premiere adaptation of Jung Chang's international bestseller, Wild Swans chronicles a family's survival through a century of upheaval. Banned in China, this moving story follows three generations through Mao Zedong's Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution. As change sweeps over their country, the family endures their hardships through sacrifice, courage, and love.
Wild Swans is an American Repertory Theater and Young Vic co-production.