Jessica Lynn Carroll (Caroline) and Devion McArthur (Anthony) in "I and You" at Marin Theatre Company in Mill Valley, Calif. (Photo by Ed Smith)

Theatre Nova Announces Inaugural Season Devoted to New Plays

New theatre plans two world premieres and several local premieres, including works by George Brant, Lauren Gunderson and Jonathan Tolins.

ANN ARBOR, MICH.: Tree Town theatre newcomer Theatre Nova has announced its first season. The company, which focuses on playwrights and playwriting, will open with six plays, two of which will be world premieres.

“The birth of Theatre Nova is a dream come true for me,” said Carla Milarch, Theatre Nova’s artistic director, in a statement. “The city’s remarkable cultural vibrancy makes it possible to have a theatre specifically focused on new plays and new voices, while at the same time, our mode of working from the playwright’s perspective and our selection of adventurous plays will complement and deepen the theatre scene.”

The season opens with the first independent production of Jonathan Tolins’ Buyer and Cellar (March 6–29), about an unemployed actor who takes a job manning a shopping mall in Barbra Streisand’s basement. Theatre Nova producing director Daniel C. Walker directs.

Next is the Michigan premiere of I and You (May 1–17) by Lauren Gunderson, about two high school students who attempt to solve the mysteries of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass the night before their assignment is due. The show will star Katie Terpstra and Matthew Webb, and will be directed by David Wolber.

The season continues with George Brant’s Grounded (June 12–18), a one-woman drama in which a fighter pilot discovers she is pregnant, and is then reassigned to fight military drones from a trailer in Las Vegas. Phil Powers directs.

The world premiere of Irrational (July 24-Aug. 16), a new musical by David Wells and R. MacKenzie Lewis, follows. This rock musical set in ancient Greece was inspired by the true story of Pythagoras and his followers, who believed that divinity was found in ratios. The show will feature 2014 Wilde Award Winners for “Best Performance in a Musical” Steve DeBruyne and Mahalia Greenway, along with Sebastian Gerstner, Courtney Riddle and Brian Thibault. Milarch will direct.

The fifth show in the season, yet to be announced, will run July 24–Aug. 16.

Closing out the season will be a new show developed by the Theatre Nova Ensemble, An Almost British Christmas (Nov. 27–Dec. 20). When two Americans attempt a British pantomime using American iconography and traditions, the result is a panto filled with the traditional details mixed with a list of local celebrity appearances and pop culture references.

Theatre Nova bills itself as Michigan’s only theatre exclusively devoted to new plays.

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