"Bike America" at the Alliance Theatre. (Photo by Greg Mooney

Alliance Theatre Announces 5 World Premieres for 2015–16 Season

The Atlanta theatre will produce the world premiere of Mike Lew’s ‘Tiger Style!’, Eleanor Burgess’s ‘Start Down’ and Charles Randolph-Wright’s new musical about BeBe and CeCe Winans.

ATLANTA: The Alliance Theatre announced the 2015–16 seasons for its Alliance Stage Series, Hertz Stage Series, Family Series, Holiday and Theatre for the Very Young. Among the offerings are five world premieres, including Mike Lew’s Tiger Style!,  Eleanor Burgess’s Start Down and Charles Randolph-Wright’s Bebe Winans musical.

The Alliance Stage Series opens with Dale Wasserman’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Sept. 2–20), based on Ken Kesey’s novel. Susan V. Booth will direct an Atlanta-based cast in the production, which follows the charming psych-ward rebel Randle McMurphy.

Next up is the world premiere of Lew’s Tiger Style! (Sept. 30–Oct. 18), directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel. The play follows siblings Albert and Jennifer Chen, former star students, now failing adults, as they go on an “Asia Freedom Tour!” from California to China. Lew’s Bike America had its world premiere at the Alliance in 2013.

The world premiere of Born for This: The Bebe Winans Story (Jan. 20–Feb. 14, 2016) opens the new year. This bio-musical about gospel music icons BeBe and CeCe Winans features music and lyrics by Benjamin “BeBe” Winans, who’ll cowrite the book with director Randolph-Wright.

Ayad Akhtar’s Pulitzer-winning Disgraced (April 12–May 1, 2016), about an uncomfortable dinner party among a Muslim-American lawyer, his white Christian wife, his black colleague and her Jewish husband, concludes the Stage Series in a production directed by Kimberly Senior, who also directed the play’s run on Broadway. The play will also appear, with Senior’s direction, at Berkeley Repertory Theatre and the Goodman Theatre.

The Hertz Stage Series will begin with Keith Huff’s A Steady Rain (Sept. 18–Oct. 11), directed by Jeff Perry. The two-hander follows Chicago policemen as they negotiate their moral boundaries.

Next comes the world premiere of Burgess’s Start Down (Feb. 13–March 6, 2016), a comedy about the culture of tech startups. The play will be presented as part of the 2016 Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition.

Finally, Ethel (March 25–April 17, 2016), about stage and film star Ethel Waters, will conclude the Hertz Stage Series. Atlanta-based performer Terry Burrell, who also wrote the show, will bring the icon to life in this one-woman show.

The Family Series begins with the world premiere Tell Me My Dream (Oct. 30–Nov. 8), resident playwright Pearl Cleage’s play about making music in Atlanta in 1910. The production will be directed by Rosemary Newcott.

The second show in the series is The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (March 12–27, 2016), based on C.S. Lewis’s beloved novel. Newcott directs.

The holiday season brings the world premiere of the colorfully named Merry %#!*ing Christmas (Nov. 27–Dec. 19), Kevin Gillese and Arien Konopaki’s play about an unlikely duo who must save Christmas from the economy and climate change.

The Alliance’s holiday tradition will continue with its production of A Christmas Carol (Nov. 19–Dec. 24), a beloved stage adaptation of Charles Dickens’s novel.

The first production in the Theatre for the Very Young series will be Play the Play with Cat the Cat (Oct. 21–Nov. 15), based on Mo Willems’s CAT the CAT series. The production will create an interactive experience for young audiences.

Next will be Bucket of Blessings (Jan. 12–Feb. 14, 2016), the tale of a monkey who recalls a magical story his mother told him.

Finally, The Lizard & El Sol (March 8–April 3) will conclude the programming in the Theatre for the Very Young series. The production will be an interactive adventure based on the Mexican folktale of El Sol.

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