"Chimerica" at the Almeida Theatre in London.

Studio Theatre Lines Up Mainstage, Second Stage and Commissions for 2015–16

A mix of new work and local premieres, including plays by Lucy Kirkwood and Stephen Adley Guirgis, are on tap, along with a new second-stage series.

WASHINGTON, D.C.: Studio Theatre has announced its main series and Studio X program for 2015–16, as well as announcing a slate of new-play commissions. The five-play mainstage lineup will include writers from across the globe and stagings of contemporary classics, while the inaugural year of Studio X will include two productions. Commissions includes four new projects from five contemporary American writers.

First in the main series is Chimerica, a new political thriller by Lucy Kirkwood, to be directed by Studio artistic director David Muse. It tells the story of an American journalist who took a famous photo in Tiananmen Square in 1989, and who decides to revisit its subject as the 2012 elections in the U.S. go into full swing and Sino-American relations are a hot issue. Chimerica received a 2014 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play and a 2014 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize.

The 2012 election also figures into one of the last two plays of Richard Nelson’s Apple Family Cycle, Sorry, which will run with another of the series, Regular Singing. In Sorry, Obama has almost reclaimed the presidency when the Apple family comes together to move Uncle Benjamin into an assisted-living facility. In Regular Singing, the family keeps a vigil for a family member on the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination. Outgoing Studio producing director Serge Seiden directs.

Studio’s previous productions of the other Apple family plays, That Hopey Changey Thing and Sweet and Sad, were both nominated for Helen Hayes Awards for outstanding ensemble, and Ted van Griethuysen received a supporting actor honor for his turn as Uncle Benjamin.

Next is Stephen Adly Guirgis’s Between Riverside and Crazy, in which a former police officer, recently widowed, watches his neighborhood rapidly changing and his recently paroled son move back in.

Closing out the season is Moment by Deirdre Kinahan, about an ambivalent mother-and-son reunion in Dublin. Ethan McSweeny directs. An additional play in the main series will be announced at a later date.

Studio X will kick off in the fall with Animal by Clare Lizzimore, a Brit. Gaye Taylor Upchurch will direct this world premiereabout a woman who seems to have the perfect life until she starts having crippling doubts over her past—and future—decisions.  The show will be a part of the D.C.-area Women’s Voices Theatre Festival; it’s Lizzimore’s first play to be produced in the U.S..

Another Brit, Nick Payne, gets the second Studio X slot with Constellations, about a physicist and a beekeeper who keep running into each other over and over again. Muse will direct.

In addition to staging work, Studio has also commissioned some. Among the writers tapped for commissions in the coming year are Mary Elizabeth Hamilton, whose plays are currently in development with Page 73, New Georges and Ensemble Studio Theatre; Ike Holter, a Chicago-based writer whose show Hit the Wall ran for four months in the Windy City before moving Off-Broadway; Aaron Posner, a D.C.-based playwright who first worked at Studio directing their inaugural lab production, Lungs, whose take on The SeagullStupid Fucking Bird, has proven popular around the country and who has also been commissioned to create another Chekhov adaptation, of Three Sisters; and Stew and Heidi Rodewald, who are already at work on a Studio commission.

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