OLNEY, MD.: Olney Theatre Center has announced its 2016–17 season, which will include 17 shows. Highlights include world premieres from Andrew Hinderaker and Meg Miroshnik, a coproduction of Angels in America, and an all-female Topdog/Underdog.
“As Americans choose their way forward this year, we’ve designed a season of 17 stories that explore progress in a world held captive by fear, the human capacity for hope in challenging times, and the delight of finding surprising answers to difficult questions,” said artistic director Jason Loewith at the announcement event on March 12.
The season will kick off with Tony Kushner’s Angels in America (Sept. 7–Oct. 30). The show, about the AIDS crisis and the gay community in the ’80s, will be coproduced with Round House Theatre. The two plays that comprise Angels will be performed in rotating repertory, and directed by Loewith and Round House artistic director Ryan Rilette. The cast will include Kimberly Gilbert, Mitchell Hébert, Sarah Marshall, Jon Hudson Odom, Tom Story, and Dawn Ursula. The production is part of a two-year partnership between the two theatres to bring ambitious work to Montgomery County.
Following will be The Diary of Ann Frank, by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, adapted by Wendy Kesselman (Sept. 14–Oct. 23). It will be directed by Derek Goldman and feature actors Eric Hissom, Paul Morella, Susan Rome, Michael Russotto, and Kimberly Schraf.
Next will be Mary Poppins, with book by Julian Fellowes, original music by Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman, with additional music and lyrics by Anthony Drewe and George Stiles, and cocreated by Cameron Mackintosh (Nov. 2, 2016–Jan. 1, 2017). Jason King Jones will direct the story about an atypical British nanny.
The new year will open with Hugh Wheeler and Stephen Sondheim’s musical Sweeney Todd (Feb. 1–March 5, 2017). Loewith will direct the tale of a murderous barber in London who seeks revenge against the judge who ruined his life.
Next will be the world premiere of The Double Inconstancy (March 1–26, 2017), adapted by Meg Miroshnik from the play by Pierre de Marivaux. The French comedy follows a poor harlequin kidnapped by a prince with designs on the poor man’s fiance. Artistic associate Eleanor Holdridge will direct.
The rolling world premiere of The Magic Play by Andrew Hinderaker will be next (April 12–May 7, 2017). The play is about a magician who has put his career ahead of his personal life. The production will be directed by Halena Kays and feature actors Jon Hudson Odom and Brett Schneider.
Suzan-Lori Parks’s Topdog/Underdog will be next (May 17–June 11, 2017) will be next, about two African-American brothers struggling to come up in the world. Timothy Douglas will direct female actors Jessica Frances Dukes and Dawn Ursula as the brothers.
Next will be Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe’s musical My Fair Lady, about a British professor who decides to turn a poor flower seller into a lady (June 21–July 23, 2017). Alan Souza will direct.
The season will close with Thurgood by George Stevens Jr. (July 19–Aug. 20, 2017), a one-man show about Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Walter Dallas will direct.
In addition to the theatre’s regular season, Olney is hosting a series of additional events.
The first is a reading series celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Pulitzer Prize (Sept. 30–Oct 2, 2016). Six readings will be presented: A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, The Gin Game by D. L. Coburn, Fences by August Wilson, Fiorello! by George Abbott and Jerome Weidman, Water by the Spoonful by Quiara Alegria Hudes, and The Bridge Over San Luis Rey by Derek Goldman, adapted from Thornton Wilder.
For the holidays, the Olney will present its annual one-man show, A Christmas Carol, adapted from Dickens and performed by Paul Morella.
The Olney will also present three touring family shows: Rainbow Fish, produced by ArtsPower National Touring Theatre (Jan. 28–29, 2017); the Winnie-the-Pooh story, The House at Pooh Corner, produced by Virgina Repertory Theatre (April 8–9, 2017); and Anne of Green Gables, produced by ArtsPower (May 20–21, 2017).
The theatre will also host the National Players, a non-Equity touring company, which will launch its 68th season this summer at the Olney before traveling to 100 American cities. That lineup will include The Grapes of Wrath, adapted by Frank Galati from John Steinbeck, and directed by Colin Hovde (July 28–31); Shakespeare’s Hamlet, directed by Jason King Jones (Aug. 18–28); and The Giver, adapted by Eric Coble from Lois Lowry, and directected by Jenna Duncan (Aug. 18–28).
The Olney Theatre Center, founded in 1938, is one of Maryland’s two state theatres. It produces a mix of new plays and classics in its four-theatre campus.