"45 Plays For 45 Presidents," by Andy Bayiates, Sean Benjamin, Genevra Gallo-Bayiates, Chloe Johnston, and Karen Weinberg, at Merrimack Repertory Theatre in 2016. Pictured: Terrell Donnell Sledge, Veronika Duerr, Aaron Muñoz, Celina Dean, and Nael Nacer. (Photo by Meghan Moore)

Merrimack Rep Sets 5 World Premieres for 2017-18 Season

The season will feature seven productions, including five world premieres.

LOWELL, MASS.: Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT) has announced its 2017-18 season, featuring seven productions.

“These are stories and ideas that are about all of us,” said artistic director Sean Daniels in a statement. “The relevance of these stories spans decades and helps us to better understand who we are a region and a country. And there’s no denying that we need a good laugh more than ever—so we’re also making sure to bring the finest comedic writers to MRT.”

The season will open with Marco Ramirez’s The Royale (Sept. 13-Oct. 8), about the first black man to fight for the title of World Heavyweight Champion. Megan Sandberg-Zakian will direct.

Following will be Silent Sky (Oct. 12-Nov. 6), by Lauren Gunderson, about the astronomer Henrietta Leavitt who leaves her Midwestern home for a job at the Harvard Observatory. Daniels will direct.

Next up will be the world premiere of Little Women, Retold (Nov. 29-Dec. 24), adapted by Emily Ruddock and Megan Sandberg-Zakian from the novel by Louisa May Alcott, a contemporary retelling that sheds light on a new kind of American family. Sandberg-Zakian will direct.

The season will continue with the world premiere of KNYUM (Jan. 10-Feb. 4, 2018), written and performed by Vichet Chum, about a young man who is struggling to learn Khmer, the language of his family’s home of Cambodia. KJ Sanchez will direct.

Next will be the world premiere of Lost Laughs: The Slapstick Tragedy of Fatty Arbuckle (Feb. 15-March 11, 2018), created by Aaron Muñoz and written by Andy Bayiates, about the mysterious demise of Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle’s silent film career in Hollywood. Nathan Keepers will direct.

Following will be the world premiere of Little Orphan Danny (March 21-April 15, 2018), created by Daniels and Dan Finnerty with book, music, and lyrics by Finnerty. The musical memoir, which features additional music by Dan Lipton, follows Finnerty’s upbringing as a small town altar boy in a conservative family.

The season will close out with the world premiere of Lila Rose Kaplan’s The Villains’ Supper Club (April 25-May 20, 2018), a comedy about the last superhero on Earth as she navigates life as a new mom. Daniels will direct.

Merrimack Repertory Theatre, founded in 1979, is a LORT theatre that produces contemporary plays and world premieres  in its 279-seat performance space.

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