My January ’13 calendar (I can’t help but notice as I sit down to write this column) is a mass of scribbles. Every single Saturday and Sunday of the month, and more weekdays than I care to count, are notated with theatre engagements. Between the lineup of not-to-be-missed attractions on tap at the Under the Radar and COIL festivals, the pre-Tony openings of some high-profile new productions, several journalistic confabs that promise print-worthy revelations, and the irresistible allure of a new season by the New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players (which gobbles up three of those Sundays), I’ll no doubt be hard-pressed to keep tabs on the televised infighting over the debt-ceiling limit or to track the twists of plot sure to beset the denizens of “Downton Abbey.” Oh, well. By the time you read this, my New Year’s theatre marathon will have run, for good or ill, and the February calendar will announce a new set of demands.
Your theatregoing calendar is probably full, too, no matter what corner of the country you’re in. Theatres with fall-to-spring schedules are in high gear, mounting season-anchoring productions and special events—many of which are anticipated in the pages of this issue.
Audiences in the D.C. area, for example (whose January calendars most likely propelled them off to the show on this issue’s cover, Molly Smith’s steampunk-flavored mounting of My Fair Lady, perused for its visual flair by critic Celia Wren), will be bundling up for their own winter festival, Nordic Cool, an expansive, multi-disciplinary event full of theatrical promise (previewed on page 14 of the print edition). In Chicagoland, the real-world tragedy of teen suicide will be explored in a big-cast drama called Teddy Ferrara, the newest work of prescient playwright Christopher Shinn, due at Goodman Theatre. Shinn delves deep into the motivations behind this work and others in a no-holds-barred conversation with arts reporter Christopher Wallenberg. Further west, Californians are picking dates for South Coast Repertory’s mounting of David Henry Hwang’s hit comedy Chinglish, one of a raft of adventurous new plays that dare to mix languages “in the name of realism,” as staff writer Diep Tran puts it in her survey piece.
The play that appears complete in this issue, Samuel D. Hunter’s wrenching drama The Whale, won’t be generating calendar notes in February, but those same South Coast audiences will be penciling in Martin Benson’s production in March, and Chicagoans will be following suit for Joanie Schultz’s staging in April and May at Victory Gardens Theater.
Calendars can be tyrants, but we’d be floundering without them. So scribble away. And we’ll entertain the hope that American Theatre can help you perfect your theatregoing agenda, month by month.