LOS ANGELES: Center Theatre Group has announced the 2016 season at the Mark Taper Forum, its 49th at the 736-seat space. The season will include five plays, include new works from Bathsheba Doran, Suzan-Lori Parks, and Ayad Akhtar.
“These playwrights are exploring what it means to be part of a culture, a community and a family,” said artist director Michael Ritchie in a statement. “Their characters are confronted with decisions that will challenge and ultimately define them….It is not a mellow season. It is a bold season full of theatricality, lyricism, laughter, and deep truths that depict social and historical upheavals, cultural and familial confrontations and the fascinating complexities of the human condition.”
The season will open with The Mystery of Love & Sex by Bathsheba Doran (Feb. 10–March 20, 2016). The play follows childhood friends Charlotte and Jonny, who contemplate taking their friendship to a romantic level.
Next is Father Comes Home From the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3) by Suzan-Lori Parks (April 5–May 15, 2016). The play follows a slave named Hero, who is offered freedom if he joins his master in the Confederate army during the Civil War. It will be directed by Jo Bonney, who helmed the world premiere at the Public Theater.
Following is 2013 Pulitzer winner Disgraced by Ayad Akhtar (June 8–July 17, 2016), directed by Kimberly Senior (who directed the world premiere in Chicago, off Broadway, and on Broadway). Disgraced follows a Pakistani-American lawyer and his Caucasian wife, who host a contentious, racially charged dinner party.
August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom will be next (Oct. 16–Sept. 11, 2016). Phylicia Rashad, who directed Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone at the Taper in 2013, will helm the production. The play follows a 1927 recording session in Chicago with blues singer Ma Rainey. CTG has presented eight of Wilson’s 10-play Century Cycle so far.
The final play of the Taper season will be Martin McDonagh’s The Beauty Queen of Leenane (Nov. 9–Dec. 18, 2016). The production, coming from the Druid Theatre Company in Ireland, will be directed by Druid artistic director Garry Hynes. Beauty Queen takes place in Ireland and follows a middle-aged woman and her manipulative mother.