ROCHESTER, N.Y.: Geva Theatre Center has announced its 2016–17 season. The beginning of the season, with a new 2,000-square-foot lobby marks the end of a four-year renovation process at the theatre . The show lineup will feature musical comedies, holiday favorites, and new plays, including a world premiere from Jamie Pachino.
“Each year, the Geva staff analyzes both the artistic achievements of our recent productions and the responses of our patrons to the works of theatre we have created on our two stages,” said artistic director Mark Cuddy in a statement. “From there we spend five months reading, listening, and discussing ways to program the next repertory of plays and musicals to forward our artistic mission. I am happy to say that next season’s line-up will be a theatrical celebration fitting for our transformational building renovation.”
The season will begin with A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Oct. 4–Nov. 6), with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart. It’s a musical comedy about a crafty slave who goes to great lengths to win the hand of the courtesan-next-door for his young master. Rommy Sandhu will choreograph, Don Kot will provide musical direction, and Melissa Rain Anderson will direct.
Next will be Melinda Buckley’s Mother (and me) A Daughter’s Story of Love, Loss and Goulash (Nov. 3–20), a one-woman show about a stage mother slipping into dementia, and her daughter approaching middle age.
Just in time for the holidays will be A Christmas Carol (Nov. 23–Dec. 24), adapted by Cuddy from Charles Dickens, featuring music and lyrics by Gregg Coffin. Cuddy will direct.
Following will be A.R. Gurney’s Sylvia (Jan. 10–Feb. 5, 2017), about empty nesters who relocate to Manhattan, and the dog that shakes up their marriage. Cuddy will direct.
The season will continue with Rajiv Joseph’s The Lake Effect (Feb. 2–19, 2017), about estranged siblings who reunite at their family’s restaurant, and the regular customer who reveals secrets that may affect the future of the family business. Pirronne Yousefzadeh will direct.
Next up will be Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (Feb. 14–March 12, 2017), adapted by Todd Kreidler from the screenplay by William Rose, a coproduction with Indiana Repertory Theatre, about a young woman who surprises her white, liberal parents when she brings home her African-American boyfriend and his parents to the family dinner. Skip Greer will direct.
Following will be Maripat Donovan’s Sister’s Back to School Catechism: The Holy Ghost and Other Terrifying Tales (March 7–April 2, 2017), about a Sister preparing her classroom for a year of Catechism, with lessons including the Church’s take on Halloween and Catholic-appropriate costumes.
Noël Coward’s Private Lives (March 21–April 16, 2017) will take the stage next, about a divorced couple’s chance meeting while honeymooning with their new spouses, and the unexpected reignition of their passion for one another. Cuddy will direct.
Next will be Laura Eason’s Sex With Strangers (April 13–30, 2017), a Kitchen Theatre Company production, about a 39-year-old novelist and a twenty-something blogger, and their one-night stand that turns into something more complicated.
The season will continue with the world premiere of Jamie Pachino’s Other Than Honorable (April 25–May 21, 2017), about a lawyer who takes on a military sexual assault case that conjures up her past as an Army Officer. Kimberly Senior will direct.
Million Dollar Quartet (May 30–June 25, 2017) will end the season, by Floyd Mutrux and Colin Escott, about four young musicians who get together in Memphis in 1956 for what would become one of the greatest jam sessions ever. Hunter Foster will direct.
Also part of the programming will be the Festival of New Voices (Oct. 10–23, 2016), a two-week showcase of new plays and projects. The lineup will be announced at a later date.
Founded in 1972, Geva Theatre Center’s programming includes outreach, education, and literacy initiatives, in addition to developing new work.