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"Moby Dick," adapted by David Catlin from Herman Melville, at Lookingglass Theatre in Chicago. Pictured: Kareem Bandealy and Christopher Donahue. (Photo by Liz Lauren)

Alliance Theatre Goes Big for 2016–17 Season

Next season at the Atlanta theatre will include new musicals by Janece Shaffer and Matthew Sklar, and new plays by Lindsey Ferrentino and Jiréh Breon Holder.

ATLANTA: Alliance Theatre has announced its 2016–2017 seasons. It will include programming at the main Alliance Stage, the secondary Hertz Stage, Theatre for Youth and Families, and the Kathy and Ken Bernhardt Theatre for the Very Young series. This will be the theatre’s last season before the Woodruff Arts Center, the Alliance’s home, is renovated for the first time since 1968, causing the theatre company to go mobile for 2017–18.

“I have always loved the notion ‘go big or go home’—that small choices lead to small experiences,” artistic director Susan V. Booth said in a statement.  “The 2016–17 season is full of big stories with even bigger aspirations, and it sits as a prologue to the biggest adventure the Alliance Theatre has ever undertaken—a 2017–18 season that will find us out on the road in some of your favorite Atlanta venues.”

The 2016–17 Alliance Stage Series will open with the world premiere of The Prom (Aug. 18–Sept.25) directed by Casey Nicholaw and written by Chad Beguielin, Bob Martin, and Matthew Sklar. In The Prom, fading celebrities become social activists when a high school prom is canceled after a student wants to attend the prom with her girlfriend.

Next will be Moby Dick (Oct. 12–30), adapted and directed by David Catlin and produced by the Chicago-based Lookingglass Theatre Company. The show uses trapeze and acrobatic work to tell Herman Melville’s story about the hunt for a great white whale.

In the world premiere of Troubadour (Jan. 28–Feb.12), the son of country music legend Billy Mason is tasked with carrying on the legacy of his father. The musical will be directed by Booth and is written by Janece Shaffer and Kristian Bush.

Also a world premiere, Jimmy Maize’s The Temple Bombing (Feb.22–March 12), inspired by the book of the same name by Melissa Faye Greene, will close out the Alliance Stage season. Developed with Tectonic Theater Project and The Temple, The Temple Bombing will be directed by Maize. It follows the aftermath of the Oct. 12, 1958 bombing of the oldest synagogue in Atlanta.

The Hertz Stage Series will open with Ugly Lies The Bone (Sept. 16–Oct. 9) by Lindsey Ferrentino, a two-time Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition finalist. Directed by Jessica Holt, Ugly Lies the Bone chronicles a female soldier returning home with both emotional and physical injuries.

Next is Courtenay’s Cabaret: Home for the Holidays (Dec. 2—24), written by and starring Courtenay Collins. Booth will direct this holiday cabaret, in which Collins tells stories and sings holiday music while accompanied by a live band.

Following that will be Too Heavy for Your Pocket (Feb. 4–26), the winner of the 2017 Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition. Written by Jiréh Breon Holder, this world premiere follows two young couples during the Civil Rights Movement and journey of the Freedom Riders.

The Magic Negro and other Blackity Blackness, as told by an African-American Man, who also happens to be Black (March 24–April 15) will close the Herz Stage season. Developed in the theatre’s Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab, The Magic Negro is directed by Anthony LeBlanc and written by the show’s star Mark Kendall. The sketch comedy show tackles themes surrounding the African-American experience including race cards, white flight, and Black Jesus.

The Youth and Families season will open with the world premiere of the musical Pancakes, Pancakes!, adapted from the book by Eric Carle. Pancakes, Pancakes! (May 31–July 10). The show explores the cooking process and is directed by David de Vries, written by Kenneth Lin, and features music by Phillip DePoy.

The world premiere of Slur (Nov. 5–1) is written by Greg Changnon and directed by Rosemary Newcott. The play follows an American middle school student who discovers a religious slur written on her locker.

For the holidays is David H. Bell’s adaptation of A Christmas Carol (Nov. 25–Dec.24), based on the novel by Charles Dickens. It will be directed by Newcott.

Next is Cinderella and Fella March 19–April 9 2017), a retelling of the Cinderella fairytale. Written by Jenece Shaffer and directed by Newcott, it features music and lyrics by Shaffer and Renee Clark.

The world premiere of Babies in Space (May 21–Aug. 28 2017) is the first Theatre for Very Young production of the season. The interactive performance is curated by Dashboard and will take toddlers on an adventure through space.

From Head to Toe (Sept. 24–Nov. 6 2017), a world premiere also based on a book by Carle, will be directed by Newcott. The play invites toddlers to think and move like their favorite animals.

Next will be Play the Play with Cat the Cat, based on a book series by Mo Willems, about the experience of making a new friend (Jan. 10–Feb. 19, 2017). It is written and directed by Scott Warren.

The final production of the season will be the world premiere of Dinosaur! (March 14–April 9, 2017). It will be a collaboration with the Fernbank Museum of Natural History, as a way to introduce toddlers to the pre-historic world.

 Alliance Theatre was founded in 1968 and produces new work and world premieres.  It has been the starting point for several Broadway productions including The Color Purple, Aida, and the upcoming Broadway production of Tuck Everlasting.

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