NEW ORLEANS: The NOLA Project has announced its 2016–17 season, the company’s 12th, under the theme of survival. The five-play lineup includes world premieres, a comedy classic, and an immersive work.
“This season we’re exploring what it means to be an American,” said NOLA Project artistic director A.J. Allegra in a statement. “We are in a fight for our national existence. In every facet of American culture, there are battles for agency and recognition from different races, genders, and other groups, and we see this in the American theatre just as strongly as we see it in our politics. For our 2016–17 season, we chose stories that reflect that sentiment and cause us to start meaningful dialogue with one another rather than divisive argument.”
The season will open with the world premiere of Flood City of Gabrielle Reisman (Sept. 1–18). The magical realism play takes during the Johnstown Flood of 1889 and during the steel mill closures of 1992 in Pennsylvania. Mark Routhier will direct.
Next will be 4000 Miles by Amy Herzog (Oct. 20–Nov 6), about a young man who takes a cross-country road trip and ends up at his 91-year-old grandmother’s New York apartment. Local actors Carol Sutton and James Bartelle will star, and Beau Bratcher will direct.
Next up, NOLA Project will partner with Delgado Community College for a coproduction of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, adapted by Frank Galati (Jan. 26–Feb. 12, 2017). NOLA Project ensemble member Jason Kirkpatrick will direct.
The world premiere of The Spider Queen (May 2017), by NOLA Project ensemble members James Bartelle and Alex Martinez Wallace, will be next. The play follows two teenage siblings who are lost in the woods and encounter a kingdom ruled by a giant spider queen. The production will be mounted at the New Orleans Museum of Art, where audience members will travel through the museum’s sculpture garden during the show.
The season will close with It’s Only a Play by Terrence McNally (June 8–25, 2017). The play takes place at a Broadway opening night party, where the actors gather waiting for The New York Times review. Allegra will direct a cast of New Orleans actors, including Ricky Graham, Sean Patterson, Leslie Castay, Cecile Monteyne, James Bartelle, Keith Claverie, and Alex Ates. Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre will coproduce.