WASHINGTON, D.C.: Arena Stage has announced its 2017-18 season, featuring ten productions.
“From the Supreme Court to the Alaskan wilderness to Cherokee Nation to Japanese-American internment camps to President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s White House, we’re bringing stories to the stage that represent diverse voices and communities,” said artistic director Molly Smith in a statement. “Our commitment to parity continues—half of the projects in our season boast a female playwright or male playwright of color, and seven are helmed by female directors.”
The season will open with John Strand’s The Originalist (July 7-30), a coproduction with Asolo Repertory Theatre and the Pasadena Playhouse, about a bright, liberal, Harvard Law School graduate who embarks on a nerve-wracking clerkship with Justice Antonin Scalia. Edward Gero will star, and Smith will direct.
Next up will be Karen Zacarías’s Native Gardens (Sept. 15-Oct. 22), a coproduction with the Guthrie Theater, a comedy about the clash of class and culture that occurs when neighboring families dispute a fence line. Blake Robison will direct.
Following will be Arthur Miller’s The Price (Oct. 6-Nov. 5), about a man who returns home to settle his late father’s estate, and is surprised to find his estranged brother back in the scene. Seema Sueko will direct.
The season will continue with The Pajama Game (Oct. 27-Dec. 24), with a book by George Abbott and Richard Bissell, and music and lyrics by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross, about a a workers’ strike at a pajama factory. Parker Esse will choreograph, James Cunningham will be the music director, and Alan Paul will direct.
Following will be Christina Ham’s Nina Simone: Four Women (Nov. 10-Dec. 24), about the life and music of songstress Nina Simone, and how she became involved in the Civil Rights movement. Timothy Douglas will direct.
Next up is Mary Kathryn Nagle’s Sovereignty (Jan. 12-Feb. 18, 2018), about a young Cherokee lawyer fighting to restore her Cherokee Nation’s jurisdiction. Smith will direct.
The season will continue with Robert Schenkkan’s The Great Society (Feb. 2-March 11, 2018), about President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s sudden ascent to the White House. Jack Willis will star, and Kyle Donnelly will direct.
Following will be Jeanne Sakata’s Hold These Truths (Feb. 23-April 8, 2018), about the son of Japanese immigrants who was placed in an internment camp after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Jessica Kubzansky will direct.
Next will be August Wilson’s Two Trains Running (March 30-April 29, 2018), a coproduction with Seattle Repertory Theatre, about a Pittsburgh diner that is slated to be demolished during the Civil Rights Movement in 1969.
The season will close with Snow Child (April 13-May 20, 2018), featuring a book by John Strand, music by Bob Banghart and Georgia Stitt, and lyrics by Stitt. The musical, based on the novel by Eowyn Ivey, is about a couple reeling from the loss of an unborn child who resort to the Alaskan wilderness to rebuild their lives in 1920. The production will be coproduced with Perseverance Theatre, and Smith will direct.
Arena Stage, founded in 1950 by Zelda Fichandler, produces diverse works with writers and theatres across the country.