ROCHESTER, N.Y.: Geva Theatre Center has announced the 11 major productions and events that will constitute its 2017-18 season, the nonprofit theatre’s 45th.
“Our 45th anniversary takes place at a time when Geva Theatre Center can illuminate the stories and characters that are essential to our vibrant American culture,” said artistic director Mark Cuddy in a statement. “The richness of contemporary life and the heroes of history, both here and abroad, weave through the 11 plays and musicals that have been carefully chosen for Rochester. I am proud that Geva will help lead the Rochester region into the future with humanity and creativity. Now more than ever, we need to come together and share these theatrical experiences.”
The season kicks off with Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegria Hudes’s musical In the Heights (Sept. 5-Oct. 8). This Tony-winning tuner about community, family, and luck will be directed by Melissa Rain Anderson and choreographed by Julio Agustin. In conjunction with the production, the theatre will host a special one-night reading of the century-old Broadway play Hamilton, a historical drama written by West Bloomfield native Mary P. Hamlin and George Arliss.
Next is Lydia Diamond’s Smart People (Oct. 5-22), directed by Summer Williams. Diamond’s play follows four intellectuals, embroiled in a complex web of social and sexual politics on the eve of the 2008 presidential election.
A Rochester-centric story is next, with the world premiere of Mat Smart’s The Agitators: The Story of Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass (Oct. 17-Nov. 12), directed by Logan Vaughn. Smart’s play follows the friendship of the two 19th century American icons, who first met in Rochester.
The annual tradition of Dickens’s Christmas Carol follows (Nov. 22-Dec. 24), in artistic director Mark Cuddy’s adaptation, with music and lyrics by Gregg Coffin. Also for the holidays is a special presentation of Roger Bean’s girl-group musical The Marvelous Wonderettes: Caps and Gowns (Dec. 7-24), directed by Melissa Rain Anderson.
The musical The Other Josh Cohen is next (Jan. 9-Feb. 4, 2018). The show, with book, lyrics, and music by David Rossmer and Steve Rosen, with direction by Hunter Foster, follows an aimless slacker who receives a fateful letter that could change his life.
Next is Erma Bombeck: At Wit’s End (Jan. 25-Feb. 11, 2018), Margaret Engel and Allison Engel’s solo show based on the writings of the 20th-century humorist. Pam Sherman will play Bombeck and artistic director Cuddy will direct.
A coproduction with Arizona Theatre Company follows with The Diary of Anne Frank (Feb. 13-Mar. 18, 2018), in Wendy Kesselman’s adaptation of the play by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett.
Following is the world premiere of Gabriel Jason Dean’s Heartland (Mar. 18-Apr. 1, 2018), directed by Pirronne Yousefzadeh. This play tells the story of a college professor (played by artistic director Cuddy, in a return to acting) who takes in an Afghan refugee.
Another world premiere follows with Catherine Treischmann’s One House Over (Apr. 3-29, 2018), directed by Mark Clements, artistic director of Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, which with this is a coproduction. Treischmann’s comedy tells of a Latinx couple who moves in to take care of an elderly white man, and the family complications that ensue.
The season closes with a revival of Robert Harling’s Steel Magnolias (May 8-June 3, 2018), directed by Skip Greer.
Special events throughout the season include the Keybank Rochester Fringe Festival, Sept. 14-23 in Geva’s Fielding Stage and a Festival of New Theatre, Oct. 24-Nov. 5, showcasing plays and projects currently in Geva’s development pipeline.
Founded in 1972, Geva Theatre Center is dedicated to creating and producing professional theatre productions, programs and services of a national standard. Geva is the most attended regional theatre in New York state, serving up to 160,000 patrons annually, including more than 16,000 students.