WASHINGTON, D.C.: Arena Stage has announced its 2018-19 season, its 69th. The nine-show season will include four world premieres.
“This season is an intoxicating mix of power, politics, and pleasure,” said artistic director Molly Smith in a statement. “The time period ranges from the 1790s to the present day, covering the span of the American experience. In sum, yes, it is a dynamic series about history. In this volatile time, our season takes a deep dive into America’s past and present and sees how the lessons of the past drive us forward to revelations about the future.”
The season will begin in July with the world-premiere musical comedy Dave, by Thomas Meehan, Nell Benjamin, and Tom Kitt (July 13-Aug. 19). Tina Landau will direct the musical based on the film about a high school teacher and presidential lookalike who is hired to be a stand-in for the president.
Following will be Turn Me Loose by Gretchen Law (Sept. 6-Oct. 14), a chronicle of the life of comedian Dick Gregory and his work as a civil rights activist and provocateur. The play will be produced in association with with John Legend, Get Lifted Film Company, Mike Jackson, the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation, Beth Hubbard, The Private Theatre, Eric Falkenstein, SimonSays Entertainment, Jamie Cesa, and Jana Babatunde-Bey.
For the holidays, Molly Smith will direct Cole Porter’s classic musical Anything Goes (Nov. 2-Dec. 23). Parker Esse will provide the choreography and Paul Sportelli will music direct. The musical comedy takes place on the SS American, where a stowaway is trying to stop the woman he loves from marrying a millionaire.
Around the same time, the theatre will produce Indecent by Paula Vogel (Nov. 23-Dec. 30). The play with music chronicles the creation and reception of Sholem Asch’s Yiddish drama God of Vengeance, which features the first lesbian kiss on a Broadway stage. The play will be a coproduction between Baltimore Center Stage and Kansas City Repertory.
In the new year, Arena Stage will produce the world premiere of Kleptocracy by Kenneth Lin (Jan. 18-Feb. 24, 2019). The play is an exploration of U.S.-Russia relations after the collapse of the Soviet Junion.
Next will be The Heiress by Ruth Goetz and August Goetz, adapted from Henry James’s novel Washington Square (Feb. 8-March 10, 2019). In the play, the plain and socially awkward Catherine Sloper finds her voice and takes her life back from the men around her.
Following will be JQA, written and directed by Aaron Posner (March 1-April 14, 2019). The play explores the life and career of one-term president John Quincy Adams.
Next will be Junk by Ayad Akhtar (April 5-May 5, 2019). The play, the recent winner of the Kennedy Prize, is set in the financial world of the 1980s, where a junk bond giant is trying to take over a family-owned manufacturing company. Jackie Maxwell will direct.
Closing the season will be Jubilee, written and directed by Tazewell Thompson (April 26-Jun 2, 2019). The musical use more than three dozen spirituals and hymns to tell the story of the Fisk Jubilee Singers, the African-American a cappella group from Fisk University.
Arena Stage at the three-venue Mead Center for American Theater is a Tony-winning theatre dedicated to American plays and artists.