OLNEY, MD.: Olney Theatre Center has announced its 2018-19 season, featuring nine mainstage productions.
“This season is a great demonstration of how we’ve grown as a regional arts leader in the past five years,” said artistic director Jason Loewith in a statement. “To be the first DC-area professional theatre to acquire the rights to Broadway hits like the Tony-winning Once, Elf the Musical, and Roald Dahl’s Matilda shows how our reputation as a leading producer of musicals has greatly increased. Our production values, the talent we attract, and our ability to promote these kinds of shows is on a level with the best regional theatres in the country.”
The season will begin with South Pacific (Aug. 31-Oct. 7), with music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, adapted by Hammerstein and Joshua Logan from James A. Michener, about a love that blossoms between an American nurse stationed on a South Pacific island during World War II and an expatriate French plantation owner. Jessica Ball will star. Darren Lee will choreograph, Kristen Rosenfeld will music direct, and Alan Muraoka will direct.
Next up will be James Graham’s Labour of Love (Sept. 26-Oct. 28), a comedy about the ups and downs of left-of-center politics over the past 25 years. Leora Morris will direct.
For the holidays, the theatre will present two shows. One will be Elf the Musical (Nov. 9-Jan. 6, 2019), with book by Thomas Meehan and Bob Martin, music by Matthew Sklar, and lyrics by Chad Beguelin. Based on the film by David Berenbaum, the musical follows a human raised by elves who travels to New York City to reunite with his biological father. Tara Jeanne Vallee will choreograph, Angie Benson will provide music direction, and Michael Bobbitt will direct.
The other holiday program will be A Christmas Carol: A Ghost of Christmas (Nov. 23-Dec. 30), adapted and performed by Paul Morell.
The season will continue with Once (Feb. 6-March 10, 2019), with a book by Enda Walsh, and music and lyrics by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová. Based on the film by John Carney, the musical follows a Dublin man inspired to continuing creating music by a young woman. Christopher Youstra will provide music direction, and Marcia Milgrom Dodge will direct and choreograph.
Next up will be OIL (Feb. 27-March 31, 2019), by Ella Hickson, five playlets that follow mothers and daughters from the dawn of the age of oil in 1889 to the demise of the industry. Tracy Brigden will direct.
Following will be A Comedy of Tenors (April 10-May 12, 2019), by Ken Ludwig, a farce about an opera performance in Paris gone awry when the lead performer becomes incapacitated. Senior associate artistic director Jason King Jones will direct.
The season will continue with The Mary Stuart Project (May 8-June 9, 2019), adapted by Loewith from Friedrich Schiller, a new take on the battle royale between Queen Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots.
Next up will be Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical (June 21-July 21, 2019), with book by Dennis Kelly, and music and lyrics by Tim Minchin, about a girl who uses telekinetic powers to protect her friends and rebel against her tyrannical teachers and parents.
The season will close out with Mike Lew’s Tiger Style! (July 17-Aug. 18, 2019), a satire about two Chinese-American siblings searching for their inner selves.
In addition to the subscriber season, the theatre will present one-night concert versions of musicals: Anyone Can Whistle (Oct. 12), Finian’s Rainbow (March 15, 2019), and Children of Eden (Aug. 2, 2019).
Outside of the theatre, the Olney’s touring troupe, the National Players, will present Twelfth Night (May 29-June 2, 2019) and Around the World in 80 Days (May 22-26, 2019).
The theatre for young audiences programming will include The Magic School Bus (March 16-17, 2019), Madeline and the Bad Hat (March 30-31, 2019), and Junie B. Jones (May 4-5, 2019).
The Olney Theatre Center, founded in 1938, is one of Maryland’s two state theatres. It produces a mix of new plays and classics in its four-theatre campus.