Chris Butler and Alejandra Escalante in "Othello" at Oregon Shakespeare Festival. (Photo by Jenny Graham)

ART 2018-19 Season to Contain 3 World Premieres

Next season at American Repertory Theater includes a new work based on a Langston Hughes poem, a play about Korean sea women, and a musical about the Arab Spring.

CAMBRIDGE, MASS.: American Repertory Theater (ART) has announced its 2018-19 season, which will be Diane Paulus’s 10th season as the company’s artistic director. It features multiple world premieres, productions surrounding international themes, and new works through their ART Breakout series and Afterglow @ Oberon series.

“I am thrilled to be celebrating my 10th anniversary at the ART with a season embodying our commitment to daring new work that expands the boundaries of theatre,” said Paulus in a statement. “Next season will engage audiences around vital stories of resistance and resilience from around the globe.”

The subscription season will open with the world premiere of The Black Clown (Aug. 31-Sept. 23), adapted from Langston Hughes’s poem by Davóne Tines and Michael Schachter, with music by Michael Schachter. The musical incorporates vaudeville, opera, jazz, and spirituals and gives new life to Hughes’ verse, about a Black man’s resilience against America’s legacy of oppression. Zack Winokur will direct.

Next will be Extraordinary: A Celebration of Music Theater at ART (Nov. 16-30), which will reunite past ART artists who will recreate some of the past 10 seasons’ most memorable musical moments. Paulus will direct.

Following will be Barber Shop Chronicles (Dec. 5-Jan. 5, 2019) by Inua Ellams, a new play following the global ties between African men from London to Johannesburg and beyond, with each story taking place in a barber shop. This production will be part of its US premiere tour. Bijan Sheibani will direct. It is a coproduction between ART, the Fuel Theatre, the National Theatre, and the West Yorkshire Playhouse.

Next will be Shakespeare’s Othello (Jan. 13-Feb. 9, 2019), a remount of a production that’s currently running at Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Bill Rauch will direct.

Following will be the world premiere of Endlings (Feb. 26-March 17, 2019) by Celine Song, a play about three elderly women on the Korean island of Man-Jae, who are “haenyeos”—sea women, who dive into the ocean to harvest seafood—with no heirs to carry on their millenia-old tradition. Sammi Cannold will direct.

The season will conclude with the world premiere of the new musical We Live in Cairo (May 14-June 16, 2019), with book, music, and lyrics by Daniel Lazour and Patrick Lazour. The musical is about the 2011 Arab Spring and the young Egyptians who rose up to overthrow President Hosni Mubarak. Taibi Magar will direct.

ART will also present their ART Breakout series, which features cutting edge new works in at ART’s Oberon cabaret space. This series will open with Borrowed Cash: Busted! The Reunion Tour (Sept. 13-23 at Oberon), written and performed by Daniel Jenkins and Melissa van der Schyff. It will also feature the music of Randy Newman and Lucinda Williams, to tell the story of two estranged band members who reunite after 15 years.

Next will be Black Light (Nov. 7-11) by Daniel Alexander Jones, featuring original songs by Jomama Jones, Laura Jean Anderson, Bobby Halvorson, Dylan Meek, and Josh Quat, a performance piece about the Black American Freedom movement and Afromysticism, starring Daniel Alexander Jones as Jomama Jones.

Following will be the Dragon Cycle (March 20-April 6, 2019), created and performed by Sara Porkalob, who tells the story of her family’s history from the lens of their Filipino gangster past.

The ART Breakout series will close out with Clairvoyance (April 24-28, 2019), written and performed by Diana Oh, a solo performance piece combining spirituality with Oh’s original soul, pop, rock, and punk music.

ART will also present a variety of other one-night-only acts in its Oberon space. The complete schedule can be found here.

American Repertory Theater was founded in 1980 and is a professional theatre on Harvard University’s campus. It develops and creates new work, some of which have gone to Broadway, including: The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess (2012), Pippin (2013), and currently Waitress.