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"Emma" adapted by Paul Gordon from Jane Austen, at TheatreWorks in Palo Alto, Calif. through Jan 2. Pictured: Leigh Ann Larkin, Lianne Marie Dobbs, and Brian Herndon. (Photo by Kevin Berne)

TheatreWorks Silicon Valley Announces 2019-20 Season

The company’s 50th season will be the last under the direction of longtime artistic director Robert Kelley.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIF.: TheatreWorks Silicon Valley has announced the lineup for its 50th season, which will be longtime artistic director Robert Kelley’s final season at the helm.

The season will start with Julia Cho’s The Language Archive (July 10-Aug. 4), about a linguist focused on restoring dying languages who struggles to communicate in his own language. Jeffrey Lo will direct.

Next up will be the 2019 New Works Festival (Aug. 7-18), which will feature book-in-hand readings and sing-throughs of new plays and musicals from playwrights and composers from across the country.

Following will be The 39 Steps (Aug. 21-Sept. 15), adapted by Patrick Barlow from the book by John Buchan and the movie by Alfred Hitchcock. The madcap thriller features four actors playing dozens of roles, and is filled with espionage, murders, and double-crossing secret agents. Leslie Martinson will direct.

The season will continue with Mark Twain’s River of Song (Oct. 2-27), by Randal Myler and Dan Wheetman, featuring folk tunes and the heartwarming stories of Mark Twain. Myler will direct.

Next will be the world premiere of Pride and Prejudice (Dec. 4-29), adapted by Paul Gordon from Jane Austen, a romantic comedy that follows the unlikely love story of headstrong Lizzie Bennet and Mr. Darcy. Kelley will direct.

Following will be The Pianist of Willesden Lane (Jan. 15-Feb. 9, 2020), adapted and directed by Hershey Felder. The show stars pianist Mona Golabek and is based on the  novel “The Children of Willesden Lane,” which she co-wrote with Lee Cohen, about the inspiring true story of her mother’s escape from the Holocaust.

Next up will be Laurel Ollstein’s They Promised Her the Moon (March 4-29, 2020). Developed as part of the company’s 2018 New Works Festival, the play is about the true story of Jerrie Cobb, a world record-holding female aviator who dreamed of flying among the stars in the 1960s. Giovanna Sardelli, director of the New Works program, will helm the production.

The company will celebrate its 50th birthday with the musical Ragtime (April 1-26, 2020), with book by Terrence McNally, music by Stephen Flaherty, and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens. The musical is based on the novel by E.L. Doctorow and follows three families’ pursuit of the American dream at the turn of the 20th century. Kelley returns to directing Ragtime, which he also directed at TheatreWorks in 2002.

The season will conclude with Lauren Gunderson’s The Book of Will (June 3-28, 2020), about two of Shakespeare’s friends as they struggle to collect and publish the Bard’s First Folio after his death.

Founded in 1970, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley develops and produces new musicals and plays.

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