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Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens.

Asolo Rep to Premiere Ahrens/Flaherty/Galati Musical in 2019-20 Season

The world premiere musical is joined in the lineup by ‘The Sound of Music’ and a new musical take on Robin Hood.

SARASOTA, FLA.: Asolo Repertory Theatre and the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training have announced their 2019-20 seasons. The Asolo Rep season will feature three musicals, including a world premiere from the songwriting team behind Once on This Island and Anastasia.

“The overarching theme for our 2019-20 season is that of humanity, adventure, and joy,” Asolo Rep producing artistic director Michael Donald Edwards said in a statement. “It is going to be a thrilling ride!”

The Asolo Rep season will open with The Sound of Music (Nov. 16-Dec. 28), with music by Richard Rogers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, and book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. The Tony-winning musical about a young nun sent to be a governess for seven children while Nazi Germany threatens to invade Austria is inspired by The Trapp Family Singers by Maria Augusta Trapp. Josh Rhodes will direct and choreograph the production.

Following will be Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express (Jan. 10-March 8, 2020), in Ken Ludwig’s adaptation of the comedic murder mystery set aboard a train. Peter Amster will direct.

The Lifespan of a Fact (Jan. 24-March 19) by Jeremy Kareken, David Murrell, and Gordon Farrell will be next. Based on the essay/book by John D’Agata and Jim Fingal, the play questions the negotiability of fact when a famous author and a meticulous fact-checker clash over an essay. Celine Rosenthal will direct.

The season will continue with George Brant’s Into the Breeches! (Feb. 14-March 21). Laura Kepley will direct the new comedy about a team of women putting on Shakespeare’s Henry V during World War II.

Following will be The Great Leap (March 20-April 11) by Lauren Yee. Starting in 1989 San Francisco, the play follows a college basketball team headed to Beijing for an exhibition game after China’s Cultural Revolution.

Next up will be the world premiere of Knoxville (April 10-25), with book by Frank Galati, music by Stephen Flaherty, and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens. Based on the novel A Death in the Family by James Agee and partly based on Tad Mosel’s play All the Way Home, the new musical is a universal coming-of-age story about family, faith, and love. Galati will also direct.

Hood: A Robin Hood Musical Adventure (May 15-31) will follow. The new musical, with book by Douglas Carter Beane and music and lyrics by Lewis Flinn, uses audience participation, sword fights, and archery contests to tell the story of the famous renegade hero. Mark Brokaw will direct.

The Asolo Rep season will close with an adaptation of the Brothers Grimm’s Snow White (June 12-28), presented by the New International Encounter. Directed by Alex Byrne and featuring music by Joey Hickman, the modern fairy tale reimagines the seven dwarves as seven vegan eco-warriors living off the grid in the forest.

Meanwhile, the FSU/Asolo Conservatory season will open with Sophocles’ Antigone (Oct. 30-Nov. 17, 2019).

Following will be Gruesome Playground Injuries (Jan. 1-19, 2020) by Rajiv Joseph. Spanning 30 years, the play moves back and forth in time to map out the relationship of two people connected by physical and emotional injuries.

Next up will be Dead Man’s Cell Phone (Feb. 19-March 8) by Sarah Ruhl, in which a woman impulsively answers the ringing phone of a dead man. This decision exposes the woman to the mysterious life of the phone’s owner.

The season will close with Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (April 8-25).

Asolo Repertory Theatre, now in its 60th season, is one of the few select theatres in the U.S. that performs in true rotating repertory.

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