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"Charitable Sisterhood Christmas" by Bo Wilson, at Virginia Repertory Theatre in Richmond, Va., in 2016. Pictured: Catherine Shaffner, Debra Wagoner, and Jody Smith Strickler. (Photo by Jay Paul)

Virginia Rep to Debut New Bo Wilson Play in 2019-20 Season

Also on the slate are ‘Fences,’ ‘Parade,’ and ‘Freckleface Strawberry.’

RICHMOND, VA.: Virginia Repertory Theatre has revealed the lineup for its 2019-20 season. In addition to the Signature season, Virginia Rep will present the Cadence season, the Hanover season, and the Children’s season.

“Our 2019-20 season looks to be a fascinating flight, exploring lands both near and far, some fantastical and some hardened and real,” artistic director Nathaniel Shaw said in a statement. “It is a season that runs the gamut of human emotion, brimming with hilarity, pain, and resounding love. We continue our commitment to developing new plays, while also remaining your home for Broadway musicals, fresh looks at beloved classics, and entertainment for the entire family.”

Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak’s A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (Sept. 27-Oct. 20) will open the Signature season. The musical is a bawdy and outrageous romp about a man eighth in line for an earldom who hopes to attain the position by murdering all of his predecessors. Associate artistic director Kikau Alvaro will direct, with Scott Wichmann and Alexander Sapp starring.

The Cadence season will open with Parade (Oct. 17-Nov. 17), a musical by Alfred Uhry and Jason Robert Brown based on the infamous true story of the Leo Frank trial in 1913 Atlanta, Georgia.

Tuck Everlasting (Oct. 18-Dec. 1), with book by Claudia Shear and Tim Federle, music by Chris Miller, and lyrics by Nathan Tysen, will open the Children’s season. Based on the children’s novel by Natalie Babbitt, the musical follows a young girl who encounters a magical family with unending youth.

The Hanover season will open with Always…Patsy Cline (Nov. 15-Jan. 5, 2020), based on the story of the title singer’s heartwarming and unexpected friendship with a fan. The play was written by Ted Swindley and features the music of Patsy Cline. Debra Wagoner will star in the production.

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella (Nov. 29-Jan. 5, 2020), the holiday production for both the Signature and Children’s seasons, will be next. The musical will feature an updated book by Douglas Carter Beane.

Following in the Children’s season will be Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad (Jan. 24-March 1, 2020). In the drama, with book and lyrics by Douglas Jones and music by Ron Barnett, audiences share in the joys, sorrows, and challenges Harriet Tubman faced while courageously freeing herself, and hundreds of others, from the bonds of slavery.

The Signature season will continue with Fences (Feb. 7-March 3, 2020), directed by Tawnya Pettiford-Wates. August Wilson’s play tells the story of a promising
Black baseball player who was excluded from the major leagues during his prime. The man’s bitterness takes its toll on his relationships, especially with his son, who now wants his own chance to play ball.

Small Mouth Sounds (March 5-29, 2020) by Beth Wohl will be next in the Cadence season. The new play follows a group of six strangers on a silent yoga retreat in the woods.

Patrick Barlow and John Buchan’s The 39 Steps (March 13-April 19, 2020) will follow in the Hanover season. The play mixes a Hitchcock masterpiece with a juicy spy novel, and adds a dash of Monty Python to create a fast-paced mystery. Artistic director Nathaniel Shaw will direct.

Next in the Signature season will be A Doll’s House, Part 2 (April 10-May 3, 2020) by Lucas Hnath. The play is a continuation of Ibsen’s drama, picking up 15 years after the original play’s ending.

The Children’s season will continue with Freckleface Strawberry (April 24-May 24, 2020), a stage adaptation of Julianne Moore’s book by Gary Kupper and Rose Caiola. The musical, about a young girl learning to love the skin she’s in, aims to teach children that their differences are what make them special.

The Cadence season will close with Sam Shepard’s True West (May 7-31, 2020), following the tumultuous relationship between two brothers.

The world premiere of Bo Wilson’s Bonnie and Claire (May 29-June 21, 2020), a heartwarming and humorous new play, will follow in the Hanover season.

The signature season will close with Chicago (June 26-Aug, 2, 2020). With music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, and book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, the musical follows two imprisoned women as they search for fame, fortune, and acquittal.

Elephant and Piggie’s “We Are in a Play!” (July 10-Aug. 16, 2020) will close the Children’s season. In the musical, featuring book and lyrics by Mo Willems and music by Deborah Wicks La Pluma, the title characters are two best friends who get invited to a party hosted by three singing squirrels.

The Hanover season will close with Michael Weller’s A Late Morning [in America] With Ronald Reagan (July 24-Aug. 30, 2020), a candid interview play about the late former president.

Founded in 2012, Virginia Repertory Theatre is the largest professional theatre and one of the largest performing arts organizations in Central Virginia.

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