TUCSON and PHOENIX, ARIZ.: Arizona Theatre Company (ATC) has announced the six mainstage productions of its 2020-21 season, the first to be chosen by new artistic director Sean Daniels. ATC also announced a slate of collaborations and partnerships.
“With our upcoming season, the first I got to fully plan, we’re laying out the blueprint for how Arizona Theatre Company can truly be the state theatre,” Daniels said in a statement. “In addition to our usual six-play mainstage season, this will add two co-productions in Phoenix, one co-production in Tucson, two reading series, and at least four musical and play workshop productions that will happen throughout the state. It’s time for Arizona to be a national leader, and Arizona Theatre Company is the way that happens.”
The partnerships include University of Arizona, ASU/Gammage, Herberger Institute of Design and Arts, Stray Cat Theatre, Tom Kirdahy Productions, Southwest Shakespeare Company, the Winding Road Theatre Ensemble of Tucson, Playwrights Center in Minneapolis, and the music company BMG. Full details on the partnerships have yet to be announced.
The 2020-21 mainstage season will open with Daniels directing My 80 Year Old Boyfriend (Sept. 5-25 in Tucson, and Oct. 1-18 in Phoenix), a musical from Charissa Bertels, Christian Duhamel, and Edward Bell. Based on Bertel’s life, the musical is about an unlikely friendship sprung forth from a chance encounter.
Next up will be Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon’s Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley (Oct. 17-Nov. 7 in Tucson, and Nov. 11-29 in Phoenix). An imagined follow-up to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, the play sees Mary Bennet finding a way to be the heroine in her own story. Melissa Crespo will direct.
Following will be Little Shop of Horrors (Dec. 5-26 in Tucson, and Jan 8-31 in Phoenix), with music by Alan Menken and book and lyrics by Howard Ashman. Casey Stangl will direct.
The season will continue with the world premiere of How to Raise an American Son (Jan. 23-Feb. 13 in Tucson, and Feb. 18-March 7 in Phoenix), by Christopher Oscar Peña, directed by Kimberly Senior. This co-production with Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre follows Orlando, the overly privileged American son of an immigrant, who suddenly winds up responsible for the fate of both his father’s empire and a treasured undocumented worker.
Daniels returns to direct the next show of the season, Pru Payne (March 13-April 3 in Tucson, and April 8-25 in Phoenix) by Steven Drukman. This world premiere play takes a look at love, memory loss and the best way for people to be remembered.
The 2020-21 season concludes with Nina Simone: Four Women (April 24-May 15 in Tucson, and May 20-June 6 in Phoenix) by Christina Ham. This musical offers an imagined conversation between three African American women and Nina Simone, who wrote the tribute song “Four Women” about the four girls killed in the 1963 Klu Klux Klan bombing in Birmingham, Alabama. Tiffany Nicole Greene will direct.
In addition to the mainstage season, ATC will present workshops of Jessie Sanchez’s Suenos, Chris D’Arienzo’s Untitled But Sure to Be Awesomely Titled ’70s FM Radio jukebox lovefest-get ready, and Lauren Gunderson and Ari Afsar’s Jeanette, directed by Erin Ortman. Dates and additional workshops are yet to be announced.
The Arizona Theatre Company produces full seasons in both Tucson and Phoenix. Founded in 1966, ATC is the professional resident theatre of Arizona.