CHESTER, MASS.: Chester Theatre Company has announced its 2020 season, featuring the company’s first world premiere commission as well as a New England premiere.
“I love the journey our audiences will take this summer,” said producing artistic director Daniel Elihu Kramer in a statement. “It’s a thrill ride of the very best kind: provocative, chilling, funny, and moving. Each of the four plays, all written by women playwrights, offers a gripping story, remarkable characters, and plenty of fodder for the deeper conversations our audiences cherish.”
The season will open with the New England premiere of Switzerland (June 18-28), written by Joanna Murray-Smith and directed by James Barry, who will be making his CTC directorial debut. The play follows Patricia Highsmith, the reclusive author of The Talented Mr. Ripley, as she lives and writes in the shadow of the Swiss Alps, and the events that follow when a charming visitor arrives.
Next up will be the world premiere of The Life of the World to Come (July 2-12), written by Darcy Parker Bruce and directed by Keira Naughton. June is dealing with childhood trauma that prevents her from living in the old house she used to call home. Now staying with her chosen family in the house next door, June moves between a life defined by her past and her potential future. The play was commissioned by Chester Theatre Company through a gift from Frances Henry and Walter Korzec.
Following will be Eleanor Burgess’s The Niceties (July 23-Aug. 2). The play centers around a student’s heated debate with her instructor about slavery and the American Revolution.
Closing out the season will be Tiny Beautiful Things (Aug. 6-16), written by Nia Vardalos and directed by Daniel Elihu Kramer. Based on the Dear Sugar column written by Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things shows what we can feel and learn when we open up to hearing the answers to questions we can’t figure out on our own. CTC associate artistic director Tara Franklin will play the central role of Sugar.
Also included will be two cabaret evenings featuring current and past CTC artists, hosted by Berkshire performers James Barry and Tara Franklin. Audiences can expect music and theatrical performances.
Chester Theatre Company, located between the Berkshires and the Pioneer Valley, was founded in 1990 by Vincent Dowling, former artistic director of the Abbey Theatre in Dublin. The organization describes itself as presenting four high-quality, contemporary productions every summer in the intimate setting of Chester’s Town Hall Theatre.