COSTA MESA, CALIF.: South Coast Repertory has announced its 2020-21 season, featuring four world premieres, including a musical adaptation of Craig Lucas’s play Prelude to a Kiss and a new work written by and starring Amy Brenneman, and revivals of contemporary classics by August Wilson and Thornton Wilder, among other offerings.
“South Coast Repertory’s 2020-21 season features works of the here and now that reflect the world of the human experience,” said artistic director David Ivers in a statement. “I spent this year getting to know the community in which we live—the people, the culture, the history—and the works next season are a direct response to what I discovered. Anchored by American classics, our lineup also includes contemporary hits and new works destined to become tomorrow’s classics. A wide variety of voices are represented, some that aren’t always front and center, and they explore some of the important issues of our time, as well as the universal truths that bind us together.”
Added managing director Paula Tomei in a statement, “The range of work we’re offering next season is both compelling and entertaining. Each production promises to connect with our audiences in distinct and diverse ways, engaging all of us in fresh, theatrical adventures.”
The season kicks off with August Wilson’s Two Trains Running (Sept. 5-Oct. 3). Taking place in 1969, this play looks at the effects of the Civil Rights Movement on a changing Memphis community. Lou Bellamy will direct.
Next up will be the world premiere of Threshold (Sept. 27-Oct. 18), written by Amy Brenneman and co-created by Brenneman and Sabrina Peck. Peck will direct and choreograph this journey through Brenneman’s life as she learns to be a true ally to her daughter, who was born with a rare chromosomal abnormality.
Following will be Quixote Nuevo (Oct. 17-Nov. 14), by Octavio Solis and based on the novel Don Quixote de la Mancha Book 1 by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. Directed by Juliette Carrillo, this modern retelling of Don Quixote follows Jose Quijano as he sets off on a chivalrous quest to reunite with his long-lost love while the community around him wrestles with a very different reality.
You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (Nov. 6-22) will be next, based on the comic strip “Peanuts” by Charles M. Schulz and with book, music, and lyrics by Clark Gesner, additional dialogue by Michael Mayer, and additional music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa. Kari Hayter will direct this Theatre for Young Audiences Family Series production that brings together the whole “Peanuts” gang.
The holidays will bring the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol (Nov. 28-Dec. 27), adapted by Jerry Patch. With SCR set to unveil an all-new version of the tale in 2021, this marks the last chance to see the holiday favorite done this way. SCR founding artist Richard Doyle will step into the role of Ebenezer Scrooge and Hisa Takakuwa will direct.
The season will continue with Mike Lew‘s Tiger Style! (Jan. 3-24, 2021), directed by Lisa Portes. The play follows Albert and Jennifer Chen, brilliant students turned epic failures, as they go on an “Asian Freedom Tour” to China.
Following will be Our Town (Jan. 23-Feb. 20, 2021), by Thornton Wilder. This Pulitzer Prize-winning play celebrates shared humanity through the lens of Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire in 1901. Beth Lopes will direct.
Next up will be Last Stop on Market Street (Feb. 5-21, 2021), by Cheryl L. West, based on the book by Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson, with music and lyrics by Lamont Dozier and Paris Dozier. Oanh Nguyen will direct this Theatre for Young Audiences Family Series production about CJ, whose Nana takes him on an adventure aboard the Number 5 bus.
Patrick Barlow’s adaptation of The 39 Steps (March 7-28, 2021) will be next. Adapted from the John Buchan novel and Alfred Hitchcock movie, with an original concept by Nobby Dimon and Simon Corble, the fast-paced whodunit follows Richard who finds himself on the run after a woman he met who claimed to be a spy winds up murdered. Kent Nicholson will direct.
After that will be the world premiere of Vladimir (March 27-April 24, 2021), by Erika Sheffer. Part of the Pacific Playwrights Festival, this play follows Raya, a journalist in 2004 Moscow, as she weighs the risk to her family, friends, and freedom against the chance to bring down the most powerful man in the world.
A yet to be announced world premiere, as part of the Pacific Playwrights Festival will follow (April 11-May 2).
Rounding out the mainstage season will be the world premiere of Prelude to a Kiss The Musical (May 15-June 12, 2021), with music by Dan Messé, lyrics by Messé and Sean Hartley, and book by Craig Lucas. Ivers will direct this musical version of the drama which saw its original world premiere at SCR in 1988. The musical wonders if love will conquer all after a mysterious guest requests a kiss at the wedding of Peter and Rita.
The season will conclude with a yet to be announced Theatre for Young Audiences Family Series production (May 28-June 13, 2021).
Founded in 1964, South Coast Repertory presents a balance of classic and modern plays and musicals alongside its extensive new-play development program, The Lab@SCR.