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Portland Stage Announces 2020-21 Season, Virtual Festival

The festival will be livestreamed on Facebook and will feature a reading from a canceled 2020 production.

PORTLAND, MAINE: Portland Stage has announced its 2020-21 season, which will feature three world premieres. No dates were given for the productions. The company also announced that the theatre’s 31st annual Little Festival of the Unexpected will be presented on Facebook as a series of digital readings.

The first production will be Ring of Fire, conceived by Bill Meade and created by Richard Maltby Jr. The musical, based on the songbook of Johnny Cash, is about love, faith, struggle, success, and the healing power of home and family. This co-production with Maine State Music Theatre was originally scheduled to be part of the 2019-20 season before it was canceled.

The season will also feature the world premiere of Callie Kimball’s Perseverance, about how the stories of a 19th century African American schoolteacher and a 20th century white teacher running for office intertwine. The play was commissioned by Portland Stage and the Maine Suffrage Centennial Collaborative to coincide with the centennial of the passage of the 19th Amendment.

Portland Stage’s season will also include Arthur Miller’s classic play based on the Salem Witch Trials and the Red Scare, The Crucible.

A second world premiere in the season will be Senior Living, by Tor Hyams and Lisa St. Lou, about a retirement community as they discuss life’s pressing issues of sex, golf, and rice pudding.

Also included in the season will be Bekah Brunstetter’s The Cake, about what happens when Della’s beliefs clash with her dreams of baking a wedding cake for her best friend’s daughter, Jen, when Jen comes home with a female fiancé.

The sixth production of the season will be Talley’s Folly, by Lanford Wilson, about Matt as he tries to convince Sally to marry him and the two explore the different forms a romantic partnership can take.

The season’s third world premiere will be Sabina, by Willy Holtzman, with music by Louise Beach, and lyrics by Darrah Cloud. The musical focuses on Sabina Spielrein, a patient-turned-doctor, who was pushed to the margins of history by Jung and Freud, the two famous men in her field of psychiatry.

Finally, the season will include a production of the Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol.

The 31st annual Little Festival of the Unexpected will feature three readings, beginning with an excerpt from Callie Kimball’s Perseverance, directed by Jade King Carroll, on May 29. Next up will be a reading from Marianas Trench, by Scott C. Sickles and directed by Kevin R. Free on June 5. The final reading will be What Comes Next, by Jonathan Spector and directed by Cait Robinson on June 11. All readings will be followed by discussions with the playwrights and directors.

Portland Stage, founded in 1974 as Profile Theater, is Maine’s largest fully professional nonprofit theatre.

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