WASHINGTON, D.C.: Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company has announced its 2020-21 season, with dates to be announced on an ongoing basis in order to keep the season flexible as the country’s reopening process continues to develop. The anticipated timeline has the season taking place between fall 2020 and summer 2021.
“Although we do not know what the future holds, Woolly will lean into our long history of experimentation and adaptability to meet this moment,” said artistic director Maria Manuela Goyanes and managing director Emika Abe in a joint statement. “We are here to celebrate joy, build resilience, and provide cultural nourishment , and we will do so by expanding the definition of what our theatre can be. This adaptation will align with the physical and emotional well-being of our community and include furthering our stated commitments to artistic innovation and radical inclusivity, onstage and off. Using the principles of anti-racism to guide us, we are eager to continue to dive into the full scope of this work. We see Woolly as an essential space to make art that is grappling with the tremendous complexity of what it means to be human in this world. This season, whenever and however you get to see it, exemplifies the transformative power of storytelling and the unique capability of theatre to mend a fractured spirit.”
The season will open with the world premiere of Ryan J. Haddad’s Hi, Are You Single? This solo performance examines the complexities of love as a gay man with cerebral palsy.
Next up will be Black Is Beautiful, But It Ain’t Always Pretty, by Kareem M. Lucas. Through this epic poem, Lucas will take the audience on his journey of self-discovery, grappling with his past and present as a Black man in America.
Following will be the Bushwick Starr’s production of Animal Wisdom, by Obie winner Heather Christian. This production, in association with American Conservatory Theater and inspired by real conversations between Christian and her deceased relatives, follows Christian as she conjures souls in order to confront her family’s mythologies. Emilyn Kowaleski and Mark Rosenblatt will co-direct this concert/cabaret.
Mike Lew’s Teenage Dick, presented in association with Huntington Theatre Company, will be next. Moritz von Stuelpnagel will direct this modern retelling of Shakespeare’s Richard III set in a high school and focused on a student who is bullied because of his cerebral palsy. This postponed production was initially planned for June 2020.
The season will continue with Woolly partnering with Folger Theatre to present Madeline Sayet’s Where We Belong, an autobiographical solo piece about an Indigenous theatremaker who travels to England in pursuit of her Ph.D. in Shakespeare and finds a country that has yet to reckon with its colonial past. Mei Ann Teo will direct.
Next will be Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower, by Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon and co-presented by Strathmore. Eric Ting will direct this theatrical concert bringing together more than 30 original anthems drawn from 200 years of Black music to recreate Butler’s Afrofuturist work live on stage.
The season will conclude with the previously announced, Pulitzer-winning musical A Strange Loop, with book, music, and lyrics by Michael R. Jackson. In its pre-Broadway engagement directed by Stephen Brackett and choreographed by Raja Feather Kelly, with music direction by Rona Siddiqui, this musical follows a young Black queer artist who, in an attempt to understand himself, finds himself at war with a host of demons, including those in his own head.
In addition to the in-person season, Woolly will continue experimenting with forms of theatre that can be experienced at home with Woolly On Demand. Included are a theatrical experience from Amir Nizar Zuabi, co-commissioned with Play Co. Woolly will also present Telephonic Literary Union’s Human Resources, which will take audiences down the unlikely rabbit hole of an automated telephony menu and is created by Brittany K. Allen, Christopher Chen, Hansol Jung, Sarah Lunnie, Stowe Nelson, Zeniba Now, and Yuvika Tolani. Finally, Woolly will continue collaborations with Makers Lab with a streaming platform of Black LGBTQIA+ content at the intersection of sex and intimacy.
Founded in 1978, Woolly Mammoth develops and produces innovative new plays.