As we can see the end of the 2009-10 arts season approaching, theaters are, naturally, turning their eyes to next season. That includes the Asolo Repertory Theatre, which on Monday announced to the press and public most of its 2010-2011 season.
The theme for the upcoming year might seem to be “Broadway Bound,” especially in the case of the season opener, a musical production of Bonnie and Clyde written by Frank Wildhorn (whose Svengali played at the Asolo Rep a number of years ago), Don Black and Ivan Menchell that tells the story of that Depression-era criminal couple. The piece premiered in La Jolla, Calif., last year, where Asolo Rep artistic director Michael Donald Edwards saw it. It’s being reworked for the Asolo Rep staging, with at least two new songs added, and there will be a national search for the actor to play Clyde Barrow. It opens here Nov. 14, with a Broadway run set to follow in early 2011.
Bonnie and Clyde is followed by a comedy from writer David Hirson, La Bete, that follows a 17th-century acting troupe forced to add a popular street performer to the company against the troupe leader’s will. Edwards will direct the show, which, as it happens, will receive a new production on Broadway (not the Asolo Rep production) soon also. That play opens the winter rotating rep season, Jan. 7 through Feb. 24.
Next up is the classic courtroom drama by Reginald Rose, Twelve Angry Men, running Jan.14 through March 31. A co-production with a Jupiter, Fla., theater, this Drama Desk Award-winning piece will be directed by Frank Galati, who helmed Broadway productions of The Grapes of Wrath and Ragtime.
A recent smash on both London and New York stages, the farce Boeing, Boeing will play Jan. 21 through April 23 and will be directed by FSU/Asolo Conservatory head Greg Leaming. Edwards calls this one “a laugh riot”; rights to it were confirmed just a couple of hours before the Monday announcement.
The Asolo Rep then switches gears to do a mystery-thriller (something Edwards has not yet presented here), Ira Levin’s Deathtrap, about a once celebrated playwright who enlists a younger writer to help him on his latest piece. A highly successful and popular “whodunit” when it first bowed, this show plays March 11 through May 14.
A play receiving only its second production anywhere runs March 18 through May 15; that’s Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage’s Las Meninas (The Waiting Women), based on a piece of history from the court of King Louis XIV. “It’s a fascinating untold story,” according to Edwards, centered on the relationship between Louis’ unhappy queen and an African pygmy. Now that sounds unusual.
The second Asolo Rep Unplugged new play festival will takes place in April, followed by the world premiere of a new play that may or may not come out of this year’s first Unplugged, to run April 15 through May 14. And last but not least, Hershey Felder presents his one-man show George Gershwin Alone May 19 through June 5, followed by a short run of his new piece Beethoven As I Knew Him, June 8-12.
The Conservatory season was also announced, and it includes Shakespeare’s Two Gentlemen of Verona (Oct. 26 through Nov. 14), Neil LaBute’s Reasons to be Pretty (Jan. 4-13), Henrik Ibsen’s The Lady from the Sea (Feb. 22 through March 13), and Moliere’s classic satire Tartuffe (April 12 through May 1), which may serve as sort of a companion piece to both Las Meninas and La Bete in its period and French setting.
For more news about the Asolo Rep’s 2010-2011 season, call 351-9010 or go to asolo.org.