Monday, March 5, 2012

Asolo Rep announces 2012-13 season

Michael Edwards/Herald file photo
The Asolo Repertory Theatre’s 54th season will be all about the U.S.A.

But not exactly in a jingoistic way.

Announced today by Michael Edwards, producing artistic director, and Linda DiGabriele, managing director, the 2012-13 roster features four Pulitzer Prize winning plays, three Tony Award winners and one world premiere, all centering around the theme "The American Character."

The project will examine and celebrate the people, culture, history and experiences that make our country unique while serving as a guiding, artistic principle for the Asolo Rep over the next five seasons. 

After 2012-2013, the following four seasons will feature select productions that explore what it means to be an American. The American Character Project will also increase the commitment to new American playwriting, with Asolo Rep pledging to produce at least one world premiere each season.

“The American Character Project is a five year artistic initiative that poses a series of galvanizing questions: what is the American character? How did it come to be? What is its nature? How has it evolved into what it is now? Where is it going?” said Edwards, an Australian, in a statement. “It’s impossible to ever concretely define such a vast, far-reaching concept as the American character, but that is precisely why it is worth exploring. These questions provide a gateway to a truly collaborative experience that we will share with our audiences."

Edwards has assembled a creative advisory group of American theater artists who are already informing the programming for the American Character Project. The group consists of Tony Award-
winning director Frank Galati, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwrights Lynn Nottage and Nilo Cruz as well as artistic director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival Bill Rauch.

“They are true creative companions,” Edwards said in a statement. “Providing exciting ideas and inspiring our whole organization as we embark on this journey.”

Frank Galati/Herald file photo
The 2012-2013 begins with the musical "1776" (Nov. 16-Dec. 22). Directed by Galati, the 1969 Tony Award winner for Best Musical follows John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Richard Henry Lee and Thomas Jefferson  as they attempt to convince the members of the second Continental Congress to vote for freedom from the British monarchy by signing the Declaration of Independence.

The 2013 Repertory Season brings four Pulitzer Prize winning plays in a row to Asolo Rep, beginning with George Kaufman and Moss Hart’s "You Can’t Take it With You" (Jan. 4-April 20, 2013). Directed by Peter Amster (of Asolo Rep’s "Deathtrap" and upcoming "Fallen Angels").  Winner of the 1937 Pulitzer Prize, "You Can’t Take it With You" examines the American Dream.

Opening next in repertory is David Mamet's 1984 Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner "Glengarry Glen Ross" (Jan. 11-Feb. 28, 2013). A biting look at a greed-infested 1980s real estate office, Mamet’s characters stop at nothing to get ahead with a profit. This production will be directed by the artistic director of New York’s Keen Company, Carl Forsman (of Asolo Rep’s "A Few Good Men").

Third in the Rep lineup is Wendy Wasserstein’s "The Heidi Chronicles" (Jan. 19-March 20, 2013), winner of the 1989 Pulitzer Prize and the Tony Awards for Best Play. It tells the story of Heidi Holland, a successful art historian, as she tries to find her bearings in a rapidly changing world. This production is being directed by Cleveland Play House’s Associate Artistic Director Laura Kepley.

The final Pulitzer Prize winner of the repertory season will be Bruce Norris’ 2011 winner "Clybourne Park" (March 15-May 2, 2013), directed by Edwards. Told from the perspective of the white couple that sells their house to the black family in Lorraine Hansberry’s "A Raisin in the Sun," "Clybourne Park,"  gives a modern twist to the issues of racism, housing and the dream for a better life. This production will travel to the South Miami-Dade Cultural Center for a week of performances after it concludes at Asolo Rep.

Asolo Rep is also presenting a world premiere March 22, 2013, as part of The American Character Project. "To ensure the highest quality of work is presented to our community, Asolo Rep is conducting a thorough search for just the right piece, and so cannot reveal the title at this time," reads a statement from the company. "Because of 'Unplugged,' Asolo Rep’s new play festival, the choices of cutting-edge work are growing, and we look forward to letting you know what piece we will be premiering soon."

The final repertory production will be Ken Ludwig’s  Sherlock Holmes-esque"The Game’s Afoot" (March 29-May 12, 2013). The murder mystery comedy sets the scene in a snowy Connecticut mansion where American star William Gillette (best known for his iconic portrayal of Sherlock Holmes), invites his co-stars from his current production for a Christmas Eve celebration. When one of the guests is murdered, Gillette employs the persona of the master detective he’s made famous on the stage. This is only the second production, the first having been produced at Cleveland Play House. It will be directed by Greg Leaming, associate artistic director at Asolo Rep.

"Pulse" (May 23-June 16, 2013) is a new dance musical created by and starring Broadway performer Noah Racey. Pulse will be directed by" Bonnie & Clyde" director and Tony Award nominee Jeff Calhoun.

The final summer musical will be announced at a later date and will begin June 21.

Alongside its season, Asolo Rep will also present "Unplugged," a festival of new play readings performed by the 2012-2013 acting company, and Asolo Rep presents an FSU/Asolo Conservatory production of "The Tragedy of Macbeth" (Oct. 2-3, 2013) as its New Stages 2012 tour.

The 2012- 2013 Florida State University/Asolo Conservatory 2012- 2013 Season:

The FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training also announced its 2012–2013 season, which features some of the country’s most talented acting students performing in a series of four plays in The Cook Theatre at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts. In addition to the second year class season, third year Conservatory students perform on the Asolo Rep mainstage with the professional company.

"Twelfth Night" by William Shakespeare (Oct. 30-Nov. 18)

One of Shakespeare’s best known comedies, full of music, laughter and the high drama of young love, starring the entire second year student body of the FSU/Asolo Conservatory.

"The Aliens" by Annie Baker (Jan. 1-20, 2013)

In a back lot behind a Vermont coffee shop, two social outcasts befriend an innocent young employee from the shop. In doing so they teach him about friendship, commitment and what it means to grow into manhood.

"Stop/Kiss" by Diana Son (Feb. 19-March 10, 2013)

Two young women in New York spend a quiet evening together talking about their boyfriends and life. In the process, as they sense a growing, unspoken attraction for each other, an innocent kiss results in a savage gay-bashing, resulting in a complex story about hatred, love, and the difficulties of living life fully.

"Candida" by George Bernard Shaw (April 9-28, 2013)

A minister’s wife must choose between a passionate young poet who is smitten with her, and her older but far more reliant husband. A comedy about love, passion and the liberated woman by one of the 20th century’s most venerable playwrights.

Tickets for Asolo Repertory Theatre’s 2012-2013 season and the FSU/Asolo Conservatory season are available through the Asolo Repertory Theatre box office by calling 941-351-8000 or toll-free, 800-361-8388. Tickets are also available online at

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