March 6, 2014

Actor’s Theatre announces 2014-15 regional premieres

Durang’s Tony-winner and a musical about ... er ... cougars are among the highlights.

A Tony-winning comedy, a Pulitzer-nominated drama, a shared world premiere, top-40 pop hits and Christmas in a trailer park. Hard to see how Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte’s 2014-15 season could be more diverse than that.

Or more fresh: The seven-show season that has just gone on sale at an Early Bird discount contains four plays and three musicals, none of which have been produced in this region.

And here’s the cool part: Five of the scripts were written by women, and the majority of the roles are for women. As women make up the bulk of ATC’s audience, the shows will reflect that audience. (On the other hand, the last title is “Cougar: The Musical.” Shouldn’t have trouble getting guys to that one.)

“Dream a Little Dream,” July 23-Aug. 9: Denny Doherty, a member of the California-based quartet The Mamas and the Papas, wrote this show with Paul Ledoux. It’s about the group’s sudden rise from small Greenwich Village clubs to “The Ed Sullivan Show,” followed by its eventual fall.

“River City,” Sept. 3-20: Diana Grisanti’s drama won ATC’s nuVoices Festival last July; now it gets a rolling world premiere at three companies. A Chicago woman discovers a childhood photo of her father and goes to Louisville, Ky., to uncover family secrets.

“Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike,” Oct. 22 - Nov. 8: Christopher Durang won the 2013 Tony for best play for his Chekhov-style comedy about modern Pennsylvania. Vanya and Sonia’s mediocre lives are interrupted by the return of sister Masha and her boytoy.

“The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical,” Dec. 3-28: The oddballs of Armadillo Acres prepare for a holiday contest, but a new Scrooge-like resident begins to wreak havoc on the festivities. Betsy Kelso wrote the book, David Nehls the music and lyrics.

“Stick Fly,” Feb. 18-March 7: Lydia R. Diamond takes a stingingly funny look at contentious members of a privileged African-American family. Sibling rivalries flare when the LeVay brothers bring their girlfriends – one white, one not – home to Martha’s Vineyard to meet their parents.

“Detroit,” April 22-May 9: Lisa D’Amour was a Pulitzer finalist in 2011 for her comedy about the crumbling suburban dream. The laid-off Ben starts an e-business from home, while his wife Mary tries to keep her upwardly mobile life intact – until mysterious new neighbors arrive.

“Cougar: The Musical,” June 10-27: Donna Moore’s show “rocks and rolls from Cougar Bar to the boudoir” in its first production outside New York. There are roles for three women and one man; the latter plays Buck, Twilight Dude, Bourbon Cowboy, Eve and Naked Peter.

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