Think of this theater season as the year of the rainbow.
Want some red? Actor's Theatre of Charlotte will spill quarts of blood in “The Lieutenant of Inishmore,” Martin McDonagh's dark comedy about an Irish terrorist, and “Evil Dead – the Musical.”
Prefer to take refuge in a sea of green? Children's Theatre of Charlotte will send Peter Pan and his crew flying around their forest in a splashy new production.
You like characters in various shades of blue? See troubled Willy Loman bare his soul in Theatre Charlotte's “Death of a Salesman.” (The unemployed guys in “The Full Monty” are sad, too, but I think of that clothes-doffing musical as pink and brown.)
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Blumenthal Performing Arts Center will turn blonde and purple by turns, offering “Legally Blonde – The Musical” and “The Color Purple.”
Shakespeare's characters display more emotional hues than any other playwright's, and this is a good year to see his work. N.C. Shakespeare Festival will do “Much Ado About Nothing” and “King Lear” in its fall season in High Point. Yet the Bard will turn up in five other venues, if we count Theatre Charlotte's “Shakespeare in Hollywood.”
You'll get more than two millennia of theater, from “Lysistrata” at UNC Charlotte to a play nobody else has done: “Southern Rapture,” an Eric Coble comedy commissioned by Actor's Theatre of Charlotte for the 13th anniversary of the fuss over Charlotte Rep's “Angels in America.”
Not all the emotions will be conveyed in English, though. There'll be silent comedy when Omimeo makes its annual appearance at Children's Theatre of Charlotte and drama expressed through flying feet and bodies, as the PAC imports “Traces” and “Burn the Floor.” The passions of “The House of Bernarda Alba” will come at us in Spanish at Theatre Charlotte; luckily, playgoers will see supertitles.
Small companies often take big chances. Carolina Actors Studio Theatre will revive Jean-Paul Sartre's “No Exit,” and Epic Arts Repertory Theatre will romp through “I Married Odin,” a comedy set among Nordic gods. Even the PAC is gambling a bit with “Frost/Nixon,” believing audiences will watch a 1977 battle of wits between an ex-president and a talk-show host.
Colleges round out the picture with works you won't see elsewhere. Davidson provides a fix for August Strindberg fans with “The Ghost Sonata.” Belmont Abbey's Abbey Players score a coup with Tom Stoppard's “Rock 'n' Roll,” which closed on Broadway earlier this year. If your involvement stops at “The Phantom of the Opera” and “Mamma Mia!” – both of which come around to the PAC again next spring and summer – you'll miss a lot this theatrical season.