The seven-part season of “Survive and Thrive” kicks off July 1, 2022
WASHINGTON, April 26, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Artistic Director of Arena Stage Molly Smith and executive producer Edgar Dobie announced today the 73rd season, which is also Smith’s 25and as artistic director. Beginning with a highly anticipated and timely world musical premiere in the summer of 2022, the upcoming season features two new Power Plays, a classic romantic comedy, a timely new drama, a quirky cult musical, and a landmark work of American theatre. Subscriptions are now available for purchase at arenastage.org/subscribe.
“Reflecting our shared experience, our 2022/23 season is one of survival and prosperity,” said Black-smith. “It’s an affirmation of community connections and identities, which keep us going, not just every day, but during the most complex times. The works you’ll see on our stages are a mix of classic and modern, of comedy and drama, musicals and filled with music and everything the absolute best in their class.”
The season will kick off in July with the world premiere of the groundbreaking musical American prophet. Created by Arena favorite Charles Randolph-Wright (the arena Born For This: The BeBe Winans Storyoff broadway Motown the Musical) and Grammy Award winner Marcus Hummon (“Bless the Broken Road”), American prophet is fueled by Douglass’ own speeches and writings and filled with soaring new melodies. Cornelius Smith Jr. (ABC Scandal, All my children) will play the role of the ferocious abolitionist.
“Arena Stage has been my artistic home for over 20 years,” said Randolph Wright, when he accepted the American Artist Award from Arena Stage earlier this year. “I’ve been proud to be part of a diverse and inclusive theater since its inception; it’s a place that has encouraged me to try anything and everything.”
Once American prophet is ending, the Arena subscription season continues with:
- First, by Philippe Barry sparkling romantic comedy Holiday about the haves, the have-nots and the pursuit of a life worth living. This elegant production, known to be a beloved film starring Catherine Hepburn and Cary Grantwill be produced by Arena Anita Maynard Losh in the Fihandler step.
- The season continues with a presentation of Sanctuary citya new piece from the 2018 Pulitzer Prize winner Martyna Majok about two immigrants who will do whatever it takes to establish a place for themselves and each other in America. “What are we willing to sacrifice for someone we love? That’s the essential question at the heart of this moving story,” noted Black-smith.
- Kicking off 2023 is Ride the Cyclone, Brooke Maxwell and by Jacob Richmond quirky musical about six teenagers who, after dying in a freakish amusement park accident, compete for the chance to sing their way back to life. Part comedy, part tragedy, and utterly unexpected, this wild musical reveals the resilience of the human spirit despite senseless tragedy.
- First Arena Power Play of the season, Heightstakes us back to the Tulsa race massacre of 1921, when from Tulsa The Greenwood District was nearly destroyed in just 24 hours. “We have seen time and time again that decades of repercussions follow after violence is perpetrated on a community,” said Black-smith. “The elegant and moving writing of playwright Nathan Alan Davis reminds us of this viscerally.”
- Next is Tony by Kushner Pulitzer and Tony Prize-winning drama Angels in America, Part One: Approaching the Millenniumstaged in the round in the fichandlerby the brilliant Hungarian director and filmmaker Janos Szasz. Thirty years after its Broadway premiere, this landmark of American theater continues to speak to our nation’s views on sexuality, religion and politics.
- The closing of the 2022/23 season is Exclusion, a surprisingly funny story about an academic who is overwhelmed with defending the authenticity of her best-selling book on the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act after it was picked up and became a hit TV show. The second Power Play of the season by the writer Kenneth Lin focuses on truth, fiction and who can tell the story. With ironic insights into the world of cinema and Hollywoodit will immediately strike a chord with anyone who has ever worked in an office.
Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater 2022/23
By Frederick Douglass, Charles Randolph-Wright & Marcus Hummon
Music and lyrics by Marcus Hummon
Directed by Charles Randolph-Wright
At the Kreeger Theater | July 15th – August 28, 2022
Charles Randolph-Wright (the arena Born For This: The BeBe Winans Storyoff broadway Motown the Musical) returns to Arena Stage with a groundbreaking musical powered by Frederick Douglas’ own speeches and writings. Coupled with soaring new melodies and an original script from the Grammy-winning songwriter Marcus Hummon and Randolph-Wright, Douglass stands up as a fierce abolitionist and distinguished orator. Filled with an electrifying new score, this world premiere celebrates the revolutionary legacy of one of history’s first freedom fighters, whose fire is needed now more than ever.
By Philippe Barry
Directed by Anita Maynard Losh
At the Filchandler Stadium | October 7 – November 6, 2022
A promising Wall Street lawyer from a working-class family yearns to quit and enjoy life once he makes enough money, a prospect that doesn’t thrill his high-born fiancée but excites his sister less conventional. Can his dreams survive his future wife’s narrow vision of wealth? Opposing societal hierarchies and differing views on success collide in this timely commentary on how to live a life worth living. This classic romantic comedy set in the 1920s became a beloved 1938 film starring Cary Grant and Catherine Hepburn.
By Martyna Majok
At the Kreeger Theater | 21st of October – November 27, 2022
Pulitzer Prize Winner Martyna Majok brings us the powerful story of two young DREAMers who fight to find their place in America, the only country they know as home. Poignant, timely and highly theatrical, Sanctuary city illuminates the triumphs and challenges these lifelong friends face, and how much they’re willing to risk for each other when they have everything to lose.
Ride the Cyclone
Book, music and lyrics by Brooke Maxwell & Jacob Richmond
Directed by Sarah Rasmussen
Co-production with McCarter Theater Center
At the Kreeger Theater | January 13 – February 19, 2023
Part comedy, part tragedy, and totally unexpected, this wildly imaginative story holds surprises at every turn and is destined to become a cult musical. The lives of six teenagers from a Canadian chamber choir are cut short by a freak accident aboard a roller coaster. A mechanical fortune teller invites everyone to tell their story of an interrupted life, providing the opportunity to take charge of their destiny. At the same time quirky and intelligent, edgy and beautiful, Ride the Cyclone ultimately reveals the resilience of the human spirit despite a senseless tragedy.
By Nathan Alan Davis
Directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian
In the cradle of Arlene and Robert Kogod | February 10 – April 2, 2023
A black man in an army uniform holds his ground from Tulsa Standpipe Hill, witness to the destruction and desecration of from Tulsa Greenwood District – but other forces, both friendly and hostile, conspire to eliminate him. A piece in conversation with Tulsa, Oklahoma 1921 racing massacre, Heights offers a complex portrait of what it means to bear witness, resist and move forward after devastation.
Angels in America, Part One: Approaching the Millennium
By Tony Kushner
Directed by Janos Szasz
At the Filchandler Stadium | March 24 – April 23, 2023
by Tony Kushner Pulitzer and Tony Prize-winning drama Angels in America is one of the great epic American plays of this past century. We meet Louis and Prior and Harper and Joe, two couples whose relationships are on the rocks; the first because of Prior’s AIDS diagnosis and Louis’ inability to cope with the disease, and the second because of Joe’s hidden homosexuality and Harper’s incessant fears and hallucinations. The brilliant Hungarian director and filmmaker János Szász will direct Angels in America, Part One: Approaching the Millennium in the round 30 years after its Broadway premiere.
By Kenneth Lin
At the Kreeger Theater | May 5 – June 25, 2023
A reluctant historian is thrown out of her element when her acclaimed book on the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act is chosen by a larger than life Hollywood mogul with a track record for directing hit TV shows. The professional bleeds into the personal when she finds herself weighing historical facts against her own awakening ambitions. In a hilarious workplace comedy with teeth, tensions rise and deals are struck at an awards show in a twist you won’t see coming.
*Pieces, artists and dates are subject to change.
Presentation sponsorship for American Prophet is generously provided by Exelon. American Prophet’s primary sponsorship is generously provided by AARP, Dan and Gloria Logan and Tiffany Sanchez and Reg Brown. Supporting sponsorship for American Prophet is generously provided by Andrew R. Ammerman, Judith N. Batty, The Drutz Family Fund for Musical Theater, GEICO, dr. Donald Wallace Jonesdr. Betty Jean Tolbert Jones and Tracey Tolbert Jones, ANC, R Lucie Riddle and David Bruce Smith and the grateful American Foundation. Contributory sponsorship is provided by Sandy and Jon Willen.
American prophet is the beneficiary of a Edgerton Foundation New Play Award.
Heights is the beneficiary of a Edgerton Foundation New Play Award.
Subscription packages are on sale now and can be purchased by visiting arenastage.org/subscribe or by calling the Arena Stage sales office at 202-488-3300. The opening hours of the sales office are Tuesday to Sunday from noon until 8 p.m.
Arena stage at the Mead Center for American Theaterunder the direction of the artistic director Molly Smith and executive producer Edgar Dobie, is a national center dedicated to American voices and artists. Arena Stage produces pieces of all things passionate, deep, deep and dangerous about the American spirit, and features diverse and groundbreaking works by some of the nation’s top artists. Arena Stage is committed to ordering and developing new parts and impacting the lives of over 10,000 students each year through its community engagement work. Now in its eighth decade, Arena Stage serves a diverse annual audience of over 300,000. arenastage.org
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