Kansas City Repertory Theatre announced their 2018 – 19 season this evening at an event for donors and subscribers.
The season opens in September with LAST DAYS OF SUMMER, a world-premiere musical adapted from the novel by Steve Kluger telling the story of a burdened Jewish boy growing up in an Italian neighborhood who strikes up a correspondence with the all-star third baseman for the New York Giants. Jeff Calhoun directs. In October, Jason Chanos and KCReps Artistic Director Eric Rosen co-direct Steinbeck’s classic OF MICE AND MEN, and Rosen’s adaptation of A CHRISTMAS CAROL rounds out 2018.
In January, KCRep will produce INDECENT, nominee for Best Play at last year’s Tony Awards, in a co-production with Arena Stage and Baltimore Center Stage. Rosen directs Pulitzer Prize-winner Paula Vogel’s censorship-centered play. March brings Jocelyn Bioh’s tale of a girl in Ghana’s most exclusive boarding school who has her sights set on the Miss Universe pageant – SCHOOL GIRLS; OR, THE AFRICAN MEAN GIRLS PLAY directed by Chip Miller. The season closes with Kate Hamill’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s beloved PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, Directed by Marissa Wolf.
KCRep also announced the slate for their OriginKC New Works Festival; FRIDA…A SELF PORTRAIT by Vanessa Severo, and UNRELIABLE, by Dipika Guha.
“My hope is that our 2018/2019 season at Kansas City Rep will start conversations with artists, with audiences and within our amazing city as well. The plays and musicals we’ve selected celebrate the exhilarating scope of storytelling and the brave and bold themes that have marked our theatre company since 1964. They are immediate, important, intelligent and highly entertaining, and they also speak very much to this moment in time,” said Rosen.
KCRep’s 2018 – 19 season (from the press release):
LAST DAYS OF SUMMER – World Premiere
Music by Jason Howland
Book and Lyrics by Steve Kluger
Based on the book by Steve Kluger
Directed by Jeff Calhoun
SEP 7 – 30, 2018 | SPENCER THEATRE
This epic musical tells of the evolving relationship between two unlikely friends and an even more unlikely role model. A Jewish boy growing up in a tough Italian neighborhood, Joey Margolis lives with his mom and elderly aunt. Added to the regular beatings from neighborhood kids and other burdens weighing on his 12-year-old shoulders, he’s troubled by Hitler’s rising power, his parents’ divorce and an absent father who always lets him down. In need of a surrogate dad, Joey strikes up a correspondence with Charlie Banks, the all-star third baseman for the New York Giants. Laced with nostalgia, this is a story filled with emotion and humor about the small triumphs people can achieve when they find ways to connect with others.
OF MICE AND MEN
Written and Adapted by John Steinbeck
Directed by Jason Chanos and Eric Rosen
OCT 19 – NOV 11, 2018 | COPAKEN STAGE
A pair of migrant workers in Depression-era California move from town to town in search of work, and dream of buying land and owning a ranch someday. Straight-shooter George protects Lennie, whose sweet, simple-mindedness is juxtaposed by his formidable strength. When the two find work on Curly’s ranch, a series of tragic events lead to one of the most heartbreaking conclusions in American literature. John Steinbeck’s classic text explores the decay of the American dream, and the enduring kindness that bond friends together for life.
Written by Paula Vogel
Directed by Eric Rosen
A Co-Production of Arena Stage, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, and Baltimore Center Stage
JAN 18 – FEB 10, 2019 | SPENCER THEATRE
On March 6, 1923, a play was shut down at New York’s Apollo Theater, and the show’s entire cast was indicted for indecency. The play is God of Vengeance, written 16 years earlier and performed as a staple of Yiddish theatre. The story centers on a brothel owner whose daughter falls in love with a prostitute, which began a campaign of censorship that lasted decades. Pulitzer Prize winner Paula Vogel tells her story with passion, humor, romance and a breathtaking conclusion that reminds us of the horror throughout Europe that was yet to come. This play is a love letter to theatre, and a testament to its power to change how we see the world.
SCHOOL GIRLS; Or, The African Mean Girls Play
Written by Jocelyn Bioh
Directed by Chip Miller
MAR 1 – 24, 2019 | COPAKEN STAGE
Paulina is the reigning Queen Bee at Ghana’s most exclusive boarding school, who has her sights set on the Miss Universe pageant. But the mid-year addition of Ericka, a student newly-arrived from America with undeniable talent and beauty, captures the attention of both the pageant recruiter and Paulina’s teenage “squad.” Jocelyn Bioh’s hilarious re-imagining of the Mean Girls story is at once joyful and heartbreaking, bitingly funny and poignant – a loving exploration of the real lives of young African women trying to negotiate the confusion of Western beauty ideals.
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
Written by Kate Hamill
Based on the novel by Jane Austen
Directed by Marissa Wolf
MAR 22 – APR 14 | SPENCER THEATRE
Finding a husband is hardly Elizabeth Bennet’s most urgent priority. But with four sisters, an overzealous mother and a string of unsuitable suitors, it’s a difficult subject to escape. When the independent Elizabeth meets the handsome but enigmatic Mr. Darcy, all feelings of attraction are muted by his pride and her prejudice. Kate Hamill’s celebrated adaptation of Jane Austen’s most beloved novel is both reverently devoted to the source material and remarkably hilarious, moving, and full of theatrical surprises that bring one of the greatest love stories ever told to extraordinary theatrical life.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Written by Charles Dickens
Adapted by Eric Rosen
NOV 16 – DEC 30, 2018 | SPENCER THEATRE
Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly, cold-hearted creditor, continues his stingy ways on Christmas Eve. He rejects a dinner invitation and all the good tidings of the season from his nephew, Fred; he yells at charity workers; and he overworks his earnest employee, Bob Cratchit. Until, he is visited one-by-one, by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come, who show him the errors of his ways until he ultimately discovers what’s really worth celebrating at Christmas-time and beyond.
OriginKC: New Works Festival
Umbrella dates for the New Works Festival are April 20-May19, 2019. Information on the full repertory schedule will follow shortly.
APR 20 – MAY 19, 2019 | COPAKEN STAGE
FRIDA…A SELF PORTRAIT
Written by Vanessa Severo
After suffering polio as a child, a grisly bus accident in her teens that left her with permanent injuries and in almost constant pain, and an addiction to Morphine, Mexican painter Frida Kahlo’s life is explored in this astonishing play by KCRep’s Fox Fellowship Resident Actor Vanessa Severo. Through beautiful physicality and raw honesty, the triumphs and challenges of the now-celebrated painter and wife of the equally-renowned artist, Diego Rivera, is unearthed in the brave new work.
Written by Dipika Guha
Three characters are playfully positioned next to one another. They each have their own sense of reality, and maybe even sanity, around a terrorist suspect and a love affair being conducted exclusively via email. Which of these people are grounded in reality? Who is telling the truth? Who is to blame? Playwright Dipika Guha looks at the slippery slope regarding culpability and expectations, using absurdist humor as a powerful tool.
Current Subscribers may renew their tickets now by visiting kcrep.org/renew or by calling the box office at 816-235-2700. First-time subscribers may sign up for the 2018/19 season starting on March 10, 2018.