Tuesday, September 8, 2015

CTG's 2016 Season At Mark Taper Announced

The Taper Celebrates Its 49th Season at the Los Angeles Music Center 
The New Season Begins February 10 and Runs Through December 18, 2016.

Powerful plays and playwrights dominate the Center Theatre Group’s 49th season at the Mark Taper Forum. Michael Ritchie, CTG’s Artistic Director, announced five important and involving plays, from celebrated new works to definitive productions of classics, for the theatre’s 2016 season at the Los Angeles Music Center.

The new season opens with Bathsheba Doran’s revelatory play about shifting relationships, “The Mystery of Love & Sex,” and continues with Suzan-Lori Parks’ epic tale from the Civil War, “Father Comes Home From The Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3),” Ayad Akhtar’s taut expose about self-identity and prejudice in the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Disgraced,” August Wilson’s masterpiece “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and one of Martin McDonagh’s most blistering plays, “The Beauty Queen of Leenane.”

“These playwrights are exploring what it means to be part of a culture, a community and a family. Their characters are confronted with decisions that will challenge and ultimately define them,” said Ritchie.

“I love those moments in the theatre that are just pure entertainment. This new season has those but we are offering more,” said Ritchie. “These plays will grab you and shake you and make you think and feel. It is not a mellow season. It is a bold season full of theatricality, lyricism, laughter and deep truths that depict social and historical upheavals, cultural and familial confrontations and the fascinating complexities of the human condition.”

“These five playwrights have strong, distinctive voices,” said Ritchie. “Their tales are riveting. Plan to spend the entire season at the edge of your seat.”

“The Mystery of Love & Sex” by Bathsheba Doran
The West Coast premiere of “The Mystery of Love & Sex” by Bathsheba Doran, directed by Robert Egan, with its “tender and funny exploration of two couples from two generations” (Charles Isherwood, The New York Times), opens the 2016 season at the CTG/Mark Taper Forum, February 10 through March 20, 2016. The opening is scheduled for February 21.

Insightful and compassionate, “The Mystery of Love & Sex” is the story of four people whose lives are inextricably intertwined. Charlotte and Jonny are two college students who have been friends since they were nine years old. Attending college together, they contemplate taking their relationship to a romantic level, but Charlotte’s parents don’t take the news very well, and an onslaught of uncomfortable truths about all four of them is unleashed.

Isherwood said of the play’s world premiere at Lincoln Center Theater in March 2015, “Ms. Doran’s drama is so packed with humanity that it seems infinitely larger, like a chart depicting the sexual and emotional anatomy of us all.” “... a keenly satisfying comedy of sexual matters and manners...,” said Jeremy Gerard of Deadline. “[Doran] is a voice worth paying lots of attention to.”

Bathsheba Doran’s first play “Feminine Wash,” was produced at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe while she was a student at Cambridge University, from which she holds a B.A. and an M.A. She then went on to Oxford University, where she received an M.A. before working as a television comedy writer with the BBC. Bash moved to the United States on a Fulbright Scholarship in 2000, received her MFA from Columbia University and became a playwriting fellow of The Juilliard School. Her critically acclaimed play “Kin” received its world premiere in 2011 at Playwrights Horizons. Her television work includes the series “Codes of Conduct” (HBO), “Jerusalem” (Channel 4), “Masters of Sex,” “Smash” and “Boardwalk Empire” (for which her episode received a WGA nomination). She is a 2009 recipient of the Helen Merrill Playwriting Award, three Lecomte du Nouy Lincoln Center playwriting awards and she is a Susan Smith Blackburn Award finalist.

“Father Comes Home From the Wars (Part 1, 2 & 3)” by Suzan-Lori Parks
A stunning, personal journey from slavery to emancipation, “Father Comes Home From the Wars (Part 1, 2 & 3)” by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks will be presented in its West Coast premiere at the Taper, April 5 through May 15, 2016. The opening is scheduled for April 17.
In this devastatingly beautiful new play, directed by Jo Bonney, a slave named Hero is offered his freedom if he joins his master in the ranks of the Confederacy. The choice is to leave the woman and people he loves for what may be an empty promise. His decision brings him face to face not only with a nation at war with itself, but with what freedom truly means.

David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter said of the play’s 2014 world premiere at the Public Theater, “This haunting work is funny and tragic, whimsical and lacerating, poetic and poignant, navigating its radical tonal shifts with fluidity and grace. The trilogy also manages, with stylized language, wit and economy of design, to plug historical experience directly into the socket of contemporary life.” Charles Isherwood of The New York Times said, “By turns philosophical and playful, lyrical and earthy, Suzan-Lori Parks’ new play swoops, leaps, dives and soars ... reimagining a turbulent turning point in American history through a cockeyed contemporary lens.”

CTG has presented Parks’ “Topdog/Underdog” at the Taper in 2004, and spearheaded the Los Angeles component of the yearlong “365 Days/365 Plays” national theatre festival by Parks in 2006 and 2007.

A MacArthur “Genius” Award recipient, Suzan-Lori Parks was the first African American woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize (in 2002) for “Topdog/Underdog.” She was a 2015 Pulitzer Prize finalist with “Father Comes Home From the Wars,” for which she won the 2015 Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama and the 2014 Horton Foote Prize. She received a Tony Award in 2012 for her work on “The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess.” Her plays include “The  Book of Grace,” “In the Blood” (2000 Pulitzer Prize finalist), “Venus” (1996 Obie Award), “365 Days/365 Plays” and “The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World,” among others. She’s written a novel, “Getting Mother’s Body” (Random House) Her first film was “Girl 6,” written for Spike Lee, and she has written screenplays for Brad Pitt, Denzel Washington and Jodie Foster. Her adaptation of Zora Neale Hurston’s “Their Eyes Were Watching God” premiered on ABC’s Oprah Winfrey Presents. Parks is currently writing an adaptation of the film “The Harder They Come” for a live stage musical.

“Disgraced” by Ayad Akhtar
The 2013 Pulitzer Prize-winning play, “Disgraced” by Ayad Akhtar, will be presented in its West Coast premiere, June 8 through July 17, 2016. The opening is scheduled for June 19. This “terrific, turbulent drama” (Charles Isherwood, The New York Times) is directed
by Kimberly Senior, who also directed its world premiere in Chicago and its off-Broadway and Broadway productions.

In a riveting, contemporary exploration of identity and religion, “Disgraced,” follows a married couple living in Upper East Side Manhattan. Amir is a corporate lawyer and Emily an artist, and though Amir was born in Pakistan and raised Muslim, he has left his heritage behind.

The couple hosts a small dinner party and soon, before anyone can stop it, polite protocol is abandoned and the talk turns to religion, politics and sex. The party explodes and “racial tensions are exposed, religious prejudices are aired, and the liberal principles these people supposedly live by are totally trashed,” said Marilyn Stasio of Variety.

“Disgraced” is “smart, spiky entertainment,” said David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter. “Nothing is sacred,” said Linda Winer of Newsday, “the Quran, the Old Testament, terrorism, art history, cultural tourism, ancient prejudices and blazing ambivalence -- as Akhtar rubs unexpected raw spots with enormous intelligence and humor.”

Ayad Akhtar was born in New York City and raised in Milwaukee. His play “Disgraced” premiered at the American Theater Company in January 2012 and was staged at LCT3/Lincoln Center in New York in October 2012. The play received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2013. “Disgraced” then premiered in London at the Bush Theatre in 2013, and made its Broadway debut in 2014. Akhtar’s play “The Invisible Hand” was nominated for the ATCA/Steinberg Award, and won Best New Work 2013 from the St. Louis Theater Circle. As a screenwriter, he was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay for "The War Within." He is the author of "American Dervish," published in 25 languages worldwide and a 2012 Best Book of the Year at Kirkus Reviews, Toronto’s Globe and Mail, Shelf Awareness and O Magazine.

August Wilson’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
August Wilson’s blazing masterpiece “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” the first play to be presented on Broadway of August Wilson’s epic 10-play cycle exploring the African-American experience in the 20th century, will be presented at the Mark Taper Forum, August 31 through October 16, 2016. The opening is set for September 11.

Phylicia Rashad, who directed Wilson’s “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone” at the Taper in 2013, will direct this groundbreaking play which depicts the racism and exploitation in the music industry through a 1927 recording session in Chicago with a legendary blues singer. “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” is inspired by the real-life Gertrude “Ma” Rainey.

“This play is a searing inside account of what white racism does to its victims –
and it floats on the same authentic artistry as the blues music it celebrates. Harrowing as ‘Ma Rainey's’ can be, it is also funny, salty, carnal and lyrical,” said Frank Rich of The New York Times of the Broadway opening in 1984. Jack Kroll of Newsweek also said of Wilson’s debut Broadway play,
“Extraordinary! Ma Rainey rides on the exultant notes of the blues!”

CTG has presented eight of August Wilson’s plays: “Jitney” and the Tony Award- nominated plays “King Hedley II,” “Gem of the Ocean,” “Radio Golf” and “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone” at the Taper, the Tony Award-nominated play “Seven Guitars” at the Ahmanson Theatre, and the Tony Award-nominated plays “Two Trains Running” and “The Piano Lesson” (1990 Pulitzer Prize) at the Doolittle Theatre in Hollywood. Wilson’s “Fences” won both the 1987 Pulitzer Prize and the Tony Award.

In addition, through its Education and Community Partnerships department, CTG hosts the annual August Wilson Monologue Competition regional finals in which students in grades 10 through 12 perform monologues from Wilson’s “Century Cycle.” The winners travel to New York to compete in the national finals at the August Wilson Theatre on Broadway.

“The Beauty Queen of Leenane” by Martin McDonagh
The brilliantly subversive “The Beauty Queen of Leenane” by Martin McDonagh will close out the Taper’s 49th season on a darkly comic note, November 9 through December 18, 2016. The opening is scheduled for November 16.

Garry Hynes, artistic director of the renowned Druid of Galway, Ireland, will direct the Druid production at the Taper. Hynes won a Tony Award for her direction of “The Beauty Queen of Leenane” on Broadway in 1998 and directed McDonagh’s “The Cripple of Inishmaan” at CTG’s Kirk Douglas Theatre in 2011, and also Arthur Miller’s “The Price” at the Taper this year.

“Beauty Queen,” which is set in the mountains of Connemara, County Galway, is the tale of Maureen Folan, a plain and lonely woman in her early 40s, and Mag, her manipulative, aging mother, whose interference in Maureen's first and potentially last romantic relationship sets in motion a chain of events that are as tragically funny as they are horrific.

Peter Marks of The Washington Post said of McDonagh, “Please avail yourself, and brace yourself, for the virtuosic turbulence of one of modern theater’s most giddily diabolical minds.” “McDonagh’s writing is a tightrope act of unnerving skill and maturity,” said John Peter of London’s Sunday Times. Benedict Nightingale, writing for The New York Times, said, “[Martin McDonagh is] the most wickedly funny, brilliantly abrasive young dramatist on either side of the Irish Sea.”

CTG also presented McDonagh’s “The Lieutenant of Inishmore” at the Taper in 2010.

Martin McDonagh is an award-winning writer and director. His work with Druid includes “The Beauty Queen of Leenane,” “A Skull in Connemara,” “The Lonesome West” (Druid/Royal Court/Broadway) and “The Cripple of Inishmaan” (Druid/Atlantic Theater Company/U.S. Tour). Other theatre includes “The Cripple of Inishmaan” (National Theatre, London/West End/Broadway), “The Pillowman” (National Theatre, London/Broadway), “The Lieutenant of Inishmore” (RSC/Garrick/Broadway), “A Behanding in Spokane” (Broadway) and “Hangmen” (Royal Court). His film work (as a writer/director) includes “Six Shooter” (a short), “In Bruges” and “Seven Psychopaths.” His awards include the Olivier Award for Best New Comedy (“The Lieutenant of Inishmore”), Olivier Award for Best New Play (“The Pillowman”), Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film (“Six Shooter”), BAFTA for Best Original Screenplay (“In Bruges”).

CTG’s 2016 Mark Taper Forum Season Available on Membership Only
Tickets for the Mark Taper Forum’s 49th season are currently available by season ticket membership only. For information and to charge season tickets by phone, call the Exclusive Season Ticket Hotline at (213) 972-4444. To purchase season memberships online, visit www.CenterTheatreGroup.org/Taper. For information regarding audio description and Project D.A.T.E. (sign language interpreted and audio description performances), call TDD (213)680-7703 or voice (213) 972-4444.

Center Theatre Group
Center Theatre Group, a non-profit organization, is one of the largest and most active theatre companies in the nation, programming subscription seasons year-round at the 736- seat Mark Taper Forum and the 1,600 to 2,000-seat Ahmanson Theatre at the Music Center of Los Angeles, and the 317-seat Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. In addition to providing theatre of the highest caliber to the diverse communities of Southern California and beyond, CTG supports a significant number of play development and arts education initiatives. 

No comments:

Post a Comment