*** 2018/19 season features four world premieres and a politically-charged, music-infused line-up from diverse playwrights including Paula Vogel, Ayad Akhtar, Kenneth Lin and Tazewell Thompson***
Arena Stage Artistic Director Molly Smith and Executive Director Edgar Dobie announce the 2018/19 season lineup for the company’s 69th season. The season reflects Arena Stage’s commitment to championing diverse voices and producing work that is politically and socially relevant. “This season is an intoxicating mix of power, politics and pleasure,” shares Smith. “The time period ranges from the 1790s to the present day, covering the span of the American experience. In sum, yes, it is a dynamic series about HISTORY. In this volatile time, our season takes a deep dive into America’s past and present and sees how the lessons of the past drive us forward to revelations about the future.”
In July, the season kicks off with the previously announced world-premiere musical comedy Dave, by three-time Tony Award winner Thomas Meehan (Annie, Hairspray, The Producers), Tony Award nominee Nell Benjamin (Mean Girls, Legally Blonde) and Pulitzer Prize and two-time Tony Award winner Tom Kitt (Next to Normal, If/Then). Tina Landau directs this White House comedy, based on the Oscar-nominated film. The season’s other powerhouse musical is Cole Porter’s Anything Goes with a classic score of jazz hits from the high seas. Directed by Molly Smith and featuring choreography by Parker Esse and music direction by Paul Sportelli, this beloved musical features the hit songs “Anything Goes” and “I Get a Kick Out of You.” Then, inspired by the courageous story of an all African-American a capella ensemble is Jubilee, a world-premiere musical written and directed by Tazewell Thompson.
Works from Broadway’s latest voices are featured in the season. Paula Vogel’s Tony Award-winning drama filled with music and dance, Indecent (directed by Eric Rosen), is inspired by the true events surrounding the divisive 1923 Broadway debut of Sholem Asch’s Yiddish drama God of Vengeance. In addition, from the mind of Disgraced playwright Ayad Akhtar comes Junk, a hard-hitting Wall Street drama about junk bonds and the darker side of the American Dream (directed by Jackie Maxwell).
The season also features Arena Stage’s sixth Power Play in the ambitious initiative to commission and develop 25 new plays and musicals over 10 years, focused on stories of politics and power from 1776 through present day: Aaron Posner’s world-premiere drama JQA about the presidency of John Quincy Adams and America’s relationship with its government. The second political drama in the line-up is the world-premiere of Kenneth Lin’s Kleptocracy, which explores the power of corruption through Russian Oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky and the rise of Vladimir Putin.
A classic American drama takes center stage in Ruth Goetz and Augustus Goetz’s The Heiress, about crushed desires and unrequited love, directed by Arena Stage Deputy Artistic Director Seema Sueko. The lineup also includes the D.C.-area debut of Turn Me Loose, a powerful, political and highly-acclaimed play by Gretchen Law about comedian-activist Dick Gregory.