Tickets have just gone on sale for our 2013-2014 Season, and we could not have picked a better lineup to keep our momentum going from last season. From Our Town to the Tony Awards and everything in between, it's been a pretty good year for us, and we can only hope to keep riding that wave of success (insert visual here of Peter DuBois in floral swimming trunks surfing on a cresting wave of plays). When we're planning a Huntington season, we often find ourselves drawn to two different missions: showcasing the voices of living writers by launching new plays, and what we internally refer to as "classics made current." You might think that these two philosophies seem disparate and irreconcilable — and you wouldn't be wrong — but we take pride in offering diverse programming that satisfies both of these itches.
When we talk about "classics made current," we refer to our history of bringing in talented modern directors and giving them a chance to put their own distinct stamp on a powerful story that many people already know. Rather than re-hashing the umpteenth production of Our Town or A Raisin in the Sun, for example, we bring in artists such as David Cromer and Liesl Tommy, who bring their own interpretations to these classics in order to breathe new life into them for a modern audience. This coming season, we're bringing back several of our favorite Huntington directors to bring their own visions to established stories in our space at the Avenue of the Arts / BU Theatre. Adapter/director Mary Zimmerman has made a career out of re-exploring myths and archetypal stories (such as her 2011 production of Candide), and this season, she's creating a brand new stage adaptation of The Jungle Book woven together from elements of the classic Disney film and the original stories by Rudyard Kipling. We're also welcoming back Maria Aitken, who has recently helmed several other re-mounted classics at the Huntington such as Educating Rita, Private Lives, and Betrayal. This season, she'll be bringing her unique sensibilities of British class humor to The Cocktail Hour, A.R. Gurney's American comedy of manners. Then in January, director Daniel Goldstein will direct David Ives' recent Broadway hit Venus In Fur, which is guaranteed to be one of the hottest date nights of the cold Boston winter. Although Venus In Fur is a more recent play, it is derived from the classic erotica novel of the same name which has inspired countless derivations, and Danny has a talent for drawing out the sexiness (Les Liaisons Dangereuses) and comedy (God of Carnage) of these well-established stories. Finally, Former Huntington Artistic Director Nicholas Martin will be returning to our stage this season with his take on Anton Chekhov's The Seagull. Nicky has established himself as a master of period comedy, as evidenced by the recent success of the Chekhov-inspired Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike on Broadway, and for this production, he'll be re-uniting with his frequent collaborator Kate Burton along with her son, Morgan Ritchie, who will be appearing on-stage in the mother-son relationship of Arkadina and Konstantin.
Meanwhile at our smaller space over at the South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA, we'll be presenting several fresh new plays. These shows not really represent the culmination of years worth of development work, but also highlight several long-running relationships, demonstrating our commitment to fostering new work for the American theatre. In the Fall, Artistic Director Peter DuBois will helm The Power of Duff, a moving new drama by playwright Stephen Belber (Carol Mulroney) that explores the power of faith and media in surprisingly touching ways. The play had its world premiere last summer at New York Stage & Film, and Peter and Stephen have continued to develop and sharpen the script in the interim. Then in the Spring, we'll be presenting new works by two of our Huntington Playwriting Fellows who also happen to be two of favorite local writers, period. First up is Melinda Lopez's Becoming Cuba, which recently had its world premiere at North Coast Repertory Theatre. Melinda recently began a three-year playwriting residency at the Huntington, and her play Sonia Flew was the inaugural production at the Calderwood Pavilion, so we're incredibly excited to bring her work back to our stage. She's been developing the play over the last several years with the help of Associate Producer M. Bevin O'Gara, who will make her Huntington directorial debut with the production. We then close the season out with Smart People, a world premiere by Lydia R. Diamond, whose Stick Fly was a massive hit in 2010 and recently enjoyed a brief run on Broadway to great acclaim. Peter DuBois will direct this sharp new comedy for his first collaboration with Lydia.
For some more insights into our 2013-2014 Season programming, here's Artistic Director Peter DuBois discussing a few of the highlights of the season:
Video shot, edited, and produced by Thom Dunn