(BOSTON) — To celebrate its 30th Anniversary Season, the Huntington Theatre Company will mount an ambitious 2011-2012 Season that includes the dynamic variety of classic drama, acclaimed comedy, inspiring new work, and glorious music for which it has become known. Events include the completion of August Wilson’s Century Cycle, two locally-set world premieres by Huntington Playwriting Fellows, a musical re-imagined by one of America’s greatest directors, a classic comedy helmed by Artistic Director Peter DuBois, and a Broadway smash hit.
“We are proud of many accomplishments of our 30-year history, but two high on that list are providing an artistic home to the great August Wilson and nurturing and producing the work of local playwrights,” says longtime Huntington Managing Director Michael Maso. “It is most fitting that for our 30th Season we stage two new plays by Huntington Playwriting Fellows at the Calderwood Pavilion and celebrate our long-term relationship with August by mounting the only remaining play of his Century Cycle not previously produced by the Huntington. Ma Rainey’s will truly be a celebration of our shared history, while these wonderful new plays link us to the future of the American theatre.”
THE 2011 — 2012 SEASON LINEUP
- Candide, the beloved musical comedy with music by Leonard Bernstein; lyrics by Richard Wilbur with additional lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, John LaTouche, Lillian Hellman, Dorothy Parker, and Leonard Bernstein; directed and newly adapted by MacArthur Genius and Tony Award winner Mary Zimmerman (Metamorphoses). Playing at the Huntington’s main stage, the Boston University Theatre, September 10 — October 16, 2011;
- Before I Leave You , the world premiere of a love story for grownups set in Harvard Square and written by Huntington Playwriting Fellow Rosanna Yamagiwa Alfaro. Playing at the Wimberly Theatre, the Huntington’s second home in the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, October 14 — November 13, 2011;
- God of Carnage, the scathing Tony and Olivier Award-winning New York smash hit by Yasmina Reza (Art), January 6 — February 5, 2012 at the BU Theatre;
- Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, August Wilson’s powerful and moving drama and the final one of his ten-play Century Cycle to be staged by the Huntington, one of Wilson’s long-time artistic homes. Directed by Liesl Tommy (Ruined), March 9 — April 8, 2012 at the BU Theatre;
- The Luck of the Irish, the world premiere of a compelling Boston story by Huntington Playwriting Fellow Kirsten Greenidge, directed by Melia Bensussen (Circle Mirror Transformation), March 30 — April 29, 2012 at the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA;
- Tartuffe, Molière’s classic satirical comedy about the original houseguest from hell, directed by Huntington Artistic Director Peter DuBois (Sons of the Prophet, Becky Shaw), May 25 — June 24, 2012 at the BU Theatre;
- One title to be announced, November 11 — December 11, 2011 at the BU Theatre.
“To celebrate turning 30, we are looking to the classics and to ourselves,” says Huntington artistic director Peter DuBois. “Mary Zimmerman brings visionary freshness to Candide. I’m thrilled about re-imagining the all-time great satire. Two Bostonians will bring new dimension to the way we see our city. And we’ll do a brand new production of a recent Tony-winning hit. Next season represents where the Huntington has been and where we are headed.”
MORE ABOUT THE SHOWS
Candide features Leonard Bernstein’s soaring score and lyrics from some of the wittiest writers of all time. The outrageous musical comedy tells the story of the naïve Candide, who, banished for romancing the Baron’s daughter, endures a series of absurd hardships that challenges his optimistic outlook on life and love. The Chicago Sun-Times calls Tony Award-winning director Mary Zimmerman’s (Metamorphoses) enchanting new production, “Gorgeously imagined, Candide is a garden of delights!”
Huntington Playwriting Fellow Rosanna Yamagiwa Alfaro’s Before I Leave You tells a Harvard Square story. Emily’s son moves out and her husband Koji suddenly embraces his Asian roots. Their friend Jeremy’s work on his novel gets interrupted by a health scare and his sister Trish moving into his home. Four longtime friends face too much past and too little future in this moving new comedy. The Harvard Crimson calls Alfaro, “A terrific and fearless playwright with an individual and astute voice.”
Alfaro comments, “I have lived in Harvard Square for 45 years and have been a playwright for 30, so it was time to write a Cambridge comedy about four friends on the cusp of old age. I am delighted that the Huntington is putting on two new plays by Boston playwrights that portray a city rich and troubled in its diversity.” Alfaro joins an accomplished and acclaimed group of Huntington Playwriting Fellows to be produced by the Huntington including Lydia R. Diamond (Stick Fly), Ronan Noone (The Atheist, Brendan), Melinda Lopez (Sonia Flew), and many others.
God of Carnage is the latest Tony and Olivier Award-winning New York smash hit by Yazmina Reza, the author of Art. Two sets of parents meet for the first time to settle their sons’ nasty schoolyard tangle. But all attempts at civilized discussion quickly devolve into childlike behavior in this fast, furious, and very funny comedy of bad manners. The New York Times calls it, “First class! God of Carnage incites the kind of laughter that comes from the gut.”
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom was August Wilson’s first Broadway hit. Legendary 1920s blues singer Ma Rainey and her musicians gather in a run-down Chicago studio to record new sides of old favorites when generational and racial tensions suddenly explode. The Huntington completes Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner August Wilson’s Century Cycle with this searing drama. Newsweek calls the play, “Extraordinary. Ma Rainey rides on the exultant notes of the blues.” Liesl Tommy, acclaimed director of this season’s Ruined, will helm the production.
“As one of his artistic homes, it is fitting that we recognize the profound contribution August made to American drama and to our city by mounting the only remaining play of his Century Cycle not previously produced by the Huntington,” says Maso. “Throughout the years, subscribers have frequently asked us to complete the Cycle, as so many of their memories of us are connected to August and his work. Ma Rainey’s will truly be a celebration of our shared history.”
The Luck of the Irish is by Huntington Playwriting Fellow Kirsten Greenidge. When an upwardly mobile African-American family wants to buy a house in an all-white neighborhood of 1950s Boston, they pay a struggling Irish family to act as their front. Fifty years later, the Irish family asks for “their” house back. Moving across the two eras, this intimate new play explores personal stories of integration and the conflict of calling any place your home. Village Voice says, “Kirsten Greenidge is a writer of obvious and unusual talent.” Obie Award-winning director Melia Bensussen (Circle Mirror Transformation of last fall’s Shirley, VT Plays festival) directs.
“In seventh grade I sat in the audience of a performance of Joe Turner's Come and Gone at the Huntington and fell in love with the idea of writing for the stage, “says Greenidge, “so this premiere really feels like I'm coming home.”
Tartuffe, the classic farce by Molière, will close the season. The original houseguest from hell, devious Tartuffe charms his way into Orgon’s household and schemes to marry his beautiful daughter, seduce his wife, and run off with the family’s fortune. Will Orgon see through the scoundrel before it’s too late? Molière spins religious piety and hypocrisy into high comedy in this hilarious and biting satire, one of the world’s great plays. The New York Times calls it, “A classic gem. Laugh-out-loud funny!” Huntington Artistic Director Peter DuBois directs.
“Comedy lives in contradiction,” says DuBois, “and religious charlatans like Tartuffe haven’t gone away. This play, especially in the superb Wilbur translation, is comedic perfection. The critique is so sharp, and the ideas are so contemporary. We are going to blow the dust off Tartuffe and, if we’re lucky, blow your hair back while we’re at it.”
A final title will be announced shortly.
“Over the past thirty years, the Huntington has grown our scope of operations with the full intent of reaching our current role as one of Boston’s cultural cornerstones,” says Maso. “We now provide key services to many different communities, bringing world-class entertainment to audiences in the city of Boston and beyond, cultivating local artists, reaching local students through our education and community programs, helping to train future theatre professionals with our partners at BU, and serving the wider Boston arts community through our operation of the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts. As we look towards the next decade and beyond, we pledge to build on these initiatives to serve an ever-broadening constituency with the best theatre possible and a continued commitment to the audience, artists, and students of Greater Boston.”
Special events celebrating the Huntington’s 30th Anniversary will be announced at a later date. Repertoire, artists, and dates subject to change.
SUBSCRIPTIONS ON SALE NOW
The Huntington’s 2011-2012 subscriptions are on sale now. Seated subscriptions are available in 4-, 5-, 6-, and 7-play packages, and FlexPass subscriptions start with a minimum of 4 tickets that can be used for any show and never expire. Subscribers save up to 53 percent on full-price tickets to individual shows.
Subscriptions may be renewed or purchased by calling the Huntington Box Office at 617 266 0800 or by visitinghuntingtontheatre.org/subscribe. Groups of 10 or more can place orders at 617 273 1665. Individual tickets for all shows will go on sale in August.
ABOUT THE HUNTINGTON
The Huntington Theatre Company, in residence at Boston University, is Boston’s largest professional theatre company. Led by Artistic Director Peter DuBois and Managing Director Michael Maso, the Huntington creates world-class productions, runs nationally renowned programs in education and new play development, and serves the local theatre community through its operation of the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. For more information, visit huntingtontheatre.org.
Cunegonde (Lauren Molina) and Candide (Geoff Packard) discover and declare
their passionate love for one another in "Oh Happy We." Photo credit: Liz Lauren