- March 2020
The Comedy of Errors is one of William Shakespeare's earliest plays. It is his shortest and one of his most farcical comedies, with a major part of the humour coming from slapstick and mistaken identity, in addition to puns and word play. The Comedy of Errors is one of only two of Shakespeare's plays to observe the classical unities. It has been adapted for opera, stage, screen and musical theatre.
The Comedy of Errors tells the story of two sets of identical twins that were accidentally separated at birth. Antipholus of Syracuse and his servant, Dromio of Syracuse, arrive in Ephesus, which turns out to be the home of their twin brothers, Antipholus of Ephesus and his servant, Dromio of Ephesus. When the Syracusans encounter the friends and families of their twins, a series of wild mishaps based on mistaken identities lead to wrongful beatings, a near-seduction, the arrest of Antipholus of Ephesus, and false accusations of infidelity, theft, madness, and demonic possession.
- January 2020
Mother Courage and Her Children is a play written in 1939 by the German dramatist and poet Bertolt Brecht with significant contributions from Margarete Steffin. After four very important theatrical productions in Switzerland and Germany from 1941 to 1952—the last three supervised and/or directed by Brecht—the play was filmed several years after Brecht's death in 1959/1960 with Brecht's widow and leading actress, Helene Weigel.
Mother Courage is considered by some to be the greatest play of the 20th century, and perhaps also the greatest anti-war play of all time.
- November–December 2019
The Duchess of Malfi is a macabre, tragic play written by the English dramatist John Webster in 1612–13. It was first performed privately at the Blackfriars Theatre, then before a more general audience at The Globe, in 1613-14. Published in 1623, the play is loosely based on events that occurred between about 1508 and 1513, recounted in William Painter's The Palace of Pleasure. The Duchess was Giovanna d'Aragona, whose father, Arrigo d'Aragona, Marquis of Gerace, was an illegitimate son of Ferdinand I of Naples. Her husbands were Alfonso Piccolomini, Duke of Amalfi, and Antonio Bologna.
The play begins as a love story, with a Duchess who marries beneath her class, and ends as a nightmarish tragedy as her two brothers exact their revenge, destroying themselves in the process.
Jacobean drama continued the trend of stage violence and horror set by Elizabethan tragedy, under the influence of Seneca, and there is a great deal of all that in the later scenes of the play. The complexity of some of its characters, particularly Bosola and the Duchess, plus Webster's poetic language, ensure the play is often considered among the greatest tragedies of English renaissance drama.
- October 2019
Footloose is a 1998 musical based on the 1984 film of the same name. The music is by Tom Snow, the lyrics by Dean Pitchford, and the book by Pitchford and Walter Bobbie.
- September–October 2019
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is a long one-act musical comedy conceived by Rebecca Feldman with music and lyrics by William Finn, a book by Rachel Sheinkin and additional material by Jay Reiss. The show centers on a fictional spelling bee set in a geographically ambiguous Putnam Valley Middle School. Six quirky adolescents compete in the Bee, run by three equally-quirky grown-ups.
The 2005 Broadway production, directed by James Lapine and produced by David Stone, James L. Nederlander, Barbara Whitman, Patrick Catullo, Barrington Stage Company and Second Stage Theater, earned good reviews and box-office success and was nominated for six Tony Awards, winning two, including Best Book. The show has spawned various other productions in the U.S., including a national tour with performances in Canada, and Australian productions.
An unusual aspect of the show is that four real audience members are invited on stage to compete in the spelling bee alongside the six young characters. During the 2005 Tony Awards, former Presidential candidate Al Sharpton competed. Another amusing aspect of the show is that the official pronouncer, usually an improv comedian, provides ridiculous usage-in-a-sentence examples when asked to use words in a sentence. For instance, for the word "palaestra," he says, "Euripides said, 'What happens at the palaestra stays at the palaestra.'" At some shows, adult-only audiences are invited for "Parent-Teacher Conferences," also known as "adult night at the Bee." These performances are peppered with sexual references and profanity inspired by R-rated ad-libs made during rehearsals.
- October 2019
Tartuffe, or The Impostor, first performed in 1664, is one of the most famous theatrical comedies by Molière, and the characters of Tartuffe, Valère, and Dorine are considered among the greatest classical theatre roles.
- August 2019
The Book of Mormon is a religious satire musical with book, lyrics, and music by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, and Matt Stone. Best known for creating the animated comedy South Park, Parker and Stone co-created the music with Lopez, a co-composer/co-lyricist of Avenue Q. The show lampoons organized religion and traditional musical theatre, reflecting the creators' lifelong fascination with Mormonism and musicals.
The Book of Mormon tells the story of two young Mormon missionaries sent to a remote village in northern Uganda, where a brutal warlord is threatening the local population. Naïve and optimistic, the two missionaries try to share the Book of Mormon, one of their scriptures—which only one of them has read—but have trouble connecting with the locals, who are more worried about war, famine, poverty, and AIDS than about religion.
After nearly seven years of development, the show opened on Broadway in March 2011. The Book of Mormon has garnered overwhelmingly positive critical response and numerous theatre awards including nine Tony Awards, one of which was for Best Musical, and the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album. An original Broadway cast recording was released in May 2011 and became the highest-charting Broadway cast album in over four decades, reaching No. 3 on the Billboard charts.
- June–July 2019
The Mousetrap is a murder mystery play by Agatha Christie. The Mousetrap opened in the West End of London in 1952, and has been running continuously since then. It has the longest initial run of any play in history, with its 25,000th performance taking place on 18 November 2012. It is the longest running show of the modern era. The play is also known for its twist ending, which the audience are traditionally asked not to reveal after leaving the theatre.
- April 2019
Cabaret is a musical based on a book written by Christopher Isherwood, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb. The 1966 Broadway production became a hit and spawned a 1972 film as well as numerous subsequent productions.
It is based on John Van Druten's 1951 play I Am a Camera, which in turn was adapted from the 1939 short novel Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood. Set in 1931 Berlin as the Nazis are rising to power, it focuses on nightlife at the seedy Kit Kat Klub and revolves around the 19-year-old English cabaret performer Sally Bowles and her relationship with the young American writer Cliff Bradshaw.
A sub-plot involves the doomed romance between German boarding house owner Fräulein Schneider and her elderly suitor Herr Schultz, a Jewish fruit vendor. Overseeing the action is the Master of Ceremonies at the Kit Kat Klub which serves as a constant metaphor for the tenuous and threatening state of late Weimar Germany throughout the show.
- March–April 2019
All's Well That Ends Well is a play by William Shakespeare. It is traditionally believed to have been written between 1604 and 1605, and was originally published in the First Folio in 1623.
Though originally the play was classified as one of Shakespeare's comedies, the play is now considered by some critics to be one of his problem plays, so named because they cannot be neatly classified as tragedy or comedy.
- March–April 2019
Dance of the Vampires is a musical remake of a 1967 Roman Polanski film of the same name. Polanski also directed the original German production of this musical. Music was composed by Jim Steinman and orchestrated by Steve Margoshes, and original German book and lyrics were written by Michael Kunze.
- November–December 2018
No Exit is a 1944 existentialist French play by Jean-Paul Sartre. The original title is the French equivalent of the legal term in camera, referring to a private discussion behind closed doors; English translations have also been performed under the titles In Camera, No Way Out, Vicious Circle, Behind Closed Doors, and Dead End. The play was first performed at the Théâtre du Vieux-Colombier in May 1944.
It is a depiction of the afterlife in which three deceased characters are punished by being locked into a room together for eternity, and is the source of one of Sartre's most famous and most often misinterpreted quotations, l'enfer, c'est les autres, a reference to Sartre's ideas about the Look, and the constant ontological struggle of being caused to see oneself as an object in the world of another consciousness.
- November 2018
Annie is a Broadway musical based upon the popular Harold Gray comic strip Little Orphan Annie, with music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin, and the book by Thomas Meehan. The original Broadway production opened in 1977 and ran for nearly six years, setting a record for the Alvin Theatre. It spawned numerous productions in many countries, as well as national tours, and won the Tony Award for Best Musical. The musical's songs "Tomorrow" and "Hard-Knock Life" are among its most popular musical numbers.
- October–November 2018
Next to Normal is a rock musical with book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey and music by Tom Kitt. Its story concerns a mother who struggles with worsening bipolar disorder and the effect that her illness has on her family. The musical also addresses such issues as grieving a loss, suicide, drug abuse, ethics in modern psychiatry, and suburban life.
Next to Normal received several workshop performances before it debuted off-Broadway in 2008, winning the Outer Critics' Circle Award for Outstanding Score and receiving nominations for Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Actress and Outstanding Score. After an Off-Broadway run, the show then played at the Arena Stage in its temporary venue in Washington, DC, from November 2008 to January 2009.
The musical opened on Broadway in April 2009. It was nominated for eleven 2009 Tony Awards and won three, Best Original Score, Best Orchestration and Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical for Alice Ripley. It also won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, becoming just the eighth musical in history to receive the honor. The previous musical to win the Pulitzer was Rent, in 1996, which was also directed by Michael Greif. In awarding the prize to Kitt and Yorkey, the Pulitzer Board called the show "a powerful rock musical that grapples with mental illness in a suburban family and expands the scope of subject matter for musicals."
- October 2018
Aida is a musical with music by Elton John, lyrics by Tim Rice, and book by Linda Woolverton, Robert Falls, and David Henry Hwang, and produced by Walt Disney Theatrical.
Aida premiered on Broadway on March 23, 2000, running for 1,852 performances until September 5, 2004. The musical also ran from 2002–2003 and from 2006-2007 during two US national tours, and also ran in international productions which performed in 20 different countries, and is still performed in international productions, regional theatres, colleges and high schools.
Aida was nominated for five Tony Awards and won four in 2000, including Best Musical Score and Best Performance by a Leading Actress. Aida was also named by Time Magazine in 2000 as one of the top ten theatre productions of the year. The First National tour was nominated for nine National Broadway Theatre awards and won five awards, including Best Musical, Best Direction, Best Actor, and Best Actress.
The Aida Cast recording won the Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album. A song from Aida, "Written in the Stars" reached No.2 in the Billboard US adult contemporary music charts, and No.1 in the Canadian contemporary charts.