- April 2019
The Cherry Orchard is Russian playwright Anton Chekhov's last play. It premiered at the Moscow Art Theatre 17 January 1904 in a production directed by Constantin Stanislavski. Chekhov intended this play as a comedy and it does contain some elements of farce; however, Stanislavski insisted on directing the play as a tragedy. Since this initial production, directors have had to contend with the dual nature of this play.
The play concerns an aristocratic Russian woman and her family as they return to the family's estate just before it is auctioned to pay the mortgage. While presented with options to save the estate, the family essentially does nothing and the play ends with the estate being sold to the son of a former serf, and the family leaving to the sound of the cherry orchard being cut down. The story presents themes of cultural futility — both the futility of the aristocracy to maintain its status and the futility of the bourgeoisie to find meaning in its newfound materialism. In reflecting the socio-economic forces at work in Russia at the turn of the 20th century, including the rise of the middle class after the abolition of serfdom in the mid-19th century and the sinking of the aristocracy, the play reflects forces at work around the globe in that period.
- February 2019
Seussical is a musical by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty based on the books of Dr. Seuss that debuted on Broadway in 2000. The play's story is a rather complex amalgamation of many of Seuss's most famous books. After a Broadway run, the production spawned two US national tours and a UK tour. It has become a favorite for school, community and regional theatres.
- February 2019
Camelot is a musical by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe. It is based on the King Arthur legend as adapted from the T. H. White tetralogy novel The Once and Future King.
The original 1960 production, directed by Moss Hart and orchestrated by Robert Russell Bennett and Philip J. Lang, ran on Broadway for 873 performances, winning four Tony Awards and spawning several revivals, foreign productions and a 1967 film version. The original cast album was America's top-selling LP for 60 weeks. The musical has become associated with the Kennedy Administration, which is sometimes referred to as the Camelot era, stressing its glamorous, media culture image.
- September–October 2018
A Midsummer Night's Dream is a play by William Shakespeare. It is believed that it was written between 1590 and 1596. It portrays the events surrounding the marriage of the Duke of Athens, Theseus, and Hippolyta. These include the adventures of four young Athenian lovers and a group of six amateur actors, who are controlled and manipulated by the fairies who inhabit the forest in which most of the play is set. The play, categorized as a Comedy, is one of Shakespeare's most popular works for the stage and is widely performed across the world.
- August–September 2018
Jesus Christ Superstar is a rock opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber with lyrics by Tim Rice. The musical started as a rock opera concept recording before its first staging on Broadway in 1971. The musical is based very loosely on the Gospels' accounts of the last week of Jesus' life, beginning with the preparation for the arrival of Jesus and his disciples in Jerusalem and ending with the crucifixion. It highlights political and interpersonal struggles between Judas Iscariot and Jesus, struggles that are not in the Bible. The resurrection is not included. It therefore largely follows the form of a traditional passion play.
The work's depiction offers a free interpretation of the psychology of Jesus and the other characters. A large part of the plot focuses on the character of Judas, who is depicted as a tragic figure dissatisfied with the direction in which Jesus steers his disciples. Contemporary attitudes and sensibilities as well as slang pervade the lyrics and ironic allusions to modern life are scattered throughout the depiction of political events. Stage and film productions accordingly feature many intentional anachronisms.
- July 2018
The Rocky Horror Show is a musical with music, lyrics and a book by Richard O'Brien. A humorous tribute to the science fiction and horror B movies of the late 1940s through early 1970s, the musical tells the story of a newly engaged couple getting caught in a storm and coming to the home of a mad transvestite scientist unveiling his new creation, a muscle man named Rocky Horror.
Produced and directed by Jim Sharman, the original London production of the musical premiered at the Royal Court Theatre on 19 June 1973 before moving to several other locations and closing on 13 September 1980, running for a total of 2,960 performances and winning the 1973 Evening Standard Award for Best Musical. Its 1974 debut in the US in Los Angeles had a successful 9 month run but its 1975 Broadway debut lasted only 3 previews and 45 showings despite gaining 1 Tony nomination and 3 Drama Desk nominations. Various international productions have since spanned across 6 of the world's continents as well as West End and Broadway revivals and 8 UK tours.
The musical has since developed a cult following and was also adapted into the 1975 film The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which today has a worldwide cult following and has the longest-running release in film history. The musical was ranked 8th in a BBC Radio 2 listener poll of the "Nation's Number One Essential Musicals".
- December 2017
The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus, commonly referred to simply as Doctor Faustus, is a play by Christopher Marlowe, based on the Faust story, in which a man sells his soul to the devil for power and knowledge. Doctor Faustus was first published in 1604, eleven years after Marlowe's death and at least twelve years after the first performance of the play.
"No Elizabethan play outside the Shakespeare canon has raised more controversy than Doctor Faustus. There is no agreement concerning the nature of the text and the date of composition... and the centrality of the Faust legend in the history of the Western world precludes any definitive agreement on the interpretation of the play..."