- June 2019
Titus Andronicus is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, and possibly George Peele, believed to have been written between 1588 and 1593. It is thought to be Shakespeare's first tragedy, and is often seen as his attempt to emulate the violent and bloody revenge plays of his contemporaries, which were extremely popular with audiences throughout the sixteenth century.
The play is set during the latter days of the Roman Empire and tells the fictional story of Titus, a general in the Roman army, who is engaged in a cycle of revenge with Tamora, Queen of the Goths. It is Shakespeare's bloodiest and most violent work and traditionally was one of his least respected plays. Although it was extremely popular in its day, it fell out of favour during the Victorian era, primarily because of what was considered to be a distasteful use of graphic violence, but from around the middle of the twentieth century its reputation began to improve.
- October–November 2018
The Fantasticks is a 1960 musical with music by Harvey Schmidt and lyrics by Tom Jones. It tells an allegorical story, loosely based on the play "The Romancers" by Edmond Rostand, concerning two neighboring fathers who trick their children, Luisa and Matt, into falling in love by pretending to feud. The fathers hire traveling actors to stage a mock abduction, so that Matt can heroically seem to save Luisa, ending the supposed feud. When the children discover the deception, they reject the arranged love match and separate. Each then gains disillusioning experiences of the real world, seen in parallel fantasy sequences. They return to each other bruised but enlightened, and they renew their vows with more maturity.
The show's original off-Broadway production ran a total of 42 years and 17,162 performances, making it the world's longest-running musical. The musical was produced by Lore Noto. It was awarded Tony Honors for Excellence in Theatre in 1991. The poetic book and breezy, inventive score, including such familiar songs as "Try to Remember," helped make this show so durable. Many productions followed, as well as television and film versions. The Fantasticks has also become a staple of regional, community, and high school productions virtually since its premiere, with approximately 250 new productions each year. It is played with a small cast, two to three-person orchestra and minimalist set design. Among many revivals, the show re-opened off-Broadway in 2006. As of 2010, its original investors have earned 240 times their original investments. The musical has played throughout the U.S. and in at least 67 foreign countries.
- October 2018
The Full Monty is a musical with a book by Terrence McNally and score by David Yazbek.
In this Americanized musical stage version adapted from the 1997 British film of the same name, six unemployed Buffalo steelworkers, low on both cash and prospects, decide to present a strip act at a local club after seeing their wives' enthusiasm for a touring company of Chippendales. One of them, Jerry, declares that their show will be better than the Chippendales dancers because they'll go "the full monty" — strip all the way. As they prepare for the show, working through their fears, self-consciousness, and anxieties, they overcome their inner demons and find strength in their camaraderie.
- August 2018
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.
- August 2018
The Imaginary Invalid is a three-act comédie-ballet by the French playwright Molière with dance sequences and musical interludes by Marc-Antoine Charpentier. It premiered on 10 February 1673 at the Théâtre du Palais-Royal in Paris and was originally choreographed by Pierre Beauchamp.
Molière had fallen out with the powerful court composer Jean-Baptiste Lully, with whom he had pioneered the comédie-ballet form a decade earlier, and had opted for the collaboration with Charpentier, Lully's rival and arguably a more gifted composer. Le malade imaginaire would turn out to be Molière's last work. He collapsed during his fourth performance as Argan on 17 February and died soon after.
- July 2018
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying is a musical by Frank Loesser and book by Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock, and Willie Gilbert, based on Shepherd Mead's 1952 book of the same name. The story concerns young, ambitious J. Pierrepont Finch who, with the help of the book How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, rises from window washer to chairman of the board of the World Wide Wicket Company.
The musical, starring Robert Morse & Rudy Vallee, opened at the 46th Street Theatre on Broadway in October 1961, running for 1,417 performances. The show won seven Tony Awards, the New York Drama Critics Circle award, and the 1962 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. In 1967, a film based on the musical was released by United Artists, with many of the original cast recreating their roles. A 1995 revival was mounted at the same theatre as the original production ran for 548 performances and starred Matthew Broderick and Megan Mullally. A 50th anniversary Broadway revival directed and choreographed by Rob Ashford and starring Daniel Radcliffe and John Larroquette opened on March 27, 2011, at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre and ran for 473 performances.
- July 2018
The Misanthrope, or the Cantankerous Lover is a 17th-century comedy of manners in verse written by Molière. It was first performed on 4 June 1666 at the Théâtre du Palais-Royal, Paris by the King's Players.
The play satirizes the hypocrisies of French aristocratic society, but it also engages a more serious tone when pointing out the flaws which all humans possess. The play differs from other farces at the time by employing dynamic characters like Alceste and Célimène as opposed to the traditionally flat characters used by most satirists to criticize problems in society. It also differs from most of Molière's other works by focusing more on character development and nuances than on plot progression. The play, though not a commercial success in its time, survives as Molière's best known work today.
Because both Tartuffe and Dom Juan, two of Molière's previous plays, had already been banned by the French government, Molière may have subdued his actual ideas to make his play more socially acceptable. As a result, there is much uncertainty about whether the main character Alceste is supposed to be perceived as a hero for his strong standards of honesty or whether he is supposed to be perceived as a fool for having such idealistic and unrealistic views about society. Molière has received much criticism for The Misanthrope. The French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, claimed that it was Molière's best work but hated the fact that Alceste was depicted as a fool on stage. He believed that the audience should be supporting Alceste and his views about society rather than disregarding his idealistic notions and belittling him as a character.