- December 2018–January 2019
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.
- October 2018
Oedipus the King, also known by the Latin title Oedipus Rex, is an Athenian tragedy by Sophocles that was first performed c. 429 BCE. It was the second of Sophocles's three Theban plays to be produced, but it comes first in the internal chronology, followed by Oedipus at Colonus and then Antigone. Oedipus Rex chronicles the story of Oedipus, a man who becomes the king of Thebes who was destined from birth to murder his father Laius and marry his mother Jocasta. The play is an example of a classic tragedy, noticeably containing an emphasis on how Oedipus's own faults contribute to the tragic hero's downfall, as opposed to having fate be the sole cause. Over the centuries, Oedipus Rex has come to be regarded by many as the Greek tragedy par excellence.
- June–July 2018
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is a play by Tennessee Williams. One of Williams's best-known works and his personal favorite, the play won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1955. Set in the "plantation home in the Mississippi Delta" of Big Daddy Pollitt, a wealthy cotton tycoon, the play examines the relationships among members of Big Daddy's family, primarily between his son Brick and Maggie the "Cat", Brick's wife.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof features several recurring motifs, such as social mores, greed, superficiality, mendacity, decay, sexual desire, repression, and death. Dialogue throughout is often rendered phonetically to represent accents of the Southern United States.
The play was adapted as a motion picture of the same name in 1958, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman as Maggie and Brick, respectively. Williams made substantial excisions and alterations to the play for a revival in 1974. This has been the version used for most subsequent revivals, which have been numerous.
- July 2018
The Phantom of the Opera is a musical with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Charles Hart with additions from Richard Stilgoe. Lloyd Webber and Stilgoe also wrote the musical's book together. Based on the French novel Le Fantôme de l'Opéra by Gaston Leroux, its central plot revolves around a beautiful soprano, Christine Daaé, who becomes the obsession of a mysterious, disfigured musical genius.
The musical opened in London's West End in 1986, and on Broadway in 1988. It won the 1986 Olivier Award and the 1988 Tony Award for Best Musical, and Michael Crawford won the Olivier and Tony Awards for Best Actor in a Musical. It is the longest running show in Broadway history by a wide margin, and celebrated its 10,000th Broadway performance on 11 February 2012, the first production ever to do so. It is the second longest-running West End musical, and the third longest-running West End show overall.
With total estimated worldwide gross receipts of over $5.6 billion and total Broadway gross of US $845 million Phantom is the most financially successful entertainment event to date. By 2011 it had been seen by over 130 million people in 145 cities in 27 countries, and continues to play in both London and New York.
- July 2018
Godspell is a musical by Stephen Schwartz and a book by John-Michael Tebelak. It opened off Broadway on May 17, 1971, and has played in various touring companies and revivals many times since, including a 2011 revival which played on Broadway from October 13, 2011 to June 24, 2012. Several cast albums have been released over the years and one of its songs, "Day by Day" from the original cast album, reached #13 on the Billboard pop singles chart in the summer of 1972.
The structure of the musical is that of a series of parables, based on the Gospel of Matthew. These are then interspersed with a variety of modern music set primarily to lyrics from traditional hymns, with the passion of Christ treated briefly near the end of the performance. It started as a college project performed by students at Carnegie Mellon University and moved to La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club in Greenwich Village. It was then re-scored for an off-Broadway production which became a long-running success. A junior one-act version with some songs removed has also been made under the title Godspell Junior.
- February 2018
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust is a tragic play in two parts: Faust. Der Tragödie erster Teil and Faust. Der Tragödie zweiter Teil. Although rarely staged in its entirety, it is the play with the largest audience numbers on German-language stages. Faust is Goethe's most famous work and considered by many to be one of the greatest works of German literature.
Goethe completed a preliminary version of Part One in 1806. The 1808 publication was followed by the revised 1828–29 edition, which was the last to be edited by Goethe himself. Prior to these appeared a partial printing in 1790 of Faust, a Fragment.
The earliest forms of the work, known as the Urfaust, were developed between 1772 and 1775; however, the details of that development are no longer entirely clear. Urfaust has twenty-two scenes, one in prose, two largely prose and the remaining 1,441 lines in rhymed verse. The manuscript is lost, but a copy was discovered in 1886.
Goethe finished writing Faust Part Two in 1831. In contrast to Faust Part One, the focus here is no longer on the soul of Faust, which has been sold to the devil, but rather on social phenomena such as psychology, history and politics, in addition to mystical and philosophical topics. The second part formed the principal occupation of Goethe's last years. It appeared only posthumously in 1832.