Arena Stage Artistic Director Molly Smith has announced 10 productions for the company's 2013/14 season, the fourth year in the Mead Center for American Theater. As a national center for the production, presentation, development and study of American theater, Arena Stage pursues a dynamic and diverse body of work with an upcoming season that showcases award-winning theater artists and projects.
"Perhaps it's because of the anniversary of the Civil War that you'll find our season is soaked in history," shares Smith. "As a young person it was impossible to memorize the dates of historical events, but boy-when I heard a story about a person's life being moved and shaped by history, I got it. Somehow the arc of history-the demands of history-are acted out in sharp relief with many of the human stories we're telling next season, from the Civil War battlefield to Camp David to contemporary stories about our lives today."
She continues, "From Afghanistan to the Apollo Theater, our stories are personal and human and funny and moving. People such as Paul Robeson, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, Anwar Sadat, Menachem Begin, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller span America's 20th century and come alive through this season. We're pleased to be partnering with so many talented artists-Moisés Kaufman, Kenny Leon, Liz Lerman, Estelle Parsons, Bill Pullman, Charles Randolph-Wright, Kathleen Turner, Lawrence Wright-just to name a few. It's definitely a season filled with ideas and stories that Will Powerfully remind us what it is to be human."
The 64th season features a multitude of new work, including four world premieres: Love in Afghanistan by American Voices New Play Institute Resident Playwright Charles Randolph-Wright; Pulitzer Prize-winner Lawrence Wright's Camp David directed by Smith as part of Arena Stage's American President's Project; MacArthur "Genius" Fellow Liz Lerman's theatrical dance piece Healing Wars featuring narrator Bill Pullman (Independence Day, 1600 Penn); and a presentation of Tectonic Theater Project's production of The Tallest Tree - A Portrait of Paul Robeson, written and performed by Daniel Beaty.
In addition, the season features the pre-Broadway production of The Velocity of Autumn starring Academy Award winner Estelle Parsons and two-time Tony Award winner Stephen Spinella, as well as the return of Kathleen Turner (last seen at Arena Stage in her sold-out run of Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins) in the epic drama Mother Courage and her Children, both directed by Smith.
Rounding out the season is a new adaptation of the classic American story Guess Who's Coming to Dinner directed by Tony Award nominee Kenny Leon (Broadway's Stick Fly), Tappin' Thru Life featuring Broadway legend and Tony Award nominee Maurice Hines and a pair of productions featuring the genius of acclaimed writer/director Randy Johnson: a return engagement of One Night with Janis Joplin and a new production of the musical revue Smokey Joe's Café.