By Bill Hirschman
The roll out of offerings of South Florida theater for the 2015-2016 season continues this weekend with the unveiling of Palm Beach Dramaworks’ slate as well as its upcoming summer concert series.
As usual, the West Palm Beach theater is presenting a meld of classic theater that few other companies undertake as well as acclaimed works from the past few decades, plus one recent New York hit, all sharing the idea of “theater to think about.”
The regular season includes:
Oct. 9-Nov. 8: Picnic – is William Inge’s 1953 Pulitzer Prize-winning sultry scorching drama that cemented his reputation. In it, a handsome stranger drifts into a small Kansas town and awakens the dormant dreams and repressed desires of a group of lonely women.
Dec. 4-Jan. 3: The History Boys – This Tony-winning masterpiece from the prolific British playwright Alan Bennett tracks how an unconventional teacher touches the lives of eight young students in a play that provocatively explores the mission of education.
Jan. 29-Feb. 28, 2016: Long Day’s Journey Into Night – One of the greatest American plays, Eugene O’Neill based this excoriating look inside a tortured family on his own life. So unsparing that he did not want it produced until 50 years after his death – a wish which his widow did not accede to.
March 25-April 24: Outside Mullingar — John Patrick Shanley, the playwright of Doubt and screenwriter of Moonstruck, wrote this 2014 romantic comedy. Set on neighboring, feuding farms in Ireland, Anthony and Rosemary are single, on the cusp of middle age, and too obstinate to take a chance on love.
May 13-June 12: Satchmo At The Waldorf – A stunning success off-Broadway, this one-man tour de force written by Wall Street Journal theater critic Terry Teachout catches jazz giant Louis Armstrong backstage prior to his final gig, as he reminisces about his life, his career, and his struggles just months before his death in 1971.
This coming summer, for the third year, Dramaworks will mount concert stagings of two classic musicals. They are performed with limited instrumental accompaniment (often just a piano), minimal sets and costumes, and with actors often still holding their scripts. But the evenings contain all of the dialogue and music of the original full productions.
July 10-19, 2015: A Little Night Music – The swirling melodious tale of a brace of late 19th Century Swedish lovers ranging from aristocrats to an actress to their servants in various wryly foolish couplings. It features music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a book by Hugh Wheeler, adapted from Ingmar Bergman’s film Smiles of a Summer Night. Directed by Lynnette Barkley, who directed this season’s Les Liaisons Dangereuses and who assisted in directing Exit The King.
Aug. 14-23: 110 in the Shade – A rousing musical with music by Harvey Schmidt, lyrics by Tom Jones (who wrote The Fantasticks) and a book by N. Richard Nash based on his play The Rainmaker about a spinster whose life is revitalized by a travelling conman. To be directed by Clive Cholerton who has staged most of Dramaworks’ previous concerts.
Subscriptions for current subscribers go on sale on March 16. New subscriptions will be available beginning March 23. Single tickets go on sale on September 14. For more information, visit www.palmbeachdramworks.org.
For stories on other companies’ new seasons: