Rothko tour de force “Red” stands out from Maltz Theatre’s mainstream fare next season

"Red, Orange, Tan, and Purple," 1949, by Mark Rothko.

The Maltz Jupiter Theatre announced a 2011-2012 season Thursday marked by the mainstream fare that the Maltz does so well — with one outstanding exception.

Sandwiched between Cabaret and Hello Dolly! comes the stunning drama about art and creativity, Red. The tour de force focuses on abstract-impressionist painter Mark Rothko as he creates four pieces for the Four Seasons restaurant in New York City and tutors an assistant in the exacting challenge of executing a vision.

The Tony-winning play by John Logan was a massive hit in London and on Broadway in 2010 featuring a bravura performance by Alfred Molina. A highlight of the play is a wordless ‘duel’ as Rothko and his assistant frantically prep a huge canvas with primer as classical music plays.’The play is slated for Feb. 14-26.

The rest of the ninth season line-up:

The 39 Steps, Nov. 1- 13, is a tongue-in-cheek and highly theatrical adaptation of the Hitchcock film which was loosely based on the novel by John Buchan. In this version, four actors play 150 characters in a meld of comedy and suspense as ordinary British gentleman Richard Hannay goes on the run from police and spies when he is unjustly accused of murder.

Samuel French, the play licensing company, contends this has been the single most requested work by regional theaters since the show opened on Broadway in 2008. Actors Playhouse at the Miracle Theater is producing the work in May, 82 miles away in Coral Gables.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Nov. 29-Dec. 18, is one of the first musicals that Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice wrote together, initially as a cantata for school production. The cute and comic retelling of the Biblical story features a satirical pastiche of musical styles from rock to country-western. The show instills rapturous adoration from some audience members and groans from others.

Cabaret, Jan. 10-29, is one of the watershed musicals of the 20th Century that depicted the self-deluding blindness that allowed Hitler to come to power. Kander and Ebb’s best known score and a brilliant book by Joe Masterhoff were based on the play I Am A Camera by John van Druten and The Berlin Stories by Christopher Isherwood.

Hello Dolly!, Mar. 13-Apr. 1, may be the quintessential mainstream musical, but when it’s done well, Jerry Herman’s infectious score and Michael Stewart’s book are exhibit one why the world looked to America as the home of a new popular art form.

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