Season Features Area Premieres, New Commissions, and Old Favorites
Saint Paul, Minn., August 10, 2016 — Park Square Theatre is ramping up for its 2016-2017 theatre season, which features two world premiere adaptations, the regional premieres of critically acclaimed comedies and dramas, and the return of audience and family favorites. The season is a showcase of the Twin Cities diversity and talent.
The season begins on the Proscenium Stage on September 9 with David Ives’s smash hit comedy The Liar. Cliton (Zach Curtis) can’t tell a lie, but his master Dorante (Sha’ Cage) can’t tell the truth. Dorante is in hot pursuit of one woman, but thinks she is another, which leads to amazing mix-ups and breathtakingly intricate lies. Sharp and saucy modern language adds zest to this sparkling urbane romance. Doug Scholz-Carlson will direct the uproarious comedy, which will also feature India Gurley, Rex Isom Jr., JuCoby Johnson, Michael Ooms, and Sara Richardson, with music performed by Don Livingston. The production team includes Rebecca Bernstein (Costume Designer), Mike P. Kittel (Lighting Designer), Eli Schlatter (Scenic Designer), and Abbee Warmboe (Properties Designer). (Sept 9 – Oct 2, 2016)
The opening show on the Andy Boss Thrust Stage, scheduled to start on September 23, 2016, will be the area premiere of Will Eno’s The Realistic Joneses. Meet Bob (JC Cutler) and Jennifer (Angela Timberman) and their new neighbors, John (Eric “Pogi” Sumangil) and Pony (Jane Froiland), two suburban couples who have even more in common than their identical homes and their shared last names. As their relationships begin to irrevocably intertwine, the Joneses must decide between their idyllic fantasies and their imperfect realities. Joel Sass will direct and design the set. The production team includes Cole Bylander (Costume Designer), Mike P. Kittel (Lighting Designer), C Andrew Mayer (Sound Designer), and Abbee Warmboe (Properties Designer). (Sept 23 – 0ct 16, 2016)
The season continues on the Boss Stage October 28 – November 20, 2016 with Lorraine Hansberry’s groundbreaking and inspirational A Raisin in the Sun, directed by Warren C. Bowles. This fiercely moving portrait of a family living and struggling on Chicago’s South Side in the 1950s was the first play written by an African-American woman to be produced on Broadway. The Washington Post hails it as “one of a handful of great American plays – it belongs in the inner circle, along with Death of a Salesman, Long Day’s Journey Into Night and The Glass Menagerie.” The play will star Greta Oglesby as the matriarch Lena and Darius Dotch as her son Walter Lee. The cast also includes Aimee K. Bryant, Robert Gardner, Neal Hazard, Theo Langason, and Am’Ber Montgomery. The production team includes Lance Brockman (Set Designer), Mike P. Kittel (Lighting Designer), and Evan Middlesworth (Sound Designer).
On the Proscenium Stage, the crowd-pleasing holiday slot in the line-up is the return of The Soul of Gershwin: The Musical Journey of an American Klezmer, created and written by Joseph Vass with music by George Gershwin and lyrics by Ira Gershwin and DuBose Heyward. Back by popular demand, this soulful play takes you back to early 1900s New York City— a creative melding of different cultures that created our distinctive “American Songbook.” George Gershwin himself (Michael Paul Levin), joined by three stunning singers (Maud Hixson, Geoffrey Jones, and Maggie Burton) and a fantastic Klezmer band, reveals the folk songs, blues, jazz, Yiddish theatre, cantor chants, and opera woven into songs like I Got Rhythm and Embraceable You. Peter Moore will direct. The production team includes Dean Holztman (Set Designer), Jacob M. Davis (Sound Designer), Mike P. Kittel (Lighting Designer), and Jason Resler (Costume Designer). (December 2-31, 2016)
Rodgers & Hammerstein’s classic musical Flower Drum Song comes to the Proscenium Stage January 20 – February 19, 2017. Set in San Francisco’s Chinatown in the late fifties, Flower Drum Song is a funny and moving story which explores what it means to be an American and touches the history of every person whose forbearers once arrived as strangers to these shores. The new, fully revised version includes David Henry Hwang’s Tony Award-nominated text. The co-production with Mu Performing Arts celebrates Mu’s 25th season anniversary and will be directed by Mu’s Artistic Director Randy Reyes. Flower Drum Song is in auditions at this writing—watch for a special announcement! The production team includes Andrew Fleser (Music Director, Conductor, & Arrangements), Penelope Freeh (Choreographer), Mina Kinukawa (Set Designer), Andrea M. Gross (Costume Designer), Jacob M. Davis (Sound Designer), Mike Kittle (Lighting Designer), Abbee Warmboe (Prop Designer).
Last season’s smash hit world premiere Nina Simone: Four Women returns to the Andy Boss Thrust Stage February 7-26, 2017. Back by popular demand and with added music, Christina Ham’s play, directed again by Faye M. Price, stars Regina Marie Williams as the legendary singer. Writing Mississippi Goddam in a bombed Birmingham church, Simone meets three strong women bound by tragic circumstance. Together, they sing their truth and rise triumphant. Aimee K. Bryant and Traci Allen Shannon round out the cast. The production teams include Trevor D. Bowen (Costume Designer), Lance Brockman (Set Designer), Patricia Brown (Choreographer), Jacob Davis (Sound Designer), Sanford Moore (Musical Director), Mike Wangen (Lighting Designer), and Sadie Ward (Properties Designer).
The season continues on the Andy Boss Thrust Stage with a world premiere commissioned adaptation of Macbeth by Jef Hall-Flavin. Shakespeare’s great tragedy explores the darkest corners of the human heart as the ambitious Macbeth (Jason Rojas) schemes and murders his way to the throne. Filled with raw ambition and greed that seems ripped from the headlines, the cast also includes Garry Geiken and Gabriele Angieri. The casting and production team assignments continue at this writing. (March 17 – April 9, 2017)
The area premiere of The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence will take place on the Proscenium Stage April 7-30, 2017. Madeline George’s comic drama was a finalist for the 2014 Pulitzer Prize. Four Watsons: trusty sidekick to Sherlock Holmes; loyal engineer who built Bell’s first telephone; unstoppable super-computer that became reigning “Jeopardy” champ; amiable techno-dweeb just looking for love. This brilliantly witty, time-jumping, loving tribute is dedicated to the people – and machines – upon which we depend. Leah Cooper will direct the cast which includes H. Adam Harris, Kathryn Fumie, and Paul de Cordova. The production team includes Lance Brockman (Set Designer), Kathy Kohb (Costume Designer), Katharine Horowitz (Sound Designer), and Mike Kittle (Lighting Designer).
David Hare’s modern classic Amy’s View continues the season on the Proscenium Stage May 12 – June 4, 2017, directed by Gary Gisselman and starring Linda Kelsey. Everyone has a different view. Amy’s view is that love conquers all. In 1979 Amy (Tracey Maloney) visits her mother, the West End actress Esme Allen, with a big favor to ask and a brash new boyfriend in tow. When the pair meet, Amy will find the views she holds so dear are painfully tested as she has to decide what’s worth fighting for. What none of them can know is that the events of that day will set in motion a chain reaction which will dramatically change their lives forever. The production team includes Joseph Stanley (Set Designer), Aaron Chvatal (Costume Designer), and Mike P. Kittel (Lighting Designer).
Park Square’s 42nd season concludes on the Proscenium Stage with Might As Well Be Dead: A Nero Wolfe Mystery by Joseph Goodrich, who penned Park Square’s 2011 Hitchcockian thriller Panic and record-setting The Red Box. Peter Moore will direct the adaptation of the novel by Rex Stout. Eleven years ago, wealthy Nebraska businessman James Herrold unjustly threw his only son, Paul, out of the family business. Now he wants Nero Wolfe to find Paul so he can make amends. But what if the young man doesn’t want to be found? And what if he’s the same Paul Herrold on trial for murder? This case draws the great detective (E.J. Subkoviak) and his devoted sidekick (Sam Pearson) into a web of deceit, one that even the master sleuth may regret taking on. Michael Paul Levin will reprise his characterization of Inspector Cramer. The production team includes Elena Giannetti (Assistant Director), Rick Polenek (Set Designer), Mike P. Kittel (Lighting Designer), A. Emily Heaney (Costume Desigenr), Anita Kelling (Sound Designer), and Abbee Warmboe (Prop Designer). Might As Well Be Dead is a world premiere commission by our Mystery Writers Producers’ Club. (June 16 – July 30, 2017)
The full calendar of sixteen projects includes the returns of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The House on Mango Street, expected to play to more than 30,000 students. Signe V. Harriday will be making her Park Square Theatre directing debut with The House on Mango Street, which will offer two public performances October 21 and 22, 2016. The cast includes Atquetzali Quiroz and Hope Cervantes as younger and older Esperanza, respectively, as well as Paulino Brener, Charisma Pruitt, Guillermo Rodriguez, and Pedro R. Bayon. The production team includes Annie Cady (Costume Designer), Christopher Kit Mayer (Set Designer), and Mike P. Kittel (Lighting Designer).
All shows will be in Park Square’s two theatre performance spaces in the Historic Hamm Building, 408 St. Peter Street, downtown Saint Paul. Shows, dates and artists are subject to change.
Season tickets are on sale now and available at 651.291.7005 or online at www.parksquaretheatre.org. Packages begin at $99 and can be expanded to include all 15 shows in the season, including productions by our partners Sandbox Theater, Theatre Pro Rata, and Girl Friday Productions, plus the three productions in the education series. Single tickets are on sale now.
The Liar by David Ives (Comedy, Area Premiere), directed by Doug Scholz-Carlson. Sparkling urbane romance with sharp and saucy modern language. (Proscenium Stage, Sep 9 – Oct 2, 2016)
The Realistic Joneses by Will Eno (Comedy/Drama, Area Premiere), directed by Joel Sass. Two suburban couples between idyllic fantasies and imperfect realities. (Andy Boss Thrust Stage, Sept 23 – Oct 16, 2016)
The House on Mango Street (drama) by Sandra Cisneros, adapted by Amy Ludwig, directed by Signe V. Harriday who will be making her Park Square Theatre directing debut. This series of vignettes – sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes deeply joyous – reveal a young Latina growing up in Chicago. (Proscenium Stage, public dates Oct 21 – 22, full run Oct 11 – Nov 4, 2016)
A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry (Drama), directed by Warren C. Bowles. America’s landmark drama about hope, change, and the future. (Andy Boss Thrust Stage, Oct 28 – Nov 20, 2016)
The Soul of Gershwin: The Musical Journey of an American Klezmer, created and written by Joseph Vass. Music and Lyrics by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin with additional Lyrics from Porgy and Bess by DuBose Heyward, (Musical) directed by Peter Moore. A creative melding of different cultures that created our distinctive “American Songbook.” (Proscenium Stage, Dec 2 – 31, 2016)
Produced by Sandbox Theatre
World Premiere Created by the Sandbox Theatre Ensemble; Led by Derek Lee Miller
The ever-innovative ensemble will devise another world premiere story told with imagination and plenty of movement, this time based on the life of Michael Larson, who cracked the code of the 1980s game show “Press Your Luck.” (Andy Boss Thrust Stage, Jan 12 – 28, 2017)
Flower Drum Song, with music by Richard Rodgers; lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, revised book by David Henry Hwang (Comedy Musical), directed by Randy Reyes, co-produced with Mu Performing Arts.
The history of every person whose forbearers once arrived as strangers to these shores. (Proscenium Stage, Jan 20 – Feb 19, 2017)
Nina Simone: Four Women written by Christina Ham (Play with Music), directed by Faye M. Price. Regina Marie Williams returns as the one and only Nina Simone who broke barriers and rules in this honest and heart-filled exploration of life, music and beauty. (Andy Boss Thrust Stage, Feb 7 – 26, 2017)
Macbeth by William Shakespeare (Drama) adapted and directed by Jef Hall-Flavin. The great tragedy explores the darkest corners of the human heart as the ambitious Macbeth schemes and murders his way to the throne. (Andy Boss Thrust Stage, Mar 17 – Apr 9, 2017)
The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence by Madeleine George (Comedy/Drama, Area Premiere), directed by Leah Cooper. Brilliantly witty, time-jumping tribute dedicated to the people – and machines – upon which we depend. (Proscenium Stage, Apr 7 – 30, 2017)
Amy’s View by David Hare (Drama, Regional Premiere) directed by Gary Gisselman. The smallest events can set in motion a chain reaction that can dramatically change lives forever. (Proscenium Stage, May 12 – Jun 4, 2017)
Up: The Man in the Flying Chair
Produced by Theatre Pro Rata
By Bridget Carpenter; Directed by Carin Bratlie Wethern20 years ago Walter Griffin attached 45 helium-filled weather balloons to a lawn chair and found himself 16,000 feet above the world. Today he’s furiously holding onto his dreams and the faded memory of that glorious day, doing everything he can to keep his feet from touching the ground. (Andy Boss Thrust Stage, May 24 – Jun 11, 2017)
Might As Well Be Dead: A Nero Wolfe Mystery by Joseph Goodrich, adapted from the Novel by Rex Stout (Mystery, World Premiere Commission by our Mystery Writers Producers’ Club), directed by Peter Moore. The great detective and his devoted sidekick are drawn into a dangerous web of deceit. (Proscenium Stage, Jun 16 – Jul 30, 2017)
Produced by Girl Friday Productions
By Robert E. Sherwood; Directed by Craig Johnson
Winner of the 1936 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Idiot’s Delight is a romantic commentary on greed, idealism, love, and the grim realities of war. An eccentric assortment of characters are stranded together in a European mountaintop resort at the outbreak of war, including a munitions magnate, his mysterious Russian mistress, and an American song and dance man with his chorine companions “Les Blondes.” Girl Friday Productions brings its signature large ensemble cast to this dramatic comedy with musical accents, set in a world on the brink. (Andy Boss Thrust Stage, Jun 29 – Jul 23, 2017)
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