Arkansas Repertory Theatre, the state’s largest nonprofit professional theatre, is proud to announce its 2017-18 Season. Beginning in August, the new season exemplifies The Rep’s mission of producing diverse work of the highest artistic standards for its Arkansas audience.
“The Rep has a long and happy history of producing a widely eclectic program of plays each season. 2017-18 will be no different,” Producing Artistic Director John Miller-Stephany said. “In fact, it might be more varied than ever before! I’m thrilled with the roster we’re offering during my first full season as Producing Artistic Director and sincerely hope you’ll join us for all seven of our productions – it’s sure to be a remarkable year!”
PRODUCTIONS AT THE CINDY MURPHY AUDITORIUM, The Rep, 601 Main Street
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
Aug. 23 – Sept. 10, 2017
Opening Night on Friday, Aug. 25, 2017
By Rebecca Gilman | Based on the novel by Carson McCullers
Directed by John Miller-Stephany
“This sure is a lonely town, you know it? I’d up and leave for sure if it wasn’t for you. I think you’re the only one around here understands a word I say.”
Based on Carson McCullers’ celebrated debut novel, this haunting Southern drama tells the story of a handful of misfits in a 1930s Georgia mill town. Deaf-mute John Singer becomes confidant and confessor to four of the town’s most colorful eccentrics, forever changing their lives by his sympathetic and gentle presence. Rebecca Gilman’s poignant adaptation for the stage captures all of the loss and longing of the original novel and combines it with a graceful theatricality. As the lost souls that gravitate towards Singer seek kinship in a harsh environment, he provides them with a calming companionship and helps each of them find a serenity of spirit that cuts through their savage, crippling loneliness.
“I’ve always had a great fondness for Southern writers so I’m particularly thrilled to have The Rep produce the area premiere of Rebecca Gilman’s brilliant adaptation of Carson McCuller’s stirring masterwork,” Miller-Stephany said.
Time magazine calls The Heart is a Lonely Hunter “One of the Top 10 Best Plays of 2009.”
The School for Lies
Oct. 11 – 29, 2017
Opening Night on Friday, Oct. 13, 2017
By David Ives | Adapted from The Misanthrope by Molière
“Frank’s so determined to be fully candid. His every syllable can seem backhanded.”
When an expatriate returns to France after years in England, his no-frills style and brutal honesty set him apart from his foppish peers. He decides to spurn popular conventions and retreat from “proper” social circles, only to immediately become smitten with an upwardly-mobile young widow who revels in the newest trends and is pursued by a bevy of suitors.
Based upon Molière’s classic 17th Century comedy, The Misanthrope, The School for Lies feels surprisingly relevant as it exposes the hypocrisies of polite high society with a sharp wit and even sharper observations about human nature. Comic master David Ives (All in the Timing, Venus in Fur, Is He Dead?) adapts this wicked farce for contemporary audiences, contrasting the high-brow characters with low-brow humor and employing present-day language that breathes fresh air into this rollicking satire.
“Molière is one of the greatest comic writers who has ever lived,” Miller-Stephany said. “His rapier sharp wit and his keen insights into human foibles are practically unparalleled amongst dramatists of any age. David Ives’ bold 2012 adaptation of The Misanthrope is whip-smart, delightfully bawdy and an overall hoot.”
The School for Lies is a classical treat in rhyming couplets that will have Rep audiences rolling in the aisles!
The Gift of the Magi
Nov. 29 – Dec. 24, 2017
Opening Night on Friday, Dec. 1, 2017
A new musical by Jeffrey Hatcher, Maggie-Kate Coleman and Andrew Cooke
Directed by John Miller-Stephany
“Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty-seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas.”
The Arkansas Repertory Theatre is proud to present the world premiere of a new chamber musical based upon O. Henry’s beloved holiday story. Unwrap a new tradition in this tender tale of love and sacrifice, told with fresh intimacy on The Rep stage. Acclaimed playwright Jeffrey Hatcher (Compleat Female Stage Beauty, Tuesdays with Morrie, Three Viewings) is joined by composer Andrew Cooke and 2017 Jonathan Larson Grant recipient Maggie-Kate Coleman (lyricist).
Jim and Della may not have much, but they have each other. As December 25th approaches, they each lament their modest means and search for the perfect gift for their beloved spouse. A joyous, bittersweet and life-affirming fable, The Gift of the Magi will warm your heart this winter.
“This beloved and ageless Christmas story has been copied, adapted and parodied countless times since it first appeared in print in 1905,” Miller-Stephany said. “Although there are a number of stage versions available for licensing, my colleagues and I are eager to create a brand new musical specifically for The Rep’s loyal holiday audience.”
Jan. 24 – Feb. 11, 2018
Opening Night on Friday, Jan. 26, 2018
By Tanya Barfield
“We didn’t ask to solve the world’s problems; we asked to adopt a baby.”
Annie and Peter are a childless couple in their late 30s who have decided to adopt a baby from Africa. But when they receive some surprising news about their potential bundle of joy, anxiety and doubt threaten to tear their world apart. Middle-class cultural sensibilities and global divisions come crashing in on their comfortable existence as they are forced to confront their own preconceived notions about what makes a family a family. As they reach out to friends and neighbors for advice, Annie and Peter become mired in indecision and second thoughts.
“The Call is a fascinating play that urges audience members to thoughtfully examine their established positions – both at home and as citizens of the world,” Miller-Stephany said.
New York Times says The Call is “potent and engaging.”
A comedy with a penetrating edge, The Call is guaranteed to spark lively conversations about the expectations and realities of parenthood. Tanya Barfield’s dizzying indictment of American privilege is tempered with her compassion for flawed people holding the best of intentions.
March 14 – April 8, 2018
Opening Night on Friday, March 16, 2018
Music and lyrics by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus
Some songs with Stif Anderson | Additional material by Martin Koch
Book by Catherine Johnson | Directed by John Miller-Stephany
“Typical, isn’t it? You wait 20 years for a dad and then three come along at once.”
Young bride-to-be Sophie desperately wants her father to walk her down the aisle. But there’s a catch – she’s not sure which of her mother’s old flames is “the one.” So, she invites all three, hoping she’ll learn the truth, which unleashes an out-of-control flood of memories – and irresistible pop music – into all of their lives.
Set to the infectious songs of Swedish supergroup ABBA, Mamma Mia! is a smash hit that has played to sold-out audiences around the world. Sing along with a phenomenal score that includes the hits “Dancing Queen,” “The Winner Takes It All,” “Lay All Your Love on Me,” and of course, the title song. My, my!
“I confess – I love ABBA’s music,” said Miller-Stephany. “And every once in a while it’s important to just let go and have fun.”
Daily Mail calls Mamma Mia! “ABBA-solutely fabulous!”
How you can you resist this effervescent musical, brought to life in brilliant Technicolor on The Rep’s stage?
God of Carnage
June 6 – 24, 2018
Opening Night on Friday, June 8, 2018
By Yasmina Reza | Translated by Christopher Hampton
Directed by Cliff Fannin Baker
“Courtesy is a waste of time, it weakens you and undermines you.”
A simple playground scuffle between their young sons thrusts two sets of affluent parents into an uproarious maelstrom of epic proportions. As they meet to provide a positive example of conflict resolution, what begins as a civil conversation over cocktails and canapés soon devolves into a juvenile war of words and unexpected ferocity.
Primal in its intensity, God of Carnage is a contemporary comedy of manners – minus the manners. From the fertile imagination of playwright Yasmina Reza (Art) comes this hilarious and terrifying descent into the heart of darkness – a searingly dark comedy for uncertain times.
Winner of three Tony Awards, including Best Play, Variety calls God of Carnage “elegant, acerbic and entertainingly fueled on pure bile.”
“A laugh out loud comedy of adults behaving badly,” said Miller-Stephany. “Perhaps civilization is truly only skin deep.”
PRODUCTION AT THE BLACK BOX THEATRE, The Rep Annex, 518 Main Street
New this Season, The Rep will run concurrent productions throughout the Christmas holiday. With the productions running on different stages and at staggered curtain times, patrons are encouraged to see both productions back-to-back.
The Santaland Diaries
Dec. 6 – 24, 2017
Opening Night on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017
By David Sedaris
“I prefer being frank with children. I’m more likely to say, “You must be exhausted,” or “I know a lot of people who would kill for that little waistline of yours.””
Crumpet is just your average department store Christmas Elf. He’s your average, every day, chain-smoking, martini-swilling, foul-mouthed, Santa-denying department store Christmas Elf. What starts out
as a mundane seasonal job to pay the bills becomes a darkly absurd quest through the grey and slush-filled streets of New York City at Christmastime. If the holidays make you feel more like Scrooge than Cratchit, more Grinch than Cindy Lou Who, more Abominable Snow Monster than Rudolph, then The Santaland Diaries is the perfect show for you!
“The Santaland Diaries is a hilarious antidote to all the saccharine the holiday season has to offer!” Miller-Stephany said.
Start a new Christmas tradition with the irreverent, biting wit of this semi-autobiographical masterpiece made popular on National Public Radio by humorist David Sedaris (Me Talk Pretty One Day).
Season Subscriptions are on sale now and start at $132, making subscribing to The Rep the most economical way to see all of the productions included in the 2017-18 Season.
For more information on Season Subscriptions, call The Rep’s Box Office at (501) 378-0405, Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., or visit www.TheRep.org.