The Arkansas Repertory Theatre's 2018-19 season will include two diverse musicals, a classic American drama, a Shakespeare comedy and a stage adaptation of a 1960s film that bears a timely message for 21st century audiences.
The Rep's producing artistic director, John Miller-Stephany, who will be directing three of the six productions, announced the season for patrons Monday evening at the theater on Little Rock's Main Street.
The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams will open the season Sept. 5-23. "It's such a beautiful play," said Miller-Stephany, who will be directing the four-member cast. The drama, set in a post-Depression St. Louis tenement, focuses on a woman nostalgic for her Southern debutante past; her two children are a rebellious son and his painfully shy sister obsessed with her collection of fragile glass animals.
The rest of the season:
• Oct. 24-Nov. 11: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Todd Kreidler's adaptation of William Rose's screenplay for the 1967 film that starred Katherine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy and Sidney Poitier, focusing on an interracial relationship and its impact on the young woman's supposedly liberal parents. Rep founder Cliff Fannin Baker will direct.
"It's a really smart adaptation," Miller-Stephany said. "Sadly, it's still quite important in terms of messaging. The laws have changed since '67; when the film came out there were still so many states where interracial marriage was illegal. But we're not living in a post-racist society. So I think it's still incredibly relevant."
• Dec. 5-30: Miller-Stephany will also direct the musical version of Little Women (music by Jason Howland, lyrics by Mindi Dickstein, book by Allan Knee, based on the Louisa May Alcott novel). Four sisters, led by tomboy Jo, stand resilient in post-Civil War New England while they and their mother await the return from war of their father.
• Feb. 6-24, 2019: As You Like It by William Shakespeare. Giovanna Sardelli, who helmed the Rep's successful and highly antic production this season of the adaptation of Moliere's School for Lies, will direct the story of a young woman who disguises herself as a man to pursue her beloved into a slightly enchanted forest. Miller-Stephany said that after several serious, male-centric dramas at the Rep over the last half-dozen years (including Hamlet, Macbeth and Henry V). "I thought we should look at one of the comedies," and was especially drawn to the strong female character at its center.
• March 27-April 21, 2019: Million Dollar Quartet, original concept and direction by Floyd Mutrux, inspired by the music of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins; book by Mutrux and Colin Escott. The show, which has been through here on tour, focuses on the Dec. 4, 1956, Sun Records recording session with Presley, Cash, Perkins, Lewis and producer Sam Phillips. Director Hunter Foster originated the role of Phillips on Broadway and has put together several productions since, so Miller-Stephany said he was optimistic he'd be able to put together a cast with the necessary "skill sets."
• June 5-23, 2019: Women in Jeopardy by Wendy MacLeod. Miller-Stephany, who will also be directing this contemporary comedy about three divorcees in their 40s who have bonded over a book club, described it as "a guffawing-type piece."
Season subscription information is available by calling (501) 378-0405 or online at TheRep.org.
Metro on 02/20/2018
Print Headline: Rep's 2018-19 season will tackle Glass Menagerie, Shakespeare comedy