Theater: NORTH COAST REP’S 40TH SEASON ANNOUNCEMENT (Solano Beach near San Diego)

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by John Todd on May 20, 2021

in Theater-Los Angeles,Theater-Regional

Two West Coast premieres, one Southern California premiere and one World Premiere highlight an engaging, eclectic 2021-2022 seven-play series at North Coast Repertory Theatre, now celebrating its 40th season. Among the offerings are a Tony Award-winning masterpiece, a poignant love story, a critical event in American history, an unexpected friendship, and three unforgettable, charming musicals.

Plays that are passionate, hilarious, heartfelt, unexpected and entertaining, the series begins with Dancing Lessons by Mark St. Germain (Freud’s Last Session, Becoming Dr. Ruth). We meet two highly offbeat characters, a Broadway dancer and a science professor, each coping with physical and emotional challenges, as they forge an unexpected friendship play. Richard Baird directs this heartfelt play, which runs September 8 – October 3, 2021.

Up next is Ben Butler by Richard Strand. Inspired by real-life characters who were involved in a critical event in history during the Civil War, this intriguing story spotlights General Benjamin Butler, who has just taken over Fort Monroe, and is immediately faced with an impossible moral dilemma – follow the letter of the law or make a game-changing move that could alter the course of U.S. history. It’s a battle of wit, word play and comic escalations as the characters cleverly spar with each other on respect, equality and civil rights. Directed by David Ellenstein, the play runs October 20 – November 14, 2021.

Uncorking the New Year’s celebration is the West Coast Premiere of a rollicking romantic musical, Desperate Measures, (see our review of the Original Cast Recording) based (loosely) on Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure.  Fully loaded with laughs and toe-tappin’ music, this no-holds-barred romp manages to address law and order, justice, and hypocrisy in the Wild West. Helmed by Christopher Williams, it runs from January 12 – February 6, 2022.

Next on the schedule is a powerful Tony Award winning drama, THE HOMECOMING.  Often regarded as Harold Pinter’s most enduring play, this masterwork of family warfare is set in an all-male household that relies on fantasy and one-upmanship for its very existence. This toxic, but familiar pattern is disrupted when a long-absent son returns with his new wife. Her presence ignites an explosive situation, one that is vicious, funny and unsettling. A must-see for discerning theatregoers. Directed by David Ellenstein. Runs March 2 – March 27, 2022.  Suitable for mature audiences only.

Following is FORBIDDEN BROADWAY’S GREATEST HITS. Celebrate Broadway’s unforgettable musical legends! Meet Broadway’s greatest satirist in this hilarious, loving, and endlessly entertaining tribute to some of the theatre’s most cherished stars and songwritersGerard Alessandrini parodies Broadway musicals including Chicago, Phantom, Fiddler and many others, with wit, charm, and hysterical lyrics. This world- renowned show is a one-stop ticket to non-stop laughs! Directed by William Selby. Runs April 20 – May 15, 2022.

The West Coast Premiere of The Outgoing Tide continues Season 40. Fiercely proud and battling the torments of an aging mind and an uncertain future, one man devises a plan, but his family has other ideas.  Deftly moving between present and past, playwright Bruce Graham weaves a highly relatable story sprinkled with surprising humor and powerful emotions. This touching family drama poses thought-provoking questions about personal choice and what it means to truly love someone. Runs June 8 – July 3, 2022, and is directed by Nike Doukas.

Rounding out the regular season is a special treat, the World Premiere of the musical, The Remarkable Mister Holmes. London 1890s. A string of baffling crimes challenges the world’s most notorious detective, Sherlock Holmes, and his new assistant. Not only do they sleuth and scrutinize — but they also sing! Fast-paced, outrageous, and irreverent, this clever musical pays loving homage to the original Arthur Conan Doyle tales. A world premiere musical designed to   thrill theatre-lovers and Sherlock buffs alike. Directed by David Ellenstein and running July 20 – August 14, 2022.

Not part of the Subscription is the return engagement of a dramatic musical theatrical experience, ALWAYS…PATSY CLINECreated and originally directed by Ted Swindley  — based on a true story. This musical has enjoyed great success all over the United States including a successful run off Broadway. The show is based on a true story of Patsy’s friendship with a fan, Louise Seger, who continued a correspondence with Cline to the end of her life. The musical play includes many of Patsy’s unforgettable hits such as “Crazy,” “I Fall To Pieces,” and “Walking After Midnight.” Treat yourself to the play that will leave you humming these memorable songs from December 8 – January 2, 2022, directed by Allegra Libonati.

As a bonus, North Coast Rep is again presenting An Iliad, by Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare and translated by Robert Fagles. By popular demand, we were asked to bring back this originally streaming production, but to present it live. This production is not part of the subscription series. An Iliad is a dynamic tour-de-force adaptation of Homer’s classic poem about the Trojan War. A war-weary poet recalls the nobility, savagery and valor of the battles and warriors, while deftly exploring the human costs of war through the centuries. Award-winning actor Richard Baird brings to life the power and humor of this brilliant, enthralling adaptation. A theatrical experience that is not to be missed. Run dates are March 31 – April 10, 2022 and directed by David Ellenstein.

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