2011-12 Season Announced – Long Wharf Theatre

A woman facing a life changing decision. Two men dealing with the aftermath of combat. A man searching for the value of his life. A group of friends trying to find creativity and love. These are just some of the characters on stage in Long Wharf Theatre’s 2011-12 season, one replete with innovative new plays, classic dramas and great musicals. 

“We will bring you theatre that is joyous, romantic and provocative. Long Wharf Theatre is built on the faith that theatre has something to say to each one of us and that when we come together for a performance we leave feeling a little more alive inside and more connected to each other,” said Artistic Director Gordon Edelstein.

Subscriptions are currently on sale. Single tickets for the 2011-12 season will go on sale Monday, August 1.

The first show on the Mainstage will be the hit musical Ain’t Misbehavin’, directed by Tony Award-winner Richard Maltby Jr. The show takes place from Oct. 26 through Nov. 20. “In our continued exploration of the great American musical, we are tackling Ain’t Misbehavin’, which is an homage to Fats Waller and a look at a highly influential style of performing. It is a type of time travel back to the 1920s, the days of Cotton Club, to a style of performance that we don’t see anymore,” Edelstein said. 

The classic holiday film It’s A Wonderful Life gets a magical adaptation Dec. 7 though January 1. Joe Landry;’s script takes the famous holiday story and recasts it as a live radio play. Audiences are transported back to see a unique kind of performance – live sound effects melded with a touching and funny story to create an aural masterpiece.

“It lets audiences’ imaginations breathe. It allows them to have some space from the movie and lets you hear the story anew,” Edelstein said. “It’s a resurrection story, which we love. It also asks us to consider what are the enduring values one should live for? It’s a story of a man whose good deeds ultimately save his life.”

Associate Artistic Director Eric Ting gives William Shakespeare an innovative new imagining in Macbeth 1969, being performed on the Mainstage from Jan. 18 through Feb. 12. Using Shakespeare’s play as inspiration, Ting explores two soldiers in a veterans’ hospital recovering from the ravages of war. “We are giving the play to artists who are interpreting the work anew. It will be a very visceral, visually thrilling experience. You’ll feel like you’ve never seen the play before. We are in a world overcome with war,” Edelstein said. “The quest for power is as primally human as any other impulse.”

Long Wharf Theatre is uniting with the Public Theater in New York to produce the world premiere of February House, a new musical featuring the music of up and comer Gabriel Kahane. The musical will bow on Stage II February 15 through March 18. Some of the greatest minds of the mid 20th century assemble in a small house in Brooklyn to create great art and a whole new way of looking at the world. “It is a kind of romp,” Edelstein said. “This musical is about breaking out. It is a celebration of eccentricity, artistry, and a kind of failed utopian dream. They are dreaming about making a better world. If they can make the better world in their home, maybe they can make one in the outside world.”

Bell Book and Candle by John Van Druten will take place on the Mainstage from March 7 through April 1. “This play is about leaving your life behind because you love someone so much,” Edelstein said. “It is a delightful romantic comedy, an overlooked gem.”

To conclude the season, Edelstein will direct a new adaptation of William Styron’s landmark novel Sophie’s Choice, by David Rintels. Film star Carla Gugino will play the title character in the production, which will play from April 25 through May 20. “This is one of the great novels of the 20th century. It’s a coming of age story about a young man who leaves his sheltered life and comes to New York to find himself as a writer and as a man. He encounters a world he could never have dreamed of – colorful, thrilling and horrible,” Edelstein said. “The human spirit is captured in both the Sistine Chapel and in the ovens of Auschwitz. Both are expressions of humanity. We are capable of both,” Edelstein said.

The first play of the season, taking place on Stage II from September 14 through October 16, will be a work from a major playwright and will be announced at a later date.

For more information about the 2011-12 season, visit www.longwharf.org or call 203-787-4282.

THE 2011-12 SEASON

AIN’T MISBEHAVIN’

BOOK BY MURRAY HORWITZ AND RICHARD MALTBY JR.

MUSIC BY THOMAS WRIGHT “FATS” WALLER

DIRECTED BY RICHARD MALTBY JR.

MAINSTAGE

10/26 – 11/20

Come back in time to 1930s Harlem, the Golden Age of jazz palaces like the The Cotton Club, the Savoy Ballroom and the honky tonk dives on Lenox Avenue, where pulsing swing music played all hours of the day. This funny, rowdy, yet startling beautiful musical brings to life the world of jazz great Fats Waller through songs like “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” “Honeysuckle Rose,” “The Joint is Jumpin’,” “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter,” and many other hits. Director Richard Maltby assembles his 1978 Tony Award winning team to return the show to its original cabaret-style luster.  “This musical re-creation of Fats Waller, the jazz singer and pianist, is a whole cluster of marvels … heart-stopping.” – The New York Times

IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE – A LIVE RADIO PLAY

BY JOE LANDRY

DIRECTED BY ERIC TING

MAINSTAGE

12/7 – 12/30

Inspired by the classic holiday film, It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play brings the spirit of the season to life live on stage right before your eyes (and ears).  Performed as a 1940s live radio broadcast in front of a studio audience, five actors play the dozens of characters as well as produce the sound effects telling the story of George Bailey and his realization that no man is a failure who has friends.  Let your imagination build the scene and see the story anew with this nostalgic and spirit-lifting tale. “One of the best holiday shows around. Fresh and inventive. Highly recommended.” – The Chicago Sun-Times

MACBETH 1969
BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

CONCEIVED AND ADAPTED BY ERIC TING

DIRECTED BY ERIC TING
MAINSTAGE

1/18-2/12

When two soldiers return home injured from war, a group of nurses at the veterans’ hospital tend to their injuries, both physical and psychological.  What emerges from the men’s thoughts are the ghosts of bloody deeds done and horrors inflicted as they deal with the aftermath of war.  Associate Artistic Director Eric Ting gives William Shakespeare’s original tale a powerful, contemporary, and imaginative reworking. “[Eric Ting] is perhaps one of the most gifted young directors in our midst …” – Hartford Courant

FEBRUARY HOUSE

A WORLD PREMIERE MUSICAL

SONGS AND LYRICS BY GABRIEL KAHANE

LIBRETTO BY SETH BOCKLEY

DIRECTED BY DAVIS MCCALLUM

CO-PRODUCED WITH THE PUBLIC THEATER

STAGE II

2/15 – 3/18

Bringing together some of the greatest and most colorful minds of a generation (W.H. Auden, Carson McCullers, Benjamin Britten, and Gypsy Rose Lee) George Davis tries to create his own utopia in a small house in Brooklyn in the 1940s.  The artists discover new ideas exploding at every turn as they find love, friendship and their own artistic voices in a time of war.  Written by up-and-coming composer Gabriel Kahane, the exciting score mixes elements of classical operetta, jazz, and musical comedy with modern folk-pop. “An undeniably gifted, exquisitely mannered young composer/songwriter, Kahane makes meticulously arranged art-pop with a heavy literary bent.” – Pitchfork

BELL, BOOK & CANDLE

BY JOHN VAN DRUTEN

DIRECTED DARKO TRESNJAK

MAINSTAGE

CO-PRODUCED WITH HARTFORD STAGE

3/7 – 4/1

Gillian Holroyd, a lively free spirit, is unlucky in love and restless in her life. She also happens to be a witch. So when she watches the love of her life, Shep Henderson, get engaged to her college rival, she uses every magical trick up her sleeve to stop the impending wedding. Gillian learns that love is the strongest spell of all in this delightful and charming romantic comedy. “The course of true love never runs smooth, but Darko Tresnjak’s stylish exploration of its twisty path, otherwise known as John van Druten’s Bell, Book and Candle goes down smooth” – Variety

SOPHIE’S CHOICE

A NEW PLAY BY DAVID RINTELS

BASED ON THE NOVEL BY WILLIAM STYRON

DIRECTED BY GORDON EDELSTEIN

WORLD PREMIERE

MAINSTAGE

4/25 – 5/20

Starring Carla Gugino (“Entourage,” Watchmen, Broadway’s Desire Under The Elms) and adapted from the iconic National Book Award winning novel. When Stingo, an aspiring southern writer, moves to Brooklyn in 1947, he finds himself helplessly drawn to the magnetic and beautiful Sophie.  She lives her life out loud; she is everything that he is not, and he is fascinated.  Over the course of one liberating, sexual, and eye-opening summer, Stingo discovers the true nature of the world: all at once colorful, horrible, and thrilling. “Styron’s most impressive performance … it belongs on that small shelf reserved for American masterpieces.” – The Washington Post.