NEW HAVEN — Long Wharf Theatre (Joshua Borenstein, Managing Director) announces its 54th season, a series of relevant and exciting plays by contemporary writers that explore compelling themes in a profoundly empathetic and poetic way.

“Putting the season together is like picking out clothes for a friend – you want to select something which is simultaneously their taste and yours. These plays are a perfect fit for our audience – they are fun, topical, and represent some of the best writers in America today,” Borenstein said.

“This is a season that encourages us to ask compelling questions of ourselves, our society, and our world. These plays challenge us to stay awake, stay present, and have integrity in the way we live our lives,” said Literary Manager Christine Scarfuto.

“This is a great time in the American theatre. There are many provocative voices that are all mining their own stylistic territory,” said Associate Producer Drew Gray.

Subscriptions are currently available. For more information, visit longwharf.org or call 203-787-4282.

The season will begin with The Roommate, Jen Silverman’s comedy about two women in their fifties who become unlikely roommates and forge new lives for themselves. The play will take place October 10 to November 4, 2018 on the Claire Tow Stage in the C. Newton Schenck III Theatre. Scarfuto has long been drawn to Silverman’s theatricality and versatility as a writer. “The two women at the heart of this story discover an unexpected hope and excitement about their future,” Scarfuto said.

Dominique Morisseau continues her exploration of her hometown of Detroit in the lyrical and surprising Paradise Blue. The show will run November 21 through December 16, 2018 on the Claire Tow Stage in the C. Newton Schenck III Theatre. “Similarly to what August Wilson did with his Pittsburgh Cycle, Dominique dives deeply into Detroit and examines some of the big issues that the city has faced over the past 70 years. Her writing is vibrant and stylized, and she creates characters that are enormously captivating,” Scarfuto said. “Long Wharf Theatre has long been a home for classic American drama. I believe that this play has the weight of those great works, fully realized, dense and poetic,” Gray said.

Miller, Mississippi by Boo Killebrew was one of the highlights of the theatre’s 2016 Contemporary American Voices Festival. Killebrew’s tale of a Southern family struggling with through the radical changes of the civil rights movement will take place from January 9 through February 3, 2019 on Stage II. “This is a play we’ve loved for some time,” Gray said. “What I find so fascinating about this play is how it delicately balances large scale social issues with intimate family issues.” “Killebrew creates a very captivating, well-told tale. The issues that the play wrestles with – racism, the way it is institutionalized, and passively tolerated for generations – offers a kind of warning, that when we become complacent with the way things are, they can come back around,” Scarfuto said.

Nia Vardalos’ innovative adaptation of Cheryl Strayed bestselling novel Tiny Beautiful Things will play in the Claire Tow Stage in the C. Newton Schenck III Theatre from February 13 through March 10, 2019. “I felt totally broken open by this play. It is a portrayal of real humanity and vulnerability, and the heartbreaks people go through every day. It gets to the essence of what it means to be human, the beautiful highs and tragic lows, and how resilient we are,” Scarfuto said.

The poet Homer gets a modern reworking in An Iliad, running from March 27 through April 21, 2019 on Stage II. “An Iliad is a universal story of war, one that has been retold for centuries. There is something to the fact we see these war stories over and over again but nothing seems change. The essence of war remains the same,” Scarfuto said. “I think what co-adaptors Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare have done is take this monolithic text and contextualize and personalize it in a way that makes the truth of the people living in this ancient world relevant and accessible to us all,” Gray said.

The season will conclude with A Doll’s House, Part 2 by Lucas Hnath, which runs from May 1 through 26, 2019 in the Claire Tow Stage in the C. Newton Schenck III Theatre . Hnath revisits Ibsen’s heroine Nora 15 years after she famously slammed the door on her marriage. “The play is a rousing debate about marriage that feels so relevant today,” Scarfuto said. “What is so great about A Doll’s House Part Two is the way it can be so many different things at the same time. It is simultaneously a genuine sequel to Ibsen’s work and a commentary and satire on the original play. It is a thought-provoking and funny piece of theatre that delivers on all of the ambitions of the title,” Gray said.

For more information or to purchase subscriptions, visit longwharf.org or call 203-787-4282.

2018-19 Season
The Roommate
By Jen Silverman
Directed by Mike Donahue
Claire Tow Stage in the C. Newton Schenck III Theatre
October 10 through November 4, 2018

Sharon, in her mid-fifties, is recently divorced and needs a roommate to share her Iowa home. Robyn, also in her mid-fifties, needs a place to hide and a chance to start over. Sharon begins to uncover Robyn’s secrets, encouraging her own deep-seated desire to transform her life completely. A comedy about what it takes to re-route your life—and what happens when the wheels come off. “With humor and heart, Silverman has written a play that explores, with great empathy, relationships with self and with others. The Roommate tugs at the heartstrings as much as it tickles the funny bone.”– Louisville.com
Paradise Blue
By Dominique Morisseau
Claire Tow Stage in the C. Newton Schenck III Theatre
November 21 through December 16, 2018

Blue, a gifted trumpeter, contemplates selling his once-vibrant Paradise Club in Detroit’s Blackbottom neighborhood to better his life. But where does that leave his devoted Pumpkin, who has dreams of her own? And what does it mean for the club’s resident bebop band? This dynamic and musically-infused drama shines light on the challenges of building a better future. “…a juicy and resonant piece of writing, filled to the brim with complex, empathetic characters struggling and infighting as part of a community living under extreme duress. It is not hard to become involved with their choices and worry about their futures.” – Chicago Tribune.

Miller, Mississippi
By Boo Killebrew
Directed by Lee Sunday Evans
Stage II
January 9 through February 3, 2019

Set in volatile Civil Rights-era Mississippi, Miller, Mississippi is a Southern Gothic tale of one family’s devastating descent into ruin. As the country lurches towards a future of racial equality, the Miller family is poisoned by its own legacy. A highlight of LWT’s 2016 Contemporary American Voices Festival, Killebrew’s play shows how world-changing events affect individuals in deeply profound and personal ways. “This play is damn good and feels necessary and important in the complicated world it’s been born into.” – Dallas Observer

Tiny Beautiful Things
Based on the Book by Cheryl Strayed
Adapted for the Stage by Nia Vardalos
Co-Conceived by Marshall Heyman, Thomas Kail and Nia Vardalos
Claire Tow Stage in the C. Newton Schenck III Theatre
February 13 through March 10, 2019

Sugar is an anonymous online advice columnist—later revealed to be Cheryl Strayed—who thousands of people have turned to for words of wisdom, honesty and hope. At first unsure of herself, Sugar finds a way to weave her own life experiences together with the deep yearning and real problems of her readers, creating a beloved column about the endless dark and glimmering light in the heart of every human being. Based on Strayed’s bestselling book, Tiny Beautiful Things is a deeply funny, empathetic, and uplifting experience. “I couldn’t help feeling grateful… for a show that aims to open our eyes to the tiny moments when the world surprises us with care.” – vulture.com

An Iliad
Adapted from Homer
By Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare
Translation by Robert Fagles
Stage II
March 27 through April 21, 2019

Visionary creators Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare have crafted a sprawling yarn based on Homer’s epic poem that spins the familiar tale of gods and goddesses, undying love and endless battles told through an original and immediate voice. An Iliad tells the story of humanity’s unshakeable attraction to violence, destruction and chaos. Has anything really changed since the Trojan War? “Explosive, altogether breathtaking… Brilliantly meshes past and present calamity, with touches of the most caustic dark humor suddenly shifting into unimaginable pathos.” – Chicago Sun-Times

A Doll’s House, Part 2
By Lucas Hnath
Claire Tow Stage in the C. Newton Schenck III Theatre
May 1 through 29, 2019

Nora made the shocking decision to leave her husband and children and begin a life of her own. Many years have passed since she decided to slam the door on everything. Now, there’s a knock on that same door. Nora has returned. But why? And what will it mean for those she left behind? Smart and engrossing, the Tony Award-winning A Doll’s House, Part 2 has a fresh take on masterwork of world drama. “…lucid and absorbing…Modern in its language, mordant in its humor and suspenseful in its plotting…the play judiciously balances conflicting ideas about freedom, love and responsibility.” – Time Out NY