Long Wharf Theatre announces its 2013-14 season


Long Wharf Theatre, under the direction of Artistic Director Gordon Edelstein and Managing Director Joshua Borenstein, announces the slate of plays for its 49th season.

Subscriptions are currently on sale. Single tickets for the 2013-14 Season will go on sale Thursday, August 1.

“We’ve assembled a wide range of engaging, enlightening, and exhilaration opportunities for people to have a great night out at the theatre. It’s a season about laughter, love, family, work and disappointment – in short, stories about human beings connecting,” Edelstein said. “We want to remind people that what they get through the live experience they can’t get anywhere else.”

The season will begin with a farce, The Underpants, by Steve Martin, directed by Edelstein. Martin’s play is based on Carl Sternheim’s play Die Hose, which was banned in Germany in 1911 for its risqué content. Martin brings his own uniquely comic sensibility to the work, Edelstein said. “The Underpants is a wild sex farce, a look at old fashioned male attitudes towards women. It is done with a satiric edge that is right from the mind of Steve Martin – a sense of humor that is really smart and really silly. That’s what makes Steve Martin unique,” Edelstein said.

Phylicia Rashad will make her Long Wharf Theatre directorial debut with Fences, the Pulitzer Prize-winning classic by August Wilson. “I was, and remain, fascinated by the idea of an audience as a community of people who gather to bear witness,” Wilson said in a Paris Review interview. It is a nostalgia piece looking at a moment when African Americans were breaking into sports. The play is, in some ways, about frustrated ambitions, talented black athletes who realized that it is too late for them. Troy Maxton realized what he could have been instead of what he was. I think audiences will be extremely moved by his story,” Edelstein said.

Heidi Schreck, known for her brilliant career as both an actor and a playwright, will debut her newest work, The Consultant, on Stage II in Januaryl. The Consultant deals with the absurd world of the modern workplace and the unlikely relationships formed there. “Schreck, also an Obie-winning actress, has a gift for writing layered characters,” said Backstage. Edelstein places The Consultant in the theatre’s grand lineage of workplace plays – pieces like The Adding Machine, How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, and The Front Page. “It is a fresh new comedy-drama about the contemporary corporate culture of consultants middle management and office paranoia. Schreck’s play is irreverent, a little kooky and very humane,” Edelstein said.

Amy Herzog, author of 4000 Miles, playing the Mainstage in late February, is being lauded as one of the important new voices in the American theatre. The play“…is a very honest look at the unsteady relationship between a grandmother and grandson who are worlds apart generationally. . I think our audiences will recognize themselves and laugh a lot. They’ll be completely engaged in this relationship,” Edelstein said. Critics have raved about the play. “Plays as truthful and touching and fine as 4000 Miles come along once or maybe twice a season,” said Charles Isherwood in the New York Times. “This is the rare theatrical production that achieves perfection on its own terms.”

Athol Fugard makes his first appearance on stage in over a decade in the world premiere of his most recent work The Shadow of the Hummingbird. This sensitive portrayal of an 80-year-old man giving advice to his young grandson will take place on Stage II in April. “This is a great work by a late master about living and dying, and how to live one’s life” Edelstein said. “It is written by and starring one of the most important voices in the world theatre in the last fifty years. We are honored that Athol has chosen to give us his newest play.”

The season will conclude with the much beloved musical The Last Five Years, taking place in May on the Mainstage. “The Last Five Years is a beautiful and heartbreaking romance from Jason Robert Brown, one of Broadway’s most gifted young composers. It is a brilliantly moving portrait of a marriage with gorgeous music and hilarious lyrics. I think this love story strikes a chord with people of all ages,” Edelstein said.

For more information about the 2013-14 season, or to purchase tickets, visit www.longwharf.org or call 203-787-4282.



The Underpants 

By Carl Sternheim 

An Adaptation by Steve Martin 

Directed by Gordon Edelstein

October 16-November 10, 2013 – The Claire Tow Stage in the C. Newton Schenck III Theatre

Pretty young Louise is bored.  Bored with her stuffy bureaucrat of a husband and with her small life.  Dreaming of adventure and romance, she goes out to see the King on parade and an unexpected thing happens – her lacy bloomers accidentally fall to her ankles, winning her notoriety, a series of smitten suitors, and more excitement than she’s had in years.  Adapted by film actor and legendary comedian Steve Martin, The Underpants is a stylish and giddy farce where one learns to never underestimate the power of a glimpse of lingerie. Co-production with Hartford Stage.



By August Wilson 

Directed by Phylicia Rashad 

November 27-December 22, 2013 – The Claire Tow Stage in the C. Newton Schenck III Theatre

Troy Maxson found glory in the Negro Leagues battling fastballs on the outside corner, the pitches that meant life or death for a baseball player.  But it’s the 1950s, and his opportunity to play in the major leagues has passed.  Now he’s a garbage man struggling to provide for his family, trying to contain his bitterness as he seeks solace from spinning tales on his front porch.  Because of his race, Troy is left in a world where life’s daily battles take on the scope of epic conflict.  This Pulitzer Prize-winning classic by August Wilson, part of his renowned Century Cycle, introduces one of the truly unforgettable characters of the American stage to Long Wharf Theatre audiences. Co-production with the McCarter Theatre.


The Consultant

By Heidi Schreck

January 8-February 9, 2014

World Premiere

Does anyone still actually work at Sutton, Feingold and McGrath?  Through all the layoffs and the tough times, the remaining employees find themselves thrown together by the vagaries of the modern workplace.  This unlikely crew negotiates downsizing, promotions, friendship, and love, in hilarious and often poignant ways.  This world premiere by an up and coming writer, last seen as an actress at LWT in The Old Masters, offers a new take on the grand comedy tradition of “The Adding Machine.”


4000 Miles

By Amy Herzog

Directed by Eric Ting

February 19- March 16, 2014 – The Claire Tow Stage in the C. Newton Schenck III Theatre

Twenty-one-year-old Leo is lost.  He has just biked 4,000 miles from California looking for life’s answers, and is now holed up in a Greenwich Village apartment living with his ninety-one-year-old grandmother,  Vera.  Does he really need his feisty left-wing Grandma offering him new perspectives on the world?  We discover that growing and learning don’t stop with youth in this Pulitzer Prize finalist called a “funny, moving, altogether wonderful drama” by The New York Times. 


The Shadow of the Hummingbird

By Athol Fugard

Directed by Gordon Edelstein

World Premiere

March 26-April 27, 2014 – Stage II

What is the best way to live your life?  Legendary playwright Athol Fugard asks this ultimate question in this brand new play.  When a grandfather, played by Fugard in his first return to the stage since 1997, is surprised by the arrival of his ten-year-old grandson who is playing hooky from school, the two end up spending a memorable afternoon together. In a lovely meditation on the beauty and transience of the world around us, Fugard continues to mine the depths of the human spirit with profound empathy and heart.


The Last Five Years

Music and Lyrics by
Jason Robert Brown

Directed by Gordon Edelstein

May 7-June 1, 2014 – The Claire Tow Stage in the C. Newton Schenck III Theatre

“Exhilaration so intense it brings tears of joy…exciting, innovative and altogether inspiring”

Chicago Tribune

Sparks fly when Jamie, and Cathy first meet and fall desperately in love.  They soon learn, however, that as their careers head in very different directions happily ever after can be hard to find.  This uniquely told musical filled with intimacy, honesty, and humor features a lush and witty score.  Cathy tells their story starting at the end of their marriage and ending on their first amazing date, while Jamie tells their story from the first stirring of their romance to the collapse of their marriage.  Jason Robert Brown’s Drama Desk Award-winning musical takes an emotionally powerful look at the joys and heartbreak of relationships in the big city.