Marsha Mason-Directed “Chapter Two,” “The River Bride,” Grand Re-Imagination of “Man of La Mancha,” “Outside Mullingar,” “Low Down Dirty Blues,” New “Diary of Anne Frank”
Following one of its most successful seasons ever, Arizona Theatre Company launches its next 50 years with a 2017-18 season full of drama, romance and music. The entertaining, thoughtful, impactful productions that have been the hallmark of the Southwest’s largest fully professional theatre for the last half-century will mark ATC’s 51st season. I. Michael and Beth Kasser are the 2017-18 season sponsors.“An ideal season at ATC creates a meeting place for the many communities that make up our dynamic home in Arizona,” said Artistic Director David Ira Goldstein. “Our audiences come from every county in the state and have an eager thirst for theatre experiences that range from reimagined classics to new plays. This season, specifically, contains a large dose of romance and larger-than-life characters from all over the world. Whether set in chic New York or deep in the Amazon jungle, the plains of Spain or the farmland of Ireland, a Chicago blues club or a tiny attic hideaway in Amsterdam, they all focus on the very personal stories of characters rich in heart and humanity.”The six productions for the 2017-18 mainstage season:• Chapter TwoBy Neil Simon.Directed by Marsha MasonLove always deserves another chapter. Neil Simon is one of the most successful and performed playwrights in the world. Chapter Two is his semi-autobiographical comedy about a recently widowed writer, George Schneider, who is introduced by his press-agent brother to soap opera actress Jennie Malone. Both are trying to come to terms with starting from scratch, and, through their friends who are determined to see the two happy again, the pair meet and begin a whirlwind romance. The play was written as a tribute to Mason, Simon’s second wife, who was also nominated for an Academy Award and won a Golden Globe for playing the lead role in the film. Mason, who wowed us last season with her direction of An Act of God will direct this comedy filled with truth and wisdom.Tucson: Sept. 9-30Phoenix: October 5-22• The River BrideMarisela Treviño Orta.Once upon a time, in a fishing village along the Amazon, there lived two sisters struggling to find their happily-ever-after. Helena is dreading her sister Belmira’s wedding. The groom, Duarte, should have been hers! And she knows that her sister only wants to escape their sleepy Brazilian town for an exciting new life in the city. But, three days before the wedding, fishermen pull a mysterious stranger out of the river – a man with no past who offers both sisters an alluring, possibly dangerous future. Brazilian folklore and lyric storytelling blend into a heart-rending tale of true love, regret, transformation and the struggle to stay true to your family staying true to yourself. 2013 winner of ATC’s National Latino Playwrighting Award.“A mesmerizing, magical tale of heartbreaking romance. A shining example of what live theatre is all about.” Times StandardTucson: Oct. 21 to Nov. 11Phoenix: Nov. 16 to Dec. 3• Man of La ManchaBook by Dale Wasserman, Lyrics by Joe Darion, Music by Mitch LeightA new dream for a new era. Following the record-breaking success of ATC’s Fiddler on the Roof, we create a thrilling new production of the brilliant Tony Award-winning favorite about dreaming the impossible dream. Our quest is to bring you a Man of La Mancha that fully realizes the triumphant story and the score of beloved songs including the iconic “Impossible Dream,” while pulsating with the vibrant culture of Spain. This exciting new staging takes inspiration from the spontaneous, raw theatricality of flamenco performance – focusing on the passion and virtuosity of the performers and musicians as they tell the intertwined stories of Don Quixote and his imprisoned creator, Miguel de Cervantes. This thrilling new staging will amplify the lasting power and potent emotions of this beloved musical. Tucson Sponsor: Jim and Dolly Moran. Phoenix Sponsor: Joanie Flatt and Michael Flatt.Tucson: Dec. 2-23Phoenix: Jan. 11-28, 2018• Outside MullingarJohn Patrick ShanleyDirected by David IversFrom the author of Doubt and Moonstruck comes this charmer of a romantic comedy set in the farmlands of Ireland. Anthony and Rosemary are two introverted misfits straddling 40. Anthony is painfully shy and has spent his entire life on a cattle farm. Rosemary lives right next door, and is determined to have him at all costs! She has every reason to fear romantic catastrophe, but these yearning, eccentric souls fight their way toward solid ground and some kind of happiness. Poetic, uplifting, dark and funny, Outside Mullingar is a compassionate work about how sometimes the very things we’re looking for happen to be right in front of us the whole time.“Both funny and poignant. John Patrick Shanley has not written a more beautiful or loving play than Outside Mullingar.” VarietyTucson: Jan. 20 to Feb. 10Phoenix: Feb. 15 to March 4• Low Down Dirty BluesBy Randal Myler and Dan WheetmanDirected by Randal MylerThe club may be closed but the party is heating up! This sizzling revue finds a group of veteran blues musicians assembled for an after-hours jam session to swap stories and share their favorite low down dirty tunes pulled from the greatest hits of Muddy Waters, Mae West, Ma Rainey, Sophie Tucker, Howlin’ Wolf, Pearl Bailey and many others. Featuring two dozen smokin’ songs filled with passion, soul and a love of life, these hot rhythms celebrate the bawdier side of the blues and are guaranteed to keep the theatre sultry and steamy from the first note to the last. The creative team that tore down the house at ATC with It Ain’t Nothin’ But the Blues and Love, Janis turns up the heat with this uniquely rousing, raucous musical event!“Highly recommended ... a unique combination of authenticity and theatrical polish.” Chicago Sun TimesTucson: March 10-31Phoenix: April 5-22• The Diary of Anne FrankDramatized by Frances Goodrich and Albert HackettAdapted by Wendy KesselmanDirected by David Ira GoldsteinA co-production with Geva Theatre Center of Rochester, NY.Finding hope in the darkest corners. One of the most powerful stories of the 20th century, The Diary of Anne Frank captures the catastrophic realities of eight people hiding from the Nazis in a concealed storage attic in war-torn Amsterdam. Anne’s daily existence – her fears, her hopes, her laughter, her grief and her family’s desperate attempt to preserve humanity in an inhumane world -- drive this transcendently powerful true-life tale. Incorporating newly discovered writings from the diary of Anne Frank as well as survivor accounts to create an impassioned story of the lives of Jews persecuted under Nazi rule, it is a story that continually lingers in our minds throughout the generations because of its optimism and intrinsic truth. The idea that no matter how dire the circumstances, faith in the good of people is what keeps the world in balance – even when all seems lost. Tucson Sponsor: Shirley Estes.Tucson: April 21 to May 12Phoenix: May 17 to June 3Season ticket packages are now available. Build-your-own subscriptions for 3, 4 or 5 play packages and Flex Passes also are on sale. Season-packages in Tucson range from $135 to $345 and in Phoenix from $135 to $435.For more information, visit www.arizonatheatre.org or call the box office in Phoenix at (602) 256-6995 or in Tucson at (520) 622-2823.About Arizona Theatre Company:Arizona Theatre Company (ATC) is the preeminent fully professional theatre in the state of Arizona, committed to inspiring, engaging, and entertaining - one moment, one production, and one audience at a time. Boasting the largest seasonal subscriber base in the performing arts in Arizona, ATC is the only resident company in the U.S. that is fully based in two cities providing its wide array of programming and community outreach across the region. Now in its 50th season, more than 130,000 people each year attend our performances at the historic Temple of Music and Art in Tucson, and the elegant Herberger Theater Center in downtown Phoenix. Each season of home-grown productions reflects the rich variety of world drama—from classics to contemporary plays, from musicals to new works—along with a wide array of community outreach programs, educational opportunities, access initiatives and new play programs. Designated The State Theatre of Arizona, ATC is led by Artistic Director David Ira Goldstein and a dedicated Board of Trustees.