The Arkansas Repertory Theatre
announced its 2016-17 lineup this morning, its first season in 17 years that won't be steered by Artistic Director Bob Hupp, who announced his departure for Syracuse, NY, in January
"Planning the upcoming season in anticipation of the arrival of our new Producing Artistic Director reminds me how much I've loved working at The Rep these past 17 years," Hupp said in a release, "and how much I know you'll enjoy all that's in store for the theatre's exciting future."
The full lineup:
"Monty Python's Spamalot" (Aug. 31-Oct. 2)
"The Pythons are famous for their silly, quirky comedy and I'm a big fan of their style," says Melissa Rain Anderson, who will direct the production. "Though the humor is irreverent, the tone is still very buoyant. There's a sweet spot with delivering that type of humor. The key is committing to that zone and playing within that very specific zany realm."
"The Crucible" (Oct. 26-Nov. 13)
Director Paul Barnes: "It is fascinating to view our new century through the probing moral questions that permeate [Arthur] Miller's work: How do we define manhood? What does it mean to have a conscience and to let it guide us? How can we be better human beings?"
"A Christmas Story" (Nov. 30-Dec. 24)
"'A Christmas Story' transports us to the bygone era of the 1940s and the recollections of a family Christmas like no other," says director Mark Shanahan. "Full of wit, imagination and heartfelt nostalgia."
"Sister Act" (Jan. 25-Feb. 26)
"A good number of years ago I saw this show when it was still in previews in London," director (and founding Artistic Director of The Rep) Cliff Baker says. "I immediately thought Rep audiences would love this! The show joyfully celebrates our foibles and follies."
"Jar the Floor" (March 29-April 16)
"Each time I come back to this piece, I am pleasantly surprised by the appreciation and delight that audiences express as they peek into this special day-in-the-life of these four generations of women," says director Gilbert McCauley, who has directed eight previous Rep productions (including an earlier production of this work). "I get the sense that audiences enjoy it because the writing reflects an admiration for human resilience coupled with a compassion for human frailty. While it is filled with raucous and often poignant humor, the playwright, Cheryl West, says her play is also about 'making peace — with one's scars, with one's history and ... one's mother.'"
"Godspell" (May 31-June 25)
"I am overjoyed to be returning to The Rep next season as director of the newly conceived cirque/aerial version of 'Godspell,'" says Donna Drake, referring to the re-imagined production of the classic Stephen Schwartz musical, which is here updated as a "Southern parable set in a down-on-its-luck circus during the height of the Civil Rights Movement." (The Rep will collaborate with 2 Ring Circus for the show.) "I wanted to develop and work on this production at The Rep because I know I will be surrounded by extraordinary talent, brilliant design, a supportive team and dear friends; all the tools needed to create magic."