Asolo Repertory Theatre made the official announcement of its 2019-20 season on Monday afternoon, with three musicals and five plays in the mix. FST/Asolo Conservatory also announced its season—and that of its summertime theater company, Dog Days—at the event in the Mertz Theatre.
The Asolo Rep season begins in November with Rodgers & Hammerstein’s tale of the Von Trapp family, The Sound of Music (Nov. 16-Dec. 28), directed by Josh Rhodes, who has previously directed and choreographed Evita and Guys and Dolls here. Producing artistic director Michael Donald Edwards promises “a completely fresh take” on this oft-produced musical.
The winter rotating rep season kicks off with an adaptation by Ken Ludwig of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express (Jan. 10-March 8), featuring her famous detective Hercule Poirot and a trainload of suspects in the murder of a ruthless tycoon. Peter Amster will direct the show, which adds more humor to the original tale.
The recent Broadway hit The Lifespan of a Fact (Jan. 24-March 19) will be directed by Asolo Rep associate director Celine Rosenthal. Starring Daniel Radcliff in the Broadway version, this play centers on a millennial fact-checker at work on a groundbreaking essay for a magazine who may be taking his assignment too far.
The third in the rotating rep line-up is George Brant’s Into the Breeches! (Feb. 14-March 12), directed by Cleveland Play House artistic director Laura Kepley. In this piece set during World War II, a theater faces a dilemma in staging its next season, since all its leading men are off in the fight. But the director’s wife comes up with a solution: an all-female cast in a production of Shakespeare’s Henry V. Edwards calls Into the Breeches! “surprisingly modern and moving.”
A work by Lauren Yee (whose In A Word is currently onstage at Urbanite Theatre) takes the next season slot with a production in the Cook Theatre, March 20-April 11. Set in San Francisco in 1989, The Great Leap brings us Manford Lum, a kid who talks his way onto a college basketball team headed to Beijing and finds himself in the middle of China’s post-Cultural Revolution.
The already announced world premiere musical Knoxville will bow April 10-25, featuring songs by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens (Ragtime, Once On This Island) and an adaptation by director Frank Galati of James Agee’s autobiographical novel A Death in the Family. Josh Rhodes choreographs this story examining the mysteries of life and death, faith and doubt in a quintessentially American coming-of-age story.
The legend of outlaw Robin Hood gets a new telling in Hood, with a book by five-time Tony-nominated playwright Douglas Carter Beane and songs by Lewis Flinn, May 15-31. It’s billed as a “madcap new musical adventure” with a 21st-century twist in its look at the escapades of Robin, his merry men and Maid Marian.
As it has done for the past few seasons, Asolo Rep closes the year with a family-friendly production, an adaptation of the classic fairy tale Snow White (June 12-28), with actors playing multiple roles and multiple instruments in yet another music-filled show.
Asolo Rep will also present its annual fall education tour, an FSU/Asolo Conservatory 45-minute adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. The Conservatory will also present the full-length version of the tragic love story as its season closer, April 7-25, in the Selby Gardens’ setting. But prior to that, The Conservatory offers Sophocles’ Antigone (Oct. 29-Nov. 17); Rajiv Joseph’s dark comedy Gruesome Playground Injuries, tracing the 30-year-long friendship between Doug and Kayleen, who met as children (Dec. 31-Jan. 19), and Sarah Ruhl’s Dead Man’s Cell Phone (Feb. 18-March 8), which follows a woman who impulsively answers a ringing cell phone only to find the owner of the phone is dead and herself involved in some mysterious business.
Subscriptions are on sale now, by calling 351-8000, at the box office, or by going online at asolorep.org. But if you can’t wait until the fall to see some shows, Dog Days Theatre provides two chances this summer: an adaptation of Thornton Wilder’s novel Theophilus North (July 9-28) and Chad Beguelin’s comedy Harbor (Aug. 6-25). More about those later.