Asolo Rep and the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training announced their 2016-17 seasons at an event for patrons and media Monday, March 14, in the Mertz Theatre.
Producing artistic director Michael Donald Edwards had to be out of the country, but managing director Linda DiGabriele introduced the Conservatory’s Greg Leaming, who in turn announced the seasons to an audience that was often audibly pleased with the selections.
In the final season of the company’s American Character exploration, the line-up for Asolo Rep looks like this:
Opening the season will be the musical comedy Guys and Dolls, featuring music by Frank Loesser and based on the stories and characters of Damon Runyon. The show, which has had numerous revivals on Broadway since it first opened in 1950, will be directed and choreographed by Josh Rhodes (Barnum, Yentl) and takes the mainstage Nov. 18 through Jan. 1.
That’s followed by the first play in the rotating repertory season, Robert Schenkkan’s sequel to the current season’s All the Way, which will pick up where that play leaves off in its look back at the presidency of Lyndon Baines Johnson. Nick Wyman returns in the lead role of LBJ, directed by Nicole A. Watson. Onstage Jan. 13 through April 2.
Also in rotating rep is The Originalist, a play by John Strand centered on the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and the relationship between him and a liberal law school graduate who clerks with him. A recent world premiere at Arena Stage, The Originalist stars Edward Gero (who looked uncannily like Scalia in a brief clip shown during the announcement) and is directed by Arena Stage artistic director Molly Smith; onstage Jan. 20 through March 5.
The fourth play of the season brings back Garson Kanin’s ever-popular tale of ex-chorus girl Billie Dawn and her education in Washington, D.C., by a young reporter, Born Yesterday. Peter Amster directs the comedy, onstage Feb. 10 through April 15.
Tony Award winner Frank Galati directs the next play of the season, Lillian Hellman’s tale of guile and greed in the Deep South at the dawn of the 20th century, The Little Foxes. Onstage March 17 through April 15.
The company’s next offering, The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, converts the Cook Theatre into a wrestling arena for this recent play that places not only the sport but racism in the ring. (There will be no Asolo Rep play at the Historic Asolo Theater this year, as renovations will be taking place there.) This Pulitzer Prize finalist is onstage April 7 through April 30.
In May, Asolo Rep presents the world premiere of Beatsville, a musical comedy set in 1959 Greenwich Village (and based on the Roger Corman film A Bucket of Blood) with a book by Tony winner Glenn Slater (School of Rock, Sister Act) and music and lyrics by Wendy Leigh Wilf. A co-production with Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre, the show opens May 5 and runs through May 28.
A summer production TBA will close the season in June 2017.
Asolo Rep will also present its annual New Stages Tour during October and November, which will bring a 45-minute version of Hamlet to schools and community venues through the state.
The FSU/Asolo Conservatory season begins with Lanford Wilson’s drama Book of Days, about a small-town bookkeeper seeking the truth behind her boss’ mysterious death. (Onstage Nov. 1-20). That’s followed by the Arthur Miller classic A View from the Bridge (Dec. 27 through Jan. 15) and by the new Adam Bock work The Drunken City (Feb. 21 through March 12), which follows three young brides-to-be on a night out that leaves one of them questioning her future.
Closing out the Conservatory season: a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream presented in collaboration with Selby Gardens that will be performed outdoors at the gardens April 11-29.
For complete info about the 2016-17 seasons, head to asolorep.org.