Asolo Repertory Theatre has announced a new slate of shows to complete its 2020-21 season, with four offerings taking place on the company’s outdoor Terrace Stage February through April.
Producing artistic director Michael Donald Edwards unveiled the new lineup in a short video posted on the theater’s Facebook and YouTube pages. The announcement comes after a successful first run of an outdoor show for Asolo Rep with We Need a Little Christmas over the holiday season. Working with strict protocols due to Covid-19, the theater now shifts from its original production schedule, which included Our Town, Grand Horizons, the musical Hood and the world premiere of the musical Knoxville, to smaller-scale shows more adaptable to the new format. (Those earlier planned productions will now occur during the 2021-22 season.)
Edwards said in the video that postponing those shows was a “very difficult decision,” but that the Asolo is now “focusing all of our energy on the engaging and highly entertaining” fare now being prepared.
The four-show season kicks off with Laura Osnes in Concert, Feb. 5 and 6. Osnes, a two-time Tony-nominated performer, starred on Broadway as Cinderella in Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella and as Bonnie Parker in Bonnie & Clyde, a role she originated at Asolo Rep in the 2010 pre-Broadway run. She’s also been seen as Nellie Forbush in South Pacific and Sandy in Grease.
The second show of the season is the launch of a rolling world premiere (in association with Chicago’s Goodman Theatre and Seattle Rep) of Cheryl L. West’s new play, Fannie: The Music and Life of Fannie Lou Hamer. Running Feb. 17 through March 3, Fannie tells the story of American civil rights activist Hamer. Starring in the one-woman show is E. Faye Butler, whom Asolo audiences will remember as Queenie in its 2013 production of Show Boat. Edwards calls the show “thought-provoking and heartfelt.”
Next up is a six-person concert version of Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe’s musical Camelot, set in the world of King Arthur, Queen Guinevere and their court, which Edwards described as being “an ideal to cling to.” This show, running March 17 through April 1, will feature new orchestrations by Steve Orich, who will also be music director, and will be performed with some dialogue and essential staging; casting will be announced soon.
Finally, Asolo Rep’s Evita star Ana Isabelle returns with a new show created specifically for Asolo Rep entitled Ana Isabelle & Friends in Concert: Stand Back, Sarasota!, featuring a mix both of Broadway tunes and Isabelle’s own music. Edwards noted the singer-actress has a new single coming out later this year; she also appears in the long-awaited new film version of West Side Story guided by Steven Spielberg and Tony Kushner. The concert will be directed by frequent Asolo director Josh Rhodes (The Sound of Music, Evita, Guys and Dolls) and also features performers Junior Cervila and Guadalupe Garcia, who danced a memorable tango number in Evita. This show runs April 15-24.
Tickets for all four productions are on sale now for subscribers only; they will be emailed a link to purchase tickets. Tickets for Laura Osnes in Concert and Fannie will go on sale to the public Jan. 19 at 10 a.m.; tickets for Camelot and Ana Isabelle & Friends in Concert: Stand Back, Sarasota! will go on sale to the public Feb. 8 and March 1, respectively. Tickets are available at asolorep.org.