Asolo Rep Announces 2023-24 Season

The Monday afternoon announcement also welcomed new producing artistic director Peter Rothstein.

By Kay Kipling March 28, 2023

Asolo Repertory Theatre

Asolo Repertory Theatre

Asolo Rep announced its 2023-24 season of plays Monday afternoon for the first time in person since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, and the afternoon also served to mark a symbolic passing of the torch (make that an oversized key) from retiring producing artistic director Michael Donald Edwards to his successor, Peter Rothstein.

Edwards took the stage first, to comment on the end of his 18 years serving in his position at Asolo Rep and to joke that he’s been inspired by fellow retirees in Sarasota, which is on the “cutting edge of retirement.” He added, “My time here has been so personally gratifying” and acclaimed Rothstein not just as a director but “an extraordinary person.” He also told the audience assembled to hear the season news that, “As we live through the toxic politics of the age, I want you to know that it’s the art that will be remembered.”

Then he passed the microphone to Rothstein, with whom he collaborated on choosing the coming slate of productions. Rothstein, the founding artistic director of Theatre Latte Da in Minnesota, will officially take the helm at Asolo Rep on July 1. He has directed two past productions here—Ragtime and Sweeney Todd—and is starting rehearsals for the upcoming Man of La Mancha in a few days. He will also direct two of the 2023-24 season shows.

Retiring producing artistic director Michael Donald Edwards passes an oversized key to successor Peter Rothstein.

Image: Staff photo

But, no more delay: Here are the shows Asolo Rep audiences will see.

First, the season opens as it has for several seasons now, with a musical. Crazy for You, the show featuring beloved songs by George and Ira Gershwin and a book by Ken Ludwig, will be onstage Nov. 18-Jan. 4. It will be directed and choreographed by Josh Rhodes, who has directed several previous musical openers here, and who stepped up Monday to promise that there will be “lots of tap, and dancing, and more tap” in the production.

New producing artistic director Peter Rothstein will direct two of the coming season's shows.

Rothstein will direct the first show in the rotating repertory season, Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee’s Inherit the Wind, taking the stage Jan. 19-Feb. 24. This courtroom drama based on the Scopes trial over the teaching of evolution has been produced at Asolo Rep before, some 20 years ago. While it’s not a musical, Rothstein says there will be some music included, and he added that it’s one of his favorite plays of all time.

Next up: the Alley Theatre’s world premiere production of Born with Teeth, by playwright Liz Duffy Adams. This play brings together Elizabethan-era playwrights William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe in the back room of a pub during a time filled with palace intrigue and high-stakes spy craft. Rob Melrose, who directed the Alley’s production, will also direct this show, onstage Feb. 9-March 29.

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage’s Intimate Apparel, onstage March 1-April 18, takes the next slot in the season. It’s centered on Esther, a Black seamstress in 1905 New York who’s willing to take unprecedented steps to find true love of her own, even as she sews corsets for other women, from wealthy whites to Black prostitutes. Austene Van directs.

Things get tense with the next show, an adaptation by Jeffrey Hatcher of Frederick Knott’s thriller Dial ‘M’ for Murder, perhaps best known as the Alfred Hitchcock film starring Grace Kelly and Ray Milland. Set in 1950s London, where a husband is scheming to do away with his wife, the play will be directed by Celine Rosenthal, who promises “more twists, more turns” than ever as the best-laid plans go awry. Onstage March 22-April 25.

Finally, Asolo Rep closes its 2023-24 season with a new musical production of the classic tale of jurors battling over a verdict with Twelve Angry Men, playing May 11-June 9. A world premiere for Theatre Latte Da, to be directed by Rothstein, this production adds a jazz-infused score to the story of a lone juror seeking to persuade his fellows to do the right thing when it comes to justice. Rothstein said that besides the inherent drama of the piece, “It’s quite funny and hopeful.” Curtis Bannister, who played the lead of Juror No. 8 in Theatre Latte Da’s production, performed a number from the show to end the afternoon announcement.

Subscription packages to the season start at $165. For a look at various available show packages, visit, or call (941) 351-8000 for information.

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