It has been such a joy putting my first season together for you—I hope it fascinates you as much as it excites me. When I reflect on the constellation of stories we’ll tell next year, I’m struck by the hyper-theatricality of each show—the fact that every one of these plays embraces its artistic medium wholly and completely. By employing quintessential storytelling traditions, we’ll take a collective adventure of the imagination, starting the year with one of the most pressing conversations of our time and ending the year back where theater began—with the ancient Greeks. In other words, this season is rooted in theater’s roots.
I do hope you’ll join us. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts and reflections on the season and your experience at Center Stage. You can reach me at email@example.com.
Book and lyrics by Quiara Alegría Hudes
Music and lyrics by Erin McKeown
Directed by Rebecca Martínez
Sep 12–Oct 13, 2019
A MUSICAL WITHOUT BORDERS
Everyone has baggage in this timely mother-daughter musical about escaping and belonging from the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright who wrote the book for the Tony Award-winning production of In the Heights. Join Olivia and her mother on their cross-country road trip. Mothers may teach you where you come from, but they can be the trickiest things. Learn more.
By Keenan Scott II
Directed by Taye Diggs
Co-production with Syracuse Stage
In association with Brian Moreland and Ron Simons
Oct 10–Nov 10, 2019
ONE THEME, SEVEN VARIATIONS
Directed by renowned artist Taye Diggs, and written by Keenan Scott II, one of today’s boldest new voices, Thoughts of a Colored Man blends language, music, and dance. Welcome to the vibrant inner life of being Black, proud, and thriving in the 21st Century. Set over a single day, this richly theatrical mosaic goes beyond the rhythms of the basketball court and the boisterousness of the barbershop to shed brilliant light into the hearts and minds of a community of men searching for their most triumphant selves. Learn more.
By Jaclyn Backhaus
Directed by Jenny Koons
Nov 29–Dec 22, 2019
EXPLORERS WANTED, MEN NEED NOT APPLY
This rollicking adventure tells a hilarious, true(ish) history of the Grand Canyon. We invite you along on a journey that throws the history book—and all the men inside it—out the window in this subversive retelling of the one-armed explorer John Powell and his exploration of the American West. Strap in for this uncharted, uproarious journey. Learn more.
By Noah Diaz
Jan 23–Feb 16, 2020
A PLAY ABOUT FAMILY, AND OTHER INJUSTICES
See Richard go. See Spot bark. See Dick cry. See Sally sign. See Jane struggle after a lifetime in her brother’s shadow. The classic world of “Dick and Jane” is beginning to fracture in this witty and raw look into one dysfunctional and dissembling family. Learn more.
By Donnetta Lavinia Grays
Directed by Tamilla Woodard
Mar 19–Apr 12, 2020
WHEN THE DEVIL PAYS HIS RESPECTS
This brand-new fable of penance is filled with humor, heart, and music. When a town is running low on compassion and a man is stripped of companionship, just one kind stranger can tip the scales. Join in community as one passionate storyteller spins a supernatural tale of loneliness seduced by kindness and asks us “what do we owe each other?” Learn more.
Directed by Mike Donahue
Apr 30–May 24, 2020
LIFE IS A PARTY UNTIL HEADS START TO ROLL
This is not your English teacher’s Greek tragedy. Dionysus is totally over your drama, and he’s going to incite the women of the land to raise some hell in the greatest party in recorded history. Closing the season with a political exclamation point from the birthplace of Democracy, The Bacchae hits the Mainstage at the same moment our nation surges into its primary elections. Learn more.
Catch a glimpse of this love song to Yellowstone from the 2018 Public Theater production of Miss You Like Hell.
While his play was in development at Arena Stage, playwright Keenan Scott II talked about his inspiration with Taye Diggs, who makes his directorial debut with this world premiere. Watch the full video here.
Playwright Jaclyn Backhaus set out to adapt the story of the 1869 expedition of the Grand Canyon for the stage, only to realize she was writing a play with characters she could not play herself.
“Look, Dick. Look, Jane. Look here.” Remember these iconic children’s books? Revisit these beloved characters and come see what they’re like all-grown-up in Richard & Jane & Dick & Sally.
Listen to this sneak peek of the original roots and folk-inspired music featured in Donnetta Lavinia Grays’ poetic story Where We Stand.
Twelve years ago at the Yale Summer Cabaret, Mike Donahue, along with producers Roberta Pereira and BCS Artistic Director Stephanie Ybarra, mounted this production of The Bacchae, transforming the Greek classic into a music-filled, genre-defying, audience-interacting adventure. This trio reunites to reimagine the original text yet again with the same spirit of raucous spectacle, this time for BCS's Pearlstone Theater.