Theatre Charlotte, ATC unveil 2011-2012 season

As local theater companies prepare to wind down their 2010-2011 seasons (Theatre Charlotte will wrap up for the summer in May with Rent, while CAST will finish up their season in July with Neon Psalms), they’re already planning next season’s menu. Blumethal just released their Duke Energy Broadway Lights Series for next year, and now, both Theatre Charlotte and Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte are unveiling their 2011-2012 seasons. This will be TC’s 84th season ever, and ATC’s 23rd. Looking at their selection of dramatic thrillers, family adventures, musicals, and new age dramas they have on board, it looks like we will have fourteen more reasons to appreciate these Charlotte cultural staples.

At Theatre Charlotte…

The show: The Music Man, September 9-25, 2011

The director: Ron Law, executive director of Theatre Charlotte.

Why it’s a good pick: In the 1950s, The Music Man was one of the early predecessors of jovial, American musicals. It won a Tony Award for Best Musical when many people still didn’t even know what a Tony Award, which was first given in 1947, was. It’s a feel-good comedy that’s has the lovable, timeless Americana appeal of Marshmallow Fluff.

The show: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, October 28-November 13, 2011

The director: Charles LaBorde, named "Theater Person of the Year" by Creative Loafing in 2010 for his performances and director duties at both CAST and Theatre Charlotte.

Why it’s a good pick: It’s hard to pull off "crazy" the way Jack Nicholson does, and it might be initially tough to shake the image of him in the 1975 movie from your head while you watch. This psycho-social dramedy, however, adapted straight from the original novel by Ken Kesey, lends itself well to the intimate Theatre Charlotte, where a cozy auditorium will enhance the asylum antics on stage.

The show: A Christmas Carol, December 9-18, 2011

The director: Stuart Spencer.

Why it’s a good pick: We won’t even dignify this category with a response, but will only say that despite ye Scrooge-ish eye-rollers, this tradition will never, ever get old.  

The show: Doubt, A Parable, January 20-February 5

The director: Gina Stewart, former bassist for the 1980s cult rock band Fetchin’ Bones. The NC-based band’s vocals were done by Hope Nichols, co-owner of Boris & Natasha’s.

Why it’s a good pick: Yeah, we know. Watching Meryl Streep stalk dark corners to nail down a harassment charge against Philip Seymour Hoffman was, to put it lightly, uncomfortable. You’ll also remember it was a darkly gripping story, adapted for the screen from a play by John Patrick Shanley that won the 2005 Pulitzer. Also a great fit for this size auditorium.

The show: Around the World in 80 Days, March 16-April 1, 2012

Director: Nicia Carla, a long-time actress with Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, whose Q&A you may have spotted on Revue a couple weeks ago.

Why it’s a good pick: This is the kind of production whose slapstick comedy will keep adults in stitches, and whose action element will keep little ones on the edge of their seats. Adapted for the stage from the Jules Verne novel, Around the World in 80 Days will have the same adventurous spirit that may have sent you exploring your neighbor’s shed and flower patches as a small child.

The show: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, May 11-27, 2011

Director: Dennis Delamar, who’s been acting in Charlotte since 1983, and began directing with the Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte in the late 1990s.

Why it’s a good pick: If Glee has proved anything this past year, it’s that musicals about awkward, ambitious school kids can make for fun, relateable stage material. This show, from the book by Rachel Sheinkin, follows six students determined to take the crown at their local spelling bee. With quirky characters and off-beat musical numbers, this show should be simple D-E-L-I-G-H-T-F-U-L.

The show: The Odd Couple (Female Version), June 15-24, 2012

Director: Jill Bloede, a teaching artist with Children’s Theatre of Charlotte.

Why it’s a good pick: Take two classic shows (The Odd Couple and The Golden Girls) fuse them, and you have a foolproof recipe for hilarity. Incidentally, the play by Neil Simon is directed by one of three female directors on board at Theatre Charlotte next season—a number we’re glad to see on the rise.

At Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte….

The show: The Rocky Horror Picture Show, July 21-August 13, 2011

Why it’s a good pick: There’s always time to do the time warp, again. Knowing the Uptown theater’s ability to put together top-notch sets, costumes, and lighting (not to mention talent), we think you’ll find their production as sensational as the cult flick itself.

The show: In The Next Room or the Vibrator Play, September 14-October 1, 2011

Why it’s good pick: Playwright Sarah Ruhl was nominated for a 2010 Tony and a Pulitzer for this historically-based play. Ruhl examines, through the story of the fictional Mr. Daldry and his suddenly sensitive, hysteria-prone wife, how the earliest vibrators were used as therapy for women labeled psychologically distressed. The show received accolades from The New York Times after its debut, and is a gem in contemporary drama.

The show: Next Fall, November 2-19, 2011

Why it’s a good pick: Also a 2009 release, this quiet, intimate play by Geoffrey Naufft (nominated for the 2010 Best Play Tony Award) is witty but profound look at the conflict and/or compatability between American religious views. The play focuses on a gay couple, Luke and Adam; young, handsome Luke is a die hard Jesus-lover, while Adam, older and grittier, denounces God entirely. The play is sewn together by quick-witted dialogue and debate underpinned by Luke and Adam’s affection for each other.

The show: Chaps! A Jingle Jangle Christmas, December 14-23

Why it’s a good pick: Finding new, entertaining holiday plays in the post-Home Alone era takes true grit. ATC may have struck gold with this show by Jahanna Beecham and Mitchell Hillgartner, though. In 1944, a BBC producer and the tour manager for Tex Riley, the famous musical cowboy, become desperate when Riley and his troupe are late for their Christmas broadcast. The grab anyone they can find, toss them a pair of chaps, and put on a makeshift, slapstick-filled Christmas show.

The show: Cuttin’ Up, February 15-March 3

Why it’s a good pick: Based on the novel by Craig Marberry, this is a nostalgic montage of vignettes about the relationships and stories formed in small-town America’s barbershops.

The show: Clybourne Park, April 11-28

Why it’s a good pick: In this comedic satire by playwright Bruce Norris, a well-to-do, white suburb of Chicago in the 1950s wrings its hands when a black family from city’s unsavory South side moves in. Less predictable, perhaps, is the final half of the play, set in the same suburb in 2006. We’ll spare you spoilers, except to say that Norris, through uncomfortable confrontations and witty commentary, proves that history does indeed repeat itself.

The show: The Marvelous Wonderettes, June 6-23, 2011

Why it’s a good pick: There’s not a lot that puffy tulle skirts and 1950s pop music can’t do for the soul. This musical delivers favorite oldies like "Sandman," "Lollipop," "Heatwave," and "You Don’t Own Me," all through the talents of its four leading ladies. In Dreamgirls style, this comedy tells the story of a girl’s pop group looking for a way out of their small-town high school.

Categories: Arts + Culture, Revue