Filed under: Merrimack Repertory Theatre
MERRIMACK REPERTORY THEATRE ANNOUNCES 2014-2015 SEASON
Seven regional premieres that reflect the contemporary American human experience.
Lowell, MA – Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT) has announced its 2014-2015 Season. The slate of seven plays continues the company’s commitment to advancing the cause of the human understanding by creating theatrical productions at the highest level of artistic excellence, as well as its tradition of introducing new works to the area. Each of the plays selected for the upcoming season, the company’s 36th, will be a regional premiere. Merrimack Repertory Theatre is the only professional theatre in the Merrimack Valley area and continues to serve as a vital cultural, educational, and economic resource for Greater Lowell and its surrounding region.
The announcement was made by Artistic Director Charles Towers and Executive Director Elizabeth Kegley at an event for subscribers in Nancy L. Donahue Theatre in Lowell’s Liberty Hall on Monday, March 31. Towers, who has served as MRT’s artistic director since 2001, says, “When selecting a season, I am reminded of a principle attributed to Socrates – ‘an unexamined life is not worth living.’ Thus, our job in the theatre is to fully examine the lives of characters as created by a playwright, thereby giving the audience an opportunity to examine their own lives as reflected against the uniqueness of a fictional other.”
The 2014-2015 Season at Merrimack Repertory Theatre embodies that principle, presenting characters and families whose relationships, struggles, and joys will be familiar to MRT audiences, with an ultimate goal of that familiarity leading to a deeper understanding of our own lives and compassion for others.
By Michael Golamco
Directed by Kyle Fabel
September 11 – October 5, 2014
Sponsored by Enterprise Bank
All teenagers need someone to talk to. Vuthy has chosen a skull. He is a young Cambodian-American struggling to find his place – in a community that doesn’t truly accept him and in a family that seems to be disappearing. A comedic drama about finding a direction and a home.
According to Charles Towers, “Year Zero is an appealing story about all our pasts; all of us, who are descendents of immigrants, no matter when they came to American or what country they came from. Still, the specific ethnicity of this particular story makes it especially important to be produced in the city that has the second largest Cambodian-American population in the country.”
The play also presents a unique opportunity for MRT to reach out into the large Cambodian-American community of Lowell. MRT has already begun forming an advisory committee with members of the Cambodian community that will provide cultural perspective for the production.
Dusk Rings a Bell
By Stephen Belber
Directed by Michael Bloom
October 23 – November 16, 2014
Molly and Ray unexpectedly meet 25 years after their teenage romance. Though their kiss has had a lasting effect on both of them, the memory of their youthful fling is overshadowed by tragic revelations about what has happened in the intervening years.
This production will mark the MRT debut of Michael Bloom, who is an Obie Award-winning director who spent the past nine years as artistic director of the Cleveland Play House. Charles Towers responded to the play immediately, “One thing (among many) I like about this play is that it breaks the conventions of most two-person plays in unique ways.” The bittersweet play premiered at the Atlantic Theatre Company in New York in 2010.
13 Things About Ed Carpolotti
Book, Music and Lyrics by Barry Kleinbort
Based on a play by Jeffrey Hatcher
Directed by Barry Kleinbort
November 28 – December 21, 2014
Sponsored by Wannalancit Mills/Farley White Interests
Virginia Carpolotti is a devoted widow with loving memories for her recently-deceased husband. Though her love endures, her confidence in him flounders as one shady character after another comes calling for the debt that Ed put in her name, and things really heat up when a mysterious $1 million ransom note appears. A delightful comic musical featuring Tony Award-nominee Penny Fuller.
“I directed Penny Fuller in MRT’s production of A Delicate Balance in 2008, in which she gave a brilliant performance,” says Towers. “When she sent me this delightful one-woman chamber musical, which was written especially for her, I immediately decided it was too good an opportunity to pass up. Penny is a Tony-nominated actor and this is a rare opportunity to have her on our stage.”
The Best Brothers
By Daniel MacIvor
Directed by Charles Towers
January 8 – February 1, 2015
When Kyle and Hamilton Best’s mother dies in a bizarre accident involving a Filipino drag queen, the two brothers try to find common ground – often failing with hilarious results. They bicker over the details of the obituary, Kyle’s unfortunate taste in men, and whom Mom loved best – only to find it may very well have been the dog.
Playwright Daniel MacIvor has long been considered a Canadian theatre icon and his most recent play, The Best Brothers, further cements that reputation. The comedy was celebrated at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in 2012 and later went on to a successful run at Toronto’s Tarragon Theatre. Towers remarks, “I read this play one morning and sought to get the rights to it that afternoon. It is rare when I laugh out loud reading a play in my living room, so I pay attention when that happens.”
By Nick Gandiello
Directed by Melia Bensussen
February 12 – March 8, 2015
Gwen thought she had successfully walked away from her troubled past. But then her ex-husband returns with news of their grown daughter’s disappearance and with him come the demons that she sought to erase from her idyllic new life. A powerful new drama that explores complex family dynamics.
“Director Melia Bensussen (who directed The Blonde, the Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead and Two Jews Walk into a War at MRT) is one of my closest collaborators. She sent me this play by an up-and-coming young playwright who is unsparing in looking at the real drama of troubled lives. I responded immediately to the family situation and to the central question at the heart of the play: can people really change?” says Towers.
Out of the City
By Leslie Ayvazian
Directed by Christian Parker
March 19 – April 12, 2015
When two middle-aged married couples take a weekend trip to celebrate a milestone birthday, they find themselves pondering elusive romance and contemplating what comes next. This unorthodox love story proves that rejuvenation can be found at any age.
Leslie Ayvazian was loosely inspired by the characters in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream when writing Out of the City. Though there are few direct parallels between the plays, the underlying spirit of the Bard’s play remains. As Charles Towers notes, “The countryside does strange things to lovers of any age, and this wry comedy never fails to surprise and delight.”
The Outgoing Tide
By Bruce Graham
Directed by Charles Towers
April 23 – May 17, 2015
Sponsored by Circle Health
Tormented by the menacing grip of an aging mind and an uncertain future ahead, one man has a plan – but it is not what his family had in mind. A touching family drama sprinkled with surprising humor that asks what it means to truly love someone.
Playwright Bruce Graham and Charles Towers as director last partnered on Stella and Lou, which was very well-received by MRT audiences in December 2013. Towers remarks, “While The Outgoing Tide still reflects Bruce’s unique blend of humor and pathos, the story couldn’t be more different from Stella and Lou. The twists, the turns, the deeply recognizable family relationships and, of course, the humor, all combine to carry us to a place where dignity, honesty and humanity take hold and refuse to let go.”
Subscriptions are now available through the MRT Box Office for the 2014-2015 Season. Subscribers to a seven-play packages receive a 20% discount off single ticket prices and guaranteed same seats throughout the season. Seven-play subscriptions start at just $140 for adults and $126 for seniors. Three-play sampler packages are also available, with a 15% savings off single ticket prices. FlexPass packages are available in increments of 4, 5, 6, or 7 and allow the ultimate in flexibility while still receiving a discount. All subscribers are entitled to the full slate of benefits that includes free even exchanges, and discounts on additional tickets and Young Company tuition. A full list of benefits can be found at www.mrt.org/subscribe.
Subscriptions can be purchased by calling 978-654-4678 or by visiting www.mrt.org/subscribe. Tickets for individual productions go on sale in August.
Merrimack Repertory Theatre
Performance Space: The Nancy L. Donahue Theatre
(In Liberty Hall, adjacent to Lowell Memorial Auditorium)
50 E. Merrimack Street
Lowell, MA 01852
Box Office: 978-654-4678
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