It is Spring Break throughout Arkansas. So this is a good time to take a break from the current arts season and look ahead to next year.
Rich stories and rewarding shows are the bounty that awaits Arkansas Repertory Theatre audiences during the 2012-2013 season, the Rep’s 37th year. Robert Hupp, the Rep’s producing artistic director, recently announced the lineup.
The season kicks off on September 7 with William Shakespeare’s Henry V. This will be the first of Shakespeare’s “History” plays to be staged at the Rep in its history. Following the overwhelming success of Hamlet last season, it is pleasing to see the Bard return to the Rep’s lineup. It will run through September 23, 2012.
Next up is the annual Young Artists’ production. This edition of the revue is entitled Singin’ on a Star. It will run from October 24 through November 3, 2012. Though the show is still being written, it promises to feature Arkansas’ best and brightest students in songs and dances which will enchant audiences of all ages.
It is guaranteed that Little Rock will see a White Christmas in December 2012 because the Rep will be producing the stage version of the Irving Berlin classic White Christmas from November 30 through December 30, 2012. In addition to the classic Berlin tunes from the film, a treasure trove of other Berlin classics is also included.
As 2013 kicks off, the Rep presents the play Gee’s Bend. Set in the eponymously named Alabama town, it tells the story of the women who make quilts there. The play is not about the quilts themselves (though they are works of art which have been displayed in many top art museums), it is instead about the remarkable lives of the women who make them. Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder’s play will run from January 25 through February 10, 2013.
As the Rep marches into the third month of 2013, it will present the world premiere of a new musical version of Treasure Island. This production, which emphasizes the adventure and mystery of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic tale, features a book by Brett Smock (who will also direct) and Carla Vitale with songs by Corinne Aquilina (who served as musical director/conductor for last season’s Hairspray at the Rep). It runs from March 8 through March 31, 2013. (This world premiere is the reason the title of this entry is written in “Pirate.”)
Arthur Miller’s prize winning Death of a Salesman is up next at the Rep. This classic tale explores the American Dream in the middle of the 20th Century as the Loman family copes with hope and despair. During its original Broadway run, it received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Best Play recognition from the Tony Awards and the New York Drama Critics Circle. “Attention must be paid” from April 26 through May 12, 2013.
Avenue Q is one of the smartest, funniest, and bawdiest musicals over the last decade. Written by Jeff Marx and Robert Lopez, it irreverently tells the story of a group of 20 and 30somethings in New York City as they cope with the onset of adulthood. Some of the characters are played by humans while others are portrayed by puppets — but this is not for the kids; it is definitely an adult show (it includes full puppet nudity). This 2004 Tony winner for Best Musical, Best Book and Best Score, ran for over 1000 performances on Broadway and is now enjoying a healthy Off Broadway run. The Rep’s brand new production will run from June 7 – 30, 2013.