Molly Smith, Artistic Director of Washington D.C.'s Arena Stage, has announced the 10 productions that will be included its upcoming 2013/14 season, which she promises to be "soaked in history." Smith says, "From Afghanistan to the Apollo Theater, our stories are personal and human and funny and moving. People such as Paul Robeson, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, Anwar Sadat, Menachem Begin, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller span America's 20th century and come alive through this season."
Productions include several new works and four world premieres: Love in Afghanistan by American Voices New Play Institute Resident Playwright Charles Randolph-Wright; Pulitzer Prize-winner Lawrence Wright's Camp David directed by Smith as part of Arena Stage's American President's Project; MacArthur "Genius" Fellow Liz Lerman's theatrical dance piece Healing Wars featuring narration by current star of Broadway's The Other Place, Bill Pullman; and a presentation of Tectonic Theater Project's production of The Tallest Tree – A Portrait of Paul Robeson, written and performed by Daniel Beaty.
Also included in the season's line-up are the epic drama, Mother Courage and her Children, starring two-time Tony nominee Kathleen Turner (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?), a new adaptation of the classic American story Guess Who's Coming to Dinner directed by Tony nominee Kenny Leon (Stick Fly), and Tappin' Thru Life featuring Tony nominee Maurice Hines (Uptown…It's Hot!). The season will also feature productions of One Night With Janis Joplin and the musical revue Smokey Joe's Café, both directed by acclaimed writer/director Randy Johnson.
The highlight of the season, however, is the pre-Broadway production of Scottish playwright Eric Coble's The Velocity of Autumn, starring Academy Award winner Estelle Parsons (Nice Work If You Can Get It) and two-time Tony winner Stephen Spinella (Angels in America: Perestroika). Set to come to Broadway in Spring of 2013, the play takes place in a Brooklyn brownstone where 79-year-old Alexandra (Parsons) cohabitates with a large collection of explosives. Her long-absent son (Spinella) comes onto the scene to try to save his mother's life, the ensuing events revealing both the fragility and ferocity of life.