Like Water for Chocolate, The Music Man, Red, et al. Set for Arena Stage's 2011-2012 Season
The Arena Stage season will begin with the musical Like Water for Chocolate, which will play September 9 - October 30 in the Kreeger Theater in what is being called a pre-Broadway run. With a book by Quiara Alegria Hudes and music and lyrics by Lila Downs (who will be featured in the show) and Paul Cohen, the show, based on Laura Esquivel's novel, focuses on a young woman who cannot marry the man she loves because he is engaged to her older sister. The production will be co-directed by Ted Sperling and Jonathan Butterell.
The Arena schedule also includes Meredith Willson's The Music Man, which will run May 11-July 22 in the Fichhandler Theater. Molly Smith will stage this musical about a con-man who comes to the sleepy town of River City to rid it of "sin and corruption" by starting a boy's band.
Arena Stage also plans to offer a Eugene O'Neill Festival which will have at its center productions of the playwright's semi-autobiographical comedy Ah, Wilderness! (March 9-April 3, Fichandler), and his autobiographical drama, Long Day's Journey Into Night (March 30 -May 13, Kreeger), which will be directed by Robin Phillips.
The theater's season will also include Elephant Room (January 20 - February 26, Kogod Cradle), to be directed by Paul Lazar and created by Steve Cuiffo, Trey Lyford and Geoff Sobelle, which centers on three semi-pro magicians. Karen Zacarias' The Book Club Play, which examines the bizarre circumstances that put a woman's ideal book club under a magnifying glass, will run October 7-November 6 in the Kogod in a production directed by Molly Smith; and Amy Freed's You, Nero, about a playwright struggling through Nero's reign in Rome, will run November 25-January 1 in the Fichandler.
Tazewell Thompson will direct his own play Mary T. & Lizzy K (June 1-July 22, Kogod), which looks at the relationship between first lady Mary Todd Lincoln and her seamstress; and Smith will direct a revival of Trouble in Mind (June 8-July 22, Kreeger), Alice Childress' look at a theater company rehearsing an anti-lynching drama at the dawn of the Civil Rights Movement.
Additionally the theater will present the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's production of Bill Cain's Equivocation (November 18-January 1, Kreeger Theater), an imagined look at Shakespeare during the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, directed by Bill Rauch; and the Goodman Theater's production of John Logan's bioplay about painter Mark Rothko, Red (January 20-March 11, Kreeger), directed by Robert Falls.