Theater News

New Plays by Paula Vogel and Ayad Akhtar Set for Arena Stage 2018-19 Season

The season kicks off with the new musical ”Dave”, based on the Oscar-nominated film of the same name.

Paula Vogel's Indecent joins Arena Stage's season.
Paula Vogel's Indecent joins Arena Stage's season.
(© David Gordon)

The lineup has been announced for Arena Stage's 2018-19 season.

In July, the season will kick off with the world-premiere musical comedy Dave (July 13-August 19), by three-time Tony Award winner Thomas Meehan (Annie), Tony Award nominee Nell Benjamin (Mean Girls), and Pulitzer Prize and two-time Tony Award winner Tom Kitt (Next to Normal). Tina Landau directs the comedy, which is based on the Oscar-nominated film of the same name.

The lineup also includes the DC-area debut of Turn Me Loose (September 6-October 14), Gretchen Law's acclaimed play about comedian-activist Dick Gregory.

The season's second musical will be Cole Porter's Anything Goes (November 2-December 23). Directed by Molly Smith and featuring choreography by Parker Esse and music direction by Paul Sportelli, this beloved musical features favorite songs including "Anything Goes" and "I Get a Kick out of You."

Two works from Broadway's latest voices are featured in the season. Paula Vogel's Tony Award-winning drama filled with music and dance, Indecent (November 23 –December 30), directed by Eric Rosen, is inspired by the true events surrounding the divisive 1923 Broadway debut of Sholem Asch's Yiddish drama God of Vengeance. In addition, from Ayad Akhtar comes Junk (April 5-May 5, 2019), is a Wall Street drama about junk bonds and the darker side of the American dream (directed by Jackie Maxwell).

The season also features Arena Stage's sixth Power Play in the ambitious initiative to commission and develop 25 new plays and musicals over 10 years, focused on stories of politics and power from 1776 through present day: Aaron Posner's world-premiere drama JQA (March 1-April 14, 2019), about the presidency of John Quincy Adams. The second political drama in the lineup is the world-premiere of Kenneth Lin's Kleptocracy (January 18-February 24, 2019), which explores the power of corruption through Russian Oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky and the rise of Vladimir Putin.

A classic American drama takes center stage in Ruth and Augustus Goetz's The Heiress (February 8-March 10, 2019), about crushed desires and unrequited love, directed by Arena Stage deputy artistic director Seema Sueko. Then, inspired by the courageous story of an all African-American a capella ensemble is Jubilee (April 26-June 2, 2019), a world-premiere musical written and directed by Tazewell Thompson.

Under the leadership of artistic director Molly Smith and executive director Edgar Dobie, Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater is a national center dedicated to American voices and artists.