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Byrd, Carpenter, Hudes, et al. Set for Bristol Riverside Theatre's 2008-2009 Season logo
Quiara Alegría Hudes
© Joseph Marzullo / WENN
Bristol Riverside Theatre has announced its selections for the 2008-2009 season, which will kick off with the musical The Spitfire Grill (September 23-October 12) by James Valcq (music & book) and Fred Alley (lyrics). The musical tells the story of a young vagabond, Percy, who decides to start her life anew in the rural Wisconsin town of Gilead. Keith Baker will direct, with choreography by Greg Daniels.

Next is Alan Ayckbourn's Absurd Person Singular (November 11-30). Gus Kaikkonen will direct this classic comedy about three married couples and their fortunes on Christmas. BRT's Winter Musicale (December 11-21) will feature favorite classic and contemporary holiday songs for the family. Keith Baker will direct.

Acclaimed choreographer Donald Byrd (Broadway's The Color Purple) will choreograph and co-direct with Keith Baker, the world premiere of What You Will (February 10-March 1), Baker and Byrd's adaptation of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, What You Will. Shakespeare's original language is heard with a distinctively contemporary American voice as the worlds of modern urban and classical theatre are fused. Music will be by composer and hip hop producer Justin Ellington.

From March 24-April 12, BRT will present the Philadelphia premiere of John Patrick Shanley's Defiance, a riveting look at race relations, honor and morality. The Mainstage season will conclude with A Man of No Importance (May 12-31), featuring a book by Terrence McNally, music by Stephen Flaherty, and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens. Based on the 1994 film of the same name, the musical is set in Dublin in the 1960s and tells the story of Alfie Byrne's struggle to produce Oscar Wilde's controversial play Salome with his St. Imelda's Players, despite strong public objections at his church. Susan D. Atkinson will direct.

BRT will also present its "Bridges Informance Series," which is part-performance, part-discussion, designed to challenge and inspire audiences' ideas of theatre today. Participants will include Fred Curchack (September 5), Teo Castellanos (October 17), Will Power (December 5), and Donald Byrd's Spectrum Dance Theatre (January 9).

Conceived, produced and directed by Artistic Associate Adam Goldstein, BRT's "America Rising: Voices of Today" staged reading series will include Up by Bridget Carpenter (September 28), Lullaby, by Michael Elyanow (November 16), Sick?, by Zakiyyah Alexander (February 15), Harmless by Brett Neveu (March 29), and Elliot, A Soldier's Fugue, by Quiara Alegría Hudes (May 3).

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