2013-14 Season Announcement press release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MARIN THEATRE COMPANY ANNOUNCES 2013-14 SEASON

Features six productions, including
the regional premiere of David Lindsay-Abaire’s Good People,
a revival of August Wilson’s Fences,
world premieres by Carson Kreitzer and Lauren Gunderson,
the west coast premiere of Philip Dawkins’ Failure: A Love Story
and a holiday production of Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol

MILL VALLEY, CA—Marin Theatre Company’s artistic director Jasson Minadakis and managing director Michael Barker announced the company’s 2013-14 season today. Featuring six productions in MTC’s intimate 231-seat Boyer Theatre, the season includes the regional premiere of David Lindsay-Abaire’s national sensation Good People; a revival of August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play Fences; world premieres of I and You by Bay Area-based playwright Lauren Gunderson and Lasso of Truth, which MTC commissioned from Carson Kreitzer with the support of the National New Play Network; the west coast premiere of Philip Dawkins’ “whimsical beyond all imagining” Failure: A Love Story; and a unique holiday production of Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol by Tom Mula. Based in Mill Valley, MTC is a 47-year old professional nonprofit theater, a destination for exhilarating performances, inspired new American plays and powerful theatrical experiences.

“I am delighted to announce that four premieres highlight our 2013-14 season,” said Minadakis. “World premieres of an MTC commission by Carson Kreitzer and a new play by San Francisco playwright Lauren Gunderson anchor a dynamic and adventurous season on our main stage. Kreitzer’s Lasso of Truth centers on the enigmatic William Marston, the creator of the all-American heroine Wonder Woman; Gunderson’s I and You is a gorgeous exploration of the power of sacrifice, the beauty of hope and the possibilities of imagination. We’ll also produce the west coast premiere of Philip Dawkins’ inventive and musical Failure: A Love Story, the tale of three spirited sisters and the two men who love and lose them. We return to the work of David Lindsay-Abaire with the Bay Area premiere of his Broadway hit Good People. During my seven seasons as artistic director, MTC has expanded its new play development program and this year we are excited to bring so many new American plays, truly uplifting and thoughtful stories, to our stage. We will continue another artistic initiative to explore the canon of August Wilson with the next generation of black theater artists by offering the playwright’s first Pulitzer Prize winner, Fences. And for the holiday season, we’ll go behind-the-scenes of Dickens’ classic in Tom Mula’s Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol, which imagines Scrooge’s partner and how the whole story started.”

MTC opens its 2013-14 season in August with the regional premiere of David Lindsay-Abaire’s Good People. In this “thoroughly absorbing… tough and tender play about the insurmountable class divide” (Variety), Margie is worse off than she’s ever been. The middle-aged high school dropout and single mother of a handicapped adult daughter is unemployed, facing eviction and cut off from opportunity in her native South Boston, a working class neighborhood. Or is she? When her friend Jean runs into Margie’s old high school boyfriend Mike, now a successful doctor living comfortably in Boston’s wealthy western suburbs, Margie swallows her pride to seek help from this lace-curtain Irish who appears to have forgotten where he came from.

Seen in 17 different cities during the 2012-13 season, Good People is currently the most produced play in America and has been hailed as “poignant, brave and subversive” by New York Post, “painfully funny and gut wrenchingly real” by Washingtonian Magazine, “masterful and oh-so-compelling” by The Boston Globe, and “enthralling, utterly gripping, remarkable” by Los Angeles Times. Staged by the Manhattan Theatre Club, the play premiered on Broadway at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre in 2011 and ran for 128 performances. It won the 2011 New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for best play and was nominated for the 2011 Tony Award for best play, 2011 Drama Desk Award for outstanding play and 2011 Outer Critics Circle Award for outstanding new Broadway play. Winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for drama for his play Rabbit Hole (2006), Lindsay-Abaire’s most recent work, Oz: The Great and Powerful, is currently playing in cinemas internationally. MTC produced his play Fuddy Meers (1999) in 2011.

The world premiere of local playwright Lauren Gunderson’s I and You follows in October. Only in high school would two completely unconnected people – cranky, chronically ill Caroline and levelheaded basketball star Anthony – be paired to collaborate on a project to deconstruct a poem about the interconnectivity of everything. But as the two teens cram to finish their presentation on Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, they learn not only how to work together, but just how fundamentally they complement each other. Gunderson’s previous scripts have been praised for their “intelligent, pointed humor” (The Daily Californian) and “adorably quirky” characters who “engender empathy” (TheaterDogs).

South Coast Repertory, which also commissioned and premiered Gunderson’s Emilie: La Marquise Du Chaltelet Defends Her Life Tonight (2009) and Silent Sky (2011), commissioned I and You. The play received readings at SCR’s Pacific Playwrights Festival in April 2012 and as part of Magic Theatre’s new play development “Magic @ the Costume Shop” program. Since Gunderson moved to San Francisco a few years ago, the Atlanta native has had increasing success in the Bay Area, receiving the world premiere of Exit, Pursued by a Bear by Crowded Fire Theatre in August 2011, regional premiere of Emilie... by Symmetry Theatre Company in January 2012 and the world premiere of Toil and Trouble at Impact Theatre in November 2012. In the coming season, her plays By and By (world premiere, Shotgun Players), The Taming (world premiere, Crowded Fire) and Silent Sky (regional premiere, TheatreWorks) will be produced in addition to I and You. MTC produced public staged readings of Silent Sky (2011) and Rock Hill: Southern Gothic (2009) as part of its New Works Series and a traveling production of her adaptation of Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything (2008, 2009) for its theater for young audiences School Tour program.

Over the holiday season, MTC produces Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol, adapted from Charles Dickens’ 1843 novella A Christmas Carol by Tom Mula for four actors. Perfect for the whole family, this “thoroughly charming holiday treat” (Daily Herald) opens as does the Victorian classic, with Marley dead – “There is no doubt whatever about that” – but the focus never leaves his chained and burdened soul. This festive ghost story remains in the ethereal planes of the afterlife as Marley scrambles to redeem himself by reforming that “squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner” – Ebeneezer Scrooge – in just 24 hours. This is going to be one long night... of “delectably zany, inspired theater” (CityBeat) that “befits the season and makes a very old story new again” (Seattle Times).

Mula, an actor as well as a playwright and director, performed the role of Scrooge in A Christmas Carol at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago for seven seasons. He first wrote Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol in 1995 as a novel, which became a Chicago Sun-Times bestseller. For seven seasons, an audio version was broadcast nationwide on NPR and the play version, originally written for one actor, premiered at the Goodman Theatre’s Studio in 1998. Shortly thereafter, Mula developed a four-actor version, which premiered at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company in 2001 with then artistic director Jasson Minadakis directing. Published in 2004, the four-actor version has since been produced across the country, including in the Bay Area at Actors Theatre of San Francisco (2004), City Lights Theater Company (2007) and Sonoma County’s Pegasus Theatre Company (2012). Stage versions of A Christmas Carol are popular each holiday season and at least six productions were staged in the Bay Area in 2012 at A.C.T., Center REP, Notre Dame de Namur University, Novato Theater Company and San Jose Rep, as well as an Occupy Movement-inspired version by San Francisco Mime Troupe.

The world premiere of Carson Kreitzer’s Lasso of Truth follows in February. This MTC and National New Play Network co-commission traces the origin story and lasting impact of the comic character Wonder Woman through the life of her creator William Moulton Marston. The early 20th-century psychologist and inventor of an early lie detection test modeled his superheroine on his wife Elizabeth Holloway Marston and former student and lover Olive Byrne, both of whom he lived with in a polyamorous relationship. Believing that “not even girls want to be girls so long as our feminine archetype lacks force, strength and power” (and at the prompting of his wife), he invented “the obvious remedy” –  “a feminine character with all the strength of Superman plus all the allure of a good and beautiful woman,” not knowing that 30 years after his Amazon warrior made her debut in All Star Comics #8 in 1941 that she would become a worldwide feminist icon.

A long-time colleague of MTC’s artistic director Jasson Minadakis, who will direct the play, Minnesota-based playwright Carson Kreitzer was co-commissioned in 2010 by MTC and NNPN to write her new play Lasso of Truth. MTC partnered with Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis (where Kreitzer is a Core Writer) to workshop and develop the play, which has also received readings at Oregon Shakespeare Festival Black Swan Lab, NNPN’s National Showcase of New Plays and Playwriting Australia National Play Festival. Known for her “muscular and sharp” (CityBeat) and “raw and bold” (Hollywood Reporter) writing, Kreitzer “has a huge vision” (The Cincinnati Enquirer), addressing “scorching issues [that] defy simple response” (Los Angeles Times). Locally, Custom Made Theatre Company produced Kreitzer’s The Love Song of J. Robert Oppenheimer in 2009.

In April, just as the 2014 Major League Baseball season opens, MTC produces August Wilson’s Fences, the 1950s entry into the playwright's Century Cycle (also known as his Pittsburgh Cycle) –a decade-by-decade exploration of the black experience in 20th century America. Troy Maxson, one of the greatest characters of American theater, has stepped up to the plate too many times in his life only to go down swinging. Shut out of the big leagues by prejudice, the former Negro League homerun king is now a garbage man with little future. He tries to do right by his wife Rose, his sons and wounded war veteran brother, but when his youngest son Cory shows promise on the high school football team, Troy must come to terms with his past disappointments or risk tearing his family apart. Fences is “August Wilson at his finest!” (Boston Herald). “Time has enhanced the luster of” the play and it “stands apart thanks to its distinctive lyricism and theatricality and its unforgettable central character” – Fences is “universal enough to touch a chord in every human heart.” (The New York Times).

Fences premiered in 1985 at Yale Repertory Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut, and had tryouts at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago (1986) and Curran Theatre in San Francisco (1987) before opening on Broadway in March 1987 at the 46th Street Theatre, where it ran for 536 performances. Fences won the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for drama, 1987 Tony Award for best play and 1987 Drama Desk Award for outstanding play, as well as the 2010 Tony Award for best revival of a play and 2010 Drama Desk Award for outstanding revival of a play. Besides its Broadway tryout in 1987, Fences was produced locally at TheatreWorks in 2000, by the San Jose Multicultural Artists Guild and Tabia African-American Theatre Ensemble in 2007, Lorraine Hansberry Theatre in 2008 and Altarena Playhouse in 2012. Wilson is often cited as one of America’s greatest dramatists; MTC previously produced his Seven Guitars in 2011. The production was nominated for eight San Francisco Bay Area Critics Circle Awards, winning best ensemble, best performance by a female actor in a lead role (Omoze Idehenre), best costume design (Callie Floor) and best lighting design (Kurt Landisman).

The west coast premiere of Failure: A Love Story by the “hugely talented Chicago writer” (Chicago Tribune) Philip Dawkins closes out MTC’s 2013-14 season in June with a music-infused production directed by MTC’s artistic director Jasson Minadakis. With the very opening lines, we know the basic plot of this anything-but-predictable, “wildly charming” (Chicago Reader) and “fantastically macabre” (Huffington Post) new play set in 1920s Chicago: “Nelly was the first of the Fail Girls to die, followed soon after by her sisters, Jenny June and Gerty Fail, in that order. Causes of death were Blunt Object, Disappearance and Consumption, also in that order.” But before each young woman meets her untimely end, she finds love and happiness in this “enchanted and enchanting, wholly wonderful show that is profound, yet at the very same time whimsical beyond all imagining” (Chicago Sun-Times); “Dawkins approaches death with a quiet strength and gentle humor” (Chicago Now).

Developed at the Lark Play Development Center in New York, Failure premiered in November 2012 at Chicago’s Victory Gardens and will be produced later this year at Azuka Theatre in Philadelphia (May) and Illinois Shakespeare Festival (July). Known for his Joseph Jefferson Award-nominated play The Homosexuals, which premiered at Chicago’s About Face Theatre in 2011, and his nationally successful plays for young performers, Dawkins receives his Bay Area debut in 2014. Chicago Sun-Times has called his work “smart, funny, poignant, sharply observed [and] up-to-date.” He is a Victory Gardens Ensemble Playwright, an artistic associate of About Face Theatre and a founding member of Chicago Opera Vanguard.

In MTC’s 2013-14 Season, Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol and Failure: A Love Story are recommended for ages 6 and up. I and You for ages 11 and up, Good People and Fences for ages 13 and up, and Lasso of Truth for mature teens and up.

Six-play full-season subscriptions and four-ticket flex packages are on sale now. Subscription packages offer savings off single ticket prices, exclusive benefits and personalized customer service. Six-play full-season subscriptions are available for $120-306 and include free ticket exchanges, lost ticket replacement and priority seating. For more information about subscriptions, visit marintheatre.org or contact MTC’s Box Office, (415) 388-5208. Single tickets go on sale in early July.

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CALENDAR

August 22 – September 15, 2013
Good People | Bay Area Premiere
By David Lindsay-Abaire | Director TBA
Opening night: Tuesday, August 27

October 10 – November 3, 2013
I and You | World Premiere
By Lauren Gunderson | Director TBA
Opening night: Tuesday, October 15

November 21 – December 15, 2013
Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol
By Tom Mula | Director TBA
Opening night: Tuesday, November 26

February 20 – March 16, 2014
Lasso of Truth | World Premiere
Co-commission with National New Play Network
By Carson Kreitzer | Directed by Jasson Minadakis
Opening night: Tuesday, February 25

April 10 – May 4, 2014
Fences
By August Wilson | Directed by Derrick Sanders
Opening night: Tuesday, April 15

June 5 – June 29, 2014
Failure: A Love Story | West Coast Premiere
By Philip Dawkins | Directed by Jasson Minadakis
Opening night: Tuesday, June 10

All productions performed in MTC’s Boyer Theatre, located at Marin Theatre Company, 397 Miller Avenue, Mill Valley. Note: Programming and scheduling are subject to change.

ABOUT MTC
Founded in 1967, Marin Theatre Company is the Bay Area’s premier mid-sized theater and the leading professional theater in the North Bay. We produce a six-show season of provocative plays by passionate playwrights from the 20th century and today in our intimate 231-seat proscenium theater. We are committed to the development and production of new plays by American playwrights, with a comprehensive New Play Program that includes two nationally recognized annual playwriting awards, new play readings and workshops by the nation’s best emerging playwrights and a leadership position in the National New Play Network. Our numerous education programs serve more than 6,000 students each year. MTC is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

PRESS CONTACT
Sasha Hnatkovich, Communications Director
(415) 388-5200, ext. 3313 | sasha@marintheatre.org

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