The Arkansas Repertory Theatre on Thursday night announced a three-show "mini-season" for the first half of 2020, leading toward realigning the theater's schedule to a "normal" fall-spring-summer season for 2020-21.
The theater instituted a calendar-year, January-December season for 2019 as it recovered from a financial crash, reopening in November after a closure in April 2018.
Will Trice, who officially started work as the theater's executive artistic director Aug. 1, said going back to a September-June season puts the Rep more in alignment with the way schools, churches and other arts organizations co-ordinate their schedules.
The three shows already on the 2020 docket are:
• Jan. 29-Feb. 16: Ann by Holland Taylor, a one-woman show with Tony, Emmy and Golden Globe winner Elizabeth Ashley playing the outspoken late Texas Gov. Ann Richards. Drama Desk Award-winner Michael Wilson will direct.
• April 1-19: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Simon Stephens, based on the novel by Mark Haddon. A 15-year-old math genius who lacks social skills and distrusts strangers finds himself in the midst of an investigative adventure that will forever affect his family and community.
• July 8-26: Bye Bye Birdie, music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Lee Adams, book by Michael Stewart. A small-town teenage girl wins a 1958 competition to plant a kiss on an Elvis-like rock 'n' roll star during The Ed Sullivan Show on national TV. David H. Bell will direct.
Subscription information and other details will be available on the theater's newly reorganized website, TheRep.org.
Trice said the theater will "start the clock again" in the fall of 2020, explaining that putting it back on a school-year-schedule format "is easier for a community perspective" and easier for ticket sales and fundraising.
"There's a reason everybody does it that way," he said.
Trice is a Little Rock native who got his start doing community theater here. More recently he worked as a Broadway producer, winning three Tony Awards for productions of All the Way, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf and Porgy and Bess.
He also was nominated for five more, including work on Fiddler on the Roof; the Royal Shakespeare Company's Wolf Hall; You Can't Take It With You; The Glass Menagerie; and Gore Vidal's The Best Man.
He credits his Broadway connections for many of the actors and directors who will be bringing the early 2020 shows to the Rep stage, including Ashley and Wilson.
He takes over as the theater's administrator in the wake of its financial collapse and resurrection during 2018, and in the wake of the death in September of founding (and interim) artistic director Cliff Baker.
Trice said the theater will continue to operate within a letter of agreement with Actors Equity, which requires a minimum number of performers in each production to be members of the actors' union.
Dog in the Night-Time calls for a cast of nine, he said, all of whom will come from out of town as part of a co-production with the Roundhouse Theatre in Washington, D.C. The theater will hold open auditions for Birdie in Little Rock, New York and Chicago.
"We'll be having an open call for local adult artists within the next couple of months," Trice said. "In addition to scouting for the specific productions we have coming up soon, this is my first opportunity to get to know the artists here, so I really hope to get a great turnout."
The theater will post details on Facebook and its website, and Trice said notices will be posted with media outlets.
Metro on 08/16/2019
Print Headline: Rep sets 3 shows in '20's first half, makes plans for regular '20-'21 season