Mark Lamos, Westport Country Playhouse artistic director. Photo by Bruce Plotkin Photography (contributed photo)
Westport Country Playhouse announces its 2018 season, featuring five productions that are “big for the soul,” according to Artistic Director Mark Lamos. The Connecticut professional theater’s lineup includes two comedies, one modern and one classic; a drama; a musical; and a world premiere, running from May 29 through November 17. 2018 season tickets are now on sale.
“In this American Moment of turmoil and mistrust, unsteadiness and accusation, comes a season of productions at our historic Playhouse that digs deep into the heart and gives the soul an uplift,” said Lamos. “A wide human canvas of emotions, from joy and surprise to tears of hope -- this is what characterizes the coming 2018 season of drama, comedy, and thrilling musical theater. Five productions. Five chances to connect with feelings we can sometimes only access when we confront, and are embraced by, live performance.”
The 2018 season will begin with “Flyin’ West,” playing May 29 – June 16, written by Pearl Cleage, directed by Seret Scott. Set in 1898 when the Civil War is still a living memory, the all-black town of Nicodemus, Kansas, offers a refuge for many former slaves. At one homestead lives a family of courageous and sharp-witted women determined to make a place for themselves. They overcome tremendous odds in a heroic effort to escape the scars of the past in this uplifting story of bravery, pride, and sisterhood.
“A Flea in Her Ear,” a new version of Georges Feydeau’s farce, written by David Ives and directed by Mark Lamos, is scheduled July 10 – 28. The comedy is a co-production with Resident Ensemble Players at the University of Delaware. Raymonde has everything a turn-of-the-century Parisian housewife could want. Everything, that is, except for a husband who lavishes her with attention in bed. Doubting his fidelity, she gets a “flea in her ear,” sending all involved on a wild ride of accusations, mistaken identities, and riotous confusions.
“The Understudy,” written by Theresa Rebeck and directed by David Kennedy (2017 Connecticut Critics Circle Award for Best Director of a Play), will run August 14 – September 1. Audiences mob the theater when a Hollywood action star takes the Broadway stage in a recently discovered play by Franz Kafka. But what if he can’t go on? Enter Harry, the understudy, a journeyman actor who has the chops but not the résumé. This hilarious look at life backstage gets even crazier when Harry reunites with the stage manager (his ex-fiancée) and dukes it out with the film star as obstacles mount and tensions rise.
“Man of La Mancha,” written by Dale Wasserman, music by Mitch Leigh, lyrics by Joe Darion, and directed by Mark Lamos, will be staged September 25 – October 13, 2018. Winner of 5 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and based on Cervantes’ masterpiece, this “Impossible Dream” comes to life in an imaginative journey with Don Quixote as he tilts at windmills and battles for good and the love of his fair maiden Aldonza.
The 2018 season culminates with the world-premiere drama, “Thousand Pines,” written by Matthew Greene and directed by Austin Pendleton, playing October 30 – November 17, 2018. The new drama was incubated in early 2017 by Westport Country Playhouse’s New Works Initiative. Thanksgiving feels hollow this year to the families of a small suburban town where the memories are still too fresh. Nothing is the same since the day when Thousand Pines Junior High School was on every news channel and in everyone’s hearts. This important and uplifting tale of redemption shows that everyone is the same in wanting to feel safe and in wanting to heal.
In addition, “The Pianist of Willesden Lane” will return by popular demand for a special engagement in December 2018, directly following the regular season. The acclaimed musical memoir stars Grammy-nominated pianist and storyteller Mona Golabek, and is directed by Hershey Felder. In 1938 Vienna, a 14-year-old piano prodigy finds her dreams of becoming a concert pianist threatened by the looming war in Europe. When her parents buy her a one-way ticket to England on the Kindertransport, the children’s survival train, a story of art preserving life begins.
All play titles, artists, and dates are subject to change.
The performance schedule is Tuesday at 7 p.m., Wednesday at 2 and 8 p.m., Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. Special series feature Taste of Tuesday, LGBT Night OUT, Opening Night, Sunday Symposium, Open Captions, Thursday TalkBack, Together at the Table Family Dinner, Playhouse Happy Hour, and Backstage Pass.
5-Play and Pick 4 season tickets are now available, including online purchasing capability 24/7. Patrons who purchase before Saturday, October 14, will receive a one-half price guest pass, and save 25% on “The Pianist of Willesden Lane,” if added to their package. All season ticket holders receive a host of benefits not afforded to single ticket buyers, including up to 35% off single ticket prices, priority seating, free and easy ticket exchanges, and discounts at selected Westport restaurants. In addition, they will be invited to a season preview event in the spring with Lamos and other artists. 2018 Flex Passes are also currently on sale for those seeking to see any combination of shows on varying days and times. Single tickets will go on sale in March.
For more information and to buy season tickets, visit www.westportplayhouse.org or call the box office at (203) 227-4177, toll-free at 1-888-927-7529, or visit Westport Country Playhouse, 25 Powers Court, off Route 1, Westport. Stay connected to the Playhouse on Facebook (Westport Country Playhouse), follow on Twitter (@WCPlayhouse), and on YouTube (WestportPlayhouse).