As part of its 66th season, Court Theatre is thrilled to announce the continuation of its commitment to staging each play in August Wilson’s American Century Cycle; a musical based on a short story by Doris Betts; and the culmination of Court’s ambitious Oedipus Trilogy. Court’s 66th season also features the return of director Vanessa Stalling and an intimate new take on one of Shakespeare’s most famous tragedies.
“As Court Theatre enters a new decade of producing plays which redefine the notion of classic theatre, I am thrilled to present a season that showcases a cadre of prolific playwrights,” says Charles Newell, Court’s Marilyn F. Vitale Artistic Director. “It’s my belief that our 2020/21 season and the passionate artists collaborating on these plays will breathe new life into the rigorous questions each playwright poses about our world, underscoring why the classics have a powerful role to play in contemporary society.”
“Our 2020/21 season features an exciting array of classic titles and playwrights,” says Angel Ysaguirre, Executive Director of Court. “These plays are classics because our communities continue to imbue them with meaning and relevance and I’m eager to see how our artists and audiences shape meaning out of these plays.”
Explore the 2020/21 Season:
August Wilson’s Two Trains Running
Directed by Resident Artist Ron OJ Parson
Performance Dates: September 3 – October 4, 2020
Amidst the Civil Rights Movement, Memphis Lee’s restaurant is slated for demolition. While Memphis fights to sell his diner for a fair price, the rest of the restaurant’s regulars search for work, love, and justice as their neighborhood continues to change in unpredictable ways. Two Trains Running explores Black identity in the 1960s with passion, humor, and prescience, demonstrating why Wilson is one of America’s most essential voices. With his singular point of view, Resident Artist Ron OJ Parson directs the penultimate play in Court’s ongoing commitment to staging all of Wilson’s American Century Cycle.
Music by Jeanine Tesori
Book and Lyrics by Brian Crawley
Based on The Ugliest Pilgrim by Doris Betts
Directed by Charles Newell
Music Direction by Tom Vendafreddo
Performance Dates: November 5 – December 6, 2020
In 1964, a young Southern woman travels to Oklahoma, hoping that a televangelist will perform a miracle to heal the physical scars that have destroyed her confidence. On her pilgrimage, she meets a soldier who holds the promise of a different path to happiness. Based on Doris Betts’ short story, Violet is brought to life with a complex score of folk, gospel, and blues anthems from Tony Award-winning composer Jeanine Tesori (Caroline, or Change). Charles Newell, Marilyn F. Vitale Artistic Director, helms this musical about faith and the true nature of beauty.
In the aftermath of a civil war, Creon shames the rebel Polynices by leaving him unburied on the battlefield. In defiance of the Theban ruler, Antigone plans to bury her brother’s body, risking her life in the process. With intellect and unstinting vision, director Seret Scott stages Sophocles’ exploration of notions of justice. Antigone concludes Court’s Oedipus Trilogy, which ambitiously linked three ancient Greek dramas to bridge cultures, cities, and communities.
On the foggy fens of England, the ghosts of the past haunt the women laboring in the fields. Seizing on a new relationship as a potential path to escape, Val leaves the stultifying constraints of work and family behind, only to be confronted with the repercussions of her decision. Employing astonishing theatrical imagery, Caryl Churchill’s Fen interrogates issues of gender, class, and exploitation with grace, humor, and anger. Jeff Award-winning director Vanessa Stalling (Photograph 51) returns to Court Theatre to bring her striking clarity and fresh perspective to the play that won Churchill the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize.
Othello, the great Venetian general, unknowingly seals his fate when he fails to select his standard-bearer, Iago, for a military promotion. Implicating Othello’s wife, Desdemona, in an affair, Iago sets forth a series of irreversible events that spell catastrophe for Othello and his country. Kelvin Roston, Jr. and Timothy Edward Kane who sparred in Oedipus Rex return to Court to star in this intimate new take on Shakespeare’s tragedy about jealousy, ego, and betrayal. Marilyn F. Vitale Artistic Director Charles Newell combines Shakespeare’s words with exhilarating movement and elements of the 16th-century story by Cinthio that inspired Othello, crafting a production that physicalizes the poetry of the original text with raw immediacy.