Several of us from the A.R.T. trekked down to the big apple yesterday for the presentation at the end of a one-week workshop kindly hosted by the folks at The Public Theater. The cast – which all of us present hope will be the one that will come to Cambridge – was assembled in front of their scores, with a pianist and a conductor. Diane made a brief speech, and the music began…. and WHAT a ride it was! The cast was phenomenal, voices ranging from the big handsome Philip Boykin singing the role of the King with the deepest bass baritone voice to the absolutely adorable 12-year old Chris Borger, who not only sounds like an angel, but performed with the poise and the self-assurance of a total pro. And the amazing Lavon Fisher-Wilson, who brought the house down with her “let a little sunshine in”…. we were practically dancing in the aisles. And… last but not least, there was “Big Daddy” himself, David Alan Grier, a sort of master of ceremonies, story teller, who tied all the proceedings together with a great sense of humor and improvisation. I was not familiar with the music of composer Deirdre Murray, but I could not sit still, totally enveloped in the rhythm, the buoyancy and enthusiasm of the cast, and those voices!!!! I cant wait for rehearsals to begin here in Cambridge in the fall…
Welcome to 2009-10 at the A.R.T.! I am so excited to introduce the 09/10 season, and our new initiative:
EXPERIENCE THE A.R.T.
You will see these words a lot. To me, theater is more than simply the play on the stage: it’s a ritual, a place for people to come and gather—a function of community. Next season is designed with this in mind, and is programmed around two festivals: Shakespeare Exploded! and America: Boom, Bust, and Baseball. Each festival will be enhanced by readings, discussions, art exhibits, and opportunities to socialize, dine, and even dance together.
We open our 2009-10 season with Shakespeare Exploded!, a festival of radical new works inspired by three classic plays by Shakespeare. Dance to all the 70’s hits you know by heart at The Donkey Show, a disco adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream that unfolds around you as a nightclub fantasy. Then experience your own sensory journey as you enter the world of Sleep No More, an immersive “adventure theater” work inspired by Macbeth and Hitchcock’s thrillers. Celebrate the holidays with Best of Both Worlds, an R&B and gospel musical that takes its story from The Winter’s Tale. Before you see Best of Both Worlds, make sure to catch the A.R.T. Institute’s limited run of the Shakespeare play The Winter’s Tale in early October.
America: Boom, Bust, and Baseball explores the hopes, disappointments, and triumphs of the past American century from the roaring twenties to the Great Depression to the Boston Red Sox’s stunning 2004 World Series victory. We begin with the boom—Gatz brings every word of Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby to life in this once-in-a-lifetime marathon theatrical experience. The bust is Clifford Odets’ Paradise Lost, a powerful drama about an American family who loses everything in the throes of economic crisis. Spring is baseball season, and we’ll be staging the world premiere of Red Sox Nation, an exhilarating new musical that explores the source of the infamous Curse and the secret to its end by blending fiction, fact, and the mystical power of the game.
I am thrilled to invite you to immerse yourself in the A.R.T. experience alongside me next season—from attending, to contributing to active discussions online, to having a post-performance snack with your seatmates, to sharing your creative responses to our work with our community. I look forward to welcoming you to the theater!
Diane Paulus, Artistic Director