ALBANY, N.Y.—JAN. 21, 2015—Murder, music, men on the moon. Life lessons, politics, pole dancing. And a true American classic. It’s going to be a heckuva season at Capital Repertory Theatre.
Today, Capital Repertory Theatre announces its 35th season, ripe with world premieres, regional premieres, and re-imaginings of old favorites.
“What a mix we’ve got,” crows Producing Artistic Director Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill. “This season will really take patrons to new places. Murder for Two is coming here straight from its New York run. Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who premiered Edges with us, are back in spirit with A Christmas Story: The Musical and Amy Herzog’s 4000 Miles has won just about every award it can. We’ve got Horton Foote’s masterful The Trip to Bountiful, too, and The Blue Sky Boys is a romp through the route that took America to the moon. Wow, just wow.”
The God Game playwright Suzanne Bradbeer also returns, with another darkly funny new play, Naked Influence.
“In just the space of a few years,” Mancinelli-Cahill says, “our NEXT ACT! New Play Summit, in partnership with Proctors, has become an incredible breeding ground for new works. Suzanne Bradbeer’s The God Game went from a reading to a world premiere production and now it’s making the rounds of regional theatres. We expect her new work, Naked Influence, which was read at last year’s summit and is making its staged premiere this year, to do the same.”
What better way to welcome a new season than with a hilarious musical whodunit? Murder for Two (July 10–Aug. 9) is a new musical comedy that features the perfect blend of music, mayhem and murder! Written by funnymen Joe Kinosian and Kellen Blair, the show delighted New York audiences and critics alike with the story of a small town policeman investigating the mysterious death of the great American novelist. Two performers play 13 roles—not to mention piano—in this witty and winking homage to old-fashioned murder mysteries.
4000 Miles, a dramatic comedy about a 21-year-old concluding his cross country bicycle trip with an unannounced visit to his 91-year-old Jewish grandmother’s Greenwich Village apartment, reaped accolades for playwright Amy Herzog. The play (which makes it regional premiere at theREP Sept. 25–Oct. 18) received the Obie Award for Best Play; was a finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama; and was named #1 Play of the Year by Time Magazine. The script is rich with life lessons from Leo’s outspoken, feisty, activist grandma, Vera; over the course of a month, they infuriate, bewilder, and ultimately change one another forever.
Edges: The Musical was an audience favorite when it made its world premiere at theREP in 2007, launching young composers Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. And the dramatic adaptation of Jean Shepherd’s holiday favorite A Christmas Story was a huge hit for theREP in 2010. With A Christmas Story: The Musical! (making its regional premiere Nov. 27–Dec. 27, under Mancinelli-Cahill’s direction), Pasek and Paul work their magic by creating wonderful new songs for the sturdy tale of Ralphie and his Official Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot Range Model air rifle. Yes, Ralphie’s here, along with all your other favorite characters and a rich, vibrant score that will bring smiles to the entire family!
Naked Influence (Jan. 22–Feb. 14, 2016, also directed by Mancinelli-Cahill) takes us into the world of politics, pole dancing and damage control. Here, playwright Suzanne Bradbeer conjures the bristling high stakes atmosphere of The God Game, but spins things even darker, when a power broker gets involved with a stripper simply trying to make ends meet. A thoughtful, funny and tense world premiere. Adult subject matter.
How did Buck Rogers, Galileo and the Red Baron help NASA land a man on the moon? Deborah Brevoort has all the details in Blue-Sky Boys (March 11–April 3, 2016), an exhilarating romp through the minds of the maverick engineers—the brilliant, preposterous, awe-inspiring space race brain trust—who stopped at nothing to get a man to the moon and back! Join the first Apollo team and experience the outside-the-box thinking that helped America take that one great leap for mankind.
From its 1953 TV debut to its 1985 film adaptation and a hailed 2013 Broadway revival, Horton Foote’s The Trip To Bountiful (April 22–May 15, 2016)—the inspiring story of a woman’s pilgrimage to her Texas birthplace—has remained a classic. Carrie Watts’ is a charming, aging widow who escapes her controlling daughter-in-law and son’s three-room Houston apartment to go home one more time. Along the way, Miss Watts befriends fellow travelers, sharing her wisdom and courage on this once-in-a-lifetime journey to renew strength and dignity for all.
|Murder for Two||July 10–Aug. 9, 2015|
|4000 Miles||Sept. 25-Oct. 18, 2015|
|NEXT ACT! New Play Summit 3||Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 2015|
|A Christmas Story||Nov. 27–Dec. 27, 2015|
|Naked Influence||Jan. 22–Feb. 14, 2016|
|The Blue Sky Boys||March 11–April 3, 2016|
|The Trip To Bountiful||April 22–May 15, 2016|
New subscriptions, starting at $120, will be available beginning late March.
By Joseph Dalton
The Secret Garden
By The Staff, Metroland
"Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill is directing the Frances Hodgson Burnett classic The Secret Garden, which opens this week (Tuesday) and is Capital Repertory Theatre’s holiday gift to the Capital Region."
"This version is performed in “actor/muso” style, with the musical score performed by the cast onstage and in character. Capital Rep promises that this “immersive, hypnotic style of theater” is “perfectly suited” for the magic of Burnett’s well-loved tale of regeneration and hope."
Playtime: “The Secret Garden” comes to Cap Rep
By Joseph Dalton
“I was doing Bob Cratchit in ‘A Christmas Carol’ last year in Colorado,” he recalls. “There was so much heart and power and redemption in that. And there are certainly similarities in this story.”
Burden is right on with the comparison of themes between the two shows. While he points out that “The Secret Garden” is secular, he adds: “This is similar in that it’s about transformation. It’s perfect for the holidays.”
“Sometimes we don’t want to move on but would rather stay in the darkness of pain because it’s familiar,” he says. “We forget that moving on is growth and is beautiful, hence the garden. There’s a lot of magic with the garden and in the show, and that’s heightened by the live music.”
“We’re telling a children’s story, a fairy tale of a little girl,” continues Burden. “It has a lot of heart and is a show everyone, really anyone who’s human.”
Set Serves the Play in "Secret Garden"
By Bob Goepfert - The Saratogian
"The set should not overwhelm the action of the story," he says. Instead, he sees his job as adding to the emotions within the material. "I believe the job of a designer is to evoke the right emotional tone for a show. We should not illustrate those emotions.”
"Simpson makes it clear that his goal is to serve the director's (Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill) vision. That vision is especially demanding for this production as the director's concept includes having several of the performers play musical instruments and serve as the orchestra as well as being actors."
The God Game author Suzanne Bradbeer among winners of third annual showcase of new works at Proctors and Capital Repertory Theatre.
SCHENECTADY, NY—OCT. 14, 2014—William Kennedy’s The Light Of The World anchors NEXT ACT! New Play Summit 3, Nov. 1-3 at Proctors and Capital Repertory Theatre. The play—still in development—has undergone a number of public readings, but this is the first opportunity for fans of the Pulitzer Prize winner’s work to experience the current edition of the much-anticipated script.
NEXT ACT!, a joint venture of theREP and Proctors, brings writers, actors and audience members together for three days of workshops and readings.
The Summit seeks to highlight new works that reflect the values and changes that accompany the growth of Upstate New York’s Tech Valley. A national call for entries in April resulted in more than 300 submissions. After three months of blind reading and analysis by theatre professionals drawn from across the Capital Region and NYC, three plays were selected for staged readings at this year’s NEXT ACT!, including The God Game author Suzanne Bradbeer’s Naked Influence.
“This year, we are honored to be doing a staged reading of William Kennedy’s new play,” says Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill, producing artistic director of theREP. “The Light Of The World lays bear the curse of the Phelan family, whose members dominate the Albany cycle of Mr. Kennedy’s works. We are also thrilled to welcome back Suzanne Bradbeer, whose play The God Game was the hit of the first summit, two years ago.”
Subsequently, The God Game was given a well-praised fully-staged world premiere production at theREP, and has since gone on to productions downstate and in Houston, Texas.
“Three very diverse plays rose to the top from 300 submissions,” says Mancinelli-Cahill. “It’s always interesting to see what writers have on their minds, and this year we had many plays that dealt with drones, surveillance, the recession and university politics.”
Bradbeer’s new play, Naked Influence (Sun, Nov 2 • 1pm, GE Theatre at Proctors), is intended as the second installment in a planned trilogy about politics; it delves into the not so disparate worlds of Washington ethics, pole dancing and damage control.
Gino DiIorio’s Crib (Sat, Nov 1 • 7pm, GE Theatre at Proctors), finds sports, academics and university politics colliding in an engaging potboiler. As the stakes rise, heads roll; and values about race, sex, education and integrity all get put under the dramatic microscope.
Zack Calhoon’s Blanquita (Sun, Nov 2 • 5pm, GE Theatre at Proctors), peppered with Spanish and set in the American Southwest, is a fresh and sexy update of Strindberg’s Miss Julie. When a Senator’s daughter crosses class lines and spends a wild night with the family’s Mexican chauffeur, there are witnesses—and consequences.
Kennedy’s, The Light Of The World (Mon Nov 3 • 7pm, Capital Repertory Theatre), reveals the source of the Phelan curse, which has haunted the characters of Kennedy’s Albany cycle books. The play opens on the occasion of the Phelan matriarch’s funeral, when vagabond and prodigal son Francis returns home and stirs up the deep history and secrets of the family.
In addition to the readings, the three-day summit includes the return of the much-loved event, The First 15 (3 p.m. Sat. Nov. 1, GE Theatre at Proctors), featuring excerpts from the top five semi-finalist plays and a chance for participants to weigh in with their opinions and be in the producer’s seat. A new addition to the summit, Next Voices (1 p.m. Sat. Nov. 1, GE Theatre at Proctors), will introduce three short works written by younger playwrights from Albany High School, to be read by a cast of seasoned actors.
Complimentary refreshments will be available at all events. All events are open to the public and activities take place at GE Theatre at Proctors, 432 State Street, Schenectady and Capital Repertory Theatre, 111 N. Pearl Street, Albany.
Tickets for a full day’s events are $15, $10 for students (with I.D., not available online). Tickets are for general seating, first come, first served basis. Some events sell out. For tickets and information call TICKETS BY PROCTORS at 455-SHOW (455-7469).
Next Act! New Play Summit 3 is made possible, in part, by a legacy gift from Samson O.A. Ullmann, professor of English at Union College, 1957-1992.