Fri11282014

Stepping Out

TheatreWorks reveals new season, features world premiere


TheatreWorks this month announced the lineup for its 45th season, scheduled to begin in July and run through June 2015.

Performances are set to take place at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., and the Lucie Stern Theatre, 1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto.

Opening with a world premiere developed at last season’s New Works Festival, the lineup gives Bay Area audiences their first look at the drama that won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize, the West Coast premiere of the newest work by Rajiv Joseph, a Sondheim revival, a bluegrass musical, a Noël Coward confection and a five-time Tony Award-winning recent Broadway hit slated for the holiday season.

In chronological order, TheatreWorks’ 2014-2015 season features the following.

• “The Great Pretender.” David West Read’s bittersweet comedy was developed last summer during TheatreWorks’ 2013 New Works Festival. The passing of his cherished wife and fellow puppeteer consumes a children’s TV host in this comic tale of friendship, love and letting go. “Pretender” channels the unforgettable shows of the small screen, going behind the painted sets and colored lights to discover that people, as well as puppets, sometimes need a helping hand. The world premiere of “Pretender” is scheduled to run July 9 through Aug. 3 at the Lucie Stern Theatre.

• “Water by the Spoonful.” Quiara Alegría Hudes’ Pulitzer Prize-winning drama involves strangers who share secrets in a chat room for troubled souls – a safe haven for lives in recovery. A sensitive webmaster moderates the community, but offline her relationships crumble. As living and virtual worlds weave together, the true meaning of family becomes apparent, proving that no one is above reproach – or beyond redemption. The regional premiere of “Spoonful” is scheduled Aug. 20 through Sept. 14 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts.

• “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.” Winner of eight Tony Awards, the musical features book by Hugh Wheeler and music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Based on an adaptation by Christopher Bond, the play tells the tale of a 19th-century barber seeking justice from the corrupt London judge who exiled him. Partnered with delicious pie-shop proprietress Mrs. Lovett, Sweeney exacts a fearsome revenge as Mrs. Lovett concocts an alarming new recipe. Scheduled Oct. 8 through Nov. 2 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts.

• “Peter and the Starcatcher.” Based on the novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, the musical – featuring book by Rick Elice and music by Wayne Barker – won five Tony Awards. A prequel to “Peter Pan,” the play is a comedic romp through Neverland. It is a madcap, music-filled adventure celebrating the boy who never grew up and the girl he will never forget. “Starcatcher” is scheduled Dec. 3-28 at the Lucie Stern Theatre.

• “2 Pianos 4 Hands.” The virtuoso comedy from Ted Dykstra and Richard Greenblatt is a coming-of-age journey featuring music from Bach and Beethoven to Scott Joplin and Jerry Lee Lewis. It centers on two piano students who reach the edge of genius only to fall an octave short of stardom. The play includes two main actors, two grand pianos and a gallery of pushy parents and eccentric teachers, all coming together to capture the agony and ecstasy of anyone who’s ever struggled to be the best. Scheduled Jan. 14 through Feb. 8 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts.

• “The Lake Effect.” The drama is the latest from playwright Rajiv Joseph (“The North Pool,” “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo”), a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2010. Winner of the Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Play, “Lake” centers on family secrets, sibling rivalry and surprising reconciliation. Pungent memories of tandoors and tikka masala linger in a shuttered Indian restaurant, where the owner’s grown-up children ponder the legacy of their family business, their father’s mysterious bookie and their suddenly entangled lives. Scheduled March 4-29 at the Lucie Stern Theatre.

• “Fire on the Mountain.” From the creators of “It Ain’t Nothin’ But the Blues,” Randal Myler and Dan Wheetman, “Mountain” is a musical revue about the lives of mining families in the heart of Appalachia. The regional premiere is told in the rhythms of Appalachian bluegrass and is described as a “foot-stomping celebration” of the culture, hardships and heroics of life on the Blue Ridge. Scheduled April 1-26 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts.

• “Fallen Angels.” Noël Coward’s comedy classic caps the season. Fabulous friends Jane and Julia learn that the dashing French flame they shared years ago is back in town and eager for a reunion. With their husbands on holiday and plenty of bubbly to banish reserve, conspiracy gives way to competition in this scandalous hit from the 1920s. Scheduled June 3-28 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts.

For season tickets ($114-$498) and more information, call 463-1960 or visit theatreworks.org.

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