Sarasota's Asolo Repertory Theatre has announced its 2016-17 season, the fifth and last in its "American Character Project" that's meant to artistically explore what it is to be an American.
Among the offerings: The Frank Loesser musiclal "Guys and Dolls," recent plays about Lyndon Johnson and Antonin Scalia and Garson Kanin's screwball comedy "Born Yesterday."
The 2016-17 season will follow the same format as the current season, with two mainstage musicals in the fall and spring and four productions playing in rotating repertory on the Mertz Theatre stage from January through April. This season, Asolo Rep will not present a production in the Historic Asolo Theater and will instead present one production in the Jane B. Cook Theatre, adjacent to the Mertz in the FSU Center for the Performing Arts.
Season subscriptions are on sale now and are available by calling 941-351-8000 or going to asolorep.org. Single tickets will go on sale in September.
Here's the season that's been announced so far. One more show, a summer musical, will be announced soon.
"Guys and Dolls"
Nov. 18-Jan. 1; previews Nov. 15-17
Set under the bright lights of Broadway and bustling with gamblers, gangsters and sassy showgirls, "Guys and Dolls" features a score by Frank Loesser, book and lyrics by Joe Swerling and Abe Burrows, and Damon Runyon characters. The plot involves a romance between a high-rolling gambler and a missionary.
"The Great Society"
Jan. 13-April 2; previews Jan. 11-12
"The Great Society" continues Robert Schenkkan's exploration of Lyndon Johnson's years in the White House. (Schenkkan also wrote this season's "All the Way.") In his second term, besieged by political opponents, Johnson tries to push through Congress some of the most important social programs in U.S. history through Congress.
Jan. 20-March 5; previews Jan. 18-19
Justice Antonin Scalia's death has focused attention on this new play. A liberal law school graduate embarks on a clerkship with Scalia, and finds him to be both an infuriating sparring partner and unexpected mentor.
Feb. 10-April 15; previews Feb. 8-9
A classic comedy that offers a commentary on politics and the power of female persuasion. With his ex-showgirl girlfriend Billie Dawn, junkyard magnate Harry Brock moves to Washington D.C. where he hopes to break into some "special interest" business with an ethically-challenged senator. When Billie's lack of social graces embarrasses even him, Harry hires a young reporter to give her the polish she needs to get ahead in D.C. society.
"The Little Foxes"
March 17-April 15, 2017; previews March 15-16
Lillian Hellman's chronicle of the dark side of the American Dream is a masterpiece of 20th century drama. In 1900 in the deep South, Regina Hubbard Giddens and her two brothers are nouveau-riche cotton growers who have a chance to become mega-rich by investing in a new mill. But the siblings still need $75,000 to seal the deal, which they attempt to swindle from Regina's ailing husband.
"The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity"
April 7-30, 2017; previews April 5-6
The winner of the Obie for Best New American Play and a this Pulitzer Prize finalist is a comedy about a professional wrestler, who is blocked from being the champion by the charismatic title character. He fins a charismatic protege, but when their rivalry is used to exploit racial stereotypes to raise ratings, all three men find themselves fighting for more than the title belt.
May 5-28, 2017; previews begin April 27
A world-premiere musical set in Greenwich Village in 1959. Busboy Walter Paisley wants to be one of the beatniks, but he has no artistic talent. When he accidentally kills a cat and hides it in a lump of clay, "Dead Cat" is declared a masterpiece, and Walter a genius.
October and November
Presented by Asolo Rep and the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training, the New Stages Tour show features a cast of third-year Conservatory students and brings a 45-minute adaptations of classic literature to schools and community venues throughout the state of Florida.
The 2016-17 FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training season
"Book of Days"
Lanford Wilson's "Book of Days" won the Best Play Award from the American Theater Critics Association in 1999. Its set in a small town dominated by a cheese plant, a fundamentalist church, and a community theater. When the owner of the cheese plant dies mysteriously in a hunting accident, Ruth, his bookkeeper, suspects murder. Cast as Joan of Arc in a local production of George Bernard Shaw's "Saint Joan," Ruth takes on the attributes of her fictional character and launches into a one-woman campaign to see justice done.
"A View From the Bridge"
Arthur Miller looks at the lives of New York dockworkers. A longshoreman helps smuggle in two of his wife's cousins into the country. When one of the two cousins begins to pursue Eddie's teenage niece, the play explodes in a tragic display of violence and unconscious passions.
"The Drunken City"
Feb. 21-March 12
Three young brides-to-be who set out on a celebratory evening, only to have one of them question her future after a chance meeting with a recently jilted handsome stranger. Adam Bock's wildly theatrical play looks at the ever-shifting nature of love and identity.
"A Midsummer Night's Dream"
April 11-29, 2017, at Selby Gardens
Shakespeare's hilarious comedy about four young lovers and an army of fairies and spirits who all cross paths one magical night in a forest outside of Athens.
Marty Clear, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 941-708-7919. Follow twitter.com/martinclear.