A Wish List for 2016-17 Season Selections

A Wish List for 2016-17 Season Selections

Chris Peterson

It's that time of the year again. The time when local and regional theaters begin to think about what they'll be producing next year. While it might be easier to pick popular "chestnut" shows, I always hope that theaters will take a chance on some bold new work or pieces that doesn't get nearly the amount of attention that they should. 

So here are five plays and five musicals that I hope will be on selection committee's minds when pick their seasons next year.

Credit goes to Samuel French, Dramatists and MTI for plot descriptions. 


Seminar by Theresa Rebeck

Plot: In Seminar, a provocative comedy from Pulitzer Prize nominee Theresa Rebeck, four aspiring young novelists sign up for private writing classes with Leonard, an international literary figure. Under his recklessly brilliant and unorthodox instruction, some thrive and others flounder, alliances are made and broken, sex is used as a weapon and hearts are unmoored. The wordplay is not the only thing that turns vicious as innocence collides with experience in this biting Broadway comedy.

Cast Breakdown: 3m, 2f

Grand Concourse by Heidi Schreck

Plot: Having dedicated her life to religious service, Shelley runs a Bronx soup kitchen with unsentimental efficiency, but lately her heart’s not quite in it. Her brisk nature masks an unsettling fear that her efforts are meaningless. When Emma — an idealistic but confused college dropout — arrives to volunteer, her reckless mix of generosity and self-involvement pushes Shelley to the breaking point. With keen humor and startling compassion, Heidi Schreck’s play navigates the mystery of faith, the limits of forgiveness, and the pursuit of something resembling joy.

Cast Breakdown: 2m, 2f

Marie Antoinette by David Adjmi

Plot: In David Adjmi’s contemporary take on the young queen of France, Marie is a confection created by a society that values extravagance and artifice. But France’s love affair with the royals sours as revolution brews, and for Marie, the political suddenly becomes very personal. From the light and breezy banter at the palace to the surging chants of "Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité!" in the streets, Marie Antoinette holds a mirror up to our contemporary society that might just be entertaining itself to death.

Cast Breakdown: 6m, 3f

A Steady Rain by Keith Huff

Plot: A dark duologue filled with sharp storytelling and biting repartee, A Steady Rain explores the complexities of a lifelong bond tainted by domestic affairs, violence, and the rough streets of Chicago. Joey and Denny have been best friends since kindergarten, and after working together for several years as policemen in Chicago, they are practically family: Joey helps out with Denny's wife and kids; Denny keeps Joey away from the bottle. But when a domestic disturbance call takes a turn for the worse, their friendship is put on the line. The result is a harrowing journey into a moral gray area where trust and loyalty struggle for survival against a sobering backdrop of pimps, prostitutes, and criminal lowlifes.

Cast Breakdown: 2m

Everything You Touch by Sheila Callaghan

Plot: Victor is a ruthless fashion designer in the 1970s at the top of his game. Esme, his glamorous protégé and muse, is pushed aside when an ordinary Midwestern woman inspires Victor to make his artistry accessible to the masses. A generation later, a woman grappling with a healthy dose of self-loathing must wrestle her own family demons to find her way through the world of fashion that won’t give a woman her size a second look. Skipping back and forth in time, Everything You Touch is a viciously funny look at the struggle to find an identity that's more than skin deep. 

Cast Breakdown: 2m, 6f


Anne of Green Gables

Music by Nancy Ford
Book and Lyrics byGretchen Cryer

Plot: Anne Shirley is mistakenly sent to live with a plainspoken farmer and his spinster sister, who thought they were adopting a boy! She wins over the Cuthberts, and all of Prince Edward Island, with her irrepressible spirit and imagination--and wins over audiences with the warm, poignant story about love, home and family.

Cast Size: Medium 20
Cast Type: Ensemble Cast
Dance Requirements: Standard

The Wild Party

Book by Andrew Lippa
Music and Lyrics byAndrew Lippa
Based on the poem by Joseph Moncure March

Plot: Lovers Queenie and Burrs decide to throw the party to end all parties in their Manhattan apartment. After the colorful arrival of a slew of guests living life on the edge, Queenie's wandering eyes land on a striking man named Black. As the decadence is reaching a climax, so is Burrs' jealousy which erupts and sends him into a violent rage. Gun in hand and inhibitions abandoned Burrs turns on Queenie and Black. The gun gets fired, but who's been shot?

Cast Size: Medium 20
Cast Type: Ensemble Cast
Dance Requirements: Standard

A Little Princess

Book and Lyrics by Brian Crawley
Music byAndrew Lippa
Based on the novel by Francis Hodgson Burnett

Plot: Separated from her father, and the openhearted Africans who have helped him raise her, young Sara Crewe is sent to boarding school in London. When things go badly for her there, her imaginative powers come to the rescue - helping to transform a drab institution into a place of magic and mystery. As the girl wins the affection of the other boarders, she draws the ire of Miss Minchin, the dour headmistress, who forces Sara to work as a maid when her father is reported dead and his fortune seized. Sara counters all Miss Minchin's best efforts to degrade her, all the while maintaining the grace and virtue of a little princess.

Cast Size: Flexible
Cast Type: Children
Dance Requirements: Standard

A Man Of No Importance

Lynn Ahrens
Stephen Flaherty
Terrence McNally

Plot: Alfie Byrne is a bus driver in 1964 Dublin, whose heart holds secrets he can't share with anyone but his imagined confidante, Oscar Wilde. When he attempts to put on an amateur production of Wilde's Salome in the local church hall, he confronts the forces of bigotry and shame over a love "that dare not speak its name." But the redemptive power of theater changes his life and brings his friends back to his side.

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

Jeffrey Lane
David Yazbek
Based on the film by Pedro Almodvar

Both touching and hilarious, Women On The Verge is a story about women and the men who pursue them... finding them, losing them, needing them, and rejecting them. At the center is Pepa whose friends and lovers are blazing a trail through 1980s Madrid. Along with Pepa, there's her missing (possibly philandering) lover, Ivan; his ex-wife of questionable sanity, Lucia; their son Carlos; Pepa's friend, Candela, and her terrorist boyfriend; a power-suited lawyer, and a taxi driver who dispenses tissues, mints and advice in equal proportion. Mayhem and comic madness abound, balanced by the empathy and heart that are trademarks of Almodóvar's work. 

Cast Size: Flexible
Cast Type: Ensemble Cast
Dance Requirements: Standard


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