Virginia Repertory Theatre has announced its 2017-18 season, which will be the first under artistic director Nathaniel Shaw. The lineup includes the signature season at the Sara Belle and Neil November Theatre and Marjorie Arenstein Stage; the Cadence season, coproduced by Cadence Theatre Company at Theatre Gym; the Hanover season at Hanover Tavern; and the children’s season at Virginia Rep’s Children’s Theatre at Willow Lawn.
“The 2017-18 season travels from the theaters of Elizabethan London, to a Chicago subdivision in the 1950s, to the banks of America’s mightiest river, and to the blistering hot streets of Hell’s Kitchen in Manhattan,” said Shaw in a statement. “The season takes you on a journey far and wide, spanning hundreds of years, yet asks you questions and examines issues we are all confronting right now.”
The signature season will open with Shakespeare in Love (Sept. 13-Oct. 8), adapted by Lee Hall from the screenplay by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard. The show is about a young Shakespeare who falls for a young woman as he’s writing Romeo and Juliet.
Next up will be Mary Poppins (Nov. 15-Dec. 30), based on the stories of P.L. Travers and the Walt Disney film with music and lyrics by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, book by Julian Fellowes, and new songs and additional music and lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drew. Co-created by Cameron Mackintosh, the musical follows a London nanny who brings magic and imagination to two children.
Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun (Feb. 14-Mar. 11, 2018) will be next. The play follows the Younger family as they try to move into a white neighborhood in Chicago.
After that will be a world premiere (April 18-May 6, 2018), which will be announced at a later date.
The final show of the signature season will be West Side Story (June 20-July 29, 2018), with book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein, and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim based on the conception by Jerome Robbins. The musical centers on the romance between a Puerto Rican woman and a white man.
The first show of the Cadence season will be a Tony-winning musical (Sept. 7-Oct. 8), which will be announced in May.
Next up will be Lucas Hnath’s The Christians (Feb. 8-Mar. 3, 2018), about a pastor at a mega-church who has a change of faith.
The final show of the Cadence season will be Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’s Appropriate (April 26-May 19, 2018), about a white Southern family who discover their father was a racist.
The Hanover season will open with Miracle on South Division Street (Dec. 1-30), by Tom Dudzick. The play centers on the Nowak family members, who are revered in their neighborhood because the Virgin Mary appeared to the grandfather 20 years ago. Conflict occurs when a crisis of faith hits someone in the family.
Next in the lineup will be Erma Bombeck: At Wit’s End (March 2-April 8, 2018), by Allison and Margaret Engel. The play is about the life of the 1970s humorist.
The final show in the Hanover season will be Beth Henley’s Crimes of the Heart (July 20-Aug. 26), about three sisters who are forced to confront their family’s past when one of the sisters kills her abusive husband.
The children’s season will open with Akeelah and the Bee (Sept. 29-Nov. 12), by Cheryl L. West, based on the screenplay by Doug Atchison about a young girl in South Los Angeles who tries to make it to the a national spelling bee.
Next up will be Songs from the Soul (Feb. 2-25, 2018), with book by William Dye and music and lyrics by various artists, about a man who gives free concerts everywhere he goes.
The following show will be Pinkalicious the Musical (April 6-May 13, 2018), based on the book by Elizabeth Kann and Victoria Kann, with book and lyrics by Elizabeth Kann and Victoria Kann, and music and lyrics by John Gregor. The show is about a young girl whose obsession with the color pink goes too far.
The final show in the children’s season will be Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical (July 13-Aug. 12, 2018), based on the book by Mo Willems with script and lyrics by Willems and music by Michael Silversher. The musical follows a toddler who leaves her stuffed animal at the laundromat and her quest to get it back.
Virginia Repertory Theatre is one of the largest performing arts organization in central Virginia, and produces at four venues, for an audience of 530,000, every year.