What do history, silliness, Cole Porter, mathematical genius, comedy, George Washington, new works, Herman Melville, a Nobel Prize, mystery, a Pulitzer Prize, music, Ethan Allen, America’s greatest drama, the Civil War, Ben Franklin and the Tony Award for Best Play, all have in common? Each will be found in Oldcastle Theatre‘s 2018 season. The company’s 47th season opens June 15th and will run through October 14th.
“Programming theatre seasons in this era of rapid, often disturbing change, is difficult”, according to Oldcastle’s Producing Artistic Director, Eric Peterson. “By looking back in history to plays that deal with the American Revolution, the Civil War and always relevant family dynamics, we’re hoping to give insight and historical resonance to some of the issues facing us today. In addition, of course, we will entertain audiences giving them an opportunity to put aside their burdens for a couple of hours, simply sit back and enjoy some laughs and some music.”
The season kicks off June 15 through June 24 with Herman Melville’s captivating novel The Almost True And Truly Remarkable Adventures Of Israel Potter, that has been transformed into a rollicking new play by Joe Bravaco and Lary Rosler. Join young Israel as he goes from a small Berkshire town to the American Revolution then on to motherland England and back again. Along the way he meets historical figures, falls in love, fights the British, becomes a spy, escapes imminent death a few times and sings some songs. The cast will include long time Oldcastle veterans Richard Howe the company’s Associate Artistic Director, Christine Decker, and Gary Allan Poe. The play will be directed by Nathan Stith who directed Oldcastle’s production of”39 Steps”.
Matthew Lopez’s The Whipping Man, July 13 through July 22, is an extraordinary play about redemption and forgiveness, about the lasting scars of slavery and the responsibility that comes with freedom. Set during the American Civil War, the New York Times calls the play, “vivid and emotionally potent, Haunting, striking and powerful.” The cast will include Herb Parker who returns to Oldcastle having previously been seen in the company’s productions of “I’m Not Rappaport” and “My Children! My Africa!”
Oldcastle has produced nine of A. R. Gurney’s plays but none quite like The Fourth Wall, August 10 through August 19, a thoughtful comedy that includes five Cole Porter songs. Audiences will Laugh, and enjoy witty tunes while contemplating what is real and what is theatrical artifice in our every day lives. A splendid cast includes Sarah Corey and Amy Hayes, both of whom were in last season’s acclaimed production of “Broadway Bound” and David Joseph, who has been seen with Oldcastle in “Shipwrecked” which last year won the Best Acting Ensemble Award from the Berkshire Theatre Critics Association, and “The Consul, the Tramp and America’s Sweetheart.” Tim Howard who directed Oldcastle hugely successful production of the musical “Big River” returns to direct.
David Auburn’s Proof won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony for Best Play. The play runs August 31 through September 9 and combines elements of mystery, romance, and surprise with old-fashioned storytelling in a compelling, smart and compassionate play. On the eve of her 25th birthday, Catherine, a troubled young woman, has spent years caring for her brilliant but unstable father, a famous math matician. Over a long weekend a burgeoning romance, and the discovery of a mysterious notebook draws Catherine into the the most difficult problem of all. How much of her father’s madness—or genius—will she inherit? Richard Howe plays Catherine’s mathematical genius of a father. The rest of the cast will be announced at a later date.
Spanning one day in the life of a tumultuous family, LONG DAY’S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT, October 5 through October 14, is considered by many the greatest play by America’s greatest dramatist. Eugene O’Neill changed American drama forever and his play is a living testament to the power of theatre. Tennessee Williams said “O’Neill gave birth to the American theater.” Arthur Miller commented:”O’Neill was the great wrestler, fighting God to a standstill.” “O’Neill’s disdain for the status quo, his intolerance for superficiality, his contempt for gauche materialism, his unwillingness to sacrifice integrity and his insistence on emotional honesty are as relevant today and vital today as ever—maybe even more so”, wrote scholar Howard Fishman. The cast of this towering drama will include Nigel Gore fondly remembered by Oldcastle audiences for his performances in “Lion in Winter” and Miller’s ” The Ride Down Mt. Morgan”, Ms. Decker, who joined Oldcastle in 1973 and has made dozens of acting appearances with the company including “The Lion in Winter”, and David Joseph who, like Mr. Gore, is a long-time veteran of Shakespeare and Company. The company’s Producing Artistic Director, Eric Peterson, will direct his second O’Neill play having previously helmed “The Moon for the Misbegotten.”