(Dorset, VT– March 8, 2023) Dorset Theatre Festival is proud to announce the 46th Main Stage Summer Season beginning June 23, 2023, including William Goldman’s stage adaptation of Stephen King’s Misery (June 23 – July 8); the World Premiere of Still by Lia Romeo (July 21 – August 5); Kate Hamill’s Ms. Holmes and Ms. Watson – Apt. 2B (August 11 – 26); and The Thanksgiving Play by Larissa FastHorse (September 1 – 10). All performances will take place at the Dorset Playhouse (104 Cheney Rd, Dorset, VT 05251).
“The 2023 Season will be thrilling, thoughtful, adventurous, and surprising,” said Interim Executive Producing Director Will Rucker. “We are so honored and excited to be joined by such talented theater-makers in bringing these smart and funny plays to life, including another Dorset World Premiere production,” Rucker said.
The season will open with Misery, William Goldman’s edge-of-your-seat adaptation of Stephen King’s terrifying novel that inspired the 1990 Oscar-winning film starring Kathy Bates and James Caan.
After being rescued from a wintery car crash, acclaimed romance novelist Paul Sheldon finds himself incapacitated in the secluded home of Annie Wilkes, his “Number One Fan.” Events take a nightmarish turn, and the injured Paul realizes the unhinged Annie has no intention of letting him leave. This spine-tingling stage adaptation traps audiences in the room with Paul, who must outsmart Annie if he wants to escape the tense game of cat-and-mouse that captivates until the very end.
Jackson Gay returns to Dorset to direct after helming the Festival’s 2022 season opener, Wait Until Dark, and the acclaimed 2019 production of Slow Food that reunited actors Dan Butler and Peri Gilpin, both alums of the hit TV comedy, Frasier.
“Misery is an old-fashioned thriller, where terror and humor intertwine to keep you on the edge of your seat, or hiding under it,” said Jackson Gay, the director of Misery.
The season will continue with the World Premiere of Still by Lia Romeo, directed by three-time Festival director, Adrienne Campbell-Holt. Campbell-Holt’s previous Dorset World Premiere, Downstairs by Theresa Rebeck starring Tim and Tyne Daly, went on to an Off-Broadway production at the Cherry Lane Theatre in NYC produced by Primary Stages in 2017.
Thirty years ago, Helen and Mark broke up, but they never completely forgot about each other. When they meet for dinner to catch up, the flame is rekindled… but Mark is running for Congress, and Helen has a secret that could derail his bid. Lost love is revisited and an avocado goes flying in Lia Romeo’s whirlwind world premiere comedy about getting older, political divisions, and roads not taken. A story for anyone who’s ever wondered: “what if?”
Lia Romeo is a playwriting fellow at Juilliard. Her plays have been developed at the O’Neill, La Jolla Playhouse, the Lark, and elsewhere, and have been produced off-Broadway as well as regionally.
“I am so happy to be returning to Dorset Theatre Festival, after spending so many wonderful summers there. I have no doubt audiences will be as moved by Lia’s play as I was, and I can’t wait to collaborate with the incredible actors who will bring the play to life,” said Adrienne Campbell-Holt, the director of Still.
Next on the 2023 Main Stage will be Ms. Holmes and Ms. Watson – Apt. 2B, a new play written by one of America’s hottest playwrights, Kate Hamill.
Fast-paced and wildly entertaining, Ms. Holmes and Ms. Watson – Apt. 2B is a brilliantly theatrical take on the famous sleuth and sidekick that re-examines Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic adventure stories through a bold new female lens. In this highly theatrical, small-cast escapade, oddball female roommates Sherlock Holmes & Dr. Joan Watson join forces to emerge from the pandemic fog as a deeply codependent, quasi-dysfunctional, Odd Couple adventure duo – careening from caper to caper in a rollicking murder mystery that packs in non-stop laughs and hijinks galore!
Kate Hamill was named 2017’s Playwright of the Year by the Wall Street Journal. She has been one of the 10 most-produced playwrights in the country for the last five years. Dorset produced Hamill’s adaptation of Pride and Prejudice in 2018.
The season will conclude with Larissa FastHorse’s hilarious The Thanksgiving Play, directed by Raz Golden. Slated for an upcoming limited engagement on Broadway, the play is one of the country’s most-produced comedies.
An undeterred elementary school teacher desperately attempts to devise a pageant about the first Thanksgiving – one that challenges stereotypes, meets all the requirements of a Native American Heritage Month grant, and pacifies the parents. Wanting to avoid any un-PC missteps, three “woke” white thespians quickly find themselves sabotaged by myth, confounded by history, and drawn into a hysterical roast of the politics of entertainment and well-meaning political correctness alike.
Larissa FastHorse (Sicangu Lakota Nation) is a 2020 MacArthur Fellow, award-winning writer/choreographer, and co-founder of Indigenous Direction, the nation’s leading consulting company for Indigenous arts and audiences.
Raz Golden returns to direct after his acclaimed World Premiere production of Queen of the Night by travis tate during Dorset’s 2021 outdoor season at the Southern Vermont Arts Center.
“As an artist obsessed with how Americans tell the stories of our past, The Thanksgiving Play has been a dream of mine to work on. The play dissects the foundational American myth of the ‘First Thanksgiving’ and reconstructs it in both familiar and jarring ways. Not to mention, it’s very, very funny,” said Raz Golden, director of The Thanksgiving Play.
“There will be something for everyone to enjoy this summer. Each show has something special, but watching the Playhouse transform from show to show by seeing the whole season is one of the best live experiences in Southern Vermont,“ said Ryan Koss, Marketing & Development Director. “It has been fun to collaborate with Will to curate this season, and we’re excited to share it with our audience,” Koss said.
“Live theater at the Dorset Playhouse has been an annual tradition of our community since the playhouse was built in 1929. All of us at the Festival are so happy to continue that legacy,” said Kim Beaty, Chair of the Dorset Theatre Festival Board of Trustees.
This summer will be the Festival’s second season back indoors at the Dorset Playhouse since the pandemic. “We will still be working hard to keep our artists and audiences safe, and working with the artists’ unions to update safety protocols from last year,” said Koss. At this time, audience members will not be required to wear masks during performances; however, this is subject to change. “We will be monitoring the situation to help provide our audience and performers the safest and most enjoyable experience we can,” Koss said.
Casting for the Main Stage season will be announced at a later date. Subscription sales for the 2023 season begin March 22, and single tickets will be available on April 19.
Dorset Theatre Festival is also excited to announce the second Dance Party Ball as the organization’s 2023 annual fundraising event. The Dance Party Ball will take place at the Southern Vermont Arts Center’s Arkell Pavilion in Manchester, VT on Friday, July 14, and feature a live DJ, photo booth, dancing, live auction, and more.
More information is available on Dorset’s website, www.dorsettheatrefestival.org.
Subscriptions and memberships for the 2023 Summer Season go on sale March 22 with savings of up to 25%. Single tickets sales begin April 19. From March 22 to June, the box office may be reached by calling (802) 867-2223 ext. 101, Wednesday through Friday, 12 – 4 pm. For more information, or to purchase subscriptions and tickets online, visit www.dorsettheatrefestival.org.
Dorset Theatre Festival is committed to the ongoing work and practice of making our theatre a place accessible to everyone, and continues to offer free and reduced-cost ticket programs to members of the community. Requests for accessible tickets (starting at $0) will be available online or by contacting the Box Office beginning April 19.
Support For Dorset Theatre Festival is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Vermont Arts Council, the Shubert Foundation, the Rodgers Family Foundation, the James H. and Irene M. Hunter Charitable Trust, and the members of the Dorset Theatre Festival World Premiere Circle.
ABOUT DORSET THEATRE FESTIVAL
Now in its 46th year, Dorset Theatre Festival produces a professional Main Stage season at the historic Dorset Playhouse in Dorset, VT, highlighting both new plays and classic works. Enlightening, entertaining, and inspiring audiences since 1977, the Festival’s annual celebration of great plays runs June through September and features top theatre-makers from around the country.
Increasingly known for high-quality world and regional premiere productions, in 2017 the Boston Globe dubbed the Festival, “Just north of the Berkshires, a new destination for playwrights.” In addition to Main Stage productions of new plays, the Festival’s new play development programs showcase works-in-progress and provide the Southern Vermont region an opportunity to play a key role in the evolution of new plays in consideration for future productions at the Festival and beyond.