Olney Theatre Center announces two programming changes to the 75th Anniversary Season. This fall, Olney Theatre Center will kick off the National New Play Network (NNPN) Rolling World Premiere of Steven Dietz's Rancho Mirage. Following Rancho Mirage will be the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic The King and I.
"As the community around Olney Theatre Center gets ever-more diverse and dynamic, we need to stop talking about a single audience," says Artistic Director Jason Loewith. "Instead, let's get talking with all 'the audiences' around us, and program the best works of theater we can for each of them. We'll stretch the boundaries of theater for families who love the classics by producing a reimagined The King and I; and we'll make sure those audiences in search of cutting-edge theatrical adventure get to see new works by American masters like Rancho Mirage."
Written by one of America's most widely-produced playwrights Steven Dietz (Yankee Tavern, Halcyon Days, Lonely Planet), Rancho Mirage will begin its Rolling World Premiere at Olney Theatre Center September 26 - October 20, 2013. Rancho Mirage replaces the previously announced Tartuffe in the season lineup.
Rancho Mirage is a bitingly funny black comedy about what happens when the fictions that hold our lives together are exposed. In Mr. Dietz's sharp and surprising sojourn into the psyche of 2013 America - where affluence is perhaps our greatest mirage - three couples, long-time friends, find themselves at a dinner party where everyone finally decides to tell the truth.
The show will be Mr. Loewith's debut as director at Olney Theatre Center.
"My first professional gig was assisting on Steven's play God's Country, back twenty-some years ago," says Mr. Loewith. "So I'm beyond honored to direct his newest piece. And by mounting a Rolling World Premiere of the play, we're staking out collaborative, risk-taking territory for Olney Theatre Center in this landmark season."
The NNPN Rolling World Premiere of the play continues after Olney Theatre Center's production at former Artistic Director Jim Petosa's theatre, New Rep (Watertown, MA), followed by productions at Phoenix Theatre (Indianapolis) and Curious Theatre (Denver).
Mark Waldrop, director of audience favorites Annie and The Sound of Music, returns to Olney Theatre Center to direct its first-ever production of The King and I. The 1952 Tony Award-winner for Best Musical features some of American musical theatre's loveliest and well-known music ("Hello, Young Lovers," "Getting To Know You," "Shall We Dance?").
"I think The King and I is one of the five most important pieces American musical theater has given to the world of drama. Colonialism, the rights of women, the ideal of a post-racial society - it was way ahead of its time, and will resonate with many Olney audiences," says Mr. Loewith.
The King and I runs November 14 - December 29 and replaces the previously announced Once Upon A Mattress.