Actor’s Express’ 31st season features the latest hit from contemporary playwright Lucas Hnath (last season’s The Christians), a world premiere from AE favorite and native son Steve Yockey (Blackberry Winter, Pluto, The Thrush & the Woodpecker) and the award-winning musical Falsettos.
The five-show 2018/19 mainstage season begins Sept. 1 with Hnath’s A Doll’s House, Part 2, and ends June 23, 2019, with the drama Jump by Charly Evon Simpson, although one could reasonably expect a summer musical to be announced later. Also, singer Libby Whittemore returns for a 10th season of cabaret shows — a holiday celebration in December and a weekend-long gig in May 2019.
Before all that can happen, however, the Express must wrap its current season. The world premiere comedy The Flower Room, by Atlanta playwright Daryl Lisa Fazio, runs through May 13, and The Color Purple, the musical that began life at the Alliance Theatre and has twice been on Broadway, runs June 16-July 29.
Season subscriptions are on sale HERE or at 404.607.7469. Single tickets go on sale May 13. Actor’s Express performs in its own space in the King Plow Arts Center, 887 West Marietta St. NW. Here’s a closer look at what’s ahead, in chronological order.
A DOLL’S HOUSE, PART 2. Sept. 1-30. A co-production with Aurora Theatre. AE artistic director Freddie Ashley directs Lucas Hnath’s 2017 sequel of sorts to the great Henrik Ibsen’s 1879 classic. It’s been 15 years since Nora Helmer made the shocking decision to leave her husband and family and set out on an unheard-of independent life. Now she’s knocking on the same door and requesting an impossible favor. Long-simmering resentments boil over in an intellectual and comedic slugfest about ideas, love and the rights of women in the modern world.
Tess Malis Kincaid, a three-time Suzi Bass Award winner, leads the cast as Nora. Joining her are Rob Cleveland, Shelli Delgado and Deadra Moore. The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, W Magazine and Time Out New York all called A Doll’s House, Part 2 “the best play of the Broadway season.” It was nominated for eight Tony awards, including best play, and won a best actress Tony for Laurie Metcalf (Chicago’s Steppenwolf, “Roseanne,” Lady Bird) as Nora.
REYKJAVIK. Oct. 27-Nov. 18. Steve Yockey’s world premiere takes place beneath the otherworldly glow of the Northern Lights, as tourists and locals mingle in the shadows of Iceland’s capital city. In eight interconnected vignettes, audiences eavesdrop on lovers, siblings, hotel employees, sex workers — and even some birds with really strong opinions about honesty. Sex and danger are themes, as they often are in the playwright’s work, where he creates a world in which the supernatural is closer than we think. Frequent collaborator Melissa Foulger directs.
AN OCTOROON. Jan. 26-Feb. 24, 2019. Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (2016’s Appropriate) won off-Broadway’s Obie Award for best new American play with this 2014 melodrama. Trouble has been brewing at the Terrebonne Plantation since Judge Peyton died. Money is running out, an evil overseer is up to no good, and the heir to the estate is in love with someone he shouldn’t be. An Octoroon is described as a subversive romp that hurls the antebellum South into a collision with 21st-century cultural politics. No director has been named yet.
FALSETTOS. March 23-April 28, 2019. Time magazine critic William A. Henry III called Falsettos “the first great musical of the 1990s.” It has lost none of its power in the years since. The William Finn-James Lapine musical redefines family in the age of AIDS and all ages. This particular family-in-the-making includes Marvin; his soon-to-be ex-wife, Trina; a guy named Whizzer; a lovesick psychiatrist; a precocious 13-year-old; and two lesbians from next door. Their story is one of a modern family learning to navigate the stress of family dinners, planning the perfect bar mitzvah and saying goodbye. The Broadway original won Tony awards for Finn’s book and score; the 2017 revival was nominated for five Tonys and was seen on PBS stations nationwide. Ashley directs.
JUMP. June 1-23, 2019. Charly Evon Simpson’s new comedy-drama takes place on a bridge that spans a deep gorge and draws tourists, joggers and wandering souls. Reeling from the death of her mother, 20ish Fay comes there looking for solace and a good place to vape but finds, instead, a journey of self-discovery. Jump is a world where lights flicker, hearts heal and you never know what surprises will fall from the sky. Director not yet announced.