Preview by David Roberts
Theatre Reviews Limited
59E59 Theaters (Elysabeth Kleinhans, Artistic Director; Peter Tear, Executive Producer; Brian Beirne, Managing Director) is thrilled to announce the lineup of shows for the 2016/2017 5A Season. A 5A Season Subscription is available for $175 (during previews) or $245 (post-opening) and includes a ticket to each show in the season as well as a 59E59 Membership (a $59.59 value). Single tickets are $70 ($49 for 59E59 Members). Single tickets for the 5A Season are available to 59E59 Members during a special Member Pre-Sale beginning on Monday, May 2 at Noon. Single tickets go on sale to the general public on Monday, May 9 at Noon. Tickets and subscriptions are available by calling Ticket Central at 212-279-4200 or by visiting www.59e59.org.
Presenting three new plays and two new musicals from celebrated theater makers across the US, 59E59’s 5A Season builds on its already eclectic year-round programming with this ground-breaking subscription series.
Kicking off the 5A Season is “Butler” —a blisteringly funny and biting new historical drama — crossing the Hudson River from New Jersey Rep following its acclaimed world premiere.
Hershey Felder, who adapted and directed “The Pianist of Willesden Lane” for the inaugural 5A Season, returns to 59E59 Theaters with “Maestro,” a musical bioplay that celebrates the world’s musical ambassador, Leonard Bernstein.
59E59 is thrilled to host the world premiere of a brand new musical. Damon Runyon’s “Madame La Gimp” brings Runyon’s salty characters —including Missouri Martin, Dave the Dude, and the titular Madame La Gimp—to vivid life in this enchanting new musical.
Thirty puppets take the stage in Waka Waka’s “Made in China,” which observes the complicated relationship between the US and China through one woman’s internet shopping obsession.
Finally, writer Bruce Graham and director Bud Martin (from the sold out hit shows “Any Given Monday” and “The Outgoing Tide”) return to round out the 5A Season with “White Guy on a Bus,” Graham’s fearless new play that digs into the heart of racism and its shocking aftermath.
The 2016/2017 5A Season at 59E59 Theaters:
July 14 – August 28 “Butler,” by Richard Strand, director to be announced. Cast to be announced. Produced by New Jersey Repertory Company. A powerful comedic-drama based on the story of General Benjamin Butler that takes place at the dawn of the Civil War. Faced with an impossible moral dilemma his decision would alter the course of US history.
September 1 – October 16 “Maestro” book by Hershey Felder, music by Leonard Bernstein and others, directed by Joel Zwick with Mr. Felder as Leonard Bernstein. Produced by The Town Hall with Samantha F. Voxakis and Karen Racanelli. Leonard Bernstein, one of America’s greatest musicians, broke through every artistic ceiling possible to become the world’s musical ambassador. Conductor, composer, pianist, author, teacher, librettist, television star…for Leonard Bernstein, boundaries simply did not exist. In MAESTRO, Hershey Felder combines narrative with Leonard Bernstein’s music and the music of Beethoven, Wagner, Mahler, Copeland and others to bring to life the man the entire world knew as “Lenny.”
October 24 – December 4 Damon Runyon’s “Madame La Gimp” book by Giles Havergal and Derek McCulloch, lyrics by Mr. McCulloch, music by Kyle Athayde, with arrangements and orchestrations by Peter and Will Anderson, directed by Amanda Dehnert. Cast to be announced. Produced by Peter Tear in association with The Directors Company. Ginned-up dame Madame La Gimp sells yesterday’s news up and down Broadway. When her street-wise friends, led by Dave the Dude, learn that her estranged daughter is coming for a visit— with her Spanish nobleman fiancé in tow — they transform this washed-up woman into a lady for the day, with her fellow street hustlers and vagabonds taking on the roles of society swells. This classic Runyon story foxtrots to the 59E59 stage in a Prohibition era-inspired new musical.
January 11 – February 28 “Made in China,” written by Kirjan Waage & Gwendolyn Warnock, with help from the Wakka Ensemble, directed by Kirjan Waage & Gwendolyn Warnock. Cast to be announced. Produced by Wakka Wakk and Norland Visual Theater. A darkly comedic puppet musical inspired by true events, MADE IN CHINA is a fantastical exploration of human rights, consumerism and morality as told through the unlikely love story between an odd middle-aged American woman and her Chinese ex-pat neighbor. MADE IN CHINA features 30 puppets, seven puppeteers, music inspired by both American and Chinese traditions, and animated video.
March 7 – April 16 “White Guy on a Bus” written by Bruce Graham, directed by Bud Martin. Cast to be announced. Produced by Delaware Theatre Company. Direct from its production at the Delaware Theatre Company, “White Guy on a Bus” — a play that unravels a complex web of moral ambiguity, revenge, and racial bias — arrives in New York. A wealthy white businessman and a struggling black single mom ride the same bus week after week. As they get to know each other, their relationship sparks a candid and surprising look at racial and economic divides.