Performing Arts

KC Rep’s upcoming season mixes classics, premieres and twists

The “Pride and Prejudice” miniseries stayed somewhat true to Jane Austen’s novel. Kate Hamill’s stage version turns it into a romantic farce.
The “Pride and Prejudice” miniseries stayed somewhat true to Jane Austen’s novel. Kate Hamill’s stage version turns it into a romantic farce.

One of Eric Rosen’s last duties as Kansas City Rep’s artistic director was to select plays for the 2018-19 season. Here’s the lineup:

“Last Days of Summer,” Sept. 7-30 at Spencer Theatre. Adapted by Steve Kluger from his best-selling novel and featuring music by Grammy-winner Jason Howland, this world premiere musical is set in early ‘40s Brooklyn, where two boys forge a relationship with their idol, New York Giants third baseman Charlie Banks. Choreographed and directed by Jeff Calhoun (“Between the Lines”).

“Of Mice and Men,” Oct. 19-Nov. 11, Copaken Stage. John Steinbeck’s play, based on his novel, follows George and the mentally challenged Lennie, two migrant workers in Depression-era California. This classic explores the limits of the American dream and the eternal value of friendship. Directed by Jason Chanos.

“Indecent,” Jan. 18–Feb. 10, Spencer Theatre. Paula Vogel’s love letter to the theater is inspired by the controversial debut in 1923 of the play “God of Vengeance,” seen by some as an important example of Jewish culture and by others as an obscenity. This regional premiere, a co-presentation with Arena Stage and Baltimore Center Stage, will be directed by Rosen.

“School Girls; or, the African Mean Girls Play,” Feb. 22–March 17, Copaken Stage. Jocelyn Bioh’s comedy — both hilarious and heartbreaking — is an African re-imagining of the “Mean Girls” story. It’s set in Ghana’s most exclusive boarding school, where the ambitions of queen bee Paulina are thrown off track by the arrival of Ericka, a new student from America with talent and beauty to spare. Chip Miller directs this regional premiere.

“Pride and Prejudice,” March 22-April 14, Spencer Theatre. Jane Austen’s acclaimed 19th century novel about Elizabeth Bennet, her sisters, their overzealous mother and a string of unsuitable suitors has been adapted for the stage by Kate Hamill in screwball style. This regional premiere is directed by Marissa Wolf.

In addition, the Rep will once again present its OriginKC: New Works Festival, April 19-May 19 on the Copaken Stage with the following titles:

“Frida…A Self Portrait.” The Rep’s Fox Fellowship Resident Actor Vanessa Severo created this play about Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, from her childhood polio and a crippling bus accident to her drug addiction, painting career and marriage to renowned artist Diego Rivera. Joanie Schultz directs.

“Unreliable.” Dipika Guha’s play features three characters, each with a different view of reality. While depicting a suspected terrorist and an email love affair, this absurdist comedy asks who — if any of the three — is telling the truth. Directed by Marissa Wolf.

And finally:

“A Christmas Carol,” Nov. 16-Dec. 30, Spencer Theatre. Eric Rosen’s recent re-interpretation of this holiday favorite will be directed by Marissa Wolf.

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