Season features the World Premieres of Make Believe by Bess Wohl and The Engagement Party by Samuel Baum and productions of Shakespeare’s Henry V and Detroit ’67 by Dominique Morisseau
The World Premiere of The Flamingo Kid, a new musical by Robert L. Freedman and Scott Frankel, directed by Darko Tresnjak, closes the season
HARTFORD, CT — March 23, 2018 — Hartford Stage Artistic Director Darko Tresnjak and Managing Director Michael Stotts today announced the line-up of classic, contemporary, thought-provoking and entertaining new work that will comprise the Tony Award-winning regional theatre’s 55th season, Tresnjak’s final season as Artistic Director.
The mission of Hartford Stage in the 2018-19 season is to enlighten, entertain and educate by creating works of the highest caliber that have a transformative impact on audiences, the community and the industry – theatre that is Positively Hartford Stage.
Featured plays include Shakespeare’s historic masterpieceHenry V and Dominique Morisseau’s powerful drama Detroit ’67. Compelling new plays Make Believe by Bess Wohl and The Engagement Party by Samuel Baum will make their world premieres at Hartford Stage. A sixth mainstage production will be announced shortly.
The Flamingo Kid – a new musical based upon the 1984 Garry Marshall coming-of-age film, with book and lyrics by Tony Award-winner Robert L. Freedman (A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder) and music by Tony Award-nominated Scott Frankel (Grey Gardens and War Paint) – will also make its world premiere at Hartford Stage. Tresnjak will direct.
Tresnjak said, “From humorous to heartbreaking, from personal to political, from gritty to glitzy, the only thing that these productions have in common is that they pulse with the energy that is purely and positively theatrical.”
“The 2018-19 season includes plays by some of today’s most exciting contemporary voices in Bess Wohl, Dominique Morisseau and Samuel Baum; a revival of one of Shakespeare’s most popular and inspiring history plays about a young man’s courageous rise to glory and royalty; and a big new musical from some of our favorite musical theatre artists, directed by Darko, the final production of his remarkable eight-year run in Hartford,” Stotts said.
The season opens with the world premiere of Make Believe(September 6 – 30, 2018) by Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Award-winning playwright Bess Wohl. Jackson Gay (Lucy Thurber’s Transfers, MCC Theater; These Paper Bullets!, Atlantic Theatre Company, The Geffen and Yale Repertory Theatre) will direct. Hartford Stage was awarded one of the first grants from the Toulmin Foundation to commission new theatrical works from women – including this uncanny, gently funny and touching play by Wohl, set in the 1980s, following four young siblings as their childhood is upended by the mysterious problems of the adults in their lives and tracking how moments from our childhood resonate with us forever. Wohl’s Small Mouth Sounds was hailed as a critic’s pick by The New York Times, New York Magazine, and Time Out New York. Wohl’s other plays include American Hero, Barcelona, and the original musical Pretty Filthy.
Hartford Stage Associate Artistic Director Elizabeth Williamson will helm William Shakespeare’s epic history Henry V (October 11 – November 4, 2018). Shortly after he gains the throne, Henry must decide whether or not to embark on a war that could solidify his reign – or bring his country to its knees. In France, he grows up fast under the pressure to use all means necessary to win a war against tremendous odds. But even if he finds victory, how easy will it be to settle the peace? Williamson previously directed Cloud 9 and the world premiere of Sarah Gancher’s Seder at Hartford Stage.
Hartford Stage Artistic Director Darko Tresnjak will direct the world premiere of Samuel Baum’s suspenseful contemporary drama The Engagement Party (January 10 – February 3, 2019). The play centers upon a young couple’s intimate gathering with family and friends to celebrate their engagement; a spilled glass of wine leads to a spiraling sequence of events and revelations that will irrevocably change their lives. Baum is the creator of the Fox television series Lie to Me and the co-writer of the 2017 Emmy-nominated HBO film The Wizard of Lies, starring Robert DeNiro and Michelle Pfeiffer, about the downfall of Bernie Madoff.
American playwright Dominique Morisseau’s powerfulDetroit ’67 (February 14 –March 10, 2019) unfolds during an explosive moment in U.S. history – the race riots that tore apart the city of Detroit. The story centers on Chelle and her brother Lank, who make ends meet by turning their basement into an after-hours party. When a mysterious woman makes her way into their lives, the siblings clash over much more than family business. The New York Postcalled this Edward M. Kennedy Prize winner “an endearing new play that will draw you in!” Detroit ’67 premiered at the Public Theater, in association with Classical Theatre of Harlem and the National Black Theatre in New York City, in 2013 and has received numerous productions throughout the country since. Jade King Carroll (August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson and Emily Mann’s Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years, Hartford Stage) directs. Detroit ’67 is a co-production with The McCarter Theatre Center.
The 2018-19 season closes with the world premiere of the musical The Flamingo Kid (May 9 – June 2, 2019), based on the 1984 box-office hit film co-written and directed by the late Garry Marshall that helped make Matt Dillon a household name. The stage musical will be directed by Tresnjak (A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Anastasia) and feature book and lyrics by Robert L. Freedman (2014 Tony Award-Winner for A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder) and music by Scott Frankel(Grey Gardens, War Paint on Broadway). The Flamingo Kid will be Freedman’s first musical since A Gentlemen’s Guide to Love and Murder and Frankel’s next after War Paint, which earned him a Tony Award nomination and closed on Broadway last November.
In the summer of ’63, against the wishes of his father, Brooklyn teenager Jeffrey Willis leaves behind his blue-collar roots for an exciting job working the cabana at the colorful El Flamingo — a posh private club on Long Island. The music, the romance, and the beach are magical – until tensions grow between father and son when a slick club member takes Jeffrey under his wing.
Subscriptions for the six-play mainstage season are now on sale. Visit https://www.hartfordstage.org/show/subscribe, or call the Hartford Stage Box Office at860-527-5151. Please note that all titles and artists are subject to change.
Tickets for A Christmas Carol – A Ghost Story of Christmasare currently on sale to subscribers only. The annual holiday production will return for its 21st season from November 23 to December 29, 2018. It is not part of a subscription series.
Now in our 54th season, Hartford Stage is under the leadership of Artistic Director Darko Tresnjak and Managing Director Michael Stotts. One of the nation’s leading resident theatres, Hartford Stage is known for producing innovative revivals of classics and provocative new plays and musicals, including 73 world and American premieres, as well as offering a distinguished education program, which reaches close to 21,000 students annually.
Since Tresnjak’s appointment in 2011 the theatre has presented the world premieres of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder on Broadway, winner of four 2014 Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Direction of a Musical by Tresnjak; Rear Window with Kevin Bacon; the new musical Anastasia by Terrence McNally, Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens; Quiara Alegría Hudes’ Water by the Spoonful, winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama; Breath & Imagination by Daniel Beaty; Big Dance Theatre’s Man in a Case with Mikhail Baryshnikov; and Reverberation by Matthew Lopez.
Hartford Stage has earned many of the nation’s most prestigious awards, including the 1989 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. Other national honors include Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, OBIE, and New York Critics Circle awards. Hartford Stage has produced nationally renowned titles, including the New York transfers of Enchanted April; The Orphans’ Home Cycle; Resurrection (later retitled Through the Night); The Carpetbagger’s Children; and Tea at Five.
The leading provider of theatre education programs in Connecticut, Hartford Stage’s offerings include student matinees, in-school theatre residencies, teen performance opportunities, theatre classes for students (ages 3-18) and adults, afterschool programs and professional development courses.