Williamstown Theatre Festival Announces 2020 Summer Season

LINE-UP INCLUDES FOUR WORLD PREMIERE PLAYS, A WORLD PREMIERE MUSICAL, A NEW PRODUCTION OF TENNESSEE WILLIAMS’ “A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE” DIRECTED BY ROBERT O’HARA, AND A NEW PRODUCTION OF ANNA ZIEGLER’S “PHOTOGRAPH 51” DIRECTED BY SUSAN STROMAN

SEASON TO INCLUDE AUDRA MCDONALD, KATE BURTON, CARLA GUGINO, TAYLOR SCHILLING, SHAKINA NAYFACK, BOBBY CANNAVALE, AND MORE

New York, NY (February 11, 2020) – Artistic Director Mandy Greenfield has announced Williamstown Theatre Festival’s 2020 Summer Season, the 66th season for the Tony Award-winning theatre company, which includes four world premiere plays, a world premiere musical, and new productions of Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire and Anna Ziegler’s Photograph 51.

The season, running from June 30 – August 23, 2020, begins on the Main Stage with A Streetcar Named Desire (June 30 – July 19) by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner Tennessee Williams, directed by Obie and NAACP Award winner Robert O’Hara (Slave PlayA Raisin in the Sun) and featuring Emmy®, Grammy®, and six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald (Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and GrillA Moon for the Misbegotten), Screen Actors Guild® nominee Carla Gugino (“The Haunting of Hill House”), and Emmy, Drama Desk, and Obie Award winner and Tony Award nominee Bobby Cannavale (“The Irishman,” Medea).

The Main Stage season continues with the world premiere of Cult of Love (July 22 – August 2) by Emmy Award nominee Leslye Headland (“Russian Doll”), directed by Obie Award winner and Drama Desk Award nominee Trip Cullman (Unknown SoldierBefore the Meeting), and featuring Emmy Award winner and Tony Award nominee Kate Burton (“Grey’s Anatomy,” Hapgood), Michael Esper (“Ben is Back,” Seared), Drama Desk Award winner Paige Gilbert (School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play), Drama Desk Award winner Rebecca Henderson (“Russian Doll,” Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow), Screen Actors Guild Award winner Chris Lowell (“GLOW,” Kinship), Screen Actors Guild Award winner and Golden Globe® and Emmy Award nominee Taylor Schilling (“Orange is the New Black”), and Miriam Silverman (JUNK).

The final play of the Main Stage season will be Photograph 51 (August 6 – August 23) by Anna Ziegler (The Last MatchActually), directed by five-time Tony, Olivier, and Drama Desk Award winner Susan Stroman (The Producers).

The Nikos Stage season kicks off July 1 with the world premiere of Wish You Were Here (July 1 – July 12) by Sanaz Toossi (English), directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch (The Half-Life of Marie CurieThe Member of the Wedding) and featuring Nikki Massoud (Othello) and Marjan Neshat (“For Life,” Selling Kabul). It will be followed by the world premiere of Chonburi International Hotel & Butterfly Club (July 15 – July 25) by Shakina Nayfack (“Transparent”), directed by WTF Associate Artistic Director Laura Savia (Artney Jackson), and featuring Kate Bornstein (A Queer and Pleasant Danger: A Memoir), Annie Golden (“Orange is the New Black”), and Shakina Nayfack. Next is the world premiere of Row (July 30 – August 9), a new musical with book by Daniel Goldstein (Unknown Soldier) and music and lyrics by Dawn Landes (“My Tiny Twilight”). Row, inspired by A Pearl in the Storm by Tori Murden McClure and is directed by Tyne Rafaeli (Usual GirlsSelling Kabul). The Nikos Stage season closes with the world premiere of Animals (August 12 – August 23) by Emmy Award nominee Stacy Osei-Kuffour (“Watchmen”), directed by Whitney White (Our Dear Dead Drug LordA Human Being, of a Sort).

“I can’t imagine a more dazzling, dynamic, provocative and powerful combination of theatrical talent than the artists who will gather in the summer of 2020 in Williamstown to make a season of work,” Greenfield said. “To examine and experience the plays of some of the most gifted and fearless living American writers for the stage – Leslye Headland, Anna Ziegler, Sanaz Toossi, Shakina Nayfack, Dawn Landes, Daniel Goldstein and Stacy Osei-Kuffour – alongside the canonical genius of Tennessee Williams offers us the opportunity to see ourselves, our culture, across time. Especially in a year when Americans will be asked to cast a vote for the future of our country, I am grateful to our brave artists for helping us to explore who we are, who we can be and who we want to be, ahead.”

Additional programming and events, as well as complete casting and creative team information, will be announced at a later date. Season Ticket Bundles are available now at www.wtfestival.org.

ABOUT THE SEASON

Main Stage

A Streetcar Named Desire | June 30 – July 19

By Tennessee Williams

Directed by Robert O’Hara

With Bobby Cannavale, Carla Gugino, Audra McDonald

Following his 2019 production of A Raisin in the Sun, celebrated as “an absorbing, watershed revival,” by The New York Times, Robert O’Hara returns to Williamstown Theatre Festival to direct this Tennessee Williams masterpiece. With Emmy, Grammy, and six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald as Blanche DuBois alongside Carla Gugino as Stella and Emmy Award winner and Tony Award nominee Bobby Cannavale as Stanley, O’Hara takes a fresh and visceral look at the emotionally charged relationship between these two iconic sisters. Haunted by her past, Blanche seeks refuge with Stella and Stanley in New Orleans, where she wrestles with the nature of her sister’s husband, her sister’s denial, and her own unraveling mind.

WORLD PREMIERE

Cult of Love | July 22 – August 2

By Leslye Headland

Directed by Trip Cullman

With Kate Burton, Michael Esper, Paige Gilbert, Rebecca Henderson, Chris Lowell, Taylor Schilling, Miriam Silverman

Ginny (Emmy Award winner and Tony Award nominee Kate Burton) and Bill Dahl raised their family with love, music, and Jesus. Every Christmas they welcome home their adult children with carols, figgy pudding, and a vat of Manhattans. But the holiday sours when their devout daughter Diana (Emmy and Golden Globe nominee Taylor Schilling) unsettles her secular siblings (Michael Esper and Rebecca Henderson) with her evangelicalism. Trip Cullman directs this dark comedy by Leslye Headland about a family whose fierce determination to love each other may not be enough to keep them together.

Cult of Love is a co-world premiere with IAMA.

Photograph 51 | August 6 – August 23

By Anna Ziegler

Directed by Susan Stroman

In 1951, chemist Rosalind Franklin works relentlessly in her King’s College London lab, closing in on a major discovery that could unlock the mysteries of the DNA molecule. Undermined by her colleague Maurice Wilkins, she struggles to compete with rival team Watson and Crick as pressure intensifies to produce results. Following a critically acclaimed run in London, Anna Ziegler’s play is brought to life in a new production directed by five-time Tony Award winner Susan Stroman, honoring the monumental contribution of one scientist with two X chromosomes whom history nearly left behind.

Nikos Stage

WORLD PREMIERE

Wish You Were Here | July 1 – July 12

By Sanaz Toossi

Directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch

With Nikki Massoud, Marjan Neshat

Nazanin (Marjan Neshat) and her friends are on the brink of adulthood. As they prepare for a wedding, outside their living room the Iranian Revolution simmers and threatens to alter the course of their lives. Set over the course of 14 years, Sanaz Toossi’s timely world premiere play, directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch, shines a light on the daring potential of friendship amid the relentless aftershocks of political upheaval.

WORLD PREMIERE

Chonburi International Hotel & Butterfly Club | July 15 – July 25

By Shakina Nayfack

Directed by Laura Savia

With Kate Bornstein, Annie Golden, Shakina Nayfack

In Shakina Nayfack’s world premiere play, a vibrant, international group of transgender women band together at a hotel in Thailand to confront the challenges and joys of gender confirmation surgery. Despite the group’s warm welcome, Kina (Nayfack) prepares for her life-altering operation all alone. But a caring nurse, a wise couple (Kate Bornstein and Annie Golden), and a karaoke-loving bellhop may be exactly who she needs to ignite her truest sense of self. WTF Associate Artistic Director Laura Savia directs this spirited comedy about one woman who tests the bonds of an unlikely sisterhood.

WORLD PREMIERE MUSICAL

Row | July 30 – August 9

Book by Daniel Goldstein

Music & Lyrics by Dawn Landes

Directed by Tyne Rafaeli

Inspired by A Pearl in the Storm by Tori Murden McClure

Tori aims to be the first woman to row solo across the Atlantic. As a child, she raised her younger brother Lamar, defending him against discrimination and neighborhood bullies. Now, with nothing but her body and a hand-built boat, she squares off with her own tormentor: the ocean. Inspired by A Pearl in the Storm by Tori Murden McClure, this uplifting world premiere musical, directed by Tyne Rafaeli with a book by Daniel Goldstein and music and lyrics by Dawn Landes, interrogates and reveals the resilience, fear, and ambition inside one individual undeterred by the odds.

WORLD PREMIERE

Animals | August 12 – August 23

By Stacy Osei-Kuffour

Directed by Whitney White

Lydia and Henry’s dinner guests are about to arrive when Henry’s spontaneous marriage proposal threatens to burn the evening to a crisp. Wine bottles and years of unspoken tensions are uncorked, and, before the evening is through, Lydia must confront her long-held fears and feelings if she’s going to commit to a future with Henry. Directed by Whitney White, Stacy Osei-Kuffour’s world premiere comedy marches into the muddy intersection of romantic entanglement, identity, pride, and survival.

TICKETS AND SCHEDULE

 

Season Ticket Bundles are available now at www.wtfestival.org. Advance Single Ticket Reservations for the 2020 Williamstown Theatre Festival season will be available in early April through the WTF website. The WTF season brochure will be mailed at the end of April (call 413-458-3253 to join the mailing list). The WTF Box Office will open on June 3 at which point tickets may be purchased online, by phone, or in person at the ‘62 Center for Theatre and Dance at 1000 Main St (Route 2), Williamstown, MA 01267.

WILLIAMSTOWN THEATRE FESTIVAL

For over six decades, Williamstown Theatre Festival, recipient of the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre and the Commonwealth Award for Achievement, has brought emerging and professional theatre artists together to create a thrilling summer festival of premiere work alongside fresh, new productions of the western canon, accompanying cultural events including COMMUNITY WORKS and Late-Night Cabarets, and readings and workshops of new plays. Under Artistic Director Mandy Greenfield, WTF launched the Andrew Martin-Weber New Play and Musical Commissioning Program, through which theatre artists, including Jocelyn Bioh, Nathan Alan Davis, Halley Feiffer, Justin Levine, Matthew Lopez, Jiehae Park, Benjamin Scheuer, and many others, create new work supported by a year-round play development program. WTF runs unmatched training programs for new generations of theatre talent, and artists and productions shaped at WTF fill theatres in New York, London, and around the country each season. Williamstown Theatre Festival’s productions of The Bridges of Madison CountyThe Elephant ManFool for LoveLiving on Love, and The Visit enjoyed critically acclaimed runs on Broadway, with The Elephant Man and The Visit receiving Tony Award nominations for Best Revival of a Play and Best Revival of a Musical, respectively. WTF’s world premiere productions of Cost of Living (winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Drama), ActuallyParadise Blue, and Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow played acclaimed Off-Broadway runs. In the 2019-20 theatrical season, Williamstown Theatre Festival is represented on Broadway, off-Broadway, and regionally by The Sound InsideThe Rose TattooGrand HorizonsSearedSelling KabulUnknown Soldier, and Lempicka.

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