Front Row Center
By Michael Warren
Season 54 at LLT
The upcoming Season 54 promises to be entertaining and thought-provoking. First up is Clever Little Lies, directed by Collette Clavadescher, a comedy by Joe DiPietro which opens on September 14. This play was recently read at Naked Stage, so some attendees will know the story. DiPietro has a light, sentimental touch while dealing with painful family revelations. He’s an author in the Neil Simon tradition, and his one-liners will keep the audience on their toes.
In October, we have Proof by David Auburn, directed by Alicia Madrid. I remember seeing this play at LLT in 2004, with Cindy Paul in the lead role. If the acting is as good now as it was then, you will enjoy the challenging twists and psychological turns of this very well-written play. Proof won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Play.
Opening on November 30, we can look forward to a classic farce, Noises Off by Michael Frayn, directed by Dave McIntosh. You will laugh your socks off, as we see onstage and also the view from backstage of a chaotic play-within-a-play called Nothing On. You don’t have to be crazy to be an actor, but it helps.
In complete contrast the next play, opening on January 11, is Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen. It was written in 1881 and first staged in 1882 in Chicago. Like many of Ibsen’s plays, Ghosts is a scathing commentary on 19th-century morality. Because of its subject matter, which includes religion, syphilis, incest and euthanasia, it immediately generated strong controversy and much negative criticism. Now it is acknowledged to be a great play by an author who was decades ahead of his time. Ghosts will be directed by Peter King.
In February, there will be what is described as a black comedy, The Same Deep Water as Me by Nick Payne, directed by Neal Checkoway. This is a recent English play about two semi-crooked solicitors (translation: lawyers) being scammed by an equally dubious client who has faked a car accident in order to claim damages. All is revealed when the case goes to court. The play is not so much about the legal system as the hope and despair of the various characters. It sounds like an interesting play. Finally, the musical Sweet Charity opens on March 22 and rounds off a varied season. Many will remember the 1969 movie with Shirley MacLaine as “Charity,” an endearing dance-hall hostess. Can you sing or hum “Hey, Big Spender” or “If My Friends Could See Me Now”? If so, you’ll want to see Sweet Charity – it should be a lot of fun. Barbara Clippinger is coming out of retirement, especially to direct this musical, Patteye Simpson will be the Music Director, and Alexis Hoff will be the Dance Choreographer.
So there you have it – a really interesting season is in store for 2018/19. Don’t forget to book your season tickets, either now or in September.