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Everyman Theatre's 2017-2018 season to include company's first O'Neill, third Nottage play

Tim Smith
Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun

For its 27th season, Everyman Theatre will showcase works by  women, including 2017 Pulitzer Prize-winner Lynn Nottage.

That four of six playwrights represented are women was not part of a deliberate plan.

"I picked these works because they're great plays, not because they were written by women," founding artistic director Vincent Lancisi said. "It's a tribute to all the exciting writing that is happening today."

The 2017-2018 lineup also offers the company's first Eugene O'Neill play and the East Coast premiere of a recently staged piece with Baltimore roots. 

"We have a much more vigorous artistic staff than we've had before," Lancisi said. "There are three of us now scouring the globe to find the important voices writing dynamic work."

That trio --Lancisi, associate artistic director Noah Himmelstein and artistic associate Johanna Gruenhut -- planned a season that offers a diversity of perspectives and cultures.

"I hate to use the world 'global,' which is so over-used," Lancisi said. "But these plays are about things that tie us together internationally -- family, food, nurturing, inter-generational relations, skeletons in the closet, how the West looks at Eastern civilizations."

Cross-cultural issues will be part of the previously announced season-opener, David Henry Hwang's "M. Butterfly," about a French diplomat smitten with a Chinese opera singer who hides a major secret. It will run Sept. 6 to Oct. 8.

"The play is almost 30 years old and reads as if it was written yesterday," said Lancisi, who will direct the production. "It's so alluring, political and sexy. It piques the senses."

The Nottage play on the schedule is "Intimate Apparel," co-commissioned and premiered by Baltimore Center Stage in 2003.

The first female playwright to win two Pulitzers for drama, Nottage takes audiences back to 1905 New York in this work about an African-American seamstress (inspired by the playwright's great-grandmother) who makes fashionable undergarments and draws close to a Jewish fabric salesman.

Dawn Ursula, one of Everyman's resident actors, will star in the production, Oct. 18 to Nov. 19.

Lauren Gunderson's "The Revolutionists," set during the Reign of Terror in France, brings together three historical women -- including Marie Antoinette -- and a fictional one from the Caribbean. Despite the shadow of the guillotine, this feminism-tinged play is "part-farce, part-satire," Lancisi said.

The Everyman staging, Dec. 6 to Jan. 7, marks the work's East Coast premiere.

"Long Day's Journey Into Night" will be "our first O'Neill play ever, can you believe it? Finally, the moment was right," Lancisi said.

This examination of a dysfunctional American family in 1912 will feature Everyman company member Deborah Hazlett as the morphine-addicted matriarch, Mary Tyrone.

The character's sons will be portrayed by fellow resident actors Danny Gavigan and Tim Getman in this production, directed by Donald Hicken, running Jan. 31 to March 4, 2018.

The Mid-Atlantic premiere of "Aubergine" by Julia Cho will be staged in association with Olney Theatre Center, March 14 to April 15, 2018. Lancisi will direct the play for both companies.

The plot concerns a Korean-American chef faced with caring for a dying parent. Language and cultural barriers are main ingredients in the drama.

"I'm a foodie," Lancisi said, "and the play opens with a wonderful description of foodies who travel the world for savory heights, to taste another culture. But this play is also a father-son story, one where a simple bowl of soup can be a huge gesture."

The season will close with the East Coast premiere of "The Book of Joseph" by Karen Hartman. Himmelstein will direct the staging, which runs May 9 to June 10, 2018.

The play is based on the life of Joseph A. Hollander and his family. Details of that life were not fully known until his son, former WBAL-TV reporter Rich Hollander, discovered a briefcase after the death of his parents in 1986. The letters inside were stamped with swastikas.

This story of one family's fate during the Holocaust, and the effect on multiple generations, had its premiere earlier this year at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

"I saw that production and knew I had to bring it here," Lancisi said. "I think Baltimore audiences are going to be blown away." 

For information on subscribing to Everyman Theatre's 2017-2018 season, call 410-752-2208, or go to

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