On Theater: SCR kicks off half-century No. 2

Having closed the books on its first half-century — just the way it opened, with a production of "Tartuffe" — South Coast Repertory has announced the lineup for the start of its next 50 years, with new and unfamiliar plays dominating the 2014-15 schedule.

Only one familiar title, Shakespeare's "The Tempest," is included. The show, adapted and directed by Aaron Posner and Teller (the silent partner of Penn Jillette, as in Penn and Teller), launches the new season, opening Aug. 29 on the Segerstrom Stage. This version is relocated to a traveling tent show, and Prospero is a wizard planning revenge on his enemies.

"Venus in Fur," opening Oct. 5 on the Julianne Argyros Stage, centers on a battle for sexual dominance in the stage production of a 19th-century erotic novel. Casey Stangl is directing what the New York Times called "90 minutes of good, kinky fun."

SCR artistic director Marc Masterson will stage Theresa Rebeck's "Zealot," arriving Oct. 17 on the Segerstrom Stage. The scene is Saudi Arabia as a group of women organize a life-threatening protest.

The post-Civil War period is the setting for Matthew Lopez's "The Whipping Man," in what's left of a once-majestic plantation home. Co-founding SCR director Martin Benson will be at the helm of this drama, which opens Jan. 4 on the Argyros Stage.

The English company Kneehigh has created "Tristan and Yseult," in which a cabaret band plays high above a company reviving the tale of star-crossed lovers. Adapted and directed by Emma Rice, the show opens Jan. 23 on the Segerstrom Stage.

Following the production of a new, as-yet-unannounced play opening March 8 on the Argyros Stage, SCR will present "Of Good Stock" by Melissa Ross, arriving March 27 on the Segerstrom Stage. The play centers on three daughters of a legendary novelist occupying their late father's plush Cape Cod dwelling. No director has been announced.

Co-founding SCR director David Emmes will stage Rajiv Joseph's "Mr. Wolf," a suspenseful drama centering on a 17-year-old girl who's an expert on the universe. Opening night is April 12 on the Argyros Stage.

"Peter and the Starcatcher" is Rick Elice's prequel to the Peter Pan legend from a novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. It won five Tony awards on Broadway. Art Manke will direct the comedy-adventure production, which opens May 8.

In addition, SCR will return for the 35th year with "A Christmas Carol," directed as always by John-David Keller and starring Hal Landon Jr. as the only Scrooge the show has known. This annual celebration kicks off Dec. 6 on the Segerstrom Stage.

Several subscription packages are available, including post-show discussion nights and "Inside the Season" offerings. SCR is located at 655 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa. Further information is available by calling the theater at (714) 708-5555.

TOM TITUS reviews local theater for the Daily Pilot.

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