Rep Stage announced its 2020-21 slate of plays on Friday — and the four productions on the schedule seem designed to keep audiences thinking.
Next season, the professional regional theater in residence at Howard Community College will mount a Tony Award-winning musical set during the peak of the AIDS crisis, the regional premiere of a black comedy that skewers class and gender, a world premiere by a Baltimore author that explores the intersection of race and gender, and one of pioneering playwright Edward Albee’s most enigmatic works.
Joseph Ritsch, Rep Stage’s producing artistic director, said in a news release that he designed next season to “tell evocative stories that celebrate the diverse communities in which we live.”
Ritsch added: “This season has stories for all of us — stories we will see ourselves in, and stories that will engage us in conversation with those whose stories may appear different than our own."
Season tickets go on sale June 1; the news release did not include information about prices.
* “Falsettos,” Sept. 10-27. This musical by William Finn and James Lapine debuted on Broadway in 1992 and has had several incarnations since then, including an acclaimed 2016 Broadway revival. In the musical, Marvin leaves his wife and young son to live with another man. His ex-wife marries his psychiatrist and Marvin ends up alone. Two years later, Marvin is reunited with his lover on the eve of his son’s bar mitzvah, just as AIDS is beginning its insidious spread.
* “The Moors,” Nov. 5-22. This is a regional premiere of a dark comedy by playwright Jen Silverman that mashes together Victorian novels by the Bronte sisters with existential dread. There’s two sisters living on the bleak English moors, a governess, a frustrated lesbian romance and a misfit locked in an attic. Oh, yes — there’s also a talking dog who falls in love with a moor hen.
* “Ghost/Writer,” Feb. 18, 2021-March 7, 2021. This world premiere by Dane Figueroa Edidi, a black Baltimore transgender woman, is a meditation on history, fiction and family secrets. The bifurcated plot traverses two centuries: In 1920, an Irish immigrant seeks the help of a black Baltimorean who has gained fame for her skill in exorcising ghosts. And in 2019, a would-be author struggling to complete his manuscript hires a ghost writer to help him through his block. But he’s unprepared for the forces she unleashes.
* “Seascape,” April 29, 2021-May 16, 2021. Playwright Edward Albee won the second of his three Pulitzer Prizes in drama in 1975 for this absurdist work exploring the perils of communication. Retired couple Nancy and Charlie visit the beach and discuss problems in their relationship. The humans are unexpectedly joined by two giant lizards, who have abandoned their life in the ocean and are preparing to relocate to terra firma. What the reptiles learn from the couple about life on land almost drives them back into the water.