Olney Theatre Center’s Artistic Director Jason Loewith announced the company would scrap its traditional subscription format while producing an ambitious slate of three seasons and nine productions for the Theatre’s 2014 – 76th Anniversary Season. Three “mini-seasons” will feature Rolling World Premieres, 20th century American classics, four extraordinary musicals and an outdoor Shakespeare production beneath the stars.
“After many years of trying to serve ever-more diverse audiences with the same broad array of programming, we’re digging deeper for each of them, and asking patrons to choose what they want and how they want it. By offering a Classic Series, a Contemporary Series, and a Family Series, we can pursue each with great rigor and without apology,” says Mr. Loewith.
The Olney Classic Series is dedicated to the longstanding Olney audience who have supported the theater through its 75-year history This audience loves the classics, the literary experience of the theater, good drama and good stories told in productions of the highest quality. This series includes the Kander & Ebb 1966 musical Cabaret, Olney Theatre Center’s first production of an August Wilson play Pulitzer-winner,The Piano Lesson, and Clifford Odets’ Awake and Sing!
We created the Olney Contemporary Series for patrons who want cutting-edge theatrical adventures, featuring new works by American playwrights and modern musicals. This series includes two Rolling World Premieres – I and You by Lauren Gunderson and Colossal by Andrew Hinderaker – on either side of the world-famous, satirical, hilarious and foul-mouthed puppets from 2004 Tony-winner Avenue Q.
The Olney Family Series offers live performances designed to bring generations together. This series includes the Caribbean musical fairytale Once On This Island, an outdoor production of Shakespeare’sThe Tempest to celebrate the 65th birthday of the National Players, and our Holiday Musical (title TBA).
Each series comes with specialized member benefits – Contemporary Series Members get invited to developmental workshops and readings; Classic Series Members get free seminars about the plays and dramaturgy mailings; Family Series Members get special meet-the-cast, family-friendly events surrounding the show.
Olney Theatre Center 2014 Schedule
OLNEY CLASSIC SERIES
Music by John Kander
Lyrics by Fred Ebb
Book by Christopher Isherwood
Directed by Jason Loewith
Music Direction by Christopher Youstra
January 29 – February 23, 2014 on the Mainstage
- Join us for this meaty, form-breaking story of love, intolerance, and artistic freedom in 1930s Berlin. While the Nazis are rising to power, CABARET focuses on nightlife at the seedy Kit Kat Klub and revolves around the cabaret performer Sally Bowles and her relationship with a young writer, Cliff Bradshaw. Artistic Director Jason Loewith has been dying to direct this play since he first starred as Herr Schultz – back when he was nine years old at summer camp. Recommended for ages 13 and up.
THE PIANO LESSON
by August Wilson
Directed by Jamil Jude
May 7 – June 1 on the Historic Stage
Is it really possible that Olney hasn’t done a play by August Wilson, one of the 20th Century’s most gifted playwrights? We’re going to fix that with THE PIANO LESSON, about an African-American family in 1937 Pittsburgh struggling to face its past and move into the future. Boy Willie, Bereneice, Doaker, and Wining Boy are among the most enduring characters written for the American stage in this Pulitzer-winner from 1990. Recommended for ages 12 and up.
AWAKE & SING!
By Clifford Odets
Directed by Kimberly Senior
September 24 – October 19, 2014 on the Mainstage
Odets’ 1935 play about a family in the Bronx during the Depression is a scintillating combination of political idealism and social realism in a domestic setting would affect the early plays of both Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams. Bessie Berger may be one of the best female characters in the American canon – a tiger mom long before the term was coined, so desperate to keep her family together that she unwittingly tears it apart. Its language is so poetic in its specificity, and both that language and the story are fantastic counterpoints to Wilson’s near-contemporaneous play. Recommended for ages 12 and up.
OLNEY CONTEMPORARY SERIES
I AND YOU – a Rolling World Premiere
By Lauren Gunderson
Directed by Eleanor Holdridge
February 26 – March 23, 2014 in the Mulitz-Gudelsky Theatre Lab
Anthony turns up in Caroline’s room one night bearing waffle fries, a beat-up book, and a story about a project they have been assigned to work on together by their lit teacher: to explore Walt Whitman’s poem “Song of Myself.” Caroline suffers from a rare disease and hasn’t been to school in quite a while, so she’s surprised and a little suspicious, given that she has no recollection of Anthony. As the two get to know each other plumbing the poem’s mysteries, they are unaware that a much deeper mystery has brought them together. I AND YOU is a valentine to youth, love, and the strange beauty of human connectedness. Recommended for ages 14 and up
Music and Lyrics by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx
Book By Jeff Whitty
June 11 – July 6, 2014 on the Mainstage
Who doesn’t love foul-mouthed muppets and songs like “The Internet is for Porn?” AVENUE Q is an “autobiographical and biographical” coming-of-age parable, addressing and satirizing the issues and anxieties associated with entering adulthood. Its characters lament that as children, they were assured by their parents, and by children’s television programs such as PBS’s Sesame Street, that they were “special” and “could do anything”; but as adults, they have discovered to their surprise and dismay that in the real world their options are limited, and they are no more “special” than anyone else. AVENUE Q won the Tony Award for Best New Musical in 2004. Recommended for ages 14 and up with parental advisement.
COLOSSAL – a Rolling World Premiere
By Andrew Hinderaker
Directed by Will Davis
September 3 –28, 2014 in the Mulitz-Gudelsky Theatre Lab
COLOSSAL tells the story of Mike, a college football player who took a bad hit which left him paralyzed from the waist down. Through the course of four quarters (including a halftime show), Mike relives the moment with the help of a full squad of football players and dancers onstage until he’s ready to face a very difficult truth. Hinderaker uses football – an intense celebration of physicality and force – to start a dazzling conversation about macho mindsets, the danger of living in the past, and the emotional and physical struggles around rehabilitation. Recommended for ages 14 and up.
OLNEY FAMILY SERIES
ONCE ON THIS ISLAND
Book by Lynn Ahrens
Music by Stephen Flaherty
Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens
Based on My Love, My Love by Rosa Guy
April 9 – May 4, 2014 on the Mainstage
ONCE ON THIS ISLAND is a Caribbean-flavored musical by the Tony Award-winning songwriting team of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty based upon the book My Love, My Love by Rosa Guy. Set in Haiti in the early 20th Century, the show includes capricious gods, joyous dance numbers, and elements of Romeo and Juliet and the fairytale of The Little Mermaid. The story concerns a peasant girl on a tropical island, who uses the power of love to bring together people of different social classes. Recommended for Ages 5 and up.
National Players Special Presentation of
by William Shakespeare
Directed by Jason King Jones
July 17 – August 4, 2014 on the Root Family Stage
Shakespeare’s glorious tale of magical creatures, love and forgiveness on a faraway island is sure to captivate in our outdoor space, the Root Family Stage. In celebration of their 65th consecutive year of touring, we’ll be returning to an old format we’ve used in the past, in which National Players veterans compose half of the cast of this professional show, mentoring current National Players who take the younger roles. Recommended for ages 8 and up.
HOLIDAY MUSICAL TBA
November 12– December 28, 2014 on the Mainstage
We continue our tradition of a family musical during the holidays! In the tradition of ANNIE, THE SOUND OF MUSIC and CINDERELLA, Olney Theatre Center brings you another Broadway-quality holiday musical for the whole family to enjoy. We’re looking for the most exciting family-friendly title to entice and entertain families throughout Montgomery County and the region.
*Plays, artists and dates are subject to change.
About Olney Theatre Center
Olney Theatre Center, celebrating its 75th Anniversary in 2013, is an award-winning, nonprofit, Equity theatre. Located just north of Washington, D.C. in arts-rich Montgomery County, Maryland, Olney Theatre Center offers a diverse array of professional productions year-round. Olney Theatre Center is situated on 14 acres in the heart of the beautiful Washington-Baltimore-Frederick “triangle,”within easy access of all three cities. Olney Theatre Center is home to the National Players, America’s longest-running touring company and led by Artistic Director Jason Loewith and Managing Director Amy Marshall. For more information please visit our website.