Studio Theatre’s 2019-2020 Main Series Season: Doubt: A Parable by John Patrick Shanley White Pearl by Anchuli Felicia King Pipeline by Dominique Morrisseau Pass Over by Antoinette Nwandu Fun Home by Jeanine Tesori and Kisa Kron
Studio Theatre is pleased to announce its 2019-2020 Main Series Season, five productions marked by their expansive curiosity and theatrical dexterity. The plays in Studio’s 41st season range from an indictment of a failing education system to a complex consideration of authority and abuse in the Catholic Church, a raucous comedy about the ugliness of the beauty industry to a humane but unflinching look at young Black men caught in a cycle of violence beyond their control, and an excavation of a childhood shaped by a parent’s secret life. Characteristically Studio, these productions span the globe, or head back in time, to powerfully illuminate our present moment.
“This is a season that offers a bit of many things—these plays are impressively different from one another,” says Studio Artistic Director David Muse. “But they also do what our work does at its best: take some of the most urgent problems or complex personal questions we face and match them with human-sized stories. Each play has great parts for great actors and plunges its audience into the thick of their struggle. Some are funny, some are chilling, and we’re excited about them all.”
The Main Series begins with Doubt: A Parable, John Patrick Shanley’s potent, Pulitzer Prize-winning drama about a nun who suspects a priest of sexual misconduct with one of her students. Shanley’s moral drama is as complex as it was 15 years ago, and its questions of how to handle unprovable suspicions—and how the most vulnerable usually bear the brunt of unequal justice—are as timely as ever. The Main Series continues with the US premiere of White Pearl and playwright Anchuli Felicia King, witha comedy about toxic corporate culture set in the Singapore headquarters of a cosmetics company. Felicia is an Australian-Thai writer about to have a breakout year on the international stage. White Pearl will be her professional debut—it will premiere at The Royal Court Theatre in London and at Sydney Theatre Company before Studio produces the North American premiere in the fall.
Dominique Morrisseau, whose Skeleton Crew introduced the playwright to DC and anchored Studio’s 2017-2018 Season, returns with Pipeline, a piercing and compassionate look at America’s broken education system and a mother trying to get her son through it. Studio will introduce another exciting writer to DC with Antoinette Nwandu’sPass Over, a contemporary riff on Waiting for Godot featuring two young, homeless Black men who are seemingly stuck on their street corner.
Studio concludes its Main Series with Fun Home, Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron’s Tony Award-winning musical adaptation of Alison Bechdel’s pioneering graphic memoir about her childhood, directed by Muse. Scaling the music to Studio’s intimate theatres—the Broadway tour played The National Theatre in DC—magnifies the power of this joyful and bittersweet musical.
Play dates, directors, and Studio X programming will be announced at a later date.
Studio’s Main Series is the core of its programming, offering a repertoire of provocative new and contemporary writing and inventive stagings of modern classics.
by Dominique Morisseau
“An ethically ambiguous drama that raises barbed questions about class, race, parental duty, and the state of American education.”
Nya is a Black single mom and dedicated teacher at a high-poverty city school, determined to give her teenaged son Omari opportunities that her students will never have. When an altercation with a teacher at his private school threatens Omari’s future, Nya has to fight a system that’s against him in any environment. A searing, eloquent, and deeply compassionate look at a broken education system, the price Black men pay for their anger, and the ferocity of one parent’s love.
White Pearl (US Premiere)
by Anchuli Felicia King
Clearday is a cosmetics company on the rise: based in Singapore, launching a global skincare range, and bringing a start-up mentality to the big leagues. But a draft ad for their latest skin whitening cream surfaces on YouTube, gathering views and outrage. As morning nears in the US market—19,643 views, 467,327, 654,398—Clearday’s all-female team hustles to contain the damage before Buzzfeed weighs in. Someone’s definitely getting fired. A comedy from rising Thai-Australian writer Anchuli Felicia King about toxic corporate culture, selling whiteness, and shame as both a cultural commodity and canny marketing strategy.
Doubt: A Parable(2005 Pulitzer Prize for Drama; Tony Award for Best New Play)
by John Patrick Shanley
“A lean, potent drama…passionate, exquisite, important and engrossing.” —Newsday
The Bronx, 1964. Suspicions surface at a parochial school about a charismatic young priest’s interest in a Catholic school’s first and only Black student. Absent hard proof, Sister Aloysius, the school’s starched and self-assured principal, tries to protect the innocent—but is she doing God’s work or is her certitude actually pride? A searing masterwork by John Patrick Shanley about faith, ambiguity, and the price of moral conviction.
By Antoinette Nwandu
“Searing, daring, blazingly theatrical, and thrillingly tense.”
—New York Times (Best Plays of 2018)
Kitch and Moses seem stuck on their street corner, but it don’t matter. They joke, dream, and throw down about the promised land they’re heading to just as soon as they get up off the block—what they’ll eat, who they’ll see, whether today’s the day they’ll pass over. Allegorical and immediate, humorous and chilling, Nwandu’s collision of the Exodus saga and Waiting for Godotprobes the forces that have marooned these young Black men, and the power and limitations of their personal resilience.
Fun Home(2015 Tony Award for Best New Musical)
music by Jeanine Tesori
book and lyrics by Lisa Kron
based on the graphic novel by Alison Bechdel
“A rare beauty, extraordinary and heart-gripping.”
—New York Times
Alison is 9, begging her father to play with her. She is 19, overcome by the aching and joyous pain of first love. She is 43, an out lesbian hunting for the truth of her brilliant, volatile, and closeted father’s life and death. She is all three at once, trying to untangle the central mystery of her childhood: How did she survive their shared hometown, when her father could not? With a score that ranges from exuberant ’70s pop to aching melodies and dissonant harmonies of characters longing to be known, Fun Home is the award-winning story of a daughter and father, of coming out and coming to terms with a life shaped by a family’s secrets.
About Studio Theatre:Over the past four decades, Studio Theatre has established itself as Washington’s premier venue for contemporary theatre, “where local audiences will find today’s edgiest playwrights” (Variety). One of the most respected midsized theatres in the country, Studio produces exceptional contemporary drama in deliberately intimate spaces. Drawing inspiration from great ensembles—where people work together with a spirit of generosity and professional rigor—Studio brings characteristic thoughtfulness and daring to its work onstage and off, through its new work incubator and engagement, education, and workforce training initiatives. Every year, Studio serves nearly 75,000 people, including more than 1,000 youth and young adults through engagement and education initiatives. Throughout Studio’s 41-year history, the quality of its work has been recognized by sustained community support, as well as 70 Helen Hayes Awards for excellence in professional theatre.
Studio Theatre is located at 1501 14th Street NW. For tickets and subscriptions, call the box office at (202) 332-3300.