Portland Stage announces 2020-2021 season

Wed, 05/27/2020 - 12:00pm

We have started offering memberships to our 2020-21 season with the hopes that we can produce this fall with people in the theater, but we will only do so if we can do it safely.  As we are moving forward, we may need to alter order of shows, run the season longer into the spring, or even choose an alternative production if we think it will be a better choice for the times at hand.

Theaters are not included in the published phases yet. Right now, we are working with other performing arts centers in Maine as well as government and health experts to come up with really clean, clear actions for every part of the audience experience since Maine has not set clear parameters for public safety in theaters yet.

There will be three world premieres this season!  The first, “Perseverance” is by Maine-based playwright Callie Kimball.  Commissioned by Portland Stage and the Maine Suffrage Centennial Collaborative. In the fictional town of Hillcroft, Maine, a 19th century African-American schoolteacher is determined to elevate her students. One hundred years later, in the same place, a white teacher is running for office. As the two stories intertwine, ownership of history takes center stage.

The second planned world premiere, “Senior Living,” included an interview with its playwrighting team, Grammy-nominated songwriter Tor Hyams and veteran Broadway
performer Lisa St. Lou (The Producers). The interview was also to include their friend, playwright, and actor John Cariani. A play about people dying to live. In retirement community in Riverdale, New York, seniors contemplate life’s most pressing issues; sex, golf and, rice pudding. A talent show sets the scene for vignettes that debate what to do with the time we have left.

The third play in the lineup of world premieres, “Sabina,” is a play that was canceled during the 2019-20 season due to the pandemic. “Sabina” - by Willy Holtzman with music by Louise Beach and lyrics by Darrah Cloud.  This moving new musical illuminates Sabina Spielrein, a patient turned doctor, unfairly sidelined to the margins of history by two famous men in her field of psychiatry, Jung and Freud. Mark the centennial of women’s suffrage with a journey through melody and song to discover this truly remarkable woman. 

The season also features ... “Ring of Fire” - Richard Maltby, Jr., Conceived by: Bill Meade.  From the songbook of Johnny Cash comes this unique musical about love and faith, struggle and success, rowdiness and redemption, and the healing power of home and family. More than two dozen classic hits—including “I Walk The Line,” “A Boy Named Sue,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” and "Ring of Fire" itself—performed by a talented cast, paint a musical portrait of The Man in Black that promises to be a foot-stompin’, crowd-pleasin’ salute to a unique musical legend!
”Ring of Fire” features Broadway and National Tour performers including Maine native Scott Moreau, who starred in MSMT's Million Dollar Quartet and Walkin' the Line.

”The Crucible” by Arthur Miller - This classic tale based on the Salem Witch Trials and the Red Scare gets a contemporary brush-up as rumors of witchcraft in an isolated community lead to deadly accusations.

”The Cake” by Bekah Brunstetter - Della’s dreamed of baking a wedding cake for her best friend’s daughter, Jen. But when Jen comes home from NYC with a female fiancé, Della doesn’t know what to do. This deliciously funny comedy examines what happens when what we believe comes in conflict with those we love.

”Talley’s Folly” by Lanford Wilson -  After a year of writing letters, Matt Friedman travels from St. Louis to Lebanon, Missouri to try and convince Sally Talley to marry him. As the two reexamine their relationship, they explore the complexities of human connection and the different forms that a romantic partnership can take. 

“A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens - Celebrate the holidays with this timeless tale that embodies the season: love, family, and the spirit of goodwill. See it brought to life on-stage, with charming costumes, delightful music, and a few ghostly apparitions.

For more information, visit https://www.portlandstage.org