Second Stage Theatre has announced five plays in the docket for its 2019-2020 Season, two of which are world premieres and three of which are slated to play at Broadway’s Hayes Theater. Carole Rothman, President and Artistic Director, and Casey Reitz, Executive Director have announced the offerings and, for the first time in Second Stage’s history, the company will be producing on all three of its stages.
The Broadway productions will include Tracy Letts’ Linda Vista directed by Dexter Bullard, Bess Wohl’s Grand Horizons with Leigh Silverman at the helm, and a revival of Richard Greenberg’s Take Me Out, with Scott Ellis directing. Off-Broadway productions will feature Will Eno’s The Underlying Chris, and Alexis Scheer’s Our Dead Dead Drug Lord, the latter a co-production with WP Theatre.
Kicking-off Second Stage’s ambitious 41st season on September 19, 2019 will be Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tracy Letts’ (August: Osage County) Linda Vista. This Steppenwolf Theatre production is presented in association with Center Theatre Group. The play is described as “a brutally comedic look at Wheeler, a 50-year-old divorcee in the throes of a mid-life spiral. Just out of his ex-wife’s garage and into a place of his own, Wheeler starts on a path toward self-discovery — navigating blind dates, old friends, and new love. Full of opinions, yet short on self-examination, Wheeler must reconcile the man he has become with the man he wants to be.”
The Underlying Chris, Will Eno’s life-affirming play explained as a “high-spirited look at how a person comes into their identity, and how sometimes it’s life’s tiniest moments that most profoundly change our lives.” Playing at the Tony Kiser Theatre, The Underlying Chris is set to officially open on November 21, 2019. A director for the production will be named at a later date.
Next up will be the New York premiere of Bess Wohl’s (American Hero) Grand Horizons which was co-commissioned by Williamstown Theatre Festival and Second Stage Theater. Opening January 23, 2020, the play follows Bill and Nancy, who have spent fifty full years as husband and wife. “They practically breathe in unison, and can anticipate each other’s every sigh, snore and sneeze. But just as they settle comfortably into their new home in Grand Horizons, the unthinkable happens: Nancy suddenly wants out. As their two adult sons struggle to cope with the shocking news, they are forced to question everything they assumed about the people they thought they knew best. By turns funny, shocking and painfully honest, Bess Wohl’s new play explores a family turned upside-down and takes an intimate look at the wild, unpredictable, and enduring nature of love.”
Richard Greenberg’s Take Me Out was the Tony-winning Best Play of 2003, and it will make its triumphant return to Broadway under the guidance of prolific director Scott Ellis. The revival is scheduled to open on April 23, 2020. “When Darren Lemming, the star center fielder for the Empires, comes out of the closet, the reception off the field reveals a barrage of long-held unspoken prejudices. Facing some hostile teammates and fraught friendships, Darren is forced to contend with the challenges of being a gay person of color within the confines of a classic American institution. As the Empires struggle to rally toward a championship season, the players and their fans begin to question tradition, their loyalties, and the price of victory.”
Rounding out the Second Stage 2019-2020 season will be the September 24, 2020 opening of Alexis Scheer’s Our Dead Dead Drug Lord. A co-production with WP Theater by special arrangement with Benjamin Simpson and Joseph Longthorne, the piece will play at off-Broadway’s McGinn/Cazale Theater. “In this fierce and feverish world premiere comedy from WP Theater and Second Stage, a gang of teenage girls gathers in an abandoned treehouse to summon the ghost of Pablo Escobar. Are they messing with the actual spirit of the infamous cartel kingpin? Or are they really just messing with each other? A rollercoaster ride through the danger and damage of girlhood – the teenage wasteland has never been so much twisted fun.”
Mark Robinson is the author of the two-volume encyclopedia The World of Musicals, The Disney Song Encyclopedia, and The Encyclopedia of Television Theme Songs. He maintains a theater and entertainment blog at markrobinsonwrites.com.