The American Repertory Theater has announced a star-studded 2015-'16 season. Artistic director Diane Paulus has put together a season of new works that encompass everything from the familiar to the cutting edge, and sometimes a little of both.
One of the biggest stars of the season is former Globe Theatre director Mark Rylance. The Tony award-winning actor, director and playwright co-created the play “Nice Fish” alongside prose poet Louis Jenkins. Based on Jenkins’ poems, “Nice Fish” tells the story of two men bonding over an ice fishing expedition. Rylance has previously starred in “Hamlet” and “The Seagull” at A.R.T., as well as in “Twelfth Night” and “Richard III” on Broadway, and he’s the star of the upcoming buzzy Masterpiece adaptation of “Wolf Hall.” Claire van Kampen, who directed the first performance of “Nice Fish” in 2013, returns to direct this performance, which will be playing in January 2016.
A.R.T. has already revealed its other draw for the season, the world premiere of the musical “Waitress,” which tells the story of a down on her luck waitress with the music of Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles (best known for 2007’s “Love Song”). The musical is directed by Diane Paulus, and it will debut in August 2015.
“Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812” is a pop opera retelling of “War And Peace.” It’s set in just a small slice of the Tolstoy epic, in the vodka den, Kazino. The multi-talented Dave Molloy has composed the musical, while A.R.T. veteran Rachel Chavkin will direct. The two previously collaborated on A.R.T.’s 2012 hit "Three Pianos." "Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812" will appear at the Loeb Drama Center in December 2015.
Also in December, this season’s holiday family programming adapts Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” into a pirate adventure. The world premiere musical the “The Pirate Princess” is appropriate for all ages.
In a more faithful adaptation of a classic literary work, “1984” will show in February 2016. The play tells the familiar, but increasingly relevant George Orwell tale of Winston’s tiny rebellion against a dystopian surveillance state. It’s presented in association with Headlong, one of the UK’s leading theater companies.
In another world premiere, writer and activist Eve Ensler, best known for “The Vagina Monologues,” presents “In The Body Of The World,” a theatrical performance of her acclaimed 2013 memoir. The performance, which will debut in April 2016 at Harvard’s Farkas Hall, explores the relationship between the female body and the public through her personal struggle with uterine cancer.
“RoosevElvis,” yet another new work, tells the story of an American journey. Continuing the theater troupe TEAM’s tradition of exploring American myths, this play will follow one meek woman’s road trip as she decides whether to give in to the spirit of Teddy Roosevelt or Elvis Presley. Also directed by Rachel Chavkin, this hallucinatory play will show at Oberon in May 2016.