One good thing about the end of summer is that all of the area theaters swing back into action in September, often with some of the highlights of the season.
The American Repertory Theater is hosting the Abbey Theatre’s production of “The Plough and the Stars” and the players of Gare St Lazare Ireland are in “Here All Night” at ArtsEmerson — two Irish companies coming to local theaters. ArtsEmerson’s lineup of productions this fall makes for another varied and compelling season. The Huntington and Lyric double down on Stephen Sondheim. And with a fierce political stretch ahead of us, we’ll see threads of politics sticking out of many of the plays.
"The Totalitarians" | Gloucester Stage Company, Sept. 1-24
Coming off an artistically successful summer, Gloucester Stage Company immediately dives into its fall season with the New England premiere of a dissonant dark comedy. Peter Sinn Nachtrieb has created a Palinesque Manchurian candidate for state office in Nebraska. “The Totalitarians” is a commentary on modern political predicaments, modern relationships and gullibility.
"Company" | The Lyric Stage Company of Boston, Sept. 2-Oct. 9
The Lyric Stage Company of Boston brings the seven-time Tony Award-winning musical, "Company,” to Clarendon Street this September. Spiro Veloudos, who ARTery editor and critic at large Ed Siegel calls “the best director of Sondheim in the city,” directs the classic concept musical surrounding a seemingly ever-single Bobby on his 35th birthday.
"Marjorie Prime" | The Nora Theatre Company, Sept. 8-Oct. 9
The Nora Theatre Company, has maintained its commitment to producing works that speak with a feminine voice on human concerns and struggles. The upcoming play, “Marjorie Prime,” addresses memory loss through 85-year-old Marjorie. Set in the near future, a younger version of Marjorie’s husband is programmed to bring up events of her past. Jordan Harrison’s Pulitzer Prize-finalist plays at the Central Square Theater.
"Cheers Live on Stage" | The Road Company, Sept. 9-18
The bar where everybody knows your name is heading to the Citi Shubert Theatre for nine days this September. Led by director Matt Lenz and writer Erik Forrest Jackson, “Cheers Live on Stage” adapts the sitcom’s first season’s scripts for the stage. The show will feature 14 actors, although no original cast members, in addition to the 12 lucky audience members who will be able to pull up a stool at the bar.
"Sunday in the Park with George" | Huntington Theatre Company, Sept. 9-Oct. 16
The second Sondheim coming to Boston this season is “Sunday in the Park with George.” Inspired by Georges Seurat’s renowned pointillistic oil painting, the musical revolves around the fictionalized artist’s search for love and inspiration on a "Sunday afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte." “Sunday in the Park with George” stars Adam Chanler-Berat (“Peter and the Starcatcher” and “Next to Normal”) and Jenni Barber (“Wicked”). Plays at the Avenue of the Arts/BU Theatre. Listen to an interview with Sondheim from NPR's Fresh Air here.
ArtsEmerson season, Sept. 10-Nov. 20
ArtsEmerson has a very exciting autumn beginning with the “Ouroboros Trilogy,” a cycle similar to what the ancient Greek icon depicts, consisting of three grand operas including the 2011 Pulitzer Prize-winning “Madame White Snake,” and the world premieres of “Gilgamesh” and “Naga.” The trilogy is symbolic of eternal renewal, exploring themes of life, death and rebirth. Later in the season, it’ll have an ode to Samuel Beckett in “Here All Night” from Ireland’s Gare St Lazare plus local playwright Melinda Lopez’s “Mala.” The “Ouroboros Trilogy” plays Sept. 10-17; "Machine de Cirque," a Quebec circus company, Sept. 21-Oct. 2; “Here All Night” Oct. 5-9; and “Mala” Oct. 27 through Nov. 20.
"Miss Julie" | Harbor Stage Company, Sept. 15-25
Harbor Stage Company had a strong summer and “Miss Julie” was fit enough to stick around for another season. The naturalistic play focuses on the relationship between the daughter of the count, Miss Julie (Brenda Withers), and a valet, Jean (Jonathan Fielding), who differ in their class, desires and actions. “Miss Julie” moves from Wellfleet to the Modern Theatre at Suffolk University.
"The Plough and the Stars" | American Repertory Theater, Sept. 24-Oct. 9
The A.R.T. is hosting Dublin’s Abbey Theatre for an acclaimed production of “The Plough and the Stars.” Written in 1926 by Seán O'Casey, the play is set 10 years prior during the 1916 Easter Rising — a rebellion against British rule during World War I. Joining the national theater of Ireland is Olivier Award-winning director Sean Holmes. It opens during the 100 year anniversary of the revolution.
"Hamlet" | Actors' Shakespeare Project, Oct. 5-Nov. 6
Newbury Street's Church of the Covenant will turn into the Kingdom of Denmark for ASP's production of "Hamlet." Directed by Doug Lockwood, the tragedy surrounds Prince Hamlet and his treacherous family history. A free open rehearsal of this Shakespearean performance can be seen Sept. 24.
"Good" | New Repertory Theatre, Oct. 8-30
'Tis the season for political drama and the New Repertory Theatre in Watertown enriches our times with “Good.” Taking place in Nazi-ridden Germany, Professor John Halder is a good man on the surface who is faced with the pressure of the world changing around him after writing a novel on compassionate euthanasia. To what extent should a moral person compromise with demagoguery? It comes weeks ahead of the presidential election.
"Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again." | Company One Theatre, Oct. 21-Nov. 19
We saw Company One Theatre pushing society’s expectations in this summer’s “The T Party”, and it returns this fall with another boundary-breaking performance. “Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again.” examines language and customs, and their impacts on the contemporary woman. The New England premiere by English playwright Alice Birch is directed by Company One cofounder Summer L. Williams, who was just named associate artistic director. It plays at the Plaza Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts.
"The Scottsboro Boys" | SpeakEasy Stage Company, Oct. 21-Nov. 19
In their final collaboration, theater’s tuneful songwriting team of Kander and Ebb (“Cabaret” and “Chicago”) highlight the trial of the Scottsboro Boys in 1931. Written by David Thompson, the story follows the nine black teenagers who were jailed for a crime they did not commit. “The Scottsboro Boys,” directed by Paul Daigneault features a mix of gospel, jazz and vaudeville. This is the Boston premiere.
"An American in Paris" | Citi Performing Arts Center, Oct. 25-Nov. 6
The most-awarded new musical of 2015 and winner of four Tony Awards begins its national tour at the Citi Performing Arts Center Wang Theatre in Boston. “An American in Paris” tells the story of an American soldier who settles in Europe after World War II, seeking romance and happiness. Directed and choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon and music and lyrics from the Gershwin brothers, the musical recounts George Gershwin’s song of the same name.
"West Side Story" | North Shore Music Theater, Nov. 1-20
The Sharks and the Jets are set to face off in Beverly in November. Although it may sound like a sporting event, it’s a production of “West Side Story” -- this time led by husband and wife duo Bob Richard and Diane Laurenson. With Richard directing, and Laurenson choreographing, the two have a strong connection to this story since they meet on the set of the Bernstein-Sondheim-Robbins-Laurents musical over 20 years ago.
Michael Hagerty is an intern for The ARTery. He currently studies communication at UMass Amherst, and is the production and training director at the university's radio station WMUA.