Martin, Burton Reunite At The Huntington

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BOSTON — Former artistic director Nicholas Martin returns to the Huntington Theatre Company next year with one of his best buds, actress Kate Burton, to direct Chekhov’s “The Seagull,” using one of the late Paul Schmidt’s excellent translations.

The Huntington, which announced four of next season's shows, will open the season Sept. 7 with a musical version of  Kipling’s “The Jungle Book,” though it’s based on the Disney film. Mary Zimmerman adapted and directed. It’s in association with the Goodman Theatre in Chicago.

“The Seagull” will begin March 7 at the BU Theatre and Huntington playwright in residence Melinda Lopez takes over the Caldwerwood March 28 for “Becoming Cuba,” directed by M. Bevin O’Gara, who’s responsible for the excellent SpeakEasy Stage Company of “Clybourne Park,” which just opened. Playwriting fellow Lydia R. Diamond’s new play, “Smart People,” will be directed by Huntington artistic director Peter DuBois.

Here’s more of what the Huntington had to say:


 September 7 – October 6, 2013 (Avenue of the Arts / BU Theatre)
 From the imagination of Tony Award winner Mary Zimmerman (Candide) comes a captivating new musical adaptation of a timeless favorite. The jungle springs to life in a kaleidoscopic song-and-dance-filled production that chronicles young Mowgli’s adventures growing up in the animal kingdom. Based on Rudyard Kipling’s time-honored tales and featuring music from the classic Disney film, this ravishing world premiere will enchant audiences of all ages. As the TAB/Wicked Local says, “Let Mary Zimmerman dazzle you!”

“I’m absolutely thrilled to be returning to Boston and the to Huntington,” says Zimmerman. “I love the theatre and its audience. We’ve just finished our second, very intense, very joyful music workshop at the Goodman where six swing/jazz musicians and six Indian musicians brought their virtuosity to the project. The songs from the film are utterly recognizable, yet renewed and enriched by these new, beautiful sounds, and it was the thrill of a lifetime to work with Richard Sherman of the original composing team.”


March 7 – April 6, 2014 (Avenue of the Arts / BU Theatre)
Kate Burton and Nicholas Martin (The Corn is Green and The Cherry Orchard) – renowned interpreters of Chekhov’s blend of humor and pathos – reunite for this emotionally rich classic. Celebrated actress Irina Arkadina’s visit to her aspiring playwright son with her successful novelist lover in tow kindles unrequited passions in Anton Chekhov’s masterpiece about love, missed connections, and what it means to be an artist. WBUR praises, “Nicholas Martin is a master.”


March 28 – April 26, 2014 (South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA)

In 1898 Cuba on the eve of the Spanish-American War, spirited widow Adela runs a pharmacy, indifferent to the mounting conflict around her. But when the rebellion comes home to Havana, she must choose between loyalty to country or to family. By turns funny, steamy, and political, this powerful new drama from Playwright-in-Residence Melinda Lopez (Sonia Flew) asks whether freedom is something we all want. Huntington Associate Producer M. Bevin O’Gara directs. Variety says, “Melinda Lopez is a genuine talent.”

“Becoming Cuba takes me back to my favorite theatrical territory – mining big stories rooted in a shared history of the US and Cuba,” says Lopez. “I am thrilled to be returning to the Huntington, my artistic home, and I am especially excited to again work with Director M. Bevin O’Gara. Bevin understands my sensibility and my humor, and I trust her to wring the most and the best from my work. We are a terrific team.”


May 23 – June 21, 2014 (South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA)

Are our beliefs and prejudices hard-wired into us? Four Harvard intellectuals – a doctor, an actress, a psychologist, and a neurobiologist studying the human brain’s response to race – search for love, success, and identity in a complex world. With barbed wit, Huntington Playwriting Fellow Lydia R. Diamond (Stick Fly) explores the inescapable nature of racism and other tricky topics in this controversial and fiercely funny new play that will be directed by Huntington Artistic Director Peter DuBois (Rapture, Blister, Burn and Sons of the Prophet). Boston Herald proclaims, “Lydia Diamond's dialogue is so damn smart and clever.”

“What an outrageous honor – the luxury of returning to a theatre I’ve come to call home,” says Diamond. “I can think of no better place to launch my new play than within the smart, warm embrace of the Huntington. Smart People takes on big, ideas and lives in the world of risky questioning and flawed humanity. It is thrilling to have Peter DuBois at the helm of a ship that looks at huge, explosive ideas in nuanced and often humorous ways.”

This program aired on March 4, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.

Ed Siegel Twitter Critic-At-Large
Ed Siegel is critic-at-large for WBUR.