Themes of faith, love, family, revolution and the state of the union are featured in the plays selected for the 2017-2018 “Mainstage Season” at Baltimore Center Stage.
Also part of the season is a world premiere play with music, so new that complete details weren’t ready to be announced with the others.
The lineup, released this week, marks the theater’s first full season back in its 700 N. Calvert Street home, which reopened last month after a $28 million renovation.
“Art at its best, for me, is a metaphor on the human condition, and that is what we think about as we choose our plays,” said Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah in an announcement. “I’m thrilled to present our spectacular next season line up for our Mainstage series. And I’m excited to say we’ll announce our full list of programming soon, including Third Space and Mobile Unit productions. From our renovated building, which is intended to make everyone who enters feel welcome, to our diverse season of plays, we’re continuing our mission of access for all.”
Here are the Mainstage Season plays for 2017-2018, with descriptions from Baltimore Center Stage:
“The Christians,” by Lucas Hnath, directed by Hana S. Sharif, running from Sept. 7-Oct. 8, 2017:
“Does absolute tolerance require tolerance of the intolerant? Can a divided head find a way to lead? When the stakes are eternity, what happens if your pastor is wrong? These are the questions that arise in a present-day American megachurch in The Christians, a new play about the seemingly insurmountable distance that exists when people of the same religion hold different beliefs. Stunning in its theatricality, this production will feature multiple choirs from area churches. Prescient in its investigation of the commercialization of religion, this play spotlights the sensitive and challenging obstacles of all successful organizations.”
“Shakespeare in Love,” based on the screenplay by Marc Norman & Tom Stoppard, adapted for the stage by Lee Hall and directed by Blake Robison, running from Oct. 19-Nov. 26, 2017:
“‘Shall I compare thee to a something something… mummers play?’And so begins one of Shakespeare’s most famous sonnets, and this charming story of love, inspiration, muses, and art, based on the Oscar-winning film. This smart and poignant tale offers a smattering of allusions that will delight anyone familiar with the Bard—or simply the English language. This story is as crowd-pleasing as mistaken identities, a shipwreck, and love triumphant, and is set in a time when a Londoner could still utter the words: “Shakespeare? Never heard of him.” A great play for the entire family.”
“Lookingglass Alice,” adapted by David Catlin from the works of Lewis Carroll, and directed by Jeremy B. Cohen, running from Nov. 30-Dec. 31, 2017:
“Fall down the rabbit hole with Alice and a cast of characters as wild as whimsy and wicked as royalty. If you’re curiouser about the other side, David Catlin’s adapted tale will send you into a tailspin of queens and pawns, riddles and mind games, madness and tea parties. Our holiday season offering is perfect for the entire family, and children of all ages will delight in this wonderful world. Families can come together to build a theatergoing tradition and enjoy the spectacular realm created from author Lewis Carroll’s legendary imagination. Join us down the rabbit hole.”
“Skeleton Crew,” by Dominique Morisseau and directed by Nicole A. Watson, running from Feb. 1-March 11, 2018, as part of the Women’s Voices Theater Festival:
“From the playwright of Detroit ’67, Skeleton Crew (the third play in Dominique Morisseau’s acclaimed Detroit trilogy) tells the story of four workers at the last exporting auto plant in Detroit struggling to survive as their way of life disappears. Set around 2008, this play vividly portrays the modern struggle in a changing America, and reveals the real people on the factory line. This skeleton crew—the bare minimum number of staff needed to function—is made up of people who keep the vital operations of the plant running in the face of obstacles, rumors, and, eventually, the confirmation of their worst fears. Loyalties are tested and boundaries are crossed as this vibrant team of loyal and proud workers navigate an uncertain future.”
George Orwell’s “Animal Farm,” adapted by Ian Woolridge, and directed by May Adrales, running from March 1-April 1, 2018:
“One day on Manor Farm, shortly before his death, an old boar named Major told the other animals about his dream. United by the realization that all animals have a common enemy—man—the animals revolted against the tyranny of forced work. They fought and gained their freedom and established a system of thought, Animalism, based on the wise words of the Major. All animals are comrades. All animals are equal. But as months and years pass, the exalted words of the Major become distorted, and the citizens of Animal Farm come to see that some animals are more equal than others.”
“To Be Announced,” written and directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah, running from May 10-June 17, 2018.
“Baltimore Center Stage is finalizing details on a major new project that will be an extraordinary finale to the 2017/18 Season. Like ‘Marley,’ this play by Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah is still being finalized and is not quite ready to be announced with the rest of the season.”
More information about the new season is available at centerstage.org.