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ANN ARBOR – Though Ann Arbor's resident professional theater is still in the thick of its record-breaking 30th anniversary season, Performance Network has lined up seven exceptional plays and musicals for its 31st, scheduled to begin in the fall. Consisting of the most celebrated plays and playwrights in American theater, the anticipated season runs Sept. 27 to Sept. 8, 2013. Featuring works by three Pulitzer Prize-winning authors and shows that have received Tony, Grammy, Olivier and Drama Desk awards, it is a highly decorated and diverse season, with plays ranging from a world premiere comedy about a washed up songwriter, to a classic and heart-wrenching drama by Tennessee Williams.
"While our 30th anniversary season definitely set the bar high in terms of the quality of the shows that we've selected, I think the 31st season will provide some stiff competition," said artistic director David Wolber. "It's the perfect time to produce some scripts that I've been in love with for several years, and I'm also really excited about the different voices that we’ve pulled together to make a strong, wide-ranging season."
Since moving to its downtown home 12 years ago, Performance Network has dedicated itself to quality, diversity and uncompromising artistic leadership, all of which are front and center for its 31st season. In addition to the high-pedigree of scripts that will be produced, audiences will once again see the region's top talent on stage, including PNT associate artists Naz Edwards, John Seibert and Scott Crownover, who will be featured in the season's centerpiece, "A Little Night Music," and associate artist Phil Powers, who will be featured in the world premiere comedy, "Brill."
Seating availability is now open for renewing subscribers and new season ticket buyers, who can guarantee their seats at a discount for five or seven shows at a time. Season packages are available for as low as $159.
Performance Network also offers discounted Flex Tickets, available in packages of six or 10.
Season Subscriptions and Flex Packages are available online at www.performancenetwork.org, where order forms can be downloaded, or by calling 734-663-0681 during box office hours, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., Monday through Thursday.
Single tickets for all seven shows in the season will be available to the general public beginning Aug. 1. Tickets will be available online, over the phone or in person at 120 E. Huron St., Ann Arbor.
Performance Network members may purchase single tickets beginning July 15, two weeks in advance of the single ticket release date.
Performance Network's 2012-2013 Season:
The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams
Williams' Great American Masterpiece!
Sept. 27 through Oct. 28
Faded Southern Belle Amanda Wigfield will stop at nothing to find a husband for her painfully shy daughter, Laura, still living at home with her brother, Tom, a would-be writer working in a shoe factory. When Amanda enlists Tom's help in bringing home a "gentleman caller" from the factory, the family's dreams hang in the balance as they struggle to escape the hopelessness of their world. Set in 1937 St. Louis, this wistfully poetic memory play is regarded by many as Williams' most personal story, and his greatest masterpiece. Directed by Tim Rhoze ("Ain't Misbehavin'," "The Piano Lesson"), and starring Carla Milarch ("Dirty Blonde," "A Doll's House") as Amanda.
A Little Night Music, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by Hugh Wheeler
Six-time Tony-winning romantic musical!
Nov. 15 through Dec. 30
Sondheim's rollicking tour-de-force of love, lies and liaisons is the winner of six Tony Awards and a Grammy, featuring an amazing musical score, including "The Glamorous Life" and "Send in the Clowns." Desiree Armfeldt is an enchanting Swedish actress. While on tour in a country town, she runs into former lover Fredrik, who has brought his young wife to the theater. Reminiscing in Desiree's dressing room, their passion rekindles. The two seek to continue their affair at a gathering for several guests at Fredrik's country home, setting in motion a hilarious and flirtatious weekend for all. Directed by Phil Simmons and starring Naz Edwards ("The Drowsy Chaperone," "Woman Before a Glass"), John Seibert ("The Baker’s Wife," "Christmas Carol'd"), Scott Crownover ("The Drowsy Chaperone," "The Fantasticks"), Eva Rosenwald ("The Drowsy Chaperone"), and Leslie Hull ("In the Next Room or the vibrator play").
Brill by David Wells, music by Frank Allison
World premiere comedy with music!
Jan. 10 through Feb. 10, 2013
Located at Broadway and 49th Street in Manhattan, the famous Brill Building was once the epicenter of the pop music universe, where a musician could find a publisher, cut a demo, promote the record, and make a deal with radio promoters - all within one building. In this "lyrical" comedy set in 1959, a washed up Big Band songwriter faces the inevitability of rock 'n' roll when a young woman shows up at his office with her guitar, her aspirations, and more than a few secrets. Can this odd couple make beautiful music together - or will their culture clash land one of them out on the streets? "Brill" was first workshopped during Performance Network's 2012 winter Fireside Festival of New Works, where it received raves from audience members. Directed by David Wolber ("Dead Man's Shoes"), and featuring Phil Powers ("The Drowsy Chaperone," "God of Carnage") and Sarah Leahy ("Circle Mirror Transformation").
Good People by David Lindsay-Abaire
Michigan premiere; 2011 Tony nominee for Best Play
Feb. 21 through March 31
When you got nothin', you got nothin' to lose – or so it would seem for Margie Walsh, a Dollar Store worker from Boston's "Southie" district, where this week's paycheck pays last week's bills, and a round of bingo is a night on the town. Fired from her job and facing eviction, she reaches out in desperation to a high school boyfriend who has made it out, inviting herself to a chic cocktail party in his home. Once there, a series of hilariously awkward moments reveals a secret about their past, putting Margie in the driver's seat for the first time. This 2011 Tony nominee is a touching and funny look at America's great economic divide. Directed by David Wolber ("The War Since Eve").
The Mountaintop by Katori Hall
Michigan premiere, hot from its Broadway run
April 25 through June 2
It's April 3,1968 at Memphis' Lorraine Motel the night before Martin Luther King Jr. would be assassinated. In room 306, King prepares his speech for the coming day, as a thunderstorm rages outside. Chain smoking Pall Malls and thundering to himself, "America, you are too ARROGANT," he is startled by the mysterious Camae, a motel maid who shows up dripping wet on his doorstep. As they strike up a conversation, sharing cigarettes and laughter, King begins to suspect that her purpose there may not be what it seems. This inspiring drama brings one of America's freshest dramatic voices to the Network stage. Directed by Carla Milarch ("Red") and starring Brian Marable ("The Piano Lesson") as Dr. King.
Becky Shaw by Gina Gionfriddo
Michigan premiere and Pulitzer Prize finalist
June 20 through July 28
The New York Times called this Pulitzer Prize finalist and smash off-Broadway hit "a tangled tale of love, sex and ethics... as engrossing as it is ferociously funny, like a big box of fireworks fizzing and crackling across the stage." Step siblings Suzanna and Max couldn't be more different. When the shy sister fixes the cocky brother up with her husband's sexy and sweet co-worker, the blind date takes a dark turn and crisis and comedy ensue. Mixing sharp wit and humor with the taut suspense of a psychological thriller, this comedy of romantic errors keeps audiences on the edge of their seats. Directed by Phil Powers.
My Name is Asher Lev by Aaron Posner, adapted from the novel by Chaim Potok
Michigan premiere based on the famous novel
Aug. 8 through Sept. 8
Based on the famous 1972 novel by Chaim Potok, this provocative play tells the story of a boy growing up in a sheltered Hasidic community in 1950s Brooklyn, who discovers he has a prodigious talent as an artist. Struggling to reconcile his gift with the community's Orthodox values, he immerses himself in an art form steeped in Christian imagery. When he brings forth a masterwork entitled "The Brooklyn Crucifixions," he must decide whether or not to honor his self-expression and exhibit, potentially bringing shame on his family, his community, and even his faith. Directed by David Magidson ("God of Carnage") in a co-production with the Jewish Ensemble Theatre.
About Performance Network Theatre
Founded in 1981, Performance Network Theatre has grown from a fledgling company to Ann Arbor's only resident, professional theater. The Network reaches 40,000 patrons and children each year through the year-round Professional Series and the Children's Theatre Network. Performance Network also presents the Fireside Festival of New Works and a series of classes on theater-related topics. The Network provides uncompromising artistic leadership in the region and produces works that engage, challenge and inspire audiences and artists.