Celebration Company's season offers a variety of topics, genres
URBANA — The Celebration Company at the Station Theatre will produce during its 42nd season a dark comedy, scathing drama, rock music and magical realism, with the shows to be developed by longtime company members and newer talents.
"Our upcoming season will continue to challenge, educate and entertain ourselves and our audiences," Celebration Company founder and artistic director Rick Orr said. "As we embark on our 42nd season, we realize anew the importance of live theater as it not only enhances but also helps us celebrate our everyday lives."
The season will feature at least seven plays, including two finalists for the Pulitzer Prize for drama. Also on tap: works by William Inge and Sarah Ruhl.
And one play, to be presented in the spring, will be determined later.
Here's a rundown, by dates, with summaries supplied by the Celebration Company:
— Oct. 3-19, "White People" by J.T. Rogers, directed by Joel Higgins.
A controversial and darkly funny play about the lives of three ordinary white Americans placed under the spotlight. Through heart-wrenching confessions, they wrestle with guilt, prejudice and the price they and their children must pay for their actions.
— Nov. 7-23, "Come Back, Little Sheba," by Inge, directed by Tom Mitchell.
In one of the first dramas to skillfully address topics such as alcoholism, broken relationships and failed dreams, Doc and Lola, trapped in a barren 20-year-old marriage, drown their disappointment and sublimate their pain until they are forced to reckon with themselves and face their own yearnings.
— Dec. 5-21, "Chess," a musical with book by Richard Nelson, music by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, and lyrics by Tim Rice, directed by Mikel L. Matthews Jr.
In this musical written by giants of rock music, the ancient game of chess becomes a metaphor for romantic rivalries, competitive gamesmanship, super-power politics, and international intrigues. From Bangkok to Budapest, players, lovers, politicians and spies manipulate and are manipulated to the pulse of a monumental rock score that includes "One Night in Bangkok" and "Heaven Help My Heart."
— Jan. 23-Feb. 8, "Good Boys and True," by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, directed by Thom Schnarre.
This modern work by an emerging playwright focuses on affluent Washington D.C., doctor Elizabeth Hardy, whose idyllic life in 1988 is threatened when the coach of her Ivy League-bound son, Brandon, presents her with a grainy videotape. It shows an unspeakable crime performed by a boy that may be her son. As Elizabeth investigates whether her child is guilty, all of Brandon's secrets come to light. She is forced to confront how her choices have condoned her son's attitudes and actions and affected all around him.
— Feb. 20-March 8, "The Clean House," by Ruhl, directed by Katie Baldwin Prosise.
A finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for drama, this romance and unique comedy introduces theater-goers to Matilde, a Brazilian maid who hates cleaning; her employer, Lane, a driven American doctor; Lane's surgeon husband, Charles; and Lane's unhappily idle sister, all living in "metaphysical Connecticut."
— March 27—April 1, a play yet to be announced, to be directed by Orr or Gary Ambler.
— April 24-May 10, "Other Desert Cities," by Jon Robin Baitz, directed by Kay Holley.
In this finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for drama, Brooke Wyeth returns home to Palm Springs, Calif., after a six-year absence to celebrate Christmas with her parents, her brother and her aunt. Brooke announces that she is about to publish a memoir dredging up a pivotal and tragic event in the family's history — a wound they don't want reopened.