Theater season doesn’t really end in New Orleans. It merely takes a breather for summer programs, children’s offerings and auditions for the next round of shows.
When representatives from almost a dozen theaters gathered on Saturday at Rivertown Theater in Kenner to observe nearly 100 actors, it seemed a good time to discuss the purpose of those auditions: casting roles in dozens of upcoming plays that extend from 2014 to 2015.
“Cat On a Hot Tin Roof” director Beau Bratcher, who is also the managing director of the NOLA Project, is proud of the season offered by artistic director A.J. Allegra and his company.
“An original work, a classic and Shakespeare. It is essentially our mission,” said Bratcher.
After company member Mark Routhier directs “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” in the early fall, the company’s 10th season will feature the world premiere of Christian Durso’s “Shiner,” move to the New Orleans Museum of Art for “Twelfth Night,” slide into the ridiculous for a campy “Camille” by Charles Ludlam and finally return to the park next summer with Andrew Vaught’s “Robin Hood: Thief/Brigand.”
Southern Rep’s artistic director Aimee Hayes finds herself on the same page in regards to her latest collection of shows.
Southern Rep begins its 2014-15 season with celebrated author John Biguenet’s one-woman show “Broomstick” before moving on to native New Orleanian Lisa D’Amour’s Pulitzer Prize finalist “Detroit,” Tennessee Williams’ “Suddenly Last Summer,” and an original work entitled “Boudin: The New Orleans Music Project.”
“Two original works, a regional premiere by a critically acclaimed playwright who calls New Orleans her home, and honoring our ongoing commitment to Williams,” Hayes said. “It feels like a Southern Rep season.”
As always, the ever-popular Ricky Graham will find himself busy. Along with directing “One Man Two Guvnors” at Rivertown and collaborating with Sean Patterson on an original piece for Victoria Reed at the World War II Museum, Graham will be starring in “Camille” under the direction of Jeff Robeson (aka Varla Jean Merman) before partnering with Robeson on a still-undetermined New Year’s entertainment at Mid-City Theatre.
And Le Petit Theatre begins the second year of its recovery project with a real coup at the center of its season.
The widely renowned “Peter and the Starcatcher” has proven a difficult property for many theaters around the country to secure, but The Little Theater has managed to obtain the magical retelling of J.M. Barrie’s beloved Peter Pan stories.
Directed by Bratcher, “Peter” is the second show in a season that includes Christopher Durang’s “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” and Stephen Sondheim’s “Merrily We Roll Along.”
Board member and production planner Leon Contavesprie — a driving force behind Le Petit’s return — sums it up: “Great writing and great storytelling… that’s the key to a successful season.”
“The LPT audiences deserve the best, and it’s our goal to give them just that… the best.”
Most performances don’t start until fall, but that doesn’t mean New Orleans will be without theater in the coming months.
Tulane University begins its theatrical season this summer, both musical and Shakespearean.
Offering the ever-popular “Complete Works of William Shakespeare” directed by Carl Walker, and a Luna Series that centers on the women of the Bard, the festival will focus its energies on the ubiquitous and always reliable “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
Summer Lyric, which prides itself on its full orchestra, will be giving patrons three ambitious crowd-pleasers in “Les Miserables,” “A Chorus Line” and “Cabaret” before summer gives way to the cooler climes.