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American Stage looks to the future with 2022-23 season

Bill DeYoung



"Footloose - The Musical" followed American Stage's fundraising gala Friday night at Demens Landing. Chaz D. Photography.

With the dust still hanging in the air from the abrupt departure of Artistic and Executive Director Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj earlier in the week, American Stage held its annual fundraising gala Friday night at Demens Landing Park, followed by the premiere of Footloose, the company’s first outdoor musical production since 2019.

American Stage’s 45th season was announced during the event, as well as an anniversary tie-in: Single tickets for all Mainstage performances will be just $45 for the 2022-23 season.

As the search for a new leader continues, Managing Director CJ Zygadlo will serve as interim executive director.

Maharaj, who held the position for six months, was scheduled to direct Amiri Baraka’s drama Dutchman on the Mainstage in June. According to the theater, his resignation was for personal reasons.

American Stage’s 2022-23 season:

Green Day’s American Idiot. Based on the 2004 concept album by the proto-punk band Green Day, with book by bandleader Billie Joe Armstrong, this Tony-winning “punk rock opera” is about three suburban young men, disillusioned and searching for something better out of life. Sept. 7-Oct. 2.

The Colored Museum. George C. Wolfe’s satire takes us on a journey through 11 “exhibits” that illuminate African American stereotypes old and new and return to the powerful soul and spirit of what it means to be African American citizens. 1988 NAACP Image Award winner. “George C. Wolfe says the unthinkable, says it with uncompromising wit and leaves the audience, as well as a sacred target, in ruins,” wrote the New York Times. Nov. 2-27.

Crimes of the Heart. Beth Henley’s 1981 Pulitzer Prize for Drama winner is the bittersweet story of three Mississippi sisters who come together in adulthood to hash over their lives both past and present. The Tony-winning Best Play was made into a hit 1986 film with Jessica Lange, Sissy Spacek and Diane Keaton. Jan. 11-Feb. 5, 2023.

Ragtime. Winner of the 1998 Tony Awards for Best Score, Book and Orchestrations, Ragtime – a combination of three turn-of-the-century American tales, based on the book by E.L. Doctorow – will be American Stage’s “park” show (at Demens Landing) for 2023. Book by Terrence McNally, music by Stephen Flaherty, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens. The original Broadway production won four Tonys in 1998. April 12-May 14, 2023.

Disgraced. By Ayad Akhtar. Winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize. American Stage has the regional premiere of this powerful drama about the persistence of Islamophobia in post-9/11 America, and the deep challenges faced by upwardly mobile Muslim-Americans. Variety calls it a “blistering social drama about the racial prejudices that secretly persist in progressive cultural circles.” May 31-June 25, 2023.

TBA. The final Mainstage show of the season (July 19 – Aug, 23, 2023) will be announced at a later date.





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