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New seasons announced for freeFall, American Stage

Bill DeYoung



At a reception celebrating freeFall Theatre Company’s 10th anniversary, founder and artistic director Eric Davis announced the plays that will make up Season 11 (called Ghost Light), beginning in September.

An emotional Davis, joined by the company’s executive director Cheryl Forchilli, spoke to about 130 patrons, supporters and guests at Saturday evening’s event, and screened a video with photos from all 60 produced plays thus far produced.

The announcement followed American Stage’s reveal, in April, of its own fall season.

The 2019-2020 season for freeFall is:

The Turn of the Screw (Sept. 28-Oct. 27): An adaptation (by Jeffrey Harcher) of the taut psychological thriller by Henry James. It is, Davis said, “the ghost story of ghost stories.”

The Lion In Winter (Nov. 23-Dec. 22): Davis announced this production of James Goldman’s historical drama about Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine as freeFall’s “holiday” production. “And you thought your family bickered at the holidays,” he said.

Marie and Rosetta (Jan. 18-Feb. 16): Musical play by George Brant about gospel music legend Sister Rosetta Tharpe and her young protégé. Part of a reciprocal production arrangement with the Hippodrome State Theatre in Gainesville, which will take the show following its local run.

Lone Star Spirits (Feb. 29-March 29): Josh Tobiessen’s smart Texas-centered comedy comes to freeFall after an initial, originating run at the Hippodrome.

Dear World (April 25-May 24, 2020): First produced in 1969 (Angel Lansbury won a Tony for her leading role), the musical by Jerry Herman, Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee is a broad adaptation of Jean Giraudoux’s The Madwoman of Chaillot, as adapted by Maurice Valency.

Oz (June 27-July 26, 2020): Although Davis admitted (with a grin) that it hadn’t been written yet, he and longtime freeFall musical director Michael Raabe are basing this original musical on the beloved books of L. Frank Baum.

Across town, American Stage producing artistic director Stephanie Gularte has titled the venerable theater’s upcoming season An American Dreamscape:

Vietgone (Oct. 2-Nov. 3): Qui Nguyen’s autobiographical quasi-comedy about his parents, and how they met – and came together – after the fall of Saigon in 1975.

Silent Sky (Nov. 20-Dec. 22): Charting the bumpy arrival of women in physics, Lauren Gunderson’s inspiring drama is the true story of Henrietta Swan Leavitt, an astronomer who worked at the Harvard College Observatory as a “human computer” in the late 19th early 20h centuries.

Skeleton Crew (Jan. 22-Feb. 23): Dominique Morisseau, whose Pipeline was produced at American Stage earlier this year, returns with a drama about the blurring lines between blue collar and white collar employment in America.

The People Downstairs (March 11-April 5). A work by the theater’s Playwright-in-Residence Natalie Symon, it’s a romantic comedy set in a funeral home.

Admissions (May 27-June 28, 2020): Winner of the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Play. Joshua Harmon’s drama (co-produced with Sacramento’s Capital Stage) is a riveting drama about privilege and class set in an Ivy League boarding school.

Next to Normal (July 15-Aug. 16, 2020): The Bryan Yorkey/Tom Kitt rock stage musical that won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and three Tony Awards, about a dysfunctional suburban American family, whose matriarch suffers from severe bipolar disorder.

Season subscriptions are now on sale at freeFall and American Stage.


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