TheatreLAB announces fourth season, Women at War

By | May 1, 2016

TheatreLAB, Richmond’s home for unexpected and evocative performance, is thrilled to announce their 2016-2017 Season: Women at War. It is a season that celebrates stories of women at war with themselves and the world around them. A team of all women directors will lead the four MainStage shows, as well as TheatreLAB’s secondary season, The Cellar Series, which will be a year-long festival of one-woman shows.

Mother Courage and Her Children – by Bertolt Brecht – Hailed as one of the 20th century’s greatest dramatic masterpieces, Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage and Her Children follows one woman’s survival during the wicked, tumultuous times of war. In this new translation, we find Mother Courage in America, right here today. The plot follows the resilient Mother Courage who survives by running a commissary business that profits from all sides of war. As the war claims all of her children in turn, the play poignantly demonstrates that no one can profit from the war without also being subject to its terrible cost. Directed by Keri Wormald and featuring Boomie Pedersen as Mother Courage. October 28 – November 12, 2016.

Grand Concourse – by Heidi Schreck – Having dedicated her life to religious service, Shelley runs a Bronx soup kitchen with unsentimental efficiency, but lately her heart’s not quite in it. Her brisk nature masks an unsettling fear that her efforts are meaningless. When Emma – an idealistic but confused college dropout – arrives to volunteer, her reckless mix of generosity and self-involvement pushes Shelley to the breaking point. With keen humor and startling compassion, Heidi Schreck’s play navigates the mystery of faith, the limits of forgiveness, and the pursuit of something resembling joy. Directed by Chelsea Burke and featuring Dawn A. Westbrook as Shelley. February 17 – March 4, 2017 as part of the Acts of Faith Festival.

Dry Land – by Ruby Rae Spiegel – Ester is a swimmer trying to stay afloat. Amy is curled up on the locker room floor. Dry Land is a play about abortion, female friendship, resiliency, and what happens in one high school locker room after everybody’s left. 21-year-old playwright Ruby Rae Spiegel writes a brazen, no-holds-barred play about that time in your life when no one else can possibly understand what you’re going through. Dry Land, a New York Times critics’ pick, is a brave portrayal of the contemporary American teenager. Directed by Dr. Tawnya Pettiford-Wates. April 21 – May 6, 2017.

Heathers: The Musical – Book, Music & Lyrics by Kevin Murphy & Laurence O’Keefe – A Co-production with Firehouse Theatre – “What’s Your Damage?” Heathers: The Musical is a hilarious, heartfelt, and homicidal new show based on the greatest teen comedy of all time. With its moving love story, laugh-out-loud comedy, and unflinching look at the joys and anguish of high school, Heathers: The Musical is a cult-classic musical waiting to happen. Are you in, or are you out? Directed by Debra Clinton. July 14 – August 19, 2017 at Firehouse Theatre (1609 West Broad Street).

From Artistic Director, Deejay Gray: “All my life, I’ve had very strong and important bonds with powerful and passionate women. My closest friends have always been women, my immediate family members are almost all women, and now I run a theatre company with four women. I would not be the man I am today if it weren’t for these amazing women. They are all around me and I owe them everything.

Season selection is my favorite part about being an Artistic Director of a theatre company because it’s a fabulous, life-sized puzzle that I get to solve. Putting the right play at the right time with the right people attached is the highlight of my year. So, when I was forecasting TheatreLAB’s fourth full season of shows, I wondered what this body of work, this year of theatre, should showcase… and then I looked around.”

Additionally, TheatreLAB has announced that Associate Artistic Director, McLean Jesse, will be stepping down at the end of the 2015-16 season to pursue a graduate degree in Washington, DC. On July 24th, TheatreLAB will host a staged reading of The Heidi Chronicles by Wendy Wasserstein, directed by James Ricks and featuring an all-star cast of Richmond actors, with Jesse portraying Heidi. The titles, dates, and directors for The Cellar Series, as well as Jesse’s replacement, will be announced at this event.

Season subscriptions for the MainStage Season (including the four shows above) range from $50-90 and are now available at TheatreLABrva.org. Season subscribers receive discounts to Cellar Series productions as well as other TheatreLAB special events. Unless otherwise noted, all productions will take place at TheatreLAB’s venue, The Basement. All press requests should be directed to TheatreLAB’s Managing Director, Annie Colpitts, at colpitts.annie@gmail.com. TheatreLAB is Richmond’s home for unexpected and evocative performance. The Basement is located at 300 East Broad Street in Richmond’s Arts District.

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