A world-premiere musical, the return of Holmes and the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Disgraced” are all part of Seattle Rep director Braden Abraham’s 2015-16 lineup.
Seattle Repertory Theatre’s 2015-16 season, the first selected entirely by new artistic director Braden Abraham, will feature a new musical, local premieres of prizewinning contemporary dramas, and the world premiere of a new Sherlock Holmes mystery.
Abraham succeeded the late Rep artistic director Jerry Manning in 2014. Formerly the company’s associate artistic director, he said in a recent interview that under his watch he wants the Rep to be “a big tent theater where we can have a new play talking to a classical play talking to a new musical. That artistic cross-pollination has been part of the Rep’s identity for 52 years.”
One of the more ambitious items in the lineup is the world premiere musical “Come from Away,” a coproduction with La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego. La Jolla artistic director Christopher Ashley will stage this show, written and composed by Irene Sankoff and David Hein, which is based on true events related to the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center.
“It’s about what happened when dozens of jetliners were redirected to land in Gander, Newfoundland, and how this little Canadian town played host to people from all over the world,” explained Abraham. “It’s based on interviews and other research, and has a folk-rock score.”
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Sporting a 12-member cast, “Come from Away” will be the first big musical since “Pullman Porter Blues” debuted in 2012. It will run on the Bagley Wright mainstage, Nov. 13-Dec. 13, 2015.
The Rep will also unveil “Sherlock Holmes and the American Problem,” an original mystery by R. Hamilton Wright that imagines “a grand conspiracy under the streets of London,” during the Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee.
The Rep had great success with an earlier Holmes play, “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” co-authored by actor-playwrights Wright and David Pichette. Allison Narver, who staged “Baskervilles” in 2013, will also direct Wright’s new script, which was commissioned by the Rep. It’s set for the Bagley Wright, April 22-May 22, 2016.
The season also includes the Northwest debut of “Luna Gale,” a thoughtful drama by Rebecca Gilman which this month won the prestigious Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award. It focuses on a burned-out social worker bending bureaucratic rules to resolve a custody battle between a baby’s recovering drug-addict parents, and the child’s fundamentalist Christian grandmother. (Bagley Wright, March 4-27, 2016)
Ayad Ahktar’s “Disgraced,” a hard-hitting Broadway drama and Pulitzer Prize recipient, will have its Seattle debut at the Bagley Wright also. It considers a Muslim American corporate executive torn by conflicting loyalties. “It’s about how you define yourself inside and outside of your inherited culture,” Abraham observed. (Jan. 8-31, 2016)
Co-produced by the Rep and Berkeley Repertory Theatre, the production will revive director Kimberly Senior’s Broadway staging. It plays in Berkeley, then Seattle and a tour is being planned. (Jan. 8-31, 2016)
The Bagley Wright will also host a staging of Arthur Miller’s searing work “A View From the Bridge” (Sept. 25-Oct. 18, 2015). It will be directed by Abraham, who finds the morally charged tragedy of an illegal Italian immigrant and his New York host as relevant as when Miller wrote it more than 60 years ago.
“When the current immigration debate was heating up last spring the play popped into my mind,” said Abraham. “It’s a bold, muscular story, and a great script for Seattle actors.”
Coming to the smaller Leo K. Theatre are three local premieres.
“Buyer & Cellar” by Jonathan Tolins is a one-actor comedy about a striving young actor, whose day job is working for Barbra Streisand. David Bennett directs. (Oct. 23-Nov. 22, 2015)
“Constellations,” a current Broadway hit by British writer Nick Payne, uses cosmological metaphors to imagine different ways a romantic relationship might play out. Abraham will mount the piece. (Jan. 22-Feb. 21, 2016)
The final Leo K. play of the season: former Seattle resident Kimber Lee’s “Brownsville song (b-side for tray).” It offers a lyrical rumination on the life and sudden death of a black Brooklyn teenager, and his extended family’s attempts to understand and cope with the loss. Juliette Carrillo directs. (Mar. 25-April 24, 2016)
Seattle Rep subscriptions are available now, packages range from $90-$525. Orders and more information are at seattlerep.org or 206-443-2222.
This article was update April 20. Dates were added for “Luna Gale,” “The View From the Bridge” and ““Brownsville song (b-side for tray).”