In Spanish, you shout “Salud!”, in Polish “Na zdrowie!”, in Hungarian “Egészségedre!”– all rousing toasts meaning, roughly, “Here’s to your health!” The Chinese, I’m told, prefer the more direct “Gan bei!” (meaning “Dry the cup!”); in like manner the plainspoken Inuits raise a glass and holler “Imeqatigiitta!” (meaning “Let us drink together!”). Thirsty Georgians toast to victory–”Gaumardshos!” But elsewhere in the world, the most common toast is simply “To life!”
Brazilians shout “Viva!”, Serbs wish each other “Ziveli!”, and Irishmen who relish their gift of gab proclaim in Gaelic “Fad saol agat, gob fliuch, agus bás in Eirinn!” (translated “Long life to you, a wet mouth and death in Ireland!”).
It is this toast that Tevye shares with Lazar Wolf as he agrees to the match with his daughter Tzeitel in Fiddler on the Roof. “Here’s to our prosperity,” he says, “our good health and happiness. And most important, to life!”
It is this toast I offer in announcing Virginia Repertory Theatre’s 2013-14 Season — a celebration of life in all its joy, fullness and complexity. We are very excited, and I hope you’ll join us for each production.
The five shows in our 2013/14 Signature Season will be performed in our historic November Theatre. We will open in September with the American classic, To Kill a Mockingbird, directed by Rusty Wilson and starring Adrian Rieder. For the holidays, we shift from Harper Lee’s 1930s Alabama to Tsarist Russia in 1905, as brought to life in the stories of Sholem Aleichem and adapted into the triumphant Broadway musical, Fiddler on the Roof, directed for us by Richard Parison.
In February, I will direct a 350th Anniversary production of Tartuffe, Molière’s highly entertaining masterpiece that was censored by King Louis XIV after its 1664 premiere, probably on orders from the archbishop of Paris. Ryan Bechard will play the title role, a decidedly unholy man who feigns pastoral piety for financial gain. Chase Kniffen will direct our spring production of Jon Robin Baitz brilliant new family drama, Other Desert Cities, shortlisted for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize. The Signature Season will end with Chase’s staging of the soul-stirring, hand-clapping rouser, The Color Purple.
The four shows in our 2013/14 Barksdale Season at Hanover Tavern are pure entertainment. Scott Wichmann will open the season portraying the legendary comedian George Burns in the hilarious, heartwarming bio-play, Say Goodnight Gracie. Our World Premiere musical, A Lug Nuts Christmas, will fill the Tavern with the classic sounds of 60s doo wop in December. Then just try not to laugh yourself senseless as we revive the Off Broadway musical comedy smash, Olympus on My Mind in the winter and spring of 2014. Finally, in the summer, we’ll debut the World Premiere of Bo Wilson’s heartfelt and hilarious The Charitable Sisterhood of the Second Trinity Victory Church.
The three shows in our 2013/14 Theatre Gym Season are all inspiring, contemporary and bold, in keeping with the mission of Cadence Theatre, producer of the Theatre Gym Season in partnership with Virginia Rep. First up is Good People by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Lindsay-Abaire, directed by Anna Johnson, artistic director of Cadence. Clybourne Park, by Bruce Norris, will mark the return of director Keri Wormald to our intimate Theatre Gym, after her hugely successful production of August: Osage County. Detroit, by Lisa D’Amour, premiered at Chicago’s acclaimed Steppenwolf Theatre in 2010 and will finish up the Theatre Gym season in the spring of ’14. Detroit was shortlisted for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize, which was won by Clybourne Park.
For children and their families, we proudly present our Children’s Theatre of Virginia season at Willow Lawn. The first show, in October, should not be missed by anyone of any age who cares about theatre.
Internationally acclaimed puppet master Joseph Cashore has been designing and performing his remarkable marionettes for over 30 years. One of the world’s foremost puppeteers, he has been recognized by the Henson Foundation and is a recipient of the UNIMA Citation of Excellence–the highest honor a US puppeteer can receive. In 2010 he was featured on the cover in the Spring/Summer issue of Puppetry International. In October he will bring his amazing work to our intimate Willow Lawn facilities, in two different productions, one for children and one for adults. Please view his work at http://cashoremarionettes.com/promos.php, and be enthralled.
Three more shows in our five-show family season are ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas (book, music and lyrics by yours truly), Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad (book and lyrics by Douglas Jones, music by Ron Barnett), and Go, Dog. Go! (adapted from the book by P. D. Eastman by Allison Gregory and Steven Dietz). Dietz was the playwright of last season’s Becky’s New Car at Hanover Tavern.
One of the most blockbusting titles on any of our seasons is the regional premiere of Shrek the Musical which we expect to ignite the box office phone lines next spring. This fantastical Broadway tuner is a hip, hilarious adaptation of the film, with book and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire, who is also the playwright of Good People which we will be producing in our Theatre Gym.
When Tevye sings “To Life!” in Fiddler, he adds, “Life has a way of confusing us, blessing and bruising us.” If you add “amusing us” to the mix, I think you have an apt descriptor for our 2013/14 season. Filled with vitality, diversity and discovery, the season is a celebration of the good reasons we all have for loving the theatre.
So, To Life! I hope you’ll join us by subscribing soon.
Season Announcement from our eNewsletter