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NY Times, Arts & Leisure features Arena Stage D.C. & plans for new play development

(Washington, D.C.) Arena Stage (Artistic Director Molly Smith) recently began their 60th season filled with award-winning artists and projects to celebrate the grand opening of Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater. Arena Stage begins the 2010/2011 season as a national center for production, presentation, development and study of American theater.

NEW YORK TIMES, Arts & Leisure

January 16, 2011

Leaving the Light On for Playwrights

By Patrick Healy


WHEN Molly Smith began envisioning a third theater space here for Arena Stage, as part of the recent $135 million transformation that she led as artistic director, she grappled with how to distill her ideas into a clear form. Then one day she found herself staring at her hands. “I cupped them together, and there it was, that was our theater,” Ms. Smith recalled. “When you look inside two cupped hands, you have a cradle. That’s what I wanted: a small, enveloping cradle where we could nurture and stage newly birthed American plays.”

Cradle is not a word typically associated with playwriting. Many writers do not look to theaters for care and feeding, let alone a security blanket. What you often hear about instead is crummy pay, no health insurance, not enough time for rehearsals, and enormous frustrations in persuading major regional houses like Arena Stage to mount the second or third production of a new play, given how many artistic directors prize world premieres. And those artistic directors are no pollyannas. Staying afloat is tough business, they say, with theaters like Intiman in Seattle, the Pasadena Playhouse and others that have endured financial struggles in this era of diminished donations. Producing largely unknown plays is usually a riskier bet at the box office than a revival of a classic. (Paging Willy Loman!)

So it is an act of some theatrical audacity, really, that Arena Stage has christened its new 200-seat space as the Arlene and Robert Kogod Cradle (named for benefactors who donated $7.5 million) and endowed it with the mission “of developing new American plays and cradling artistic risk.” But the Cradle is itself part of an audacious act: Arena Stage’s effort to brand itself as a national center for producing, presenting, developing and studying American theater. At a time of great competition for grant and foundation money among nonprofit theaters Arena is seeking to stand out among the 75 or so major regional theaters by building on its 60-year-old roots in Washington, stressing the word “American” in its messages to audience members and convening events to focus on the craft of playwriting and careers of playwrights.

To read the rest of the story, click the link: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/16/theater/16arena.html?_r=1&ref=arts

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Arena Stage in D.C. announces agenda for National Convening at Mead Center on Jan 26-29, 2011







JANUARY 26-29, 2011


(Washington, D.C.) Now in its second year, the American Voices New Play Institute at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater will hold a four-day convening bringing together more than 100 theater practitioners from across the country to further the dialogue around new play development. The convening, entitled From Scarcity to Abundance: Capturing the Moment for the New Work Sector, will take place in the Mead Center (1101 6th St., SW) January 26 – 29, 2011 and will focus on the following: identifying the rich and vital activity that already exists in the new play sector, exploring the gaps and challenges facing the field and strategizing the means of continued and closer collaboration to advance the new work infrastructure moving forward. This convening will build upon the outcomes and initiatives that grew out of last year’s convenings: Defining Diversity, Black Playwrights: the Stories We Tell and Devised Work.

This convening is made possible through the generous support of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Continue reading

Arena Stage in D.C. hosts New Play Festival, January 19-30







*** Festival includes full-length presentations and readings of the seven inaugural NEA-NPDP selections

as well as scenes from the documentary film of the program ***

(Washington, D.C.) The discourse surrounding new play development continues within the American Voices New Play Institute at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater, as the company presents the #NewPlay Festival. The festival, which is a culmination of the National Endowment for the Arts New Play Development Program (NEA-NPDP), will feature full-length performances and readings of six plays at the Mead Center (1101 6th St., SW), concurrently with one play in full-production at The Studio Theatre (1501 14th St., NW). The Festival also includes a presentation featuring scenes from Robert Levi’s forthcoming documentary that follows the development of selected projects, which will be followed by a panel of featured artists speaking about their process. The #NewPlay Festival runs at the Mead Center January 19-30, 2011. Festival casting and performance schedule below. Continue reading

Arena Stage Release: Arena Stage Announces Cast & Creative team for The Arabian Nights





*** The Arabian Nights is restaged in-the-round for the first time at Arena Stage, in association with Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Kansas City Repertory Theatre and Lookingglass Theatre Company ***

(Washington, D.C.) Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater is delighted to present The Arabian Nights, written and directed by Tony Award winner Mary Zimmerman (Metamorphoses). The production, presented in association with Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Kansas City Repertory Theatre and Lookingglass Theatre Company, has been recognized as “Zimmerman’s most theatrically complete and perfect creation” (Chicago Tribune). The Arabian Nights explores the humanity that people across all cultures share, as told through a whimsical, imaginative and compelling story. The Arabian Nights runs January 14-February 20, 2011 in the Fichandler Stage.

“Mary Zimmerman is a seminal theater artist whose gift is the visual,” says Arena Stage Artistic Director Molly Smith. “When I saw this production of The Arabian Nights at Lookingglass Theatre in Chicago I knew the production would be exhilarating in the Fichandler at Arena Stage. This is a magical story told by a magical director and her company.”

The story is set in ancient Baghdad, when a courageous young girl postpones her execution by weaving magical tales for the troubled king. Genies and jesters, lovers and thieves spring to life from Scheherezade’s imagination—allowing her to win the king’s heart even as she secures her freedom. Zimmerman celebrates the wonder of storytelling and the redemptive power of love in this “exhilarating, imaginative theatrical escape” (Variety) that Chicago magazine calls a “feast for the eyes and ears.”

“For me, the extraordinary, ever-changing collection of stories originally called The Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night is a testament both to our imaginative abilities as storytellers and the absolutely vital, regenerative power of stories—how stories cultivate empathy, how they civilize us,” says Zimmerman. “It is a profound, obscene, poetic, comic never-ending text. I’ve been with it for 20 years and I’m particularly happy, for the first time, to do it in the round; I think that arrangement is particularly well-suited to what the show is, what it is about.” Continue reading

A Year In Review: A look back at theatre 2010


Boneau/Bryan-Brown takes this opportunity to celebrate the New Year by looking back at the first half of the 2010-2011 Season, and celebrating some long-running productions.



THE 39 STEPS was a sponsor of the 2010 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer New York and has been donating $5 from every ticket sold through this partnership to the Avon Foundation Breast Cancer Crusade to support breast cancer research and awareness efforts.


THE 39 STEPS became the first successful Broadway play to make the leap to Off-Broadway after its Rialto run, re-opening at New World Stages on April 15, 2010.


THE 39 STEPS reached 1000 performances in New York City on September 20, 2010.  



ARENA STAGE (Molly Smith, Artistic Director) began the 60th season filled with award –winning artists and projects to celebrate the grand opening of Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theatre.  The 2010/11 inaugural season marked Arena Stage becoming a national center for production, presentation, development and study of American Theatre.


Molly Smith’s critically acclaimed production of RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN’S OKLAHOMA! opened in the company’s renovated, iconic Fichandler Stage.


The critically praised world premiere of Marcus Gardley’s play EVERY TONGUE CONFESS, directed by Kenny Leon with a cast including Phylicia Rashad opened in the brand new 200-seat Arlene and Robert Kogod Cradle.



ATLANTIC THEATER COMPANY broke ground this summer on a multi-million dollar renovation of its main stage home at the Linda Gross Theater, aiming for completion in Fall 2011. 


ATLANTIC THEATER COMPANY kicked off its 25th Anniversary season with the world premiere production of Atlantic alum Lucy Thurber’s BOTTOM OF THE WORLD at Stage 2, the company’s state-of-the-art black box theatre.


ATLANTIC THEATER COMPANY’S much-lauded double-bill THE COLLECTION & A KIND OF ALASKA: TWO PLAYS BY HAROLD PINTER, directed by founding Atlantic Company member Karen Kohlhaas, opened to rave reviews and extended its limited engagement.



BC/EFA’s 20th annual Broadway Bares, BROADWAY BARES XX: “STRIP-OPOLY” made history by raising $1,015,985.


BC/EFA Executive Director Tom Viola received a 2010 Tony honor.



THE DIVINE SISTER’s sold out its developmental run at Theater for the New City in a production starring playwright Charles Busch, Alison Fraser, Alison Fraser, Amy Rutberg, Jennifer Van Dyck, Jonathan Walker, and Julie Halston with direction by Carl Andress.


THE DIVINE SISTER opened its Off-Broadway run at the SoHo Playhouse to unanimous rave reviews from critics.


THE DIVINE SISTER announced a new block of tickets on sale, extending the show through to Sunday, February 27.



THE FLYING KARAMAZOV BROTHERS returned to New York’s Minetta Lane Theatre this July and received rave reviews.   Between the members of the eclectic group, they have played piano with Bo Diddley, sung with The Grateful Dead, and received an offer to teach juggling in space from astronaut Cady Coleman; they now await word from NASA.



GUTHRIE THEATER director Joe Dowling has extended his contract with the theatre for an additional five years.


THE GUTHRIE celebrated its 50th Shakespeare production with a staging of Macbeth


Prior to Broadway, the acclaimed The Scottsboro Boys proved a summer hit at the theatre, playing to nightly standing ovations


THE GUTHRIE/BERKELEY REP co-production of Tiny Kushner proved a critical hit at London’s Tricycle Theatre



JERSEY BOYS, the Tony, Olivier and Grammy Award-winning Best Musical, celebrated its 5th triumphant anniversary on Broadway November 6.


The Broadway company of JERSEY BOYS, raised $43,521 to benefit New York Public Schools through the VH1 Save The Music Foundation.  


JERSEY BOYS became the longest running show in the history of Broadway’s August Wilson Theatre, the theatre owned by Jujamcyn Theatres that opened over 85 years ago on April 13, 1925 as the Guild Theatre, on Wednesday, October 13 at 8:00 p.m. after 2037 performances.



The new Broadway production of LA CAGE AUX FOLLES opened on April 18 to rave reviews praising the performances of stars Kelsey Grammer and Douglas Hodge and director Terry Johnson’s heartwarming and fresh take on the classic musical.


LA CAGE AUX FOLLES made Tony Awards history this year as the first show to ever win the Tony Award three times for best production.   The classic musical comedy by Jerry Herman and Harvey Fierstein originally won six Tony Awards in 1984, including Best Musical.  A Broadway revival won two 2005 Tony Awards including the Best Revival of a Musical prize.  This year, LA CAGE won the 2010 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical, as well as Tony Awards for Best Actor in a Musical (Douglas Hodge) and Best Director of a Musical (Terry Johnson). 


LA CAGE AUX FOLLES will welcome two new stars in February 2011. Four-time Tony Award-winner Harvey Fierstein is returning to Broadway, starring as Albin opposite six-time Emmy Award nominee Jeffrey Tambor as Georges.  Fierstein won the 1984 Tony Award for writing LA CAGE, but this will be his first time appearing in the show.  Tambor is making his Broadway musical debut. The new stars begin performances Tuesday, February 15 at the Longacre Theatre.



The first Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC continues at the Walter Kerr Theatre for a limited time only – now through January 9, 2011.


Catherine Zeta-Jones, who thrilled audiences as Desirée Armfeldt, won 2010 Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Actress in a Musical for her Broadway debut. She and co-star Angela Lansbury played their final performance on Sunday, June 20, 2010.


On July 13, 2010, performances resumed with Bernadette Peters as Desirée Armfeldt and Elaine Stritch as Madame Armfeldt. When the show re-opened in August, Charles Isherwood of the New York Times hailed it as “the best new show in town” and “an indelible moment in the history of musical theater.”



LOMBARDI marks The National Football League’s first foray onto Broadway, as special producing partner along with co-producers Tony Ponturo and Fran Kirmser.


LOMBARDI hosts an installation of Vince Lombardi and Green Bay Packers memorabilia in the lobby of the Circle in the Square Theatre.  Items include signed footballs from the 1965 World Championship and Super Bowl I, jerseys worn by Jim Taylor, Ray Nitschke and Bart Starr, and a bench from the Ice Bowl, Lombardi’s last game at Lambeau Field.  The Vince Lombardi Super Bowl trophy has also made several appearances in the lobby.


The Broadway Opening Night celebration of LOMBARDI on October 21, 2010 attracted a starry crowd of sports legends, including NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Green Bay Packers CEO Mark Murphy, sportscaster Bob Costas, New York Giants Co-Owners John Mara and Jonathan Tisch, Minnesota Vikings Owner Zigi Wylf, former New York Yankee Lee Mazzilli, former New York Giants Stephen Baker and Erich Block, and former Green Bay Packers Paul Hornung, Dave Robinson, Jim Taylor, Jerry Kramer and Chuck Mercein.



MAMMA MIA! celebrated its ninth birthday and officially kicked off a year-long celebration leading up to its 10th Broadway Anniversary on October 18, 2011 by unveiling brand new disco balls that now spin underneath the Winter Garden Theatre marquee.


MAMMA MIA! welcomed new stars Lisa Brescia as “Donna Sheridan,” Liana Hunt as “Sophie Sheridan,”  Corey Greenan as “Sky,” and Clarke Thorell as “Harry Bright” for their first performance on October 22, 2010.


MAMMA MIA! stage and film producer Judy Craymer was honored with The Breast Cancer Research Foundation’s® (BCRF)  2010 Humanitarian Award on October 27, 2010 in New York City for her longstanding commitment to raising breast cancer awareness around the world and raising funds for research.


Manhattan Theatre Club’s THE PITMEN PAINTERS

The renowned cast from the National Production of THE PITMEN PAINTERS arrives in New York for the American premiere at MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.


Tony Winner Lee Hall’s THE PITMEN PAINTERS opened on September 30th to glowing reviews from critics.


Manhattan Theatre Club’s SPIRIT CONTROL

The world premiere of Beau Willimon’s SPIRIT CONTROL opened at MTC at New York City Center on October 26, 2010.


To prepare for the role of air traffic controller Adam Wyatt, star Jeremy Sisto travelled to Spirit of St. Louis Airport with director Henry Wishcamper and playwright Beau Willimon.



MATTHEW BOURNE’S SWAN LAKE, the modern re-interpretation of the legendary ballet that won three 1999 Tony Awards, returned to New York this Fall for a strictly limited run at New York City Center.

Upon arrival in New York, a flock of Matthew Bourne’s bare-chested, virile male Swans assembled in formation in the middle of Times Square to pronounce the production’s return to the city.

Life imitated art at the Opening Night of MATTHEW BOURNE’S SWAN LAKE, when the original stars of Broadway’s Billy Elliot took in the opening night performance at New York City Center. At the end of the film Billy Elliot, the adult Billy is seen waiting in the wings of a production of Bourne’s modern re-interpretation of the classic ballet, preparing to make his entrance and fulfill his childhood dream of becoming a professional dancer. Two of the three Tony-winning Billys, Trent Kowalik and Kiril Kulish (they shared the award with David Alvarez), got a chance see the show and meet Bourne and the company.



MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET won a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical (Levi Kreis) and received a Tony nomination for Best Musical and Best Book of a Musical (Colin Escott & Floyd Mutrux).


On September 10th, Rock & Roll icon Jerry Lee Lewis, the last surviving member of the real ‘Million Dollar Quartet’, joined the cast of the Broadway musical on stage for an encore performance.


A UK production of MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET will open in the West End on February 28th, 2011. A North American tour will also launch in 2011.



This spring, the NAKED ANGELS production of Artistic Director Geoffrey Nauffts’ new American play Next Fall transferred to Broadway. The play was nominated for Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Drama League Awards for Best New Play, and Geoffrey Nauffts received the 2010 Outer Critics Circle’s John Gassner Award for his writing achievement.


In May, NAKED ANGELS presented the American premiere of Chloe Moss’ heart-wrenching play This Wide Night starring Edie Falco and Alison Pill giving performances Ben Brantley of The New York Times described as “two actresses at the top of their game.” The production played a sold-out, extended run and broke every box office record previously held by a NAKED ANGELS production.


This Fall NAKED ANGELS announced a full 2011 season celebrating its 25th Anniversary as one of the most innovative theatre companies in New York. The 25th Anniversary season will include an extravagant 25th Anniversary Gala, the return of NAKED ANGELS’ signature Issues Project and two world premieres of new plays by Bekah Brunstetter and Zayd Dohrn.



THE NATIONAL THEATRE announced an ambitious line up for the second season of National Theatre Live broadcasts with titles including: Hamlet, Frankenstein, Fela!, King Lear, The Cherry Orchard and A Disappearing Number.


On September 23, NATIONAL THEATRE LIVE kicked off its second season with a special encore broadcast of Phedre starring Helen Mirren. 



This Fall, PRISCILLA made its North American premiere in Toronto at the Princess of Whales Theatre, starring Tony Sheldon, Will Swenson, and Nick Adams in a production hailed by Richard Ouzounian of The Toronto Star as a “grand, glorious and gorgeous piece of musical theatre that will fill the heart of anyone who has ever loved — or wanted to be loved.”


While wowing audiences in Toronto, Broadway-bound PRISCILLA found her Palace and her Queen in New York. “The Divine Miss M” Bette Midler joined the production as producer, saying “A new star is on Broadway and her name is PRISCILLA!! So much fun, it’s practically illegal!!  In fact, it IS illegal in four states!!” One place it’s not illegal is Broadway’s glorious Palace Theatre, where PRISCILLA will find its New York home this Winter.


Roundabout Theatre Company’s BRIEF ENCOUNTER

BRIEF ENCOUNTER, the critically acclaimed production made it to Broadway after a journey that included Kneehigh, West End, Guthrie, St Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn.

BRIEF ENCOUNTER opened to high acclaim with The New York Times’ Ben Brantley raving NY Times “By the show’s end I felt enlivened, enlightened and seriously moved.”


The cast of BRIEF ENCOUNTER will spend their 2nd Christmas in New York this year since the acclaimed production was extended 4-weeks at Roundabout Theatre Company.


Roundabout Theatre Company’s MRS. WARREN’S PROFESSION 

This fall Broadway was treated to the return of stage favorite Cherry Jones playing the title role in MRS. WARREN’S PROFESSION.


MRS. WARREN’S PROFESSION marked the first time Doug Hughes & his leading lady Cherry Jones teamed up since they both won Tony Awards for Doubt.


While Golden Globe winner Sally Hawkins was making her Broadway debut this fall, she was also premiering THREE acclaimed feature films – Made in Dagenham, Submarine & Never Let Me Go.


Roundabout Theatre Company’s TIGERS BE STILL 

TIGERS BE STILL was a sold out hit at Roundabout Underground.


The celebrated Director of TIGERS BE STILL, Sam Gold, joined Roundabout Theatre Company as an Associate Artists in November.


Playwright Kimberly Rosenstock finished her Master’s degree at Yale just a few weeks before her hit play TIGERS BE STILL started rehearsals for the fall.


Roundabout Theatre Company’s THE LANGUAGE ARCHIVE 

THE LANGUAGE ARCHIVE’s playwright Julia Cho won the 2010 Susan Blackburn Prize awarded to an outstanding new English-language play by a woman.


Roundabout Theatre Company celebrated their first commissioned play this fall with Julia Cho’s THE LANGUAGE ARCHIVE.


Director Mark Brokaw returned to Roundabout’s Laura Pels theatre after his production of Suddenly Last Summer.



On November 24, 2010 the Royal Shakespeare and Swan Theatres reopened on time and on budget following a three and a half year £112.8m transformation at the company home in Stratford-upon-Avon.


THE ROYAL SHAKESPEARE COMPANY announced their 44-member ensemble will perform in repertory in a full scale replica of its transformed Royal Shakespeare Theatre, specially created in the Park Avenue Armory’s soaring Wade Thompson Drill Hall as part of Lincoln Center Festival 2011.



Following sold-out runs at The Vineyard Theater downtown and The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS opened on Broadway on October 31, marking the final collaboration of musical theater legends John Kander and Fred Ebb.


The production also celebrated the 50th anniversary of veteran actor John Cullum’s Broadway debut.


THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS performed two special matinees for New York City high school students, courtesy of the Theatre Development Fund, a nonprofit group that runs Broadway’s TKTS discount booth and several arts education programs. Both performances were followed by talkbacks between the students and the company.



SIGNATURE THEATRE COMPANY’S 20th season is dedicated to Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, Tony Kushner who was honored at their Gala in November.


ANGELS IN AMERICA which kicked off SIGNATURE THEATRE COMPANY’S season is the first New York revival since the original Broadway run.

ANGELS IN AMERICA has become a sold out run at the Peter Norton Space and has been extended three times through March 27, 2010.



In March 2010, STOMP appeared on The Emeril Lagasse Show in a segment in which they performed with everything – AND the kitchen sink.  Four of them in fact.

STOMP made an appearance at a Knicks halftime show at Madison Square Garden in April 2010.

A proud member of the New York community and a fixture on the New York theatrescape, STOMP performed this June at the Central Park Zoo for an event celebrating New York’s LGBT community and made a video for the campaign to get LeBron James to New York.


After a successful run at Manhattan Theatre Club’s Samuel J. Friedman theatre which earned the show a 2010 Tony nomination for Best Play, TIME STANDS STILL re-opened at the Cort Theatre on October 7, 2010 starring Laura Linney, Brian d’Arcy James, Eric Bogosian and Christina Ricci.

Laura Linney received a 2010 Tony Award nomination for her role as Sarah Goodwin, a photographer with a passion for documenting the realities of war.


TIME STANDS STILL hosted a series of informational talkbacks that included notable guests Bob & Lee Woodruff and panels of real journalists and photographers from such publications as The Associated Press, Getty Images, WNYC Radio and More Magazine

D.C.’s Arena Stage releases first American Voices New Play Institute Monograph



*** Monograph features three Institute convening reports, interviews with the Institute Resident Playwrights and Project Residents and reports on major events since its inception in July 2009 ***

(Washington, D.C.) Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater announces that the American Voices New Play Institute has released its first monograph, which is available to the public for download online at www.arenastage.org/new-play-institute.

The monograph functions as an annual report, detailing the proceedings of the three convenings that the Institute held in its inaugural year as well as articles from new play sector leaders and the first class of New Play Producing Fellows. The monograph also features interviews with Arena Stage Artistic Director Molly Smith; the five Institute Resident Playwrights Amy Freed, Katori Hall, Lisa Kron, Charles Randolph-Wright and Karen Zacarías, as well as Institute Project Residents David Henry Hwang and Lynn Nottage. This monograph serves to document and disseminate major findings of the Institute throughout its first year.

The Institute is designed as a center for research and development of effective practices, programs and processes for new play development in the American Theater. The Institute operates under the leadership of Smith, driven by Dower. The Institute includes a suite of interrelated programs, all of which are built upon innovative models currently operating in the field that demonstrate potential for replication in other communities. Continue reading

D.C.’s Arena Stage launches national tour of Let Me Down Easy with Anna Deavere Smith






*** Let Me Down Easy kicks off its national tour in the nation’s capital; panel discussions featuring Sally Jenkins and Ruth Katz, among others, on select Sundays during run ***

(Washington, D.C.) Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater is pleased to announce that it will launch the national tour of Second Stage Theatre’s production Let Me Down Easy. This one-woman production, which is conceived, written and performed by Anna Deavere Smith (Nurse Jackie, Fires in the Mirror) and directed by Leonard Foglia (Broadway’s Thurgood) and was named one of Entertainment Weekly’s Top 10 of 2009, is “a continually engaging and engrossing collection of testimonials” (The New York Times) that explores the fragility of the body and the resilience of the spirit. Let Me Down Easy runs December 31, 2010-February 13, 2011 in the Kreeger Theater. Continue reading

Toronto Star raves about Arena Stage’s Oklahoma! & Molly Smith

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!, directed by Artistic Director Molly Smith, opened as the inaugural production at the Mead Center for American Theater ( Fichandler Theater, SW, Washington, DC).  The production received critical raves and is playing an extended limited engagement through December 30th, 2010.

This Oklahoma! merits the exclamation point

Toronto Star newspaper

November 19, 2010

By Richard Ouzounian Theatre Critic

WASHINGTON, D.C.—You’re doing fine, Oklahoma!

The splendiferous revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s first musical that has reopened the revitalized Arena Stage, the resident theatre of America’s capitol, is great news for Canadians on many levels.

In the first place, the amazing complex is the work of Vancouver architect Bing Thom. Secondly, the company’s general manager is a man who earned his spurs here at Canadian Stage, Edgar Dobie.

But perhaps most importantly, the show has been beautifully directed by Arena’s artistic director, Molly Smith, and she’s going to be undertaking the same duties for the Shaw Festival’s flagship production of My Fair Lady in the summer of 2011 to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

If Smith’s work on Oklahoma! is any indication of what she’s going to do with My Fair Lady, I would buy my tickets for the Shaw Festival right now. Continue reading

Arena Stage extends Oklahoma! Box office records are shattered!




*** First production at the Mead Center for American Theater continues to break several sales records,

including highest sales made in a day and a week ***

(Washington, D.C.) Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater announces that its inaugural production, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!, extends through December 30, 2010, adding six performances to its run in the iconic Fichandler Stage. Due to previous commitments by the actors and Arena Stage, Oklahoma! must close December 30. Oklahoma!, directed by Artistic Director Molly Smith, continues to shatter Arena Stage’s box office records not even two weeks after opening night. Continue reading

More praise for Oklahoma! at D.C.’s Arena Stage – raves from Bloomberg News!

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!, directed by Artistic Director Molly Smith, opened as the inaugural production at the Mead Center for American Theater ( Fichandler Theater, SW, Washington, DC).  The production received critical raves and is playing as a limited engagement through December 26th, 2010.

Bloomberg news

Frisky Pioneers Jazz D.C. ‘Oklahoma!’

By Jeremy Gerard

Rating: *** (= Excellent!)

The turbo-charged, romantic revival of “Oklahoma!” that opens in Washington this week may boast of a surrey with the fringe on top. But it has ants in its pants, too.

The Rodgers and Hammerstein perennial was a gutsy choice for artistic director Molly Smith. But the $135-million Mead Center for American Theater — that’s the fancy new name for D.C.’s venerable, now lavishly revitalized Arena Stage — deserved a big, celebratory show. Continue reading