On Monday, Feb. 19, the Arkansas Repertory Theatre officially announced its 2018-19 season lineup of mainstage productions, kicking off its 43rd year in September.
"Variety is, once again, the watchword at The Rep," producing artistic director John Miller-Stephany said. "Our 2018-19 season will see the production of two very different musicals, a Shakespearean comedy, a classic American drama, the stage adaptation of a popular award-winning film and a hilarious contemporary play. I feel passionate about each and every one of these stories, and I am truly excited about the combination."
And he's not the only one. Here's the full season lineup, aka the dates now officially marked "busy" on our calendars.
"The Glass Menagerie"
Sept. 5 - 23
The Glass Menagerie is a delicate memory play about family life set in a Depression-era St. Louis tenement. While rebellious Tom Wingfield dreams of running away from his tedious existence, his stubborn mother Amanda elegizes romantically about her Southern debutante past. And in the midst of their disputes, Tom’s timid sister Laura escapes from the cruelty of the world by retracting into an imaginary realm populated by her collection of fragile glass animals.
"Tennessee Williams is one of my favorite playwrights. When 'The Glass Menagerie' opened on Broadway in 1945, it catapulted the unknown author to fame. This poignant story about breaking the ties that bind remains as powerful today as it was when it first premiered."
"Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner"
Oct. 24 - Nov. 11
When Joanna decides to surprise her parents with an impromptu introduction to her new fiancé John, she overlooks one small detail – he’s black. Despite their self-professed liberal political leanings, Mr. and Mrs. Drayton find themselves scrambling when their beliefs are put to the test.
"The genius of this play, and the 1967 Academy Award-winning screenplay by William Rose upon which it is freely based, is that it takes a serious and timely subject and thoughtfully examines it with great humor and heart."
Dec. 5 - 30
Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel about the strength and resilience of the March sisters, led by the stalwart Jo, vibrantly springs to life in this joyous Tony-nominated musical.
While the Civil War rages far away from their humble New England home, tomboy Jo refuses to conform to the demands made upon her by “polite society” and redefines what it means to be a woman.
As her mother and sisters patiently await the return of their father from the battlefield, Jo’s contagious optimism endures in the face of romantic confusion and personal tragedy.
"This charming musical, based on one of the most popular novels ever written for young people, is an affectionate celebration of family. Louisa May Alcott’s long-cherished story of the four spirited March sisters and their beloved mother is an ideal tale to share during the holidays."
"As You Like It"
Feb. 6 - 24
Orlando loves Rosalind. Rosalind loves Orlando. But Rosalind is disguised as Ganymede, who’s a boy! And Phebe loves Ganymede, who’s really Rosalind. Yet Silvius loves Phebe. And Rosalind’s best friend Celia loves Orlando’s brother Oliver. But Oliver hates Orlando. And Touchstone lusts after Audrey. Unfortunately, no one much cares for Jacques.
Join fervent lovers and hapless clowns in the idyllic Forest of Arden, where love poems are pinned to every tree, an exiled duke has created an unlikely utopia and the wordplay is as sharp as a sword.
"It has been quite a few years since The Rep produced one of Shakespeare’s comedies. The delightful cast of characters in this rollicking romantic comedy includes two of the Bard’s most fascinating figures: the jaded Jaques and the incomparable Rosalind, a remarkably modern heroine. I’m thrilled that our 2018-19 season will include The Rep’s first staging of the play that reminds us that 'all the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.'"
"Million Dollar Quartet"
March 27 - April 21
On Dec. 4, 1956, in the studios of Sun Records in Memphis, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis gathered to meet with legendary producer Sam Phillips. What happened next was pure rock and roll magic.
A casual introduction of Lewis to Perkins unexpectedly evolved into an epic jam session of country, gospel and rock classics, captured on tape but not released until 1981.
With a collection of hit songs that includes "Blue Suede Shoes," "Folsom Prison Blues," "Great Balls of Fire" and "Hound Dog," this Tony Award-winning musical is guaranteed to blow the roof off The Rep!
"Based on the real-life meeting of Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley, this musical features some of the biggest hits from the early years of rock and roll. When this foursome gets going, there’ll be a 'Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On!'"
"Women in Jeopardy!"
June 5 - 23
When Liz starts seeing a new man, she throws caution (and her book club selections) to the wind. However, her friends can’t get over the fact that Liz’s latest beau is just plain creepy. What else are they supposed to think about a dentist with a Hannibal Lecter obsession and a bizarre collection of “antique” orthodontic contraptions in his basement?
And then there’s the recent disappearance of his dental hygienist…
"I rarely laugh out loud when reading a play, but playwright Wendy MacLeod had me doing just that within the first few pages of her script. Fortysomething divorcees Mary and Jo are worried about their friend’s new dentist-boyfriend. He may be more than just a weirdo, he may be a serial killer!"
Get more information about the upcoming season at The Rep's website. Call the box office at (501) 378-0405 for ticket information and season subscriptions.