Main Street Theater Announces Its 33rd MainStage Season

Date 2007/7/9 16:10:00 | Topic: Local News

MST 2007 - 2008 Season Announcement

Main Street Theater will open its 33rd season on August 30, 2007, with a production of Gore Vidal’s satire of presidential politics, THE BEST MAN. First produced to great success on Broadway in 1960 (520 performances), THE BEST MAN plays out over two days at the nominating convention of an unnamed political party as two candidates seek the endorsement of a dying former President. William Russell, a statesman whose record of public service is exemplary but whose private life is less so, seems to have the edge over Joe Cantwell, a cunning political animal whose private life is nevertheless above reproach...
When Cantwell threatens to ruin Russell by exposing his history of mental illness, Russell must decide whether or not to use the same dirty tricks on his opponent. THE BEST MAN will run through September 16 at Main Street Theater’s Chelsea Market facility, 4617 Montrose Boulevard.

Keith Bunin’s THE BUSY WORLD IS HUSHED will open September 27 at MST’s theater at 2540 Times Boulevard. A drama about conflicts of family and faith, the story is that of Hannah, an Episcopal priest and scholar, who hires a skeptical young man to help her write a book on a newly discovered gospel (which may predate the Big Four). Hannah’s certainty about her faith has estranged her own son, but that same certainty, along with her vigorous questioning of the orthodoxies of the church, has a strong appeal to the young writer, and through this surrogate son, she is able to forge a new understanding with her own. The play had its world premiere in May 2006 at Playwrights’ Horizons. Bunin’s other work includes THE CREDEAUX CANVAS and the new musical TEN MILLION MILES (with the music and lyrics of Patty Griffin).
MST’s production will run September 27 – October 21, 2007.

A. A. Milne’s MR. PIM PASSES BY, re-scheduled from the current season, will run at MST Times Boulevard through the 2007 Holiday season. A bright comedy of manners by the author of the Winnie the Pooh stories, this play is set in a somewhat traditional English household which is amusingly thrown into disarray when Mr. Pim, a man simply passing through, casually drops a piece of information which could -- and nearly does – completely unravel the inhabitants’ very mundane and conventional lives. MR. PIM PASSES BY will run from November 15 – December 23, 2007.

CAROLINE OR CHANGE, a sung-through musical by Tony Kushner (book and lyrics) and Jeannine Tesori (music) will open January 3 to run through January 20 at MST Chelsea Market. The musical is set in Lake Charles, Louisiana during the American civil rights movement, just before, after and during the Kennedy Assassination. The title character, Caroline Thibodeaux, is a black maid for a Southern Jewish family, whose young son, Noah, is enamored of Caroline, a woman resistant to the sweep of change she sees around her. When Noah’s stepmother enlists Caroline's help in a plan to teach him a lesson about leaving change in his pants pocket (since Caroline does the family's laundry as part of her duties), the tide of change begins to affect Caroline's life firsthand, and she must come to terms with the necessity and inevitability of the end of segregation. The play was first developed at New York’s Public Theater under the direction of George C. Wolfe, where it opened in 2003. It moved to Broadway in 2004, garnering several Tony nominations. Tony Kushner is an award-winning playwright whose epic, two-part ANGELS IN AMERICA is considered one of the most important plays of recent decades.

Opening February 28 at Times Boulevard will be Irish playwright Brian Friel’s TRANSLATIONS. First performed in Derry in 1980, TRANSLATIONS is set in a rural hedge-school in the town of Baile Beag, an Irish-speaking community in County Donegal in the summer of 1833. A detachment of the Royal Engineers, making the first Ordnance Survey, sets up camp in a nearby field. For purposes of cartography, the local Gaelic place names have to be recorded and rendered into English. In examining the effects of this operation on the lives of a small group, Friel reveals the far-reaching personal and cultural effects of an action which is at first sight purely administrative. Friel is one of Ireland’s most prolific and well-known playwrights. His DANCING AT LUGHNASA, FAITH HEALER, and PHILADELPHIA, HERE I COME are frequently produced in American Theaters. TRANSLATIONS has had three New York productions: Off-Broadway in 1991, on Broadway in 1995 and a recent revival in 2007, about which production the New York Times said, “A basic fluency in the workings of the human heart is all that’s necessary to absorb the beauties of Mr. Friel’s tender, sad and funny play about the difficulty of finding a home in the world, a person to share it with, and a name to call it by.”

The season will close with Noël Coward’s PRESENT LAUGHTER, a farcical comedy about Garry Essendine, an aging matinee idol who may be teetering reluctantly towards middle age but everyone, both male and female, is infatuated with him. Flamboyant and witty, wearing a silk dressing gown and equipped with the requisite cocktail, his life is one long performance in which he can never be himself. About to set off on an extended tour of Africa, Essendine is visited by practically everyone he knows, including his ex wife/manager, lawyer, secretary, butler, business partners, an admiring young playwright and a recent one night stand. An acknowledged self-portrait of the playwright himself, PRESENT LAUGHTER is a marvellously comic exaggeration of the life that whirled around Coward in his heyday. The production will open at Times Boulevard on May 15 and run through June 8.

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