Monday, March 26, 2018

IRT will launch its 2018-19 season with a mysterious look at the Sherlock Holmes legacy

Indiana Repertory Theatre has announced a new season that will capitalize on the perpetual interest in Arthur Conan Doyle's master detective, Sherlock Holmes. It's Jeffrey Hatcher's look at the character's legendary power well after the sleuth's death, focusing on Watson, his sidekick, investigating the claims of three inmates at a remote island asylum to be Holmes himself.

"Holmes and Watson" will run from Sept. 25 to Oct. 21. It's part of a tradition that has attracted audiences to IRT and other theaters in recent years, said executive artistic director Janet Allen at a media lunch last Friday. "Adaptations of fiction have been a big thing with us over time," she said.

The play will be  followed by a production that's closer to the gritty side of contemporary urban reality. Dominique Morisseau's "Pipeline" (Oct. 16-Nov. 11) draws its title from the often observed tendency of young black men to fall into an inevitable channel toward incarceration, as well as the way education similarly channels marginalized young people before their potential is realized. The hero's mother struggles to get her troubled son pointed toward a better future. Allen saw its premiere at Lincoln Center last summer and knew she wanted it for IRT, she said.

The familiar production of "A Christmas Carol" will follow Nov. 17-Dec. 26. Ryan Artzberger will again play Ebenezer Scrooge in this annual fixture of the IRT schedule. Allen defends the IRT's 23-year devotion to the show, derived from the Charles Dickens novella, in terms not only of the money it  brings in, but also the exposure to theater it provides to many people unused to the experience and  the show's patented multigenerational appeal.

2019 will be welcomed (Jan. 8-Feb. 10) at the IRT with "Every Brilliant Thing," by Duncan Macmillan and Jonny Donahoe, It traces a boy's attempt to come to terms with his mother's repeated suicide attempts by making a list of "every brilliant thing" that might be brought to bear to prevent recurrences. Despite its theme, Allen described the contemporary British play as "wildly funny."

"The Diary of Anne Frank," like "A Christmas Carol" a repeat production not on the subscription schedule, follows Jan. 25 to Feb. 24. It will be co-produced with the Seattle Children's Theater.
of which Courtney Sale, who was associate artistic director at IRT for three years, is artistic director.

From Feb. 23 through March 24, a musical for young children under the "Exploring Stages" rubric will be staged: the book series Elephant & Piggie's "We Are in a Play!" has script and lyrics by Mo Willems and music by Deborah Wicks La Puma.

Returning to the subscription season, Lucas Hnath's "A Doll's House Part 2" (March 12-April 7)  takes Henrik Ibsen's classic up 15 years after Nora slams the door on the domestic life that has confined her. It deals with her both hilarious and harrowing return to her family. It's set in the late 19th-century period of the original but with modern language.

With "Amber Waves" (April 2-28), playwright-in-residence James Still has expanded a one-act play into a full-length drama to take a place in IRT's long-running Indiana Series. It concerns a family on a small Indiana farm that has fallen on hard times.

The season will end April 23-May 19 with Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman's sprightly 1930s comedy "You Can't Take It With You," a Pulitzer Prize-winning work with a large cast of characters, many of them eccentric, that is mostly known via Frank Capra's film version.

Season tickets are now on sale at the IRT box office. Single tickets will go on sale in August.