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Rep Stage Announces 25th Anniversary Productions

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Rep Stage, the professional regional theater in residence at Howard Community College, announces its 25th anniversary season lineup of three contemporary classics — “The Heidi Chronicles,” “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill” and “True West” — and a world premiere play about Baltimore’s eccentric Cone sisters, in Susan McCully’s “All She Must Possess.”

The 25th anniversary season marks a transition in leadership for Rep Stage, as Suzanne Beal, co-producing artistic director, will retire at the conclusion of the current 2016–17 season. Joseph Ritsch will remain at the helm of Rep Stage’s leadership as producing artistic director.

“The Heidi Chronicles”
By Wendy Wasserstein
Directed by Jenna Duncan
Sept. 6–24, 2017

Wendy Wasserstein’s Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy traces the coming of age of Heidi Holland, a successful art historian, as she tries to find her bearings in a rapidly changing world. Funny, touching, and written with rare grace and sensitivity, the play is a moving examination of the progress of a generation, from the socially and politically activist sixties to the success-oriented eighties.

“[The Heidi Chronicles] resonates today as strongly, and at times as painfully, as [it] did when Wendy Wasserstein’s most celebrated plays stormed Broadway in 1989 … [Wasserstein’s] keen ear for comic absurdity grounded in truth is matched by a probing compassion for her characters, even when they are viewed through a sardonic lens.” — The New York Times

“Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill”
By Lanie Robertson
Directed by Danielle Drakes
Musical Direction by Cedric Lyles
Nov. 1–19, 2017

The time is 1959. The place is Emerson’s Bar and Grill, a seedy little jazz club in Philadelphia. The audience is about to witness one of Billie Holiday’s final performances, four months before her death. More than a dozen musical numbers including “God Bless the Child,” “My Man” and “Strange Fruit” are interlaced with salty, often humorous, reminiscences to project a riveting portrait of the lady and her music.

“Hurts and exhilarates in just the right proportions.” — New York Magazine

“All She Must Possess”
By Susan McCully
Directed by Joseph Ritsch
Feb. 7–25, 2018

The Baltimore Cone sisters, Dr. Claribel and Miss Etta, daughters of German-Jewish immigrants, could have lived tranquil, appropriate lives as respected Victorian ladies. Instead, the iconic duo voraciously collected art and curios from around the world. The unassuming Etta, often overshadowed by her sister, sat demurely among art and literary geniuses of the early 20th century, while slowly amassing one of world’s greatest modern art collections. “All She Must Possess” is a highly theatrical celebration of Etta’s extraordinary life. Works of art come alive and her one-time lover, Gertrude Stein, sings her praises as we watch her journey from society laughingstock to doyen of modernity.

“All She Must Possess” will be Rep Stage’s production in participation with the 2018 D.C. Women’s Voices Theater Festival.

“True West”
By Sam Shepard
Directed by Vincent Lancisi
April 25–May 13, 2018

Well-educated Austin and thieving con man Lee, estranged brothers from different worlds, reunite in their mom’s California kitchen, where Austin is working on his screenplay. But when Lee comes up with his own idea and steals much more than just the neighbors’ TV, challenges are issued, many drinks are downed and the siblings find that they might not be such opposites after all. Sheppard’s explosive, darkly funny American classic is a tale of sibling rivalry, Hollywood producers and stolen toasters.

“It’s clear, funny, naturalistic. It’s also opaque, terrifying, surrealistic. If that sounds contradictory, you’re on to one aspect of Shepard’s winning genius; the ability to make you think you’re watching one thing while at the same time he’s presenting another.” — San Francisco Chronicle

For more information about Rep Stage, call 443-518-1510 or visit www.repstage.org.