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45th Anniversary Season Announcement

FIVE SHOWS AND EXPANDED SEASON ANNOUNCED FOR MARIN THEATRE COMPANY’S 2011-12 SEASON

45th Anniversary Season features six main stage productions, including World Premiere by Steve Yockey, 2009 Tony Award-winning God of Carnage, modern American classics by August Wilson and Tennesee Williams, and a star-studded production of Othello

MILL VALLEY, CA—Marin Theatre Company Artistic Director Jasson Minadakis and Producing Director Ryan Rilette announced five plays for the company’s expanded 45th Anniversary Season today. Growing from five to six main stage productions in MTC’s intimate 231-seat Boyer Theatre, the 2011-12 season includes a World Premiere by MTC’s 2010 Playwright in Residence Steve Yockey, the hysterical Tony Award-winning comedy God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza, two modern American classics by Tennessee Williams and August Wilson and the company’s first production of a play by William Shakespeare. The remaining play – a Bay Area premiere by a local playwright – will be announced in April.

“I am very excited to announce our 45th anniversary season,” Artistic Director Jasson Minadakis said. “After two seasons of incredible audience growth, we are expanding our season programming in 2011-12 to include six plays in our Boyer Theatre for the first time in 23 years. The five productions we’re announcing today include three re-imagined classics and two provocative new plays – one Tony Award winner and one thrilling premiere from an amazing young American writer. In planning each season, we try to offer our patrons the opportunity to explore not only their own lives, but also the lives of others, especially in different times and different places. The journey this season will take us from Shakespeare’s opulent Venetian Renaissance courts to the impoverished tenements of Wilson’s Pittsburgh and Williams’s St. Louis, as well as to Reza’s and Yockey’s thoughtful dissections of today’s polite middle-class havens.”

MTC opens its 2011-12 Season in August with Seven Guitars, August Wilson’s 1940s entry into his remarkable Pittsburgh Cycle, a decade-by-decade exploration of the African-American experience in the 20th century. Awarded Best Play in 1996 by the New York Drama Critics’ Circle and nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Drama Desk Award for Best Play and Tony Award for Best Play, the tragic comedy follows the short-lived comeback of bluesman Floyd “Schoolboy” Barton. Released from a workhouse to find his band has a hit record, he becomes the pivotal figure around which the lives of six others come to briefly revolve in the impoverished Hill District during the summer of 1948. When the play first premiered, The New York Times wrote, “Here’s a play whose epic proportions and abundant spirit remind us of what the American theater once was… and still is when the muses can be heard through the din… Seven Guitars is as funny as it is moving and lyrical.” This is MTC’s first production of the playwright Variety described as having “the rare gift for imbuing everyday people, their conversations and stories with epic resonance.”

Two years after Bellwether received a staged reading as part of MTC’s New Works play development series, the haunting modern fable by MTC’s 2010 Playwright in Residence Steve Yockey makes its World Premiere in October 2011. “Bellwether is part of a triptych of ‘bargain plays’ that includes Octopus, which was a big hit at Magic Theatre a few years ago, and Afterlife, which is currently receiving a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere,” said Producing Director Ryan Rilette, who will direct the play. “This ‘fairy tale for adults,’ as Steve often describes it, will unnerve and scare audiences as it opens a door to a terrifying world that exists just out of sight.” The play begins in a place we recognize – a gated suburban community – and with a tragedy that is unfortunately all too familiar – the disappearance of a child – but, like many of Yockey’s plays, nothing is what it seems in this suspenseful, intellectual thriller. Hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle as “a fiercely imaginative and finely tuned new voice,” Yockey said of the upcoming premiere, “Jasson and Ryan have been incredibly enthusiastic about this play from the jump. After spending such a fantastic year with the company and its audience, I can’t wait to get Bellwether on that stage.”

Over the holiday season, MTC celebrates the centennial of Tennessee Williams’s birth with a production of his most famous play, The Glass Menagerie. MTC has long had a relationship with the seminal American playwright, not only recently producing his ubiquitous A Streetcar Named Desire, but also posthumously premiering Fugitive Kind and Spring Storm through special arrangement with the Williams’ archive at the University of Texas. A memory of Saint Louis during the 1930s, Menagerie is an emotionally devastating portrait of hope. Aspiring poet Tom Wingfield dreams of adventure while reluctantly supporting his overbearing mother and debilitatingly shy sister. Pushed by his mother, he brings home a gentleman caller to try to coax his sister from her fragile private world. Awarded Best Play in 1945 by the New York Drama Critics’ Circle and Williams’ first great Broadway success, Menagerie “captures better than any play… the claustrophobic reality of family life, with its jostling interests, imposing expectations, burdensome concern and overwhelming love” (Los Angeles Times).

In the spring, MTC mounts its first production in its 45-year history of a play by William ShakespeareOthello, the Moor of Venice. Starring Aldo Billingslea as Othello and Craig Marker as Iago, MTC’s production of the 1603 tragedy pits two of the best actors in the Bay Area against each other in psychological single combat. Minadakis, who led the Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival for nine years and has directed 20 Shakespeare productions, directs this timeless tale of love, deceit, jealousy and murder. “I have been talking about a new staging of Othello with Aldo even before I became the Artistic Director of MTC,” said Minadakis. “Together, Aldo and I share a common vision of Shakespeare’s great general and how his downfall is orchestrated by the Bard’s greatest villain, the master improviser, the trickster Iago. This most intimate of Shakespeare’s tragedies will complement our intimate Boyer Theatre perfectly.” Featuring “some of the greatest poetry Shakespeare ever wrote” (The Telegraph), this is the “most taut and tense of [his] tragedies,” the “powerful, painful weight of the play’s beauty… weaves [an] inexorable spell” (The New York Times).

MTC closes its 2011-12 season with the hit Broadway comedy God of Carnage. French playwright Yasmina Reza won her second Tony Award for Best Play and second Olivier Award for Best New Comedy in 2009 with this “action-packed… knockout farce” (Wall Street Journal) translated by Christopher Hampton. Following a playground altercation between two 11-year-old boys in Brooklyn’s upscale Cobble Hill neighborhood, the parents agree to meet to discuss the situation civilly – “practice the art of co-existence” rather than “slaughter each other with insurance claims.” However, the veneer of polite society soon falls away as the Raleighs and the Novaks regress to childish accusations, bullying and bickering themselves. The New York Times raved about the Broadway premiere: “Reza’s streamlined anatomy of the human animal incites the kind of laughter that comes from the gut, as involuntary as hiccups or belching.”

Six-play, full-season subscription packages are available only to renewing subscribers at this time. MTC will announce the sixth play for its 2011-12 season in April. Season subscriptions and four-play flex ticket packages go on sale to the general public on Tuesday, March 8. Subscription packages offer incredible savings, exclusive benefits and personalized customer service. Full-season, six-play subscriptions are available for $120-294, a savings of up to 60% off regular ticket prices, and include free ticket exchanges, lost ticket replacement and priority seating. For more information about subscriptions, visit marintheatre.org or contact MTC’s Box Office, (415) 388-5208.

Celebrating 45 seasons in 2011-12, MTC had modest grassroots beginnings. In 1966, a year that was marked by the escalation of the Vietnam War, domestic racial violence and the Cold War space race, 35 Mill Valley residents came together under the leadership of Sali Lieberman to create the Mill Valley Center for the Performing Arts [MVCPA]. The nonprofit organization brought arts as diverse as film, theater, poetry, dance and concerts of classical, jazz and folk music to Marin County for a decade. After a number of successful community theater productions, particularly One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, MVCPA began to exclusively produce and present theater performances in 1977. The small group overcame many challenges to put on critically-acclaimed, award-winning plays in a golf clubhouse, a veterans’ auditorium and several schools and parks. To acknowledge the organization’s specialization in theater arts and expanded regional focus, MVCPA changed its name to Marin Theatre Company in 1984. This marked the beginning of a period of extraordinary growth. By 1987, MTC had built its own theater complex with onsite administrative offices and joined with other local theaters to negotiate the first regional equity contract in the Bay Area. Since then, MTC established two emerging playwright prizes in 2007 and joined the League of Resident Theatres in 2008. MTC is now the leading professional theater in the North Bay and premier mid-sized theater in the Bay Area.

 

CALENDAR

August 11-September 4, 2011
SEVEN GUITARS
By August Wilson
Opening Night: August 16

October 6-30, 2011
BELLWETHER | World Premiere
By Steve Yockey | Directed by Ryan Rilette
Opening Night: October 11   

November 25-December 18, 2011
THE GLASS MENAGERIE
By Tennessee Williams
Opening Night: November 29

February 2-26, 2012
TBA | Bay Area premiere
By Bay Area playwright
Opening Night: February 7
To be announced in April

March 29-April 22, 2012
OTHELLO, THE MOOR OF VENICE
By William Shakespeare | Directed by Jasson Minadakis
Opening Night: April 3

May 24-June 17, 2012
GOD OF CARNAGE
By Yasmina Reza | Translated by Christopher Hampton
Opening Night: May 29

All productions performed in MTC’s Boyer Theatre, located at Marin Theatre Company, 397 Miller Avenue, Mill Valley.

Note: Programming and scheduling are subject to change.

 

ABOUT MTC
Marin Theatre Company is the Bay Area’s premier mid-sized theater and the leading professional theater in the North Bay. We produce a six-show season of provocative plays by passionate playwrights from the 20th century and today in an intimate 231-seat proscenium theater. We are committed to the development and production of new plays by American playwrights, with a comprehensive New Play Program that includes at least one world premiere each season, two nationally-recognized annual playwriting awards, numerous new play readings and workshops by the nation’s best emerging playwrights and a leadership position in the National New Play Network. Our numerous educational programs serve more than 6,000 students each year. Founded in 1966, we celebrate our 45th season in 2011-12.

 

PRESS CONTACT
Sasha Hnatkovich, Communications Director
(415) 388-5200, ext. 3313 | email

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