Asolo Repertory Theatre 2015-2016 Season

The Asolo Repertory Theatre's American Character Project presents plays that capture diversity and change, challenge popular notions of who we are as a country, and ask us to examine the bonds that unite, rather than divide us.

Now in its fourth year, the Asolo Repertory Theatre's American Character Project presents plays that capture diversity and change, challenge popular notions of who we are as a country, and ask us to examine the bonds that unite, rather than divide us. Here's the 2015-16 season schedule:

West Side Story

November 13-December 28, Previews November 10, 11, 12
No less than an American masterpiece, this timeless musical with book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and based on a conception of Jerome Robbins, still thrills with its startlingly fresh choreography and mesmerizing score. Relive the forever young, updated story of star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet set to the masterful Latin and jazz backbeat of gang warfare between the Jets and the Sharks in crime and prejudice-ridden New York City. Direction and choreography by Tony nominee Joey McKneely; inspired by the Jerome Robbins original.

All the Way

Asolo Repertory Theatre performs "All The Way"
Asolo Repertory Theatre performs "All The Way"

January 8-April 9, Previews January 5, 6 & 7
This tense political drama directed by Emily Sophia Knapp is drawn from the original production directed by Bill Rauch and written by Robert Schenkkan. The story of President Lyndon Baines Johnson and his dual struggles in Vietnam and with the passage of his Civil Rights bill takes audiences back to the crucial year 1964, when the canny politician bumped up against Martin Luther King, Jr., J. Edgar Hoover and Hubert Humphrey. This 2014 Tony Award winner for Best Play resonates with timely issues of change, ambition and conflict.

Living on Love

January 15-February 25, Previews January 13 & 14
Writer Joe DiPietro based this new work on Garson Kanin's comic play Peccadillo, and the Asolo Rep is thrilled to have secured the rights for the regional premiere before it begins a Broadway run in April starring none other than Renee Fleming. Under Peter Amster's direction, this frothy confection pits opera diva Raquel against her maestro husband Vito in a story fraught with romance, tempestuous emotions, melodrama and comedy.

Ah, Wilderness!

Ah, Wilderness! Performed by Asolo Repertory Theatre. Photo credit: Cliff Roles
Ah, Wilderness! Performed by Asolo Repertory Theatre. Photo credit: Cliff Roles

January 22-April 10, Previews January 20 & 21
FSU/Asolo Conservatory director Greg Leaming directs Eugene O'Neill's lilting comedy set in a nostalgically quaint and wholesome Connecticut in 1906. Written in 1933, this unusually sunny slice of O'Neill's repertoire celebrates a simpler, kinder era in American family life.

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

March 11-April 17, Previews March 9 & 10
Updating the thought-provoking themes of the highly rated film starring Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, director Frank Galati presents a timely and nuanced production based on William Rose's screenplay, with book by Todd Kreidler. Love and reality come to blows in a liberal household of the late 1960s, when a highly educated white daughter brings home her African-American fiancé to meet her stunned parents. The issues of prejudice, racial stereotyping and cultural clashes vs. the power of the heart are as relevant and meaningful as ever.

Disgraced

April 1-24, Previews March 30 & 31
This play, presented in the Historic Asolo Theater under the direction of the Asolo's producing artistic director Michael Donald Edwards, won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for author Ayad Akhtar. Set in contemporary New York City, a successful Muslim-American lawyer struggles explosively with his own notions of the American Dream, cultural assimilation and deception.

Josephine

Josephine
Josephine

World Premiere, May 6-29, Previews April 27-May 5 (8 previews)
Another world-premiere musical starts out at the Asolo Rep before taking on Broadway. With a book by Ellen Weston and Mark Hampton, music by Stephen Dorff, lyrics by John Bettis, story by Kenneth Waissman, and direction and choreography by Joey McKneely. Mega recording artist Deborah Cox stars in this sensational musical about the mysterious, glamorous and intoxicating black superstar Josephine Baker, the Jazz Age queen of Europe in the 1920s-30s and headliner of Paris' Folies Bergère during World War II.

Asolo Repertory Theatre
5555 N. Tamiami Trail
Sarasota, FL 34243
Asolorep.org