Sandra Tsing Loh, whose whimsical voice and off-kilter sensibility have stood alone on public radio and in solo stage performances, is about to let others cut in on her action for a change.
The coming 2015-16 season announced by South Coast Repertory includes the world premiere of "Madwoman in a Volvo," (Jan. 3-24, 2016), Loh's stage adaptation of her 2014 book of the same name, a memoir of the trials of menopause.
Lisa Peterson will direct Loh, who has written and performed a number of solo plays over the past 25 years. This time playgoers can see how well she plays with others -- her "Madwoman" script calls for two additional actors who have yet to be cast. Previous book memoirs Loh has adapted to perform by herself onstage include "Mother on Fire" and "Aliens in America."
"Madwoman in a Volvo" is one of five world premieres in a nine-play season at South Coast. All but Loh's show were commissioned by the Costa Mesa theater.
"I don't know for certain that she hasn't done this before, but it's not her typical approach, and that's exciting," SCR artistic director Marc Masterson said of Loh's decision to share the stage with other actors.
"Madwoman" will be on the 336-seat Argyros Stage, where all four slots in the season are world premieres.
A fifth new play, "Future Thinking" (March 25-April 24, 2016) by Eliza Clark, will premiere on the larger Segerstrom Stage as part of the theater's annual Pacific Playwrights Festival of new work. It concerns a starlet and an obsessive fan, with Comic-Con as a backdrop.
The other new plays announced so far are "Vietgone" by Qui Nguyen, about Vietnamese refugees struggling to come to terms with life in America after the fall of Saigon (Oct. 4-25), and "Going to a Place Where You Already Are" (March 6-27, 2016) by Bekah Brunstetter. The show, to be directed by Masterson, is driven by a character whose near-death experience has her believing she's been to heaven and back.
A premiere production still to be announced will run April 10-May 1, 2016, overlapping the April 22-24 Pacific Playwrights Festival, which will feature staged readings of five other new plays.
Rounding out the season will be revivals of four higher-profile shows.
"Amadeus" (May 6-June 5, 2016) is Peter Shaffer's Broadway mega-hit about Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; John Logan's "Red" (Jan. 22-Feb. 21, 2016) focuses on the creative struggles of Mark Rothko; and "One Man, Two Guvnors" (Sept. 11-Oct. 11) is Richard Bean's farce, with music that translates Carlo Goldoni's 18th century comedy "The Servant of Two Masters" to 1960s England.
Calling for a cast of 15 actors and four musicians, "One Man, Two Guvnors," which had a Broadway run in 2012, is a co-production with Berkeley Repertory Theatre, where it opens Friday. Masterson said the same cast will return in September for the staging at SCR.
The coming season also revisits "Abundance" (Oct. 16-Nov. 15), Beth Henley's play about mail-order brides in the Wyoming Territory of the 1860s. South Coast staged its world premiere in 1989. Martin Benson, the company's co-founder, will direct.
Also returning -- for the 36th consecutive year -- is the theater's venerable holiday season adaptation of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" (Nov 27-Dec. 27).
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