Hartford Stage’s upcoming 49th season — and its first chosen by its new artistic director Darko Tresnjak — will begin a new Shakespearean tradition, present an Ibsen classic, feature an overlooked Beth Henley play and premiere two shows: a chamber musical and a new play with music.
Tresnjak will stage three productions and two -- and perhaps three others shows -- will be staged by women.
The 2012-‘13 season will begin with Henrik Ibsen’s “Hedda Gabler,” directed by Jennifer Tarver, who staged “Krapp’s Last Tape” at Long Wharf Theatre last year with Brian Dennehy. The adaptation of the work has not yet been selected. The run will be Aug. 30 to Sept. 23.
Next up and running Oct. 11 to Nov. 4 will be the premiere of the musical “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,” based on the obscure 105-year-old obscure British novel by Roy Horniman, “Israel Rank.” The 1949 film “Kind Hearts and Coronets” with Alec Guinness was loosely based on the book. The show, directed by Tresnjak, will have music by Steve Lutvak with a book and lyrics by Robert J. Freedman. Commercial attachment may be involved.
Jefferson Mays, who won a Tony Award for “I Am My Own Wife” and is now in the Broadway production of “The Best Man,” stars in the story of a man of little means in Edwardian England who is eighth in line to a dukedom and who hires a hit man to kill off the seven heirs ahead of him for the title. (All the heirs will be played by Mays.)
The musical, which features eight actors and six musicians, was to have been presented at La Jolla Playhouse in California in 2010 but was postponed due to questions over rights issues which have been since settled.
Returning as an off-subscription offering is the 15th edition of “A Christmas Carol: a Ghost Story of Christmas.”
Starting in January, 2013 will be the world premiere of Daniel Beaty’s “Breath and Imagination: The Story of Roland Hayes,” based on the life of the first internationally acclaimed African-American classical vocalist. The show will be a co-production with a theater yet to be be named. the show will run Jan. 10 to Feb. 3.
Born to former slaves, Hayes was a lyric tenor who lived from 1887 to 1977 and received acclaim performing at Carnegie Hall as well as other prestigious venues worldwide. The work centers on the singer;s relationship with his mother.
The play, which features classical and gospel music, was commissioned by Hartford Stage when Beaty, an accomplished classical singer, was Aetna Voices writer-in-residence during the 2007-‘08 season. The play was part of the theater’s “Brand:NEW” playwriting series in 2008. Beaty may take one of the three roles on the work but that has not yet been determined.
Beaty is also the author “Resurrection” which played the theater in 2008, as well as his acclaimed off-Broadway solo show in which he starred, “Emergency” (formerly titled “Emergence-SEE”).
The show in the fourth slot, running Feb. 21 to March 17, is still to be announced.
Next up is Beth Henley’s play “Abundance," which had a run off-Broadway at the Manhattan Theatre Club in 1990. the show will run April 4 to 28.
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The play, about two mail-order brides is a revisionist Western epic and featuring five actors, is directed by Jenn Thompson, who scored recently with acclaimed off-Broadway productions of “Eccentricities of a Nightingale,” “The Late Christopher Bean” and “Lost in Yonkers.”
Thompson also acted and directed regularly in The River Rep when it was at the Ivoryton Playhouse, run by her parents Evan Thompson and Joan Shepard.
Concluding the season will be William Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night, Or What You Will,” directed by Tresnjak, who is also ending this season in May by staging Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.”
Tresnjak, who has a reputation as a director of the Bard’s works, says he plans to produce a Shakespeare production every season for the foreseeable future. “Twelfth Night” will run May 16 to June 16.
Subscriptions are now on sale. Single tickets go on sale on sale this summer.. Information: 860-527-5151 and www.hartfordstage.org.