Music. Romance. Comedy. Drama.
They’re all theatrical elements announced in South Coast Repertory’s 2017-18 season that will feature five world premieres, with three of the plays being commissioned out of the theater’s new-play development programs.
Here’s a look at the plays and the people in the 54th season:
“Once,” Sept. 2 to 30: The book by Enda Walsh follows a Dublin street musician about to give up his dream when a woman takes an interest in his love songs. The winner of eight Tony Awards also received a Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album.
“Curve of Departure,” Sept. 24 to Oct. 15: A South Coast Repertory-commissioned play by Rachel Bonds makes its world premiere on the Julianne Argyros Stage. The funny drama follows an unconventional family wishing to put away ghosts of the past.
“Gem of the Ocean,” Oct. 14 to Nov. 11: Playwright August Wilson’s crowning achievement, “The Pittsburgh Cycle,” is his series of 10 plays charting the African-American experience throughout the 20th century. Wilson wrote “Gem of the Ocean” last, but it is set in 1904 and is the first installment of his decade-by-decade chronicle. Wilson is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Fences” and “Jitney.”
“It has the kind of magic realism that Gabriel Garcia Marquez coined and incredible things happen in the story,” said Marc Masterson, South Coast Repertory's artistic director. “I think of August Wilson as a giant in historical plays.”
“Sugar Plum Fairy,” Dec. 3 to 24: Author Sandra Tsing Loh of “The Madwoman in the Volvo” and South Coast Repertory monologist for decades, will present her irreverent take on remembering her childhood desire of becoming a ballerina in a top ballet company.
“It’s a funny show about this ambitious preteen coming to terms with limitations and recognizing dreams don’t come into fruition,” Masterson said.
“Shakespeare in Love,” Jan. 13 to Feb. 10, 2018: Masterson will direct the play that is based on the screenplay by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard and adapted for the stage by Lee Hall. A young Shakespeare has writer’s block and is in need of inspiration, until he meets his muse, Viola.
“I always loved this story, and it’s a fun romance,” Masterson said.
“Cambodian Rock Band,” March 4 to 25, 2018: The South Coast Repertory-commissioned play by rising playwright Lauren Yee makes its world premiere with the story of artists in Cambodia who were in a rock band but then find themselves in survival mode when Pol Pot wipes out the music and people associated with it. The play features music by Dengue Fever, a Los Angeles-based Cambodian and American indie-rock band.
“Shrew!” March 24 to April 21, 2018: The second of the two Shakespeare-focused plays is Amy Freed’s spin on the classic, “The Taming of the Shrew.”
“Little Black Shadows,” April 8 to 29, 2018: The third South Coast Repertory-commissioned play makes its world premiere with a story following slave children tasked with serving the plantation children in the plantation house. Its author, Kemp Powers, started writing later in his career and caught the theater’s attention, Masterson said.
“It’s a play through the eyes of children, and it’s moving, poetic and beautiful while getting to the human condition,” Masterson said.
“The Sisters Rosensweig,” May 5 to June 2, 2018: The late Wendy Wasserstein’s period piece set in the 1990s is a wonderful play to revisit, Masterson said, with topical references at his heart. The story focuses on three Jewish American sisters and their lives, making it witty, smart and a modern Noel Coward-type of play, he added.
Beginning Nov. 24 and running through Dec. 24, the 38th annual production of "A Christmas Carol" will feature returning actor Hal Landon Jr. as Scrooge, and at different times during the season, the Theatre for Young Audiences will present "Ella Enchanted: The Musical,” “Junie B. Jones is Not a Crook” and “Amos & Boris.”
Season subscriptions are on sale now, and packages range from $64 to $594. Single tickets will be available June 1.
South Coast Repertory is at 655 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. For more information, call (714) 708-5555 or visit scr.org.