"The Humans," the Stephen Karam one-act that won four Tony Awards last year including best play, and "Soft Power," a world premiere David Henry Hwang that work takes the form of a Chinese musical about present-day America, lead the 2017-18 Ahmanson Theatre lineup to be announced Thursday by Centre Theatre Group.
The company commissioned Tony winner Hwang ("Chinglish," "M. Butterfly") to create "Soft Power" for the current 50th anniversary season of the Mark Taper Forum. But in the announcement expected from artistic director Michael Ritchie on Thursday, Center Theatre Group will move the production to the larger Ahmanson. Jeanine Tesori, the Tony-winning composer of "Fun Home" (now playing at the Ahmanson) and "Caroline, or Change," will join the creative team for "Soft Power," which starts as a contemporary play and time-shifts into a musical 100 years in the future. The production is set to open in May 2018.
Karam was a Pulitzer finalist for "The Humans," which Times theater critic Charles McNulty described as deeply moving in its depiction of middle-class insecurity and "family members fumbling to make sense of their lives after the American dream has faded." The play will come to the Ahmanson in June 2018.
The theater will kick off the 2017-18 season with choreographer Matthew Bourne's "The Red Shoes," in its American premiere, with performances beginning Sept. 15. Based on the Hans Christian Andersen tale that was adapted into the 1948 film and best picture Oscar nominee of the same name, "The Red Shoes" will be Bourne's ninth project to come to the Ahmanson, following, among others, "Sleeping Beauty," "The Car Man" and "Swan Lake," which had its U.S. premiere in L.A. in 1997.
"The Red Shoes" also will serve as the season kickoff for the Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at the Music Center series.
"Bright Star," the folksy Steve Martin and Edie Brickell musical, will open at the Ahmanson this October. When the show played the Old Globe in San Diego in 2014, McNulty noted how the bluegrass-driven production "wears its old-fashioned heart on its gingham sleeve."
Following that in November and December will be "Something Rotten!" The witty, giddy backstage crowd-pleaser set in Shakespeare's time earned 10 Tony nominations in 2015, including best musical.
One production will be announced later, Center Theatre Group said. Tickets are currently available by season membership only. Information: (213) 972-4444, centertheatregroup.org/ahmanson.
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