On Theater: Upcoming season has 'revivals' category

Along with the usual collection of new plays and world premieres, seasoned audiences at South Coast Repertory will find another category in the just-announced 2010-11 season: revivals.

Three of the shows in the upcoming lineup have been presented before on the SCR stage: George Bernard Shaw's "Misalliance," Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and Richard Greenberg's "Three Days of Rain," the latter having been a world premiere when first produced locally.

"Misalliance," Shaw's comic epic about the relationship between parents and children, will open the Segerstrom Stage's new season Sept. 10 under the direction of Martin Benson, who's staged five previous plays by Shaw, including this one.

Next up on the adjacent Julianne Argyros Stage, opening Sept. 26, will be the provocatively titled "In the Next Room (or the vibrator play)" by Sarah Ruhl. Set in the Victorian era, the story revolves around the invention of a new electric device to relieve patients suffering from "female hysteria."

Influenced by the Victorian "Becky Sharp" is Gina Gionfriddo's "Becky Shaw," arriving Oct. 22 on the Segerstrom Stage. It centers on an unsure, overdressed and socially ambitious young woman and is described as a "comedy thriller."

"Circle Mirror Transformation," a comedy about an acting class in a small Vermont town, will open Jan. 9 on the Argyros Stage. It won playwright Annie Baker last year's off-Broadway Obie Award as the best new American play. Sam Gold also won for best director, and he'll helm the SCR version.

Shakespeare's plays have been transported just about everywhere imaginable. When "A Midsummer Night's Dream" opens Jan. 21 on the Segerstrom Stage, director Mark Rucker will set the action in 1950s New Jersey and promises to offer 1960s hippies and 1970s disco in the mix.

Irish playwright Conor McPherson's suspense drama "The Weir" arrives March 13 on the Argyros Stage and centers on the tall tales of hard-drinking Irishmen in a local pub on a stormy night. The director is yet to be named.

A world premiere usually is part of the SCR season, and the theater has penciled one in for the April 1-May 1 slot, to be presented on the Segerstrom Stage. It'll be part of the 2011 Pacific Playwrights Festival April 29 through May 1.

Computer scientist meets molecular biologist in a romantic comedy? That's the crux of a new play hopefully opening April 17 on the Argyros Stage, which also is part of the Pacific Playwrights Festival. The title is unannounced for legal reasons, but according to SCR's season brochure, the rights are pending.

Greenberg's "Three Days of Rain" was born in 1997 on what then was called SCR's Second Stage. The story of three young architects in the 1960s and the mystery solved by their children 30 years later will open May 13 under the direction of David Emmes.

SCR's Theater for  Young Audiences program will offer a trio of events — "Sideways Stories from the Wayside School" Nov. 5-21, "Lucky Duck" Feb. 11-17 and "The Emperor's New Clothes" May 20-June 5.   

And, yes, the 31st annual production of "A Christmas Carol" will brighten the holiday season from Nov. 27 to Dec. 26 with Hal Landon Jr. once again doing the Scrooging.

Playgoers may obtain more information, and purchase season tickets, by calling the theater at (714) 708-5555 or by going online to http://www.scr.org.

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