John Doyle

Classic Stage Company announces 2018-2019 season

CSC presents Brecht's The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, two August Strindberg plays in rep and The Cradle Will Rock.

Tom Millward
Tom Millward

Today Classic Stage Company's Artistic Director John Doyle announced first details for the company's upcoming 51st off-Broadway season.

Mr. Doyle commented: "The greatest gift of the classical repertoire is the opportunity to work on theater pieces of enduring relevance. This coming season, I hope, reflects the world we live in today. An epic Brecht play about the rise of Arturo Ui, a fictional mobster; two intimate Strindberg plays of conflict, dysfunction and deep-rooted anger; a landmark American musical set in the political mayhem of "Steeltown, USA"; and the opportunity to hear Shakespeare's canon from a collaborative 17th-century and contemporary viewpoint in partnership with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. I'm excited to begin our second half century on our journey of keeping the classics alive."

The main productions of the 2018-2019 season will be presented in the following order:

Beginning performances in later October 2018, Mr. Doyle will direct a new production of Bertolt Brecht's The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (translated by George Tabori).

Synopsis: "In 1930s Chicago, mobster Arturo Ui will stop at nothing to control the cauliflower trade. Terror and bloodshed follow. Can anyone stop him? Brecht's skewering of Adolf Hitler and totalitarianism is given renewed significance in a new Classic Stage Company production. Written in 1941, the play was one of the Berliner Ensemble's greatest box office successes."

Next up, CSC will present two 19th-century plays by August Strindberg in repertory from early January 2019 - Miss Julie and The Dance of Death.

In Miss Julie, the title character, a lonely, imperious daughter of an aristocrat, falls for her father's charismatic footman one hot summer evening. The scandal that ensues spirals out of control and results in an ending that stunned theater-goers when it premiered in 1880. Strindberg's naturalist tragedy about sexuality, class and expectations is a revolutionary piece of modern drama widely considered one of his masterpieces.

In The Dance of Death, retired military man Edgar and his wife Alice have given up on any semblance of civility toward each other on the threshold of their 25th wedding anniversary. Due to their isolation, however, they are as codependent as they are hateful. Seething with cruelty, and punctuated by absurdity and humor, Strindberg's electrifying play was ages ahead of its time in its bleak examination of marriage and the social institutions governing it.

The final production of the season will be Marc Blitzstein's The Cradle Will Rock, beginning performances in late March 2019.

Synopsis: "In Steeltown, USA, laborer Larry Foreman struggles to unionize fellow steel workers against mounting attacks from a greedy industrialist, who uses his power to influence nearly everyone else in town. Marc Blitzstein's folk opera, created through the Federal Theater Project, was famously shut down on the eve of opening night by federal authorities fearing its pro-labor stance."

Casting and creative team information for all productions will be announced at a later date.

Classic Stage Company's current production of Tennessee Williams' Summer and Smoke is set to officially open on May 3 and continue its limited run through to May 20, 2018. This will be followed by a revival of Oscar Hammerstein II & Georges Bizet's Carmen Jones from June 8 through to July 29, 2018.

Originally published on

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