Tom Sturridge, Glenn Close & Jake Gyllenhaal

Public Theater announces 2018-2019 season, featuring Glenn Close, Jake Gyllenhaal & Tom Sturridge

Public Theater Artistic Director Oskar Eustis reveals nine new productions for the 2018-2019 season.

Tom Millward
Tom Millward

The off-Broadway non-profit Public Theater has now announced its 2018-2019 season, including four world premiere and four New York premiere productions, as well as the North American premiere of London's Bob Dylan-infused musical Girl from the North Country. The season also features the talents of Glenn Close, Jake Gyllenhaal and Tom Sturridge

Artistic Director Oskar Eustis commented: "This is a season of spectacular, ambitious projects, highlighted by a burst of young playwrights. Patricia Ione Lloyd, Hansol Jung, and Jordan E. Cooper will be making their Public Theater mainstage debuts. Public Master Writer Chair Suzan-Lori Parks has written a brilliant and disturbing reflection on our current state of race relations, White Noise; masters Jane Anderson, Luis Alfaro, Conor McPherson, and Bob Dylan are working at the height of their powers; and actors Glenn Close, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Tom Sturridge will light up Astor Place."

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

From September 11 to November 4, 2018, the season kicks off at the Public's Newman Theater with the North American premiere of London's hit musical play Girl from the North Country, written and directed by Conor McPherson and featuring the songs of Bob Dylan. The production originally premiered at London's Old Vic in July 2017, before transferring to the Noel Coward Theatre in the West End for a 12-week run from December 2017.

Synopsis: "Bob Dylan's inimitable songbook is authentically transformed into this achingly beautiful story of a down-on-its-luck community on the brink of change in Dylan's hometown, Duluth, Minnesota, in 1934. Conor McPherson has created a mythical new show, weaving the music of our greatest poet-singer-songwriter into a piercing drama about home, heart, and the searching determination of the American soul."

The season will then continue with the New York premiere of Jane Anderson's Mother of the Maid at the Public's Anspacher Theater, starring six-time Academy Award nominee and three-time Tony & Emmy Award winner Glenn Close as the mother of Joan of Arc. Directed by Matthew Penn, the production will play the Public's Anspacher Theater from September 25 through to November 18, 2018.

Synopsis: "Mother of the Maid tells the story of Joan of Arc's mother, a sensible, hard-working, God-fearing peasant woman whose faith is upended as she deals with the baffling journey of her odd and extraordinary daughter. This riveting play is an epic tale told through an unexpected and remarkable new perspective and is a deeply moving drama about the glories and challenges of raising an exceptional child."

Next up, the Public Theater presents the world premiere of Eve's Song, which will run from October 23 through to December 2, 2018 at the Public's LuEsther Hall. Eve's Song was developed in residence at The Public Theater by the Tow Playwright-in-Residence Patricia Ione Lloyd and will be directed by Jo Bonney.

Synopsis: "Eve's Song is a stunning, genre-bending new drama about the haunting of a black family in America. In the aftermath of a messy divorce and a daughter coming out as queer, Deborah is trying to keep things normal at home. But as black people continue to be killed beyond their four walls, the outside finds its way in, blurring the lines between family dynamics, politics, and the spirit world. How long can family dinners keep the dangers outside at bay? Filled with dark humor and boiling suspense, Eve's Song examines our present racial climate through the eyes of a regular American family."

The next production of the season is the New York premiere of Wild Goose Dreams - a co-production with La Jolla Playhouse. Written by Hansol Jung and directed by Leigh Silverman, performances will be staged at the Public's Martinson Hall from October 30 through to December 9, 2018.

Synopsis: "Minsung is a "goose father," a South Korean man whose wife and daughter have moved to America for a better life. Deeply lonely, he escapes onto the internet and meets Nanhee, a young defector forced to leave her family behind in North Korea. Amidst the endless noise of the modern world, where likes and shares have taken the place of love and touch, Minsung and Nanhee try their best to be real for each other. But after a lifetime of division and separation, is connection possible? Wild Goose Dreams ​is a strikingly original play with music about two people, from two cultures, forced to choose between family and freedom."

The season then continues with the New York premiere of Sea Wall / A Life, directed by Carrie Cracknell. Described as "an unforgettable and incredibly intimate evening of theater," Tony Award nominee Tom Sturridge will star in Simon Stephens' Sea Wall, whilst Academy Award nominee Jake Gyllenhaal will return to the New York stage in Nick Payne's A Life, with performances running from January 26 through to March 24, 2019, at the Public's Newman Theater.

Synopsis: "Tom Sturridge, in his third collaboration with Simon Stephens, performs Sea Wall, an astonishing monologue about love and the human need to know the unknowable. Jake Gyllenhaal continues his artistic collaboration with Nick Payne in A Life, a meditation on how we say goodbye to those we love most. This heart-filled exploration of the beauty of life and the meaning of love, Sea Wall / A Life is an evening of dramatic storytelling at its best."

This will be followed by the world premiere of Suzan-Lori Parks' White Noise, directed by Oskar Eustis, which will play the Public's Anspacher Theater from February 19 through to March 31, 2019.

Synopsis: "White Noise is a story about race, friendship, and our rapidly unraveling social contract. Long-time friends and lovers Leo, Misha, Ralph, and Dawn are educated, progressive, cosmopolitan, and woke. But when a racially motivated incident with the cops leaves Leo shaken, he decides extreme measures must be taken for self-preservation. This fierce new drama asks the question: what happens when the unspoken and the unspeakable come head-to-head?"

From March 12 through to April 21, 2019, the Public stages another world premiere with Jordan E. Cooper' Ain't No Mo', directed by Stevie Walker-Webb, with performances taking place at the Public's LuEsther Hall.

Synopsis: "Ain't No Mo' is a vibrant satirical odyssey portraying the great exodus of black Americans out of a country plagued with injustice. In a kaleidoscope of scenes of the moments before, during, and after this outrageous departure, Jordan E. Cooper's masterful new work explores the value of black lives in a country hurtling away from the promise of a black president. Ain't No Mo' ​is a wildly imaginative and emotionally charged play."

The season continues with the world premiere of Socrates, written by Tim Blake Nelson and directed by Doug Hughes, playing a limited engagement from April 2 through to May 19, 2019 at the Public's Martinson Hall. Socrates is presented in collaboration with the Onassis Cultural Center NY.

Synopsis: "Socrates is a witty and endlessly fascinating new drama about a complicated man who changed how the world thought. This powerful new play is an intellectual thrill ride from the philosopher's growing prominence in democratic Athens through the military and social upheavals that led to one of the most infamous executions in Western history. Socrates is a timely and timeless new work that serves as a passionate tribute to the man who continues to inspire us to question authority and defend freedom of belief."

The final production of the 2018-2019 season will be the New York premiere of Luis Alfaro's Mojada, directed by Chay Yew. Performances will run from July 2 to August 11, 2019 at the Public's LuEsther Hall.

Synopsis: "Mojada is a stirring drama about love, immigration, and sacrifice, inspired by the Ancient Greek story of Medea. This play masterfully combines ancient storytelling with the most pressing issues facing our country today, following a young Mexican mother who gives up everything to bring her son to America, only to find America demands even more. With great poetry, humor, and heart, Mojada is a bold new telling of a story as old as tragedy itself."

Additional casting and creative team information for all the shows in the 2018-2019 season will be announced in the coming months.

The Public Theater's 2018-2019 season will also include the 15th Annual Under The Radar Festival from January 3 to 13, 2019, which will include Manual Cinema's Frankenstein, as well as two free Mobile Shakespeare Unit tours to all five boroughs - A Midsummer Night's Dream, directed by Jenny Koons, in the fall of 2018 and The Tempest, directed by Lucas Caleb Rooney, in the spring of 2019. Following the tours, both Mobile Unit productions will stage sit-down limited engagements at the Public Theater. A Midsummer Night's Dream will run from October 29 through to November 18, 2018, whilst The Tempest will run from April 29 through to May 19, 2019.

(Photos courtesy of The Public Theater)

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