Producing Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards and Managing Director Linda DiGabriele just announced Asolo Repertory Theatre's 54th season, containing four Pulitzer Prize winning plays, Three Tony Award® winners and one world premiere, all centering around the theme The American Character.
The American Character Project will examine and celebrate the extraordinary people, culture, history and experiences that make our country unique. It will serve as a guiding, artistic principle for Asolo Rep over the next five seasons. The 2012-2013 season will feature an all American Character season, and the following four seasons will feature select productions that explore, embody, and attempt to define what it truly means to be an American. The project will also increase the commitment to new American playwriting, and Asolo Rep will produce at least one world premiere each season.
"The American Character Project is a five year artistic initiative that poses a series of galvanizing questions: what is the American character? How did it come to be? What is its nature? How has it evolved into what it is now? Where is it going?" said Producing Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards. "It's impossible to ever concretely define such a vast, far-reaching concept as the American character, but that is precisely why it is worth exploring. These questions provide a gateway to a truly collaborative experience that we will share with our audiences. We will be examining every facet of the American character – the character of the nation, the character we each possess as individuals, and the characters that populate the productions on our stages. The end goal of this project is to deepen our collective understanding of what it means to be living in this country at this point in time, and how we got here, and where we will go from here. We are not searching for a single answer to these questions - we want many answers. In fact, there are as many answers as there are people in our audiences, there are as many answers as there are creative artists working on our productions. Each person brings a different element of what it means to be American or have an American experience – they bring their American character to the work we're doing."
Michael Donald Edwards has assembled a creative advisory group of extraordinary American theatre artists who are already deeply informing the programming for the American Character Project. The group consists of Tony Award®-winning director Frank Galati, Pulitzer Prize winning playwrights Lynn Nottage and Nilo Cruz, and artistic director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival Bill Rauch. "They are true creative companions," says Edwards, "Providing exciting ideas and inspiring our whole organization as we embark on this journey."
The 2012-2013 season will feature all shows centered around The American Character, beginning with the hit musical, 1776, directed by Tony Award®- winner Frank Galati. A brilliant and visionary high-spirited musical, 1776 follows John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, and Richard Henry Lee and Thomas Jefferson of Virginia as they attempt to convince the members of the second Continental Congress to vote for freedom from the shackles of the British monarchy by signing the Declaration of Independence. The New York Times said "1776 is a most striking, most gripping musical. I recommend it without reservation. It makes even an Englishman's heart beat faster..." and the original production won three Tony Awards® for Best Musical, Best Featured Actor and Best Direction.
The 2013 Repertory Season will bring four Pulitzer Prize winning plays in a row to Asolo Rep, beginning with Kaufman and Hart's You Can't Take it With You, directed by Peter Amster (of Asolo Rep's Deathtrap and Fallen Angels). The definitive Kaufman and Hart production and winner of the 1937 Pulitzer Prize, You Can't Take it With You sheds light on commerce, family and the American Dream in a message that's still applicable to today.