South Coast Repertory wraps up its current season with a fresh take on an American classic and a world premiere. The Fantasticks, the longest-running musical of all time, in a new setting by Amanda Dehnert, will be the final production of the season. SCR also will present the world premiere of Beau Willimon's The Parisian Woman as part of the 2013 Pacific Playwrights Festival.
"What a great double-feature to close our season," said SCR Artistic Director Marc Masterson. "Audiences will have the chance to get reacquainted with an American favorite through the imagination of a contemporary playwright and director. Also, in a new work by one of America's hottest young playwrights, we'll explore sex and power in the current political landscape."
The Fantasticks runs May 10-June 9 on the Segerstrom Stage and The Parisian Woman runs April 14-May 5 on the Julianne Argyros Stage.
"I've been impressed with Amanda Dehnert's interest in classic and time-honored works from the musical theatre tradition," said Masterson. "Her re-setting of My Fair Lady, that opens the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2013, is another example of her innovative take on a classic musical."
Dehnert's new version retains all The Fantasticks' original charm, beautiful ballads, like the haunting "Try to Remember") and story of young love. Two fathers scheme and conspire with the mysterious El Gallo to keep their daughter and son apart, but then two young lovers venture into the real world. The Washington Post calls this show, "Fresh and alive again."
"Amanda's production of The Fantasticks plays up the magical quality of the musical-including the magic of love," said Masterston. "She's taken something that we've known, seen and heard for years and polished it in a way that helps us see it with fresh eyes," Masterson said. "In fact, it's fantastic."
This production replaces Dehnert's The Verona Project, which had been in SCR's original season lineup. Verona continues undergoing workshop development.
The Parisian Woman-adapted from an 1885 comedy of manners by Henry François Becque-is set inside the Beltway in Washington, D.C. and is a timely take on politics and sex told through the lens of a woman who's part of a "power couple."
"Beau Willimon's writing is sharp and funny," said Masterson. "He uses a witty 19th-century play as a launching point for examining something that is very contemporary. We're looking forward to presenting the world premiere of The Parisian Woman."
Willimon's works have been developed and performed at MCC Theater, Ars Nova, HERE Arts Center and the Battersea Arts Centre in London. He is the recipient of the Lila Acheson Wallace Juilliard Playwriting Fellowship and the Lincoln Center Le Compte du Nuoy Award. Along with George Clooney and Grant Heslov, Willimon adapted his play Farragut North for the film The Ides of March, which starred Clooney. The trio received an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay for the film. He's also a co-developer, along with Kevin Spacey and David Fincher, of the new television series "House of Cards."
SCR's Playwrights Circle is generously supporting production of The Parisian Woman as honorary producers.
Tickets for The Parisian Woman range from $20-70. Tickets for The Fantasticks start at $23. Discounts are available for full-time students, patrons 25 years of age and under, fulltime educators, seniors and groups of 10 or more. For complete information, visit: www.scr.org.
Upcoming: The Motherf**ker with the Hat by Stephen Adly Guirgis (Jan. 6-27); Chinglish by David Henry Hwang (Jan. 25-Feb. 24); Anastasia Krupnik adapted by Meryl Friedman from the book by Lois Lowry (Feb. 8-24); The Whale by Samuel D. Hunter (March 10-31); and Smokefall by Noah Haidle (March 29-April 28). In addition, the Pacific Playwrights Festival marks its 16th season April 26-28.