Lee Street theatre announces Season 12
By Deirdre Parker Smith
Lee Street theatre’s 12th season is just days away, starting with “Crimes of the Heart” by Beth Henley.
The season includes more than plays, though. There will be concerts, comedy, a Halloween bash, and the traditional and popular Scrooge Trolley Tour.
Tickets for every single event at Lee Street are available now at leestreet.org.
A flex pass will offer a variety of choices, from eight admissions to any of the eight season productions to 40 admissions to any of the productions.
Rod Oden is executive director of Lee Street and talked about what’s coming up and how busy the company is.
“I found out we were open only 24% of the year,” he said, and Lee Street needed to be open more. By changing the way the theater uses resources, it was able to fill out Season 12.
“Crimes of the Heart” is a good way to start the season, Oden said.
“We’ve had success with all-female casts in dramas and comedies, so we’re going to continue.”
“Crimes of the Heart” is the story of the McGrath sisters, one of whom struggles with a horrible act in the family. The play is about how the family comes together and overcomes what has happened. It deals with a lot of tough issues and is suitable for teens and older.
Heather Wilson-Bowlby will direct. “Crimes of the Heart” opens Thursday, Aug. 15, and runs at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday through Aug. 24.
The next production will be “Kimberly Akimbo,” which Oden describes as “an unusual dramedy about a 16-year-old young woman who is aging four and a half times as fast as normal.” She has some off-the-wall family and friends. The play is about her journey of acceptance and overcoming the odds.
Oden, who is directing, is familiar with playwright David Lindsay-Abaire. “Kimberly Akimbo” has adult language and themes. It will run at 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday Sept. 26-28 and Oct. 3-5.
Next up is “Vanya, and Sonia, and Masha, and Spike,” a funny takeoff of Anton Chekov’s “The Three Sisters” by Christopher Durang, who is known for his offbeat comedies.
Oden calls it a delightful story. He said Act I is strange and Act II is stranger, with fantastical costumes and weird situations. It is a St. Thomas Players production chosen in conjunction with Lee Street.
Matt Monte, who has appeared in numerous plays at Lee Street, will direct. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Nov. 7-16.
In January, “Deathtrap” will take you for a wild, murderous ride. This fun murder mystery, also a movie starring Michael Caine, is written by Ira Levin and contains numerous twists and turns. Sidney, a playwright, takes on an assistant, and through dire circumstances and interruptions from neighbors, murder is committed. It’s all about figuring out who did what to whom.
“Deathtrap” will be directed by Lena Dodd Olsen, who has worked with numerous N.C. theatres. This will be a slightly more complicated set, with plenty of special effects. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Jan. 23-Feb. 1.
Coming up a few weeks later is another classic, “The Trip to Bountiful,” by Horton Foote. Elderly Carrie Watts hops a bus to return to her hometown of Bountiful, Texas. The play explores her journey and the people she meets along with way.
Oden says he loves Foote’s approach to the story, using symbolism and meaningful dialogue. This is a St. Thomas Players production to be directed by Heather Wilson-Bowlby. It will use projections to move the journey along.
In April, Lee Street will present the Tony Award-winning “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” by Simon Stephens, based on the book of the same name by Mark Haddon. The story is about a young man who is trying to find out how a dog died, but it’s much more than that. The young man has autism, and the lights and colors of the world explode around him.
Oden saw the Broadway production and said he was speechless with awe. The play uses projections to suggest what the autistic man sees and how he experiences the world. It also uses puppets and other technical elements. It will be done in the round, so that the audience will become part of the setting.
It will play at 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, April 15-25. Oden says it will require a phenomenal cast of creative individuals.
In June, the classic drama “Death of a Salesman,” by Arthur Miller, will take the stage. It’s a timely production, as salesman Willy Loman reflects on his life and his never-ending struggle to make something of himself and his family. He’s stuck in a system that fails him time and again.
“It’s an amazing show,” Oden says, “and I’ve wanted to do it for about 15 years.”
The set must evoke Willy’s poverty and lack of upward momentum. It’s also a reflection of what society is going through now.
Kurt Corriher will direct this gritty drama. Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, June 4-13.
Oden will direct the July play, “The Old Man and the Old Moon,” a musical by Pig Pen Theatre Company. This tells the epic tale of an old man who must abandon his duties of filling the moon with liquid light to cross the seas in search of his missing wife.
Using shadow play, Lee Street will take the audience on his journey, filled with storms, wars, leviathans and ghosts. It is a bluegrass musical told by musicians, in part, and is very family-friendly.
Matt Carlson, who starred in “The Mystery of Irma Vep,” will be the music director.
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