For a theater buff, there are few times of the year as exciting as when companies begin announcing their plans for the next season. With most announcements having just been made, here are the 2016-17 theatrical events that you should get excited about now:
Barbeque, The Lyric Stage
Racial stereotypes and family dynamics collide in the latest from Robert O’Hara, whose Bootycandy is currently playing at SpeakEasy. The great Summer L. Williams will direct.
The Bridges of Madison County, SpeakEasy Stage
Sure, it’s basically a Hallmark card on stage, but Jason Robert Brown’s sumptuous, Tony-winning score is the draw here. The ever-reliable M. Bevin O’Gara will direct. May 2017.
Company, The Lyric Stage
Under the direction of Sondheim aficionado (and Lyric artistic director) Spiro Veloudos, you can bet that this is going to be intimate and electric. Everybody rise! September 2016.
Edward II, Actors’ Shakespeare Project
Christopher Marlowe’s rarely performed play about King Edward II, whose reign is threatened when he brings his male lover out of exile. February 2017.
Fiddler on the Roof, New Repertory Theatre
All right, this one’s major: Broadway’s original Motel, Austin Pendleton (who also directed Elizabeth Taylor on Broadway in The Little Foxes) will mount this beloved classic “with striking intimacy and simplicity.” The terrific Jeremiah Kissel will star as Tevye. December 2016.
Hamlet, Actors’ Shakespeare Project
How often do we have the chance to see the greatest play ever written? Hamlet’s not easy to pull off, but I have faith in the always-good Actor’s Shakespeare Project. Doug Lockwood (perfect as Richard II this season) will direct. October 2016.
Hand to God, SpeakEasy Stage
Nominated for five 2015 Tony Awards, including Best Play, Robert Askins’ comedy about a boy and his hand puppet who takes on a life of his own will be making its New England premiere. January 2017.
The Little Foxes, The Lyric Stage
Lillian Hellman’s 1939 masterpiece about the greedy Hubbard family isn’t revived nearly as often as it should be. Scott Edmiston, whose My Fair Lady was a major highlight of last season, will direct. January 2017.
The Scottsboro Boys, SpeakEasy Stage
Kander and Ebb’s (Cabaret, Chicago) riveting, chilling musical about nine African-American boys jailed in Alabama in 1931 for a crime they didn’t commit is one of the most powerful musicals I’ve ever seen. October 2016.
Sunday in the Park with George, Huntington Theatre Company
After striking gold last season with A Little Night Music, Huntington artistic director Peter DuBois will again be at the helm for another Sondheim masterpiece. It isn’t only my favorite Sondheim musical, but my favorite musical of all time. If you see only one show next season, this should be it. September 2016.
Topdog/Underdog, Huntington Theatre Company
This one put Suzan-Lori Parks on the map and won her a Pulitzer, making her the first African-American woman to win for drama. March 2017.