International City Theatre trumpets its 30th Anniversary in 2015 with a season of five plays celebrating famous people, fiery stories and fun adventures.
ICT will pay homage to two icons of the American musical, kicking off the season in February with End of the Rainbow, Peter Quilter’s tour de force musical drama about Judy Garland, and finishing the year in October with the Los Angeles premiere of Sondheim on Sondheim, the James Lapine-conceived musical revue that offers an inside glimpse into the artistic process of Broadway’s foremost composer/lyricist. The three other plays include the West Coast premiere of Abigail/1702 in which Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa picks up the tale of Arthur Miller’s child-villain Abigail Williams ten years after The Crucible; a 30th anniversary production of August Wilson’s modern American classic, Fences, which premiered at Yale Rep in 1985 — the same year that ICT was founded; and the Los Angeles premiere of David Ives’ inspired and hilarious adaptation of Jean-François Regnard‘s 18th century French classic, The Heir Apparent.
“What I love about these five plays is the combination of more recognizable subject matter and name playwrights that should appeal to audiences, while at the same time they have substance with thoughtful and provocative material that is new to Los Angeles,” says ICT artistic director Caryn Desai [sic]. “We are proud to be able to present a West Coast premiere and two Los Angeles premieres as part of this special anniversary season.”
One of the few theaters in Los Angeles that has successfully made the step up from a 99-seat venue to a mid-sized, Equity House, ICT is Long Beach’s resident professional theater company at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center.
The 2015 schedule is as follows:
End of the Rainbow — Peter Quilter’s savagely funny play offers unique insight into the inner conflict that inspired and consumed one of the most beloved figures in American popular culture. It’s 1968, and Judy Garland, at 46, appears to be on the way to a full recovery following a lifetime of abuse, addictions and attempted suicides. Encouraged by her fiancé and manager, Mickey Deans, and in cahoots with her gay pianist friend Anthony, she has booked a six-week run at London’s Talk of the Town nightclub. End of the Rainbow is a powerful, and at times hilarious, exploration of the final days of this lonely and exploited star. Part drama and part concert, the production features Garland’s most memorable songs including, The Man That Got Away, Come Rain Or Come Shine, The Trolley Song and, of course, Somewhere Over The Rainbow.
Abigail/1702 — Whatever happened to Abigail Williams? It’s 1702, a decade after The Crucible‘s infamous seductress danced with the devil in Salem. Imagining the destiny of the immortal stage villain who cried “Witch!,” this thrilling next chapter by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Fox’s Glee, Broadway’s Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark) finds Abigail living under an assumed name in a village far from Salem, trying to start afresh. But now her past is about to catch up with her. Winner of the 2012 Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award.
The Heir Apparent — From the ever-antic pen of David Ives (Venus in Fur, The Liar) comes his latest laugh-fest, this time adapted entirely in hilarious rhyming verse from a comic masterpiece by Jean-François Regnard. Meet young Eraste. He has it all: good looks, a beautiful fiancée and a huge inheritance from an ancient uncle. There’s just one little problem: the uncle won’t die and has bequeathed his entire fortune to a distant relative. Oh, and did we mention the uncle also intends to marry Eraste’s fiancée? What’s a fine 18th-century fellow to do? What else but enlist the aid of his resourceful servant, Crispin, who could “out-Figaro” Figaro.
Fences — Troy Maxson has stepped up to the plate too many times in his life only to go down swinging. Shut out of the big leagues by prejudice, the former Negro League homerun king is now a garbage collector with little future. He tries to do right by his family, but when his youngest son Cory shows promise on the high school football team, Troy must come to terms with his past disappointments or risk tearing his family apart. Set in the 1950s, Fences is the sixth entry in August Wilson’s Century Cycle, a decade-by-decade exploration of the black experience in 20th century America. This Pulitzer Prize and two-time Tony Award-winner (1987 “Best Play” and 2010 “Best Revival”) is Wilson at his best: challenging the American dream through a poetic, powerful and deeply personal story.
Sondheim on Sondheim — Writing songs that reflect the complexity of his characters, Stephen Sondheim changed the way we define a great musical. Yet even though millions of fans know his songs by heart, few know much about Sondheim himself. Until now. Conceived by frequent Sondheim collaborator James Lapine, this intimate evening combines exclusive interview footage offering an inside look at Sondheim’s personal life and artistic process with sparkling-new arrangements of over two dozen Sondheim tunes ranging from the celebrated to the obscure. A unique theatrical experience. Rating: A Major.