Center Theatre Group Artistic Director Michael Ritchie has set the 2019 – 2020 seasons for the Kirk Douglas Theatre and the Mark Taper Forum . Together, the seasons offer a deep sampling of the best in modern American theatre including the continuation of Block Party, which celebrates the rich array of theatre produced every year in intimate theatres throughout Los Angeles.
“The 2019 – 2020 seasons at the Taper and Douglas are stacked with great American stories and storytellers,” said Ritchie. “It is a collection of artists, some that we have worked with over the years but many are new voices that are joining us for the first time.”
“It all begins with ‘A Play Is a Poem,’ a new collection of short plays by Ethan Coen, who is not only a razor-sharp screenwriter, but a seasoned playwright making his Taper debut with a vision of America shared by the likes of Sam Shepard and Mark Twain. Then we’ll see the return of two signature Taper artists in one play as Ruben Santiago-Hudson directs his Tony Award-winning production of August Wilson’s ‘Jitney.’ It’s our second time producing Wilson’s classic work, which transports us to the Hill District of Pittsburgh in the 1970s as the promise of urban renewal threatens a community already struggling to survive.
“Newly minted Pulitzer Prize finalist Heidi Schreck will bring her deeply personal American exploration ‘What the Constitution Means to Me’ which has taken New York by storm and was hailed as ‘the most important’ play currently on Broadway by The New York Times,” said Ritchie. “It’s a boundary-breaking piece of theatre that will have you seriously considering the Constitution in a radically new light. Annie Baker is another writer bringing a fresh voice to the theatre landscape. Set in a writers’ room, Annie’s ‘The Antipodes’ explores the nature of storytelling to hilarious effect. And we close the season with a new play by our longtime collaborator Rajiv Joseph. ‘King James’ explores LeBron James’ impact on Cleveland, Ohio and his role in America’s extreme fascination with sports figures.”
Taper subscribers will also receive tickets to one of two powerhouse shows recently announced at the Ahmanson—John Leguizamo in “Latin History for Morons” or Mike Birbiglia in “The New One.”
“At the Kirk Douglas Theatre we have more boldly personal stories and the continuation of a favorite program,” continued Ritchie. “We begin with one of our most dynamic and inventive artists, Bill Irwin, exploring his lifelong relationship with Samuel Beckett in his compelling new play, ‘On Beckett,’ which will allow us to experience the words of this master playwright as only Irwin can deliver them.
“In an equally personal and compelling performance, playwright Dael Orlandersmith returns to the Douglas with ‘Until the Flood,’ presenting a raw and urgent exploration of the community around Ferguson, Missouri following the shooting of Michael Brown. Aasif Mandvi is famous for his biting work on ‘The Daily Show,’ but became known on stage with his one-man show ‘Sakina’s Restaurant,’ a heartwarming play that centers on an Indian immigrant’s search for the American dream. ‘Sakina’s Restaurant’ was written 20 years ago yet feels more urgent than ever.
“And we’re proud to continue our tradition of welcoming our fellow Los Angeles theatremakers to the annual Block Party, where we present encores of some amazing work taking place at smaller theatres throughout L.A. Subscribers will receive one of the selected works.
“This promises to be an exciting year at the Taper and Douglas. One filled with artists that grab our imaginations and bring us with them into different times and places, into their process and obsessions and, in doing so, they let us in on experiences we might never have and offer new ways to see the everyday world around us.”