North Carolina 2018/2019 Season In Review by Jacqueline Lawton
As North Carolina’s 2018-2019 theatre season wraps up, I’m excited to share a snapshot of the plays that were produced this year. While I won’t be able to cover every theatre, I’m inspired by the enthusiasm for new work in our state.
This year, Cape Fear Regional Theatre in Fayetteville presented the world premiere of Music City, which was written by Peter Zinn. Directed by CFRT Artistic Director Mary Kate Burke, the musical features several hit songs by J.T. Harding. Set in Nashville, this musical explores the pursuit of one’s dreams and the choices we make for love.
Children’s Theatre of Charlotte produced five new plays this year! There was A Sick Day for Amos McGee, adapted for the stage by Nicole B. Adkins, and Last Stop on Market Street, adapted for the stage by Gloria Bond Clunie. Dramatists Guild members had the opportunity to speak with Gloria and attend rehearsals for the play as part of our Fall gathering in Charlotte. Next up, there was Judy Moody and Stink: The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Treasure Hunt, adapted by Allison Gregory. Followed by The Ghost of Splinter Cove, one of two plays written by Steven Dietz. In an innovative move, Children’s Theatre of Charlotte and Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte teamed up to create “The Second Story Project,” a unique commissioning of two plays by the same playwright. The Ghost of Splinter Cove introduces us to the young people of the family. While Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte’s producedThe Great Beyond, which focuses on the adults of the same family. Children’s Theatre of Charlotte’s season closed with Picaro, which was created by local theatre artist CarlosAlexis Cruz.
This season, PlayMakers Repertory Company opened with the world premiere of Temples of Lung and Air by Kane Smego, which was presented in collaboration with StreetSigns Center for Literature and Performance. Over the winter, PlayMakers commissioned and produced Zack Fine’s Bewilderness. In the Spring, Charly Evon Simpson’s Jump received the first of its many National New Play Network rolling world premieres.
Meanwhile, North Carolina Black Repertory Company (NCBRC) continued its annual tradition of the Living Room Theatre, a staged reading series presented at site-specific locations throughout the city of Winston-Salem. This year’s plays included Kissing Che by Augusto Amador, Black Super Hero Magic Mama by Inda Craig-Galván, Berta, Berta by Angelica Chéri, Run No More by Harold Ellis Clark, Swimming Uptown by Cheryl L. Davis, Teen Dad by Adrienne Dawes, Silent Truth by Magaly Colimon-Christopher, and Freedom Summer by Cynthia G. Robinson.
Additionally, the North Carolina’s Women Theatre Festival presented a workshop production of a devised theatre piece, Illuminated Dresses, which was conceived by local playwright Debra Kaufman and included monologues by Amanda Almodovar, Doreen Blue, Beth Copeland, Shelley Daniels, Jessica Feder-Birnbaum, Danielle Fenton, Anne Flanagan, Christine Foster, Jaki Shelton Green, Debra Kaufman, Shirley King, Margo Rife, Gena Rawdon, Steffi Rubin, Cynthia Strauff Schaub, Mary Turner, and Loretta Bolger Wish.
Finally, I wanted to bring special attention to Magnetic Theatre for their dedication to cultivating new work of local playwrights through their New Play Development Program, which offers classes and workshops that allow playwrights to collaborate with directors, designers, dramaturgs, and actors. Additionally, they had two world premiere plays, Buncombe Tower by Peter Lundblad and In the Assassin’s Garden by David Hopes. The coming fall, we will be gathering at Magnetic Theatre for a discussion around new play development and see the world premiere of The Legacy of Amelia Aldean by Laurie Jones.
As you can see, North Carolina theatres are bursting at the seams with new work! I’m excited to see what next year brings.