On the boards

New theater season rich with new works, classics

__?See CL's complete schedule of the 2000-2001 theater season.

It's not that the 2000-2001 theater season is entirely given over to new works, although the quantity of world and regional premieres is quite heartening, from the Alliance Theatre's Art to most of ART Station's season. But also promising is how many of the classic or "name" scripts are playing at venues where you might not expect to find them, like Eugene O'Neill's A Moon for the Misbegotten and Moss Hart's Light Up the Sky at the Alliance and A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Center for Puppetry Arts. Here are some of the most intriguing plays scheduled for the upcoming season.

Happy Go Lucky Dad's Garage Theatre enjoys the coup of staging, O Happy Day, the world premiere of a never-before-seen play by Graham Chapman, deceased member of the legendary Monty Python troupe. (You remember Chapman as King Arthur in Holy Grail and the title character in Life of Brian.) (Sept. 22-Oct. 28).

Local Color Theatre in the Square tackles two very different plays of Marietta interest. Robert Myers' The Lynching of Leo Frank, a provocative dissection of the area's most notorious crime, opened last week, while Jan. 17 sees Five Women Wearing the Same Dress, a Southern comedy by former Mariettan Alan Ball, Oscar-winning screenwriter of American Beauty.

Grimsley in Germany 7 Stages debuts the latest work by playwright-in-residence Jim Grimsley, In Berlin, in which a gay Southerner (played by Brad Sherrill) takes a walk on the German wild side (Sept. 30-Nov. 5).

Insect Asides In January the Center for Puppetry Arts' Jon Ludwig premieres the newest of his ridiculously entertaining educational/variety shows, The Adventures of Mighty Bug (Jan. 4-Mar. 17), a superheroic take on entomology. In addition, next spring features a revival of Ludwig's out-of-this-world astronomy show, Space (April. 12-June 12).

A Dinner Party Following up its spring production of the 1999 Pulitzer-winner Wit, the Alliance Studio presents the latest prize winner, Donald Margulies' Dinner With Friends (opens Sept. 9).

Old Timer At Theater Emory such Atlanta favorites as Stuart Culpepper, Brenda Bynum and Chris Kayser will tackle George Bernard Shaw's Back to Methuselah, a show so sprawling and ambitious it will be presented in two parts on successive nights, a la Angels in America (Oct. 11-Nov. 4).

Actors In Action In true Hollywood fashion, Dad's Garage develops a "prequel" to its hit Action Movie with next summer's Action Movie II: Episode One (June 22-July 28). A high-speed boat chase may be in the offing. ...

Unabashed Theater in the Square has set up its smaller Alley Stage to stage newer, edgy works, and promises a doozy with Bash by Neil LaBute, a script by the film director of In the Company of Men and Nurse Betty.

Quarts of Pinter PushPush Theatre explores the so-called "Theater of Menace" of England's Harold Pinter, staging Ashes to Ashes, his modern classic Betrayal and off-night productions of Pinter short plays (Oct. 20-Nov. 19).

It's Like Butter March 29-April 29 the Alliance Theatre mainstage presents the regional premiere of Rebecca Gilman's Spinning Into Butter, a searing drama about race relations on campus.

Dueling Dubois Next spring sees two theaters take on Tennessee Williams' shattering A Streetcar Named Desire, with Jessica Phelps West playing Southern belle Blanche Dubois for Theatre in the Square (beginning March 21) and Patricia French taking on the role for the Shakespeare Tavern (May 10).

Quick Change Actor's Express puts drag into overdrive with Charles Ludlam's The Mystery of Irma Vep, a gothic spoof in which two quick-changing actors play all the roles (May 3-June 29).

Magic Acts Fans of Harry Potter and other British fantasy books, alert: Theatrical Outfit will offer a new adaptation of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (Nov. 15-19) while the Alliance Family Series presents J.R.R. Tolkein's The Hobbit (Jan. 20-Feb. 4).


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