Arena Stage’s New Season Features Kathleen Turner, Bill Pullman, Lawrence Wright, Estelle Parsons, and More

Molly Smith will direct three shows in the 2013-14 season, which also includes three world premieres.
Kathleen Turner, here in Red Hot Patriot: The Kick Ass Wit of Molly Ivins, returns to Arena Stage to take the lead in Mother Courage and Her Children. Photograph by Mark Gavin.
Kathleen Turner, here in Red Hot Patriot: The Kick Ass Wit of Molly Ivins, returns to Arena Stage to take the lead in Mother Courage and Her Children. Photograph by Mark Gavin.

Arena Stage announced its 2013-14 season in typical clandestine fashion last night
(a post-midnight press release with details already published in the
Washington Post),

and it’s fair to say it’s quite a lineup. There are big-name
stars (Kathleen Turner,
Bill Pullman), theater gods (Moises Kaufman,
Estelle Parsons), and world premieres (New Yorker writer
Lawrence Wright’s play about the Camp David Accords, resident playwright
Charles Randolph-Wright’s
Love in Afghanistan), as well as some meaty classics on the agenda (Turner will star in
Bertolt Brecht’s
Mother Courage and Her Children).

The only thing missing? The Manzari brothers, who were scheduled to appear in
Tappin’ Thru Life, a co-production with Alliance Theatre and the Cleveland Playhouse starring
Maurice Hines. In January, Arena artistic director
Molly Smith issued a letter to season ticket
holders

mentioning Wright’s
Camp David, as well as a new musical featuring Hines with
John and Leo Manzari, who all appeared together in Arena’s critically acclaimed 2010 show
Sophisticated Ladies. There’s no mention of the Manzari brothers in Arena’s season announcement, however,
and an Arena spokesperson was unable to confirm at this time whether they’d be appearing
in
Tappin’ Thru Life when it opens in the Kreeger Theater in November.

Still, with or without the local tap-dancing phenoms, Arena’s new season seems formidable.
Here are the details:

Opening in September is
The Velocity of Autumn, a pre-Broadway production by
Eric Coble starring Tony winners
Estelle Parsons and
Stephen Spinella and directed by Smith. (The
play was billed as Smith’s Broadway
debut

when it was announced late last year.)

Coming in October is the world premiere of Arena resident playwright Charles Randolph-Wright’s

Love in Afghanistan.

Tappin’ Thru Life, directed by Tony winner Jeff Calhoun, and starring Maurice Hines, opens November
15.

Kenny Leon (last seen at Arena directing Phylicia Rashad in
every tongue confess) will helm a new theatrical adaptation of the 1967 film
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, opening November 29.

Moises Kaufman and Tectonic Theater Project present
The Tallest Tree—A Portrait of Paul Robeson by
Daniel Beaty, opening January 10.

Kathleen Turner, who starred in Arena’s hit about journalist Molly Ivins last year,
will return to take the lead in Brecht’s
Mother Courage and Her Children, directed by Smith and opening January 31.

Smith also directs Lawrence Wright’s
Camp David, opening March 23 (see more about the play
in our earlier
post
).

Arena will stage a new production of the musical
Smokey Joe’s Café opening April 25.

And choreographer
Liz Lerman (Liz Lerman Dance Exchange) will debut a new theatrical work commemorating the 150th
anniversary of the Civil War, starring Bill Pullman.

For more on Arena’s new season, visit the theater’s website.

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