American Players Theatre, the 36-year-old repertory theater company based in Spring Green, has released the schedule for its upcoming season, which runs June 6 through Oct. 18, 2015. In addition to presenting Othello and The Merry Wives of Windsor by William Shakespeare, its specialty, APT will stage works by such famous writers as Noël Coward, Tennessee Williams, Jane Austen and Homer.
The troupe will welcome a familiar face -- Kelsey Brennan, who has appeared its recent productions of The Importance of Being Earnest, Les Liaisons Dangereuses and more -- to its core company in 2015. Core company member Matt Schwader will depart, along with Paul Bentzen, who is retiring.
Here is the season lineup, with descriptions from APT. Stay tuned for the announcement of an additional production whose contracts are currently being negotiated.
The Merry Wives of Windsor
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Tim Ocel
When infamous mooch and layabout Sir John Falstaff arrives in Windsor, he immediately decides his path to riches lies in finding a wealthy woman to woo. So he sets about writing identical love letters to two married ladies about town: Mistresses Ford and Page. Though the letters fail to have the intended effect, the ladies find them an excellent inlet to toy with Falstaff, resulting in a funny and energetic exploration of marriage, miscommunication and forgiveness, featuring charming characters and shenanigans to spare.
A Streetcar Named Desire
By Tennessee Williams
Directed by William Brown
After losing her job and family home, fading Southern beauty Blanche DuBois heads to New Orleans to stay with her sister, Stella. Stella's enthusiasm over her sister's extended visit is tempered by worries about the reaction of her unpredictable husband, Stanley. As it turns out those worries are justified, as Blanche's frailty and narcissism and Stanley's violent temper make for an ever more explosive mix. A stunning story of complicated love and last chances.
Pride and Prejudice
Adapted by Joseph Hanreddy and J.R. Sullivan
From the novel by Jane Austen
The Bennet sisters look for love under the watchful eye of their mother, for whom love takes a backseat to social placement. Mrs. Bennet has her work cut out for her: Daughters (and Elizabeth in particular) have their own very specific ideas on who might make an appealing husband. But as the young ladies seek their fortunes, they may find that what they're looking for may not really be what they want. An irresistible romantic comedy based on the novel by Jane Austen.
By Noël Coward
Directed by James Bohnen
Determined to forget their first volatile marriage, Elyot and Amanda have moved on to more reasonable partners who love them madly. Mad, perhaps, being the operative word. But when Amanda and Elyot see each other again -- each on honeymoon with their second spouses, no less -- it's obvious that their spark hasn't been extinguished by their new pairings. Now the two must decide what to do, and try not to kill each other in the meantime. A cosmopolitan comedy of Noël Coward proportions perfectly suited to APT's company.
By William Shakespeare
Directed by John Langs
Grave self-doubt leads to tragedy in this moving Shakespearean masterpiece. Othello has successfully won the heart of the lovely Desdemona. But not everyone is happy about this love connection, whether they admit it openly or not. So when his "friend" Iago starts whispering that Desdemona has been unfaithful, Othello is confronted by demons of doubt and the tenuous self-esteem that comes with being treated like an outsider. Love and jealousy fight to the death, spurred by the unconscionable actions of one of literature's most evil and compelling villains.
By Lisa Peterson and Denis O'Hare
Adapted from Homer's The Iliad by Robert Fagle
Directed by John Langs
Homer's epic tale distilled to one war-torn poet, actor Jim DeVita takes us on a thrilling, wrenching tour of the Trojan War. The intimate Touchstone Theatre is an ideal space for this exploration of the contradictory conditions of glory and violence, and the human race's seemingly endless fascination with war.
By Athol Fugard, John Kani and Winston Ntshona
John and Winston are black political prisoners in South Africa, spending their days at hard labor and their evenings rehearsing Sophocles' Antigone. Though the two men are deeply bonded to one another, their friendship is tested when John discovers that his most recent appeal was successful, while Winston is still looking at years of brutal incarceration ahead. A profile on the depth of human resilience in the face of unspeakable injustice and racism.
The Game of Love and Chance
By Pierre Carlet de Marivaux
Translated by Stephen Wadsworth
Directed by David Frank
Making the most of her arranged marriage, Silvia switches places with her ladies' maid Lisette to observe her betrothed more carefully. What she doesn't know is that her husband-to-be, Dorante, had the exact same idea, trading identities with his valet, Harlequin. Sparks fly immediately between both couples, leaving them in a quandary about where their allegiances lie, and whether class lines can be crossed in the name of love. A hilarious period comedy.