In a staged production, two elements are critical, TheatreSquared artistic director Bob Ford told a crowd of sponsors on March 11. The show needs a great beginning, and it needs a strong closing.
The professional theater company must have done the opening right, as the organization has enjoyed continued success and presents its 13th season in 2018-2019. And Ford believes they’ve nailed the closing act of this chapter of the organization’s history.
T2 moves into a purpose-built, multimillion dollar building next year, but not before one final season in its longtime home across the street from the new building at the intersection of West Avenue and Spring Street in Fayetteville. The upcoming season runs from August to May.
The first show in the season is a re-imagining of “Once,” a rare story to earn a Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award for success in multiple platforms. “Once” began as an indie movie about a pair of musicians in Dublin, Ireland, and the relationship they form. Traditionally a show for larger venues (like when it came to the Walton Arts Center in 2015), the show will be reconfigured for the black box stage.
The following production is the play “Skeleton Crew” by up-and-coming playwright Dominique Morisseau, who also serves as a writer for the Showtime network’s “Shameless.” “Skeleton Crew” is part of Morisseau’s three-part series of works about Detroit, where the author lives. The play is set in an automobile factory where the workers confront economic uncertainty.
For Christmastime, T2 will stage a show that serves as a sequel of sorts to “Pride and Prejudice.” The show “Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley” explores the life of middle child Mary Bennet, who was often overshadowed by her sisters in Jane Austen’s original telling.
After the new year, TheatreSquared will bring a “Every Brilliant Thing” to the stage. This show explores a person’s quest to write down joyful things that might give his depressed mother a reason to live and how those joyful things change as he ages. For the show, T2 will change the seating arrangements of the theater, a tactic they employed several times earlier in their history. The revised seating chart felt like an appropriate nod to the past, and this show lends itself to that kind of treatment.
“It so intimately connects to the audience we wanted to get everyone as close as possible,” said Amy Herzberg, the company’s associate artistic director.
The fifth show in the season was a Pulitzer Prize for Drama finalist in 2017. Playwright Sarah DeLappe’s play “The Wolves” focuses on a girls’ soccer team in the suburbs. The team members gather each week for their indoor matches and discuss their lives and dreams.
The final production of the final season in Nadine Baum Studios is the show “The Legend of Georgia McBride.” The comedy imagines what might happen to a down-on-his-luck Elvis impersonator after his show is canceled in favor of a drag show.
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2018-19 TheatreSquared Season
Aug. 22-Sept. 23 – “Once”
Oct. 10-Nov. 14 – “Skeleton Crew”
Nov. 28-Dec. 30 – “Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley”
Jan. 16-Feb. 10 – “Every Brilliant Thing”
Feb. 27-March 24 – “The Wolves”
March 28-April 7 – Arkansas New Play Festival
May 1-26 – “The Legend of Georgia McBride”