Artists Repertory Theatre offers an ambitious and stylistically diverse 2015/16 season of eight engaging plays. These selections emphasize Artists Rep’s role as Portland’s premiere mid-size regional theatre company by offering five critically acclaimed contemporary plays, alongside two magnificent mid-20th Century classics, and the world premiere production of the Broadway-scale musical, Cuba Libre.
“This season's line-up of bold and diverse plays presents us with characters facing and ultimately emerging through life’s obstacles,” said Dámaso Rodriguez, Artistic Director. “From challenges of immense or fantastical proportions to deep, internal hindrances they may not yet understand, the characters this season reveal the grace and beauty of accepting change through adaptation and perseverance.” Rodriguez continues, “I hope both veteran and new theatre-goers see titles that inspire them to discover what makes Artists Rep such a special place to experience theatre in Portland.”
The 2015/16 season will again feature the work of Artists Rep’s Resident Artist Company, alongside guest artists from Portland’s world-class theatre community and beyond. Now comprised of 24 theatre practitioners, Artists Rep’s Resident Artists Company represents some of Portland’s finest talent, in a variety of theatrical disciplines.
By Theresa Rebeck
Directed by Michael Mendelson
September 8 – October 4
An understudy rehearsal for a fictional Kafka play on Broadway teeters on the edge of reality when Harry – the understudy for Jake, who is the understudy for Bruce, a Hollywood action star about to land a multimillion-dollar part – must work with the ill-fated production’s exasperated stage manager whose life he ruined long ago. The Understudy is a raucously funny existential exposé on human motivation that examines the underbelly of the theatre business and the personal drama behind the curtain.
- Off-Broadway and regional theatre hit comedy from the creator of TV’s Smash
- Portland Premiere
RUN TIME: 1 hour 45 minutes, no intermission
Featuring Music by Tiempo Libre
Book by Carlos Lacámara
Music & Lyrics by Jorge Gómez
Choreography by Maija Garcia
Directed by Dámaso Rodriguez
October 3 – November 15
Portland'5 Winningstad Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway Ave.
The irresistible rhythms of Cuban music drive this riveting, universal story of a man caught between countries, losses and loves, and his search for freedom. Set in America and Cuba, this timely tale reverberates across politics, ambition and romance with quick-witted dialogue, joy-filled dance and Latin-fusion beats. This Broadway-scale, contemporary musical features the internationally acclaimed, three-time Grammy-nominated band Tiempo Libre with a company of 21 actors, dancers and musicians in a not-to-be-missed theatrical event.
- Portland’s Broadway-scale World Premiere
RUN TIME: Approximately two hours, with one 20-minute intermission.
Oregon Public Broadcasting's program Oregon Art Beat has been documenting the making of Cuba Libre since October, 2014.
By John Biguenet
Directed by Gemma Whelan
Starring Vana O'Brien
October 27 – November 22
A fairytale-twisted yarn of delightful humor and spine-tingling suspense conjures a spooky seasonal experience unlike any other. With Vana O’Brien in a tour-de-force solo performance, an Appalachian witch tells a heartfelt and poetic tale of her long life from first love, to heartache, to the hair-raising vengeance she wreaks upon those who’ve crossed her.
- Critically acclaimed spellbinding sensation
- NW Premiere
RUN TIME: 88 minutes
By William Gibson
Directed by Dámaso Rodriguez
December 8 – January 17
One of the most triumphant stories of the human spirit ever told, the soul-stirring The Miracle Worker evokes hope and inspiration for the entire family. With dignity, perseverance and respect in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges, a child, a teacher and a family learn to communicate. A play based on the lives of Helen Keller, who became DeafBlind as an infant, and her teacher, Anne Sullivan, who enabled her to become one of the most influential women of the 20th Century.
- 1960 Tony Winner for Best Play
- 1962 Academy Award-winning classic film
- Uplifting Family Classic
RUN TIME: 2 hours & 10 minutes with a 15 minute intermission.
By Terrence McNally
Directed by Jane Unger
February 9 – March 6
In this sensitive and wryly humorous 2014 Tony Award-nominated play, a mother, after a 20-year silence, pays a surprise visit to her deceased son’s former lover seeking a connection she can’t fathom. At his Central Park apartment, with his husband and young son by his side, he shows her that healing and hope are possible, even after devastating loss. In this play, vastly different worlds collide, yet truth and compassion rise to reveal that all dreams begin with the common ground of forgiveness.
- 4-time Tony Award-winning playwright
- NW Premiere
RUN TIME: 90 minutes with NO intermission.
A Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as South West Africa, From the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915
By Jackie Sibblies Drury
Directed by Kevin Jones
March 8 – April 10
A multiracial cast of six idealistic actors sets out to improvise a story about the first colonial genocide of the 20th Century in Africa, but get lost in the reality of their undertaking. The unusual presentation, humor and inevitable discomfort of this provocative new play gripped theatre hubs like New York, Chicago, London, Washington D.C. and Seattle with its unique theatrical investigation of prejudice, power and perspective. “90 minutes of original, enlightening, pulse-pounding theater… It’s absolutely thrilling … it is visceral, fiercely intelligent and entertaining.“ – Backstage
- Off-Broadway and regional theatre hit
- Portland Premiere
This play uses irony, satire, racially charged language and symbolic violence to examine power, racism and perspective.
We recommend this play for patrons 16 and older.
RUN TIME: 1 hour 45 mintues. No intermission.
POST SHOW DISCUSSIONS
This production is intended to engender conversation.
We invite audiences to stay or return for facilitated conversation about We Are Proud to Present… at these opportunities:
Sun, March 13 post 2pm show with Lesli Mones, co-founder Red Door Project
Sun, March 20 post 2pm show with Bennett Garner MD, MHSA
Sun, March 20 post 7:30pm show with Aleksandr Peikrishvili, LCSW, PW.Dipl
Wed, March 23 post 11am show with Director Kevin Jones, co-founder Red Door Project
Sun, March 27 post 2pm show with Roberta Hunte PhD
Sat, April 2 post 2pm show with Jo Ann Hardesty, President, NAACP Portland
Sat, April 2 post 7:30pm show with Paul Susi, The Color of NOW*
Sun, April 3 post 2pm show with Dr. Sandra Jenkins, Oregon Psychoanalytic Center
Fri, April 8 post 7:30 show with Renee Mitchell, Spit/WRITE* & Chisao Hata
Sat, April 9 post 7:30pm show with Charles McGee, President & CEO, Black Parent Initiative
Additional post show discussions and other events are anticipated, please check back for updates.
*Community Partner Performance - 20% of ticket sale with special code goes to this organization.
Seeing the show again? Support these organizations with your ticket. Look HERE for more info.
By Heidi Schreck
Directed by JoAnn Johnson
May 3 – June 5
In an industrial soup kitchen in the Bronx, Shelley is a nun struggling to pray and questioning her life’s work. Her world in service to the needy, alongside a Dominican immigrant security guard and joke-writing “regular,” is rocked when a rainbow-haired college drop-out comes to volunteer. The girl’s enthusiasm and erratic behavior will change the course of their lives. With touching humor this motley group unravels the intricacies of need, the vagaries of compassion and limits of forgiveness.
- Recently seen Off-Broadway comedic drama
- Susan Smith Blackburn Prize 2014/15 Finalist
- West Coast Premiere
RUN TIME: 1 hour, 45 minutes. No intermission.
By Thornton Wilder
Directed by Dámaso Rodriguez
May 17 – June 12
This comedic masterpiece spans the entirety of history, with one ordinary American family who lives through it all. Dad’s just invented the wheel, Cain is throwing rocks at the neighbor kid, mammoths and dinosaurs lounge in the family room and mom frets about how to get all those animals on the boat two by two. Through Ice Ages, biblical floods and political conventions, the Antrobus family of Excelsior, New Jersey perseveres. With a giant cast and time-set across the ages, this theatrical allegory captures the human spirit – of brilliance, idiocy and ultimately sweet survival.
- Rare and epic revival of the 1943 Pulitzer Prize winner
- An evening of absurdist adventure in three acts
How To Subscribe
Are you as excited about these play selections as we are?! The absolute cheapest way to see these shows and enjoy all the perks of being a part of the Artists Rep family is to SUBSCRIBE.
Are you a current subscriber who wants to see less than 8 shows? Current partial subscribers or Flex Pass holders can renew in April and we’ll send you everything you need to know to renew for next year!
Are you a wannabe subscriber? We love that story! NEW subscribers can contact us anytime after April 1 and we’ll get you all set to join the subscriber family for next season!
The 2015/16 Artists Repertory Theatre season is presented by Ronni Lacroute/WillaKenzie Estate and David and Christine Vernier. The Oregonian/OregonLive is our Media Sponsor. Other season support comes from the Regional Arts and Culture Council, The Oregon Community Foundation, the Collins Foundation and The James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation.