Oh What a Beautiful Season! Announcing the 2011-2012 Season
Posted by Natalie Gilmore | 11 March 2011
Oh, What a Beautiful Season!
Portland Center Stage announces 2011–2012 Season
Take an illuminating road trip through the American heartland, survive the chaos of a somehow hilarious revolution, look inside the creative genius of one America’s greatest visual artists and re-imagine one of Shakespeare’s most fantastical tales with Portland Center Stage’s 2011/2012 season.
It all begins with an iconic musical from one of the most legendary teams in theater history and ends in a mind-bending musical event blending two of the most incendiary voices of the mid-twentieth century.
Are you ready for the ride?
Without further ado, Portland Center Stage is pleased to announce the 2011–2012 season lineup:
Music by Richard Rodgers
Book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Based on the play Green Grow the Lilacs by Lynn Riggs
Original dances by Agnes de Mille
September 20, 2011–October 30, 2011
“Things are changing. The country is changing. Gotta change with it.”
Those words express familiar sentiments often heard these days, but are spoken in this case not by a politician of 2010, but by Curly, the cowboy who takes the notion of change and wrestles it to the ground in Oklahoma! Part charming love story, part stirring retelling of American history, and many parts beloved songs, stunning dance, and often darkly shaded humor, Oklahoma! is the show that made its own history. This first collaboration by what became the legendary team of Rodgers and Hammerstein was a milestone in the development of American musical theater for its fusion of song, story and dance. It also created box office history, setting new records in its day, and is an enduring hit today, with new productions in New York and Washington DC once again breaking records in recent history.
The Real Americans
By Dan Hoyle
Ellyn Bye Studio
September 6, 2011–November 6, 2011
“Imagine a society with no beer,” a veteranback from Iraq tells Dan Hoyle in Wisconsin. “I’d start blowing up stuff too.”
Frequently described as an actor/journalist, Dan Hoyle has focused his form of “theater journalism” in this new piece on a months-long road trip to some of the not-on-the-coasts parts of the U.S. The idea, he says, was to get outside the “latte liberal bubble,” find out what people in rural America are thinking and savor some small-town café pie.
Beneath the masterful humor that Hoyle brings to the piece—as he takes on the personas of the many people he encountered—a rich texture of human connections asserts itself. It surfaces in stories of unemployment and in the frenetic form of a Dominican from New York he meets on the road; it gathers heart-wrenching impact in a Vietnam vet’s reflections on the kids coming back from Iraq, and one of his San Francisco friend’s concern for her sister in Alabama.
The San Francisco Chronicle wrote that The Real Americans should be seen in and outside every liberal bubble in this country, and that Hoyle “displays a gift for mime and vocal mimicry that recalls solo artists John Leguizamo, Sarah Jones or Lily Tomlin.”
A Christmas Story
By Phil Grecian
Based on the motion picture written by Jean Shepherd, Leigh Brown & Bob Clark
November 20, 2011–December 24, 2011
“Wacky and wistful, and fresh as a fir.” – San Jose Mercury News
Based on the beloved movie, this classic holiday comedy is a funny and sweet tale of growing up in the 1940s, by American master storyteller Jean Shepherd. Ralphie pines for an official Red Ryder Model Air Gun for Christmas, and his machinations to try and make sure Santa delivers, while his father obsesses over his “major award” (an abominable lamp), guarantee that nothing about the family Christmas will be filled with heavenly peace. After a nearly sold-out run in 2010, we’re bringing this family hit back to enliven the 2011 holiday season!
Special Holiday Offering
A special engagement offered outside subscription packages.
The Santaland Diaries
By David Sedaris
Adapted for the stage by Joe Mantello
Ellyn Bye Studio
November 29, 2011–December 31, 2011
Based on the outlandish, and true, chronicles of David Sedaris’ experience as Crumpet the Elf in Macy’s Santaland display, this hilarious cult classic features comic encounters during the height of the holiday crunch. PCS brings a holiday favorite back to Portland as a special Studio Theater presentation.
The North Plan
By Jason Wells
January 10, 2012–February 5, 2012
After a ruthless cabal seizes power in Washington, Carlton Berg, a bureaucrat for the State Department, runs off with the new regime’s top secret Enemies List. Unfortunately for Carlton, the chase has come to an end in a police station in the Ozark town of Lodus. With a pair of DHS agents on the way, Carlton’s last chance is in the people around him: an unsympathetic police chief, an ambivalent administrative assistant, and fellow prisoner Tanya Shepke, motor-mouthed recidivist and alcohol enthusiast, who appears to have an attention-deficit disorder and thinks Skynyrd should be on the new money. Let the revolution begin.
The North Plan was an audience favorite at JAW 2010.
Shakespeare’s Amazing Cymbeline
A new adaptation by Chris Coleman
Ellyn Bye Studio
January 31, 2012–April 8, 2012
Based on legends about early Celtic kings, Cymbeline is one ofShakespeare’s most fantastical creations—familiar Shakespearean themes of jealousy and innocence wronged are joined with divineintervention from the gods. A lovely princess, an evil queen, amisguided king and a thoroughly rotten clown inhabit this fairy tale-like story of life, and love, renewed.
One of Shakespeare’s charming romances, this production of Cymbeline marks two firsts—our first production of the Bard in the Ellyn Bye Studio, and the first production of this fresh adaptation (calling for five actors and a pianist) by Artistic Director Chris Coleman.
By John Logan
February 21, 2012–March 18, 2012
An intense bio-drama of the renowned modern artist (and Oregon-raised) Mark Rothko, Red earned critical laurels in its New York run last season.
Set in the 1950s, when Rothko was commissioned to create a series of large pieces of art for the new Four Seasons Restaurant, Red tackles big questions about art—what it takes to create it and where it belongs in our world. But perhaps more importantly, the play invites us to experience a legendary artist through the lens of the assistant brought on to help him with a project Rothko is not so sure he can accept completing. The New York Times described it as “a portrait of an angry and brilliant mind that asks you to feel the shape and texture of thoughts…as much as any stage work I can think of, Red captures the dynamic relationship between an artist and his creations.”
PCS and the Portland Art Museum are working together to celebrate Rothko during the run of this production.
Adapted from Tolstoy by Kevin McKeon
April 3 – 29, 2012
“He avoided looking at her as the sun,but seeing her as one does the sun, without looking”
Tolstoy’s classic story of love and marriage in Imperial Russia comes to our Main Stage in a new adaptation by Kevin McKeon, adaptor of Snow Falling on Cedars.
This tragic love story has been called by some the greatest novel ever written—it certainly has one of the most famous first lines: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” When Anna’s husband refuses to release her from their marriage to pursue her love for Count Vronsky, the wheels are set in motion for the ultimate sacrifice. Anna Karenina isn’t concerned with observing the minutiae of social etiquette, like Jane Austen, nor with righting social injustices, like Dickens. It’s about uncontrollable passions and emotional and sexual betrayal, set against one of the most romantic periods of world history.
Black Pearl Sings!
By Frank Higgins
Ellyn Bye Studio
April 24, 2012–June 17, 2012
In 1935 Texas, Susannah, an academic and song collector for the Library of Congress, visits a high-security prison where she meets Pearl, an African-American woman imprisoned for murder who longs to leave prison and find her lost daughter. Hoping to record the treasure trove of spirituals and folk songs that only Pearl knows—and make her reputation on the discoveries—Susannah bargains for Pearl’s parole and arranges for several public performances. The two women soon find themselves walking a delicate line between exposure and exploitation.
Featuring beautiful a cappella renditions of little-known African-American folk songs, Black Pearl Sings! chronicles a powerful story about being a woman in a man’s world, being black in a white world andfighting for one’s soul in a world where anyone can be a commodity.
Conceived by Randy Johnson
Choreography and Musical Staging by Debra Brown
Featuring the music of The Doors and the literary works of Allen Ginsberg
May 22, 2012–June 24, 2012
The Universal Mind merges the musical landscape of Jim Morrison and The Doors and the enduring literary legacy of Allen Ginsberg into one unique American night—an evening at a Doors concert in 1969. Inspired by the tradition of early classical Greek theatre, which blended poetry and music with highly stylized movement and choreography, Randy Johnson has created a theatrical representation of how the incendiary voice of the Beats in the 1950s influenced the music of the man who invited us to “light my fire” in the 1960s.
The Universal Mind is a collective and creative collaboration between Randy Johnson and renowned choreographer Debra Brown, principal choreographer for Cirque du Soleil for the past 20 years.
Current subscribers may renew online if they are renewing without making any changes to their subscriptions. Click here to renew.
If you're interested in purchasing a new subscription to the 2011–2012 season, you may do so at any time. However, we will not be able to confirm your seating options until we complete renewals of current subscribers. But the sooner you subscribe, the higher priority you'll have for seating! To review package and pricing options, click here.