March 17th, 2010
The premiere of two award-winning Broadway shows, “Avenue Q” and “August: Osage County,” will highlight the Manoa Valley Theatre’s 2010-2011 season. Both shows are adult-oriented, with frank language and mature themes, but are prime attractions for theater audiences.
“We are particularly thrilled to be one of the first theaters in the country to receive independent licensing for ‘Avenue Q’ and ‘August: Osage County,’” said MVT producing director Dwight Martin. Both shows are previous Tony Award winners; “Avenue,” a Best Musical winner in 2004, last year closed on Broadway, but later reopened as an off-Broadway musical featuring muppets, and “August,” about a dysfunctional family in Oklahoma, also was a Best Play hit in 2008.
“MVT is committed to including exciting, contemporary plays within our annual lineups,” said Martin.
The season schedule:
• “The Honky Tonk Angels,” a musical by Ted Swindley, Sept. 9 to 26. It’s about three women fed up with their lives, who chase their dreams by becoming country singers; the score includes familiar hits by Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Tammy Wynette and Willie Nelson, tapping such riches as “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” “Nine to Five,” “Stand By Your Man” and “Harper Valley PTA.”
• “A Christmas Carol,” an adaptation by Doris Baizley of the Charles Dickens holiday classic, Nov. 11 to 28. Performed as a play-within-a-play by a motley crew, in raggedy costumes and masks befitting the gray and ghostly tale, and set entirely in Scrooge’s bedroom and focusing on his viewpoint. Elements of commedia dell’arte prevail, with minimalist sets and no props to test the audience’s imagination.
• “Around the World in 80 Days,” a comedic adventure based on Jules Verne’s classic, adapted by Mark Brown, Jan. 13 to 30. Phileas Fogg and his faithful manservant circle the globe and try to beat the clock, in a whirlwind world tour involving stampeding elephants, raging typhoons, runaway trains and more. There’s danger, romance and slapstick, with five actors portraying 39 characters traversing seven continents.
• “Avenue Q,” a musical featuring puppets by Robert Lopez, Jeff Marx and Jeff Whitty, March 3 to 20. Look who’s in the ‘hood — a “Sesame Street”-type crew of singing and talking puppets, enacted by actors, with coloring book costumes, focusing on Princeton, a college grad who comes to New York with a small bank account and big dreams, settling on Avenue Q, where the neighbors include Brian, a jobless comedian; his therapist-fiancee Christmas Eve; Nicky, a good-hearted slacker; his roommate Rod, a GoP investment banker with a secret; Trekkie Monster, an Internet addict; Kate, a kindergarten teaching assistant; and Gary Coleman, the buildings superintendent.
• “August: Osage County,” a drama by Tracy Letts centering on a reunion of the Weston family in Oklahoma, May 19 to June 5. An intense, raucous, funny and riveting three-act play, embracing anything and everything about family life, including drug abuse, alcoholim, suicide, death, sexual harassment, pedophelia, aging, generational change, racism, incest, infidelity, dysfunction, and, ultimately love.
• “Tony N’ Tina’s Wedding,” an environmental comedy by Artificial Intelligence set at a wedding reception, June 30 to July 17. The audience is part of the party, as Tony and Tina tie the knot, hold a reception, and hear the entertainment — and they eat, too. The play is one of the longest-running off-Broadway comedies and has become the landmark environmental theatrical piece because of its interactive and improv flavor. It’s a revival for MVT, which last produced the show in 1996.
Season ticket sales go on sale shortly. Information: 988-6131.