ANNOUNCING THEATRICAL OUTFIT’S 2019-2020 SEASON

Speakeysie News Desk

The Season Marks Tom Key’s Final Year as Artistic Director for the Downtown Professional Theatre

ATLANTA, GA – Theatrical Outfit, Atlanta’s second-oldest professional theatre, proudly announces its 2019-2020 Season, which also marks the final season under the leadership of Artistic Director Tom Key. The season promises to be a powerful representation of the kind of work Key loves to produce at the theatre’s home in the heart of downtown Atlanta: telling stories that inspire conversation about compassion, joy and a just community. The season includes:  two iconic plays performed in repertory, Our Town by Thornton Wilder and The Laramie Project by Moisés Kauffman and The Tectonic Theater Project, featuring the same cast of 10 actors performing in both productions; the world premiere of Safety Net, a 2018 Alliance Theatre Reiser Lab Winner, by Atlanta playwright Daryl Lisa Fazio; the next installment of Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon’s holiday love letters to Jane Austen, The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley; a new comedy by Wendy MacLeod, Slow Food; the powerful Broadway smash Indecent by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel; and closing the season will be the beloved musical that launched Tom Key into the hearts of so many, Cotton Patch Gospel by Tom Key and Russell Treyz, with music and Lyrics by Harry Chapin, and starring Key himself. 
The season will also feature the return of our Unexpected Play Festival; and the popular jazz concert series from renowned trumpeter and vocalist Joe Gransden with special guest singers. With seven productions, a concert series, a new play festival, summer camps and weekend classes for young people, there is something for everyone at Theatrical Outfit.

Artistic Director Tom Key says of selecting the 2019-20 season: “After almost 24 years of creating theatre that I love, with people who I love, in the center of the city I love, there came a day when my final season was chosen and it was ready to announce.  When I looked at the lineup in print – from classic to contemporary, dramatic to comedic, full of meaning, rich in promise, pointing us toward a vision of what it is to be human – I thought, ‘This is the Wow Season.’  What a wonder that at this stage of my life, in anticipation of what is next at Theatrical Outfit, I feel like a child again, who watching for the first time the finale of the fireworks on the 4th of July understands, just when you think it can’t get better, it actually does.”

THEATRICAL OUTFIT’S 2019-2020 SEASON

OUR TOWN 
by Thornton Wilder
Directed by David Crowe, Artistic Associate
THE LARAMIE PROJECT 
by Moisés Kauffman and The Tectonic Theater Project
Directed by Clifton Guterman, TO Associate Artistic Director
August 27 – September 29, 2019

Performed in repertory. One Cast. Two essential American stories.

Considered by many to be the the greatest American play ever, Our Town depicts the town of Grover’s Corners in three acts: “Daily Life,” “Love and Marriage,” and “Death and Eternity.” Narrated by a stage manager character and performed with minimal props and sets, this classic chronicles the Webb and Gibbs families as their children fall in love, marry, and eventually – in one of the most famous scenes in theatre – die.

In 1998, a university student named Matthew Shepard was kidnapped, beaten, and tied to a prairie fence outside Laramie, Wyoming. When he died days later, the world learned Shepard was targeted because he was gay. A breathtaking collage of the local residents, The Laramie Project is virtuously determined to find the light in an event of harrowing darkness and exposes the depths to which humanity can sink and the heights of compassion of which we are capable.

SAFETY NET 
by Daryl Lisa Fazio
Directed by Karen Robinson
October 16 – November 10, 2019

Chris Dove is the first-ever female fire captain in an Alabama town at war with opioids, and she’s facing it head-on, heart-out, and under scrutiny. Meanwhile, her spitfire-of-a-mother, Xenia, tries to conjure stability with bundt cake and Bible verses. When Chris’ mysterious childhood friend, Val, drifts into their lives, daughter and mother find themselves at a tipping point between what’s safe and what saves.

THE WICKHAMS: CHRISTMAS AT PEMBERLEY
directed by Carolyn Cook, Artistic Associate
by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon
November 27 – December 29, 2019

Welcome back to Regency-era romance with The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley, a companion to TO’s Pride and Prejudice-inspired Miss Bennet (produced by TO in 2017 and 2018). While the Miss Bennetplot unfolds upstairs, Pemberley’s servants navigate their own scandal down below, as a diligent housekeeper, an indomitable maid, and a lovesick groomsman struggle to control the boorish Mr. Wickham. Gunderson and Melcon’s latest love letter to Jane Austen celebrates family and forgiveness at the time of year we need both of them the most.

SLOW FOOD
by Wendy MacLeod
directed by Ryan Oliveti
January 22 – February 16, 2020

Irene and Peter just want a quiet anniversary meal while on vacation in Palm Springs, but the evening heats up when a neurotic waiter won’t bring their food, and everything goes deliriously wrong. This fussy server has the couple second-guessing their menu choices, parenting skills, and their very future together. Will their shared desperation get them their spanakopita or end a marriage? Everything (and nothing) is on the table in this zesty comedy about painfully slow service.

INDECENT
by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel
directed by Mira Hirsch, TO Director of Education
March 4 – 29, 2020

Inspired by the 1923 Broadway debut of The God of Vengeance by Jewish writer Sholem Asch, Indecent tells the story of a kiss between two female actors (one playing a prostitute, one a brothel owner’s daughter) that led to an entire cast being arrested for obscenity. With vivid theatricality underscored by a live Klezmer musical ensemble, seven actors portray over forty roles in this fascinating exploration of faith, sexuality, and art.

COTTON PATCH GOSPEL
April 22 – May 17, 2020
starring Tom Key, TO Artistic Director
Book by Tom Key & Russell Treyz
Music and Lyrics by Harry Chapin
directed & choreographed by Patdro Harris, Artistic Associate
musical direction by S. Renee Clark, Artistic Associate
April 22 – May 17, 2020

The beloved musical returns home just when we need its radical hope – now more than ever. Inspired by Clarence Jordan’s provocative The Cotton Patch Version of Matthew and John and produced and cherished worldwide since its conception in 1981, this soul-rouser with boundless heart sets the story of Jesus in the American South. In downtown Atlanta in 2020, Cotton Patch Gospel promises to raise the roof with joy!

THE UNEXPECTED PLAY FESTIVAL
featuring exciting titles to be announced in the summer of 2019
February 3-4, 2020

Witness top-notch Atlanta talent bring characters and plots to vivid life in staged readings of exciting works that will stir the soul … and maybe even unsettle it. Think of it as TO Stage 2 – unpredictable and exciting fare that stretches The Outfit aesthetic in either content, genre, or storytelling form. Preview tomorrow’s hit titles, and then engage with the artists and staff at enlightening post-reading talkbacks.

JOE GRANSDEN JAZZ SERIES
Back for another year! Join Georgia-based performer Joe Gransden for four soulfully smooth gigs in our intimate Balzer Theater at Herren’s with his four-piece band along with exciting special guests. Renowned for the hard bop approach of his trumpet and a voice that has been compared to Chet Baker and Frank Sinatra, Joe Gransden has performed worldwide with the big bands of Tommy Dorsey and Glenn Miller, as well as Barry White, The Moody Blues, Kenny Rogers, The Temptations, Aretha Franklin, and The Whispers. Joe performs locally at Café 290 and at various venues in Manhattan, Hilton Head, South Carolina, and California. Joe’s album “Close To My Heart” was produced by saxophone great Kenny G, and his newest project, “Songs of Sinatra & Friends,” celebrates the music of Ol’ Blue Eyes.

October 27, 2019 at 7:30pm 
December 22, 2019 at 7:30pm – Holiday concert
March 15, 2020 at 7:30pm
May 10, 2020 at 7:30pm – Mother’s Day concert

2019-2020 THEATRICAL OUTFIT TICKETSSubscription packages – $126-$258 – are on sale now. Single tickets – $26-$51 – go on sale July 15, 2019 for all shows except Cotton Patch Gospel, which will be available only to subscribers until late fall of 2019. Tickets for the Unexpected Play Festival titles, dates and pricing will be announced in the summer of 2019. Tickets for the Joe Gransden Jazz Series are $125 for the series and are on sale now online and by phone. 678.528.1500. www.theatricaloutfit.org/boxoffice/season-subscriptions/
 

EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMMING

SummerStage at the Outfit and Year-Round Acting Classes
With summer camps and classes designed for students ages 8 to 18, Theatrical Outfit Education programs offer a number of exciting opportunities for young actors. Whether it be our two-week ensemble-developed SummerStage June camp, our month-long, production-based SummerStage July camp, or Saturday classes in Audition Technique or Scene Study, TO Education programs emphasize storytelling, ensemble-building and a love for the creative process. All programs are led by theatre professionals/theatre educators, giving participants first-class training which emphasizes both skill-building and camaraderie. For information and program registration, visit www.TheatricalOutfit.org/Education.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

Downtown Dialogues. Engage with a panel of guests in about the social and historical themes in the show. Begins immediately after the curtain call and lasts approximately one hour. Visit each production’s show page on our website for dates and guest speakers.

Macy’s Page to Stage Talk Backs, two per production, occur the middle two Fridays of each run after the curtain call, last approximately thirty minutes, and are an opportunity for patrons to engage directly with the production’s artists.

Holiday Teas
Upgrade your ticket to The Wickhams, wear your best bonnet, and honor the British tradition of High Tea complete with sandwiches and cakes. Meet costumed cast members before or after the show. Check The Wickhams show page for dates, pricing, and reservations.

Community Christmas Caroling
Date and time to be announced. Don your festive attire and gather to spread joy through the streets of downtown along with staff members, artists, patrons, and friends. Complete the evening back at the The Outfit for cider, cookies, and fellowship. Free and open to the public. Reservations encouraged.

FUNDRAISING: Theatrical Outfit’s Annual Downtown Gala – 2020 date to be announced. 2019 gala, Our Luckie Stars honoring Florida and Doug Ellis is April 27, 2019. https://www.theatricaloutfit.org/support-us/spring-gala/

SEASON SPONSORS: Bloomberg Philanthropies, City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, Fulton County Arts and Culture, Georgia Council for the Arts, Kilpatrick Townsend, Macy’s, Publix Super Markets Charities, Shubert Foundation, Turner Broadcasting.

678.528.1500 / www.TheatricalOutfit.org.

OUR VISION
A compassionate, joyful and just community.

OUR MISSION
Produce world-class theatre that starts the conversations that matter.

Tom Key-Artistic Director; David Crowe director of OUR TOWN; Clifton Guterman director of “The Laramie Project”; Daryl Lisa Fazo playwright “Safty Net”; Lauren Gunderson playwright “The WIckhams: Christmas at Pemberly; Mira Hirsch director “Indecent”; Patdro Harris director “Cotton Patch Gospel”; S. Renee Clark musical director “Cotton Patch Gospel”; Joe Grandson

OUR VISION: A compassionate, joyful, and just community.
OUR MISSION: Produce world-class theatre that starts the conversations that matter.

ABOUT THEATRICAL OUTFIT: Atlanta’s second-oldest professional theatre company was founded in 1976 and has been led by Artistic Director Tom Key since fall 1995. Key led the company through the creation of its award-winning downtown home, the Balzer Theater at Herren’s, the first U.S. theater to achieve LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The Balzer Theater is also the historical site of Herren’s, the first restaurant in Atlanta to voluntarily desegregate in 1962; its first African American patrons were Dr. Lee and Delores Shelton. Mrs. Shelton passed away in 2019, but Dr. Shelton remains a patron at Theatrical Outfit to this day. Key’s programming of classics, regional and world premieres, and musicals tell soul-stirring stories, with themes that explore diversity, equality, ethnicity, race, and religion; and often feature the best writers of the American South, including Ernest Gaines, Lauren Gunderson, Horton Foote, Harper Lee, Flannery O’Connor, Janece Shaffer, Sherry Shephard-Massat, Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder, and Tennessee Williams. After ten years of capital investment, T.O. is in new territory. Having retired its mortgage, the staff, trustees, and artists have launched a new 2018-2020 Strategic Plan designed to produce great art, diversify and grow our audience, increase revenue and reserves, develop artists who contribute to the dramatic canon, and maintain an effective organization. In September of 2018, Theatrical Outfit welcomed Gretchen E. Butler as Managing Director.

ABOUT OUR VENUE: Unless otherwise noted, Theatrical Outfit’s productions are performed in The Balzer Theater at Herren’s at 84 Luckie Street NW, Atlanta, GA 30303. Theatrical Outfit utilizes a Loop Listening System, making The Balzer Theater at Herren’s the first theater in the state of Georgia to incorporate this technology. Attendees with T-coil hearing aids may participate automatically, and others needing enhancement may obtain system-compatible headsets from our lobby Box Office.Get updates in your mailboxSubscribe

Theatrical Outfit
84 Luckie St. NW, Atlanta, GA 30303

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