Stageworks and Tampa Rep — two companies with strong productions currently on view — have announced what’s in store for 2014-15. The prospects are intriguing.
Karla Hartley is a woman of many talents, and many of them are on display in her accomplished staging of Aaron Sorkin’s A Few Good Men, through May 18 at Stageworks’ Channel District home base; she not only directed, she designed the set, sound and lighting. The 2014-15 season will likely find her even busier, because it’ll be the company’s first complete season under her leadership as producing artistic director, having succeeded founder Anna Brennen in January.
The new season’s choices reflect Stageworks’ usual multi-cultural bent, with the most notable being Stephen Adly Guirgis’ The Motherfucker with the Hat. Often asterisked in “family” publications as The Motherf**cker with the Hat, the play was a cause celebre on Broadway in 2011 not only for its title but for its stars, Chris Rock and Bobby Cannavale. The reviews were mixed, but the New York Times’ Ben Brantley was a fan, calling the story of a reformed drug dealer trying to stay clean and get back together with his girlfriend “a tragicomic apache dance of love, betrayal and indecision.”
That’s not due up until July of next year. Before that, Stageworks’ 2014-15 audiences will see Superior Donuts by the Pulitzer and Tony-winning Tracy Letts (August: Osage County) about the friendship between a white donut shop owner and a black teenager; Marc Acito’s award-winning Birds of a Feather, inspired by the male penguins who raised a chick together at the Central Park Zoo; Ain’t Misbehavin’, the hit Broadway revue of Fats Waller hits like "Honeysuckle Rose" and "Mean to Me"; Handle with Care, billed as “the perfect Jewish Christmas story”; and Neil Simon’s Last of the Red Hot Lovers.
Stageworks’ 2013-14 season isn’t over yet, though. Following A Few Good Men, the company will present The Sugar Bean Sisters from June 12-29. More info at stageworkstheatre.org.
Tampa Repertory Theatre is now presenting its third, and arguably best, rendition of a Tennessee Williams play — an intense, intimate Cat on a Hot Tin Roof staged by the company’s artistic director, C. David Frankel, in the Studio Theatre at HCC Ybor and continuing through May 18.
The company will continue its TR2 and Tampa Wrights programs for young artists and local playwrights this year, but will not present its next mainstage production till January of 2015, using the months in between to reorganize and raise funds.
The first of its two offerings in 2015 — billed as “A Season of Treachery and Deceit" — will be Imagining Madoff, inspired by you-know-which treacherous, deceitful financier. That will be followed by a spring production of Harold Pinter’s brittle, brilliant study of infidelity told in reverse, Betrayal. Pinter is rarely done in these parts, so thanks, TRT.
For more information, go to tamparep.org.