On Stage: Theatre NOVA Announces Season of Premieres for 2019-2020

ANN ARBOR – Theatre NOVA, Ann Arbor’s resident nonprofit professional theatre, is thrilled to announce its 2019-20 Season of Michigan and World Premieres. Proud to produce the hottest new plays at affordable prices, Theatre NOVA offers a subscription program as the best way to see quality programs at a discounted price. Subscribers can save up to 25% off single ticket prices and guarantee their seats for all our plays through August 2020.

Producing Artistic Director David Wolber said, “This year we’re celebrating our fifth season, after our most successful year to date. We’re grateful to the community for continuing to support our mission to raise the awareness of the value and excitement of new plays and new playwrights. We have selected some of the most exciting and timely plays from the strongest playwrights we could find. We’re incredibly excited to keep producing work that respects your intellect, imagination, and curiosity, and offer a season full of plays that are unexpected, innovative, and stimulating.”

Theatre NOVA’s 2019-2020 season opens September 20 with the Michigan premiere of “Admissions” by Joshua Harmon, which runs through October 13. Bill and Sherri are white, progressive, and proud. Respectively the headmaster and dean of admissions of a New Hampshire boarding school, they’ve dedicated their 15-year tenure to diversifying the school’s mostly white population. But when their high-achieving son’s Ivy League dreams are crushed, the family’s reaction betrays a schism between their public values and their private aspirations. “Admissions” is an incisively funny look at privilege, power, and the perils of whiteness. Directed by David Wolber (“Stargazers,” “The How and the Why,” “The Revolutionists”). Featuring Joe Bailey (“The Legend of Georgia McBride”), Sarah Burcon (“Mrs Fifty Bakes a Pie”), Diane Hill (“The How and the Why,” “The Stone Witch,” “The Totalitarians,” and “The Revolutionists”), Jeremy Kucharek, and Cynthia Szczesny.

The season continues November 7 through November 17, with a limited engagement of “Follies in Concert” by Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman. Sondheim’s Broadway smash-hit musical concerns a reunion in a crumbling Broadway theatre of the past performers of the “Weismann’s Follies” that played in that theatre between the World Wars. A fundraiser for Theatre NOVA and presented in concert, Follies is a glamorous and fascinating peek into a bygone era, and a clear-eyed look at the transformation of relationships over time, with countless songs that have become standards, including “Broadway Baby,” “I’m Still Here,” “Too Many Mornings,” “Could I Leave You?” and “Losing My Mind.” Directed by Diane Hill (“Kill Move Paradise,” “Clutter”), with music direction by Brian E. Buckner (Kill Move Paradise, The Devil’s Music).

For the holidays, Theatre NOVA presents the world premiere of “DJ Whittington’s Kool Kat: A Hip-Hop Panto” by Carla Milarch & R. MacKenzie Lewis, running November 29 through December 29. All the holiday hilarity and happiness you’ve come to love from our annual Panto returns in this hip-hop twist on a seasonal favorite. Kids ages 2 to 102 will enjoy this rollicking family entertainment, complete with heroes, villains, original tunes and parodies of popular songs, physical comedy and fun (and candy!) — this time set to the hip-hop stylings of DJ Whittington and his Kool Kat’s sick beats. Directed by Carla Milarch (“Mazel Tov, John Lennon,” “The Elves and the Schumachers,” “The Totalitarians”). Featuring Asia Marie Hicks, Alaina Kerr, and Mike Sandusky.

Opening the new year is the Michigan premiere of “Apple Season” by E. M. Lewis, January 31 through February 23, 2020. When her father dies, Lissie returns to her family’s apple orchard after escaping from there with her brother Roger many years before. But a chance encounter with an old flame conjures haunting family secrets she thought she’d left behind. As Lissie tumbles down a rabbit hole of memory and grief, she must choose whether to preserve her tangled past–or burn it to the ground. Directed by David Wolber.

March 20 through April 12, 2020, will bring the world premiere of “Arabic to English” by David Wells, who penned our hit productions of “Resisting,” “Mazel Tov, John Lennon,” and “Irrational.” In a high-stakes trial, an Arab American man is accused of fraudulent marriage to gain a visa. Losing in court will send him to a country he barely knows. His interpreter, a young Arab American woman, is on the verge of entering a storybook American life, about to be married to his white American trial lawyer. When romance blossoms between the interpreter and the defendant, it may be up to her to decide which words to translate, and which to leave unspoken. Directed by Carla Milarch.

In early summer, from May 8 through May 31, 2020, Theatre NOVA will present the Michigan premiere of “Relativity” by Mark St. Germain. In 1902, Mileva and Albert Einstein had a daughter. After 1904, the child was never seen or spoken of again. When a reporter comes to interview Einstein about his mysterious family history forty years later, even more personal secrets unfold. This delightful comedy by the author of Freud’s “Last Session” explores questions about exceptionalism, family, and the responsibilities of the heart. Directed by Carla Milarch. Featuring Anne Damman, Ellen Finch and Phil Powers (“Mazel Tov, John Lennon,” “Clutter,” and “Jihad Jones and the Kalashnikov Babes”).

Finally, Theatre NOVA’s seventh show in its 2019-2020 season of premieres will be the Michigan premiere of “God Kinda Looks Like Tupac” by Emilio Rodriguez (Kresge Fellow and author of “Spin” aka “Swimming While Drowning”), running June 26 through July 19, 2020. When a young black high school student creates an unconventional portrait of God for a student art exhibition, her white and Latina teachers must decide whether to encourage her provocative approach or convince her to choose a more traditional path. But is it her expression that needs rethinking – or those that want her to assimilate? A fresh and funny exploration of political correctness and societal expectations that turns code-switching upside down. Directed by David Wolber.

Theatre NOVA is located at 410 W Huron St, Ann Arbor, MI 48103. Performances are on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. To accommodate families with children,  “DJ Whittington’s Kool Kat: A Hip-Hop Panto” will hold performances on Fridays at 7:30 p.m, Saturdays at 3:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m., and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. General admission tickets for plays are $22. Tickets for the holiday musical panto are $25 for adults and $10 for children, and “Follies” tickets are $30. Theatre NOVA continues to make theatre accessible by offering pay-what-you-can tickets for those who need them. Tickets, memberships, flex passes, and subscriptions may be purchased online at www.TheatreNOVA.org or by calling the box office at 734-635-8450.  Tickets may also be purchased in person one hour before each performance.  Seating in the theatre will begin 30 minutes before each performance. There is ample free parking. For more information, visitwww.TheatreNOVA.org.

Theatre NOVA’s mission is to raise awareness of the value and excitement of new plays and playwrights and to provide resources for playwrights to develop their craft by importing, exporting, and developing new work.