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American Repertory Theater Announces the 2015/16 Season

American Repertory Theater 

Announces the 2015/16 Season:



OBERON Season to Include Kansas City Choir Boy, The Hypocrites, Ubu Sings Ubu, and More

Cambridge, Mass — The American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) at Harvard University, under the leadership of Artistic Director Diane Paulus, announces its 2015/16 Season including:


  • Waitress, a new musical based upon the motion picture written by Adrienne Shelly; book by Jessie Nelson, music and lyrics by Sara Bareilles, directed by Diane Paulus; begins performances August 2015 at the Loeb Drama Center
  • Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812, an electropop opera inspired by Tolstoy’s epic novel War and Peace; music and libretto by Dave Malloy, directed by Rachel Chavkin; begins performances December 2015 at the Loeb Drama Center
  • Nice Fish, an ice fishing expedition where the ordinary and the unbelievable collide; written by Mark Rylance and Louis Jenkins, directed by Claire van Kampen, featuring Mark Rylance; begins performances January 2016 at the Loeb Drama Center
  • 1984, a bold stage adaptation of George Orwell’s novel by Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan; begins performances February 2016 at the Loeb Drama Center
  • In the Body of the World, a stage adaptation of Eve Ensler’s critically acclaimed memoir about the strength and joy that connect a single body to the planet; written by Eve Ensler, directed by Diane Paulus, and featuring Eve Ensler; begins performances April 2016 at Farkas Hall at Harvard University
  • RoosevElvis, A madcap road-trip through American masculinities; created by the TEAM, directed by Rachel Chavkin; begins performances May 2016 at OBERON
  • The Pirate Princess, a new musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night for children and their families created by the team behind The Light Princess; begins performances December 2015 at the Loeb Drama Center

“I am thrilled to have A.R.T. friends return this season — Mark Rylance, Eve Ensler, Dave Malloy, Rachel Chavkin, and the TEAM to name a few,” stated Diane Paulus. “It’s also a delight to welcome Sara Bareilles and the UK’s Headlong theater ensemble, among others.” She continued, “The insights and the talents which these artists will bring to the A.R.T. offer a range of new perspectives. In their radical, dynamic stagings of history, song, literature, and memory, these artists share a form of theater actively engaged with how we understand and conduct our lives as human beings on this planet.”


As the A.R.T. explores its mission to expand the boundaries of theater on its stages in Cambridge, the work of the A.R.T. can be seen elsewhere in the United States and the world. Last season’s Finding Neverland continues previews on Broadway and opens on April 15. Aaron Posner and Teller’s magical adaptation of The Tempest will be presented at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater this fall. The immersive phenomenon that originated in the 2009/10 Season, Sleep No More has marked its 4th anniversary Off-Broadway. In addition, Once continues its US tour and returns to Boston’s Citi Shubert Theatre in December 2015 while the A.R.T.’s Tony Award-winning revival of Pippin will return to Boston in February 2016 under the auspices of Broadway in Boston.


- 2015/16 SEASON -


Book by Jessie Nelson

Music and lyrics by Sara Bareilles

Based on the motion picture written by Adrienne Shelly

Directed by Diane Paulus

Loeb Drama Center


Jenna, a waitress and expert pie maker, is stuck in a small town and a loveless marriage. When a baking contest in a nearby county offers her a chance at escape, Jenna must choose between her commitments and her dreams. Her customers, co-workers, and the town’s handsome new doctor all offer her conflicting recipes for happiness — but Jenna ultimately has to decide for herself. Featuring music and lyrics by Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles (“Brave,” “Love Song”) and directed by Diane Paulus (Pippin, Finding Neverland), this poignant and uplifting new musical celebrates talent hiding in the most unlikely places. 



Music and Libretto by Dave Malloy

Directed by Rachel Chavkin

Loeb Drama Center

Natasha is young, Anatole is hot, and Andrey isn’t here…But what about Pierre? Based on a scandalous 70-page slice of War and Peace, this electropop opera is Tolstoy like you’ve never experienced him before. Step into a glamorous, romantic world of chandeliers, vodka and caviar in the salons and opera houses of 19th century Moscow, where passions ignite as Napoleon’s war rages outside the city. With the cast and musicians swirling among audience members, this new musical brings to life the heart of literature’s most epic tale of love and fate.

The Great Comet will be presented in a new immersive staging at A.R.T., continuing the show’s development from its premiere at Ars Nova and its critically acclaimed run in a pop-up venue in New York City.

Composer, writer, orchestrator, sound designer, and performer Dave Malloy (Three PianosBeowulf: A Thousand Years of BaggageGhost Quartet) is one of the most innovative musical theater creators working today. His multi-disciplinary, critically acclaimed and award winning compositions break the boundaries of style and form, giving literature’s classic characters voice in the vibrant, eclectic style of a new generation.

The Great Comet is directed by two-time Obie Award-winner and Drama Desk nominee Rachel Chavkin (Three Pianos) whose critically acclaimed work as Artistic Director of Brooklyn based theater company the TEAM includes RoosevElvis.


Conceived, Written, and Adapted by Mark Rylance and Louis Jenkins

Directed by Claire van Kampen

Loeb Drama Center


On a lake in frozen Minnesota, the ice is beginning to creak and groan. It’s the end of the fishing season, and two men are out on the ice one last time, angling for answers to life’s larger questions. A play woven together from the acclaimed prose poems of Louis Jenkins, Nice Fish reflects nature with a wry surreality. As Jenkins writes, they “are after something big, something down there that is pure need, something that, had it the wherewithal, would swallow them whole.” Written and adapted by Louis Jenkins and Mark Rylance, Nice Fish brings a groundbreaking collaboration to the A.R.T. and St. Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn.


In his prose poems about life in northern Minnesota, Louis Jenkins places ordinary events – a game of catch, a trip to the supermarket – into cosmic perspective using a signature mix of humor and honesty. The author of 14 books of poetry, Jenkins’ work has been featured on This American Life, Prairie Home Companion, and The Writer’s Almanac.


The winner of numerous Olivier Awards, TONY Awards, and the first artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London, Mark Rylance has brought generation-defining excellence to his work as an actor, director, and playwright. Known for roles in Jerusalem, Boeing Boeing, and Richard III / Twelfth Night on Broadway, and most recently Thomas Cromwell in Wolf Hall on PBS, Rylance blends an extraordinary talent for transformation with a trademark warmth and openness. He last appeared on the A.R.T. stage in Hamlet and The Seagull during the 1991/92 season. Playwright, director, and composer Claire van Kampen, who staged the original production of Nice Fish at The Guthrie Theater in 2013, directs this revised new production.



By George Orwell

A New Adaptation Created by Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan

Presented in association with Headlong, Almeida Theatre, and Nottingham Playhouse

Loeb Drama Center

April, 1984. Comrade 6079, Winston Smith, thinks a thought and starts a diary. But Big Brother is always watching, and the door to Room 101 can swing open in the blink of an eye. The definitive book of the 20th century is re-examined in a radical, award-winning adaptation exploring surveillance, identity and why Orwell’s vision of the future is as relevant now as ever.  This ground-breaking production comes direct from the UK and an extended smash-hit run in the West End – and continues Headlong’s commitment to interrogating the most important cultural texts, following productions of Six Characters In Search Of An Author, King Lear and Romeo and Juliet.




Written and Performed by Eve Ensler

Directed by Diane Paulus
Farkas Hall at Harvard University


In this world-premiere adaptation of her critically acclaimed 2013 memoir, Eve Ensler (The Vagina MonologuesEmotional Creature, The Good Body, O.P.C.) celebrates the strength and joy that connect a single body to the planet. As an activist and artist, Ensler has spent her career speaking about the female body. While working in the Congo, where war continues to inflict devastating violence on women, she was diagnosed with stage III/IV uterine cancer. This diagnosis erased the boundaries between Ensler’s art, her work, and her own body. In this raw, humorous, and bold performance, Ensler charts the connections between the personal and the public, inviting and challenging all of us to come back into our bodies, and thus the world.



Created by the TEAM

Directed by Rachel Chavkin



On a hallucinatory road trip from the Badlands to Graceland, the spirits of Elvis Presley and Theodore Roosevelt battle over the soul of the painfully shy meat processing plant worker, Ann, and over what kind of man or woman Ann should become. Set against the boundless blue skies of the Great Plains and endless American highway, RoosevElvis is a new work about gender, appetite, and the multitudes we contain. Mixing athleticism with artistic experimentation, celebrated theater troupe the TEAM has explored American myths from Gone with the Wind to Howl with a zany, irreverent theatricality. The TEAM returns to A.R.T. after their production Particularly in the Heartland was featured in the 2010 Emerging America Festival.




Book by Lila Rose Kaplan

Music and Lyrics by Mike Pettry

Directed by Allegra Libonati

Featuring Actors from the A.R.T. Institute Class of 2016

Loeb Drama Center


From the creators of the A.R.T.’s beloved production of The Light Princess comes a swashbuckling adventure on the high seas. When a giant sea monster destroys their ship, seafaring twins Violet and Victor are separated. Lost in a world of rowdy pirates and lovesick royals, the siblings must be crafty and brave to reunite. Along the way, they learn a lot about love, and a little bit about painting and the ukulele. Adapted from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, this family musical is appropriate for all ages.


A.R.T.’s second stage is a destination for theater and nightlife on the fringe of Harvard Square. The 2015/16 Season features headline performances including:


  • Dave Malloy’s critically acclaimed, haunted song cycle, Ghost Quartet
  • Courtney Love and Todd Almond star in Kansas City Choir Boy, a theatricalized concept album by Todd Almond, directed by Kevin Newbury
  • Song of a Convalescent Ayn Rand Giving Thanks to the Godhead (In the Lydian Mode), a comic, moving and philosophic show created and performed by Michael Yates Crowley and Michael Rau of Wolf 359
  • One Child Born: The Music of Laura Nyro, performed by Kate Ferber and directed by Adrienne Campbell-Holt
  • Sean Graney and The Hypocrites (The Mikado, Pirates of Penzance) return with their final installment of the Gilbert & Sullivan trilogy H.M.S. Pinafore, performed with zany splendor
  • Ubu Sings Ubu, a raucous mash up of Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi, starring Tony Torn and Julie Atlas Muz, with music by Pere Ubu, co-directed by Tony Torn and Dan Safer, who also doubles as choreographer.


And don’t miss A.R.T.’s popular The Donkey Show directed by Diane Paulus, continuing for its 7th season at OBERON every Saturday night. 


2015/16 Season subscriptions will be available for renewing subscribers on May 6 and for the general public on May 26. Additional information about tickets to all of these productions can be found online at AmericanRepertoryTheater.org.




The American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) at Harvard University is a leading force in the American theater, producing groundbreaking work in Cambridge and beyond. The A.R.T. was founded in 1980 by Robert Brustein, who served as Artistic Director until 2002, when Robert Woodruff succeeded him. Diane Paulus began her tenure as Artistic Director in 2008. Under her leadership, the A.R.T. seeks to expand the boundaries of theater by programming events that immerse audiences in transformative theatrical experiences.


Throughout its history, the A.R.T. has been honored with many distinguished awards, including the Tony Award for Best New Play for All the Way (2014); consecutive Tony Awards for Best Revival of a Musical for Pippin (2013) and The Gershwins Porgy and Bess (2012), both of which Paulus directed; a Pulitzer Prize; a Jujamcyn Prize for outstanding contribution to the development of creative talent; the Tony Award for Best Regional Theater; and numerous Elliot Norton and IRNE Awards.


The A.R.T. collaborates with artists around the world to develop and create work in new ways. It is currently engaged in a number of multi-year projects, including the Civil War Project, an initiative that culminated in the staging of new work in the 2014/15 Season. Under Paulus’s leadership, the A.R.T.’s club theater, OBERON, has been an incubator for local and emerging artists and has attracted national attention for its innovative programming and business models.


As the professional theater on the campus of Harvard University, the A.R.T. catalyzes discourse, interdisciplinary collaboration, and creative exchange among a wide range of academic departments, institutions, students, and faculty members, acting as a conduit between its community of artists and the university. A.R.T. artists also teach undergraduate courses in directing, dramatic literature, acting, voice, design, and dramaturgy. The A.R.T. Institute for Advanced Theater Training offers graduate-level training in acting, dramaturgy, and voice.


Dedicated to making great theater accessible, the A.R.T. actively engages community members and local students annually in project-based partnerships, workshops, conversations with artists, and other enrichment activities both at the theater and across the Greater Boston area.


Through all of these initiatives, the A.R.T. is dedicated to producing world-class performances in which the audience is central to the theatrical experience. For further information, visit AmericanRepertoryTheater.org


Release Date:
April 2, 2015
Press release file:

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