McCarter Theatre center has announced the slate for its 2020-21 theatre series, an eclectic collection of both the old and the new.
The series opens in September with “Dreaming Zenzile”, a stirring modern jazz musical set against the backdrop of the final concert performance of South African musical legend and civil rights activist Miriam Makeba, featuring a performance by international star Somi Kakoma, a live band, and both original music and reinterpretations from Makeba’s extensive songbook. (September 12 – October 11, 2020)
McCarter season wouldn’t be the same without its traditional spin on Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”, with Adam Immerwahr returning to direct a communal experience of the classic tale with carols, original music, and the support of some 35 members of the greater Princeton community sharing the stage with the professional cast. McCarter’s “A Christmas Carol” is a seasonal joy that lifts the spirits of audiences as they join Ebenezer Scrooge on his journey to enlightenment. (December 8 – 27, 2020)
As the calendar turns to 2021, McCarter kicks off the new year with “Tiger Style!”, playwright Mike Lew’s comedy about Albert and Jennifer Chen, an academically-gifted brother and sister confronting their life failures by examining, in a very public way, the tiger parenting they endured when they were younger. The story is told from Lew’s first-hand experience and directed by Tony-nominated director Moritz Von Stuelpnagel (Broadway’s “Hand of God”). (January 12 – February 7, 2021)
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s branded “Scarlet Letter”, the classic Puritan tale of original sin, guilt, and redemption, gets an updated adaptation in April from Kate Hamill. Hamill, who’s lent her creative imagination to other classic such as “Dracula”, “Pride and Prejudice”, and “Sense and Sensibility”, is sure to cast Hawthorne’s romantic work of historical fiction in a new and unsettling light, with a keen eye on a society embroiled in the disorder that ultimately results from the one driving force that leads to tragedy: fear. The original story may be set in 1640s Massachusetts, but it’s likely Hamill’s spin on the master work will feel awfully close to home. (April 30 – May 30, 2021)
The series closes out with “Bhangin’ It”, another offering from Mike Lew, this time in collaboration with co-writer Rehana Lew Mirza and composer-lyricist Sam Willmott. The musical celebrates the traditions of yesterday as well as the hopes for a creative and collective future through the challenging experiences of optimistic college roommates Mary and Sunita, who rise up against the unfairly critical Preeti, in a battle of custom vs. love of art as their respective teams are pitted against one another in a serious national dance competition known as Bhangra, a traditional blend of folk dance and music from the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent.
2020-21 Theatre Series
91 University Place, Princeton, NJ.
Subscription packages and tickets available online at https://www.mccarter.org/ or by phone at 609-258-5050. All dates and times are subject to change.