They kept this in mind while compiling a unique line-up for the 35th Anniversary season for the company that has built its reputation on producing theatre that crosses gender, racial and generational boundaries, both on stage and in the community. To celebrate the milestone 2013/2014 Season, Producing Artistic Director Jeff Church chose four musicals and three plays for The Coterie’s main stage, a touring musical for elementary school and the annual presentation of the Young Playwrights Festival.
Of the main stage productions, more than half will be world premiere productions. “Four world premieres in one theatre season is a rare thing!” Church explains. “With any Coterie season, the challenge is to select a variety of shows that challenge the company artistically and offer educational opportunities for students, while simultaneously entertaining the adults and youth that come to us as theatre lovers. My goal is to do that with a mix of familiar titles, new takes on time-honored stories, and brand new music and characters never before seen on stage.
“The young people depicted in these world premieres range from young soldiers facing self-examination in Afghanistan to a clique of ‘mean girls’ in Puritan Salem, and from two teens who bond over their love of Greek mythology to an inventor and his children finding adventure in their flying car. It’s a combination that both adults and kids can appreciate equally if a line-up is selected carefully, and I’m delighted that the upcoming season represents 35 years of The Coterie in the making.”
Find more info online at http://thecoterie.org/.
THE COTERIE’S 2013/2014 SEASON
Red Badge Variations, September 17 – October 5, 2013. A National Endowment for the Arts award-winning world premiere by Melissa Cooper and directed by Kyle Hatley. Inspired by Stephen Crane’s classic Civil War novel, The Red Badge of Courage, and the experiences of combat soldiers today, five young Americans spend a year in deployment at a remote military outpost and confront the defining experience of their lives. The play commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and explores the same soldier archetypes depicted in Crane’s masterpiece. A Coterie Sparks series production intended for preteen through adult.
Dracula: The Journal of Jonathan Harker, October 9 – 27, 2013. Based on the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker, adapted by Jim Helsinger, and directed by Jeff Church. Sent to Castle Dracula to deliver property deeds to the infamous Count, Jonathan Harker finds himself a witness to increasingly horrific sights, as his journal entries begin to reveal, until he becomes captive of an undead creature of the night. A one-actor tour-de-force thrill ride, closely adhering to the original novel. A Coterie Sparks series production intended for preteen through adult.
The Wiz, November 12, 2013 – January 5, 2014. Book by William F. Brown, music by Charlie Smalls, directed by Jeff Church, with music direction by Anthony Edwards, and choreography by Vanessa Severo. This Tony® award-winning timeless classic is a multicultural view of Oz with a soulful twist. Based on The Coterie’s 2011 acclaimed staging, described as “an event so unique and imaginative it’s in a class by itself” (Kansas City Star), Dorothy and three friends ease on down a fabulous yellow brick road. A Coterie Shines series production intended for elementary through adult.
Afflicted: Daughters of Salem, January 28 – February 23, 2014. A world premiere drama by Laurie Brooks and directed by Jeff Church. From the playwright of the nationally-produced, Coterie-commissioned hit play, The Wrestling Season, comes Afflicted, which tells the story of the Salem girls – Abigail Williams, the leader, Ann Putnam, Mercy Lewis, Mary Walcott, and Betty Paris – and the crucible of events that led to the contagious Salem Witch Trials. Amongst the girls, allies are found, promises made and broken, power taken… deep in the woods of Puritan New England. A Coterie Sparks series production intended for preteen through adult.
I Was a Teenage Immortal: Geek Mythology, On stage at The Coterie February 25 – March 9, 2014; Touring middle and high schools January 22 – April 4, 2014. A world premiere musical with book and lyrics by Jeff Carey and music by Jessica Jackson. Sully is a girl who dresses all in black, skulks around in corners, writes short poems about pain and silence, and bites her nails to the quick. Derrick dreams of starting a band called The Immortals, but he can’t get anyone else to join. Sully catches Derrick playing music all by himself after hours at school. There, a pantheon of Greek Gods are summoned to the high school auditorium, forever changing the lives of the two loners who called them. Mythology at midnight… Let’s Rock! A Coterie Sparks series production intended for preteen through adult.
Zeus on the Loose!, Touring elementary schools January 22 – April 4, 2014. A world premiere musical with book and lyrics by Jeff Carey and music by Jessica Jackson. A fifth grade boy, obsessed with Zeus, has built himself a secret clubhouse where a lonely girl discovers him. To make a friend, she throws herself into the world of mythology! Has she gotten in over her head? When the two conjure up Greek gods, they unleash a tidal wave of drama, humor, and heart-pounding music. Zeus on the Loose! explores isolation vs. friendship, and a host of timeless stories that have lasted forever. A Coterie Shines series intended for grades 1 through 5.
Schoolhouse Rock Live!, April 8 – May 18, 2014. Based on ABC-TV’s educational animated series and directed by Ron Megee. This award-winning musical teaches history, grammar, math, science, and government through clever, tuneful songs, instructing a whole new generation to “Unpack Your Adjectives” and meet up at “Conjunction Junction” to add some “Interjections!” A Coterie Shines series production intended for elementary through adult.
Coterie Ignites performances of Schoolhouse Rock Live!, Saturday, April 12, 19, 26, May 3, 10, and 17. Pull on your PJs and get a free bowl of cereal as The Coterie makes Saturday night feel like Saturday morning again, with a special rockin’ Coterie Ignites edition of Schoolhouse Rock Live! at 9 p.m. each Saturday night. Host Ron Megee has special treats in store if you wear retro gear or pajamas! Sing-along, mayhem, and ‘70s madness. Coterie Ignites performances intended for adults and teens 13 and older.
2014 Young Playwrights Festival, May 4, 2014. Rich and varied theatrical writings evolve from a year-long process by our city’s most gifted young playwrights who have emerged from The Coterie’s Young Playwrights Roundtable. See a collection of new plays forged into an ambitious festival of script-in-hand readings staged by professional artists. A Coterie Writes production intended for teens through adult.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, June 17 – August 3, 2014. Part of The Coterie’s acclaimed Lab for New Family Musicals, this is the world premiere of the theatre for young audiences version, based on the Broadway production of the MGM motion picture. Music and lyrics by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, adapted for the stage by Jeremy Sams and Ray Roderick, and directed by Jeff Church. Take a fantastic adventure with an of the out-of-this-world car that flies through the air and sails the seas. The sensational songs include “Truly Scrumptious,” “Toot Sweets,” “Hushabye Mountain,” and the Oscar-nominated title song, “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.” A Coterie Shines series production intended for elementary through adult.