SAN DIEGO–Cygnet Theatre unveiled Season 14 from the traditional to the avant-garde, and include two musical theatre classics, a two-show repertory by a Pulitzer prize-winning playwright, the return of a holiday favorite and two contemporary works sure to shock and amaze.
The season opens this summer with one of the most beloved stage musicals, Gypsy – the mother of all musicals. With music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and a book by Arthur Laurents, the musical theatre classic has been revived on Broadway four times and been staged countless times around the world. San Diego audiences will get a chance to experience this jewel of American musical theatre when Cygnet Theatre and Director Sean Murray bring Mama Rose, Dainty June, Louise, and the entire 19-member cast to the Old Town Theatre. Boasting one show-stopping song after another, this classic musical will feature the biggest cast ever to appear on a Cygnet stage.
Cygnet Resident Artist Linda Libby, 2013 Craig Noel San Diego Critics Circle Actor of the Year, steps into the iconic role of Mama Rose. Showcased along with Libby will be Allison Spratt Pearce, recently featured in Cygnet’s My Fair Lady and Come from Away at La Jolla Playhouse, as Louise. Katie Whalley Banville will portray Dainty June while Cygnet’s own Manny Fernandes will take on the role of Herbie.
In the fall, Cygnet’s tradition of shows performed in rotating rep continues with the staging of two renowned works by August Wilson, both part of his ten-play Century Cycle. Wilson’s legacy lives on through this cycle of plays chronicling the African-American experience, each set in a different decade of the 20th century. The selection of Seven Guitars and King Hedley II is especially fascinating to present in Rep as several characters appear in a story line decades apart. Cygnet received major accolades from their staging of Wilson’s Fences in 2008 which was honored as the best show of the year by multiple critics. Cygnet also presented The Piano Lesson in 2010 and Gem of the Ocean in 2013.
A Cygnet tradition returns for the holidays with A Christmas Carol, Critics Choice of 2014 (San Diego Union Tribune) and always a beloved family favorite complete with puppets, live music and a sing along.
January brings Bad Jews to the stage – a fierce, biting comedy about family, faith and what you choose to believe, when you’re chosen. Rob Lutfy directs this Off-Broadway hit featuring the savage humor of playwright Joshua Harmon. The play follows the trials and family tribulations of an Upper West Side family in a verbal battle royale over a family heirloom.
In March, a luxury train rolls into town bringing nonstop laughter and mayhem. The madcap musical comedy, On the Twentieth Century features the writing talents of Comden and Greene. This musical comedy duo lent their unique comic genius and sophisticated wit to dozens of Broadway hits including On the Town and Bells are Ringing. On the Twentieth Century will be directed by Sean Murray and feature Eileen Bowman as Lily Garland and Melinda Gilb as Mrs. Primrose.
Cygnet’s fourteenth season ends with the manic, irreverent and wildly engaging presentation of the German theatrical event, Shockheaded Peter. This 1998 musical took a famed German children’s book series and turned it into instant classic in its own right. The stage production of Shockheaded Peter won rave reviews around the world as one of the most original collaborations of its kind. The crazy and dark production combines elements of pantomime and puppetry with musical versions of the poems with the song.
Buckle up for a wild ride directed by Rob Lutfy, who adds, “It’s a play for the weird ones, those that live on the fringes of society, or for anyone who has ever felt like they don’t quite fit in to a society of strict rules.”
“I’m really proud of the diversity and quality of this season,” said Artistic Director Sean Murray. “To go from stripper to an ex-con, to some ‘bad Jews,’ to one naughty little boy in just one season. That’s exciting. That’s Cygnet!”
All seven productions will be performed in Cygnet’s home, the Old Town Theatre in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.