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See work from one of America's most promising new playwrights during the 2009-10 BTC season

WALTHAM, Mass.— In its 25 seasons, Primary Stages, one of New York City’s pre-eminent Off Broadway theaters, has collaborated with such acclaimed playwrights as Horton Foote, Terrence McNally, A.R. Gurney, Tina Howe and Lee Blessing. Now, thanks to a new partnership between the Brandeis Theater Company and Primary Stages, Boston audiences will get a chance to see new work from one of today’s most promising talents.

From March 11-14, 2010, the BTC will stage a new play from Rogelio Martinez, a member of Primary Stages’ Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group, and a teacher at the company’s School of Theater. In Martinez’s “Cocktail Time in Cuba,” Michael, an American journalist, travels to Cuba in 2006 with hopes of interviewing Castro. During the trip, Cuba casts a spell on Michael that lures him away from a life and world he thought he knew and loved. The workshop style production will focus on the script and story. Special funding from the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust makes this collaboration with Primary Stages possible.

The 2009-10 BTC season also marks the first year with Susan Dibble as the company’s department chair. In shaping the season, Dibble sought out plays that focus on the themes of love, marriage and heritage.

The curtain goes up on Oct. 8 with a lesser-known 1967 Edward Albee play that puts the “green” in greenhouse. “Everything in the Garden” focuses on Jenny and Richard, a suburban couple who has everything in their marriage but enough money. When Mrs. Toothe makes a titillating proposal, we see just how far the pair will go to reach their financial dreams. A three-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, Albee is best known as the author of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” which also dramatizes suburban angst with biting humor. Eric Hill, the Barbara '54 and Malcolm L. Sherman Professor of Theater Arts, directs.

Edward Albee also had a hand in another BTC offering, Adrienne Kennedy’s “Funnyhouse of a Negro,” which runs from Feb. 4 - 14. Kennedy wrote the play in 1964, when was she was just 29, and Albee selected it to be produced at New York’s Circle in the Square Theatre. Kennedy’s provocative and fantastical drama fearlessly explores the psychological dimensions of race and identity in America.  The story focuses on Sarah, a young African American who is obsessed with whiteness to the point that she takes on the personas of Queen Victoria, the Duchess of Hapsburg and Jesus. Eliot Norton Award-winner David R. Gammons directs.

“I am happy that we are doing ‘Funnyhouse of a Negro’ because its surreal style and daring social themes add complex and creatively challenging qualities to the season,” says Dibble. “David is a very bold and innovative director, and he has a unique and passionate vision for this play.”

Like "Funnyhouse," multiple identities play a role in the BTC's production of "The Game of Love and Chance," which runs from Nov. 12-22. Set on a countryside estate in 18th century France, Pierre Carlet de Chamblain de Marivaux's romantic comedy features Sylvia, a young woman who wants to know more about the man her father has chosen for her to marry, so she trades places with the maid when her beau arrives. Little does she know that her intended harbors similar concerns. France’s most produced playwright after Moliere, Marivaux’s witty and charming comedies bring surprisingly complex emotions and psychological dimensions to the mistaken identity genre. Brandeis associate professor Janet Morrison directs. This production is made possible through generous support from the Robin, Barbara and Malcolm L. Sherman Endowment for the Performing Arts.

Commonwealth Shakespeare Company founding artistic director Steven Maler will make his Brandeis debut in April with the BTC production of the Bard’s “Love’s Labour’s Lost.” In the play, the King of Navarre and three noblemen have sworn off the company of women for three years while they pursue more scholarly studies. But just as they’re about to open their books, they receive word that the Princess of France and her ladies are coming to court. Needless to say, the study group fractures.

“I am thrilled that we are working with Steve who has been such a driving force in the Greater Boston cultural scene, bringing Shakespeare to hundreds of thousands of people across the state,” Dibble says. Maler’s company has been producing free Shakespeare on the Boston Common since 1996, including last summer’s critically acclaimed “The Comedy of Errors.

“Love’s Labour’s Lost” runs from April 29 – May 2, in conjunction with the university’s Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Creative Arts.

The BTC will also offer three free theater experiences this season. On Dec. 2 and May 5, singing professor and well-known soprano Nancy Armstrong invites you to her “Singing Party,” which is the culmination of her students’ work during the semester. The informal cabaret will showcase the best of Broadway, but will also include a wide range of music from across the spectrum. Then on May 9, BTC’s Susan Dibble will present her students’ dance and movement work. The pieces will feature a variety of styles and techniques; design students will provide the lighting for the show.

To purchase Brandeis Theater Company season subscriptions ranging in price from $70-$80 for all five shows, plus the three free events, stop by Brandeis Tickets, visit the Brandeis Tickets Web site or call 781-736-3400 (option 5). Single tickets may also be purchased online or by telephone.

2009-10 Season

“Everything in the Garden”
By Edward Albee
Based on the play by Giles Cooper
Directed by Eric Hill
October 8-18, 2009

“The Game of Love and Chance”
By Pierre Carlet de Chamblain de Marivaux
Translated and adapted by Stephen Wadsworth
Directed by Janet Morrison
November 12-22, 2009

This production is made possible through generous support from the Robin, Barbara and Malcolm L. Sherman Endowment for the Performing Arts.

“Funnyhouse of a Negro”
By Adrienne Kennedy
Directed by David R. Gammons
Choreography by Susan Dibble
February 4-14, 2010

“Cocktail Time in Cuba”
By Rogelio Martinez
March 11-14, 2010

This production is made possible through generous support from the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, the Brandeis Arts Council and the Herbert and Kim Marie Beigel New Play Fund.

“Love's Labour's Lost”
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Steven Maler
April 29-May 2, 2010

The 2009-10 Brandeis Theater Company season is made possible through generous support from the Laurie Foundation, the Robin, Barbara and Malcolm L. Sherman Endowment for the Performing Arts, the Brandeis Arts Council and the Jaffe Foundation.

For more information about the Brandeis Theater Company, including additional info on the 2009-10 season, visit the BTC Web site.

For more information about Primary Stages, visit the company’s Web site.
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