When American Players Theatre opened its box office to returning patrons to sell tickets for its 2015 season, business was so brisk that even APT artistic director Brenda DeVita was taken aback.
The theater company quickly added more performances to the summer schedule to accommodate audience demand, she said. Tickets for the Spring Green theater don’t go on sale to the general public until April 13.
“Our ticket sales are fantastic. We’re having an incredible pre-season sale,” DeVita said in an interview in mid-March. “If I could, I would bottle it and keep it on the shelf and then sell it to other companies.”
People are also reading…
Grounded in productions of Shakespeare and other classical works, APT has won the acclaim of both regional and national critics. The company’s 36th regular season, running in repertory from June 6 to Oct. 18, reads like a who’s who of theater greats — including what DeVita calls “my favorite play ever”: “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams.
“I think it’s one of the most gorgeous pieces of American writing — one of the most poetic plays, but it’s brutal,” she said. “And fragile. It’s sexy, and vital and dangerous. I just think it’s all the things we want to challenge our audience with. It’s about the human spirit, the fragility of the human soul.”
Other plays scheduled for “up the hill” in APT’s 1,148-seat outdoor amphitheater this summer include Shakespeare’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor” and “Othello,” along with “Pride and Prejudice,” adapted by Joseph Hanreddy and J.R. Sullivan from the novel by Jane Austen; and Noel Coward’s “Private Lives.”
In its 200-seat, indoor Touchstone Theatre APT will present “An Iliad,” by Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare, translated from Homer’s “The Iliad” by Robert Fagles; Edward Albee’s “Seascape”; and “The Island” by Athol Fugard, John Kani and Winston Ntshona.
“The Game of Love and Chance,” written by Marivaux and translated by Stephen Wadsworth, also runs in the Touchstone Theatre from late October to Nov. 22.
The season’s casts will include three new members of APT’s core company: Nate Burger, Kelsey Brennan and Tim Gittings. All three are familiar faces to APT audiences, but their new “core” company status now integrates them into the DNA of APT itself.
Other current core company members include Tracy Michelle Arnold, David Daniel, Sarah Day, Jim DeVita, Colleen Madden, Brian Mani, James Ridge, Jonathan Smoots and Marcus Truschinski.
Selecting core company members from APT’s “very talented company” is hard, said DeVita.
“It comes to a decision about their interest in the core of what we do,” she said. “We are interested in language, and we are interested in classical plays. And we are interested in actors that are in the fight to be great at that, and understand that that’s an ongoing learning process. They’re incredibly talented individuals, and they all bring their own strengths to the company.”
DeVita describes Burger as “a naturally gifted actor” who has “a chameleon kind of emotional state that is quite extraordinary.”
Brennan “is a fireball” who “is not afraid of the work or of me. She’s just a strong soul.” And Gittings “has a willingness to learn every time, to take up the small part, or take up the challenge of the musical part, or take up the incredibly difficult character role.”
Look for Burger as Mr. Bingley in “Pride and Prejudice” and as Cassio in “Othello,” Brennan as Elizabeth Bennet in “Pride and Prejudice,” and Gittings as Mitch in “A Streetcar Named Desire.”