In a possible case of "good things come to those who wait," the notoriously late-on-committing-to-an-upcoming-season Phoenix Theatre announced it will kick off 2013/2014 with Christopher Durang's latest comedy, "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike."
Only a month ago, Durang picked up a Tony award for Best Play for the still-running Broadway hit.
It's the eighth Durang show the Phoenix will have produced. And it launches a season that will be challenging (to say the least) for the theater to market: Apart from the annual installment of "A Very Phoenix X-Mas," the season does not include much that may be even remotely familiar to most theater-goers.
That's not a bad thing. It's just a challenging thing.
The lineup includes a new play by Stephen Dietz, whose "Yankee Tavern" and "Becky's New Car" were seen in Indy a few seasons back. There's Nina Raine's "Tribes," about a deaf man in a hearing family, which had a well-reviewed New York run. I'm also looking forward to seeing "North of the Boulevard," a play by Bruce Graham, whose prolific career—filled with smart, blue-collar plays—I followed while living in his Philadelphia home base.
While the Phoenix has drawn attention for its recent run of popular, edgy musicals ("Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson," "Next to Normal," "Avenue Q," etc.), there's no such title in the new season. However, "Spun," a less-tested musical that was originally commissioned and produced by the Bloomington Playwrights Project, gets an April-May slot.
The theater also will continue its commitment to performing plays in Spanish, which it will do with some performances of "Bless Me, Ultima," an adaptation of the popular novel.
There's more, too, including a June show whose title, well, let's just say I have to have a meeting first with my editor to see how we're going to handle that one.