RSC pacts to appear annually for 5 years

WASHINGTON — A new residency agreement with the Royal Shakespeare Co. and staged concert versions of two musicals are among the highlights of the 2002-03 theater season for the Kennedy Center unveiled Monday.

In a unique partnership for the RSC, the venerable troupe will make annual appearances at the center for the next five years, beginning with a booking at the center’s Eisenhower Theater April 21-May 18, 2003. Production plans have not been finalized. The venture is supported by a $250,000 grant from the Prince of Wales Foundation.

The staged concerts include revivals of the 1943 musical “Carmen Jones,” with book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, and the 1937 musical “Babes in Arms,” by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart.

The center’s theater slate will also include a new revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Tell Me on a Sunday,” the comedy “Stones in His Pockets” and a visit by the Reduced Shakespeare Co. T he season is less extensive than usual because of a yearlong renovation to the center’s Opera House, slated to begin in December.

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