Kennedy Center revives ‘Follies’

Sondheim musical, 'Hair,' 'Next to Normal' on tap for 2010-11

WASHINGTON — The Kennedy Center will produce the Stephen Sondheim-James Goldman tuner “Follies” next spring, one of five musicals — including “Hair” and “Next to Normal” — slated for its stages during the 2010-11 season.

A three-week festival of events from the Edinburgh Fringe and a double bill from Moscow’s Chekhov Intl. Theater Festival are also scheduled.

The long-planned revival of 1971 musical “Follies” will be staged by Eric Schaeffer, a.d. of Arlington, Va.’s Signature Theater and also a.d. of the KennCen’s successful Sondheim festival in 2002. “Follies” is slated for an engagement next May in the Eisenhower Theater.

“Ragtime,” the last full staging of a musical produced by the Kennedy Center, moved to Broadway in the fall for a short-lived run following a well-received D.C. debut last season.

The center’s line-up of tuners bows in October with the debut of the touring production of “Hair,” followed by a Christmas season offering of Lincoln Center Theater’s hit Broadway revival of “South Pacific.” A two-week visit by “Next to Normal” is slated for June (the show previously played D.C. in a pre-Broadway stint at Arena Stage), along with a summerlong appearance of “Wicked.”

From the Chekhov fest, exclusive engagements of the org’s productions of “Three Sisters” and “Twelfth Night” will be performed in October in Russian with English surtitles.

Double-bill will be followed by a three-week event called “On the Fringe: Eye on Edinburgh,” presented in association with the British Council. Appearing in various venues at the center, lineup will include the Oxford Playhouse’s “One Small Step,” about the space race, and the first U.S. engagement of “Susurrus,” playwright/director David Leddy’s “private play,” presented to a dispersed audience wearing headphones.

The center will also host three theater troupes during its season. Penumbra Theater Company of St. Paul, Minn., will perform “I Wish You Love,” a new play with music about Nat King Cole, in the Terrace Theater in June 2011. Penumbra is the 2011 recipient of the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays.

The play “11 and 12,” a Peter Brook-helmed meditation on religious tolerance by Marie-Helene Estienne, currently playing at the Barbican in London, is slated for the Eisenhower next April. Ireland’s Druid Theater will return in February with its staging of Martin McDonagh play “The Cripple of Inishmaan,” an Off Broadway hit last season in Gotham.

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