A new musical from the writer-composer and director behind Tony winner “In the Heights,” another by the creatives of Off Broadway-to-Broadway transfer “Passing Strange,” a new play by a Pulitzer winner and a tuner that teams “Hairspray” songwriters with a Beastie Boy are all on tap for the 2014-15 season at Off Broadway’s Public Theater.
“Hamilton ” — the hip-hop-meets-legit take on the life of Alexander Hamilton, written by and starring “In the Heights” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda (pictured, above) — is now gearing up for a May workshop ahead of its previously announced premiere at the Public, where dates have now been marked in for Jan. 20-Feb. 22. “Heights” helmer Thomas Kail directs the show, produced by the Public in association with Jeffrey Seller, Sander Jacobs and Jill Furman, all commercial producers on the “Heights” producing team.
“Hamilton” is one of several musicals on the Public’s lineup for next season, including “The Total Bent” (March 3-April 5), a world premiere by Stew and Heidi Rodewald, who also penned “Passing Strange,” the tuner that earned strong enough raves in its 2007 Public theater run to prompt a move to Broadway. Helmed by Joanna Settle, the tuner follows a black musical wunderkind who grew up writing songs for his gospel-star father but now find himself at a crossroads.
Also on the docket is “The Fortress of Solitude,” the New York leg of the Public’s co-production (with Dallas Theater Center) of a tuner based on the Jonathan Lethem novel. Penned by book writer Itamar Moses and songwriter Michael Friedman (“Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson”), the 1970s Brooklyn coming-of-ager is helmed by Daniel Aukin in a staging that runs Sept. 30-Nov. 2.
There’s also “Rock Bottom,” the latest autobiographical musical outing from downtown performer Bridget Everett, working with songwriters including “Hairspray” duo Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, Matt Ray, and former Beastie Boy Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz. Wittman also directs the show, getting a full run (dates TBD) at the Public’s Joe’s Pub space.
Music also figures in to the Public’s staging of “The Winter’s Tale,” part of the Public Works project that blends pros and community members onstage. Show, with songs by Todd Almond, will be helmed by Lear deBessonet for a quickie run at Central Park’s Delacorte Theater (Sept. 5-7).
Plays on the Public’s season slate includes “Father Comes From The Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3),” by Pulitzer winner (and holder of the Public Theater Master Writer Chair) Suzan-Lori Parks, a Civil War-set tale produced in association with the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Mass. Jo Bonney directs the show (Oct. 14-Nov. 16).
The New York premiere of “Straight White Men” (Nov. 6-Dec. 7), a father-son drama written and directed by downtown fave Young Jean Lee, rounds out the season along with a Public Lab presentation of a play by spoken word artist Lemon Andersen, “Toast,” plus the annual return of the Under the Radar festival of boundary-pushing theater from around the world.
The Public is coming off a strong season that has seen one musical, “Fun Home,” earn raves ahead of a potential Broadway transfer next season, and another, “Here Lies Love,” do well enough in its initial run that a commercial incarnation has taken up residence in the same Public theater where the show premiered.