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Sondheim’s ‘Bounce’ goes Public

Off Broadway theater unveils 2008-09 slate

The latest teaming of Stephen Sondheim and helmer John Doyle and a new play by John Guare that will star Jeffrey Wright and Mos Def are among the offerings of the 2008-09 season at Off Broadway’s Public Theater.

Also on the bill are a new solo show by Danny Hoch (“Jails, Hospitals & Hip-Hop”), the latest from scribe Christopher Durang (“The Marriage of Bette and Boo”) and a new Craig Lucas play directed by Bartlett Sher (“South Pacific”).

The season kicks off with “Bounce,” the Sondheim tuner that preemed in Chicago in 2003 but has never been seen in Gotham. Doyle, helmer of recent Rialto revivals of Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd” and “Company,” directs the musical, about the adventures of a pair of brothers in early 20th century America. Show is slated for a fall run.

Wright and Mos Def, who starred together on the Rialto in the Public’s production of “Topdog/Underdog” in 2002, reunite with “Topdog” helmer (and former Public a.d.) George C. Wolfe for Guare’s “A Free Man of Color.” Historical comedy, planned for a winter slot, takes place in 1802 New Orleans.

Lucas’ “The Singing Forest” will bow in the spring in a production helmed by Sher. Plot follows three generations of a family in a story that touches on the Holocaust as it moves from the 1930s to modern day.

Latest by Durang, the black comedy “Why Torture Is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them,” centers on a paranoid woman’s fears that her husband is a terrorist. Show will have its world preem in the spring.

Hoch takes on Gotham gentrification in solo show “Taking Over,” which plays the Public in the fall. Tony Taccone (“Bridge & Tunnel”) directs.

Also on the Public slate is “If You See Something Say Something,” a homeland security-themed monologue by Mike Daisey, and “The Good Negro,” a drama set in the South during the 1960s civil rights movement. A co-production with Dallas Theater Center, the play by Tracey Scott Wilson (“The Story”) was developed this spring by the Public Theater Lab.

The Public also has announced the second of two 2009 offerings for its annual summer season of Shakespeare in the Park. JoAnne Akalaitis will helm a new production of “The Bacchae,” with music by Philip Glass. Nicholas Rudall provides the adaptation of the Euripides play.

First production of the 2009 Shakespeare in the Park lineup remains to be announced.

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