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Vineyard Theater sets season

McGrath, Joseph, Kander are on deck

New plays by filmmaker Douglas McGrath and playwrights Rajiv Joseph and Jenny Schwartz are on tap for the 2012-13 season at Off Broadway’s Vineyard Theater.

Company has also set the world preem of new John Kander musical “The Landing” as the kickoff of the following season.

“Checkers,” the new play by McGrath — writer-director of pics including “Emma” and “Nicholas Nickleby” — centers on Richard and Pat Nixon around the time of the 1952 television speech in which Richard, then a vice presidential candidate, defended himself against charges of financial misdeeds. Terry Kinney, who has previously helmed Vineyard productions including “After Ashley” and “Beautiful Child,” directs the play’s world preem, set for an Oct. 3 start date.

Latest from Joseph (“Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo”), “The North Pool,” follows a tense meeting between a high school Vice Principal and a Middle Eastern transfer student. Play bowed last year at California’s TheaterWorks, and will be seen this summer at Barrington Stage in Massachusetts. Giovanna Sardelli, director of past Joseph titles including “Animals Out of Paper” and “All This Intimacy,” helms the Gotham incarnation, targeted for a February run.

“Somewhere Fun” reps a return to the Vineyard for Schwartz, whose play “God’s Ear” had a much-lauded stint there in 2008. Directed by “God’s Ear” helmer Anne Kauffman (“Slowgirl”), “Somewhere Fun” tells the story of two old friends who reconnect after their children are grown. World preem begins previews May 1.

Initial offering of the 2013-14 season, meanwhile, will be a full production of “The Landing,” the tuner by Kander and Greg Pierce (“Slowgirl”) that was seen at the Vineyard earlier this spring in a developmental staging starring David Hyde Pierce. Vineyard hopes to reunite the cast and creative team, led by director Walter Bobbie, for the return engagement.

The 30-year-old Vineyard Theater has recently launched Broadway productions “The Lyons” and “The Scottsboro Boys,” among others.

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