Theater group schedule goes for laughs

LONG BEACH - International City Theatre, Long Beach's resident theater company at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center, has announced a lineup of five plays for 2011.In keeping with its mission to present affordable, quality, professional theater that is entertaining, intellectually stimulating and emotionally satisfying, ICT's 26th season will feature a mix of two musicals - one edgy, West Coast premiere and one rare revival - and three character-driven comedies. The season opens on Jan. 21 with the West Coast premiere of the lush and lyrical "Loving Repeating: A Musical of Gertrude Stein," adapted from Stein's writings by Stephen Flaherty and Frank Galati. In March, Jules Aaron will direct Kathleen Clark's witty, tender and poignant comedy, "Southern Comforts." The gently humorous "The Old Settler" by John Henry Redwood follows in June. No?´l Coward's classic, "Private Lives," will open at the end of August. Closing out the season in October will be a rare revival of the Tony-nominated musical fairy tale "The Robber Bridegroom" by Alfred Uhry and Robert Waldman. "This is a very personal season for me," said artistic director Shashin Desai. "I feel a strong connection to each of these plays. I was delighted to discover Stephen Flaherty and Frank Galati's delightful new Gertrude Stein musical, and the other four are plays that I've always wanted to do. It's a real treat to be able to present them all in one season." The ICT 2011 season schedule is as follows: Jan. 21 - Feb. 20: Loving Repeating: A Musical of Gertrude Stein (Music by Stephen Flaherty, adapted from the writings of Gertrude Stein by Frank Galati, directed by caryn desai [sic]) The West Coast premiere of a perplexing, exhilarating, hilarious and emotionally giddy musical that is as unique as Gertrude Stein herself. A musical about loving life, loving thinking, loving making art, and loving love, "Loving Repeating" explores Stein's capricious love affair with language, self expression, and her lifelong companion, Alice B. Toklas. Following Stein from her student days in the late 19th century to the height of her artistic era in Paris as a member of the "lost generation," the distinctive score illuminates Stein's world, bringing fresh perspective to her poetic texts and illuminating her deep love of the way American language perpetually changes to reflect the voices of the people. March 18 - April 10: Southern Comforts (By Kathleen Clark, directed by Jules Aaron) In a sprawling New Jersey Victorian, a taciturn Yankee widower and a vivacious grandmother from Tennessee find what they least expected - a second chance at love. Their funny, awkward, and enchanting romance is filled with sweet surprise and unpredictable tribulation. Told with warmth and perceptive humor, this off-Broadway hit is an affecting, late-in-life journey of compromise and rejuvenation, of personal risk and the rewards of change. June 3 - July 26: The Old Settler (By John Henry Redwood) John Henry Redwood's sweet, gentle comedy is set in 1943 during the Harlem Renaissance, when hot music played and swing dancers ruled the floor of legendary nightclubs like the Savoy Ballroom. When a strapping young man fresh from the backwoods of South Carolina takes a room as a boarder in the Harlem apartment of two middle-aged sisters, romance blooms between lonely, 55-year old Elizabeth and the handsome young newcomer - and old hurts and new tensions surface between the sisters. Aug. 26 - Sept. 18: Private Lives (By No?´l Coward) No?´l Coward's stylish, savvy comedy about the people we can't live with - or without. Divorcés Amanda and Elyot meet up again, quite by accident while on their second honeymoons, with brand-new spouses in tow. Fireworks fly as their reunion reveals just how quickly romance - and rivalry - can be rekindled. Oct. 14 - Nov. 6: The Robber Bridegroom (Book and lyrics by Alfred Uhry, music by Robert Waldman, based on the novella by Eudora Welty) A rare revival of the rousing Tony Award-nominated musical, a darkly comic Southern fairy tale about a charming gentleman bandit, the rich plantation owner's daughter he loves, the wicked stepmother who wants her dead, and an evil thief who carries his brother's head around in a trunk - all set to an infectious Broadway/bluegrass score. International City Theatre was born in 1985 when Shashin Desai opened a 99-seat black box theater on the campus of Long Beach City College where he was chairman of Performing Arts. In 1999, by a unanimous vote of 9 to 0, the Long Beach City Council proclaimed International City Theater the Professional Resident Theater Company of the City of Long Beach. In 2000, ICT made the choice to invest entirely in the downtown, mid-size theater with an annual five-play season. International City Theatre is located in the Long Beach Performing Arts Center. For further information, call (562) 436-4610 or visit online at

********** Published: September 2, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 20