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American stories dominate Long Beach theater season

LONG BEACH – International City Theatre producing artistic director caryn desai [sic] has announced a season of five plays for 2014 that will focus on uniquely American stories.
The season opens Jan. 24 with the California premiere of “Let’s Misbehave: The Music and Lyrics of Cole Porter,” a new book musical by Karin Bowersock built around the songbook of one of America’s greatest songwriters.
In March, “Flyin’ West” by Pearl Cleage illuminates the little-known role of black homesteaders as pioneers of the American West.
June brings a singularly American family in the very American city of Palm Springs in Jon Robin Baitz’s Tony-nominated play and finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, “Other Desert Cities.”
ICT winds up the season with two true stories: “Trying,” based on the relationship between playwright Joanna McClelland Glass and her employer Francis Biddle, U.S. Attorney General under President Roosevelt and Chief Judge at the Nuremburg trials; and “Glorious!”, a comedy by Peter Quilter about legendary New York heiress Florence Foster Jenkins, who used all her money, charm and unstoppable willpower to become a great operatic diva – despite having one of the worst singing voices in history.
“It’s always a challenge to find the right balance when choosing a season, but I’m very excited about how it’s come together,” says desai. “I think these five plays create the perfect mix of thought-provoking substance and entertainment.”
The 2014 schedule is as follows:
Jan. 24-Feb. 16 (previews Jan. 22 and 23): “Let’s Misbehave: The Music and Lyrics of Cole Porter”
In the California premiere of this de-lovely musical conceived by Karin Bowersock and Patrick Young with book by Bowersock, over 30 classic songs by Cole Porter are woven together to tell the story of three single friends in 1930s New York who make a pact to find true love. Their quest is all in good fun until two of the women, Alice and Dorothy, find they have eyes for the same man.
It’s clever, funny and irresistibly romantic, featuring songs like “Night and Day,” “Begin the Beguine” and “Anything Goes” from one of America’s most beloved and prolific musical theater composers.
March 14-April 6 (previews March 12 and 13): “Flyin’ West”
In Pearl Cleage’s powerful historical drama set at the turn of the twentieth century, four African-American women journey west to the all-black town of Nicodemus, Kansas to seek the freedom promised by the end of the Civil War – only to be challenged by the harsh and unforgiving terrain, the social climate of the time and the men who claim to be with them for love.
A contemporary classic about the strength of black women and their role as pioneers in the settlement of the American West.
June 6-29 (previews June 4 and 5): “Other Desert Cities”
Jon Robin Baitz’s funny, explosive and entertaining look at unruly family politics was a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize. The manicured life of an actor-turned-politician and his impeccable wife is upset when relatives arrive at their Palm Springs home for the holidays – including daughter Brooke who’s about to publish a tell-all memoir.
Aug, 22-Sept. 14 (previews Aug. 20 and 21): “Trying”
A poignant, poetic and powerful story, inspired by the real-life experiences of playwright Joanna McClelland Glass, about the friendship forged between 81-year-old Francis Biddle, U.S. Attorney General under President Roosevelt and Chief Judge at the Nuremburg trials; and a tenacious 25-year-old woman from the Canadian plains – one of a string of secretaries Biddle’s wife has hired to help him put his affairs in order at the end of his long and illustrious career.
Oct. 10-Nov. 2 (previews Oct. 8 and 9): “Glorious!”
Based on a true story, this hilarious comedy by Peter Quilter invites us into the world of Florence Foster Jenkins, a New York socialite of great passion, considerable wealth and zero talent who fancied herself an opera diva. Known as “the first lady of the sliding scale,” Florence warbled and screeched her way through every performance to an audience who mostly cried out with laughter. But this delusional and joyously happy woman paid little attention to her critics, comfortably surrounded by a circle of devoted friends who were almost as eccentric as she was.
For more information and to subscribe to the 2014 season, the public should call (562) 436-4610 or visit online at InternationalCityTheatre.org.
ICT, located in the Long Beach Performing Arts Center, is Long Beach’s resident professional theater company.

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Published: Aug. 22, 2013 – Volume 12 – Issue 19



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