Long Beach Playhouse releases studio season

LONG BEACH – The Long Beach Playhouse has released its 2015-16 studio production schedule, a diverse lineup that includes themes such as bi-gender love, war, intolerance, subjugation, finding the perfect wave and just having a great time. “This season is something I’m very proud of” said Andrew Vonderschmitt, producing artistic director, “It is a very well balanced, intelligent, and provocative lineup.”

The season includes such hard hitting yet playful pieces as “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo,” Rajiv Joseph’s hard-hitting look at how easily war and human nature can destroy what is beautiful, and Mike Bartlett’s “Cock,” which explores what it is to love beyond gender.

Irreverent yet provocative pieces like “Psycho Beach Party” and “Bat Boy: the Musical” take us on journeys in search of true belonging, true love, and the perfect wave. “Shakespeare’s R&J,” Joe Calarco’s mirror piece examining an intolerant Catholic/military school through the lens of the Bard’s patriarchal Verona, rounds off the season.

“For me the hardest part of choosing this season was that I wanted to both direct and act in all of them,” continued Vonderschmitt, “so much amazing theatre, it’s hard to resist. But we have so many amazing and creative minds behind these projects and I can’t wait to see their visions realized.”

The season lineup:

May 2 - May 30, 2015

Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo by Rajiv Joseph

Within war-torn Baghdad lives a tiger - a wild, captive beast within a man-made cage. Through the power of theatrical imagination, we are allowed a peek inside the mind of this quick-witted and well-spoken “animal,” as the lives of two American Marines and an Iraqi translator are forever changed by the mayhem surrounding them in the midst of war.

Violence, anger, greed, forgiveness, and redemption are examined in funny, touching, and insightful exchanges between man and beast; the living and the dead. Rajiv Joseph’s groundbreaking new American play explores both the power and the perils of human nature, the search for freedom, and the existence of the after-life.

June 13 - July 11, 2015

Cock by Mike Bartlett

Welcome to John’s life. Having taken a break from his relationship with his somewhat controlling boyfriend, John has managed to fall in love with someone else... a woman.

In this edgy, raw, and witty look at a new kind of love triangle, Mike Bartlett tackles the concepts of sexual identity, commitment, self-knowledge, and family obligations in a way never before seen on stage. In this intensely gritty and naturalistic production, four actors will introduce you to the pain of finding out who and what we all might be and the importance, or lack thereof, of a definition of love, lust, and need. 2010 Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement.

July 25 - August 22, 2015

Shakespeare’s R&J by Joe Calarco

Playwright Joe Calarco says, “Just because Shakespeare understands the human condition, it doesn’t mean it can’t be a good time.” And so he takes the audience on a theatrical adventure of a lifetime, presenting a version of the well-known teen passion-fueled tragedy as an undercurrent to the emotional growth and challenges faced by four young Catholic schoolboys.

In meeting clandestinely to read the classic play together, these boys are invited to examine, not only the insightful brilliance of the Bard, but also the rigidity of their lives. Perceptions and understanding are upended as play-acting turns serious and universal truths emerge.

September 5 - October 3, 2015

Psycho Beach Party by Charles Busch

Gidget, beach blankets, and Hitchcockian psychological suspense thrillers are tossed around in the comic mind of playwright Charles Busch and they emerge as a rollickingly wild ride through split personalities, brutal murders, and the challenges of finding your true surf-buddy.

Chicklet Forrest, a teenage tomboy, desperately wants to be part of the surf crowd on Malibu Beach in 1962. But the brutal murders plaguing her seaside town just might be the doing of one of her hidden personalities. Hilarity ensues as murder, madness, and the passionate pursuit of the perfect wave and world domination come crashing over the heads of the audience.

October 17 - November 14, 2015

Bat Boy: The Musical; story and book by Keythe Farley and Brian Flemming, music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe

Based on a series of tabloid reports, Bat Boy: The Musical is a musical comedy/horror show about a hybrid creature discovered in a cave near Hope Falls, West Virginia.

Taken in by a local veterinarian, he is taught to act like a “normal” boy. All seems hopeful until Bat Boy falls in love with the veterinarian’s daughter and thew narrow-mindedness of his neighbors forces him and his new love to flee back to the woods.

Sharp, biting social commentary and satire are matched by a thrilling score in this highly entertaining new musical, perfect for the Halloween season.

Tickets to any of the shows are $24 for adults, $21 for seniors, and $14 for students. They can be purchased by calling (562) 494-1014 and online at lbplayhouse.org.

Performances are at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday.

Long Beach Playhouse is located at 5021 E. Anaheim St. in Long Beach.



Published: March 12, 2015 - Volume 13 - Issue 48