Long Beach’s International City Theatre releases 2016-17 schedule

LONG BEACH – International City Theatre has announced its 32nd season of plays at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center, where ICT is the resident professional theater company. 

Set to open in February, the 2017 season ventures a look at the mysteries of life, love and the universe with two Los Angeles premieres and two crowd-pleasing revivals.

A fifth play will be announced at a later date.

Los Angeles premieres of “Uncanny Valley” by Thomas Gibbons and “Silent Sky” by Lauren Gunderson challenge us to explore the unknown — the former taking us into the future of artificial intelligence, the latter the true story of 19th century women “computers” who mapped the stars at the dawn of modern astronomy.

Audience favorites “Forever Plaid” by Stuart Ross (the beloved musical revue that has its four protagonists returning from the dead) and Beth Henley’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Crimes of the Heart” tap into enduring mysteries of life and love.

The 2017 schedule is as follows:

Feb. 17 – March 5 (previews Feb. 15 and Feb. 16):
Forever Plaid
— Miraculously revived from the dead, four young singers killed in a car crash on the way to their first-ever big concert get to fulfill their dream and perform the show after all – although it’s 60-plus years later and at International City Theatre!

Singing in close harmony, squabbling over the smallest intonations and executing their charmingly outlandish choreography with over-zealous precision, the “Plaids” will keep everyone smiling and humming along to some of the great pop hits of the ‘50s. Written by Stuart Ross and with musical arrangements by James Raitt, Forever Plaid was first produced in 1990, yet remains one of the most popular and successful off-Broadway musicals in history.

April 21 – May 7 (previews April 19 and April 20):
Uncanny Valley
— What does it mean to be human? Playwright Thomas Gibbons explores the inherent unpredictability of consciousness, as well as ethical questions about our own mortality and how far we’ll go to live forever, in what The Washington Post describes as a “fascinating [and] cerebrally challenging” new play about artificial intelligence.

Sometime in the not-too-distant future, a neuroscientist works closely with an artificial being to teach him how to become more human and to grow beyond the “uncanny valley” — a term used to describe the discomfort we feel when we see electronic recreations of human beings that are oh-so-close, but just not quite right.

June 9– June 25 (previews June 7 and June 8):
Crimes of the Heart
— Meg just left a man. Lenny never had a man. Babe just shot a man. Warm-hearted, irreverent, funny and touching, Beth Henley’s first play examines the plight of three Mississippi sisters betrayed by their passions as each is forced to come to terms with her “crimes of the heart.” Winner of the 1981 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best American Play.

Aug. 25– Sept. 10 (previews Aug. 23 and Aug. 24):
Silent Sky
— A celestial romance and true story of discovery, this riveting new play by Lauren Gunderson explores the life and career of Henrietta Swan Leavitt (1868-1921) as she fearlessly asserts herself in the male-dominated world of early astronomy. Hired by the Harvard Observatory as a human “computer” to catalog the stars, Henrietta’s story plays out against a landscape of early feminism and universe-revealing science, reminding us all what we can achieve when we allow curiosity and wonder into our lives.

“Luminously beautiful… an intellectual epic told on an intimate scale. Bottom line: Heavenly.” raved the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Oct. 20 Nov. 5 (previews Oct. 18 and Oct. 19):


For more information about ICT’s 2016 season, and to purchase subscriptions or single tickets, call (562) 436-4610 or visit www.internationalcitytheatre.org

EntertainmentStaff Report