Players plan winning season

Theater: A wide range of works will be presented by the Colonial Players of Annapolis.

Arundel Live

August 15, 2002|By Phil Greenfield | Phil Greenfield,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The story of Job, a treatise on chaos theory, the lighter side of changing relationships, Holocaust survival and a 9th-century prince seeking to find himself through sex, suicide and song -- story lines touching on these disparate themes will be acted out by the Colonial Players of Annapolis in its season that starts Aug. 30.

The first production slated for the intimate theater on East Street, just off State Circle, is the Neil Simon play God's Favorite.

One of the comic playwright's least-known pieces, God's Favorite transfers the story of Job, the Bible's long-suffering paragon of faith, to a Long Island mansion. There, tycoon Joe Benjamin plays host to a heavenly messenger (with a "G" on his sweater, no less) who urges to him to denounce the divine presence.

When he refuses, well, enter the trials, tribulations, afflictions and vicissitudes that make the story so compelling, combined with that inimitable Simon wit.

Directed by Michael Gilles, God's Favorite will run through Sept. 28.

Arcadia, which opens Oct. 18, was inspired by playwright Tom Stoppard's reading of Chaos, James Gleick's pop-science work.

The insights derived therein brought Stoppard's creative muse to a house in Derbyshire in 19th-century England where love, mystery, comedy, tragedy and clashes of philosophical opposites converge. Arcadia, which will be directed by Craig Mummey, will run through Nov. 16.

The heartbreak of deliverance from Hitler's Germany is explored in Barbara Lebow's play A Shaina Maidel (A Pretty Girl), a story about the reunion of the Weiss family, Polish Jews who were shattered and nearly destroyed by the Third Reich.

Lusia, a death camp survivor, comes to America to join her father and sister who escaped Hitler's clutches some 14 years before. Still mourning her mother, who perished in the Nazi death camps, Lusia arrives in New York only to be stunned by her sister's assimilation into American society.

With the aid of flashbacks that evoke a happier past, the playwright spins a tale of compassion, sorrow and guilt, infused with gentle humor.

Tom Newbrough directs this moving play, which will run Jan. 10 through Feb. 8.

This season's musical offering is Pippin, the Stephen Schwartz show that made a Broadway star out of Ben Vereen in the early 1970s. Employing a tuneful soft-rock style reminiscent of Godspell, which he also wrote, Schwartz presents the story of Pippin (actually, Pepin), son of the Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne who, in real life, inherited France's Aquitaine region after his father's death in 814.

But this medieval prince looks suspiciously like an aimless teen trying to find his "Corner of the Sky" in a world that isn't cooperating much with his quest for ultimate purpose. Will it be hedonism, violence, committed love or a spectacular flaming suicide that wins out in the young man's mind?

Pippin, under Barry Genderson's direction, will run Feb. 28 through March 29.

Closing out the season will be Bernard Slade's Romantic Comedy, the laugh-filled story of an arrogant writer who has relationship problems with both his wife and his longtime female collaborator. Terry Averill will direct the show, which will run April 25 through May 24.

New subscriptions to Colonial Players may be arranged by calling the theater at 410-268-7373.

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