Center Stage adds Tony-winning Christopher Durang play to season, postpones one by Naomi Wallace

( Susan Johann )
December 17, 2013|By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun

There has been a change in the spring lineup at Center Stage. Instead of "The Liquid Plain" by Naomi Wallace, the company will present the Baltimore premiere of Christopher Durang's comedy, "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike," which won the 2013 Tony Award for Best Play.

The production will begin previews on April 16; the regular run is April 23 to May 25.

"I was so looking forward to 'Liquid,' so this is a regrettable change," said Center Stage artistic director Kwame Kwei-Armah, who was to have directed the Wallace play -- he directed its world premiere last summer at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. "But I have a family issue I have to attend to in London at that time. I was going to find another director, but the playwright said 'I'd rather wait for you.'"

"Vanya," a take-off on Chekhov set in Bucks County, Pa., revolving around two sisters, their movie star sibling and her hunky lover, was already on Kwei-Armah's radar for next year.

Then he found out that the Kansas City Repertory Theatre was putting on the play this season, directed by company artistic director Eric Rosen, and that it would be wrapping up just before the time slot Center Stage had set aside for "Liquid."

"I contacted Eric," Kwei-Armah said, "and asked, 'Can we dance?' He said yeah. So we're doing a co-production."

Rosen will direct the staging in Baltimore. "He's a great director, one of the stars of the regional theater scene," Kwei-Armah said.

Some Kansas City cast members may be engaged to reprise their roles at Center Stage, Kwei-Armah said. Full casting will be announced later.

Rosen, a longtime Chekhov and Durang fan, said he is looking forward to directing "Vanya" in "both my new hometown, Kansas City, and my family's hometown, Baltimore."

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