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Riverside Theatre announces revised season lineup

Original shows and classic drama planned for I.C. stage

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IOWA CITY — Under the leadership of Interim Artistic Director Sean Lewis, Riverside Theatre has made major changes to its 2016-17 season.

The new lineup features an original script by Lewis; a new holiday show and fall comedy; and the addition of the Arthur Miller classic “A View from the Bridge.”

The season retains its previously announced premiere of a new one-woman show by local favorite Megan Gogerty and the rolling premiere of “Relativity” by Mark St. Germain.

Here is the revised schedule:

• “Black And Blue,” Sept. 9 to 25: Written and directed by Sean Lewis, starring Barrington Vaxter and Alyssa Perry. Ten years ago, Charlie was a cop on a beat and Marcus was a suspect in the Fuller Park section of Chicago. Ten years since their paths crossed, their lives have gone in different directions but questions remain: Was it abuse? Brutality? Or solid police work? Charlie’s sister Charlotte is looking into the case for herself this time, and this particular evening she’s decided to bring Marcus home with her to really figure out what is what.

“Some plays are perfect, some are timeless and some are necessary,” Lewis said. “This is an in-process production about one of the most immediate issues in our country today.”

• “The Taming,” Oct. 28 to Nov. 13: Written by Lauren Gunderson, directed by Angie Toomsen, starring Kristy Hartsgrove Moers, Jordan Arnold and Cara Clonch Viner. Just in time for election season comes a politically minded comedy. What happens when a conservative senatorial aid, a liberal political activist and a newly crowned Miss Georgia walk into a bar? The show takes on America’s overheated political rhetoric, some surprising truths about our Founding Fathers, and the passions of three slightly insane women who just might be revolutionary geniuses.

“I was thinking, ‘What do I usually want during election season?’” Lewis said. “The answer: Wild, frivolous and smart comedy.” For fans of “Kimberly Akimbo” and “End Days.”

• “Every Brilliant Thing,” Nov. 26 to Dec. 11. Written by Duncan Macmillan, starring Tim Budd. Ice cream. Water fights. Things with stripes. Christopher Walken’s voice. Roller coasters. It’s the story of a young boy who attempts to ease his mother’s sadness by creating a list of all the best things in the world. Through adulthood, as the list grows, he learns the deep significance it has on his own life.

“One of the best pieces I saw in New York last year,” Lewis says of the selection. “ It gives me all the things I want from a holiday-timed play: beauty, family, community and awe.”

• “A View from the Bridge,” Jan. 20 to Feb. 12. Written by Arthur Miller, starring Patrick Du Laney and Kristy Hartsgrove Mooers.

In Brooklyn, longshoreman Eddie Carbone welcomes his Sicilian cousins to the land of freedom. But when one of them falls for his beautiful niece, they discover that freedom comes at a price. A story about family, betrayal and in America, who gets to belong.

“Arthur Miller is one of my favorite playwrights, and here you have the last of the big three: ‘Death of a Salesman,’ ‘All My Sons’ and now ‘A View from the Bridge,’” Lewis said. “No one writes America like Miller.”

• “Lady Macbeth And Her Pal Megan,” Feb. 24 to March 12: Written by and starring Megan Gogerty, directed by Saffron Henke. Gogerty is back for her fourth solo show premiere at Riverside Theatre. Using Shakespeare’s tragedy to examine one woman’s fraught relationship with standup comedy, it’s part personal narrative and part textual analysis. It asks the question: What if, instead of being just a cornfed, Midwestern standup comic with a penchant for “Star Trek,” Gogerty was actually Lady Macbeth? Hasn’t every woman, at one point or another, wanted to kill a king? Subversive and engaging with cultures both pop and high, the show parses the difference between empowerment fantasies and actual empowerment.

• “Relativity,” April 14 to 30: National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere, written by Mark St. Germain, directed by Angie Toomsen, starring Saffron Henke. In 1902, Albert Einstein had a daughter. Two years later she disappeared and was never mentioned again. What happened? “Relativity” imagines one theory while exploring the two contradictory Albert Einsteins: the beloved public figure, and a stunningly different private Einstein.

Lewis calls the show “a fast paced and surprising look at an intellectual giant. Like a mash-up of ‘Picasso at the Lapin Agile’ and ‘Doubt,’ the play uses wit and intelligence to uncover possible truths.”

• Tickets: Riverside Theatre Box Office, 213 N. Gilbert St., Iowa City; (319) 338-7672 or Riversidetheatre.org

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