Season 23: Rising to the Challenge
April 29, 2019: The Keegan Theatre is proud to announce its 2019-2020 season, featuring a groundbreaking collection of plays and musicals, including one world premiere, three Washington DC premieres, and our first ever U.S. tour. The season, titled Rising to the Challenge, spotlights characters who face unique challenges – from physical, to emotional, to social – which require them to dig deep within themselves to overcome. Through their courageous journeys of personal examination and excavation, these characters grow in strength, resilience, empathy, and confidence to become champions for themselves and the people they love.
“In selecting our 23rd season lineup, we remain committed to being brave in our programming, promoting work from a range of perspectives, and telling stories that speak to those things that connect us all. These plays and musicals speak to the human condition in honest, compelling, and uniquely entertaining ways,” comments Susan Marie Rhea, Keegan artistic director. “With this collection of works, reflecting a diverse and exciting array of voices, we feel we’ve got something for everyone.”
In addition to Keegan’s mainstage offerings, Keegan PLAY-RAH-KA will be announcing a pair of productions for young people and families and the Boiler Room Series will be announcing a lineup of readings, cabarets, and festivals, all focused on showcasing new works and emerging talents.
The 2019-2020 Season at Keegan
** WORLD PREMIERE & U.S. TOUR **
BY BRANDON MCCOY
DIRECTED BY JEREMY SKIDMORE
WEST BY GOD is a story about home. In a small town in the Appalachia region of West Virginia, two different families grapple with issues of grief and love, memory and identity, and with the distance and time that both unite and divide generations. A new play by West Virginia native Brandon McCoy, WEST BY GOD is a funny, heartwarming, and gut-wrenchingly honest examination of the divide between urban and rural America, and the kinds of prejudice and intolerance too often left unchallenged in our society.
Following its premiere in DC, WEST BY GOD will travel to West Virginia as the pilot project in the KeeganConnects tour. LEARN MORE ABOUT THE TOUR
“Why do we spend so much time arguing against belittling certain groups, but it remains acceptable, and sometimes encouraged, to marginalize rural America? In response to this question, I wrote the play WEST BY GOD.” — Playwright Brandon McCoy
** DC PREMIERE, CO-PRODUCED WITH 1ST STAGE **
BY CHELSEA MARCANTEL
DIRECTED BY CHRISTINA A. COAKLEY
When Nina enters her first air guitar competition, she thinks winning will be easy. But as she befriends a group of charismatic nerds all committed to becoming the next champion, she discovers that there’s more to this art form than playing pretend. A hit at the 2017 Humana Festival, AIRNESS is a comedy about competition, completion, and finding the airness inside yourself.
AIRNESS is co-produced with 1st Stage of Tysons, VA
“The most fun you will have at the theater this year … to call this play a ‘crowd pleaser’ is a drastic understatement.” — Insider Louisville
“In a word, dazzling … the most talked-about production of this year’s Humana Festival.” — LEO Weekly
** KEEGAN’S BELOVED HOLIDAY TRADITION **
BY MATTHEW J. KEENAN
DIRECTED BY MARK A. RHEA
Returning for its ninth season! An original work by Keegan company member Matthew Keenan, AN IRISH CAROL is an homage to Dickens’ classic – told as only the Irish can. This comic and touching play, set in a modern Dublin pub, follows one evening in the life of David, a wealthy pub owner who has lost touch with his own humanity in the interest of self-protection and material success. But on this Christmas Eve – challenged by a voice from the past, provoked by those in the present, and faced with the reality of a lonely future – David’s life may change forever.
“Trust the Irish to put a bit of grain in the eggnog. AN IRISH CAROL is sweet and cheerfully profane …” — The Washington Post
** DC PREMIERE **
BY ANNA ZIEGLER
DIRECTED BY SUSAN MARIE RHEA
In the 1960s, a well-intentioned doctor convinces the parents of a male infant to raise their son as a girl after a terrible accident. Two decades later, the repercussions of that choice continue to unfold… Inspired by a true story, BOY, by award-winning playwright Anna Ziegler (PHOTOGRAPH 51, ACTUALLY), explores the complicated journey of trying to find love in a new body and the inextricable bonds that are built along the way.
“A poignant and important love story for our era… BOY is one of the true joys of the new year.” — Chicago On Stage
“A great play … Ziegler’s intelligent script lays out this complex story with precision and grace.” — Huffington Post
** DC PREMIERE, TONY-WINNER FOR BEST MUSICAL **
MUSIC AND LYRICS BY DAVID BRYAN
BOOK AND LYRICS BY JOE DIPIETRO
DIRECTED BY KEVIN MCALLISTER
In the smoky halls and underground clubs of Memphis, Tennessee in the segregated 50’s, a young white DJ named Huey Calhoun falls in love with everything he shouldn’t: rock ‘n roll and an electrifying black singer named Felicia Farrell. The 2010 Tony Award-winner for Best Musical, MEMPHIS is an original story about fame, forbidden love, and the cultural revolution that erupted when his vision met her voice – and the music changed forever.
“A zippy, exuberant musical” —New York Post
“Entertaining … blasts you out the door humming, bopping and happy as all, well, Hockadoo.” — New York Daily
** DC PREMIERE **
BY DIPIKA GUHA
DIRECTED BY BRANDON MCCOY
Yoga apparel giant Jojomon is at the top of its game when a terrible scandal sends the company into freefall. Newly hired CEO Joan stakes everything on a wild plan to recover their earnings and their reputation. YOGA PLAY is a provocative comedy about authenticity and enlightenment in a world determined to sell it.
“The road to enlightenment is paved with stress and subterfuge in YOGA PLAY … Guha’s satirical comedy offers a glimpse of what happens when the goals of personal fulfillment and corporate greed collide.” — SF Examiner
“Dipika Guha’s YOGA PLAY touches intelligently on important themes such as cultural appropriation, exploitation, consumerism, fat shaming, and workplace abuse. But don’t expect an earnest evening of politically correct theatre. Sure, YOGA PLAY will encourage you to think, but mostly, it’s about making you laugh.” — TheatreStorm
** AWARD-WINNING SENSATION **
BOOK BY JOHN CAMERON MITCHELL
MUSIC AND LYRICS BY STEPHEN TRASK
DIRECTED BY COLIN SMITH & JOSH STICKLIN
A groundbreaking Obie- and Tony Award-winning musical, HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH follows “internationally ignored song stylist” Hedwig Schmidt, an East German rock ‘n roll goddess who also happens to be the victim of a botched sex-change operation, which has left her with just “an angry inch.” In a performance that’s part rock concert, part stand-up comedy show, and backed by a hard-rocking band, Hedwig tells her funny, touching, and ultimately inspiring story in dazzling fashion.
“Foulmouthed, electrically tuneful and furiously funny” — The New York Times
“The most exciting rock score written for the theater since, oh, ever!” — Time Magazine
“The grunge-rock musical [is] a dark torrent of angst-based tunes with roots in Debbie Harry or maybe Nirvana, but also a show where a couple of driving, gorgeous melodies await their chance at an assault on your heart in Hedwig’s name.” — Chicago Tribune
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