DOWNLOAD PRESS RELEASE (Media release 7/8/2021)
July 8, 2021: The Keegan Theatre is thrilled to announce its plans for 2021-2022, the company’s 25th Anniversary Season. The lineup features seven mainstage productions, including three regional premieres, the in-person world premiere of TRANS AM, a Keegan PLAY-RAH-KA production for families, and the company’s beloved original holiday play, AN IRISH CAROL. Additionally, Keegan will dedicate two weeks in May 2022 to new works, presenting public readings of two world premieres in development, which will be produced on the mainstage in the 2022-23 season, and staged readings of works by artists featured in the first five seasons of Keegan’s Boiler Room Series.
“We can’t wait to welcome audiences back to our Church Street home for our 25th Anniversary Season,” says Susan Marie Rhea, the company’s Artistic Director. “As we emerge from the pandemic and a year of great challenges and growth, we are excited to present a lineup of shows that examine the human experience from a range of perspectives. The season truly has something for everyone — it’s a diverse and compelling lineup of shows that we believe will entertain, inspire, and uplift our audiences. We are hopeful for the future, and look forward to a year of new connections among our artists, audiences, and community.”
Opening the season is David Lindsay-Abaire’s comedy GOOD PEOPLE – a comic and compelling look at class and the divides it creates among a community of hardworking friends in South Boston. A Tony Award nominee for Best Play, GOOD PEOPLE brings us straight to the beating heart of its characters and the struggles they face — and through Lindsay-Abaire’s loving and incisive lens, we root for them to find their way forward. This is Keegan’s third production of the work of Lindsay-Abaire, having previously produced RABBIT HOLE and RIPCORD to critical and audience acclaim.
August 28 – September 25, 2021
by David Lindsay-Abaire
With wry humour and astonishing realism, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Lindsay-Abaire creates both a loving portrait of his hometown and a widely relatable tale of socio-economic struggle. In the world of GOOD PEOPLE, we see that very few can afford to be as good as they think they are, but acts of sacrifice and gestures of kindness come at the most surprising moments and from the most unexpected of sources.
Next up is the regional premiere of Adrienne Pender’s historical drama, N, a powerful and moving play that investigates the intersection of race and art. N dives into the relationship between playwright Eugene O’Neill and the actor Charles Gilpin, who famously played the lead in O’Neill’s THE EMPEROR JONES. At turns intimate and epic, this innovative play imagines conversations between a playwright and an actor as they confront issues related to race, power, and language — and as they strive, on a personal level, to influence each other’s perception of language and humanity in ways large and small. Recently adapted into a motion picture (THE BLACK EMPEROR OF BROADWAY), Pender’s script encourages us to examine how we see the world, how we perceive our differences, and how we understand the power of art to create social change.
October 23 – November 20, 2021
by Adrienne Pender
REGIONAL PREMIERE Eugene O’Neill’s groundbreaking 1921 play, THE EMPEROR JONES, was the first American play that featured an African-American actor in the lead role on Broadway. Charles S. Gilpin’s portrayal of Emperor Brutus Jones was hailed as “revelatory,” and he was named the finest actor of the age. The opening of THE EMPEROR JONES made stars of both men; it was O’Neill’s first commercial success, and Charles Gilpin became the toast of the theater world. But by 1926, O’Neill was a legend and Gilpin was lost to history. N explores the challenging relationship between Gilpin and O’Neill and how it ultimately hinged on one word; a word that lifted one of them to the heights of American theater, and a word that destroyed the other.
In December, Keegan’s beloved holiday play AN IRISH CAROL returns for its 11th season. Audiences gather at Keegan year after year to enjoy this irreverent, funny, and deeply moving take on Dickens’ classic, told as only the Irish can. With a few surprise cameo performances up our sleeve, Keegan can’t wait to welcome audiences back to Diskin’s Pub to celebrate the holidays.
December 10 – 31, 2021
AN IRISH CAROL
by Matthew J. Keenan
KEEGAN’S OWN HOLIDAY TRADITION An original work by Keegan company member Matthew J. 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.
In January 2022, Keegan presents the live world premiere of the rock musical TRANS AM, written and performed by Lisa Stephen Friday, which premiered online last fall in Keegan’s virtual repertory. A new work commissioned by Keegan, TRANS AM builds on the performance originated by Friday during her exhilarating summer 2020 one-woman show, which was presented as part of Keegan’s Boiler Room Series Live.
“TRANS AM was one of the most innovative and moving pieces of programming I’ve been a part of at Keegan,” says Rhea. “Audiences around the country were moved and inspired by Lisa’s personal journey — from her childhood through her experiences coming up and out as a musician in the early 2000s New York City rock scene. TRANS AM is totally unique, incredibly powerful, and as honest, funny, hopeful, and rock-n-roll as a piece of theater can be. We are thrilled to bring this show back and get it in front of a live audience, where it’s going to be even more electrifying than it was on the screen.”
January 29 – February 26, 2022
by Lisa Stephen Friday
featuring the music of Lisa Jackson & Girl Friday
LIVE WORLD PREMIERE ROCK MUSICAL TRANS AM explores the most complex and personal parts of the human experience, through the lens of Lisa Stephen Friday. With stories and songs, Lisa shares her own trans journey as a means of understanding our common human desire for self-actualization and respect while calling out the absurdity of a world obsessed with other-ness. An irreverent new one-woman autobiography, TRANS AM features the music of cult-favorite NYC glam rock band Lisa Jackson & Girl Friday and is directed by Broadway’s Fred Berman.
Keegan then kicks off a spring and summer season of comedies with Dipika Guha’s YOGA PLAY, a satirical, irreverent look at corporate culture and the search for authenticity through the lens of the enlightment industry. Guha’s script tackles the monetization of self-help and cultural appropriation, but the soul of YOGA PLAY is in its grounded, lovingly written characters and sublime comedic writing.
“This was one of our cancelled shows from last season,” says Rhea, “but we knew it was a show we would bring back to the lineup whenever we were able to get back to live theater. It’s one of the funniest scripts I’ve read in years, and Guha has a unique perspective and utterly fresh voice. YOGA PLAY is hilarious, timely, and cannily human.”
March 26 – April 23, 2022
by Dipika Guha
REGIONAL PREMIERE Joan has been hired to stabilize Jojomon, a yoga apparel giant, after its CEO is brought down by a fat-shaming scandal. But just as she finds her stride, more trouble surfaces and sales plummet. Joan comes up with a plan so risky that it could make or break the company and her career — and what it requires from her CFO, Raj, is far beyond the call of duty. This sharp comedy asks what it takes to find your own authenticity in a world determined to sell enlightenment.
Keegan’s 25th Anniversary Season concludes with a double-bill of comedy, music, laughter, and love. June and July 2022 will see two exciting regional premieres for the whole family playing in repertory: SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE, based on the acclaimed 1998 film by Tom Stoppard and Marc Norman and adapted for the stage by Lee Hall, and THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF DR. WONDERFUL (AND HER DOG!) by acclaimed playwright Lauren Gunderson.
SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE is a rollicking musical tribute to the Bard, the woman who captured his heart, and the inspiration behind his most famous tragedy, ROMEO AND JULIET. Featuring dozens of actors and musicians, this sweeping romance will have audiences laughing, celebrating the beauty of theater, and falling head over heels for its star-crossed lovers.
“SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE feels both timeless and completely original,” says Rhea. “Hall has adapted the beloved film perfectly for the stage, creating a bustling, high-energy, large-scale work that will be exciting for Keegan regulars and newcomers alike to experience in our intimate space, with Keegan’s trademark commitment to performance of the highest caliber — extraordinary artists telling a terrific story.”
The second offering in Keegan’s summer repertory is THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF DR. WONDERFUL (AND HER DOG!), a Keegan PLAY-RAH-KA production for families, written by Gunderson and featuring music by Bree Lowdermilk. Originally commissioned by the Kennedy Center in 2011, DR. WONDERFUL is a girl-powered, STEM-focused, family-friendly adventure that will delight and entertain curious-minded theatergoers of all ages.
“Summer 2022 is going to be a rollicking good time at Keegan,” says Rhea. “We can’t wait to celebrate next summer and welcome family audiences to this lineup of comedy, music, inspiration, and love.”
June 18 – July 16, 2022
SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE
by Lee Hall
adapted from the screenplay by Marc Norman & Tom Stoppard
REGIONAL PREMIERE Young Will Shakespeare has writer’s block… the deadline for his new play is fast approaching but he’s in desperate need of inspiration. That is, until he finds his muse – Viola. This beautiful young woman is Will’s greatest admirer and will stop at nothing (including breaking the law) to appear in his next play. Against a bustling background of mistaken identity, ruthless scheming, and backstage theatrics, Will’s love for Viola quickly blossoms and inspires him to write his greatest masterpiece.
July 5 – 24, 2022
THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF DR. WONDERFUL (AND HER DOG!)
book and lyrics by Lauren Gunderson
music by Bree Lowdermilk
KEEGAN PLAY-RAH-KA PRODUCTION FOR FAMILIES Dr. Wonderful and her dog, Newton, want to know why the moon changes shape in the sky every night. But how can they study the moon when it’s so far away? By blasting off into space, of course! On their amazing journey, this detective duo gathers clues to solve their lunar mystery using the powers of science, curiosity, and teamwork.
In May 2022, Keegan’s Boiler Room Series (BRS) is inviting audiences to experience theater development in action through a series of presentations and events involving new plays somewhere on the path from “playwright’s first spark” to “mainstage production.” Events include public staged readings with audience talkbacks, sneak peeks into the workshop room, exclusive interviews with playwrights, and working sessions with directors and artists — all designed to bring audiences into the world where plays get made. BRS events will be presented live at Keegan and also fully streamed, so that audiences from all over the world can experience the journey of these new works alongside the writers and artists who develop them to their full potential.
The lineup will highlight two world premieres that are headed for the mainstage at Keegan: a commissioned work by Boiler Room Series veteran Graziella Jackson, and a TYA play by Drew Anderson and Dwayne Lawson-Brown, the duo behind FROM GUMBO TO MUMBO, which earned a Helen Hayes nomination for its 2019 premiere production at Keegan and was named “Best of Fringe” at the 2019 Charm City Fringe Festival in Baltimore. Following their public workshops this season, these two world premieres will be fully produced on the Keegan mainstage in 2022-23.
Additionally, audiences will be treated to staged readings of exciting new works from familiar and outstanding voices from the Boiler Room Series’ first five seasons, including Priyanka Shetty, Jordan Ramirez Puckett, Shadia Hafiz, and Darren Donohue.
“Five years in, we want to celebrate some of the most compelling voices we have heard in the series’ history. If you enjoyed these playwrights and their captivating works in the past, you’ll be as delighted as we are to be the first to hear their newest plays in development this season,” says Boiler Room Series Artistic Director, Josh Sticklin.
“With a commitment to bringing new works to full production, we want to double-down on the incredible work of the first five years of the Boiler Room Series,” adds Rhea. “The fostering of these scripts to a full-scale production is the culmination of our new works development process, and we will provide all the support we can to these extraordinary writers and their stories. We hope to establish a model for future years of the Boiler Room Series, in which we engage with emerging playwrights and help steward exceptional world premieres from the germ of the idea to the full theater experience.”
May 10 – 22, 2022
The Boiler Room Series
by Graziella Jackson
PUSHING THE BUTTON
by Drew Anderson & Dwayne Lawson-Brown
World Premiere Readings of New Works by Darren Donohue, Shadia Hafiz, Jordan Ramirez Puckett, & Priyanka Shetty
This season, Keegan is honored to be partnering with Challenging Racism, an Arlington-based organization whose mission is to educate people about the prevalence and inequities of institutional and systemic racism, giving them the knowledge and tools they need to challenge racism where they encounter it. In addition to leading anti-racism workshops with the staff and Board of the theater, Challenging Racism is partnering with Keegan all season long to provide behind-the-scenes support and education around issues of race as they arise in the plays themselves and also in the room where the art is made.
“The opportunity to work with Challenging Racism is one of the most exciting aspects of our season,” says Rhea. “We are looking forward to deepening our relationships to our community, challenging ourselves to create the world we want to see, and building a deeper understanding of how art can move us all toward a better tomorrow.”
Challenging Racism facilitators will engage with artistic teams to start conversations around race as it plays a role in the rehearsal room and in the stories we tell. Additionally, Keegan is working with Challenging Racism to create audience enrichment and education opportunities, from talkbacks to dramaturgical and other educational materials in conjunction with each production. The talkback series, tentatively titled “Intersections,” will be curated to build on the themes and subjects presented on stage, bringing audiences, artists and facilitators together in important conversations around race and community-building. VIEW ALL SPECIAL EVENTS
“Theater plays a vital role in our community as one of the most powerful platforms for storytelling and amplifying the voices of the unheard and unseen,” says Alicia Jones McLeod, Executive Director at Challenging Racism. “It can captivate an audience, help us see through a different lens, compelling us to actively listen and endure messages that make us uncomfortable. It is a pleasure to work with Keegan on this project to empower and activate members of our community.”
“At this moment, the power of storytelling and human connection is more potent than ever,” says Rhea. “Our 25th Anniversary Season has something in it for everyone, and we cannot wait to get back to the work of making theater, to welcome audiences back to our Church Street home, to celebrate new voices and learn from a range of perspectives, and to hopefully find inspiration, big and small, along the way.”
Keegan will follow federal and DC regulations regarding safety in the theater, for artists, students, audiences, and staff; these precautions will be shared on the website and rigorously enforced and supported as the District and the nation emerge from the COVID pandemic. “We are committed to robust compliance and the utmost safety for all who work here and come to see shows here,” says Rhea. “We’ll closely follow the evolving requirements and will communicate openly about the work we are doing to keep Keegan safe for all.”
Subscriptions are available online now on our Tickets page. Visit the Onstage page for information on the upcoming season and updates on artistic teams and productions in progress. Also visit the Donate page to learn how to connect more closely (and enjoy special behind-the-scenes perks!) when you become a supporter of Keegan.BUY SINGLE TICKETS OR BUILD A PACKAGE
DOWNLOAD PRESS RELEASE (Media release 7/8/2021)