The past few years, Actors Theatre of Louisville's Humana Festival of New American Plays has been as much about bringing cutting-edge theater artists to the River City as it has been about premiering plays. That continues this year with a lineup of seven main stage plays, several of which have roots at other theaters around the country.
The festival also will take attendees to one of downtown Louisville's hottest establishments, giving members of the Acting Apprentice Company one of their biggest stages in years.
Here's the lineup for the festival, which runs Feb. 21 to March 28. For more information on show times and tickets, visit www.actorstheatre.org/humana or call 1-800-428-5849.
The Cherry Sisters Revisited by Dan O'Brien with original music by Michael Friedman: The description asks, "How far can you go with ambition, gumption, a good heart — and no talent?" It's based on the true story of a pair of inept Iowa sisters who made it all the way to Broadway, which would seem to tell us Americans liked to watch talentless train wrecks long before the audition episodes of American Idol. Friedman's music will be familiar to Humana audiences who have heard his work in Gone Missing and This Beautiful City. His music was commissioned by Actors Theatre.
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Fissures (lost and found) by Steve Epp, Cory Hinkle, Dominic Orlando, Dominique Serrand, Deborah Stein and Victoria Stewart: Artists from Minneapolis' Workhaus Collective and now-closed Theatre de la Jeune Lune team up to explore memory and how it is often embellished. It's a commission from Actors Theatre and The Playwrights' Center in Minneapolis.
Ground by Lisa Dillman: A woman inherits her father's pecan farm near the U.S.-Mexico border and faces tough decisions and challenges to her beliefs about things like family and civil rights. The play originally was commissioned for a reading by Northlight Theatre in Skokie, Ill.
Heist! conceived and created by Sean Daniels and Deborah Stein, written by Stein: Humana continues a tradition of site-specific fare, this time setting the tale of an art caper in Louisville's internationally acclaimed 21c Museum Hotel. The play will be performed by ATL's Acting Apprentice Company.
The Method Gun created by Rude Mechanicals collective and written by Kirk Lynn: Austin, Texas, theater scribes went nuts over this show that looks at the bizarre and dangerous techniques of Stella Burden, a fictional 1960s and '70s theater guru, as her company attempts to stage A Streetcar Named Desire in the wake of her sudden and mysterious emigration to South America.
Phoenix by Scott Organ: A one-night stand sends a pair on a several-week, thousands-of-miles journey exploring what could be compared with what they know.
Sirens by Deborah Zoe Laufer: A couple of empty nesters depart on a 25th anniversary cruise with different intentions.