Kent Gash Will Direct The Wiz for Ford’s Theatre

Regional News   Kent Gash Will Direct The Wiz for Ford’s Theatre
 
The 2017-18 season will also include the American premiere of a new play by Timberlake Wertenbaker.
Kent Gash
Kent Gash Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Washington, D.C.'s Ford’s Theatre has announced its 2017–18 season, which will launch in September with a revival of the Arthur Miller classic Death of a Salesman, directed by Stephen Rayne.

The upcoming season will also feature the American premiere of Timberlake Wertenbaker's Jefferson’s Garden, directed by Nataki Garrett; the 1975 musical The Wiz, directed by Kent Gash; and A Christmas Carol with Craig Wallace reprising the role of Ebenezer Scrooge. Wertenbaker is the Tony-nominated playwright of Our Country's Good. Gash is the founding director of NYU Tisch School of the Arts’ New Studio on Broadway and the co-author and director of the musical Langston in Harlem.

Ford’s Theatre also announced that it will produce August Wilson’s Fences as part of the following 2018-19 season, in a continuing commitment to presenting American classics.

“In the characters of next season’s plays, we recognize our own triumphs, trials, hopes and fears,” said Ford’s Theatre Director Paul R. Tetreault in a statement. “With our 2017-2018 season Ford’s continues our commitment to feature local Washington actors and to present some of the finest classic plays and musicals that speak to the vibrancy of the human experience.”

“I am thrilled to have Stephen Rayne back to direct, and eager to see Craig Wallace not only reprise the role of Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, but also take on Willy Loman with Kimberly Schraf as Linda Loman,” Tetreault continued. “In 2018 we also welcome new-to-Ford’s artists Nataki Garrett and Kent Gash. Nataki’s brilliantly directed An Octoroon and Kent’s powerful production of Choir Boy at Studio Theatre made strong impressions on me. I very much look forward to seeing their thoughtful and visionary ideas come to life on our historic stage.”

Performances of the Ford's Theatre Society’s actor-led History on Foot walking tours of downtown D.C., and daytime one-act play performances of One Destiny will also continue in the spring of 2018.

Season details, according to the Washington venue, follow:

Death of a Salesman
By Arthur Miller
Directed by Stephen Rayne
September 22–October 22
Willy Loman’s career is over. During a pivotal 24 hours, he reflects on his life as a father, husband and traveling salesman. Truth and lies intermingle as Willy tries to reconcile the optimism of his youth with his unfulfilled dreams. As the full force of reality crashes down on him, he places his last hope of success in his two sons. Arthur Miller’s Pulitzer Prize-winning classic challenges us to reconsider what it means to succeed and the cost of chasing the American Dream. Stephen Rayne (Our Town, The Widow Lincoln, Sabrina Fair) directs Craig Wallace as Willy Loman, and Kimberly Schraf as Linda Loman.

A Christmas Carol
By Charles Dickens; Adapted by Michael Wilson
Directed by Michael Baron
Featuring Craig Wallace as Scrooge
November 16–December 31
Join the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future as they lead the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge on a journey of transformation and redemption. Originally conceived by Michael Baron, this music-infused production captures the magic and joy of Dickens’ Yuletide classic.

Jefferson’s Garden
By Timberlake Wertenbaker
Directed by Nataki Garrett
January 19–February 11, 2018
In this sweeping drama, playwright Timberlake Wertenbaker explores the contradictions between our founding fathers’ ideals and the realities of freedom in America. Christian, a Quaker pacifist, defies his family to fight in the American Revolution. On his travels, he meets and falls in love with an enslaved woman named Susannah, who is tempted to fight for the British when they promise liberation. Christian and Susannah cross paths with Thomas Jefferson, George Mason and Sally Hemings. These encounters force them to confront the compromises America makes after the promise of equality. Wertenbaker creates a dazzling world, taking us from Revolutionary battlefields to Paris to Thomas Jefferson’s home, Monticello. Nataki Garrett (Woolly Mammoth’s An Octoroon) directs this American premiere.

The Wiz
Book by William F. Brown, Music and Lyrics by Charlie Smalls
From the story The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Music Direction by Darius Smith; Choreographed by Dell Howlett; Directed by Kent Gash
March 9–May 12
Ease on down the road with Dorothy and her friends Scarecrow, Tinman and Lion on their quest to meet The Wiz. In this adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s magical novel, Dorothy is whisked away by a tornado to the fanciful land of Oz. There, she and her sidekicks encounter munchkins, flying monkeys and a power-hungry witch named Evillene who vows to destroy them. Winner of seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Original Score, The Wiz is a musical feast featuring soul, gospel, R&B and pop as well as exuberant choreography. Rediscover the power of courage, heart, brains and friendship in this classic story at the historic Ford’s Theatre.

One Destiny
By Richard Hellesen; Directed by Mark Ramont
March-June 2018
Learn about Lincoln’s assassination from two men who were there. This 35-minute play at Ford’s Theatre explores the key facts of the assassination while capturing the emotions of that fateful night in 1865, as told through the eyewitness accounts of actor Harry Hawk and Ford’s Theatre co-owner Harry Ford, among others. As they reconstruct the sequence of events, they grapple with the question: Could John Wilkes Booth have been stopped? One Destiny was honored with The Washington Post Award for Innovative Leadership in the Theatre Community in 2011, and celebrated its 1,000th performance in spring 2016. Performance dates and times for spring 2018 to be announced.

History on Foot Walking Tours:
Investigation: Detective McDevitt
By Richard Hellesen; Directed by Mark Ramont
March-October 2018
Join Detective McDevitt as he re-visits and re-examines the sites and clues surrounding the assassination of our nation’s 16th president. This outdoor tour lasts approximately two hours and makes at least eight stops. The distance walked is 1.6 miles from outside of Ford’s Theatre to the White House. Please wear comfortable shoes. Performance dates and times for 2018 to be announced.

For more information on Ford’s Theatre and the Ford’s Theatre Society, visit Fords.org.

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