By Tracey Dee Rauh
---- — Seven shows are on the playbills for the 2013-14 Season at Merrimack Repertory Theater.
This will be the 35th season of professional productions presented at this theater for residents of the Merrimack Valley of Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire and beyond.
“The season offers comedy, drama, romance and music,” said Artistic Director Charles Towers. “I also select material that attracts first-rate theatre artists to come to work at MRT, because they are the ones who ultimately put excellence on stage. Whether a play has become a contemporary classic or is brand new, our artists will create seven fresh experiences that collectively make a season of theatre here.”
Here’s the season lineup*:
‘Stella and Lou,’ by Bruce Graham
Sept. 19 to Oct. 13
Lou is just about to close up his bar for the night when Stella, one of his regulars, walks in with a surprising proposal. Lou is a faithful widower and Stella a dedicated nurse. This romantic comedy asks if a second chance at love is really possible for two people with a lot of miles on them.
‘The Immigrant,’ by Mark Harelik
Oct. 24 to Nov. 17
In 1909, a young Russian Jew leaves his homeland in search of the American Dream. Entering through the port of Galveston, he settles in a small town in Central Texas and forms the unlikeliest of friendships with the owner of the town bank and his devoutly Christian wife. This is a heartwarming tale of one man’s quest to build a better life for his family.
‘Mrs. Mannerly,’ by Jeffrey Hatcher
Nov. 29 to Dec. 22
In this tart-but-charming comedy, it is the fall of 1967 and young Jeffrey has just enrolled in a manners class taught by the formidable Helen Anderson Kirk, otherwise known as Mrs. Mannerly. Although society is rapidly changing, Jeffrey and his rival classmates must decide how far they will go to become the first student to achieve a perfect score on Mrs. Mannerly’s legendary final exam.
‘God of Carnage,’ by Yasmina Reza (Translation by Christopher Hampton)
Jan. 9 to Feb. 2, 2014
Two high-strung sets of parents meet for the first time with the intention of settling their sons’ playground dispute like civilized adults. Their encounter frustrates everyone’s best intentions in this viciously funny Olivier Award-winner for Best Comedy and long-running Broadway hit.
‘The Devil’s Music: Life and Blues of Bessie Smith,’ by Angelo Parra
Feb. 13 to March 9, 2014
Ignoring a scheduled performance, Bessie Smith, The Empress of the Blues, finds herself in a “buffet flat” (a private lounge), hanging with her band. In a revealing mood, she sings her story of a life filled with tumultuous romances, hard living, and, always, music.
‘Equally Divided,’ by Ronald Harwood
March 20 to April 13, 2014
Edith has taken care of her bitter, elderly mother and indulged the old woman’s antiquing habit for years. Now that mum has passed away, she just wants what she deserves, except her wealthy, eccentric, good-for-nothing sister Renata wants her half, too. A comedy about a woman in a moral quandary.
‘The Complete History of Comedy,’ by Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor
April 24 to May 18, 2014
The Reduced Shakespeare Company returns with a brand new comedy about ... comedy. As only they can, the RSC deconstruct the history of comedy, debate who is the funniest person ever to have lived, and ask if laughter is the best medicine, will it be covered by Obamacare?
* All titles subject to change.
About MRT's 2013-14 Season How: Single tickets to all productions are on sale now, beginning at $20, online at MRT.org or by calling the Box Office at 978-654-4678. Subscriptions: On sale now. Discounted season tickets are available in a full seven-play subscription or three-to-six play customizable packages. They can be purchased online at MRT.org or at the box office by calling 978-654-4678. Discounts: Senior discount 10 percent off adult ticket price. Student tickets $15. Group discounts are available for groups of six or more by calling 978-654-7561. Half-Price Rush Tickets may be available by stopping by or calling the box office after 5 p.m. on any Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, or Sunday evening to get 50 percentoff remaining seats for that night's performance. Where: Merrimack Repertory Theatre's Box Office is located at 50 E. Merrimack Street, Lowell, MA.