News Column

Broadway throws a curveball at KC Rep's next season

July 7, 2013

YellowBrix

July 07--The Kansas City Repertory Theatre has overhauled its previously announced 2013-14 season. One show has been canceled, but a world premiere has been added.

"One Night With Janis Joplin," a vintage-rock musical that was to have opened as a pre-Broadway show on Sept. 20 at Copaken Stage, was scratched from the season after the show's producers had an opportunity to take it directly to New York.

Now the show will begin performances at the Lyceum Theater in New York on the same date it would have begun previews in Kansas City.

Eric Rosen, the Rep's artistic director, said the competition for Broadway theaters is stiff, and the producers didn't want to risk delaying a move to New York.

"It wasn't our decision," Rosen said. "We were going to present the show before Broadway, but there's a waiting list for Broadway theaters. We were fairly surprised."

As part of the reshuffled season, "The Foreigner," which was to have been staged in the spring, will shift to the fall schedule at the Spencer Theatre. Jerry Genochio will direct the Larry Shue comedy.

In the spring, Rep audiences will see the world premiere of a new musical, "After Robert Hutchens," with a book, music and lyrics by Nick Blaemire. The show has been developed with the backing of commercial producers through a series of workshops. The director will be Sheryl Kaller, who earned a Tony nomination for her direction of "Next Fall" in 2010.

"This (is a) project we've been working on a very long time," Rosen said. "It's by an amazing young composer who is also an actor."

Rosen said Blaemire writes in an indie-pop or emo-rock style.

"It's an incredible score and a very sweet, moving story about two brothers who discover at the funeral of their mother that she's been having an affair the last 20 years of her life," he said. "It's a coming-of-age story as these two young men set out to find the man. If an independent film were a musical, it would be this."

The Rep's involvement in the show will be comparable to its role as the originating theater for "A Christmas Story," Rosen said. As with that show, the producers hope for a life beyond Kansas City.

The production reflects the Rep's heightened reputation in the New York theater world after "A Christmas Story" played Broadway last year and "Venice" just completed a successful run at the Public Theater.

"How we got this show was based on our reputation working on 'A Christmas Story,'" Rosen said. "We are considered one of the more adventurous places to try out new work.

"The Great Immensity"-- a world premiere at the Rep in 2012 -- "is going to the Public next year. Kansas City is considered a safe and exciting place to try out new work. Our audience is smart," Rosen said.

Rep season 2.0

Here's the revised 2013-14 season of the Kansas City Repertory Theatre. An additional production is expected to be added to the spring lineup. For ticket information, call 816-235-2700 or go to KCRep.org.

--"The Tallest Tree in the Forest," by Daniel Beaty, Aug. 30-Sept. 28 on the Copaken Stage. Directed by Moises Kaufman, this is a world premiere co-produced with La Jolla Playhouse in California.

--"The Foreigner," by Larry Shue and directed by Jerry Genochio, Oct. 17-Nov. 3 at the Spencer Theatre.

--"A Christmas Carol," directed by Kyle Hatley, Nov. 22-Dec. 26 at the Spencer.

--"The Santaland Diaries," by David Sedaris and directed by Jerry Genochio, Nov. 29-Dec. 22 at the Copaken.

--"Romeo and Juliet," by William Shakespeare and directed by Eric Rosen, Jan. 17-Feb. 9, 2014 at the Spencer.

--"When I Come to Die," by Nathan Louis Jackson and directed by Kyle Hatley, Feb. 14-March 16 at the Copaken.

--"After Robert Hutchens," a world premiere musical by Nick Blaemire and directed by Sheryl Kaller, April 11- May 11 at the Copaken.

To reach Robert Trussell, call 816-234-4765 or send email to rtrussell@kcstar.com.

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(c)2013 The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Mo.)

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