Theater & art

‘Menagerie’ and more in ART’s 2012-13 season

Taylor Mac (right) in his Obie Award-winning piece “The Lily’s Revenge.’’
Ves Pitts
Taylor Mac (right) in his Obie Award-winning piece “The Lily’s Revenge.’’

John Tiffany, the celebrated British director of the current Broadway hit “Once,” will return to the American Repertory Theater next year to stage “The Glass Menagerie,” making it the first Tennessee Williams production ever by the Cambridge theater.

The ART’s 2012-13 subscription season will also include Taylor Mac’s Obie Award-winning multimedia piece “The Lily’s Revenge,” an encore engagement of Banana Bag and Bodice’s “Beo-wulf — A Thousand Years of Baggage,” and the previously announced “Pippin” and “Marie Antoinette.”

“Thematically what’s interesting is all of these shows are about individuals,” ART artistic director Diane Paulus said from Montreal, where her Cirque du Soleil show, “Amaluna,” premiered Wednesday night. “This season is gonna examine the individual and the choices we make as individuals and how they then affect the people around [us], whether that’s families, like in ‘Glass Menagerie,’ or the course of history, in the case of ‘Marie Antoinette.’ ”


The season will kick off Sept. 1 at the Loeb Drama Center with the world premiere of David Adjmi’s “Marie Antoinette,” which Paulus described as “a biting, witty play” about a famous “one-percenter.” Rebecca Taichman will direct.

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“The Lily’s Revenge,” beginning Oct. 12 at Oberon, is a 30-character allegory that was five hours long when it opened in New York in 2009, starring Mac in the title role of Lily, a flower with nuptial urges. “It’s a story that really talks about and addresses the issue of marriage equality, but in a very metaphoric, theatrical way,” Paulus said. In addition to Mac, the cast will feature local artists from a range of disciplines.

“Pippin,” the only show of the season that Paulus is slated to direct, will begin performances Dec. 5 at the Loeb Drama Center, with choreography by Gypsy Snider of the Canadian contemporary circus troupe Les 7 Doigts de la Main. Paulus saw the 1972 Stephen Schwartz musical repeatedly on Broadway when she was a child, she said. “It's just one of those shows I have an incredible passion for because of the music,” she added, describing the musical’s story as “quite intense and powerful and dark.”

“The Glass Menagerie” will follow at the Loeb, starting Feb. 2, 2013. Tiffany, a Radcliffe Institute Fellow in 2010-11, first found fame on this side of the Atlantic with his stark staging of the National Theatre of Scotland’s “Black Watch,” about the Iraq war. While at Radcliffe, he workshopped “Once” at the ART and also directed an ART Institute production, “I Speak, Therefore I Am.”

“Beowulf — A Thousand Years of Baggage” will be the final show of the season, beginning performances April 16, 2013, at Oberon. A club-theater adaptation of the epic poem, it first played Oberon during the Emerging America festival last May.


Various nonsubscription add-ons are still to come, Paulus said, including “Hansel and Gretel,” a production aimed at families and children, around the holidays.

Laura Collins-Hughes can be reached at lcollins-hughes@