In what amounts to a rare silver lining from the pandemic, the Huntington Theatre Company will resume productions at its main stage this fall — a full year ahead of schedule — after $55 million worth of renovations.
The company’s main stage, now called simply the Huntington Theatre, had been slated to reopen in the fall of 2023. But, managing director Michael Maso said in an interview with the Globe, “We were able to accelerate the process of the build” because the theater was closed due to COVID-19.
For Maso, who after four decades at the Huntington has a deeper sense of institutional history than virtually anyone in Boston theater, the return to the main stage will have another layer of meaning. The first production at the reopened Huntington Theatre will be the late August Wilson’s “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone,” the play that began the company’s collaboration with the legendary playwright back in 1986.
From that point, the Huntington went on to produce each of the other works in Wilson’s 10-play Century Cycle (also known as the Pittsburgh Cycle) — serving in some cases as part of their development on the way to Broadway — as well as Wilson’s solo drama, “How I Learned What I Learned.”
Overall, the Huntington’s 2022-2023 season, announced Wednesday afternoon, will feature eight productions, including two musicals for the first time in a single season in the 40 years of the company’s existence. In another, more significant first: This will be the inaugural season under the leadership of a new artistic director, Loretta Greco. She is only the fourth artistic director in the Huntington’s history and the first woman to hold the post.
“It feels like this extraordinary coming-together of so many different things,” Maso said.
Most of the upcoming season was planned before Greco was hired in February, though she was pivotal in lining up a work by innovative playwright-performer Taylor Mac, with whom she has previously collaborated. Greco will also be central to choosing the season’s eighth production, to be announced later for the summer of 2023.
Kicking off the season will be “Sing Street,” a musical adaptation of the 2016 film that was originally scheduled to begin performances on Broadway in March 2020. When COVID-19 forced theaters to close, the “Sing Street” team used the interim to make tweaks to the show, then asked the Huntington to present it before it heads back to Broadway.
Slated for Aug. 26-Oct. 2 in the Calderwood Pavilion’s Wimberly Theatre, it’s about a Dublin teenager in 1982 who starts a band to make an impression on an enigmatic classmate he’s got a crush on. “Sing Street” will be directed by Rebecca Taichman (”Indecent”), with choreography by Sonya Tayeh, a book by Enda Walsh (”Once”) and music and lyrics by John Carney and Gary Clark.
Next up, from Oct. 14 to Nov. 13 at the Huntington Theatre, will be “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone,” directed by Lili-Anne Brown. Rife with reverberations from slavery and the Great Migration, Wilson’s drama is set in 1911 at a Pittsburgh boarding house, where a man named Herald Loomis has come in search of his lost wife.
“Bhangin’ It: A Bangin’ New Musical,” will be presented at the Huntington Theatre from Dec. 2 to Jan. 8, 2023, in a co-production with La Jolla Playhouse.
Directed by Stafford Arima, “Bhangin’ It” is about a college senior, unsure where she fits in, who joins a Bhangra dance team that’s headed for a national competition. It features music and lyrics by Sam Willmott and a book by the husband-and-wife team of Mike Lew and Rehana Lew Mirza.
From Jan. 13 to Feb. 12, 2023, the Wimberly will be home to “The Art of Burning,” by Kate Snodgrass, who has nurtured and championed countless up-and-coming playwrights as the longtime artistic director of Boston Playwrights’ Theatre.
It will be directed by Melia Bensussen, who is now artistic director at Hartford Stage. “The Art of Burning” is about a painter, going through a divorce, who demands full custody of the couple’s daughter — a situation that becomes fraught with mystery when the girl doesn’t show up for school.
The Huntington is co-producing Lenelle Moïse’s “K-I-S-S-I-N-G” with the Front Porch Arts Collective, a Black theater company in Boston. The protagonist, Lala, who makes fine art on the back of pizza boxes, faces a choice between love or lust as she romances Dani, “a budding feminist,” and Albert, his “smooth-talking twin.”
Slated for March 3-April 2, 2023, at the Wimberly, “K-I-S-S-I-N-G” will be directed by Front Porch’s Dawn M. Simmons.
From March 31 to April 30, 2023, Lynn Nottage’s “Clyde’s” will be at the Huntington Theatre. The play is set at a truck stop sandwich shop whose kitchen is staffed by formerly incarcerated workers. Though forced to cope with a hard-edged owner, the workers find ways to cling to their dreams.
Greco, the new artistic director, will helm Taylor Mac’s “Joy and Pandemic” April 21-May 21, 2023, at the Wimberly. The work spans generations, beginning in the early 20th century at the time of the influenza pandemic, when a dedicated administrator is struggling to keep a children’s art school afloat in Philadelphia.
“It asks what is hope, what is truth, what is art?” Maso said.
Don Aucoin can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeAucoin.