Huntington Theatre Company’s 2014-15 season will feature the return of the celebrated “Our Town’’ director David Cromer at the helm of another well-known American drama, as well as a Chekhov-inspired comedy that was a Tony-winning hit on Broadway, a Tony-winning actor turning his hand to directing, a new play by Ronan Noone, and a medical drama set at Massachusetts General Hospital.
The Huntington’s season opener, running Sept. 5-Oct. 5, has not been announced. In a telephone interview, artistic director Peter DuBois said the work will be named soon.
The season’s second production will be Elizabeth Egloff’s “Ether Dome,’’ directed by Michael Wilson. “It’s about the creation of anesthesia in the 1840s, but it’s also very much about the emergence of Mass. General as this medical superpower in the world,’’ said DuBois. “The play has an incredible historical sweep to it, and it’s very funny.’’
“Ether Dome,’’ produced in association with La Jolla Playhouse and Hartford Stage, will run Oct. 17-Nov. 16 at the Wimberly Theatre in the Calderwood Pavilion, Boston Center for the Arts. It will be followed by a production of “Awake and Sing!,’’ Clifford Odets’s Depression-era drama about a working-class Jewish family in the Bronx. Directed by Melia Bensussen, “Awake and Sing!’’ will run at Boston University Theatre from Nov. 7-Dec. 7.
Nicholas Martin, DuBois’s predecessor as artistic director, will helm a production of Christopher Durang’s “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike’’ at Boston University Theatre from Jan. 2- Feb. 1, 2015. Martin directed “Vanya’’ on Broadway, where Durang won the 2013 Tony Award for Best Play.
Martin had been slated to direct the Huntington’s current production of Chekhov’s “The Seagull’’ but had to withdraw for personal reasons. DuBois voiced confidence that Martin will “be in a great place to direct’’ Durang’s play. “Whenever Nicholas comes back to the Huntington something happens to the works that’s really exciting,’’ said DuBois, adding that the comical deconstruction of Chekhov in Durang’s “Vanya’’ strikes him as “a way to have a fun conversation between the two seasons.’’
Noone’s “The Second Girl,’’ a world premiere slated for Jan. 16-Feb. 15, 2015, at the Wimberly Theatre, is inspired by Eugene O’Neill’s “Long Day’s Journey Into Night.’’ The drama revolves around a servant who is a minor character in “Long Day’s Journey,’’ and her aunt, who is a cook.
“It deals with the downstairs life of the Tyrone home during the events of ‘Long Day’s Journey Into Night,’ ’’ said DuBois, adding: “I think it’s Ronan’s most mature play to date. It’s funny, it’s lyrical, it’s extremely moving.’’ The play will be directed by Campbell Scott, who starred in Noone’s “The Atheist’’ at the Huntington in 2007. Noone was a Huntington Playwriting Fellow from 2003 to 2005.
Another actor-director, Billy Porter, who won the 2013 Tony Award for best actor in a musical for his performance in “Kinky Boots,’’ will be at the helm for a production of George C. Wolfe’s “The Colored Museum.’’ A blistering satire of racial archetypes and stereotypes, “The Colored Museum’’ consists of 11 playlets that include “The Last Mama-on-the-Couch Play’’ and “The Hairpiece.’’
“I love this play,’’ said DuBois. “I’ve always thought this play deserved a major revival. It’s been on our short list for a long, long time.’’ “The Colored Museum’’ is scheduled for next March 6-April 5 at the Boston University Theatre.
Cromer, whose production of Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town’’ was presented at the Huntington in December 2012, will return with William Inge’s drama of middle-aged regret “Come Back, Little Sheba.’’ In Inge’s 1950 play, an alcoholic chiropractor and his wife take a sexually active college student as a boarder in their Midwestern home, with disruptive consequences.
“David has the capacity to take a vintage work and turn it in a way that makes us see it in a new light,’’ said DuBois. “Come Back, Little Sheba,’’ which will not be part of the Huntington’s subscription season, will be performed March 27-April 26, 2015, in the Roberts Studio Theatre, Calderwood Pavilion, Boston Center for the Arts.
The 2014/2015 season will wrap up with “after all the terrible things I do,’’ a drama about bullying and the possibility of forgiveness by A. Rey Pamatmat, to be directed by DuBois. “I read the play and I got excited the way I got excited when I read [Stephen Karam’s] ‘Sons of the Prophet,’ ” said DuBois.
He said the play, built around an encounter between a bookstore owner and an aspiring writer, contains “so many plot surprises,’’ adding: “It just pulses with a kind of emotional life. Both characters have been written so beautifully, in a way that balances humor with human suffering.’’ It is scheduled for May 22-June 20, 2015, at the Wimberly Theatre.
Don Aucoin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.