TheatreWorks Silicon Valley is celebrating its 50th season, and the final season of Artistic Director and founder Robert Kelley. The company received a Tony award at this summer’s ceremony in June, and has a line up of 8 mainstage plays that reflect the history of its programming, with musicals, straight plays, and comedies.
There’s more information about the season at the TheatreWorks Silicon Valley website.
From its very first production, a show called Popcorn that they wrote, TheatreWorks has been interested in new works, community, and exposing its audiences to unexpected delights. “TheatreWorks started in 1970, originally as a youth company, high school and college age, with the goal of creating our own works,” Kelley says. “And since then, it’s been 50 years of growth and getting larger, and turning into a professional company over time. And some wonderful things have happened since then, perhaps not the least of which was winning a Tony award this year for our work as a regional theater.” They recently had their New Works festival, which has been the source of several plays that have gone on to successes on Broadway and around the country. This season’s musical adaptation of Pride and Prejudice by Paul Gordon got its start there, and make the company’s 70th world premiere. “This is my final season as the Artistic Director, I’ll be retiring in June of 2020. I tried to put together a season that represented a lot of things TheatreWorks had done in the past. We almost every season would have a broad comedy, something big and bold. We decided to revive The 39 Steps, cause I think it’s pretty much the funniest show we’ve ever put on.” That show runs through September 15th. There’s also Mark Twain’s River of Song, which includes live music from the time of the writer’s life, and The Pianist of Willesden Lane, telling the story of a young woman who escapes Nazi Germany and becomes a concert pianist (performed by her daughter, Mona Golabek). In March, another play from the New Works Festival, They Promised Her the Moon, tells of the American woman who was almost the very first astronaut, and the musical Ragtime is on stage in April. The season will end with Kelley directing The Book of Will. “It’s a love letter to the theater. It is about the process and the people who make theater, but it’s set back in Shakespeare’s time, and focuses on members of his company, The King’s Men, who decide after his death that they need to publish all of his works all together at one time, and that will lead to the First Folio, and this is the story of how it came about.”