Over the weekend, Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati announced its 2009-10 season, and it’s full of works you’ve never heard of but will be glad that D. Lynn Meyers has picked. ETC generally offers premieres of works that have been presented elsewhere, but not locally, and she’s kicking off the season with a powerful piece, Moisés Kaufman’s 33 Variations (Sept. 2-20). —-The still-running Broadway production featuring Jane Fonda was nominated for a 2009 Tony as one of the season’s best plays. Cincinnati Entertainment Award winners Amy Warner and Dale Hodges will star in ETC’s production of this piece about a woman’s obsession with a piece of music that Beethoven obsessively revised.
ETC’s second show will be Dead Man’s Cell Phone by Sarah Ruhl (Oct. 7-25), running more or less concurrently with the much-admired young playwright’s new adaptation of Three Sisters at the Cincinnati Playhouse. Earlier this year Know Theatre staged Ruhl’s Eurydice, and in 2006, the Playhouse presented her most broadly produced script, The Clean House.
The season will also include My Name Is Asher Lev (Jan. 27-Feb. 14, 2010) by Aaron Posner, a script adapted from a novel by Chaim Potok; Becky’s New Car by Steven Dietz (March 10-28, 2010); and Roger Bean’s musical, The Marvelous Wonderettes (April 21-May 9, 2010). Additionally, ETC will bring back for the holidays its contemporary re-telling of Sleeping Beauty by Joseph McDonough and David Kisor (Dec. 2, 2009-Jan. 3, 2010).
ETC’s season does not include a play by August Wilson because the rights for the next work in the chronology of his 10-play cycle, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, are not available due to a currently-running Broadway production. Meyers is confident that the rights to the show, set in the second decade of the 20th century, will be available in time to launch the 2010-11 season. That means that ETC, which usually is one of the final theaters to announce its upcoming shows, is one step ahead of every other theater in town.
Speaking of other theaters, several more have recently announced upcoming seasons. Here are three schedules I’ve heard so far:
• College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) at the University of Cincinnati: You Can’t Take It with You (Oct. 29-Nov. 1); Hair (Nov. 15-21), a show that just won the 2009 Tony Award for best musical revival; Cole Porter’s Anything Goes (Feb. 25-March 7, 2010); and William Inge’s Picnic (April 22-25, 2010).
• Jersey Productions at the Aronoff Center’s Jarson-Kaplan Theater: Oklahoma! (July 17-25), directed by Know Theatre’s Jason Bruffy; Little Shop of Horrors (Aug. 14-22), directed by Gina Kleesattel; and Once Upon a Mattress (Dec. 11-19).
• The Carnegie Visual Performing Arts Center in Covington: the regional premiere of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Sept. 4-20), directed by Alan Patrick Kenny, artistic director of the now-closed New Stage Collective; Oliver! (Dec. 11-27), presented in conjunction with the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra; and Irwin Shaw’s 1936 classic drama Bury the Dead (April 8-24, 2010), staged by CCM’s Michael Burnham with students from the CCM drama program.