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Virginia Repertory Theatre’s 40th season will start with a nod to the 450th birthday of the world’s greatest playwright, artistic director Bruce Miller announced last night. The line-up for 2014-2015 begins Sept. 26 through Oct. 19 with the play Equivocation, written by Bill Cain, directed by Jan Powell and co-produced with Richmond Shakespeare and Henley Street Theatre Co. William Shakespeare, as “Shagspeare,” plays a role in the drama set in England in 1605 in which the bard is commissioned by the prime minister to write the true history of a terrorist plot to assassinate King James I and obliterate Parliament. After discovering that the truth may not be what he was led to believe, “Shag” is faced with a crisis of conscience.
Next up is the musical Mame, playing from Nov. 21 to Jan. 11 with former Richmonder (and Tony Award nominee) Emily Skinner returning from Broadway to star in the title role with Desiree Roots Centeio as Vera Charles. From Feb. 13 to March 8, Virginia Rep will be collaborating with the Weinstein JCC on The Whipping Man by Matthew Lopez, in which a wounded Jewish Confederate soldier returns to his home in war-ravaged Richmond at Passover time in 1865 and finds it empty except for two former slaves.
Virginia Rep’s Signature Season continues with the comedy Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike by Christopher Durang from April 24 to May 17, and ends with the musical South Pacific from June 25 to Aug. 9, starring Stacey Cabaj (previously seen Virginia Rep preoductions as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady and Maria in The Sound of Music) as nurse Nellie Forbush.
Shows coming to Hanover Tavern, detailed by managing director Phil Whiteway, include Becoming Dr. Ruth — the Holocaust survivor who became a famous sex therapist and TV personality — by Mark St. Germain (Sept. 12 to Oct. 12); They’re Playing Our Song (written by Neil Simon, with lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager and music by Marvin Hamlisch) from Nov. 7 to Jan. 4; You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, staged in honor of the 65th anniversary of the Peanuts strip (Feb. 27 to April 19) and The Last of the Red Hot Lovers, starring Scott Wichmann as a middle-aged man who decides to join the sexual revolution of the 1960s before it’s too late, from July 17 to Aug. 23. It will be Wichmann's first role after returning from a year of military deployment in Africa.
As announced by Laine Satterfield and Anna Johnson, Cadence Theatre’s season, running from October to May, includes contemporary plays Sight Unseen (Oct. 16 to Nov. 8) by Donald Marguiles; Caroline, or Change (Feb. 19 to March 14) by Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori, and starring Desiree Roots Centeio as an African-American maid in 1963 Louisiana; and A Lie of the Mind (April 30 to May 23) by Sam Shepard.
The Children’s Theatre productions, according to director Chase Kniffen, open in October and continue through August with Charlotte’s Web (Oct. 10 to Nov. 9), adapted by Joseph Robinette from E.B. White's book; Santa’s Christmas Miracle (Nov. 28 to Dec. 28) by Richard Geirsch; The Maggie Walker Story (Jan. 30 to Feb. 15) by Bruce Craig Miller; Treasure Island (March 13 to April 19) by Paul Deiss, based on the Robert Louis Stevenson book; and Goodnight Moon (July 10 to Aug. 2), by Chad Henry based on the beloved story by Margaret Wise Brown.