Last year’s Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning plays — J.T. Rogers’ “Oslo,” a dramatic thriller about the 1993 Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, and Lynn Nottage’s emotional “Sweat,” a drama about bust times in an American rust-belt town — will receive regional premieres at Pioneer Theatre Company in the 2018-19 season.
It’s not often that a regional theater company is able to secure the rights to produce the previous year’s Pulitzer and Tony winners in the same season, said Karen Azenberg, PTC artistic director, in a statement. “What most excited me about this season is that it brings a little bit of everything to our audiences.”
In addition to the contemporary plays, the new season is packed with three musicals ranging in scale from Stephen Sondheim’s big thriller “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” to the bittersweet, intimate “Once.” Capping the season will be “Grease,” the well-loved 1950s-era musical about working-class teenagers.
In between, the company will produce “Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley,” a new sequel to Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice,” co-written by the country’s most-produced playwright, Lauren Gunderson (Salt Lake City’s Pygmalion Productions recently staged “Silent Sky” and “I and You”), and Margot Melcon. PTC will also produce James Goldman’s “The Lion in Winter,” a classic dramatic battle of wills between Henry II and his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine.
Rogers’ play will have the feel of a Utah homecoming, as a string of the Brooklyn-based playwright’s earlier works were produced at Salt Lake Acting Company. (SLAC produced “White People,” helped develop and produced “Seeing the Elephant,” commissioned and premiered “Madagascar,” and then staged “The Overwhelming” in 2008.)
“Once,” an intimate story-with-music about a scruffy Irish musician, also has Utah roots, thanks to its film premiere at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, where locals could chance upon creators Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová busking on Park City’s Main Street. The pair went on to win an Academy Award for the song “Falling Slowly” in 2008. An unlikely Broadway stage adaptation won eight Tony Awards in 2012, including Best Musical, and the tour played at Kingsbury Hall in 2015.
In addition to its mainstage shows, Pioneer will produce a concert staging of a musical and three readings in its Play-by-Play development series. Those titles will be announced later.
Pioneer Theatre’s 2018-19 season
Sept. 14-29 • “Oslo,” by J.T. Rogers.
Oct. 26-Nov. 10 • “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” Stephen Sondheim’s musical thriller, with the book by Hugh Wheeler.
Nov. 30-Dec. 15 • “Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley” by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon.
Jan. 4-19 • “The Lion in Winter” by James Goldman.
Feb. 15-March 2 • “Once,” with music and lyrics by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, and a book by Enda Walsh.
March 29-April 13 • “Sweat” by Lynn Nottage.
May 10-25 • “Grease,” with music, lyrics and book by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey.
Tickets • Subscriptions range from $150 to $325; renewal sales will be available next month. New ticket buyers can purchase subscriptions after June 29. Packages include Seven-Play, Pick-5, Flex and Rush Pass options. Available at 801-581-6961, pioneertheatre.org or the theater’s box office. Single ticket prices range from $44-$66 for musicals and $30-$45 for plays. Early season single ticket sales will be available Aug. 22, and others will be available Oct. 3.
Where • Simmons Pioneer Memorial Theatre, 300 S. 1400 East, Salt Lake City