In the world of theater marketing, successfully rolling out your season is an art. Sell it with a strong hook, and you can build serious buzz for your upcoming slate of plays and programming. But for those of us who cover theater, season announcements can get pretty old pretty quickly. In order to stay interested, this year we’ll to evaluate D.C. theaters’ upcoming seasons—-and their upcoming seasons’ roll-out strategies.
The Announcement: Shakespeare Theatre Company’s 25th season, which begins, per tradition, with a summer Free for All performance (Julius Caesar) and then continues with David Ives‘ new Regnard adaptation The Heir Apparent, Much Ado About Nothing, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Eugene O’Neill‘s Strange Interlude, Carlo Goldoni‘s The Servant of Two Masters, and The Merry Wives of Windsor. Also: two concert-style performances of musical interpretations of Shakespeare, The Boys From Syracuse and Two Gentlemen of Verona, a Rock Opera; a 12-hour reading of the “Henry VI” trilogy; and several events in which STC Artistic Director Michael Kahn and actors will discuss the Bard.
The Strategy: A very common one, in which The Washington Post‘s Peter Marks had the scoop before the rest of us had the announcement in our in-boxes (it arrived in mine at 3:48 p.m., hours after I’d seen the Post article). But STC offered lots of nifty hooks with its announcement: a big anniversary, the feting of Kahn, the out-of-the-box pair of musical offerings. All of that makes for an easy sell to the Post.
The Highlights: STC always does great things with French farces, so Ives’The Heir Apparent adaptation—-a world premiere—-should be worthwhile. And STC’s recent Candide softened the hardened heart of this musical skeptic, so the company’s “Bard’s Broadway” programs could surprise. The performance of Galt McDermot‘s Two Gentlemen of Verona, a Rock Musical runs concurrently with the Lansburgh Theatre production of Two Gentlemen of Verona, the non-rock musical, which could be either a fascinating pairing or a totally grating one. Special nerd points to the “Henry VI” readings. Very cool.
The Give-a-Damn: I mostly give a damn.