Garrison Keillor makes his debut as a playwright to open History Theatre’s season in the fall. The 2014-15 lineup also includes a reprise of “The Buddy Holly Story” and a new work that plays with that same period of rock ’n’ roll.
Keillor, who has written in most every form known to humankind, unveils “Radio Man” (Sept. 27-Oct. 26). The line between fiction and reality is thin in this play about a radio host (played by Pearce Bunting) who presides over a broadcast show that includes music, sketches, characters and the imagination of a young boy. It will be directed by artistic director Ron Peluso.
Nicholas Freeman returns to History Theatre for the holiday season with “Buddy — The Buddy Holly Story.” Part biography and part concert, this has been a popular History Theatre production, with 24 numbers in the score. Freeman has portrayed Holly twice at History Theatre, in 2011 and 2009. The show, with music direction by Gary Rue, is a partnership with McNally Smith College of Music (Nov. 22-Dec. 21).
History Theatre gives the world premiere of “God Girl,” by Kristine Holmgren, next winter. Holmgren, a Presbyterian pastor and occasional Star Tribune columnist, writes about her experiences breaking into the heavily male ranks of pastors in the mid-1970s. Summer Hagen, seen frequently at the Guthrie, will portray Holmgren (Feb. 7-March 1, 2015).
Eric “Pogi” Sumangil, best known as an actor, stretches his writing muscles with “The Debutante’s Ball,” March 21-April 12. It’s a coming-of-age play based on the annual presentation of debutantes and escorts in Minnesota’s Filipino-American community. Sumangil, a former debutante escort himself, follows the experience of six teens preparing for the event. Randy Reyes directs this collaboration with Mu Performing Arts.
Next May, History Theatre brings a world premiere by playwright/actor Joe Minjares that celebrates the “godfather of Minnesota rock ’n’ roll.” Augie Garcia played guitar with a quintet that rose to fame from the flats of St. Paul’s West Side. He’s most remembered for opening a 1956 Elvis Presley concert with such raucous brio that Col. Tom Parker pulled Augie’s group from the performance, lest they upstage the King. Raul Ramos directs “River Road Boogie: The Augie Garcia Story” (May 2-31).
History Theatre will also do a Raw Stages new works festival (Jan. 13-18), featuring readings of four scripts to be announced later.
Find information at 651-292-4323 or www.historytheatre. com.