Actor Kelsey Didion, right, who was in last year's production of “Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley” at the Jungle Theater, returns for the premiere of the follow-up, “The Wickhams.” (Photo by William Clark)
While the American theater has been making fitful progress around issues of gender, inclusion and equity, the Jungle Theater is going big and bold with its new season.
The Minneapolis playhouse has announced a 2018-2019 line-up that features a majority-female slate of high-powered playwrights and directors. The company also has a history-high seven productions, including three world premieres.
“We’re doing plays that rose to the top and a lot of them happen to be by women,” said Jungle artistic director Sarah Rasmussen. “We’re proud to be presenting our own original Jungle [commissions] as well as some of the most celebrated titles fresh out of established theaters in New York and London.”
The Jungle’s 28th season kicks off with the premiere of Kate Hamill’s adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s coming-of-age classic, “Little Women.” Commissioned by the Jungle and directed by Rasmussen, it has a cast that includes Christina Baldwin, Megan Burns, Christine Webber, James Rodriguez and stage veteran actor Wendy Lehr (Sept. 15-Oct. 21).
The Jungle also will co-premiere “The Wickhams,” by playwrights Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon. A follow-up to last year’s sold-out holiday offering, “Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley” — itself a take-off on Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” — “The Wickhams” orbit the servants of the manor and is headlined by Angela Timberman as the house-keeper alongside returning stars Sun Mee Chomet, Kelsey Didion and James Rodriguez. Christina Baldwin directs (Dec. 1-30).
Lucy Kirkwood’s “The Children,” a drama about the aftermath of a nuclear meltdown that was recently nominated for a Tony and that sold out its London run, gets its regional premiere under the direction of Casey Stangl (Jan. 12-Feb. 10, 2019).
Next up is “Schoolgirls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play,” Jocelyn Bioh’s sharp comedy about issues facing teenage girls. Its regional premiere is being staged by Shá Cage in her Jungle debut with costumes by Ghanaian-American fashion designer Jacqueine Amissah-Addison and sets by McKnight distinguished artist Seitu Jones (March 16-April 14, 2019).
Bess Wohl’s “Small Mouth Sounds,” a comedy about six characters who go on a silence retreat to detach from their gadgets and the clutter of the world, gets its regional premiere under the direction of Lauren Keating. It stars Jim Lichtscheidl, Christina Baldwin and Eric Sharp (May 18-June 16, 2019).
And actor Sally Wingert headlines “Stinkers,” a comedy about parenting by the same artistic team that brought us “Lone Star Spirits” — playwright Josh Tobiessen and director Rasmussen (July 20-Aug. 18, 2019).
The Jungle will also present the regional premiere of “Every Brilliant Thing,” a pop-up show by Arizona Theatre Company artistic director David Ivers. The venue and dates are yet to be determined.
“It’s a season of ambitious, surprising and heartfelt work about who we are right now,” said Rasmussen.
Season subscriptions, $148-$188, are currently on sale. Single tickets, $40-$50, go on sale in August. For tickets call 612-822-7063 or visit jungletheater.com.