Double the space, double the drama.
In its second season of having two stages to play with, Park Square Theatre in downtown St. Paul will stage 11 productions. The 2015-16 lineup includes two new commissioned works, the regional premiere of a musical murder mystery and a flesh-flashing production of "Calendar Girls."
The season opens on the original proscenium stage Sept. 11-Oct. 4 with "Elliot, a Soldier's Fugue," a Puerto Rican soldier's personal experience of war by Pulitzer and Tony winner Quiara Alegría Hudes. "Murder for Two," a mini-musical mystery featuring one vaudevillian playing detective while another plays all the suspects, opens on the Andy Boss Thrust Stage Sept. 18-Oct. 25.
Athol Fugard's apartheid-era "My Children! My Africa!" runs Nov. 11-29 on the thrust. It will be directed by James A. Williams, whose performance in a recent New York revival of the same play earned critical acclaim.
Two holiday offerings include the area premiere of the "The Snow Queen," a folksy-pop version of the classic fairy tale by Michael Smith, on the proscenium (Nov. 27-Dec. 27) and Tom Mula's take on "Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol" on the thrust (Dec. 9-20).
In a world premiere opening Jan. 15, 2016, the always-imaginative Joel Sass directs his version of "Great Expectations," featuring a racially diverse cast based on his research on Victorian-era black and biracial Britons. Twelve actors and musicians will play multiple roles, sing and play instruments in this new take on a much-produced Dickens tale. It runs to Feb. 7.
Fans of Regina Marie Williams, who most recently played Shug in Park Square's "The Color Purple," take note: She'll star in the world premiere of "Nina Simone: Four Women," by playwright Christina Ham. The work (March 8-26, 2016) features an ensemble of four actors and a pianist who will blend Simone's singular sound with her legacy as an activist who struggled with bipolar disorder.
Minneapolis playwright and director Aditi Kapil's "Love Person," the story of a bilingual romance featuring multiple forms of communication including sign language and Sanskrit, runs March 18-April 10, 2016, on the proscenium.
April 19-May 8, 2016, brings Leah Cooper's and Alan Berks' Wonderlust Productions' version of the 1920s play "Six Characters in Search of an Author," remade as a modern reality-TV show. Wonderlust, which specializes in bringing elements of the community at large into its work, will bring in students from local colleges to participate.
"Sons of the Prophet," a Pulitzer finalist about a Lebanese-American family by Stephen Karam, runs on the proscenium May 20-June 5, 2016. The season ends with a wink: a to-be-announced cast of nine will play the friends who agree to pose in various states of dishabille for a "mature women" calendar to raise money for cancer in a stage version of the touching hit film "Calendar Girls," directed by Mary M. Finnerty and running June 17-July 24, 2016, on the proscenium.
Season tickets are on sale now, singles go on sale in July. 651-291-7005 or parksquaretheatre.org