The Theater Communications Group just released a list of the most-produced plays in the country for the 2012/2013 season, based on information provided by its members. At a glance, Portland's seeing three of the ten this year, plus there are a couple that ran in town last season. (Red, Next to Normal.) Obvious choices, or a finger on the pulse of contemporary theater? Let's go with a little bit of both.
Portland Center Stage is presenting both Matthew Lopez's The Whipping Man, a play about two recently freed slaves who share a Passover meal with their old master just after the Civil War; and Bruce Norris' Pulitzer Prize-winning Clybourne Park, a show about race in America that's set in the same Chicago house as Lorraine Hansberry’s Raisin in the Sun. (The classic Raisin also made the list, for the first time since TCG has been keeping records—based on a cursory Googling, the two shows are running in repertory at least at Milwaukie Rep and PlayMaker's Rep in North Carolina.)
Portland Playhouse picked up Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, a musical about the founding of the Democratic Party that I'm quite looking forward to, especially since I was in the critical minority in finding Portland Center Stage's Sweeney Todd self-serious and boring. Andrew Jackson opens at Portland Playhouse next weekend.
One show that's not on the list, because only two theaters in the country are producing it—because it hasn't yet been vetted by the New York Times and the Pulitzer committee—is Hopey Changey Thing, which opens this weekend at Third Rail. It's the first in a four-show cycle about how four years of American politics affect one family. Third Rail will perform a play a year for the next four years, with the same cast—it's an ambitious project, and the kind of risk I'm always excited to see local companies take.
And for those of you who refuse to see a play unless there's a vampire on roller skates in it, The Lost Boys- Live! opens this weekend, from the same folks who brought you Road House: The Play.
Here's TCG's full list of most-produced plays in the 2012/13 season:
Good People by David Lindsay-Abaire (17); Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris (15); The Whipping Man by Matthew Lopez (14); Next to Normal, by Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt (13); The Mountaintop by Katori Hall (12); Time Stands Still by Donald Margulies (10); Other Desert Cities by Jon Robin Baitz, (10); The Motherfucker with the Hat by Stephen Adly Guirgis (9); A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry (8); Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson by Alex Timbers and Michael Friedman, (8)
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