D Kevin McNeirLifestyle

Round House Theatre Announces 2021-2022 Season

Bethesda-Based Venue Returns to Live, In-Person Shows

Artistic Director Ryan Rilette and Managing Director Ed Zakreski say they’re thrilled to announce the full six-show lineup for Bethesda-based Round House Theatre’s 44th season.

Following a historic season of digital performances – including the Drama League-nominated festival “The Work of Adrienne Kennedy: Inspiration & Influence” and the world premiere of Lauren Gunderson’s “The Catastrophist” – Round House will welcome audiences back into its Bethesda theatre for live, in-person productions with a slate of shows designed to transport them around the world.

“For the last year and a half, we’ve all been stuck at home, unable to travel anywhere,” Rilette said. “But at the same time, we are connected to the entire world through the shared experience of the pandemic. That is the logic of this season: we are welcoming audiences back to live performance with a theatrical journey around the world, offering stories that combine the universal with the specific, which is one of the strengths of the theatrical form. And each of these stories does so in incredibly theatrical ways.”

The season begins with the regional premiere of Quixote Nuevo (Sept. 8 – Oct. 3) by celebrated playwright Octavio Solis. The contemporary adaption of Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote transports the classic character to the modern-day border between the U.S. and Mexico. Filled with lively Tejano music, bilingual wordplay and puppetry, the season opener exemplifies Round House’s commitment to producing works that tell vital stories.

Next, audiences travel from San Francisco to Beijing for the regional premiere of “The Great Leap,” (Nov. 10 – Dec. 5) by Lauren Yee. Inspired by events from her father’s life, Yee collides the historical with the personal to follow an American college basketball team that goes to post-Cultural Revolution China for a “friendship” game. The play employs the energy and rhythms of a basketball game to explore the different approaches to sports, life, and politics in China and the U.S.

The U.S. premiere of “Nine Night” continues the lineup (Jan. 5 – 30, 2022) by Natasha Gordon – the first Black British female playwright on the West End. The play centers on the traditional Jamaican funerary celebration of “Nine Nights,” as a British-Jamaican family and community unite to mark the passing of their matriarch with an extended wake full of food, music and revelry.

There’s more in store including the inaugural year of an annual National Capital New Play Festival, headlined by a pair of world premieres presented in rotating repertory which opens April 2022.

And following the creation of its own virtual production during the pandemic season, Round House’s Teen Performance Company, a pre-professional program for up-and-coming theatre artists, returns in 2022 with TIKTOK by Stefanie Kuo (Feb. 25 – 27). The work explores how young influencers shape and are shaped by the dominant social media platform of their generation.

“We all miss live theatre deeply and we want to welcome audiences back with productions that offer ways to come together again,” said Managing Director Ed Zakreski. “By embracing music and movement, imagination and immersion, community and collaboration, the [new season] reminds us of all the things that make theatre a vital art form. We look forward to sharing those experiences with the D.C. community – in person – once again.”

D. Kevin McNeir – Senior Editor

Dominic Kevin McNeir is an award-winning journalist with more than 25 years of service for the Black Press (NNPA). Prior to moving East to assist his aging parents, the native Detroiter engineered a transformation of The Miami Times resulting in its being named the NNPA’s “Publication of the Year” in 2011 – just one of several dozen industry-related awards he’s earned in his career. He currently serves as senior editor for The Washington Informer. There, in the heart of the U.S. Capitol, he displays a keen insight for developing front-page news as it unfolds within the greater Washington area, capturing the crucial facts and facets of today’s intriguing, political arena. He has degrees from The University of Michigan, Emory University and Princeton Theological Seminary. In 2020, he received First Place for Weekly Newspaper, Commentary & Criticism, Society of Professional Journalists, Washington, D.C. Pro Chapter. Learn more about him at www.dkevinmcneir.com, Facebook – Kevin McNeir, Twitter - @mcneirdk, Linkedin – D. Kevin McNeir or email: mcneirdk@washingtoninformer.com.

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