The UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television’s Department of Theater announced today its upcoming Mainstage theater season, which includes the production of two plays by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel, who was previously announced as the school’s inaugural Hearst Theater Lab Initiative Distinguished Playwright-in-Residence for the 2018–19 academic year.
Vogel’s play “The Long Christmas Ride Home,” which will be produced in November and directed by Dominic Taylor, tells the story of how a single, sudden act of violence shatters the lives of three siblings. “The Mineola Twins,” which will be presented in December and directed by Judith Moreland, is a satire of the women’s movement during the Eisenhower, Nixon and Reagan/Bush years.
Vogel’s “How I Learned to Drive” earned her the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and numerous other distinctions. Her play “Indecent” was nominated for Best Play at the 2017 Tony Awards and is slated for productions across the country in the 2018–19 season, including Los Angeles.
The season also includes the world premiere of “Rebel Genius” in March, directed by Brian Kite, chair of the department of theater. It is based on the life of the young and highly ambitious Albert Einstein, with book, music and lyrics by award-winning songwriter and film composer Matthew Puckett.
The world premiere of the opera “Lost Childhood” in May is presented in collaboration with Opera UCLA, UCLA Philharmonia and the UCLA Herb Albert School of Music. Directed by Peter Kazaras, “Lost Childhood” follows a Jewish psychiatrist who eluded death as a boy in Poland during the war, and a German colleague born into a family with Nazi sympathizers.
Other Mainstage productions include William Shakespeare’s “Measure for Measure,” directed by Tom O’Conner (November–December); Euripedes’ “Medea,” directed by Sylvia Blush (February); Arnold Wesker’s “The Kitchen,” directed by Michael Hackett (March); and The New Play Festival, showcasing the works of UCLA TFT M.F.A. candidates (April). The 2018-19 season ends with Wajdi Mouawad’s “Scorched,” directed by Aya Saleh (May–June).
As part of the school’s Off-Off Mainstage productions, actress-producer Maria Bello brings “The Sun Ladies VR Project” to UCLA TFT. This immersive live-action documentary puts theatergoers face-to-face with a troop of Yazidi women fighters. After ISIS solders invaded the Yazidi community of Sinjar, killing all of the men and taking the women and girls as sex slaves, these brave women escaped and started a fighting unit called the Sun Ladies. Together, their goal is to bring back their sisters and protect the honor and dignity of their people (December).
“We are thinking about our season as more than simply a pedagogical space for our students to practice their work,” Kite said. “We are moving to be a part of the larger field and theatrical fabric of Los Angeles as we develop new projects and fulfill our mission as a research institution. We want to be at the forefront of figuring out what’s next for theater, in content, style and form.”
The season’s Mainstage productions include:
“The Long Christmas Ride Home,” directed by Dominic Taylor (Nov. 14–18), 1340 Macgowan
“Measure for Measure,” directed by Tom O’Connor (Nov. 29–30, Dec. 4–8), Little Theater
“The Mineola Twins,” directed by Judith Moreland (Dec. 4–8), 1340 Macgowan
“Medea,” directed by Sylvia Blush (Feb. 1–2, 5–9), Little Theater
“The Kitchen,” directed by Michael Hackett (March 1–2, 5–9), Freud Playhouse
“Rebel Genius,” directed by Brian Kite (March 8–9, 12–16), Little Theater
“Lost Childhood,” directed by Peter Kazaras (May 17, 19, 21, 23), Freud Playhouse
New Play Festival: “The Answer to Your Prayers,” by Jeffrey Limoncelli (May 23–25), 1340 Macgowan
New Play Festival: “All the Oxytocin in Your Fingertips, or “‘What’s Your Favorite Band?’” by Cary J. Simonwitz (June 6–8), 1340 Macgowan
“Scorched,” directed by Aya Saleh (May 31 and June 1, June 4–8), Little Theater