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    Actors Theatre Announces 39th Humana Festival Lineup
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    One of the most prestigious and well-known theatre festivals in the country has announced the lineup for its 39th season.

    And the performances are right in your backyard.

    The Humana Festival of New American Plays, held at Actors Theatre of Louisville since its inception in 1976, has produced over 400 plays from more than 200 playwrights; the work seen at the Festival often gets picked up to run in other locales worldwide, and many of the playwrights go on to enjoy successful careers.

    Three Festival plays have gone on to win Pulitzer Prizes (The Gin Game, D.L. Coburn; Crimes of the Heart, Beth Henley; and Dinner With Friends, Donald Margulies), eight have been adapted for film and television, and a slew of others have won countless awards.

    This festival is a big deal.

    Media outlets from across the nation, including the New York Times, send reporters to cover the world-premiere productions, which last year included Lucas Hnath’s The Christians and the SITI Company’s Steel Hammer.

    It is safe to say that the Humana Festival makes quite an impact, both in the Louisville community and across the nation.

    “In 2014, we welcomed nearly 36,000 attendees representing 43 states and 4 countries," said Jennifer Bielstein, Actors Theatre’s Managing Director. “We continue to draw local, national and international attention and attract arts professionals and theatre enthusiasts from across the country. While they come for the main theatrical attraction, the Humana Festival, they are simultaneously introduced to the city’s unmatched hospitality and thriving culinary scene.”

    And the good news in all of this? Louisvillians can get a piece of the action.

    Actors Theatre has designed several ticket packages specially designed for local theatregoers, including single-show tickets and the Locals Pass, which offers tickets to five Humana Festival productions for $75, along with access to behind the scenes tours and panel discussions. Single-ticket prices start at $25 and can be purchased online or by calling the Actors Theatre box office at 502.584.1205.

    The full and evolving list of special events related to the Humana Festival, most of them free of charge, including a keynote address with Anne Bogart on March 29, can be found on the Actors Theatre website.

    So clear your calendar from March 4-April 12, and make plans to be in the seats for these world premiere events:

    2014 Humana Festival Productions (in order of opening)

    The Roommate by Jen Silverman (March 4-April 12)

    “Recently divorced and living in an old house in Iowa, Sharon finds a sensible roommate like herself—a woman in her fifties—to make ends meet. But she quickly learns that Robyn, a vegan from the Bronx, couldn’t be further from the ladies in her book club. Hell-bent on getting to know Robyn despite their differences, Sharon deploys her friendly Midwestern charm at full force. Their sensibilities are humorously mismatched, but turning over a new leaf can have unintended consequences.”

    Dot by Colman Domingo (March 10-April 12)

    “In the Shealy family home just a few days before Christmas, Dotty and her three middle-aged children gather with so much more than the holidays on their minds. Their anxieties go far beyond finding a suitable blue spruce for the living room: this wild and moving dark comedy, served with a large helping of the crackling humor that only families can incite, grapples with aging parents, midlife crises, and the heart of an inner city neighborhood.”

    I Will Be Gone by Erin Courtney (March 13-April 12)

    “Seventeen-year-old Penelope goes to live with her Aunt Josephine in a small town in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains after her mom dies.  Everyone in this small town—built right next door to a ghost town—is haunted by something or someone, and no one knows how to behave. Filled with apparitions, earthquakes, and strange attempts to mourn, this play explores the beauty and awkwardness of living with the knowledge that everything ends.”

    The Glory of the World by Charles Mee (March 20-April 12)

    *Commissioned by Actors Theatre of Louisville

    “A series of toasts to Thomas Merton on the occasion of his 100th birthday erupts into a raucous party. Inspired by myriad points of view on the Kentucky-based Trappist monk, writer and social activist—or pacifist, Buddhist, Catholic, Communist, and more, depending on who you ask—Mee’s exuberant play considers how we can live fully in all our contradictions, and leap into the unknown. A wildly theatrical meditation on happiness, love, the values of solitude and of engagement with the world, and seeking heaven on earth.”

    I Promised Myself to Live Faster by Pig Iron Theatre Company (March 27-April 12)

    “Tim’s out trolling for a good time when an order of intergalactic nuns charge him with a quest: retrieve the Holy Gay Flame from the clutches of the evil emperor to save the race of Homosexuals and restore the balance of power in the universe. But when he’s captured by the fabulously androgynous Ah-Ni, Tim’s chances look bleak. Infused with a Charles Ludlam-esque theatricality and a delirious sci-fi sensibility, Live Faster paints a 21st-century allegory of epic proportions.”

    That High Lonesome Sound by J. Augustin, D. Grisanti, C. Hinkle, and C. Castro Smith (March 27-April 12)

    *Commissioned by Actors Theatre of Louisville

    “Bluegrass has a long and winding history, from Scottish ballads to African-American work songs, from Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys to the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack. In a lively theatrical album of scenes created for the Acting Apprentice Company, four writers respond with playfulness and poignancy to the signature sounds, inherited stories, and cultural impact of this very American—and very Kentucky—music tradition.”

    The Humana Festival of New American Plays is sponsored by the Humana Foundation. Additional support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust.

    Image: M.Brosilow/2014 Humana Festival production of Steel Hammer

    Michelle Rynbrandt's picture

    About Michelle Rynbrandt

    Before landing in the Possibility City, Michelle toured the country performing in various regional theatres. Having been there and done that, she can honestly say that Louisville's cultural opportunities are second to none.

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