Ten years ago, five theatre pros banded together to tell “small stories with big ideas at their heart.” The group wanted to present bite-sized theatre, focusing on one-act plays. They vowed to keep the ticket price low, and the evenings about an hour long.
Over 200 plays and 225 actors later, RTR presents its tenth season premiere, LADIES FIRST, directed by Wendy Wilcox. Plays are “The First Fireworks” by Alex Broun, “Credo” by Craig Lucas, “Poof” by Lynn Nottage, “Lives of the Great Waitresses” by Nina Shengold, “The Role of Della” by John J. Wooten… and perhaps a surprise appearance by Shakespeare.
The cast includes Cristy Drogosch, Patricia Hunter, Michele Mariana, and Dana Millican, and Wilcox is delighted to be bringing to the stage longtime RTR favorites, along with some new faces, for the September show. Themes of women solo, as rivals, mothers and daughters are examined, among others. Wilcox says “I’m excited to work with such fine artists, digging in and exploring the mysteries of sisterhood.”
Readers Theatre Rep has always been something of a hybrid: a staged reading company, the shows always include movement, costumes, props, music and sound effects. “A lot of theatres have staged readings these days,” says artistic director Mary McDonald-Lewis, “far more than ten years ago. But they’re in the static tradition of actors sitting on stools reading. Our shows are as much polished performance as they are script-in-hand.” The company still boasts an $8 ticket price.
RTR has added Jason England as a new artistic director to a roster that includes David Berkson, Bob Martin, Mooch Martin, Mary McDonald-Lewis, and Wendy Wilcox. As to marking its 10-year achievement, the company plans to just continue the mission it began in 2001. “Telling powerful tales is how we plan to celebrate Season X,” says Wilcox, “These five small stories and huge-hearted actresses is a great way to start.”