International City Theatre Announces 2016 season

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International City Theatre has announced a season of five critically acclaimed plays by six multiple award-winning writers for 2016. The company’s 31st season launches on Feb. 12 at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center.

The playwrights: Lee Blessing, Christopher Durang, Donald Margulies, John Patrick Shanley and lyricist/composer duo Richard Maltby, Jr. and David Shire.

The plays: Maltby and Shire’s Outer Critics Circle award-winning Closer than Ever (an insightful musical); Blessing’s American Theatre Critics award-winning A Walk in the Woods (a play of ideas); Durang’s multiple award-winning Vanya and Sasha and Masha and Spike (an outrageous comedy); Shanley’s Pulitzer Prize winner Doubt: A Parable (a psychological drama); and Margulies’ ultra-theatrical Shipwrecked! (an amazing tale of adventure).

“For ICT, this will be the year of the wordsmith,” says artistic director caryn desai [sic]. “We want to celebrate our great, contemporary, living writers. These are writers who may have also written for other mediums, but have never left the theater. They have invested their careers in writing for the theater. As they have matured, we have benefited from a wealth of theatrical experiences.”

The 2016 schedule is as follows:

Feb. 12 – March 6 (previews Feb. 10 and Feb. 11):
Closer than Ever — Filled with hilarious and poignant songs about dating, parenting, aging and dreams both fulfilled and unrequited, Closer Than Ever is like a musical “how-to” manual for life. With each song a self-contained story inspired by real-life experiences, its message to value the little things in life remains timeless. This Outer Critics’ Circle award-winner for best off-Broadway musical also netted Drama Desk nominations for lyricist Richard Maltby, Jr. (Fosse, Miss Saigon) and composer David Shire (Big: the musical).

April 29 – May 22 (previews April 27 and April 28):
A Walk in the Woods — Lee Blessing’s brilliant and funny play of ideas, based on a true event, seems more timely than ever. Nearing the end of the Cold War, a pair of arms negotiators — a clever, cynical Russian and an idealistic young American — meet in the woods outside Geneva to explore the obstacles their countries face on the path to peace. There, they debate politics, life and the future of the free world. Can personal bonds bridge political chasms? Nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and winner of the prestigious American Theatre Critics/Steinberg New Play Award.

June 10 – July 3 (previews June 8 and June 9):
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike — Christopher Durang’s witty mash-up of Chekhov characters and smartphones is a delightful new comedy for our hyperconnected era. Middle-aged siblings Vanya and Sonia live an angst-ridden, melancholic existence on their family farm. Housecleaner-cum-soothsayer Cassandra, whose hilariously ambiguous prophecies keep them befuddled, provides the only break from monotony. That is, until their glamorous movie-star sister, Masha, swans in for a surprise visit-along with her hunky 20-something boy toy, Spike. Winner of 2013 Tony, Drama Desk, New York Drama Critics’ Circle and Outer Critics’ Circle best play awards.

Aug. 19 – Sept. 11 (previews Aug. 17 and Aug. 18):
Doubt: A Parable — It is 1964, a time of movement and change, but Catholic school principal Sister Aloysius values a stern hand over progressive education. When evidence points to an inappropriate relationship between Father Flynn and the school’s first black student, she begins a crusade to rid the church of him. John Patrick Shanley’s riveting psychological drama examines the fine line between what seems certain and ambiguity, between conviction and doubt. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, as well as Tony, Drama Desk, New York Drama Critics’ Circle and Lucille Lortel awards for best play.

Oct. 14 – Nov. 6 (previews Oct. 12 and Oct. 13):
Shipwrecked! An Entertainment—The Amazing Adventures of Louis de Rougemont (as Told by Himself) — Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Donald Margulies celebrates the power of storytelling with this theatrical adventure based on the real-life autobiography of Louis de Rougemont. An intrepid explorer who became an instant celebrity upon his return to civilization, Rougemont’s amazing tales of bravery, survival and exotic locales left 19th century England spellbound. But was it real or just a figment of his imagination? Will he be vindicated or will his reputation be ruined forever?

International City Theatre was born in 1985 when Shashin Desai opened a 99-seat black box theater on the campus of Long Beach City College where he was chairman of the drama department. From the beginning, the fledgling company attracted critical acclaim and multiple awards – including the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle’s prestigious Margaret Harford Award for “Sustained Excellence in Theater.” Determined to build a high quality professional, mid-size theater company in the City of Long Beach, Desai persuaded the City Council to give him space in the Center Theater of the Long Beach Performing Arts Center. By 1996, ICT was producing simultaneous seasons on the college campus and at the Performing Arts Center. In 1999, the Long Beach City Council proclaimed International City Theater the “Professional Resident Theater Company” at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center. A year later, ICT made the choice to invest entirely in the downtown, mid-size theater with an annual five-play season. When Desai retired in 2011, ICT’s board of directors unanimously approved caryn desai, ICT’s general manager since 1990, to take the reins as producing artistic director. The 2016 season marks the sixth under her leadership.

For more information about ICT’s 2016 season, and to purchase subscriptions or single tickets, call (562) 436-4610 or visit


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  1. […] International City Theatre will open its five-play 2016 season at Long Beach Performing Arts Center Feb 12 with 1989 Obie-winner, Closer Than Ever, a musical “how-to” manual for life, by Richard Maltby, Jr. (lyrics) and David Shire (music). The season continues with Lee Blessing’s 1988 Pulitzer-nominated A Walk in the Woods (Apr 29), Christopher Durang’s 2013 Tony-winner, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (June 10); The 2004 Pulitzer and Tony-winning Doubt: A Parable, by John Patrick Shanley (Aug 19, 2016); and Donald Margulies’ 2009 Shipwrecked! An Entertainment—The Amazing Adventures of Louis de Rougemont (as Told by Himself), opening Oct 14, 2016. […]