ICT Readies for a Season of ‘Not Quite PC’ Plays in 2012

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caryn desai puts her stamp on ICTcaryn desai [sic] puts her stamp on International City Theatre, selecting her first season of plays after taking on the role of producing artistic director earlier this year.

ICT’s 26th season will include the West Coast premieres of The Fix, a hard-hitting, political rock musical with book and lyrics by John Dempsey and music by Dana P. Rowe; and Ghost-Writer, a supernatural romance by award-winning playwright Michael Hollinger (Opus). Also on the slate: God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza, Leading Ladies by Ken Ludwig; and Ain’t Misbehavin’, the musical revue based on the life and music of Thomas “Fats” Waller.

“I like to think of this season as being ‘not quite PC’,” laughs desai, who was selected by a unanimous vote of ICT’s board of directors to take over when founding artistic director Shashin Desai retired last March. “Choosing a season is a balancing act – finding the right mix. The stakes are high in each of these plays, with a brazen, ‘take no prisoners’ quality.”

The ICT 2012 season schedule is as follows:

God of Carnage  (…grownups behaving badly)
January 27 through February 19 (previews January 24, 25, 26)
Written by Yasmina Reza
Translated by Christopher Hampton

Here’s your chance to see this 2009 Tony Award-winner for Best Play in a more intimate setting! In Yasmina Reza’s savagely caustic comedy, a playground altercation between eleven-year-old boys brings together two sets of Brooklyn parents for a meeting to resolve the matter. At first, diplomatic niceties are observed, but as the evening progresses and the rum flows, it quickly deteriorates into a finger-pointing, fur-flying, hilarious brawl, leaving the couples with more than just their liberal principles in tatters.

The Fix  (…politicians behaving badly)
April 27 through May 20 (previews April 24, 25, 26)
Book & Lyrics by John Dempsey
Music by Dana P. Rowe
Directed by Randy Brenner
Musical Direction by Darryl Archibald

The West Coast premiere of a hard-edged, hard-boiled rock musical about the American political machine. A popular presidential candidate is dead, and his widow thrusts their son into the political spotlight. Her maniacal scheming is matched by that of her crippled brother-in-law, who will stop at nothing to see the boy elected. Together, the three of them make up one of the most dysfunctional almost-first families this side of real-life Washington politics. Nominated for London’s 1998 Olivier Award for Best New Musical. (“A knife-edged and courageously rock-edged score” – The London Spectator)”

Leading Ladies  (…men behaving badly)
June 8 through July 1 (previews June 5, 6, 7)
Written by Ken Ludwig
A rollicking comedy about two down-on-their-luck actors who dress as women to con a dying woman out of her millions. A cross between Twelfth Night and Some Like It Hot, this hilarious comedy finds two actors, Leo Clark and Jack Gable, so down on their luck that they are performing “Scenes from Shakespeare” on the Moose Lodge circuit in the Amish country of Pennsylvania. When they hear that an old lady is about to die and leave her fortune to her two long lost English nephews, they resolve to pass themselves off as her beloved relatives and get the cash. Mayhem ensues when they find out that the relatives aren’t nephews – but nieces!

Ghost-Writer  (…ghosts behaving badly)
August 24 through September 16 (previews August 21, 22, 23)
Written by Michael Hollinger

Something mysterious is happening. In the West Coast premiere of an intimate spine-tingler from award-winning playwright Michael Hollinger (Opus), acclaimed novelist Franklin Woolsey has died. But his devoted secretary remains poised at her typewriter – waiting to channel the words that will complete his masterpiece. This ghost story of literary proportions questions where we draw the line between fact and fiction, between this life and beyond. Winner of the Edgerton Foundation New American Plays Award.

Ain’t Misbehavin’  (but…one never knows, do one?)
October 12 through November 4 (previews October 9, 10, 11)
Based on the life and music of Thomas “Fats” Waller
Conceived by Richard Maltby, Jr.
Based on an idea by Murray Horwitz and Richard Maltby, Jr.

The joint will be jumpin’ in this Tony Award-winning musical revue based on the life of Thomas “Fats” Waller. Step back to the Golden Age of Jazz, when places like the Cotton Club and the Savoy Ballroom were havens where snappy swing music, snazzy jazz and the stride piano infused the energy of the country.

caryn desai had served as ICT’s general manager for 21 years when she was selected by the board to succeed founding artistic director Shashin Desai. She has a diverse background, with experience in business as well as in the arts. A multiple award-winning director whose credits include classics, new works, musicals, and original performance pieces, she most recently directed ICT’s acclaimed productions of The Old Settler, Loving Repeating: A Musical of Gertrude Stein and The Clean House. In addition to an MFA from UC Irvine, caryn holds Certificates in both Arts Administration and in Marketing and Fundraising from California State University Long Beach, and a Certificate in Acting from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. She was selected by the Los Angeles County Arts Commission for the inaugural Arts Leadership Initiative program, received a full fellowship to the Stanford University School of Business Executive Program (one of 50 arts administrators in the U.S. selected for the inaugural program), and participated in Executive Coaching Training at the Hudson Institute in Santa Barbara.  She has been a member of the acting faculty at Long Beach City College for 20 years, is a member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, and is a former member of the Board of Governors for the L.A. Stage Alliance.

International City Theatre, located in the Long Beach Performing Arts Center, is Long Beach’s Resident Professional Theater Company and recipient of the Los Angeles Drama Circle’s prestigious Margaret Harford Award for “Sustained Excellence in Theater.”

For more information and to subscribe to the 2012 season, call 562-436-4610 or visit online at www.InternationalCityTheatre.org.

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