This past weekend I attended the announcement of Olney Theatre Center’s 2014 season in their historic theater. Having never been to one of these season fêtes, I was really quite amazed at how many of the folks who are regular season ticket holders made the effort to be there on a Sunday afternoon. I mean, they could have just read about it in the newspaper or checked the OTC website, etc. While those in attendance were given an opportunity for special pricing, I think it says a lot about a theater when their audience is that engaged. Perhaps part of the draw was that it was the first season designed by Jason Loewith, the new Artistic Director at Olney.
I won’t go into the mechanics of the affair. Suffice it to say that it was a well-organized event. Mr. Loewith did a nice job of expressing his vision for the upcoming season and the new approach to their seasons in general. It’s true that a theater in the suburbs of Washington, DC has among it’s audience members a diverse array of people with an equally diverse array of cultural interests. Loewith underscored that fact with a good humored sharing of real audience input from shows in the 2013 season. There were folks who had equally vigorous yet completely opposite reactions to the productions. Quite a predicament for a theater to find itself in! The solution?
In a nutshell, they are going to have three different series of shows for audiences to choose from – contemporary, classical and family. Subscribers can purchase tickets to one or more of these series and receive a substantial discount over the individual ticket price. Sounds like a good plan to me. Of course, what everyone wanted to know at the end of the day was “What shows will Olney Theatre Center be producing in 2014?” Here is what they announced.
The Piano Lesson
Awake & Sing
I and You
Once On This Island
As You Like It*
To Kill A Mockingbird*
TBA – One Show Still To Be Determined
* by the National Players
Those in attendance were also treated to fine performances of songs from the upcoming season. Celebrated Music Director Christopher Youstra was on the keyboard as Tracy Stevens sang from Cabaret, Sam Ludwig from Avenue Q, and Eleasha Gamble from Once On This Island.