Jennifer Bielstein. Photo-Keith Waits


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The Humana kick-off party is always a highlight; a tease of expectation for the “season within a season” that is the Humana Festival of New American Plays. At the tail end of the speeches from luminaries, Artistic Director Les Waters closed the talking with a vehement exhortation, pointing forcibly at the lobby floor, “BE HERE!”

It is a call to action not only for the six plays and evening of shorts that will comprise this year’s festival, but also next year’s full season, as the next day Waters and Managing Director Jennifer Bielstein announced Actors Theatre of Louisville’s 2014-2015 Season. The 51st Season lineup , which seems a bit more adventurous than the safety of last year’s anniversary season, will include a world-premiere reimagining of Love’s Labour’s Lost (Sept. 2-21), the musical The Last Five Years (Oct, 7-26), a production of Nina Raine’s emotionally-charged drama Tribes (Nov. 11-Dec. 7), award-winning playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney’s The Brothers Size (Jan. 6-Feb. 1, 2015), and the return of Naomi Iizuka’s At the Vanishing Point (Jan. 27-Feb. 15, 2015)—a beautifully-observed portrait of Butchertown with an original score by Ben Sollee. From the exhilaration of infatuation to the heart-wrenching tale of lost love, from one person’s fight to find a voice to the dreams and voices of an entire community, the lineup features powerful stories and some of the most exciting artists working in theatre today.

Les Waters. Photo-Keith Waits

“This season celebrates and explores the wonder of life in all its complexities,” said Les Waters.  “I’m delighted to showcase compelling new plays from vital new voices such as Nina Raine and Tarell Alvin McCraney, alongside work by returning artists Steve Epp, Dominique Serrand, Nathan Keepers and Naomi Iizuka—theatre-makers whose work Actors Theatre has championed for a long time. This is a city that loves music, and I’m excited to introduce more music into our season. Kentucky native Ben Sollee will compose the score for a new production of At the Vanishing Point, and Associate Artistic Director Meredith McDonough will direct Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years—a terrific contemporary musical that will feature local musicians.”

In addition to the Brown-Forman Series lineup, Actors Theatre once again looks forward to celebrating the holidays with two of Louisville’s favorite family traditions: the Halloween cult thriller, Fifth Third Bank’s Dracula (Sept. 12-Oct. 31), and Fifth Third Bank’s A Christmas Carol (Nov. 25-Dec. 23).   Charles Dickens’ enduring story of Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim and the spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Future will, after ten years, receive a magical new makeover this season, with an entirely redesigned production of Barbara Field’s beloved adaptation.

The 2014-2015 Season will culminate in the Humana Festival of New American Plays, March 4-April 12, 2015. Celebrating its 39th year, the Festival continues to be the country’s leading opportunity to see groundbreaking, brand-new work by some of the American theatre’s most talented writers. The Festival is underwritten by the Humana Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Humana, Inc.