BY JAMES FARRELL
The Queens Theatre announced its schedule for the 2016-17 season Friday. This upcoming season, which will run through April, will be the Theatre’s 28th year and will consist of both returning performers and newcomers. It’s a lineup marked by new and old plays, a diverse array of dance performances and a number of special events.
“Our audiences can expect an interesting, diverse season, which I hope they will find compelling and memorable,” said Taryn Sacramore, executive director of the Queens Theatre.
The theatre series will present two classic plays alongside a new play: In The Car With Blossom and Len, by Joni Fritz. The play, an original Queens Theatre production, is a comedy about two middle-aged sisters and their aging parents, which will show between Nov. 11 and Nov. 20.
“It’s a family drama, it’s a family comedy,” said Sacramone. “I think it’s going to be really something that everybody can relate to.”
The two classic plays are Neil Simon’s Last of the Red Hot Lovers, produced by the Walnut Street Theatre, which will run for four slots between March 10 and March 12, 2017, and William Gibson’s The Miracle Worker, another Queens Theatre production. Brant Russell, The Miracle Worker’s director, was on hand to discuss the play, which chronicles the true story of teacher Annie Sullivan’s guidance to Helen Keller, whose ability to communicate is impaired by deafness and blindness.
“To me this is a play about how different people try to parent an experience into an individual,” Brant said. “It’s a play about how two parents, when they find themselves unable to do that, are forced to, for lack of a better word, outsource that responsibility, and the heartbreak that comes along with being unable to teach your child to communicate with other people and to communicate with the world.”
This year’s dance lineup highlights a diverse selection of companies and styles. The lineup features four different acts: Keigwin + Company’s contemporary dance tribute to Leonard Bernstein, the Paul Taylor Dance Company, a flamenco group called Flamenco Vivo, and the pioneering hip hop company Rennie Harris Puremovement.
“We have one of the strongest dance series in the borough,” Sacramore said. “Our mission is to serve the diverse audiences in this community, and dance is something that really brings people together.”
Sacramore added that every Saturday matinee will be followed by a “talkback,” which allows audiences to speak and engage with the dance companies’ directors and artistic leaders.
For its special events, the Queens Theatre boasted a new residency with the Calpulli Mexican Dance Company, which will perform two different shows over four dates in October and March. It will be the company’s first residency at the Queens Theatre despite having a long history of performances there. The programs provide exciting Mexican cultural experiences that combine elements of storytelling and dance, according to artistic director Juan Castano.
“We’re narrative and dance without becoming theatre or dance theater,” Castano told The Queens Tribune. “It’s all movement and music.”
The company’s fall program, “Dia de los Muertos,” explores the relationship between the living and the dead, while the spring program, “Boda Mexicana,” explores marriage through different wedding dances and courtship practices from different states across Mexico. Argelia Arreola and Christopher Cortez, two performers from the company, were on hand in ornate, flower-decorated white costumes to display the programs’ highly visual approach.
Other special events include the Titan Theatre Company’s production of A Christmas Carol in December, a technology-based dance company called Visuality and the Apothetae’s production of William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” The Apothetae is a company that features integrated casts of able-bodied, physically disabled and intellectually disabled actors in order to explore the “Disabled Experience.”
Amy Wong, 74, has been a subscriber at the Queens Theatre since 2001. At the announcement, she said she is most excited to see “In the Car with Blossom and Len” and “The Miracle Worker.” She said the Queens Theatre presents plays that are most interesting to her. “They’re mostly about people, community. Not too avant-garde, not too weird,” she said.
Reach James Farrell at (718) 357-7400×127, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @farrellj329.