Cap Stage shakes up its schedule

Capital Stage announces a change to its 2011-12 schedule. “How I Learned to Drive,” originally scheduled for a July/August run will open at the midtown theatre on May 19. The Sacramento premiere of Christopher Shinn’s “Dying City” will move to the summer production dates, July 18 through Aug. 12.

“We’re changing the performance schedule of the these two productions to accommodate a scheduling conflict with one of our key artists,” explains Producing Director Jonathan Williams.

Performances for “How I Learned to Drive” will begin at Capital Stage, 2215 J St. in Sacramento, with three previews on Wednesday, May 16, at 7 p.m. and Thursday and Friday, May 17 & 18, at 8 p.m. The production will open on Saturday, May 19, at 8 p.m. Performances continue through June 17. Showtimes will be Wednesdays at 7 p.m., Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. General tickets range from $20 to $32. Discount tickets are available as follows: preview tickets are $18; Student rush tickets are $12; Senior Sunday matinee tickets are $26; and group rates are available for parties of 12 or more. Tickets are currently available at the Capital Stage box office, by phone at (916) 995-5464 or online at capstage.org.

The play
Following a recent New York revival, the NY Times stated that “How I Learned to Drive” “…seems even sadder, funnier and more perceptive…” 15 years after its world premiere. This winner of the 1998 Pulitzer Prize is a surprisingly funny and devastating tale of survival as seen through the lens of a troubling relationship between a young teenage girl and an older man.

Using a provocative array of theatrical styles and elements, “How I Learned to Drive” tells the story of a woman who learns the rules of the road and life in the 1960s and ’70s from behind the wheel. As her memories unravel, a beautifully crafted story unfolds with breathtaking insight, humor and heart.

The playwright
“How I Learned to Drive” received the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the Lortel Prize, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and New York Drama Critics Awards for Best Play, as well as winning Paula Vogel her second OBIE. It has been produced all over the world.

Vogel’s other plays include “The Long Christmas Ride Home,” “The Mineola Twins,” “The Baltimore Waltz,” “Hot’N’Throbbing,” “Desdemona,” “And Baby Makes Seven” and “The Oldest Profession.” Her most recent play, “A Civil War Christmas,” was produced at The Long Wharf Theatre in November 2008. This past season it was produced at Theatre Works in Palo Alto and by the Huntington Theatre in Boston.

Her recent awards include the 2010 William Inge Festival Distinguished Achievement in the American Theatre Award (past recipients include Arthur Miller, Horton Foote, Edward Albee and August Wilson). She was inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Theatre at the Kennedy Center in April. Last year she was awarded the Stephen and Christine Schwarzman Legacy Award for Excellence in Theatre for lifetime achievement and excellence in teaching.

Vogel is currently playwright in residence at the Yale Repertory Theatre, as well as an artistic associate at Long Wharf Theatre. She is the Eugene O’Neill Professor of Playwriting and Chair of the Playwriting Department at the Yale School of Drama. Work in progress includes a commission for Yale Repertory (based on “The God of Vengeance”), a work in collaboration with director Rebecca Taichman, and a new play, “Jitterbugging and the War Effort.”

The production
The cast will feature Capital Stage artistic director Stephanie Gularte (“Or,”, “Fool For Love”) as Lil’ Bit and bay area actor James Hiser as Peck. Jamie Jones, Melanie Marshall and Eric Wheeler will complete the cast playing multiple characters as the play’s chorus.

Capital Stage artistic associate Janis Stevens (“reasons to be pretty,” “Fool For Love,” “American Buffalo”) will direct this Sacramento revival. The design team includes Jonathan Williams (scenic), Gail Russell (costumes), and Steve Decker (lighting).

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Posted by on Apr 13 2012.
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