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Cap Stage’s new season moves between worlds

Capital Stage presents Moving Between Worlds: Exploring the Ever-changing Human Landscape — a season of plays that capture the company’s bold, thought-provoking aesthetic.

The season features a mix of styles and genres, all meant to encourage dialogue between performers and audience and keep patrons thinking and discussing long after they leave the theater. Additionally, the season will feature an array of professional artists, including both new and familiar faces, as well as a variety of special events to celebrate this 10-year milestone.

In his new role as producing artistic director, founder Jonathan Williams has constructed a season that continues the company’s tradition of bringing bold and thought-provoking theater to the region while also breaking new ground for Capital Stage.

“I’m honored that our board of directors have entrusted me with this responsibility and proud to carry the torch that my predecessor, Stephanie Gularte, managed to keep so brightly burning,” Williams said. “The six plays this season take us on a journey through a myriad of human experiences and ask us to question what it means to be a part of a community, especially as that community evolves right before us.”

This season will include outreach to the deaf community in conjunction with Nina Raine’s “Tribes,” the Sacramento premiere of recent Glickman Award-winner “Ideation” by Aaron Loeb and Capital Stage’s first “Rolling World Premiere” production of Thomas Gibbon’s “Uncanny Valley” as part of the National New Play Network.

Capital Stage has seen strong continuous growth since moving to midtown in 2011 and this year has been the strongest year yet with a 22 percent increase in subscription sales from last year (1428 in 2014 and 1172 in 2013) and a 37 percent increase in single ticket sales this year to date. The operating budget for the 10th anniversary will be nearly $800,000, showing an almost 200 percent growth since 2010, the last year aboard the Delta King.

Capital Stage will be adding additional Saturday matinee performances to accommodate this growth. In addition to new performance dates, several special events to celebrate this milestone 10th season, including a Sept. 13 anniversary party. Capital Stage subscribers will be invited to a celebration at the theater with entertainment, refreshments and the opportunity to mingle with CapStage staff, board and artists. This free event will be the official unveiling of the new flexible-use courtyard adjacent to the patron lounge, a space featuring custom artwork, a performance stage and plush furniture for added patron enjoyment.

Capital Stage supporters are also invited to the April 18, 2015, An Evening Affair at Mulvaney’s — the  annual fundraising returns to Mulvaney’s B&L for an evening of entertainment, dinner and drinks and a live auction hosted by David Sobon.

Founded by theatre artists Stephanie Gularte, Peter Mohrmann and Williams, Capital Stage became a 501(c)3 organization operating under contract with Actor’s Equity Association in 2005. For the first six years the company performed aboard the Riverboat Delta King in an intimate, 115-seat theatre. The founders sought to produce innovative and thought-provoking productions and to become a leader in the evolution of the performing arts in the Sacramento region. In 2011, CapStage set to work on renovating the Old Armoury in Sacramento’s vibrant midtown district and made a bold move to a new 125-seat venue on J Street.

2014-15 season

“TRIBES” by Nina Raine
Directed by Producing Artistic Director Jonathan Williams
Sept. 3 through Oct. 5
A Sacramento Premiere
The Wall Street Journal calls “Tribes” “the best-written, best-plotted, deepest, most daring-and funniest-new play in recent years.” Winner of the 2012 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play, “Tribes” has received critical acclaim in both the United States and United Kingdom.

In “Tribes,” Billy, who is deaf, is the only one who actually listens in his idiosyncratic, fiercely argumentative bohemian family. But when he meets Sylvia, who is going deaf, he decides he finally wants to be heard. With sharp dialogue and compassionate insights, Nina Raine crafts a penetrating play about belonging, family and the limitations of communication.

“ANNA KARENINA” by Leo Tolstoy
Directed by Founding Artistic Director Stephanie Gularte
Adapted for the stage by Helen Edmundson
Oct. 22 through Nov. 23
A Sacramento Premiere
Torn between duty and passion, Anna Karenina struggles to make the choice between a cold husband, a beloved child and the dashing Vronksy. Society turns against her, Anna becomes doubtful of Vronsky’s love and her world begins to fall apart.

This award-winning adaptation of Tolstoy’s epic interweaves Anna’s story with those of Levin and the beautiful young Kitty, the selfless Dolly and her adored Stiva — their hope in stark contrast with Anna’s despair. Set against a vast and richly textured canvas of 19th-century Russia, “Anna Karenina” was deemed “flawless” by Fyodor Dostoevsky and the best novel ever written by William Faulkner.

Directed by Founding Artistic Director Stephanie Gularte, who helmed the highly theatrical productions of “Enron” and “Macbeth,” this production promises to thrill audiences with its unique new approach to the classic novel.

“THE SANTALAND DIARIES” by David Sedaris, adapted by Joe Mantello
Directed by cofounder Peter Mohrmann
Dec. 3-28
Back by popular demand! Aaron Wilton returns to star as Crumpet the Elf for another round of best-selling author David Sedaris’ sardonic comedy. This wry tale is based on the outlandish, and true, chronicles of Sedaris’ brief stint as an elf in the Times Square Macy’s SantaLand display. His hysterical, behind-the-scenes anecdotes are a holiday treat for adults, mercilessly cutting through the sticky-sweetness of Christmas to illuminate the insanity of the holidays, and the resilience of the human spirit.

“IDEATION” by Aaron Loeb
Directed by Michael Stevenson
Jan. 21 through Feb. 22, 2015
A Sacramento Premiere
Winner of the 2014 Glickman Award for Best New Play, “Ideation” is a psychological suspense thriller in which a group of corporate consultants work together on a mysterious and ethically ambiguous project. Written with Aaron Loeb’s darkly comic edge, the lines between right and wrong are blurred and these characters must navigate the cognitive dissonances and moral dilemmas to decide for themselves if everything is as it really seems.

CapStage previously collaborated with Loeb to present the Sacramento premiere of his play “First Person Shooter” in 2008.

“RAPTURE, BLISTER, BURN” by Gina Gionfriddo
Directed by Erin Lucas
March 11 through April 12, 2015
A Sacramento Premiere
The Boston Globe called “Rapture, Blister, Burn” a “shrewd, incisive, thoroughly winning comedy.” After grad school, Catherine and Gwen chose polar opposite paths. Catherine built a career as a rockstar academic, while Gwen built a home with her husband and children. Decades later, unfulfilled in polar opposite ways, each woman covets the other’s life, commencing a dangerous game of musical chairs — the prize being Gwen’s husband. With searing insight and trademark wit, this Pulitzer Prize finalist comedy is an unflinching examination of gender politics in the wake of 20th-century feminist ideals.

“THE HOMECOMING” by Harold Pinter
Directed by Associate Artist Janis Stevens
April 29 through May 31, 2015
Winner of the 1967 Tony Award for Best Play,
“The Homecoming” by Nobel laureate Harold Pinter exposes issues of sex and power and challenges the place of morals in family life. In an old and slightly seedy house in North London there lives a family of men. Into this sinister abode comes the eldest son, Teddy, who, having spent the past six years teaching philosophy in America, is now bringing his wife, Ruth, home to visit the family she has never met. As the play progresses, Teddy’s younger brothers make increasingly outrageous passes at their sister-in-law in a dangerous game of one-upmanship, ultimately relinquishing control to Ruth in a theatrical turnabout that has left audiences stunned for more than 40 years.

“UNCANNY VALLEY: by Thomas Gibbons
Directed by Jonathan Williams
June 17 through July 19, 2015
World Premiere — part of the National New Play Network’s Rolling World Premiere
Drawing on current research in artificial intelligence, robotics, and the possibility of “downloading” human consciousness as a means of extending the human lifespan, “Uncanny Valley” charts the relationship between Claire, a neuroscientist, and Julian, a non-biological human. “Uncanny Valley” explores the painful divide between creator and creation, the inherent unpredictability of consciousness, and how we are redefining what it means to be human in the 21st century.

Playwright Thomas Gibbons is the recipient of seven playwriting fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a Roger L. Stevens Award from the Fund for New American Plays, an NAACP Theatre Award, two Barrymore Awards for outstanding new play and a Pew Fellowship in the Arts.

Single tickets and season subscriptions on sale now. Subscriptions run from $102 to $180 (with additional per ticket handling fees); single tickets are $24 to $38 with $18 preview tickets available for select performances. Group, student and senior discounts are also available for select performances.

Regular performance times are 7 p.m. on Wednesdays; 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. Capital Stage is locate at 2215 J St. in Sacramento. For tickets and more information call (916) 995-5464 or visit capstage.org.

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