The contemporary American experience, in all its vigor and complexity, takes center stage at Palm Beach Dramaworks in the 2022-2023 season. Producing Artistic Director William Hayes announced today that PBD’s twenty-third season will feature two Pulitzer Prize-winning plays, Topdog/Underdogby Suzan-Lori Parks and August: Osage County by Tracy Letts; a Pulitzer Prize-finalist, 4000 Miles by Amy Herzog; the world premiere of The Science of Leaving Omaha by Carter W. Lewis; and the classic Twelve Angry Men by Reginald Rose. Opening night is Friday, October 14.
The plays are set in New York, Nebraska, and Oklahoma, and range from heart-warming to heated, from funny to fraught, from intimate to epic. With the exception of Twelve Angry Men, all the plays were written in the twenty-first century and tell stories that reflect America’s diverse tapestry as they shine a light – with humor, insight, and empathy – on family dynamics and the tribulations of modern life. Though Twelve Angry Men was introduced in 1954, it, too, speaks with unnerving immediacy to today’s audiences.
The season opens with 4000 Miles (2011), in which a lonely 91-year-old former political activist and her 21-year-old, grief-stricken grandson reach across the generation gap and find comfort in each other. Direction is by J. Barry Lewis, who also directs Twelve Angry Men, which opens on December 9. The play examines how the baggage and prejudices people bring into a jury room can impede the Constitutional guarantee of a fair trial. Next up, on February 3, is the world premiere of The Science of Leaving Omaha, a standout from the 2022 New Year/New Plays Festival. Bruce Linser directs this play about young, marginalized, working-class Midwesterners with limited options. The fourth production is the Pulitzer Prize-winning August: Osage County (2007), a harrowing and hilarious comic drama about a middle-class Oklahoma family. The play is directed by Hayes, and opens March 31. The season concludes with another Pulitzer Prize-winner, Topdog/Underdog(2001), which opens on May 26 and is directed by Be Boyd. It’s the story of a pair of African-American brothers, both in their 30s, who were abandoned as teenagers by their parents and are caught in an endless struggle to survive.
By Amy Herzog
Directed by J. Barry Lewis
October 14-30, 2022
At the end of an agonizing cross-country bike trip, 21-year-old Leo shows up unexpectedly at the West Village apartment of his 91-year-old grandmother Vera. Across the generational divide, the physically fragile Vera and the emotionally fragile Leo tentatively and gradually learn to connect in this warm and touching comic drama.
TWELVE ANGRY MEN
By Reginald Rose
Directed by J. Barry Lewis
December 9-24, 2022
In this timely, timeless, and taut classic, 12 jurors deliberate the fate of a teenager accused of killing his father. Only Juror #8 is uncertain of the young man’s guilt. As he compels the others to carefully examine the evidence, the prejudices and social attitudes of each man are revealed – as are the strengths and flaws of the American justice system.
THE SCIENCE OF LEAVING OMAHA (World Premiere)
By Carter W. Lewis
Directed by Bruce Linser
February 3-19, 2023
Iris feels trapped in her job at a crematory and wants to get out of Omaha. When Baker breaks into the funeral home to say goodbye to his recently deceased wife, he and Iris spend a humorously unpredictable evening together trying to understand the dismantling of their working-class lives before their pasts, and the police, catch up with them.