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ArtsEmerson announces 2014-15 season line-up

King Lear

Actor Joseph Marcell in King Lear, part of ArtsEmerson's 2014-2015 season line-up. (Courtesy Photo/Ellie Kurttz)

ArtsEmerson: The World On Stage has announced 10 of the productions scheduled for 2014–2015, its fifth anniversary season.

Tickets are on sale for ArtsEmerson members only May 7–30 on or by calling the box office at 617-824-8400. For the general public, various ticket packages are available beginning May 7, and individual ticket sales will begin May 31.

See the list and schedule of productions below, as well as ArtsEmerson membership information.

Emerson students, staff, faculty, and alumni may attend the ArtsEmerson Season Preview event on Wednesday, May 21, at 12:30 pm at the Paramount Center. Rob Orchard and David Dower, executive director and director of artistic programs at ArtsEmerson, respectively, will give a presentation with video clips about the new season’s upcoming shows. Participants, who may RSVP for this free event, can learn about ArtsEmerson’s wide array of programming and how to engage, explore, and expand with the artists, culture, and conversations that are to come. Light refreshments will be served.

“We’re thrilled to partner long-term with many international theatrical ensembles,” Orchard said.

Dower is particularly excited to welcome back Daniel Beaty, the award-winning performer who is serving as Emerson’s artist-in-residence and whose play, Breath and Imagination, will be featured at the Paramount Center in January.

“After Daniel Beaty’s explosive Boston debut in 2013 with Emergency, we’re proud to follow it with a three-year residence of his works,” Dower said. “I am excited to start next season with Daniel’s look at Boston hero Roland Hayes in Breath and Imagination.

Membership Information:

Patrons may become ArtsEmerson members May 7–30 to enjoy special savings and preferred seating during the members-only period. Memberships are only $60, and include special benefits including one free ticket, discounted parking, and invitations to exclusive events.

Various ticket packages will be available to the general public beginning May 7, which include ticket discounts and a free membership. Individual tickets go on sale to the general public starting May 31.


Heloise Bourgeois performs in Traces, which is scheduled as the premiere production for the 2014-2015 ArtsEmerson season. (Courtesy Photo/ODC Photo)

List and Schedule of Productions:

October 1–2

Les 7 Doigts de la Main (Montreal, Canada)
Directed and Choreographed by Shana Carroll and Gypsy Snider
Emerson/Cutler Majestic Theatre

Boston favorites and circus icons 7 Fingers return to ArtsEmerson by popular demand with their signature work, Traces. The company gathers to piece together the life events that bring them to this moment. What follows is an explosion of music, storytelling, and amazing acrobatic feats that surprises, awes, and delights at every turn. After a successful run Off-Broadway and a world tour, the celebrated Quebecois troupe brings this newly reimagined collection of skills and scenes that consider the footprints we leave behind.

About Les 7 Doigts de la Main (7 Fingers)
Founded in Montreal in 2002, the initial goal of Les 7 Doigts de la Main (7 Fingers) was to bring circus to a human scale. Out of this emerged Loft, Traces, La Vie, PSY, Project Fibonacci, Patinoire, A Muse, and Séquence 8. In addition, 7 Fingers developed a special events department through which they have delivered a diverse range of projects, including participation in The Royal Variety Performance for the Queen of England, ceremonies of both the Turin and Vancouver Olympics, large corporate events for companies such as Caterpillar and BMW, directing the National Circus School end-of-year show two years in a row, and much more. Each project is custom-made and approached with the same hands-on creativity.

October 15–23
King Lear

Shakespeare’s Globe (London, United Kingdom)
Starring Joseph Marcell
Directed by Bill Buckhurst
Emerson/Paramount Center Mainstage

Shakespeare’s Globe returns to ArtsEmerson after its well-received Hamlet with a striking production of King Lear. Joseph Marcell (celebrated classical actor well known for his role as Geoffrey in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) gives a commanding performance as Lear, a king suspicious of his daughters’ loyalty after he has divided his realm among them. With an ensemble of eight actors creating all the characters and music, this production reinvigorates this classic story with extraordinary theatricality.

About Shakespeare’s Globe
Shakespeare’s Globe has become one of the most popular visitor destinations in the UK, at the heart of the regeneration of London’s Bankside. Shakespeare’s Globe is a charity and continues to operate without annual government funding. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Dominic Dromgoole, the theater season plays in repertory from April to October annually, and has gained an international reputation for performance excellence. Globe Education, directed by Patrick Spottiswoode, is one of the largest arts education departments in the country, and shares its approaches to the teaching of Shakespeare with more than 100,000 students a year. Shakespeare’s Globe Tour and Exhibition is open all year round and is the world’s only permanent exhibition dedicated to Shakespeare’s theatrical career.

November 4–9
The Magic Flute

Isango Ensemble (Capetown, South Africa)
Emerson/Cutler Majestic Theatre

South Africa’s award-winning Isango Ensemble gloriously bursts on the scene with The Magic Flute, Mozart’s classic opera, completely reimagined, transformed, and transported. The enchanting story tells of a man’s quest to rescue his wrongly captured love, and the trials they must endure to be together. Drawing its artists mostly from the townships surrounding Cape Town, this energetic ensemble has travelled all over the world, and with the help of some magical musical instruments, they are able to bring an old story new joy and pleasure.

About Isango Ensemble
Isango Ensemble is a South African theater company that draws its artists mainly from the townships surrounding Cape Town. Isango’s stage productions and films have played to sold-out audiences across the world and have received numerous international awards. Isango’s productions reimagine classics from the Western theater canon, finding a new context for the stories within a South African or township setting, thereby creating inventive work relevant to the heritage of the nation. Isango intends to further develop this process by building a truly mixed audience, reflecting and uniting a diverse South African nation.

November 19–23
The Old Man and the Old Moon 

PigPen Theatre Co. (New York, NY)
Emerson/Paramount Center Mainstage 

PigPen Theatre Co. brings its spectacular storytelling style to the tale of The Old Man and the Old Moon. This fantastical, song-filled journey takes us to the end of the world when an old man abandons his duty of filling the moon with liquid light to search for his missing wife. With a rollicking array of ever-changing characters, inventive theatrical effects, and an infectious contemporary folk sound, these seven young actor musicians transform the seemingly ordinary into sheer wonder for the whole family.

About PigPen Theatre Co.
PigPen Theatre Co. began creating its unique brand of music, film, and theater as freshmen at the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama in 2008. The members have since produced their original plays Off-Broadway and at regional theaters around the country, earning them critic’s picks from the New York Times, Time Out New York, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, and many more, ranking them in the top ten theatrical events of 2011, 2012, and 2013. They were also the first group to win the NYC Fringe Festival’s top honor for a play two years in a row in 2010 and 2011. The company’s other plays include The Nightmare Story and The Mountain Song.

January 27–February 8, 2015
Breath and Imagination 

By Daniel Beaty (Boston, MA)
Directed by David Dower
Emerson/Paramount Center Mainstage

From the author of Emergency and Knock Knock comes a musical tale of faith, hope, and familyBefore Marian Anderson and Paul Robeson, there was Roland Hayes—the first world-renowned African American classical vocalist. Born the son of a slave in rural Georgia, Mr. Hayes built a career in Boston that blossomed around the world. This play chronicles his journey from a child singing in church to a master musician singing before the crowned heads of Europe. Written by celebrated poet and author Daniel Beaty, Breath and Imagination explores the life of an American pioneer through words, movement, spirituals, and classical music.

About Daniel Beaty
Daniel Beaty is an award-winning actor, singer, writer, and motivational speaker. His critically acclaimed plays Through the Night, Emergency, Mr. Joy, and The Tallest Tree in the Forest – Paul Robeson, have been performed at venues ranging from Lincoln Center to the White House, and garnered numerous awards including an Obie award for writing and performance and two NAACP Theater Awards. Beaty has worked throughout the United States, Europe, and Africa, speaking and performing on programs with luminaries such as Bill Cosby, Deepak Chopra, Hill Harper, Jill Scott, Donnie McClurkin, and Ruby Dee. In Fall 2013, Beaty launched a nationwide initiative using the tools of storytelling to help individuals and communities heal trauma, which was funded by W.K. Kellogg and Ford Foundations, among others. He holds a BA with Honors in English and Music from Yale University and an MFA in Acting from the American Conservatory Theatre. His poem Knock Knock became an Internet sensation, receiving millions of views and has been transformed into a children’s book, also titled Knock Knock, published by Little Brown Books. Penguin-Random House published his empowerment book Transforming Pain to Power in March 2014.

February 13–15, 2015
Green Porno, Live On Stage

Isabella Rossellini and Jean-Claude Carrière (New York, NY)
Emerson/Cutler Majestic Theatre

Iconic actress Isabella Rossellini teams up with legendary screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière to present Green Porno, a hysterical and eye-opening zoology lesson on the kinky and confounding mating rituals of insects and marine life. Rossellini has adapted The Sundance Channel series of the same name into an intimate lecture using cheeky theatrics to delightfully discuss this bizarre world of seductions and deadly enigmas.

About Isabella Rossellini
Isabella Rossellini had a long career as a model, lasting 25 years, 14 of which working as face of the Lancôme cosmetic company. As an actress, she is best known for films such as Blue Velvet and Sailor and Lula directed by David Lynch. She also worked with directors such as Robert Zemeckis in Death Becomes Her, Peter Weir in Fearless, John Schlesinger in The Innocent, and Stanley Tucci and Campbell Scott in Big Night. With her movie My Dad Is 100 years Old, a tribute to her father, Rossellini made her debut writing the screenplay, co-directed with Guy Maddin. She is the daughter of the Academy Award-winning Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman (CasablancaAnastasia, Autumn Sonata) and the groundbreaking, iconic Italian film director Roberto Rossellini, who made film history with Rome, Open City. She was born in Rome and spent her childhood between Rome and Paris. She came to New York at the age of 19 to study English and attend college and settled in the city. She holds dual United States and Italian citizenship.

March 5–15, 2015
Tristan & Yseult

Kneehigh (Cornwall, United Kingdom)
Emerson/Cutler Majestic Theatre

Kneehigh’s Tristan & Yseult elevates this classic love triangle to epic proportions—complete with forbidden desires, broken hearts, and tender truths. This innovative tale finds King Mark of Cornwall at war, ruling with his head, not his heart. But he hasn’t counted on falling head over heels for his enemy’s sister Yseult or the arrival of the enigmatic Tristan. Using music from Irving Berlin to Bob Marley, Kneehigh’s thrill-ride of a production blends comedy, live music, and jaw-dropping theatricality for a night of theater as hilarious as it is moving.

About Kneehigh
Kneehigh is a UK-based theater company with a local, national, and international profile. For more than 30 years, Kneehigh has created vigorous, popular, and challenging theater and performs with the joyful anarchy that audiences have come to expect from this groundbreaking company. The company works with an ever-changing ensemble of performers, artists, technicians, administrators, sculptors, and musicians and is passionate about its multi-disciplined creative process.

March 11–29, 2015
Keep Culture and Clash On: 30 Years of Revolutionary Comedy Remastered
Culture Clash (Los Angeles, CA)
By Richard Montoya, Ric Salinas, and Herbert Sigüenza
Jackie Liebergott Black Box at the Emerson/Paramount Center

The three-man comic hurricane that is Culture Clash returns to Boston to celebrate their 30th anniversary as the most prominent Latino performance troupe in the country. Keep Culture and Clash On: 30 Years of Revolutionary Comedy Remastered remixes iconic moments from their signature satirical and political works into an evening as fresh and unhinged as ever.

About Culture Clash
Out of the activism of San Francisco’s Mission District, Culture Clash sharpened their focus, and their bite, on a decades-long road trip through Latino cultures in cities around the United States, creating a series of comic documentary performances based in communities as far-flung as Miami, San Diego, Washington, D.C., NY, Los Angeles, and Boston. They’ve also created new works for Oregon Shakespeare Festival, La Jolla Playhouse, Yale Repertory Theatre, and Center Theater Group in Los Angeles. Their videos, short films, and art exhibits have been shown at The Smithsonian; The Whitney Museum of American Art; Sundance Film Festival; The San Juan, Puerto Rico, Film and Video Festival; The Art Institute of Boston; Palm Springs Film Festival; and The Los Angeles Film Festival, among others.

April 9–12, 2015
Needles and Opium 

Ex Machina and Robert Lepage (Montreal, Canada)
Emerson/Cutler Majestic Theatre

Legendary artist Robert Lepage creates a new production of his acclaimed Needles and Opium. Presented as a hypnotic series of vignettes, this fascinating, introspective performance tracks the intersection and creative drive of Parisian poet/filmmaker Jean Cocteau on his way to New York and American jazz legend Miles Davis during his stay in Paris in 1949. Startling technical wizardry serves true emotional depth on a journey into the night that puts us under a spell and leads us into the light—as much magic as it is theater.

About Robert Lepage
Versatile in every form of theater craft, Robert Lepage is equally talented as a director, playwright, actor, and film director. His creative and original approach to theater has won him international acclaim and shaken the dogma of classical stage direction to its foundations, especially through his use of new technologies. Contemporary history is his source of inspiration, and his modern and unusual work transcends all boundaries.

April 30–May 3, 2015
The Grand Parade (of the Twentieth Century) 

Double Edge Theatre (Ashfield, MA)
Emerson/Paramount Center Mainstage

The Grand Parade (of the Twentieth Century) depicts major events of the 20th century in a theatrical style inspired by famed artist Marc Chagall’s kaleidoscopic vision of humanity at play, at war, and at rest. Trapeze, circus, dance, projections, and popular culture fill the height and breadth of the stage in a spectacle of history populated by people and animals in acts of grace and destruction. History is recounted with a variety of iconic images from film, television, and photography. It’s a glorious work of memory, memorial, and celebration that shows us to ourselves and makes us consider where we are now by examining where we have come from.

About Double Edge Theatre
Double Edge Theatre strives to create “living culture” by developing the highest quality of original theater, based on the art of the actor and its interaction with the communities where the work takes place. The company’s highly physical performances are immersive events that are lush and dreamlike, nuanced and emotional. Each original performance is created by an ensemble of multitalented artists who have worked together over many years and are bound together by regular, strenuous training. These works are toured nationally and internationally, creating further opportunities for reciprocal exchange between artists and audiences.

On Sale Now at ArtsEmerson:

May 6–18, 2014, Sontag: RebornThe Builders Association, NYC
Emerson/Paramount Center Mainstage

May 20–31, 2014, Hershey Felder in Abe Lincoln’s Piano
Emerson/Cutler Majestic Theatre

June 6–7, 2014, Eugene Onegin—Vakhtangov State Academic Theatre of Russia, Russia
Emerson/Cutler Majestic Theatre

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