We’re thrilled to announce our 2016/17 season! Custom Made Theatre Co. is the resident company of Custom Made Theatre at 533 Sutter St. (at Powell), putting us just a block north of Union Square, and accessible to the Powell St. BART/MUNI station!
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The Season! (click on title to read more):
RAPTURE, BLISTER, BURN
THE HOUSE OF YES
KURT VONNEGUT’S “MOTHER NIGHT”
CHESS lyrics by Tim Rice; music by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus
Directed by Brian Katz; Musical Direction by Armando Fox
Chess is the legendary musical from Tim Rice (“Evita”,“Jesus Christ Superstar”) and members of the European pop group, ABBA. Set towards the end of the cold war, Chess uses politics and sport as metaphor for a love triangle between a enfant-terrible American superstar (loosely modeled on Bobby Fisher), his Hungarian-born lover/second, and a Soviet player looking to start a new life. Featuring such hits as “One Night in Bangkok”, “Pity the Child”, and “I know Him So Well” the eclectic score ranges from classical to rock, and the plot spans across the world as these players try balance their public and private personas. A truly adult musical, Custom Made’s take on this oft-revised play will be based off the concept album that is so precious to lovers of Rock Opera.
RAPTURE, BLISTER, BURN by Gina Gionfriddo (San Francisco Premiere)
Directed by Leah Abrams
Not since Wendy Wasserstein’s Pulitzer Prize winning “The Heidi Chronicles” has a play taken on the complexities of the women’s liberation movement with such intimacy and acerbic wit. Gina Gionfriddo reunites three old friends confronting mid-life questions of paths and purpose, hilariously and painfully exploring the concept of trying out that life you rejected. After grad school, 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 comedy is an unflinching look at gender politics in the wake of 20th-century feminist ideals.
BELLEVILLE by Amy Herzog (Bay Area Premiere)
Directed by M. Graham Smith
Young Americans Zack and Abby have the perfect ex-pat life in Paris: a funky bohemian apartment in up-and-coming Belleville; a stable marriage; and Zack’s noble mission to fight pediatric AIDS. But when Abby finds Zack at home one afternoon when he’s supposed to be at work, the questions and answers that follow shake the foundation of their seemingly beautiful life. The relationship is shown in contrast to their Sengegalese-born, but younger, landlords, who have struggled their whole lives to have what Abby and Zack take for granted. A tense and claustrophobic thriller, Belleville slowly raises the threat of violence until it explodes into a cacophonous and bloody conclusion.
ISAAC’S EYE by Lucas Hnath (Bay Area Premiere)
Directed by Oren Stevens
What does it take to be the best, to be remembered forever? Isaac’s Eye is a hilarious and poignant exploration of love, greatness and the nature of Truth that playfully combines contemporary language, historical fact, deadpan humor, and scientific inquiry. Hot NYC-based playwright Lucas Hnath (The Christians) pits the young upstart Isaac Newton against establishment scientist Robert Hooke, the man who can grant him entrance into the prestigious Royal Academy. Hnath pits two ruthless thinkers against one another in a battle of wits while playing a thrilling game of meta-theatrics, calling attention to the way we establish truth onstage through deception and imagination.
Late March/April ‘17
THE HOUSE OF YES by Wendy MacLeod
Directed by Stuart Bousel
A comedy of manners meets gothic novel about people too déclassé for feelings and, yet, consumed by secret and corrosive passions that will ultimately undo them. Arriving during a hurricane, Marty comes home for Thanksgiving with his fiancé Lesly, which is not taken well by his twin sister, Jackie-O, who has been recently released from a mental hospital, nor the rest of the family, and a series of seductions and games start to spin out of control. The House of Yes further explores the themes of 2015’s Grey Gardens: it focuses on a wealthy, but sequestered, family with ties to American politics, whose lives are led just beyond the edges of conventional society. In the grand tradition of writers like the Brontes and Shirley Jackson, MacLeod uses that setting to tell us a love story that is both sensational and devastating.
KURT VONNEGUT’S “MOTHER NIGHT” (World Premiere)
Adapted and directed by Brian Katz
“We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.” Mother Night, Kurt Vonnegut’s third and highly celebrated novel, is newly adapted for the stage by Custom Made Artistic Director, Brian Katz. Mother Night tells the story of Howard W. Campbell, whom audiences may remember as the American-born Nazi recruiter from Slaughterhouse-Five. In Night, we learn it was all a ruse – that Campbell was actually a double agent for the CIA, and was passing along secrets to the Allies coded in his anti-semitic radio broadcasts. However, the Israelis don’t believe him, and the play opens with our hero in a jail cell next to Adolf Eichmann, awaiting his fate and and revisiting his past. Mother Night is a metafictional tale of duplicitous spies, bumbling white supremacists, Soviet operatives, and a timeless love affair that rejects patriotism and borders, instead fantasizing an idyllic “nation of two.”
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