Lamb's Players Theatre's recently announced 2006 lineup includes a little bit of everything -- a musical, two premieres, a modern classic and a mystery.
The season kicks off Feb. 2 with Stephen Sondheim's "Into the Woods," a musical of fairy tales and what happens after "happily ever after." A baker and his wife's quest to begin a family connects the stories of Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel.
The award-winning musical, which debuted at the Old Globe Theatre in 1986 and went on to Broadway the following year, features a Sondheim score with book by James Lapine. It is considered one of Sondheim's most beautiful and accessible pieces.
"It's got great music, it's engaging for both young and old, and it explores issues of community, parents and children, and what it means to be human, woven together cleverly and thoughtfully," said Lamb's artistic director Robert Smyth. The musical, directed by Smyth, runs through March 19.
The season continues with the world premiere of Gillette Elvgren's comedy "Five Cups of Coffee," opening April 6.
In a runaway bride reversal, Hal Bjornson ditches his wedding and ducks into a surreal coffee shop where almost anything can happen. Hal is a young man obsessed with time -- why it exists, how it works and where to escape it. He's not a coffee drinker, but at crucial moments in his life he consumes a total of five cups.
Elvgren, who was commissioned by Lamb's to write this play, conjures a loopy, magical world in which relationships are not quite what they seem, the Garden of Eden may lie buried beneath land mines in the Iraqi desert and the Gates of Paradise look strangely like Graceland.
"Five Cups of Coffee" runs through May 21 and is also directed by Smyth.
In June, Lamb's joins Mainly Mozart and more than 50 other San Diego arts organizations in celebrating Mozart's 250th birthday with a production of Peter Shaffer's "Amadeus."
This modern masterpiece portrays Mozart through the eyes of rival and composer Antonio Salieri, presented as a caricature of jealous mediocrity. Salieri cannot reconcile Mozart's puerile, loutish behavior with the genius that God has bestowed upon him, and so vows to do everything in his power to destroy Mozart.
Shaffer's Tony Award-winning play is a dramatic tale of genius, envy, and betrayal, set amid the lavish court of 18th century Vienna.
"Amadeus" will be directed by Lamb's associate artistic director Kerry Meads, and runs June 1 through July 23.
Opening July 29 is the mystery "Rehearsal for Murder," originally conceived as a television movie for bumbling detective Columbo.
D.D. Brookes' adaptation of Richard Levinson and William Link's award-winning teleplay is a surprising, captivating and multilayered plot to catch a murderer. Exactly one year to the day after New York playwright Alex Dennison's production ended with the apparent suicide of his fiancÈe, the playwright reassembles the cast for an eerily true-to-life play reading designed to catch a killer.
The play, directed by Smyth, runs Aug. 3 through Sept. 17.
Lamb's closes its season with the San Diego premiere of "Life x 3" by Yasmina Reza, the Tony Award-winning writer of "Art," which Lamb's produced in 2004.
"Yasmina Reza is another of our favorite playwrights," said Smyth. "There are very few writers who have her gift for incredibly smart plays that are also accessible and entertaining. 'Life X 3' explores big issues, but avoids the baggage of seeming 'important.' And like her play 'Art,' she always writes terrific roles for actors to sink their teeth into."
Reza's play starts with a classic social nightmare -- Henri's boss Hubert and his wife arrive a day early for an important dinner party carefully planned to impress Hubert. As the evening disintegrates into tragic hilarity, Reza's brutally funny play takes us through the same scenario in three different ways, exploring meaning, randomness, the repercussions of small decisions, and how truth is revealed and obscured.
"Life x 3," which runs Oct. 5 through Nov. 19, will be directed by associate artistic director Deborah Gilmour Smyth.
Send your comments, thoughts or suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org