BY HOWARD POUSNER / AJC
Actor’s Express’ 2014-15 lineup, announced Thursday morning, launches in the fall with a classic, “Les Liaisons Dangereuses,” and concludes next May with the venerable troupe presenting “The Whale.” It’s the first Atlanta production by one of today’s top emerging voices, Samuel D. Hunter.
Before its 27th season kicks off in September, the Express will present a summer production, the kicky “The Rocky Horror Show,” July 10 through Aug. 9.
The season, Actor’s Express’ eighth under the artistic direction of Freddie Ashley (with descriptions provided by the troupe):
By Christopher Hampton (based on the novel by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos)
Directed by Melissa Foulger
Two rivals and ex-lovers play a dangerous game of sexual conquest in pre-revolution France. The intrigue mounts as they trample innocent hearts in their wake. Based on the scandalous 1782 novel and later adapted into an Oscar-winning film, Les Liaisons Dangereuses is a stunning slow burn of carnal scheming. This modern classic scorches the stage in a daring new production from the director of Pluto and Wolves. (Previews Sept. 4-5)
Conceived and with Book and Lyrics by Julia Jordan; Music and Lyrics by Juliana Nash
Directed by Freddie Ashley
A sultry singer takes the stage in a seedy downtown bar, singing a story of “true love gone awry”. She spins a lurid tale of lust and murder that unfolds against the backdrop of an unforgettable rock-and-roll score. Full of pulse-pounding plot twists, Murder Ballad will keep you guessing until its breathless final moments. (Previews Nov. 6-7)
By Joshua Harmon
Directed by Freddie Ashley
Daphna Feygenbaum is a “real Jew.” Her cousin Liam is a self-described “bad Jew,” complete with a shiksa girlfriend. When the two arrive in New York for their grandfather’s funeral, they instantly lock horns in a savagely funny battle royale over a cherished family artifact. Written and developed by Joshua Harmon during his 2011 playwriting residency at Actor’s Express, Bad Jews became one of the most acclaimed comedies of the New York theatre season. (Previews Jan. 22-23, 2015)
By Tarell Alvin McCraney
As an epic storm gathers in the distance, the currents of young Marcus’ life swirl toward a passage of self-discovery. As Marcus comes to grips with his own burgeoning sexual identity, he must look to the secrets of his family’s past to understand his future. From the staggeringly talented playwright of Choir Boy and In the Red and Brown Water. (Previews March 26-27, 2015)
By Samuel D. Hunter
At six hundred pounds, Charlie has hidden himself away in his small apartment. Isolated and hungering for redemption, he desperately tries to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter before it’s too late. As he eats his way into oblivion, his life intersects with a lonely nurse and a mysterious young Mormon missionary, who all seek grace and human connection – and discover that beauty and kindness come in unexpected forms. (Previews May 15-16, 2015)
Actor’s Express performs at King Plow Arts Center on the Westside. Subscriptions are on sale: 404-607-7496, www.actors-express.com.