The Kennedy Center has scheduled a revival of "Showboat"; the latest Alan Jay Lerner musical, "Dance a Little Closer"; and four new plays as part of its 1982-83 subscription season in the Eisenhower Theater and the Opera House. All of these productions are Broadway-bound, reversing the tone of this year's season, in which relatively few tryouts played the Center.
"It's the first time in a while we've got some new plays that look as if they have promise," said Roger Stevens, the Center's chairman, yesterday. "We're considering some others as well. They come along in batches."
All six attractions will be offered under Theater Guild Subscription, at prices ranging from $12.08 to $21.25 per show. Those figures are 20 percent lower than box-office prices and mark the first time the guild has offered subscribers a discount.
The series will begin in the Eisenhower Aug. 25 with "Twice Around the Park," two one-act plays by Murray Schisgal, set on the east and west sides of Central Park. Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson, the husband-and-wife team that starred in such earlier Schisgal comedies as "Luv," "The Typists" and "The Tiger," constitute the entire cast, under Arthur Storch's direction.
Opening dates have not yet been set for the other productions, which include:
* "Monday After the Miracle," William Gibson's follow-up to his celebrated drama, "The Miracle Worker," which chronicled the efforts of Annie Sullivan to teach Helen Keller how to communicate. "Monday" looks at the characters 20 years later--Sullivan is married and Keller is a young adult, awakening to love. Jane Alexander and Karen Allen star as the teacher and her pupil, and Arthur Penn is directing the drama, as he did the original "Miracle Worker."
* "Make and Break," a satire of the corporate world by British playwright Michael Frayn. Colin Blakeley will portray a tycoon who drives himself to a near heart attack, and Michael Blakemore will stage the play, which was a critical London success two seasons ago.
* "Showboat," Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II's enduring musical about life on the Mississippi. The Houston Grand Opera revival currently is playing Los Angeles, and is headed by Donald O'Connor as Cap'n Andy.
* "Dance a Little Closer," a new musical version of Robert Sherwood's "Idiot's Delight," about a glib song-and-dance man and his former girlfriend, who find themselves trapped in a Swiss hotel on the eve of World War II. Alan Jay Lerner has written the book and lyrics for the show, which is now set on the eve of World War III, and Charles Strouse has composed the music. Early plans, at least, called for a production number with an on-stage skating rink.
* Henry Denker's "Outrage," a courtroom drama that looks at the lopsided treatment accorded criminals and their victims in today's society.
In the spring, the Center also will produce four additional plays, not yet announced, in the Eisenhower Theatre. These Kennedy Center productions will be put on under the LORT (League of Resident Theaters) contract that has governed such recent productions as "Tartuffe," "The Physicists" and "The Dining Room." The LORT productions were partially financed by CBS/Broadcast Group, which put up $500,000 last fall to help defray costs.
It was unclear yesterday if CBS would help finance a second season in the Eisenhower. Although the contract between the Center and CBS gives each party until Aug. 31 to renew, Stevens said earlier in the week that both sides already had agreed to dissolve the partnership. Yesterday, however, Thomas Leahy, senior broadcast vice president at CBS, said, "It's still under discussion. These are hard times and we want to weigh all sorts of investment possibilities. At this juncture, we just don't know."
Sources say that some of CBS' hesitation stems from the fact that it severely underestimated the difficulty and cost of obtaining cable and ancillary rights to the five plays it has coproduced this season with the Center.