From the debut of a new version of "Dracula" by Synetic Theatre to the unveiling of an ambitious triptych by Sarah Ruhl, "Passion Play, a Cycle," at Arena Stage, the world premieres will continue to arrive on a regular basis in the coming season.
Two of the more notable premieres will take place at Theater J. "Bal Masque," a new play by Richard Greenberg -- author of Studio Theatre's current hit, "Take Me Out" -- makes its bow next spring, followed by "Picasso's Closet," an original piece by Ariel Dorfman ("Death and the Maiden"). These and a new version of "The Dybbuk," in co-production with Synetic, promise to make Theater J's one of the newsier schedules in town.
Woolly Mammoth can always be relied on to go its own way, and it will go the route of never-seen-before three times during 2005-06. "Starving," by S.M. Shephard-Massat, is set in black Atlanta in the 1950s and features Doug Brown, Craig Wallace and Paul Nicholas. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's "The Velvet Sky" will put Rick Foucheux and Jennifer Mendenhall in a story of hallucination and kidnaping. And a new out-there musical comedy, "Horse Opera," with book and lyrics by Quincy Long and music by Chris Jeffries, will touch on romance and thoroughbred racing.
Signature Theatre also has a new musical in the offing. Based on aspects of the life of Edgar Allan Poe, "Nevermore," with music by Matt Conner, a book by Norman Allen and lyrics adapted from Poe's own poetry, will have its debut in January. In May, Round House Theatre will offer another new musical with literary leanings when "A Murder, a Mystery and a Marriage: A Mark Twain Musical Melodrama" is unveiled, with book and lyrics by Aaron Posner and music by James Sugg.
At Arena, Ruhl's play will be one of two world premieres. The other is "Cuttin' Up," a compilation of stories about haircuts and a follow-up to "Crowns," a huge hit for the company. It's directed and adapted by Charles Randolph-Wright from the book by Craig Marberry. Studio Theatre will give a first airing to a work by Neil LaBute, "Autobahn," as part of a mini-festival of LaBute's work, and will stage an original drama, "Hilda," by Marie Ndiaye, on its way to New York.
And in June 2006, the Kennedy Center will exhibit the first recipient of the rejiggered Fund for New American Plays: the new "Love-Lies-Bleeding," co-produced with Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company.