Christopher Durang’s newest comedy, “Turning Off the Morning News,” is in preview at McCarter Theatre in Princeton. It’s the playwright’s third play commissioned by McCarter and closes the 2017/18 season. Opening night is May 12.
McCarter Theatre just revealed a 2017-2018 season that includes the world premiere of Tony Award-winner Christopher Durang’s “Turning Off the Morning News”; a revival of Regina Taylor’s gospel musical “Crowns” that had its world premiere here 15 years ago; a rare staging of Sam Shepard’s “Simpatico” in collaboration with Chicago’s A Red Orchid Theatre, a recipient of this year’s MacArthur Award for Creative & Effective Institutions; Marie Jones’ Irish comedy “Stones in His Pocket” with two actors playing 15 plus characters. The musical biography “A Night With Janis Joplin,” written and directed by Randy Johnson, fills out the schedule.
Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, NJ, is well known for its lush, classy, reverent productions of mostly classic Broadway musicals. Has been for years, which is one of its problems. How many times does — even a theater lover — want to see a traditional revival of “South Pacific” “Fiddler” or “Dolly” ? A new interpretation, yes, maybe, but will it fill the 1200-seat space. When the Playhouse took a chance on an innovative production, I saw audiences walking out at intermission.
But things have changed in the past decade since Mark Hoebee, now producing artistic director, started working there, and Michael Gennaro, from Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company, became Paper Mill’s president and CEO.