Olney Theatre Center's 75th season to include edgy plays, musicals
Among Platt's stated goals is the "expanding and enriching" of programming, which has tended toward the conservative side lately (the current season includes a production of the vintage thriller "Sleuth" that will be followed by "Little Shop of Horrors").
Nothing conservative about the opening selection for the season in February 2013: "Spring Awakening," the rock-propelled, Tony-winning musical from 2006 about budding adolescent sexuality.
Two 1950s musicals are also slated: the largely forgotten "Carnival," based on the film "Lili" and featuring a song that enjoyed hit status for a time, "Love Makes the World Go Round"; and "Once Upon a Mattress," the charming vehicle that launched Carol Burnett's career.
A 2012 play by Jeff Talbott, "The Submission," is on the schedule. This "politically and racially charged" piece, Platt says, "will ...
The lineup also includes "Neville’s Island, A Comedy in Thick Fog," by Tim Firth, author of the popular play and film "Calendar Girls"; "Angel Street," the thriller that became better known as "Gaslight" in the classic movie version; an updating of Moliere's "Tartuffe, or The Hypocrite," complete with Euro-pop score; and two productions from the New York-based Bedlam Theatre, Shakespeare's "Hamlet" and Shaw's "Saint Joan."
The California-born Platt, who started on the Olney job in late May, has a broad background to draw upon as he sets about guiding the company's next act.
His resume includes stints as co-director of the Perry Street Theatricals in New York; founding artistic director of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival; general director of Birmingham Opera Theatre, where his repertoire included the U.S. premiere of Verdi’s "Stiffelio"; and artistic director of the New Mexico Repertory Theatre.
PHOTO COURTESY OF OLNEY THEATRE CENTER