The Arkansas Repertory Theater will return for a new season of productions after financial difficulties forced it to cease operations in April.
On Tuesday evening, The Rep announced its 2019 line-up. Due to a late start, the theater is opting for an abbreviated season. Instead of six main stage productions, there will be four shows as well as one for kids.
Theater Board Chair Ruth Shepherd says appealing to a broad audience is vital to the organization.
"It’s important that The Rep produce what we consider a diverse season, so we don’t just do new plays or we don’t just do big musicals, we try to every year appeal to a broad array of folks by offering a diverse body of work."
Shepherd says she is excited to announce the season will kick off with the second longest running Broadway musical Chicago to be directed by Ron Hutchins. The season will also include the comedy Native Gardens written by Karen Zacarías, musical, The Million Dollar Quartet directed by Hunter Foster of the original Broadway cast, and It ’s a Wonderful Life The Live Radio Show. The kid’s show Willy Wonka Junior will be directed by The Rep’s director of education, Anna Kimmell.
"The junior show is very exciting. It’s going to be in the summer and it will be cast with all actors 18 and younger. It’ll be a special script designed just for a young company like that," Shepherd said.
Since announcing its emergency deficit of $750,000 and the operations suspension in April the theater as received over $875,000 in donations which were matched by the John and Robyn Horn Foundation and the Windgate Charitable Foundation. A voluntary leadership team came together to launch the “Rebuild the Rep” campaign, but Sheppard says the theater is still in need.
“We quickly went from ‘save The Rep’ when we announced that we were suspending productions to rebuild The Rep because the community really reached out. We’re not quite there yet, so we’re still in fundraising mode and we still need folks to step up and make gifts to support this important institution.”
Season tickets are on sale now. For more information, call the box office at 501-378-0405 or visit www.therep.org.