Burning Coal Theatre Company announces its 2011 – 2012 SEASON: “Fun, Mysterious and Unexpected”

RALEIGH, N.C., April 18, 2011 — Burning Coal Theatre Company, a small professional theatre in Raleigh, North Carolina has announced its 2011-2012 main stage season. It will begin with the riveting music and dance filled Enron by Lucy Prebble, Sept. 8-25, 2011; followed by Shakespeare’s Henry V (on Trapeze), Dec. 1-18, 2011; then Man of La Mancha by Darion, Leigh and Wasserman, Feb. 2-19, 2012; and wrapping up with Jude the Obscure, Pts. 1 & 2, a new musical by Ian Finley, Jerome Davis and Bruce Benedict, in repertory, April 12-May 5, 2012.  All performances will be staged at Burning Coal’s performance space, the Murphey School, 224 Polk Street, Raleigh.

“The season is going to be fun, mysterious and unexpected,” said Burning Coal artistic director Jerome Davis. “ All of the plays have an element of questioning the way we look at the world.  With Enron we lay open our society’s financial sector.  Henry V examines inspiration and how it’s used to fuel a country’s re-emergence as a power.  In Man of La Mancha, we explore the relationship between creativity and progress.  And, Jude the Obscure questions our society’s most revered institutions and their value,” he explained.
Tickets are $20 or $15 for students, seniors and active military. Thursday night tickets are $10 apiece.  Student rush tickets are available at every performance for $5 apiece, availability pending.
For tickets and more information, call 919.834.4001 or visit our website at www.burningcoal.org.
Enron Sept. 8-25, 2011
Enron is a musical by award-winning British playwright Lucy Prebbl.  The show will be directed by Jerome Davis and choreographed by Robin Harris, who heads NCSU’s dance program, with scenery by Drew Boyce of Brooklyn, NY and lighting by Daniel Winters, also of Brooklyn, NY.  Enron was a smash hit on London’s West End before transferring to Broadway in 2010. C ritics called it a “dazzling, highly-entertaining” account of the company’s fall from grace.
Enron was a Houston-based energy company that imploded in 2001 in what was then the biggest bankruptcy in history.  Its stock plunged from $95 to just $1 in only 24 days as it became clear the company was nothing more than a house of cards.  The executives’ massive fraud devastated tens of thousands of employees, retirees and investors nationwide.  But, despite the resulting prison terms and in-depth investigations, the question remains today:  Has anything been fixed? Less than three years ago, Lehman Brothers collapsed in much the same way, helping to spur on our current financial crisis.
Henry V (On Trapeze)Dec. 1-18, 2011
William Shakespeare’s powerful play about inspiration and warfare focuses on King Henry V of England, first depicted in Henry IV as a wild, reckless youth, now a mature man who embarks on the successful reclaiming of portions of France that culminated in the historic battle of Agincourt.
This show, a co-production with Fight or Flight, previously known as Matchbook Productions, will literally soar to new heights. “It will be our first and hopefully not our last time with aerial gymnastic at Burning Coal,” Davis said.  Fight or Flight put it this way, “By taking to the air, we utilize dimensions typically neglected, thus opening a new realm of possibilities for ourselves and for our audiences.” Broadwayworld.com called Fight or Flight’s Richard II, “The kind of theatre that an audience is afraid to look away from for fear they’ll miss even a moment of the magic.” Fight or Flight’s Stephen Cole Hughes will direct.  He is the 2008 Denver Post Ovation Award winner and has an MFA from the National Theatre Conservatory.
Man of La Mancha – Feb. 2-19, 2012
This musical is one of the most successful American musicals in theatre history, with the book by Dale Wasserman, lyrics by Joe Darion and music by Mitch Leigh. It will be directed by internationally renowned director Tea Alagic, a native of Bosnia and Herzegovina who holds an MFA from the Yale School of Drama.  The show will feature Randolph Curtis Rand as Don Quixote, David Henderson as Sancho Panza and Yolanda Rabun as Aldonza/Dulcinea.
The original 1965 Broadway production won five Tony Awards including Best Musical. The signature song The Impossible Dream has become a standard.  In addition, La Mancha has been translated into dozens of languages and performed worldwide.  It tells the story of the “mad” knight, Don Quixote through the eyes of its author, an imprisoned Miguel de Cervantes, as he awaits a hearing before the Spanish Inquisition.
Artistic director Jerome Davis called the show “as relevant as ever,” pointing out a quote from George Bernard Shaw, “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world.  The unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself.  All progress, therefore, depends upon the unreasonable man.”
Jude the Obscure – April 12-May 5, 2012
This new musical will be a Burning Coal world premiere. It is based on the 1895 novel by Thomas Hardy, with the script by Ian Finley, Burning Coal’s education director, and Jerome Davis, and music by Raleigh’s own Bruce Benedict. This play will be presented in two parts in repertory.
Hardy’s story focuses on Jude Fawley, a young working-class man who dreams of rising past his station to become a scholar. Along the way he questions society’s most established institutions like marriage, religion and class. “Hardy was asking these questions at the start of the industrial age. We are at that point again, as we watch power coalescing into the hands of fewer and fewer people,” Davis said. “Powerful icons are consolidating in our terrain both physically and emotionally, Jude the Obscure allows us to examine what we really value,” he added.
For further information, please contact Burning Coal’s managing director, Simmie Kastner, at 919.834.4001 or visit our website at www.burningcoal.org.
Burning Coal Theatre Company is one of Raleigh’s small, professional theatres.  Burning Coal is an incorporated, non-profit [501 (c) (3)] organization. Burning Coal’s mission is to produce literate, visceral, affecting theatre that is experienced, not simply seen. Burning Coal produces explosive reexaminations of overlooked classic and modern plays, as well as new plays, whose themes and issues are of immediate concern to our audience, using the best local, national and international artists available. We work toward a theatre of high-energy performances and minimalist production values. The emphasis is on literate works that are felt and experienced viscerally, unlike more traditional linear plays, at which audiences are most often asked to observe without participating. Race and gender non-specific casting is an integral component of our perspective, as well as an international viewpoint.

By Denise Cerniglia

Postmodern experientialist of the arts. Follow my public posts on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/decern to keep up with mostly dance, some opera and classical music happenings. Also, visit my dance photo blog at artsviewnc.com.