Juneau Theater Company Plans 2012 Anchorage "Introductory" Season
Perseverance is known for developing and staging new Alaska plays, such as "The Blue Bear," based on the memoir of Juneau-based wilderness guide Lynn Schooler, and presenting bold re-imaginings of classics, such as the Tlingit-themed presentation of Shake
Alaska's premier professional theater company has announced its first season in Anchorage.
Perseverance Theatre of Juneau will produce two plays at the Performing Arts Center next year and plans to ramp up its presence here in the years immediately thereafter.
Perseverance was started in 1979 by Molly Smith, now the artistic director at the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.
In 1998, Paula Vogel won the Pulitzer Prize for drama for her play "How I learned to Drive," which was developed at Perseverance.
Now the nationally renowned company is on its way to Anchorage, where there could be cross-pollination with existing theaters.
Perseverance is known for developing and staging new Alaska plays, such as "The Blue Bear," based on the memoir of Juneau-based wilderness guide Lynn Schooler, and presenting bold re-imaginings of classics, such as the Tlingit-themed presentation of Shakespeare's "Macbeth."
"The Blue Bear" will be staged at the PAC next February.
And Lorraine Hansberry's landmark play "A Raisin in the Sun" will follow in April.
"So it's kind of a cross-section of the work we do," said Art Rotch, Perseverance’s executive artistic director. "And our goal is to see what the audience is for that, learn the logistics of the operation, what is it like to rehearse a show in Juneau, perform it there, then move it up here, what does that cost and start to learn sort of how it works."
Rotch was in Anchorage this week meeting with officials at the PAC and auditioning an actor.
He says the theater company already is looking beyond the 2012 season.
"So we have some ideas of the new work that we'll bring; maybe a new musical, maybe a new play about the civil rights movement in southeast that's really timely. But we'll see about that. The other stuff, the classic and the comedy and whatever else it is we'll bring, we'll be talking about that over the next couple of months and start to put titles of plays together with budgets in the late fall."
Rotch is looking for synergy with organizations such as Cyrano's Theatre Company and Out North.
Sandy Harper, producing artistic director for Cyrano’s, said: "Well, of course, what we will do is work with them for mutual benefit -- maybe share some marketing, cross-marketing in our ads. For example, when they're going to do 'raisin in the sun' in April, we're going to host a reading of 'Clybourne Park,' which has won the Pulitzer Prize, which is about 'Raisin in the Sun' 25 years later."
"And I think that what we're trying to do together is build more audience for professional theater here in anchorage," Rotch said. "And I think there's plenty of room for it, I think that there's a lot of people here, and we can get more of them to the theater if we work together."
Anchorage is a new stage for Perseverance, and the play's the thing.