The Public Theater, one of the nation’s most prestigious nonprofits, will stage rare revivals of a Ntozake Shange masterwork and an early piece by Tony Kushner next season.
The Off Broadway stalwart said Thursday that it would present what it called the first major New York revival of “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf,” a “choreopoem” that opened at the Public in 1976 and then transferred to Broadway. Ms. Shange died last October, prompting a renewed interest in her work; the revival will be directed by Leah C. Gardiner and choreographed by Camille A. Brown, and is to open in October.
The Public also plans to tackle Mr. Kushner’s first play, “A Bright Room Called Day.” The playwright, best known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning “Angels in America,” has reworked the play, which is about the possibility of American fascism. Oskar Eustis, the Public’s artistic director and a longtime Kushner collaborator and friend, will direct the revival, scheduled to open in November.
The Public’s 2019-20 season will also include a number of new plays and musicals.
“Soft Power,” a new musical by David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori, is an inverted riff on “The King and I,” imagining a relationship between a Chinese businessman and Hillary Clinton as it explores America’s politics and changing place in the world.
The musical, which had previous productions at the Center Theater Group in Los Angeles and the Curran Theater in San Francisco, is directed by Leigh Silverman and choreographed by Sam Pinkleton; it will begin performances in September.
In October, the Public will open the latest of a series of plays written and directed by Richard Nelson exploring life in Rhinebeck, N.Y. This play is called “The Michaels,” and is set on the night it opens, Oct. 27, in the kitchen of a local choreographer.
In February, the Public will stage a new play, “Coal Country,” written by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen, who previously collaborated on “The Exonerated.” Featuring music by Steve Earle, the show is about the 2010 Upper Big Branch mine explosion that killed 29 men. Ms. Blank will direct.
In March, the Public will present “The Vagrant Trilogy,” written by Mona Mansour and directed by Mark Wing-Davey, about Palestinian displacement. Also starting that month: “The Visitor,” a new musical from Tom Kitt, Brian Yorkey and Kwame Kwei-Armah, directed by Daniel Sullivan and based on the film by Thomas McCarthy, about a college professor and two undocumented immigrants. The Tony Award winners David Hyde Pierce and Ar’iel Stachel are in the cast.
And in July of 2020, the Public will present “Cullud Wattah,” written by Erika Dickerson-Despenza and directed by Candis C. Jones, about black women living through the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.
Not part of the season announcement: a long-delayed, and much anticipated, new musical by Stephen Sondheim, adapted from two Luis Buñuel films, “The Exterminating Angel” and “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie.” A spokeswoman for the Public said the work is still in development.
“We continue to work with Stephen Sondheim on developing a new musical based on two films by Luis Buñuel and we plan to present it when it is ready,” said the spokeswoman, Laura Rigby.