The Public Theater’s upcoming season will include Nia Vardalos and Harvey Fierstein in world premieres. The 2016-17 lineup also includes a new Shakespearean musical by Shaina Taub, the final two parts of Richard Nelson’s The Gabriels trilogy and a world premiere musical from Here Lies Love co-creator David Byrne and director Alex Timbers.
The season kicks off in Central Park with the Public Works’s free presentation of Twelfth Night, directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah and featuring a new score by Shaina Taub. The staging of Shakespeare’s comedy will include professional artists and community members from all five boroughs of New York. Performances will run from September 2 through 5.
Following Hungry, which recently ended its run at the Public Theater, Nelson will direct the second part of his The Gabriels: Election Year in the Life of One Family trilogy, titled What Did You Expect?. The play is set to run from September 10 through October 2 with a cast that includes Meg Gibson, Lynn Hawley, Roberta Maxwell, Maryann Plunkett, Jay O. Sanders and Amy Warren, who each reprise their performances from Hungry.
Corey Stoll will join the previously announced Rachel Weisz in the first major New York revival of Plenty, running from October 4 through November 6. David Leveaux will direct the David Hare drama.
The New York premiere of Pulitzer winner Lynn Nottage’s Sweat will begin previews on October 18. The play, directed by Kate Whoriskey, follows a group of friends and co-workers whose relationship is put to the test as they face layoffs and picket lines. Performances are scheduled to run through November 20.
Liesl Tommy, who is Tony-nominated for Eclipsed (which transferred to Broadway from the Public), will helm the New York premiere of Party People, scheduled from November 1 through December 2. The production, conceived by the performance group Universes, explores the complicated legacies of the Black Panther Party and the Young Lords Organization.
The Gabriels clan reassembles once more for the conclusion of Nelson’s trilogy with Women of a Certain Age. The play will begin on November 4, open officially on November 8 and run through November 27.
Oscar nominee Vardalos will star in the world premiere of the stage adaptation of Cheryl Strayed's Tiny Beautiful Things. Hamilton Tony nominee Thomas Kail will direct the production; he also co-conceived the play alongside Vardalos and Marshall Heyman. Performances will run from November 15 through December 18. Vardalos will play Sugar, an online advice columnist who weaves her personal experience with those who reach out to her.
Timbers will helm the world premiere of Saint Joan, created by Talking Heads frontman Byrne, beginning February 14, 2017. The musical, following the rise of Joan of Arc with a rock score, marks a reunion for the two at the Public following 2013's Here Lies Love. Performances will run through March 19.
Fierstein will star in the world premiere of Martin Sherman’s Gently Down the Stream, directed by Sean Mathias. The Tony winner will play Beau, a pianist expat in London coming to terms with what it means to love as a gay man in a new generation. The new play will run from March 14, 2017 through April 16.
The season concludes with the previously announced return of John Leguizamo, who will take center stage beginning March 17, 2017 in Latin History for Morons. The Tony Taccone-helmed production will run through April 23.
Also on tap for the Public is the New York Premiere of The Outer Space, set to play Joe’s Pub from February 24, 2017 through April 2. Leigh Silverman will direct the musical conceived by Ethan Lipton and his orchestra: Vito Dieterle, Eben Levy and Ian Riggs. Additionally, the 14th edition of the Public’s Under the Radar Festival will run from January 4, 2017 through January 15.