Twin City Stage celebrates New Year by announcing new season

by Mark Burger

Twin City Stage rang in 2012 by announcing its 2012-’13 mainstage season, which is packed with awardwinning audience favorites.

This will mark the theater’s 78th season, making it one of the longest-lived community theaters, not just in the South, but throughout the nation.

The season kicks off in murderous fashion with Ira Levin’s Deathtrap (Sept. 14-16, 20-23), the story of a once-successful playwright, Sidney Bruhl, whose career has hit the skids, and former student Clifford Anderson, who asks him to read his latest play. It’s so good, it’s to die for.

Literally. Deathtrap was the creation of the late, great Levin (of Rosemary’s Baby and The Boys from Brazil), and many felt it was his answer to Anthony Shaffer’s phenomenally successful Sleuth. The original Broadway production opened in 1978 under the direction of Robert Moore, with John Wood, Marian Seldes and Victor Garber in the lead roles. The show earned Tony Award nominations for Best Play, Best Director, Best Featured Actor in a Play (Garber) and Best Featured Actress in a Play (Seldes). It didn’t win any, but Deathtrap did go on to run four years and almost 1,800 performances — which is pretty fair consolation!

In 1982, Sidney Lumet directed the screen version of Deathtrap toplining the star trio of Michael Caine, Christopher Reeve and Dyan Cannon. To this day, Deathtrap remains the most successful comedy/ thriller in Broadway history.

Another classic Broadway smash rings in the 2012 holiday season: Fiddler on the Roof (Nov. 2-4, 9-11, 15-18), the tuneful (and tune-filled) tale of Tevye, a poor Russian milkman, as he contends with his rebellious daughters. The show, featuring book by Joseph Stein, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick and music by Jerry Bock, proved hugely popular with audience given its “generation-gap” storyline.

The original Broadway production, starring Zero Mostel as Tevye, opened in 1964 and didn’t close until eight years later, running over 3,200 performances.

The show absolutely swept the Tony Awards in 1965: Best Musical, Best Direction of a Musical and Best Choreography (both for Jerome Robbins), Best Producer of a Musical (Harold Prince), Best Author, Best Composer and Lyricist, Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Maria Karnilova), Best Costume Design and Best Actor for Mostel, for whom this was an enormous career comeback. The show also received a special Tony Award in 1972, the year it closed.

In 1971, Norman Jewison directed the film version, which earned Academy Awards for Best Cinematography, Best Song Score Adaptation and Best Sound, with additional nominations for Best Actor (Topol, who played Tevye), Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Leonard Frey), Best Art Direction/Set Decoration and the big one, Best Picture. The film was one of the few bona fide hit movie musicals of the 1970s.

There have been numerous Broadway revivals of the show over the years, including a 1990 version that starred Topol and won the Tony Award for Best Musical Revival. In 2004, Alfred Molina assumed the role of Tevye in a revival that earned six Tony nominations.

This will be the first time in 15 years that Fiddler on the Roof has tread the boards of the Arts Council Theatre, when Twin City Stage was the Little Theatre of Winston-Salem. The rights to present the show were unavailable due to an ongoing national tour.

“We’re very excited to secure the rights to Fiddler on the Roof, the centerpiece of our season,” said Twin City Stage executive director Norman Ussery, in a statement. “The last time we did the musical it on this stage was in 1997, and we expect it to be the same huge success next season as it was then.”

The fun continues with Ken Ludwig’s musical comedy Lend Me A Tenor (Jan. 31-Feb. 3, 7-10), which depicts the chaotic goings-on when a legendary opera tenor agrees to perform Otello in 1934 for the Cleveland Opera Company. Originally produced in London, the Broadway production opened in 1989 and won Tonys for Best Actor in a Play (Philip Bosco) and Best Direction of a Play (Jerry Zaks), with additional nominations for Best Play, a second nomination for Best Actor (Victor Garber), Best Featured Actress in a Play (Tovah Feldshuh), Best Costume Design and Best Scenic Design.

The next selection didn’t actually begin as a play, but as a live television drama and then an acclaimed motion picture. Reginald Rose’s Twelve Angry Men (April 5-7, 11-14) is a high-powered drama about 12 jurors sitting in deliberation on a murder trial. Not until 2004 did Twelve Angry Men come to Broadway, winning the 2006 Drama Desk Award for Best Revival of a Play and earning a Tony nomination in the same category.

The season comes to a close with Dearly Beloved (May 17-19, 23-26), the Jessie Jones/Nicholas Hope/ Jamie Wooten comedy about a wedding in Texas that doesn’t quite go according to plan, although not for lack of trying. The show has proven extremely popular with audiences throughout the nation.

Season memberships will be available in March, costing $85 (adults) or $75 (senior citizens, children or students). Season memberships contain five admission tickets which can be used for one admission to each show, or in any combination of the five shows.

For more information about the goings-on at Twin City Stage, call 336.748.0857 or check out the official website: