Shaw and Updike Stories Next for Blackbird Theater in 2013-14

Blackbird Theater CompanyFor its 2013-14 Season Blackbird Theater will feature two of the twentieth century’s more esteemed writers with one regional and one world premiere: George Bernard Shaw’s masterwork Man and Superman and a stage adaptation of John Updike’s acclaimed novel Roger’s Version.

Blackbird will begin their season with Shaw’s rarely staged Man and Superman, bringing this legendary play to Nashville for the first time. A forceful comedy of ideas, mixing social satire with Shaw’s profound philosophical vision, Man and Superman follows the romantic interplay of political firebrand and confirmed bachelor John Tanner and Ann Whitefield, the charming and scheming woman who intends to marry him.

“It’s a romantic comedy told on an epic scale,” says Managing Director Greg Greene. “It moves from a comedy of manners in an Edwardian manor to a dramatic debate set in Hell, with Don Juan and the Devil arguing about the ultimate purpose of mankind. It’s a brilliant blend of light comedy and weighty convictions.”

Man and Superman will be directed by Beki Baker, who helmed last year’s Julius Caesar for the Nashville Shakespeare Festival, and will be adapted into a streamlined script by Lipscomb University theatre professor Dr. Larry Brown. It will be presented in February of 2014.

Blackbird’s fourth season will also include the very first stage adaptation of Roger’s Version, the critically acclaimed novel by Pulitzer Prize-winning author John Updike. Blackbird Artistic Director Wes Driver will be writing and directing this adaptation, having received special permission from the Updike estate. The story follows Roger Lambert, a bad-tempered divinity professor who finds his staid academic life and complacent faith challenged by the passionate ideas of Dale Kohler, a grad student who seeks to prove God’s existence through computer technology.

“I’ve been wanting to turn Roger’s Version into a play for years,” says Driver. “The struggle between science and faith is so dynamically and dramatically realized and the dialogue so clever and compelling— it’s perfect material for Blackbird and our mission to produce intellectually engaging theatre.”

Roger’s Version will debut in June of 2014. Both productions will be presented in collaboration with the Lipscomb University Department of Theatre and will be performed in Lipscomb’s Shamblin Theatre.

The company’s next show is Oleanna by David Mamet. It runs June 6-15 at the Shamblin.

Blackbird Theater is a non-profit theater company in Nashville, Tennessee, that has gained popular and critical acclaim with productions of Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia, Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus, and Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s Pacific Overtures (named best musical of 2012 by the Nashville Scene). They were awarded “Outstanding Play” (Red), “Outstanding Director of a Play” (Mike Fernandez), and “Outstanding Theatre Company” for 2012 by Jef Ellis and the First Night Honors. More information can be found at BlackbirdNashville.com.

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