Jessamyn Neuhaus, an experienced academic and higher education administrator with a track record of innovation and collaboration, has been named the next director of Syracuse University’s Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence, effective Aug. 1. The announcement was made today…
Syracuse Stage Adds 2 Musicals to 50th Anniversary Season
Syracuse Stage announced two musicals that will complete the lineup for the organization’s 50th anniversary season. Audiences are immersed in the soulful music of Billie Holiday with Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, Oct. 18 through Nov. 5. Closing the season is the much anticipated Once, running May 1-19, 2024. Previously announced, the remainder of the season includes What the Constitution Means to Me, A Christmas Carol, Clyde’s and Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express.
“These two exciting additions to our 50th season lineup reflect our desire to encourage everyone to make Syracuse Stage a part of their life in the coming year,” says Bob Hupp, artistic director of Syracuse Stage. “In our intimate space we create these productions, especially for our Central New York audience, and we can’t wait to get the new season underway.”
With a book by the brilliant Irish playwright Enda Walsh, it is no surprise that Syracuse Stage audiences have been asking for Once since it was originally announced as part of the 2019/2020 season that was cut short.
The Broadway musical adaptation of the indie film was nominated for 11 Tony Awards and won eight including Best Musical, Best Actor and Best Book in 2012. A year later it also won the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theatre Album. With music and lyrics by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, Once is the story of a jaded Irish busker on the verge of abandoning his songs and a young Czech émigré who rekindles his passion for music and his desire for life and love. Their story springs to life on stage with the spirit and energy of a lively pub music session as the performers serve as cast and band. Directed by Syracuse Stage Associate Artistic Director Melissa Crespo, Once is a warmly affecting show that understands the power of music to move the human heart.
“It’s been years in the making, but our most-requested musical will finally be part of our new season. Once is one of my personal favorites and I can’t wait to see it on our stage next spring,” says Hupp.
In the second slot Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, by Lanie Robertson, musical arrangements by Danny Holgate and directed by Jade King Carroll, chronicles Billie Holiday’s life story through the songs that made her famous. It premiered in 1984 in Atlanta and was followed by a successful Off-Broadway run, which won the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway Book. Lady Day’s Broadway debut came in 2014, starring Audra McDonald, and won her the Tony Award for Best Actress. The production was then relocated to New Orleans where it was filmed and made into a movie for HBO. McDonald returned to the role in London’s West End in 2016.
Lady Day takes audiences to 1959 in a small, seedy bar in Philadelphia. Holiday puts on a show that unbeknownst to the audience, will leave them witness to one of the last performances of her life. One of the greatest jazz and blues singers of all-time shares her loves and losses through her poignant voice and moving songs, including: “Strange Fruit,” “God Bless the Child,” “When a Woman Loves a Man” and “Ain’t Nobody’s Business if I Do.” Lady Day replaces the previously announced Thunder Knocking on the Door.
All evening performances begin at 7:30 p.m. while all matinee performances begin at 2 p.m. Tickets for all shows start at $25 with discounts available for groups of 10 or more. Subscriptions are on sale now and can be purchased by visiting SyracuseStage.org, by calling 315.443.3275 or by visiting the Syracuse Stage Box Office at 820 E. Genesee Street. Single tickets go on sale in July.
Syracuse Stage also offers a variety of performances designed to create access for all and enhance the theatre-going experience. Pay-what-you-will performances for Lady Day and Once are on Oct. 18–21 and May 1-5 respectively. Open-captioned performances are scheduled for Oct. 25 and Nov. 4 and 5 for Lady Day and May 8, 18 and 19 for Once. Audio-described performances are on Nov. 4 and May 18; American Sign Language translation is offered at performances on Oct. 28 and May 11. Sensory-friendly performances are available for both productions on Oct. 31 and May 14.
Audiences can gain deeper knowledge about the productions with prologue conversations, three pre-show discussions that take place one-hour before curtain, on Oct. 22, 28 and Nov. 2 for Lady Day and May 5, 11 and 16 for Once. The post-show talkbacks will take place on Oct. 29 and May 5 following the 7:30 p.m. performance.
The Slutzker Family Foundation is the Presenting Sponsor for the 50th Anniversary Season. Additional season support comes from the Dorothy and Marshall M. Reisman Foundation.
What the Constitution Means to Me
By Heidi Schreck
Directed by Melissa Crespo
Sept. 13 through Oct. 1
Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill
By Lanie Robertson
Musical arrangements by Danny Holgate
Directed by Jade King Carroll
Oct. 18 through Nov. 5
A Christmas Carol
By Charles Dickens
Adapted by Richard Hellesen and David DeBerry
Music orchestration by Gregg Coffin
Directed by Melissa Rain Anderson
Featuring 2 Ring Circus
Co-produced with the Syracuse University Department of Drama
Nov. 24 through Dec. 31
By Lynn Nottage
Directed by Chip Miller
Co-produced with Portland Center Stage
Jan. 31 through Feb. 18
Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express
By Agatha Christie
Adapted by Ken Ludwig
Directed by Robert Hupp