Capital Stage tonight announces its 2014-15 lineup, the midtown theater company’s 10th anniversary season, and its first under new producing artistic director Jonathan Williams.
The six-play season opens in September with Nina Raine’s highly acclaimed “Tribes.” It includes four Sacramento premieres and closes in June 2015 with the world premiere of “Uncanny Valley” by Thomas Gibbons.
The complete Capital Stage 2014-15 season schedule is: “Tribes” by Raine (Sept. 3-Oct. 5); “Anna Karenina” by Leo Tolstoy, adapted by Helen Edmundson (Oct. 22-Nov. 23); “Ideation” by Aaron Loeb (Jan. 24-Feb. 22); “Rapture, Blister, Burn” by Gina Gionfriddo (March 11-April 12); “The Homecoming” by Harold Pinter (April 29-May 31); and “Uncanny Valley” by Thomas Gibbons (June 17-July 19).
Choosing the company’s season, along with hiring of the numerous collaborating artists and technical contributors, are the signature aspects of an artistic director’s job. Williams, a co-founding member of Capital Stage along his wife, Stephanie Gularte, and third co-founder Peter Mohrmann, took over the reins of the company in January after Gularte stepped down as artistic director.
When Gularte announced in March 2013 that she was resigning at the end of that season, indications were that both she and Williams, then the company’s technical director, would scale back their Capital Stage involvement. After a national search was launched for Gularte’s successor, Williams decided to pursue the position and was hired by the Capital Stage board. Gularte, though pursuing a master’s degree in theater, is still active with the company, directing the coming production of “Good People,” which begins previews April 30. She will be in the ensemble of this season’s closing production, “Maple & Vine,” with Mohrmann directing.
Williams has not only become the public face of the company but had to roll up his sleeves in a different way than he’s been used to in order to create the new season. Choosing the plays is just one part of the puzzle, along with securing the licensing and contracts with agents and playwrights. It all typically comes together at the last minute as theaters around the country are finalizing their seasons for next year.
“This is all kind of new to me. It’s always been the stuff that Stephanie does,” Williams said. “I just wait to hear what it’s going to be and then figure out how we’re going to do it.”
Now it’s Williams’ main job. He said he did turn to Gularte for advice and direction during the process.
“It would have been hubris on my part to think I could have done this without her,” Williams said. He also received feedback from Mohrmann and Cap Stage associate artist Janis Stevens during the process.
“There’re so many different factors that come into it. Wanting to have a good balance between male and female playwrights, making sure you’ve got an equitable grouping of roles representing men and women. You can never get everything to fit exactly right, but you do the best that you can,” Williams said.
The anchors for the season are the opening production, “Tribes,” which won the 2012 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play, and the season-closing world premiere of “Uncanny Valley,” which marks Capital Stage’s first collaboration with the National New Play Network. “Tribes” is about a young deaf man who has to make his way in a uniquely vocal and argumentative family. “Uncanny Valley” deals with robotics, artificial intelligence and our changing ideas of consciousness.
Capital Stage is in the midst of its strongest year yet with a 22 percent increase in subscription sales from last year (1,428 in 2014, up from 1,172 in 2013) and a 37 percent increase in single ticket sales this year to date. The company’s operating budget for the coming season will be approximately $800,000, nearly doubling its 2010 budget, the last season on the Delta King before the move in 2011 to its 125-seat midtown Sacramento home at 2215 J St.
Because of the growth, the company has added another performance to its schedule, a 2 p.m. Saturday matinee, so shows will now play six times a week.
Call The Bee’s Marcus Crowder, (916) 321-1120. Follow him on Twitter @marcuscrowder.