Park Square Theatre’s 2018-19 season, which was announced today, will have rock ‘n’ roll, classic comedy, Greek tragedy and a trio of Agatha Christie murder mysteries.

Richard Cook (Courtesy of Petronella J. Ytsma)
Richard Cook (Courtesy of Petronella J. Ytsma)

It’s the St. Paul theater’s 44th season and the final one to be created by artistic director Richard Cook, who will retire after 43 years at Park Square as the season opens in September.

Here’s what’s ahead:

  • “Sometimes There’s Wine” (Sept. 14-Oct. 14 on the Andy Boss Thurst Stage) — The follow-up to “2 Sugars, Room for Cream,” which was featured in the debut season of the Boss Stage, is written and performed by Shanan Custer and Carolyn Pool. Custer and Pool debuted the piece at the 2016 Fringe Festival.
  • “The Agitators” ( Sept. 21-Oct. 28 on the Park Square Proscenium Stage) — It’s the regional premiere and second production of this tale about the friendship of 19th-century activitists Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass. It’s written by Playwright’s Center Fellow Mat Smart.
  • “Marie and Rosetta” (Nov. 23-Dec. 30) — Continuing the Park Square tradition of counter-programming in the holiday season, it’s the story of Sister Rosetta Tharpe, “The Godmother of Rock ‘n’ Roll” and a 2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Early Influence Inductee, who persuades Marie Knight to leave a rival gospel show. “The two challenge one another on music, life and the Almighty,” according to a Park Square news release. It will be directed by Frank Theatre’s Wendy Knox.
  • “Antigone” (Feb. 1-March 3 on the Andy Boss Thrust Stage) — Theatre Coup d’Etat’s production of Sophocles’ Greek tragedy premiered in 2016. A first for Theatre Coup d’Etat, this partnership will also feature several weeks of daytime matinees for students as part of Park Square Theatre’s 3M Student Series, which reaches 30,000 teens annually.
  • “The Skin of Our Teeth” (Feb. 7-March 3, 2019) — A co-production with Girl Friday Productions, this Thornton Wilder play will be directed and designed by Joel Sass. Girl Friday produced “The Skin of Our Teeth” in 2009.
  • “Heaven” (May 31-June 23, 2019) — Chan Poling, founder of the 1980s New Wave band the Suburbs, who wrote the music for “Glensheen” at the History Theatre, wrote the songs for this musical set during the Bosnian War in the 1990s. Created and directed by Joe Chvala, it was originally staged in 2011. Poling and Chvala have been eager to revisit the story, according to Park Square.
  • “Jefferson Township Sparkling Junior Talent Pageant” (June 14-July 28, 2019, on the Boss Stage) — It’s the world premiere of this musical satire that “reflects the quirks of small-town life.” The musical tells the story of Frannie Foster Wallace, who lost her chance to be “Sparkling Junior Champion” when a contestant died on stage in 1997 and the talent show was canceled. Wallace blames all of her problems on the missed opportunity … until she gets the chance for a rematch 20 years later. It was part of the 2017 Fringe Festival.
  • “Agatha Christie’s Rule of Thumb” (July 12-Aug. 5, 2019) — This is actually three one-act murder mysteries by Agatha Christie. Park Square calls it a fitting finale for Cook’s last season, since his first season featured the mystery “Dial M for Murder.” In the past several years, Park Square’s summer mysteries have featured Nero Wolfe or Sherlock Holmes. This is the first time Christie’s Hercule Poirot will be seen on a Park Square stage, Cook says in a news release.

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