Dear Friend,

We are overjoyed to tell you that we will be returning to the theatre for the 2021-2022 season, with opening night set for October 15. The roster of plays is set – well, almost – so here’s the scoop on what’s in store.    

In this special season of renewal and new beginnings, we’ve chosen to focus, for the first time in our history, solely on plays written in the 21st century. These are plays that ruminate on universal themes and subjects that seem to have a special urgency at this moment in time: love, longing, politics, race and racism, anti-Semitism, art, morality, aging, determination, resiliency and courage.
 
The season begins with John Cariani’s Almost, Maine (2006), which is made up of nine vignettes about falling in and out of love and the desire to connect – the ideal piece to mark PBD’s re-opening and the chance to reconnect with theatre and with each other. Next up, on December 10, is the world premiere of Michael McKeever’s The People Downstairs, which many of you know was commissioned by PBD and developed by The Dramaworkshop. The play explores the challenges faced by the brave individuals who hid and took care of Anne Frank and seven others during the Holocaust. That’s followed on February 4, 2022 by Joanna McClelland Glass’s Trying (2004), a memory play based on the playwright’s stint as secretary to Francis Biddle, who served as FDR’s attorney general and later was a judge at the Nuremberg trials. The fourth production, opening April 1, is Lynn Nottage’s Intimate Apparel (2003), set at the turn of the 20th century, which tells the story of a 35-year-old African-American seamstress who enters into a correspondence with a man she’s never met in the hope of finding love. The final production of the season, opening on May 27, will be another world premiere, TBA.

As we’ve mentioned previously, in an effort to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone who steps foot into the theatre, PBD is installing a new HVAC system throughout the building that complies with all the latest safety guidelines recommended by the CDC and the company’s consultant engineers. Facility and ticketing procedures will be upgraded to allow for as much of a touch-free patron experience as possible. The theatre will also be cleaned more frequently, and numerous hand sanitization stations will be easily accessible.

“We’re hoping these new protocols will put everyone’s mind at ease so that they can just delight in being back in the theatre and enjoy this great lineup of plays, without worrying about the air they breathe,” says Producing Artistic Director Bill Hayes. “However, we also recognize that some of you might be wary about sitting in a full theatre and won’t be quite ready to return. If that’s the case, we may have to reduce the run of each play this coming season by a week. But we’re keeping the closing date flexible, depending on the response.”

Of the four plays that we’ve announced, three already have a history with PBD. Quite a number of you saw The People Downstairs when it was done as a staged reading during our second annual New Year/New Plays Festival, or watched the Zoom reading last June. The play was supposed to premiere during the 2020-2021 season, and we’re excited that, a year later, we will finally have the opportunity to produce the world premiere. Intimate Apparel was also scheduled for our 20th anniversary season; instead, many of you saw the virtual reading that was part of our Contemporary Voices series. We’re so pleased that we can finally bring you a full production onstage. Trying was first produced by PBD 15 years ago, and it’s a play many longtime patrons speak of with great affection. That leaves Almost, Maine as the work that is brand new to us. If you’re unfamiliar with it, suffice it to say that it’s one of the most produced plays in the country.”     

2021-2022 SEASON

ALMOST, MAINE
By John Cariani
Opening October 15 
Love – old and new, heart-stopping and weak-kneed, unexpected and unrequited, lost and found – is in the air in the fictional, remote town of Almost, Maine. This wildly popular play takes place on a Friday night in winter, and is made up of nine mostly joyful yet poignant vignettes connected by time and place, the beauty of the aurora borealis, a touch of magic, and a spirit of hope.
THE PEOPLE DOWNSTAIRS
By Michael McKeever
Opening December 10
For two years and one month, Anne Frank and seven others hid in four small rooms concealed behind a bookcase in the building where her father worked. Her diary revealed their ordeal to the world. But what of the people who hid them, got them food, and kept them informed? This play explores the complex challenges faced by these brave individuals on their journey of rebellious morality during the horrors of the Holocaust.
TRYING
By Joanna McClelland Glass
Opening February 4 
In 1967, feisty Sarah Schorr, a 25-year-old from rural Canada, goes to work as secretary for 81-year-old Francis Biddle, the patrician former US Attorney General. The brilliant Biddle is now frail, sometimes befuddled, always irascible, and facing his own mortality. Inspired by the playwright’s experiences as Biddle’s secretary, the piece is a tender yet unsentimental portrait of two disparate people navigating their vast differences to form a bond of mutual admiration, consideration, and respect.   
INTIMATE APPAREL
By Lynn Nottage
Opening April 1 
In this heartfelt and heartbreaking work set at the turn of the 20th century, Esther is a 35-year-old African-American seamstress of exquisite intimate apparel who aches to love and be loved. An unlikely opportunity arises when she enters into a correspondence with a man she’s never met. The play is a lyrical exploration of loneliness and longing, sweet dreams and bitter truths, determination and resiliency.    
TBA
World Premiere
Opening May 27

Subscriptions are on sale now. For ticket information contact the box office at (561) 514-4042, or visit www.palmbeachdramaworks.org.
 
Stay safe!
Please consider donating to PBD. With your support, we can continue to offer a variety of programs virtually and preserve our reserve funds as we await the return to our live, mainstage performances later in the year.