WARWICK, RI (June 3, 2021) —The Sandra Feinstein-Gamm Theatre (The Gamm), today announced its plans to reopen for Season 37 (2021-22) with a five-play lineup beginning at the end of September 2021. The season includes an Obie award-winner, a premiere of a late 19th century classic re-invented for our pandemic year, the regional premiere of a contemporary critically acclaimed look at working class America, and the first Shakespeare production in The Gamm’s Warwick home.

“We’ve got four distinctly American stories that do a deep dive into our history and bring us right up to the present day, along with a return to Shakespeare with his most beloved and buoyant comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream as we wake up from this revolutionary pandemic year,” says Gamm Artistic Director Tony Estrella.

“We open Season 37 with A Lie Agreed Upon, a brand-new version of Ibsen’s classic An Enemy of the People. It was started last summer and has been through several revisions as life continued to imitate art throughout these past 12 months. We’re offering a sneak-peek on June 11 with a digital, staged reading as we ready the script for our big re-opening. It’s at once a political thriller, an environmental exposé and a meditation on the nature and purpose of representative democracy. Sound familiar? And we’ll follow that up with an equally powerful look at American civic life with a return to Bedford Falls and the imperishable “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play.” Estrella is also delighted to get Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ An Octoroon in front of audiences in the new year. “An Octoroon has been a couple of years in the offing with us, so we are very excited to finally(!) get it on stage where it belongs. It’s a powder keg of a play and a contemporary American masterpiece by one of our finest young writers. It examines the darkest chapters of our country’s past and present and asks fundamental questions about storytelling itself,” Estrella said. The company will follow An Octoroon with Martyna Majok’s incisive, timely drama Ironbound about working-class immigrant life in contemporary America. Season 37 will also mark the company’s first production of Shakespeare in its new Warwick space. “I almost can’t believe that it has been over three years since our last Shakespeare. And we’ve never done Midsummer, his most popular play. Waking up from this crazy dream/nightmare pandemic year, now seems like it is exactly the right time for his most popular, and transformative comedy. We cannot wait to share all these stories with you, LIVE!”

As well as readying for the return to the stage, The Gamm has been working over the past year on the development of an exciting new initiative – The Gamm Fellowship Program, a partnership with the state’s public colleges and universities (Community College of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College, and the University of Rhode Island). Designed to provide access and opportunity to emerging artists of color, The Gamm will welcome three Gamm Fellows in its pilot year; one graduate from each institution will participate in an immersive experience aimed at establishing long-standing, meaningful relationships between early career theatre artists and a professional theatre. Gamm Managing Director Amy Gravell shared, “The Gamm recognizes the challenging landscape facing many artists in their quest to transition from the academic environment to the professional world. Artists of color navigate a narrower and more exclusive path to accessing a career in an industry that often does not offer an equitable path to professional status. We are thrilled to enrich and expand our community of artists and creators here in Rhode Island.” Over the course of the upcoming season, the Gamm Fellows will be paired with advanced career mentors and provided access to all aspects of the organization – creative, administrative, and educational. In the coming weeks, more details about The Gamm Fellowship Program and the inaugural class of Gamm Fellows will be announced.

ABOUT SEASON 37:

A LIE AGREED UPON (Sept – Oct 2021)A new version of Henrik Ibsen’s AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE by Tony Estrella
The future is looking bright in Springfield! A brand-new hot springs Spa and Resort is about to open its doors. Hotels and shops are booming in anticipation of a blockbuster tourist season. The Spa’s visionary chief medical officer Dr. Thomas Stockman is being hailed as a local hero for turning the humdrum town into a must-see destination until he discovers that the springs themselves are poisoned and he insists on doing the ‘right thing.’ Morality meets self-interest, inconvenient truths fight alternative facts, and minority rights clash with majority rule in a powerful, timely interrogation of individual conscience versus the will of the “people.”

IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE: A LIVE RADIO PLAY (Nov – Dec 2021)adapted by Joe Landry
Back on the live stage by popular demand following our hit production of 2019 and last year’s radio production! George, Clarence, and the entire town of Bedford Falls come to life in this staged 1940s radio broadcast of Frank Capra’s holiday movie classic. With live sound effects and a handful of actors, the story of beleaguered building and loan owner George Bailey and his affable helper angel, Clarence, unfolds one fateful Christmas Eve as you’ve never seen it before. This captivating, life-affirming story is a holiday treat for the entire family! 
“The afterglow is as powerful as any Dickens or Messiah can deliver this season.” Motif
“A perfect gift for the community, 90 minutes of memorable theater that will melt your heart…This miraculous tale is told while leaving room for the imagination.” Providence Journal

AN OCTOROON (Jan – Feb 2022)by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins
Judge Peyton is dead and his plantation, Terrebonne, is in financial ruins. Peyton’s handsome nephew George arrives as heir apparent and quickly falls in love with Zoe, a beautiful, one-eighth black “octoroon.” But the evil overseer, M’Closky, has other plans for both Terrebonne and Zoe. From the author of Gloria (Gamm 2018) and Appropriate, this raucous, irreverent retelling of a hit 19th-century melodrama is “this decade’s most eloquent statement on race in America today.” New York Times
WINNER OF THE OBIE AWARD FOR BEST NEW AMERICAN PLAY
“It’s bold, fearless playwriting: laughing in the face of racism as well as allowing the horror of history to spell itself out.” Time Out (London)

IRONBOUND (March – April 2022)by Martyna Majok
At a bus stop in a run-down New Jersey town, Darja, a Polish immigrant who gets by on a cleaning job, pragmatism, and sheer will, is done talking about feelings. It’s time to talk money. Over the course of 22 years and three relationships, Darja negotiates for her future with men who can offer her love or security, but never both. Award-winning playwright Martyna Majok’s Ironbound is a darkly funny, heartbreaking portrait of a tough woman for whom love is a luxury – and a liability – and survival is the only measure of success.
“You seldom see plays that are both harsh and wonderful…The play never sugarcoats, yet it steers clear of bleakness because Majok’s language is so entertainingly alive.” The Washington Post

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (May 2022)by William Shakespeare
Shakespeare’s classic comedy reimagined in the Gamm’s first ever staging of his most popular, magical, and transformative play. A young woman flees an enforced marriage and rivals give chase and find themselves in a Fairy Kingdom thrown into turmoil by marital strife of its own. Meanwhile a group of amateur actors prepare for their shot on the biggest stage. Midsummer is Shakespeare’s evergreen tale of how quickly our world can turn upside down and how human ingenuity, love, and art can just as quickly help it reassert and reinvent itself.
“Shakespeare…always feels like coming home for The Gamm.” Motif
“The Gamm has proved…that Shakespeare runs in this company’s blood.” Providence Journal

Plays and dates are subject to change.
If you have already purchased a subscription for Season 36, your subscription will automatically be honored for this year’s 5-play series. New subscriptions are on sale now and single tickets will be ready for purchase beginning August 30. Information and sales at 401-723-4266 or gammtheatre.org.

Ken Abrams

Lifestyle Editor Ken Abrams writes about music and more for What'sUpNewp, Providence Monthly, SO RI, and The Bay. He DJ's "The Kingston Coffeehouse" Tuesday nights, 6-9 PM on WRIU 90.3 FM.