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South Coast Repertory’s 2021-22 season, announced today, reflects the company’s new reality. It will be returning to live performances in its two main venues and other places, but some aspects of the upcoming season are a sharp departure from tradition:

  • The six-play regular-season line-up — three on the 507-seat Segerstrom Stage, three on the 337-seat Julianne Argyros Stage — is only about half as many productions as traditional, pre-pandemic seasons at the 57-year-old theater. There will be fewer performances each week as well, but potentially longer runs for more popular plays, since the looser schedule allows for more flexibility.
  • SCR returns to Mission San Juan Capistrano next summer for a second season of plays presented outdoors, cementing its new year-round producing approach.
  • And for the first time since 1980, its live production of “A Christmas Carol” will be offered without its venerable Scrooge, Hal Landon Jr., at the helm. He will be replaced by someone very familiar to longtime SCR fans: founding artist Richard Doyle. (Doyle was the sole voice – portraying all the characters – in a streaming audio recording of Dickens’ novella last year.)
SCR’s artistic director, David Ivers Credit: Photo courtesy of SCR/​Jordan Kubat

SCR’s artistic director David Ivers will make his SCR acting debut in a one-man show written especially for him by Tony winner Richard Greenberg, one of the most frequently produced living playwrights at the theater. Ivers stars in “A Shot Rang Out: A Play in One Man.” 

The plot, as described in the press release, seems apropos for our present circumstances: “After a long period of isolation, an actor returns to the stage, alone and shaken. This is his story – his moment of reckoning – about what led to his seclusion. Along the winding journey, he draws inspiration from movies and theater, reflects on missteps and unravels mysteries of love.”

“The play, written in the first part of the pandemic, is (a) response to the pandemic itself,” said SCR spokesperson Bil Schroeder. “The actor returning to the stage after a period of isolation is a parallel for what all of us will be experiencing over the next few months as we start to return to life, to the theater, a bit unsure of things … it’s about re-emergence, starting over and looking to the future, which I think we are all doing right now. As audiences contemplate returning to live performances, this play helps us see ourselves in this moment.”  

Ivers will appear again onstage next season, but this time on stage at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. He will play Antonio Salieri, a supposedly jealous contemporary of Mozart, in “The Mozart Project,” a musical collaboration with Pacific Symphony that has been a couple of years in the making. The Segerstrom Concert Hall setting is a first for SCR. The Pacific Chorale is also participating.

A reimagined “A Christmas Carol” was supposed to premiere as a new musical this year after Landon’s retirement. But that rewrite is still in the works. In the meantime, Doyle, who has been performing at SCR since its earliest years, will give the old miser his own unique spin in Jerry Patch’s beloved adaptation of Dickens’ story. He took over as Scrooge last year when he replaced Landon, who retired his red scarf after 40 years.

Landon isn’t disappearing, though. He will appear this season at SCR in another classic: Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town.” He plays the stage manager.

New health and safety protocols have been developed with advice from the University of California, Irvine. They may change as necessary according to state and local guidelines. Full refunds will be offered for any pandemic-related issues.

2021-2022 Season (in order of opening)

Dates and titles subject to change

‘A Shot Rang Out: A Play in One Man,’ world premiere
By Richard Greenberg, directed by Tony Taccone, featuring David Ivers
Oct. 2-Nov. 6, 2021
SCR, Segerstrom Stage

‘Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol’
Adapted by Jerry Patch, directed by Hisa Takakuwa, featuring Richard Doyle as Ebenezer Scrooge
Nov. 27-Dec. 26, 2021
SCR, Segerstrom Stage

‘Last Stop on Market Street’
By Cheryl L. West, based on the book by Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson, music and lyrics by Lamont Dozier and Paris Dozier, directed by Oanh Nguyen, musical direction by Shammy Dee, choreography by Kelly Todd
Jan. 7-23, 2022
SCR, Julianne Argyros Stage

‘What I Learned in Paris’
By Pearl Cleage, directed by Lou Bellamy
Feb. 12-Mar. 12, 2022
SCR, Segerstrom Stage

‘Clean,’ U.S. premiere
By Christine Quintana, with Spanish translation and adaptation by Paula Zelaya Cervantes, directed by Lisa Portes
Part of the Pacific Playwrights Festival
Mar. 20-Apr. 10, 2022
SCR, Julianne Argyros Stage

The 24th Annual Pacific Playwrights Festival
April 8-10, 2022
Play readings to be announced

‘Our Town’
By Thornton Wilder, directed by Beth Lopes, featuring Hal Landon Jr. as the Stage Manager
May 7-June 4, 2022
SCR, Segerstrom Stage

‘Tiger Style!’
By Mike Lew, directed by Ralph Peña
May 15-June 12, 2022
SCR, Julianne Argyros Stage

‘The Mozart Project’
A collaboration with Pacific Symphony
Conducted by Carl St.Clair, featuring David Ivers, directed by James Sullivan, Pacific Chorale conducted by Robert Istad
May 19-21, 2022
Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall

Outside SCR at Mission San Juan Capistrano
Details to be announced at a later date.

Paul Hodgins is the founding editor of Arts & Culture at Voice of OC. He can be reached at phodgins@voiceofoc.org.

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