City just announced its complete forthcoming season, and for me the most enticing pick is Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet.
It's enticing not because I know a darn thing about the play itself, but because it's written by Tarell Alvin McCraney, who wrote The Brothers Size, which City staged in 2008. Brothers is a terrific three-character work about brotherly love and rivalry, and McCraney's distinctive, emotionally charged way with dialogue made it seem contemporary and mythic all at once.
Marcus, says City's announcement, is about a young man "com[ing] to terms with his identity and his family's mysterious past." The press release calls it a "poetic tale of adolescence, community and sexuality." Apparently it also reprises characters from Brothers. That show goes up in January.
Other familiar names on the roster include Eric Simonson and Jeffrey Hatcher, playwrights closely allied with City. They collaborated, for instance, on Work Song, about Frank Lloyd Wright. Now they're taking on famed Pittsburgh-born playwright George S. Kaufman: Their world-premiere commission Louder Faster basically puts Kaufman into one of his own screwball farces. It's up next May.
Also on the schedule is The 39 Steps, by Patrick Barlow, a comedy "equally inspired by Alfred Hitchcock and Monty Python" (Oct. 16-Nov. 7, 2010); another world premiere, The Morini Strad, by Willy Holtzman about an aging former child prodigy and a violin builder (Nov. 6-Dec. 12); Precious Little, a drama by Madeleine George (March 12-April 3); and The Amish Project, Jessica Dickey's acclaimed 2008 one-woman show about the school shooting in Pennsylvania Amish country (April 2-May 8).
Another new wrinkle in City's bag is Celebrity Autobiography: In Their Own Words. The show, conceived by Eugene Pack, involves a rotating cast of performers reading aloud from celebrity autobiographies. It is, of course, comedic in intent -- and it won the 2008 Drama Desk Award. That series starts in just a few weeks, on June 3.