HomeEntertainmentBristol Riverside Theatre announces 2024-25 mainstage season

Bristol Riverside Theatre announces 2024-25 mainstage season

Enjoy a heartfelt story of friendship, high-energy musical and more

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Bristol Riverside Theatre, 120 Radcliffe St., is beginning its 38th season at The Regency Room, 190 Mifflin St., an intimate, 150-seat venue with up-close-and-personal views, ample onsite free parking, bar and concessions. Two entrances for the space, one on Mifflin Street and the ADA-accessible entrance at the rear of the building, accommodate guests while BRT’s main venue undergoes a multi-million-dollar renovation and facelift.

The season opens with D.L. Colburn’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play The Gin Game in a production reuniting Keith Baker and Penelope Reed. Baker was artistic director at BRT and Reed the producing artistic director at Hedgerow Theatre, each for nearly 30 years. In this production, they reunite as Weller Martin and Fonsia Dorsey, roles made famous by Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy, in a touching story about friendship, isolation and aging. BRT is welcoming back Pulitzer Prize-nominated playwright Jon Marans (Old Wicked Song) to direct. Running Sept. 10-29, the play tells the story of two elderly acquaintances locked in increasingly competitive rounds of Gin Rummy.

For the season’s second show, BRT presents David Ives’ tale about an uninhibited actress who weasels her way into an audition just when the director is ready to end the day. Venus in Fur received a Tony nomination for Best Play of 2012. This stage adaptation of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s 1870 novel depicts dissatisfied writer-director Thomas Novachek in a feverish search for the perfect actress to star in his play’s leading role as Vanda von Dunayev. As the audition progresses, an entanglement ensues that shifts power dynamics and challenges the director’s tainted ideas about women. This comedy performs from Oct. 22-Nov. 10.

The season continues back in BRT’s newly-renovated theater at 120 Radcliffe St. in January 2025 with a ribbon-cutting, welcoming guests to the fully revamped auditorium, renamed the John Martinson Theatre. The new theater will have enhanced theatrical sound and lighting, new seating, aisle railings, expanded concessions, a window-walled front entryway, a new facade and roof, a restructured main entrance for wheelchair accessibility, a refitted loading dock, a new HVAC and upgraded electrical systems.

The new year kicks off with Anna Deveare Smith’s Pulitzer Prize-nominated docudrama Fires in the Mirror, which investigates the 1991 violence in Crown Heights through the real words of those involved in and affected by the conflict between the black and Hasidic communities of Crown Heights, New York. Smith interviewed over 100 people ranging from teenagers to politicians. Those transcripts were culled down to 26 people and edited to create a tapestry of oral histories. This production is directed by BRT’s Amy Kaissar, premiering Feb. 4-23.

For the grand reopening of the building, BRT is inviting audiences for a party celebrating community with Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegria Hudes’ 2008 Tony- and Grammy Award-winning show In the Heights. Miranda’s love letter to Washington Heights, Manhattan begins with bodega owner Usnavi de la Vega opening his store on the hottest day of the summer while shooing away petty vandal Graffiti Pete. Usnavi establishes his domain as the neighborhood historian and storyteller, introducing his community as a place defined by passion, promise and grit. With its blend of salsa, freestyles and vivid characters, the show runs March 25-April 27.

The season closes on a suspenseful note with the whodunnit Alibi: An Agatha Christie Story. Based on England’s queen of mystery Agatha Christie’s 1926 novel The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, the show was Christie’s first stage-adapted work. Here, it receives a fresh treatment and marks the return to BRT’s biennial Community Participatory productions, the first since the pandemic. The mystery surrounds Sir Roger Ackroyd, a man who knew too much about his paramour’s sudden death. There’s a blackmailer around, and a murderer on the loose, but who are they? BRT’s homage to the famous crime writer runs May 27-June 15. 

“We’re excited to deliver the newly-refurbished theater that we’ve been planning for several years,” said co-producing director Kaissar. “But more importantly, we’re excited that we won’t miss a beat in delivering great theater to our audiences while that renovation happens.”

Single season tickets go on sale June 10 for all five shows, starting at $52 for standard productions and $57 for musicals, online at brtstage.org or by calling the box office at 215-785-0100. Limited seats are available for the first two shows. BRT’s productions offer special pre- and post-show engagements, included with ticket price. 

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