Very classical to very modern: Hartford Stage's season

A production of a fantasy play by Shakespeare, a lineup of world premieres -- including a brand new American musical -- and the American premiere of an international hit. These are among the offerings of the 1980-81 season at the Hartford Stage Company.

Thsi season is the first under the artistic direction of Mark Lamos, who also continues, after two seasons, as artistic director fo teh California Shakespearean Festival in Visalai, Calif.

Speaking about the new season, Mr. Lamos says his intent is to "bring a feeling o fmagic and excitement to the theater."

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The 1980-81 season includes three world premieres and is unprecendented in the 18-year history of the Stage Company. "We've been very lucky in acquiring the rights to several new works," Mr. Lamos says."

The season opens Sept. 26 with "The Beaux' Strategem," George Farquhar's wild comedy on the ritual of how to trap a mate. In the tradition of Tom Jones, the play is a romp through the 18th century with a cast of rakes, rogues, wenches, and ladies, along with a couple of ahndsome ne'er-do-well adventurers who are the Paul Newman and Robert Redford of their time.

The world premier of a new play by actor-turned-writer Tom Griffin, "Einstein and the Polar Bear," is the second production of the season. Set during a snowstorm in New Hampshire, the play is a contemporary love story about a once famous, reclusive writer.

A dreamlike romantic adventure set in a fairytale kingdom is "Cymbeline" by William Shakespeare. This most lavish production ever at the Hartford Stage will be performed Jan. 2 to Feb. 8, previewing Dec. 31 and Jan. 1.

Tom Stoppard's adaptation of "Undiscovered Country," by Arthur Schnitzler, was a hit at London's NAtional Theater and the Hartford Stage will offer its American premier Feb. 20 through March 29.

The fifth production of the season is a brand new American musical, "Is There Life After High School?" book by Jeffrey Kindley, music and lyrics by Craig Carnelia. Did you ever wonder waht became of Joe the Jelly Roll? And is Ginny Phillips still cheerleading somewhere in the Midwest? Remember wehn eternal love could be born during sixth-period math?

The fifth production runs April 10 to May 17 with previews April 8 and 9.

The season will be topped off by the world premiere of an unannounced American play.

Season subscriptions are still available by contacting the Box Office at (203 ) 527-5151 or at the Hartford Stage Company, 50 Church Street.

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