The Alliance Theatre in Midtown is rolling out a new season full of diversity, with shows appropriate for all ages and interests.
Last week, the theatre presented “Taste of the Season” to give the public a taste of what is to come.
“We’re quite deliberately schizophrenic in our programming. … [Atlanta] is so radically diverse in its ideology, politics and cultures,” said Artistic Director Susan Booth.
Running from Sept. 6 through Oct. 6, “Harmony — A New Musical,” will kick the 2013-14 season off, with music by Barry Manilow and book and lyrics by Bruce Sussman.
Booth said she is amazed to have “two American entertainment icons” this season, including Manilow and Maurice Hines, who wrote and will star in “Tappin’ Thru Life” from April 2 to May 4.
She also said the season is uniquely devoted to new works from young writers.
“I am pretty knocked out by the fact that the entire Hertz Stage season features playwrights under the age of 35, all of whom cited the Alliance as the beginning of their professional careers, with the exception of the young woman who just graduated Friday,” Booth said.
Madhuri Shekar, who just finished graduate school at the University of Southern California, wrote “In Love and Warcraft,” a romantic comedy hitting the Alliance Jan. 31 through Feb. 23.
Also playing on the Hertz Stage will be “Choir Boy” Sept. 20 through Oct. 13, “Warrior Class” Oct. 25 through Nov. 17 and “Tall Girls” March 7 through 30.
Booth said the new season is her “girls’ season,” as she will be directing “The Tall Girls” by Meg Miroshnik and “Gellar Girls” by Janece Shaffer.
“They are wildly different writers stylistically, but they both write from the inside of a human being, out,” Booth said.
Shaffer’s “Gellar Girls,” running Jan. 15 through Feb. 9, captures Atlanta in 1895 on the eve of the Cotton States and International Exposition in Piedmont Park, by telling the story of two young sisters and how their lives change with the rest of the world.
“How thrilling it would be to be a 17-year-old girl in this really small life, then the entire world comes within miles of your house,” she said. “It’s about how they are changed by the idea of possibility when they are introduced to possibility on this huge scale. … It’s the story of Atlanta.”
It is a story of love, family and change, Shaffer said, and relevant to all families even now.
“Although it is very specific — one family, one moment in time — it is really universal,” she said. “It’s about a father raising daughters, young women and what they want, and lots of lessons of letting go of children.”
Another show on the Alliance Stage is “By the Way, Meet Vera Stark” Oct. 16 through Nov. 10. The family series on the Alliance Stage includes “The Grimm Lives of the Inbetweens” Oct. 28 through Nov. 4, “A Christmas Carol” Nov. 29 through Dec. 29 and “Shrek The Musical” Feb. 22 through March 9.
Booth said she knows the theatre will never be able to offer something to represent every Atlanta resident’s personal experience.
“But what we can do within that course of September through May, [is put] as many different stories on the stage as we possibly can,” Booth said. “Another diversity factor in Atlanta is aesthetic. We have wild progressives, traditionalists and avant-garde art lovers. … Our attempt each and every year is to have as many open doors as possible for as much of Atlanta as possible.”
If you go:
o What: Alliance Theatre 2013-14 season
o Where: Alliance Theatre, Midtown
o When: Sept. 6 to May 4
o Tickets: Season tickets range from $35 to $243.
o Information: www.alliancetheatre.org