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International City Theatre announces 2017 season

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Press Contact: Lucy Pollak (818) 887-1499 (for media only)



International City Theatre charts mysteries
of life, love and the universe in 2017


LONG BEACH, Calif. (Aug. 17, 2016) – International City Theatre has announced its 32nd season of plays at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center, where ICT is the resident professional theater company. Set to open in February, the 2017 season ventures a look at the mysteries of life, love and the universe with two Los Angeles premieres and two crowd-pleasing revivals. A fifth play will be announced at a later date.

Los Angeles premieres of Uncanny Valley by Thomas Gibbons and Silent Sky by Lauren Gunderson challenge us to explore the unknown — the former taking us into the future of artificial intelligence, the latter the true story of 19th century women “computers” who mapped the stars at the dawn of modern astronomy. Audience favorites Forever Plaid by Stuart Ross (the beloved musical revue that has its four protagonists returning from the dead) and Beth Henley’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Crimes of the Heart tap into enduring mysteries of life and love.

The 2017 schedule is as follows:

Feb. 17 – March 5 (previews Feb. 15 and Feb. 16):
Forever Plaid — Miraculously revived from the dead, four young singers killed in a car crash on the way to their first-ever big concert get to fulfill their dream and perform the show after all – although it’s 60-plus years later and at International City Theatre! Singing in close harmony, squabbling over the smallest intonations and executing their charmingly outlandish choreography with over-zealous precision, the “Plaids” will keep everyone smiling and humming along to some of the great pop hits of the ‘50s. Written by Stuart Ross and with musical arrangements by James Raitt, Forever Plaid was first produced in 1990, yet remains one of the most popular and successful off-Broadway musicals in history.

April 21 – May 7 (previews April 19 and April 20):
Los Angeles premiere of Uncanny Valley — What does it mean to be human? Playwright Thomas Gibbons explores the inherent unpredictability of consciousness, as well as ethical questions about our own mortality and how far we’ll go to live forever, in what The Washington Post describes as a “fascinating [and] cerebrally challenging” new play about artificial intelligence. Sometime in the not-too-distant future, a neuroscientist works closely with an artificial being to teach him how to become more human and to grow beyond the “uncanny valley” — a term used to describe the discomfort we feel when we see electronic recreations of human beings that are oh-so-close, but just not quite right.

June 9– June 25 (previews June 7 and June 8):
Crimes of the Heart — Meg just left a man. Lenny never had a man. Babe just shot a man. Warm-hearted, irreverent, funny and touching, Beth Henley’s first play examines the plight of three Mississippi sisters betrayed by their passions as each is forced to come to terms with her “crimes of the heart.” Winner of the 1981 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best American Play.

Aug. 25Sept. 10 (previews Aug. 23 and Aug. 24):
Silent Sky — A celestial romance and true story of discovery, this riveting new play by Lauren Gunderson explores the life and career of Henrietta Swan Leavitt (1868-1921) as she fearlessly asserts herself in the male-dominated world of early astronomy. Hired by the Harvard Observatory as a human “computer” to catalog the stars, Henrietta’s story plays out against a landscape of early feminism and universe-revealing science, reminding us all what we can achieve when we allow curiosity and wonder into our lives. “Luminously beautiful… an intellectual epic told on an intimate scale. Bottom line: Heavenly.” — Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Oct. 20 Nov. 5 (previews Oct. 18 and Oct. 19):
HomeProduced to great acclaim by the Negro Ensemble Company, Samm-Art Williams’ brilliantly inventive, lyrically expressive play deals joyfully with the coming of age of a young black man from rural South Carolina. Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations for Best Play.

International City Theatre was born in 1985 when Shashin Desai opened a 99-seat black box theater on the campus of Long Beach City College where he was chairman of the drama department. From the beginning, the fledgling company attracted critical acclaim and multiple awards – including the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle’s prestigious Margaret Harford Award for “Sustained Excellence in Theater.” In 1996, ICT was invited by the City to produce in the Center Theater of the Long Beach Performing Arts Center in an effort to revitalize the venue, which had been dormant for many years, and to contribute to the revitalization of the downtown area. That year, ICT began producing simultaneous seasons on the college campus and at the Performing Arts Center. In 1999, the Long Beach City Council proclaimed International City Theater the “Professional Resident Theater Company” at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center. A year later, ICT made the choice to invest entirely in the downtown, mid-size theater with an annual five-play season. When Desai retired in 2011, ICT’s board of directors unanimously approved caryn desai, ICT’s general manager since 1990, to take the reins as producing artistic director. The 2017 season marks the seventh under her leadership.

For more information about ICT’s 2016 season, and to purchase subscriptions or single tickets, call (562) 436-4610 or visit