For Immediate Release
Contact: David Henderson,
office 860-520-7250    

Hartford Stage Announces First Four Plays for the 2016-17 Season

Season Includes Revivals of Plays by
August Wilson and William Shakespeare,
New Works from T.D. Mitchell and James Lecesne 

HARTFORD, CT — APRIL 6, 2016 — Artistic Director Darko Tresnjak and Managing Director Michael Stotts announced today that Hartford Stage’s 2016-17 season will include Queens for a Year by T.D. Mitchell, The Piano Lesson by August Wilson, The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare and The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey by James Lecesne.

Tresnjak said, “Our 16/17 season will feature masterworks by William Shakespeare and August Wilson and provocative new plays by T.D. Mitchell and James Lecesne. Two more exciting titles will be announced in the coming weeks."

September will bring the world premiere of T.D. Mitchell’s Queens for a Year. Molly, a young Marine Corps Officer, brings a low-ranking female enlisted soldier home with her on an unexpected leave. Four generations of women who’ve served their country in the Marines clash during what at first appears to be a post-deployment vacation but is revealed to be much more.

"This is one of the most exciting new plays I've read in a long time. It's entertaining, gripping, and all too timely,” said Elizabeth Williamson, Associate Artistic Director.

Best known as a writer on the popular Lifetime series “Army Wives,” Mitchell and her work have been recipient of numerous awards.  Her plays include Beyond the 17th Parallel (National Endowment for the Arts Artistic Excellence Grant, soon to be adapted for film), A Gray Matter, In Dog Years and the upcoming VRTU-L .

In August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, The Piano Lesson, a fractured family comes together to consider the legacy of their father. A ghost story with traditional African-American songs, The Piano Lesson represents the 1930s decade in Wilson’s “The Pittsburgh Cycle” of 10 plays, each one representing African-American life over a decade in the twentieth century. Other titles include Fences, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Two Trains Running and Seven Guitars.

Jade King Carroll, currently at the helm of Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years at Hartford Stage, will direct. Carroll’s recent directing credits include The Whipping Man at Portland Stage, Sunset Baby at Pittsburgh’s City Theatre and a previous production of The Piano Lesson at McCarter Theatre.

Over the holidays, Hartford Stage will present the 19th annual production of A Christmas Carol—A Ghost Story of Christmas, directed by Artistic Associate Rachel Alderman.

In the new year Tresnjak will direct The Comedy of Errors, one of Shakespeare’s zaniest comedies. The madcap tale of two sets of twins separated at birth is full of outrageous slapstick, false accusations and crackling word play. Tresnjak’s Shakespeare credits at Hartford Stage include his highly praised productions of Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth, The Tempest and Twelfth Night.

In 2014 Tresnjak earned the Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards for Best Direction of a Musical for the Broadway production of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, which he premiered at Hartford Stage in 2012. Last year he won the OBIE Award for directing The Killer at Theatre for a New Audience. In addition to Romeo & Juliet and the national tour of ‘Gentleman’s Guide’, he most recently directed the sold-out, world premiere of Rear Window, starring Kevin Bacon, at Hartford Stage and The Ghosts of Versailles at LA Opera.

The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey is about the disappearance of a 14-year-old boy who dared to be different, and the small New Jersey town that will never be the same without him. Critically-acclaimed actor and writer James Lecesne (I Am My Own Wife and The Mystery of Irma Vep at Hartford Stage) plays the more than 20 characters of the town. The New Yorker called it, “A whodunit with a heart of gold.”

Last week the show was nominated for the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Solo Show.

In addition to Lecesne, the writer of the Academy Award-winning film Trevor, the creative team includes director Tony Speciale, whose credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Classic Stage Company and Handbook for an American Revolutionary at The Gym at Judson. The original music is by Duncan Sheik (Spring Awakening, American Psycho).

Two additional plays will be announced in the coming weeks.


The six-play MainStage Season is on sale now to current subscribers only, and subscriptions start at $125, a substantial savings over the cost of individual tickets. Renew online at or call the Box Office at 860-527-5151. Subscriptions for new subscribers will go on sale April 18. Please note that all titles are subject to change.

Tickets to A Christmas Carol are also on sale but to subscribers only. A Christmas Carol is not part of a subscription series.

Single tickets for all shows will go on sale to the general public in July. However, group seats are available now for all shows via or Theresa MacNaughton at (860) 520-7114.    


Now in our 52nd year, Hartford Stage is under the leadership of Artistic Director Darko Tresnjak and Managing Director Michael Stotts. One of the nation’s leading resident theatres, Hartford Stage is known for producing innovative revivals of classics and provocative new plays and musicals, including 70 world and American premieres, as well as offering a distinguished education program, which reaches more than 20,000 students annually.

Since Tresnjak’s appointment in 2011 the theatre has presented the world premieres of A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder on Broadway, winner of four 2014 Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Direction of a Musical by Tresnjak; Quiara Alegría Hudes’ Water by the Spoonful, winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama; Breath & Imagination by Daniel Beaty; Big Dance Theatre’s Man in a Case with Mikhail Baryshnikov; and Reverberation by Matthew Lopez.

Hartford Stage has earned many of the nation’s most prestigious awards, including the 1988 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. Other national honors include Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, OBIE, and New York Critics Circle awards. Hartford Stage has produced nationally renowned titles, including the New York transfers of Enchanted April; The Orphans' Home Cycle; Resurrection (later retitled Through the Night); The Carpetbagger's Children; and Tea at Five.

The leading provider of theatre education programs in Connecticut, Hartford Stage’s offerings include student matinees, in-school theatre residencies, teen performance opportunities, theatre classes for students (ages 3-18) and adults, afterschool programs and professional development courses.

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