Beginning in September 2017, The NOLA Project is eager to present a season that is part angst, part rebellion, and all nerve, in the tradition of the very best and provocative NOLA Project work seen over its 13-year history. “This season is very much informed by an examination of our political situation, both local and national,” says Allegra. “We wanted a season that spoke to a sense of unease that we detect right now in America, and a great sense of change that we feel both as a nation and as a city settling into our new normality a decade-plus after our great national redefinition. The American people and our political system are at odds, and the stories we tell in our 2017-2018 Season reflect those oppositions in humorous, frank, exaggerated, and fantastical means. I think each story speaks in some way to our identity as Americans and our identity as New Orleanians.”
URINETOWN, music and lyrics by Greg Hollmann, book and lyrics by Greg Kotis, running September 29 – October 15 at UNO’s Robert E. Nims Theatre. Directed by A.J. Allegra. Co-Produced by Theatre UNO at the University of New Orleans.
For the first time since 2008’s ASSASSINS, The NOLA Project presents a musical! An absurd notion, fully realized, URINETOWN shows us a dystopian metropolis where a terrible water shortage caused by a 20-year drought has led to a government-enforced ban on private toilets. The citizens must use public amenities, owned and operated by a single malevolent company and its ruthless egomaniacal CEO that profits by charging admission for one of humanity’s most basic needs. Amid the people, a simple amenity worker decides that enough is enough and plans a revolution to lead them all to freedom!
Inspired by the works of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill, URINETOWN is an irreverent Tony Award-winning musical satire in which no one is safe from scrutiny. This 2001 musical comedy concerning unbridled corporate greed and the privatization of the most basic human right seems oddly compelling and dangerously timely in the modern American Age of Trump. NOLA Project Artistic Director A.J. Allegra will direct.
THE BATTLE FOR NEW ORLEANS by Jim Fitzmorris, running November 2 – November 18 at the St. Alphonsus Art and Cultural Center in the Irish Channel. Directed by Beau Bratcher.
Times are tense in New Orleans. A new upscale food court masquerading as a community market is about to open in a hip (some would say “developing”) New Orleans neighborhood. And the members of the neighborhood protection organization Oak Roots are not going to take it lying down. Set up in an oddly opulent makeshift office inside of an Irish Channel church recently saved from demolition, the members of Oak Roots must prepare for battle with the developers, draw alliances with members on the City Council, and face off with one another as they confront the ultimate question: Who gets to say what’s best for New Orleans?
Playwright Jim Fitzmorris and The NOLA Project team up for this World Premiere follow-up play to A TRUCKLOAD OF INK, the 2013 award-winning drama about the internal collapse New Orleans’ iconic newspaper. While not a direct sequel, THE BATTLE FOR NEW ORLEANS continues the exploration of crucial local themes such as gentrification, agency, politics, and development through characters that are instantly familiar and classically Jim Fitzmorris. For the production, The NOLA Project will continue its bold tradition of presenting plays in unique, site-specific locations by staging THE BATTLE FOR NEW ORLEANS inside the historic St. Alphonsus Church, now operating as the St. Alphonsus Art and Cultural Center in New Orleans’ Irish Channel neighborhood.
MEN ON BOATS by Jaclyn Backhaus, running March 22 – April 8 in Lusher’s Lions Gate Theatre. Directed by Shannon Sindelar.
Ten explorers. Four boats. One Grand Canyon. MEN ON BOATS is the true(ish) history of an 1869 expedition, when a one-armed captain and a crew of insane yet loyal volunteers set out to chart the course of the Colorado River. On the way they must battle the elements, and all too often, one another. This at turns hilarious, at turns poignant play is an insightful commentary of American history turned on its head, as the entire cast and creative team of “men” are all played by women. Originally premiering in NYC at Playwright’s Horizons in 2015, this marks the first ever production of the play in the American South. The play received thrilling reviews, with Variety calling the play “OFF-THE-CANYON-WALLS FUNNY. Paddle or portage your own boat to the theater-but get there!” Time Out New York says “✮✮✮✮ – A thrilling, gender-flipped slice of manifest destiny.”
THE THREE MUSKETEERS: a new adaptation by Pete McElligott, running in May 2016 in the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden at NOMA. Produced in partnership with NOMA. Directed by Mark Routhier.
The NOLA Project returns to NOMA’s Besthoff Sculpture Garden with another exciting and hilarious adaptation by award-winning playwright Pete McElligott (ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND; DON QUIXOTE). This time, the company takes on Alexandre Dumas’ classic tale THE THREE MUSKETEERS in an adaptation that is part Monty Python foolishness, part swashbuckling adventure tale, and all NOLA Project. Big Easy Award-winning director Mark Routhier will direct.
The NOLA Project is excited to welcome two new Ensemble Members to our company: Theatre artists Khiry Armstead and Jenny Billot. Khiry and Jenny make up the 32nd and 33rd members of the total Ensemble. Of Armstead, Artistic Director A.J. Allegra says “Khiry Armstead has made such a major impression on the New Orleans theatre scene in a short amount of time, and I am so glad that NOLA Project is now able to call him a member of our family. His sense of humor, wild imagination, and seriously wide array of artistic gifts are all such incredible assets to our theatre community in New Orleans.”
Of Billot, Allegra says “Jenny Billot has been a steadfast leader of various production backstages for years. She is one of the hardest working and most organized stage managers I know. Actors and directors love her equally, and I am so glad that after so much good work with our company, we can now officially call her a member of our ensemble.”
To learn more about both Khiry and Jenny, please visit our Ensemble page located at nolaproject.com/ensemble.
Gambit Magazine’s readers have voted The NOLA Project as the Best Local Theatre Company for the second consecutive year! Here is the Gambit writeup for TNP in 2017:
“All of New Orleans is a stage for The NOLA Project. The company has presented classic shows in familiar settings, from behind-the-Broadway-scenes comedy It’s Only a Play at Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre to A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden at New Orleans City Park. But the young company also has taken an adventurous approach, presenting a diverse selection of dramas, comedies and musicals in unconventional settings, from the shore of Lake Pontchartrain to a boutique hotel’s rooftop pool. In a dozen years, it has produced Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Camille, Cloud 9, Assassins, 4000 Miles, Balm in Gilead and an array of new and commissioned works by local playwrights, such as Jim Fitzmorris’ A Truckload of Ink, about the demise of a New Orleans daily newspaper. It’s no wonder the company has caught our readers’ attention. The NOLA Project opens its 13th season in September at UNO’s Robert E. Nims Theatre with the offbeat musical Urinetown.”