Olney Theatre Center Announces NNPN Premiere of ‘Rancho Mirage’ & ‘The King and I’ by Laura Asendio

Olney Theatre Center Announces NNPN Rolling World Premiere of Rancho Mirage and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Classic Musical The King and I for their 75th Anniversary Season by Laura Asendio.


Olney Theatre Center announces two programming changes to the 75th Anniversary Season. This fall, Olney Theatre Center will kick off the National New Play Network (NNPN) Rolling World Premiere of Steven Dietz’s Rancho Mirage. Following Rancho Mirage will be Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic The King and I

“As the community around Olney Theatre Center gets ever-more diverse and dynamic, we need to stop talking about a single audience,” says Artistic Director Jason Loewith. “Instead, let’s get talking with all ‘the audiences’ around us, and program the best works of theater we can for each of them.  We’ll stretch the boundaries of theater for families who love the classics by producing a reimagined The King and I; and we’ll make sure those audiences in search of cutting-edge theatrical adventure get to see new works by American masters like Rancho Mirage.”


Written by one of America’s most widely-produced playwrights Steven Dietz (Yankee TavernHalcyon DaysLonely Planet)Rancho Mirage will begin its Rolling World Premiere at Olney Theatre Center September 26 – October 20, 2013Rancho Mirage replaces the previously announced Tartuffe in the season lineup.

Rancho Mirage is a bitingly funny black comedy about what happens when the fictions that hold our lives together are exposed. In Mr. Dietz’s sharp and surprising sojourn into the psyche of 2013 America — where affluence is perhaps our greatest mirage — three couples, long-time friends, find themselves at a dinner party where everyone finally decides to tell the truth.

The show will be Mr. Loewith’s debut as director at Olney Theatre Center.

“My first professional gig was assisting on Steven’s play God’s Country, back twenty-some years ago,” says Mr. Loewith. “So I’m beyond honored to direct his newest piece. And by mounting a Rolling World Premiere of the play, we’re staking out collaborative, risk-taking territory for Olney Theatre Center in this landmark season.”

The NNPN Rolling World Premiere of the play continues after Olney Theatre Center’s production at former Artistic Director Jim Petosa’s theatre, New Rep (Watertown, MA), followed by productions at Phoenix Theatre (Indianapolis) and Curious Theatre (Denver).


Mark Waldrop, director of audience favorites Annie and The Sound of Musicreturns to Olney Theatre Center to direct its first-ever production of The King and IThe 1952 Tony Award-winner for Best Musical features some of American musical theatre’s loveliest and well-known music (“Hello, Young Lovers,” “Getting To Know You,” and “Shall We Dance?”).

I think The King and I is one of the five most important pieces American musical theater has given to the world of drama. Colonialism, the rights of women, the ideal of a post-racial society – it was way ahead of its time, and will resonate with many Olney audiences,” says Mr. Loewith.

The King and I runs November 14 – December 29, 2013 and replaces the previously announced Once Upon A Mattress.


Steven Dietz’s thirty-plus plays have been seen at over one hundred regional theatres in the United States, as well as Off-Broadway and internationally.  Mr. Dietz received the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays Award for both his Off-Broadway drama, Fiction, and his play for young audiences, Still Life with Iris. A two-time finalist for the Steinberg New Play Award (Becky’s New Car, Last of the Boys), Mr. Dietz has also received the Edgar® Award for Best Mystery Play for Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure;  the PEN USA West Award in Drama for Lonely Planet;  and an NNPN Continued Life of New Plays Fund for his conspiracy thriller, Yankee Tavern. Mr. Dietz and his family divide their time between Seattle and Austin, where he teaches playwriting and directing at the University of Texas. 

NNPN’s flagship program, the Continued Life of New Plays Fund supports three or more theaters which choose to mount the same new play within a twelve-month period. The result is a Rolling World Premiere through which the playwright develops a new work with multiple creative teams, for multiple communities of patrons, ensuring the resulting play is of the highest possible quality. And with a minimum of three productions in a single year, the play attains the momentum it needs to join the repertoire of frequently-produced new American works. NNPN provides grants of $7,000 to the first three participating theaters in each Rolling World Premiere; to date, NNPN has championed the continued life of 35 new plays in over 100 productions, with over a quarter-million dollars in grants. 



Olney Theatre Center, celebrating its 75th Anniversary in 2013, is an award-winning, nonprofit, Equity theatre. Located just north of Washington, D.C. in arts-rich Montgomery County, Maryland, Olney Theatre Center offers a diverse array of professional productions year-round. Olney Theatre Center is situated on 14 acres in the heart of the beautiful Washington-Baltimore-Frederick “triangle,” within easy access of all three cities. Olney Theatre Center is home to the National Players, America’s longest-running touring company and led by Artistic Director Jason Loewith and Managing Director Amy Marshall. For more information please visit their website

Follow Olney Theatre Center on Twitter @olneytheatre or twitter.com/olneytheatre and on Facebook.




The National New Play Network (NNPN) is the country’s alliance of non-profit professional theaters that champions the development, production, and continued life of new plays.  Since its founding in 1998, NNPN has commissioned almost two dozen playwrights, provided nineteen MFA graduates with paid residencies, and supported nearly 150 productions nationwide through its innovative Continued Life of New Plays Fund, which creates “Rolling World Premieres” of new plays. Hundreds of artists have gained employment through these efforts in the dozens of regions of the country where NNPN member theaters are located. NNPN receives substantial support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, the Shubert Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.  The Network is comprised of a relatively small group of Core Members, who pioneer and implement collaborative new play strategies, and a growing group of Associate Members, who disseminate the Network’s programs and strategies nationwide.


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