There’s a new theater in town. Encore Theater Company, a new nonprofit theater based in the Takoma Park community, has announced its inaugural season. The 2020/21 season will feature two intimate, celebrated works that together explore themes of mental health, memory, and identity: the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Next to Normal, by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey, and Incognito, a play by Nick Payne.
“We’re thrilled to dive into two substantive pieces in our first season, both of which will really challenge our artists and our audiences,” said Steve Quintilian, Co-Director of Encore Theater Company. “We think this a perfect way to introduce ourselves, what we stand for, and the kind of art we want to bring to the community.”
Next to Normal, which will run August 6-16, 2020 at Seekers Church in Takoma, showcases a brilliant pop/rock score and follows the story of a family struggling to navigate the effects of mental illness. It was the recipient of three Tony Awards in 2009 after being workshopped and developed in the local DC region, and was last produced regionally at the Kennedy Center as part of its recent Broadway Center Stage concert series.
ETC will hold open auditions for Next to Normal on March 15 from 2 to 7 pm at Living and Growing in Silver Spring. Interested actors can sign up for a time slot and view a casting breakdown online.
For its second production, ETC has selected Incognito, a contemporary play in which four actors play a combined 21 characters and tell three interwoven stories, uncovering questions of what we choose to remember and why, and how this shapes our identity. Incognito will run in February 2021, with a venue and open auditions to be announced at a later date.
“These two works, in addition to being thematically linked, also share other key traits that are at the heart of what we do,” said Julie Lloyd, Co-Director of ETC. “Both feature small casts of 4-6 actors and minimal sets so that we can really focus on strong storytelling that will hopefully move our audiences as much as it makes them think.”
Encore Theater Company fills a unique space in the Takoma Park arts community, being the only theater organization producing works locally while drawing on the vast theater resources of the broader DC and Maryland communities.
“We love calling Takoma Park our artistic home,” said Quintilian. “It’s such a vibrant community for artists and musicians, and we look forward to contributing through ongoing performance opportunities and workshops.”
ABOUT ENCORE THEATER COMPANY: Encore Theater Company is a nonprofit theater dedicated to providing an artistic home for performers of all backgrounds who share a singular mission: telling stories that matter. Founded in 2020, ETC produces 2-3 timely musicals and plays per year and offers a range of educational workshops and performance opportunities. ETC draws on its home base in the eclectic, outspoken community of Takoma Park, providing diverse artists and audiences in the region with opportunities for connection, conversation, and collaboration. For more information, visit www.encoretheaterco.org.