Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Charlotte, pat your own back

If you watched the Tony Awards Sunday night, you saw "Clybourne Park" win best play. Bruce Norris' stinging drama about two generations of people battling over the integration of a Chicago neighborhood had already won a Pulitzer, so that didn't come as a surprise.

But savvy Charlotte theatergoers know we had it first: Actor's Theatre of Charlotte produced a version of the show that jolted local audiences this season before the Broadway opening. In fact, ATC is on a Tony roll: It will open its 2012-13 slate with "God of Carnage" and "Red," the Tony-winning plays of 2009 and 2010.

The first is Yasmina Reza's four-way slugfest, a comedy about allegedly civilized parents battling over a child's indiscretion; the second is John Logan's drama about Mark Rothko's two-year attempt to produce a masterpiece. (Get details at

In fact, the 2011 Tony-winner is also on the way: Blumenthal Performing Arts' Broadway Lights series will bring "War Horse" next May. And these plays are the tip of the iceberg for a season of more serious dramas all around Charlotte, from Moises Kaufman's "33 Variations" at CAST to Edward Albee's "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" at Theatre Charlotte.

Since I came back to the theater beat four summers ago, I've wished that producers would put more meat on my plate. I don't know if other playgoers will be as grateful as I am, but I can't wait.