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Emerson's new arts complex promises the world on stage

Susan Saccoccia | 6/15/2010, 9:04 p.m.
Doug Elkins and Friends perform “Do-Re-Mi” from “Fraulein Maria,” a hip-hop flavored reworking of “The Sound of Music” that opens at the Paramount Theatre in September. Sara D. Davis

“We are beginning this enterprise with an audience of zero,” Orchard writes in a blog entry about the membership program.

One advantage is its flexibility over subscriptions, which usually require audience to schedule and purchase tickets many months ahead of events.

ArtsEmerson divides its year of programming into two seasons. Until July 25, members can buy tickets in advance for its September through November offerings, which consist of seven productions. In October, members can buy advance tickets for the 11 productions of its second season, which runs from January 18 through May 15.

Special members events include a summer preview of “The Sun Also Rises” by the Elevator Repair Service. Last year at the ART, the company performed “Gatz,” its sensational rendering of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby.” Now, the troupe is tackling the novel by Ernest Hemingway, stopping at the Paramount complex to rehearse its production en route to its world premier in the Royal Lyceum Theatre at the Edinburgh International Festival.

Members will also see works in progress by renowned director Peter Sellars and Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison, who are collaborating on theatrical explorations of Desdemona, the tragic heroine of Shakespeare’s “Othello.”  

The inaugural year of ArtsEmerson: The World on Stage begins in September with two productions at opposite ends of the tragicomic spectrum.

At the Paramount Theatre will be “Fräulein Maria,” a hip-hop flavored reworking of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The Sound of Music” by acclaimed choreographer Doug Elkins.

In the Cutler Majestic Theatre, director Moisés Kaufman and the Tectonic Theater Project will for the first time stage together their 2000 drama, “The Laramie Project” and its recent epilogue, “The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later.” Both explore the reverberations of the homophobia-driven murder of Matthew Shepard in 1998. Like the original production, its sequel draws from interviews with townspeople and relatives; but it also adds the perspectives of Shepard’s imprisoned murderers.

In March, the iconic British director Peter Brook will stage two productions in the Paramount’s black box theatre. The first is “Fragments,” five short works by Samuel Beckett that mine the music-hall comedy and courage of characters facing the abyss. Next is “The Grand Inquisitor,” a harrowing parable drawn from Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s “The Brothers Karamazov.”

“Works by Peter Brook haven’t been shown in Boston since 1971,” says Orchard. “But he has a natural audience here. Now, we have a space to present him.”

Find out more at: http://www.artsemerson.org or call 617-824-8000.