Theatre NOVA announces season of premieres for 2018-2019


ANN ARBOR – Theatre NOVA, Ann Arbor’s only resident nonprofit professional theatre, is thrilled to announce its 2018-19 Season of Michigan and World Premieres. Proud to produce the best shows at the best prices in Michigan, Theatre NOVA offers a subscription program as the best way to see quality programs at a discounted price. Subscribers can save up to 25% off single ticket prices and guarantee their seats for all our plays through August 2019.

Producing Artistic Director Diane Hill said, “Heading into our fourth year, we’re proud of our accomplishments and grateful to the community for supporting our mission to raise the awareness of the value and excitement of new plays and new playwrights. We have selected some of the most exciting and timely plays from the strongest playwrights we could find. We’re incredibly excited to keep producing work that respects your intellect, imagination, and curiosity, and offer something new, unexpected, innovative, and stimulating.”

Theatre NOVA’s 2018-2019 season opens September 7 with the Michigan premiere of “The Totalitarians” by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, which runs through September 30. Politician Penelope Easter is a disaster of a candidate – impulsive and crass, with a closet full of skeletons. When she enlists the help of Francine, a silver-tongued political operative, the two embark on a madcap journey of sex, money, complete misrepresentation of facts, and a total lack of scruples on their way to political fame. Only time (and a mysterious stranger bent on revolution) will tell if their ends justify their means or if justice will find them in the end. This raucous dark comedy lampoons “reality politics,” the state of modern discourse, and life in a post-truth world. Directed by Carla Milarch, featuring Diane Hill, Tory Matsos, Joe Zarrow, and Connor Forrester-Hutchins.

The season continues October 19 through November 11, with the Michigan premiere of “The Stone Witch” by Shem Bitterman. “Extraordinary art must be tamed,” says reclusive genius Simon Grindberg, the world’s most illustrious children’s book writer. But, holed up in a remote cabin with his next masterpiece a decade overdue, it’s not clear who is the master and who is the servant. When Peter Chandler, a starving artist with literary aspirations, is hired to help “The Great Man” finish his overdue book, an unlikely friendship ensues, secrets are revealed, and the lines of reality begin to blur. Ultimately, both men must face the terrifying beast dwelling in the dark forest, in a struggle for their artistry, their sanity, and their souls. Directed by Nancy Kammer.

For the holidays, Theatre NOVA presents the world premiere of “The Elves and the Schumachers” by Carla Milarch & R. MacKenzie Lewis, running November 30 through December 30. Theatre NOVA’s holiday tradition continues with another fun-filled night from the team that brought you “The Year Without a Panto Claus” and “Sugar Plum Panto.” Bring the whole family to laugh, boo, hiss, and sing in this over-the-top evening of heroes and villains, funny songs and extreme merriment. It’s a unique way to celebrate the season – a mixed-up mash-up of musical comedy, slapstick, vaudeville, and fun. Directed by Carla Milarch. (Special showtimes for this production: Fri. at 7:30 pm, Sat. at 3pm & 7:30pm, and Sun. at 2 pm)

Opening the new year is the Michigan premiere of “The How and the Why” by Sarah Treem, February 1 through February 24, 2019. Two brilliant female evolutionary biologists share a bold, contrarian approach to their male-dominated field, but the younger scholar challenges the older woman’s work with a radical new theory – one that could change society’s basic understanding of female sexuality. This keenly perceptive play explores the difficult choices of modern American women and generational divides in feminism. “A smart, densely textured work about men and women, love and conflict, genes and destiny.”– The New York Times. Directed by David Wolber.

March 21 through April 14, 2019, will bring the world premiere of “Mazel Tov, John Lennon” by David Wells. January 1972: Vietnam war protests are at their peak, and newly ex-Beatled John Lennon walks into the office of Leon Wildes, an eminent immigration lawyer. As ultra-laid-back Lennon and straight-laced Wildes navigate Lennon’s stormy immigration case, an unlikely and comical kinship unfolds, and both men gain a greater understanding of friendship, personal values, and patriotism. This intriguing play, based on the true story of the Nixon administration’s attempt to deport John Lennon, will be directed by Carla Milarch.

In early Summer, from May 24 through June 16, 2019, Theatre NOVA will present the Michigan premiere of “Kill Move Paradise” by James Ijames, which poses the question: Where do the souls of black boys taken too soon go? Set in an otherworldly place, this play follows four black men ripped prematurely from Earth by racist acts of violence, as they confront the brutal reality of their pasts and scramble to make sense of their surreal new world. Audacious, often funny, and original, “Kill Move Paradise” challenges the way we think about those slain at the hands of police brutality and vigilante justice. Directed by Diane Hill.

Finally, Theatre NOVA’s seventh show in its 2018-2019 season of premieres will be the Michigan premiere of “Stargazers” by Reina Hardy, running July 11 through August 4, 2019. Rupert Knox is looking for love in all the wrong planets. He’s an astrophysicist who wants two things in life: to make the astronomical discovery of the millennium and find a date to his sister’s wedding. He may have found both in Claire, a mysterious celestial poet. But when another woman shows up at Rupert’s door, all three star-crossed lovers will have to make big choices about mortality, true love, and whether to stick with vodka or switch to beer. Directed by David Wolber.

Performances are on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 8 pm and Sundays at 2 pm, except for “The Elves and the Schumachers” which will have a unique schedule of shows (noted above) to accommodate families with school-age children. General admission tickets are $22, and Theatre NOVA continues to make theatre accessible by offering pay-what-you-can tickets for those who need them. Tickets, memberships, flex passes, and subscriptions may be purchased online at or by calling the box office at 734-635-8450. Tickets may also be purchased in person one hour before each performance. Seating in the theatre will begin 30 minutes before each performance. There is ample free parking. For more information, visit

Theatre NOVA, Ann Arbor’s only resident nonprofit professional theatre company, is located at 410 WHuron St, Ann Arbor, MI 48103. Its mission is to raise awareness of the value and excitement of new plays and playwrights and to provide resources for playwrights to develop their craft by importing, exporting, and developing new work.



Theatre NOVA Staff:

Carla Milarch, Founding Artistic Director

Diane Hill, Producing Artistic Director

David Wolber, Producing Artistic Director

Daniel C. Walker, Production Manager

Becky Fox, Education Director and House Manager

Carrie Sayer, Festival Director and Literary Manager


Ann Arbor’s Professional Theatre Season of Premieres 2018-2019


410 W. Huron, Ann Arbor, MI 48103

Box office: 734-635-8450



THE TOTALITARIANS by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb

Sept. 7-30, 2018

Fri., Sept. 7, 8:00 p.m. Opening Night

Sat., Sept. 8, 8:00 p.m.

Sun., Sept. 9, 2:00 p.m.

Thurs., Sept. 13, 8:00 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 14, 8:00 p.m.

Sat., Sept. 15, 8:00 p.m.

Sun., Sept. 16, 2:00p.m.

Thurs., Sept. 20, 8:00 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 21, 8:00 p.m.

Sat., Sept. 22, 8:00 p.m.

Sun., Sept. 23, 2:00 p.m.

Thurs., Sept. 27, 8:00 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 28, 8:00 p.m.

Sat., Sept. 29, 8:00 p.m.

Sun., Sept. 30, 2:00 p.m.


THE STONE WITCH by Shem Bitterman

Oct. 19 – Nov. 11, 2018

Fri., Oct. 19, 8:00 p.m. Opening Night

Sat., Oct. 20, 8:00 p.m.

Sun., Oct. 21, 2:00 p.m.

Thurs., Oct. 25, 8:00 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 26, 8:00 p.m.

Sat., Oct. 27, 8:00 p.m.

Sun., Oct. 28, 2:00 p.m.

Thurs., Nov. 1, 8:00 p.m.

Fri., Nov. 2, 8:00 p.m.

Sat., Nov. 3, 8:00 p.m.

Sun., Nov. 4, 2:00 p.m.

Thurs., Nov. 8, 8:00 p.m.

Fri., Nov. 9, 8:00 p.m.

Sat., Nov. 10, 8:00 p.m.

Sun., Nov. 11, 2:00 p.m.


THE ELVES AND THE SCHUMACHERS by Carla Milarch and R. MacKenzie Lewis

Nov. 30 – Dec. 30, 2018

Thurs., Nov. 29, 7:30 p.m. Preview

Fri., Nov. 30, 7:30 p.m. Opening Night

Sat., Dec. 1, 3:00 p.m.

Sat., Dec. 1, 7:30 p.m.

Sun., Dec. 2, 2:00 p.m.

Fri., Dec. 7, 7:30 p.m.

Sat., Dec. 8, 3:00 p.m.

Sat., Dec. 8, 7:30 p.m.

Sun., Dec. 9, 2:00 p.m.

Fri., Dec. 14, 7:30 p.m.

Sat., Dec. 15, 3:00 p.m.

Sat., Dec. 15, 7:30 p.m.

Sun., Dec. 16, 2:00 p.m.

Fri., Dec. 21, 7:30 p.m.

Sat., Dec. 22, 3:00 p.m.

Sat., Dec. 22, 7:30 p.m.

Sun., Dec. 23, 2:00 p.m.

Fri., Dec. 28, 7:30 p.m.

Sat., Dec. 29, 3:00 p.m.

Sat., Dec. 29, 7:30 p.m.

Sun., Dec. 30, 2:00 p.m.


THE HOW AND THE WHY by Sarah Treem

Feb. 1 – 24, 2019

Fri., Feb. 1, 8:00 p.m. Opening Night

Sat., Feb. 2, 8:00 p.m.

Sun., Feb. 3, 2:00 p.m.

Thurs., Feb. 7, 8:00 p.m.

Fri., Feb. 8, 8:00 p.m.

Sat., Feb. 9, 8:00 p.m.

Sun., Feb. 10, 2:00 p.m.

Thurs., Feb. 14, 8:00 p.m.

Fri., Feb. 15, 8:00 p.m.

Sat., Feb. 16, 8:00 p.m.

Sun., Feb. 17, 2:00 p.m.

Thurs., Feb. 21, 8:00 p.m.

Fri., Feb. 22, 8:00 p.m.

Sat., Feb. 23, 8:00 p.m.

Sun., Feb. 24, 2:00 p.m.



Mar. 22 – Apr. 14, 2019

Thurs., Mar. 21, 8:00 p.m. Preview

Fri., Mar. 22, 8:00 p.m. Opening Night

Sat., Mar. 23, 8:00 p.m.

Sun., Mar. 24, 2:00 p.m.

Thurs., Mar. 28, 8:00 p.m.

Fri., Mar. 29, 8:00 p.m.

Sat., Mar. 30, 8:00 p.m.

Sun., Mar. 31, 2:00 p.m.

Thurs., Apr. 4, 8:00 p.m.

Fri., Apr. 5, 8:00 p.m.

Sat., Apr. 6, 8:00 p.m.

Sun., Apr. 7, 2:00 p.m.

Thurs., Apr. 11, 8:00 p.m.

Fri., Apr. 12, 8:00 p.m.

Sat., Apr. 13, 8:00 p.m.

Sun., Apr. 14, 2:00 p.m.



May 24 – June 16, 2019

Thurs., May 23, 8:00 p.m. Preview

Fri., May 24, 8:00 p.m. Opening Night

Sat., May 25, 8:00 p.m.

Sun., May 26, 2:00 p.m.

Thurs., May 30, 8:00 p.m.

Fri., May 31, 8:00 p.m.

Sat., June 1, 8:00 p.m.

Sun., June 2, 2:00 p.m.

Thurs., June 6, 8:00 p.m.

Fri., June 7, 8:00 p.m.

Sat., June 8, 8:00 p.m.

Sun., June 9, 2:00 p.m.

Thurs., June 13, 8:00 p.m.

Fri., June 14, 8:00 p.m.

Sat., June 15, 8:00 p.m.

Sun., June 16, 2:00 p.m.


STARGAZERS by Reina Hardy

July 12 – Aug. 4, 2019

Thurs., July 11, 8:00 p.m. Preview

Fri., July. 12, 8:00 p.m. Opening Night

Sat., July. 13, 8:00 p.m.

Sun., July. 14, 2:00 p.m.

Thurs., July. 18, 8:00 p.m.

Fri., July. 19, 8:00 p.m.

Sat., July. 20, 8:00 p.m.

Sun., July. 21, 2:00 p.m.

Thurs., July. 25, 8:00 p.m.

Fri., July. 26, 8:00 p.m.

Sat., July. 27, 8:00 p.m.

Sun., July. 28, 2:00 p.m.

Thurs., Aug. 1, 8:00 p.m.

Fri., Aug. 2, 8:00 p.m.

Sat., Aug. 3, 8:00 p.m.

Sun., Aug. 4, 2:00 p.m.


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