Clybourne Park 

Clybourne Park play still
The West Coast premiere of Clybourne Park at American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco

This “spiky and damningly insightful new comedy,” according to the New York Times, begins in a house in a white Chicago neighborhood in 1959 that the owners are selling to an African American family (in fact, the very house the Younger family planned to move into in Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun), stirring the outrage of their hilariously horrifying neighbors. Then the story jumps 50 years ahead to the same house, only this time it’s a black family selling to white buyers as the neighborhood flips white again. Written by Bruce Norris and here directed by Portland Center Stage Artistic Director Chris Coleman, the play grapples with the fraught topical issues of identity, race, and gentrification with such wit and entertainment that it won a holy trinity of dramatic awards: a Tony, an Olivier, and a Pulitzer. —GH 

Ten ChimneysApr 23–May 26

Carol Channing once said of the legendary Wisconsin estate of Broadway power-couple Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne: “What the Vatican is to Catholics, Ten Chimneys is to actors.” Jeffrey Hatcher’s comedy follows a rehearsal of The Seagull on the estate, during which life begins to mirror Chekhovian dysfunction. This play about power players will fittingly be our first chance to see Artists Rep’s new artistic director, Dámaso Rodriguez, at work. —AS   

The People’s Republic of PortlandApr 30–June 9

Just when we thought no jokes were left to make at the expense of our fetishized city, along comes comic-pathos powerhouse Lauren Weedman. A veteran of The Daily Show, Hung, and a slew of one-woman performances, Weedman has the chops (and the narcissism) to make it about her, instead of the same old jokes about PDX, and maybe even help us see our city in a new light. —AS   

The Left Hand of DarknessMay 2–June 2

It’s hard to imagine a more utopian project: Portland Playhouse, the city’s most heavy-hitting young theater, teams up with the multi-media performance mavens Hand2Mouth Theatre to tackle the most significant work of the most significant local writer, Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness—otherwise known as the book that elevated fantasy to high literature. —AS   

A Bright New Boise  | May 31–June 23

This breakthrough tragicomedy by firecracker-hot Idaho playwright Samuel D. Hunter tells the story of a small-town big-box employee waiting for the rapture. In a coup, Third Rail’s production will be directed by John Vreeke, who directed it at DC’s renowned Woolly Mammoth. —SC  

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