The Aurora Fox Arts Center announces their 35th Season, featuring multiple area premieres and a newly developed musical play.

Season 35 will be Helen R. Murray’s second year at the helm.

“I have endeavored through these season selections to speak to a wide demographic,” says Murray. “With how diverse Aurora is, I want to give voice and representation to different parts of our city and to all the families who call Aurora home.”

The Aurora Fox’s 35th season will begin in September with the regional premiere of Miss You Like Hell, a new musical with music and lyrics by Erin McKeown and book by, Quiara Alegría Hudes, co-creator of In the Heights. In Miss You, Beatriz, an undocumented citizen facing deportation to Mexico, arrives in Philadelphia to convince her estranged 16-year-old daughter, Olivia, to join her on a road trip to California. Along the way, they encounter a mosaic of characters as diverse and weird as America itself. But the hard truth of Beatriz’s undocumented status threatens the already fragile relationship between this mother and daughter. Helen R. Murray will direct.

The Aurora Fox’s holiday show will be a remount of last year’s seasonal satire, the Second City’s Twist Your Dickens. The Fox welcomes back last year’s exuberant cast to reprise their roles in this zany sendup of the Charles Dickens holiday classic, A Christmas Carol. Matthew R. Wilson returns as director.

People who were intrigued by the socio-political dark comedies like the controversial surprise hit of last season, Hooded or Being Black for Dummies, will love the first show of Election Year, 2020. Robert Askins’s The Squirrels is a fiery look at race and class in America.

In Askins’s newest play, winter is on its way. And the squirrels are getting restless as mistrust begins to grow between the rich Gray Squirrels and the outcast Fox Squirrels. When a wily outsider gets in the mix, he ignites an epic animal kingdom soap opera, teeming with rebel armies, conspiracies, and divided family loyalties. No squirrel will go unharmed in this deliciously demented regional premiere about classism, gentrification and racial tensions in America.

February will bring a world premiere to the Aurora Fox Arts Center, by way of a brand new version of Secrets of the Universe and Other Songs. This reworked musical play by Marc Acito is based on the real-life friendship between Albert Einstein and internationally renowned singer Marian Anderson.

In 1937, Albert Einstein, then a physics professor at Princeton University, received a call. World famous classical vocalist, Marian Anderson, was giving a concert at the McCarter Theatre in Princeton. But because Anderson was African-American, she was denied a hotel room. Instead, she accepted an invitation to stay at Professor Einstein’s home. Secrets tells the story of a unique relationship between these titanic figures, a union of hearts, minds and souls in a quest to unlock the secrets of the universe.

Murray, who directed the world premiere of Acito’s nonmusical version of Secrets, teams up with him again, as he turns the work into a musical piece and gives Aurora Fox audiences a first look at this brand-new iteration.

The penultimate show of Season 35, For Peter Pan on Her 70th Birthday, gives the Aurora Fox an opportunity to speak to a large swath of our population underrepresented on American stages – senior citizens and the family members who care for aging parents.

In this stunning work by award winning writer Sarah Ruhl, we meet Anne, for whom playing Peter Pan at her hometown children’s theater is one of her fondest, and most formative memories. Now, 50 years later, Neverland calls again, casting her and her siblings back to this faraway dreamscape where the refusal to grow up confronts the inevitability of growing old. For Peter Pan is a tale that flies in the face of time, as age comes for us all and we still keep searching for a second youth. Helen R. Murray directs.

The final show of the season opens the Aurora Fox’s doors to the entire family. Disney’s Freaky Friday the musical is based on the celebrated novel by Mary Rodgers, and is a hilarious, contemporary update of the hit Disney films by the same title. In it, a mother and daughter discover what it is to be a family and to experience each other’s lives first-hand, if only for a day. When an overworked mother and her teenage daughter magically swap bodies, they have just one day to put things right again before mom’s big wedding.

Boasting a score by Pulitzer Prize-winning composers Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey of Next to Normal and a book by Parenthood’s Bridget Carpenter, Freaky Friday is a delightful show for anyone with a perfectly imperfect family. Colorado-based theatre-maker Kenny Moten will return to direct the season closer, after his incredible success with this year’s Caroline or Change.

In addition to Season 35’s full-scale productions, the Aurora Fox will continue with its Cabaret Series featuring intimate performances by local and national talent. The Aurora Fox will also expand partnerships with other area artists by welcoming Phamaly Theatre Company for their winter production and in October, Control Group Productions will partner with the Fox to create a one-of-a- kind, interactive haunted theater experience.

“I realized as I put the season lineup together that the connective theme was one of family, both born into and created, and of many makeups,” Murray said. “We even bookend the season with stories about mothers and daughters. I am energized to bring this kind of artistry to the community and to be able to tell an expansive tapestry of stories.”

In addition to the regular season productions, other ancillary programming includes:

  • Studio Cabarets
  • New Year’s Cabaret
  • Athena Project Play Festival
  • Phamaly Theatre
  • Control Group Production’s Haunted Theater Experience Little Foxes Summer Theatre

Season Subscriptions go on sale May 15th