City Theatre marks its 40th season with the world premiere commission "Holliday With Mulligan," a music-filled portrait of Judy Holliday, one of three plays announced for 2014-15.
The romantic romp "Midsummer," described as a play with songs, and the return of Daniel Beaty in another world premiere, the solo show "Mr. Joy," also are on the roster.
While they were at it, City has announced another event. The South Side theater will host "The Pajama Men," created and performed by comedy duo Shenoah Allen and Mark Chavez, April 27-Sept. 7. The improv artists have earned five stars from the London Times and a recent appearance sparked the headline "loony, indescribable fun" in The Washington Post.
Looking further into the future, here's a taste of what's to come at City next season:
• "Holliday With Mulligan" by Willy Holtzman. The writer of "The Morini Strad," sprinkles tunes throughout the story that begins in New York City, 1964, as "Born Yesterday" star Judy Holliday talks about her rise to fame amid the politics of the 1950s. Her "dumb blonde" image fades away and genius IQ comes to the fore as she charts her show-biz encounters with Leonard Bernstein, Marilyn Monroe and her long-term love, jazz musician Gerry Mulligan.
• "Midsummer" by David Greig ("The Monster in the Hall") and Gordon McIntyre. The New York Times' dubbed "Midsummer" a full-fledged rom-com of the kind that Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan perfected on screen. In the case of Bob and Helena, it's a legendary weekend that just might be a final fling with youth.
• "Mr. Joy" by Daniel Beaty. The frequent visitor to City, author of "Through the Night" and "Breath & Imagination," wonders, "What happened to Mr. Joy?" Residents of a Harlem community reflect on the impact when the Chinese-American's shoe repair shop, a neighborhood staple for decades, closes its doors.
City will announce the full six-play season, including three more new works, in the near future. Customers who subscribe for season tickets by March 30 have the chance to win a $500 Amazon gift card. Details at 412-431-CITY (2489) or citytheatrecompany.org