Bay Street Theater Previews Mainstage Season

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This season at Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor, there will be world premieres. There will be art. And there will be revolutions—dramatic uprisings, that is.

On Monday, May 12, patrons will get a little taste.

“Curtain Up!”—the theater’s third annual spring benefit honoring Bonnie Comley, Stewart Lane and Pia and Jimmy Zankel at Joe’s Pub in Manhattan—will preview the summer Mainstage season, “Art & Revolution,” with performances by the stars and creators of the theater’s three upcoming productions: “Conviction,” “Travesties” and “My Life is a Musical.”

“We’re trying to up the ante and shake things up and do daring work,” explained Scott Schwartz, the theater’s new artistic director, of the 2014 season. “But work that is really fun for the audience.”

And for Mr. Schwartz. He is directing the season’s opener, “Conviction,” a world premiere from playwright Carey Crim that immediately captured him upon reading. The story follows Tom Hodges, a caring teacher portrayed by Garret Dillahunt of “Raising Hope” and “12 Years a Slave,” whose student accuses him of crossing a serious line.

Running Tuesday, May 27, through June 15, the modern drama—which also stars Sarah Paulson of “American Horror Story” and Elizabeth Reaser, who appeared in the “Twilight” films—digs beneath the surface of a happy suburban existence to explore the damage done when seeds of mistrust of planted.

“In the end, when we’re in a relationship, whether with a spouse or parent or child or friend, we ultimately cannot know the full truth about the other person. All we can do is live with conviction about who they are,” Mr. Schwartz said. “We choose to live with a certain amount of suspension of disbelief and trust in the people we’re with. The play, it’s complicated and funny and moving. It’s very, very human.”

Next up, staging from June 24 through July 20, is “Travesties,” a Tony Award-winning comedy classic by Tom Stoppard, directed by Gregory Boyd and starring Richard Kind—best known for his seven-year run as Paul Lassiter on “Spin City”—who will be attending the spring benefit.

“It’s smart, zany and crazy,” Mr. Schwartz said. “There’s pie fights and burlesque dances and incredibly brilliant wordplay. It happens to be a favorite of mine. And it’s a play that often doesn’t get produced, and I don’t know why. We’re changing that.”

Rounding out the season is another world premiere, “My Life is a Musical,” with book, music and lyrics by Adam Overett. The production only came to Mr. Schwartz’s attention in December. Luckily, he had room to squeeze it in, the artistic director said, from July 29 through August 31.

“It’s a show about finding your true self and believing in that, and being willing to share that with the world,” Mr. Schwartz said. “We all, in some way, feel different. We all, in some way, feel like there’s a part of ourselves we don’t want to share with the world. What this musical is ultimately saying is you’ve gotta learn to show who you really are to the world and trust that will be okay. And I think that’s an important thing to say.”

For more information about “Curtain Up!” or the 2014 Mainstage season, call 725-9500 or visit baystreet.org.

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