2017–18 season to include Euripides’ Electra, the new play Park and Lake and a reprisal of TTT’s first show, The Good Person of Szechwan
Ten Thousand Things Founder & Artistic Director Michelle Hensley to retire after 2017–18 season
(Minneapolis, MN — April 18, 2017) — Ten Thousand Things today announced that Founder and Artistic Director Michelle Hensley will retire after the 2017–2018 season. The company also announced that Hensley’s final season will include Euripides’ Electra; Park and Lake, a new work devised by Kira Obolensky and veteran TTT comic actors; and a reprisal of the very first show TTT did, The Good Person of Szechwan.
“Thanks to Michelle’s inspired vision and tireless leadership, TTT has brought high-quality theater to thousands of diverse audience members since our founding in 1990,” said board chair Cindy Kaiser. “With her guidance, we’ve increased our annual performances from 12 to 98 and grown our annual audiences from 800 to nearly 8,000. We’ve insisted on fair compensation for our artists and staff, championed new plays and playwrights, and promoted artists of color and gender-inclusive casting. Our annual operating budget has grown from $13,000 to more than $750,000.”
A transition committee of board members, staff and members of TTT’s Artist Core has been at work for more than a year, planning for a smooth transition and replacement for Hensley.
“It has been the joy of my life to create Ten Thousand Things with all our wonderful audiences over the past 29 years, and to see our unique vision for theater now spreading out around the country,” said Hensley. “As I approach age 60, I believe there is another chapter waiting in my life. I don’t know what it is, but I am excited to start exploring! I am utterly confident in the fantastic artists, staff and board members who understand TTT so well and give it such stability, as well as excited about the possibilities new leadership will bring.”
About the 2017–18 Season
The season opens October 12–November 5 with Electra by Euripides, the story of a young woman who cannot rid herself of her desire for revenge. The show is directed by Rebecca Novick, who has worked with TTT’s model at California Shakespeare Theater. Electra features Michelle Barber, Meghan Kreidler, Kurt Kwan, Audrey Park, Mikell Sapp, Ricardo Vazquez and Karen Wiese-Thompson.
In February 2018, TTT tours Park and Lake, a hilarious new work about a motley crew of workers at a small-town car wash, devised by Kira Obolensky and the cast. Michelle Hensley and Luverne Seifert will co-direct the show, featuring Stephen Cartmell, Sun Mee Chomet, Joy Dolo, H. Adam Harris, George Keller, Thomasina Petrus, Kimberly Richardson, Luverne Seifert and Eric "Pogi" Sumangil. The show plays February 16- March 11.
The 2017–18 season closes with the very first show TTT produced, Bertolt Brecht’s The Good Person of Szechwan, a tale of a woman’s struggle to use a gift of gold from the gods to help her impoverished friends and to keep herself financially solvent at the same time. Michelle Hensley directs the show,featuring Sun Mee Chomet, Joy Dolo, Kurt Kwan, Elise Langer, Harry Waters Jr, Karen Wiese-Thompson and Max Wojtanowicz. It plays May 10–June 3.
“I am pleased that TTT will be turning to the Greeks again for our classic play, with Rebecca Novick’s skilled directorial hand and her great understanding of TTT’s audiences,” said Hensley. “And because humor is so essential to TTT, I’m thrilled that many TTT veteran comic actors, including our Fox Distinguished Acting Fellow Luverne Seifert, will come together for one last romp with playwright in residence, Kira Obolensky, for the hilarious Park and Lake. Finally, the circle that is so important to Ten Thousand Things brings me back one last time to the Brecht play that started it all. I am eager to see how our very changed world will shed new light on this timeless story.”
Tickets for Ten Thousand Things’ 2017-18 season will go on sale in September.