Photo Nick Vclek
Photo Nick Vclek

This fall, as director of Frank Theatre, I will stage Durrenmatt’s 1956 tragicomedy “The Visit.” While this classic play is recognized as the story of a town that sells its soul for a bailout, staging the work at this time also echoes the #MeToo movement. 

Claire Zachanassian returns to the small village where, as a pregnant teen, she was run out of town when the father denied paternity and rigged the trial against her. Now, as the richest woman in the world, she offers the town and each of its citizens boatloads of cash to rectify the situation, raising the question — what is justice and what is revenge? 

Later in the year, I am directing “Marie and Rosetta,” about the life of Sister Rosetta Tharpe, a powerhouse musician who had a huge influence on Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, and Etta James, among others. She came to fame as a gospel singer, was a rival of Mahalia Jackson, then crossed over to secular music and was shunned by the church community. She was married several times, and also maintained a longtime relationship with her musical partner Marie Knight. Under-recognized for her talents (gee, that problem hasn’t gone away, has it?), she had an enormous influence on rock and roll.