Portland, OR. After a pandemic-induced shift to virtual and filmed performances, Portland Center Stage (PCS) aims for a major comeback to live theater with the new 2021-2022 season and JAW New Play Festival. One of the city’s most prominent theater groups, Portland Center Stage (PCS) has officially announced its first live theater events since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo credit, Joan Marcus) With the state reopening following a full lift on state pandemic restrictions by Gov. Kate Brown on June 30th, the doors to the historic theater, The Armory, will finally reopen to the public for the 2021 JAW New Play Festival. The festival is free to attend and takes place from July 23-25th, with both in-person and virtual attendance options being offered.

The 2021-2022 season is a seven-show lineup that will kick off in October. It features four plays that had been previously scheduled, including the return of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, which was canceled a week after it opened because of the pandemic, along with the celebrated production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch and August Wilson’s iconic story of freedom, justice, and salvation, Gem of the Ocean.

Three newly announced titles will provide audiences with the opportunity to revel together including Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Freestyle Love Supreme and Rent.

This year’s JAW features Inda Craig-Galván’s A Hit Dog Will Holler, Ty Defoe’s Trans World, Rinne Groff’s The Red Beads (based on The Singer of His Sorrows by Osip Dymov), and Kate Hamill’s Ms. Holmes & Ms. Watson – Apt. 2B. Five local teen playwrights have also been commissioned to develop short scripts that will be read as part of the festival: Natalia Bermudez, Moss Johnson, Aaron Leonard-Graham, Becca McCormick, and Nevaeh Warren.

A 2016 JAW Workshop

Directors say PCS 2021-2022 season is designed to lift and nourish spirits with energetic, imaginative worlds on stage. “This powerhouse lineup of plays and musicals resonates deeply for me as we create a space on stage to examine resilience within the framework of bright theatricality, sharp humor, and full-hearted connection,” Artistic Director Marissa Wolf said.

Freestyle Love Supreme
Anthony Veneziale, Aneesa Folds, Arthur Lewis, James Monroe Iglehart, and Chris Sullivan in “Freestyle Love Supreme” at The Booth Theatre. Photo by Joan Marcus.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Select cast members in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time from Portland Center Stage’s 2020 production.
Photo by Owen Carey/Courtesy of Portland Center Stage at The Armory

Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Maria Del Castillo, Jasmine Linée Wood, Nsayi Matingou, Delphon “DJ” Curtis Jr. and Ithica Tell in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” from Portland Center Stage’s 2019-2020 season.
Photo by Owen Carey/Courtesy of Portland Center Stage at The Armory

From PCS:

TICKETS AND INFORMATION The JAW New Play Festival events are FREE and can be attended in person at The Armory, or online. Audiences are encouraged to reserve their general admission tickets in advance for the JAW Play Readings; in-person walk-ups will be welcome based on availability. The Press Play performances surrounding the readings don’t require a ticket. Community Artist Labs are in-person only. Masks will be required in all areas, except for those at seated tables, enjoying a beer in the mezzanine bar.

Portland Center Stage is among the top 20 regional theaters in the country. Established in 1988 as a branch of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the company became independent in 1994. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Marissa Wolf and Managing Director Cynthia Fuhrman, the company produces a mix of classic, contemporary, and world premiere productions, along with a variety of high-quality education and community programs. As part of its dedication to new play development, the company has produced 28 world premieres, many of which were developed at its new works festival, JAW.

Portland Center Stage’s home is at The Armory, a historic building originally constructed in 1891. After a major renovation, The Armory opened in 2006 as the first building on the National Register of Historic Places, and the first performing arts venue in the country, to achieve a LEED Platinum rating. Portland Center Stage is committed to identifying and interrupting instances of racism and all forms of oppression, through the principles of inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility (IDEA).

Learn more at pcs.org/idea. Portland Center Stage’s 2021-2022 season is funded in part by Season Superstars the Regional Arts and Culture Council and the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation; Supporting Sponsors the Oregon Arts Commission, a state agency funded by the state of Oregon and the National Endowment for the Arts, and US Bank; and Producing Sponsors Ellyn Bye, Ray and Bobbi Davis, and Ronni LaCroute