Big Summer Ahead at Bay Street

Next summer the Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor will open its Mainstage season with the world premiere of “The Man in the Ceiling,”
Jules Feiffer’s musical, “The Man in the Ceiling,” was first presented in May in a staged reading at Bay Street. Bunnii Buglione

Jules Feiffer has been more productive in his 80s than many people are in a lifetime. Since 2014, he has published two graphic novels, “Cousin Joseph” and “Kill My Mother,” and next summer the Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor will open its Mainstage season with the world premiere of “The Man in the Ceiling,” a musical comedy based on his 1995 children’s book of the same name.

The play, which will open during the Memorial Day weekend, has music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa, a prolific composer perhaps best known for his work on Broadway. The book is by the Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist, Mr. Feiffer, who lives in East Hampton, with direction by Jeffrey Seller, the producer of the Broadway megahit “Hamilton.”

The second Mainstage production will be “Intimate Apparel” by another Pulitzer-winner, the playwright Lynn Nottage. The play received awards from the Drama Desk, the Outer Critics Circle, Lucille Lortel, and two Obies after its 2004 Off Broadway premiere. Scott Schwartz, Bay Street’s artistic director, will direct the production, which will open on July 4. 

“As You Like It,” a co-production with Manhattan’s Classic Stage Company, will complete Bay Street’s summer season. Shakespeare’s pastoral comedy will be directed by John Doyle, the stage company’s artistic director and winner of Tony and Drama Desk awards for his 2005 Broadway production of “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.”

“I’m so excited about Bay Street’s 2017 productions,” Scott Schwartz, the theater’s artistic director, said by email from Japan, where he recently opened the Tokyo production of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” “In putting the upcoming season together, we have tried to give our audience the broadest and most diverse season possible. From a world premiere musical to Shakespeare to a revival of a play by a dazzling contemporary writer, Bay Street will offer so much to the East End audience. And we have thrilling artists involved in all the shows — Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winners. I know they will create theatrical magic on our Mainstage.”

“The Man in the Ceiling,” which had a staged reading at Bay Street in May as part of the venue’s New Works Festival, is the story of Jimmy Jibbett, a 12-year-old who is bad at sports, mediocre at school, and a disappointment to his father. The one thing he does well is draw cartoons, and his dream is to be recognized for what he loves doing most.

Esther Mills, the protagonist of “Intimate Apparel,” is a skilled African- American seamstress with her own successful business making lingerie for society women and prostitutes in New York City in 1905. She has a failed relationship with a man who is working on the Panama Canal, complicated friendships with the women in her life, and an unlikely bond with Mr. Marks, a Hasidic shopkeeper who shares his exquisite finds of fabrics and perhaps something deeper. The play is based on the life of Ms. Nottage’s great-grandmother.

In “As You Like It,” Rosalind, after being banished from the court by her uncle, disguises herself as a man, Ganymede, and embarks on a hilarious and romantic journey with her cousin Celia and Touchstone the Jester, to the Forest of Arden, where her father and his friends live in exile. Life, love, aging, the natural world, and death are central themes. 

The Classic Stage Company, now in its 49th season, is dedicated to re-imagining classic stories for contemporary audiences.