Studio 58 unveils 2019-20 season with a gender-reversed Antony and Cleopatra and a contemporary Odyssey

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      A gender-reversed Antony and Cleopatra, a modern adaptation of Homer's Odyssey, and the off-Broadway musical Urinetown are all on the roster for Studio 58 next season.

      The just-announced 2019-20 lineup at the theatre training school opens September 26 to October 13 with Shakespeare's story of the Egyptian queen and her lover, directed by Zee Zee Theatre managing director Cameron Mackenzie. Cleopatra has been a huge inspiration for Mackenzie's drag alter ego, the Queen of East Van Isolde N. Barron.

      "She is one of Shakespeare’s most complex characters and one of history's most fascinating figures. An incredibly accomplished states-person and intellectual, she co-ruled with her father from 14, was crowned at 18, commanded armies at 21, spoke nine languages including the common Egyptian Arabic and was the only ruler in her family's 300 years that did so. She brought 22 years of stability and prosperity to the kingdom she fought so hard to protect. Using this historical perspective, I am so excited to delve into this love story," he said in the  release today.

      Carmen Aguirre, meanwhile, is on tap to direct Anon(ymous) (November 14 to December 1), Naomi Iizuka's contemporary spin on the Odyssey, in a story of a present-day teenage refugee who crosses the United States in a quest to find his disappeared mother. The multimedia world will be conjured with video projections by Candelario Andrade and compositions by Joelysa Pankanea. In the announcement, Aguirre says the "play's biggest draw is that it spotlights the invisible brown work force of North America".

      Greg Kotis and Mark Hollmann's Urinetown: The Musical runs January 30 to February 16 at the Langara campus theatre, with Courtenay Dobbie in the director's chair. Focusing on a big city's water shortage, it celebrates the musical song-and-dance form while sharply satirizing capitalist greed at the expense of environmental catastrophe.  

      FourPlay: New Work by Excited Writers wraps the season with its festival of one-act plays, featuring original work by students and recent grads, under the tutelage of playwright Aaron Bushkowsky.

      Tickets are available now at