PORTLAND — The current theater season is still very much in progress, but on Monday night, Portland Stage Company paused briefly to look ahead.

Anita Stewart, the theater’s artistic and executive director, and Daniel Burson, education director, stood on the set of the play “Heroes,” which opens tonight, to give donors, board members and subscribers a preview of the 2012-13 season.

The wine-and-cheese social event was a new twist for the theater, which traditionally has announced its programming decisions as part of its regular communication with subscribers, ticket buyers and the community at large.

“It seemed like the thing to do,” said Stewart. “It gives people an opportunity to see the process of putting a season together and gets them talking about it out in the community and among their friends.”

Assembling a season involves balancing several factors, including the cost of hiring actors, the shows that are available and the desires of theater-goers.

This year, more than 1,000 people told Portland Stage what they wanted to see on the schedule in the coming year. The play with the most nominations was Wendy Wasserstein’s 1992 “The Sisters Rosensweig,” a story about three Jewish-American sisters reuniting for a birthday in London. It will open the season Sept. 25.

The season also will include two world premieres, a popular comedy that has been a staple of community and summer-stock theater for years, and an obscure title or two.

Noteworthy on the schedule is another new play by Maine-bred playwright John Cariani, “Love/Sick.” Portland Stage has produced two of his plays, “Almost, Maine” and “Last Gas.”

“Love/Sick” is a series of vignettes about modern love, set in suburbia. It will open a year from now, in March 2013.

Cariani will be in Portland in May to work on the play as part of the theater’s Little Festival of the Unexpected, in which playwrights have the chance to present new work with a cast of actors and in front of live audiences.

Also getting its premiere will be a comedy by a Massachusetts playwright, William Donnelly. The show “Homestead Crossing” was part of last year’s Little Festival, and had the title of “Ash.”

It’s about a long-married couple and their quiet routine, which is interrupted by a young stranger and her boyfriend. The unexpected appearance of the strange young couple prompts the older lovers to question where they are in their lives and where they are going.

Perhaps the most interesting and daring title in the new season is “Greater Tuna.” The off-beat comedy has been produced countless times across America, usually by community theaters. Stewart has hired two experienced actors for the show — Dustin Tucker and Tom Ford. Both have worked many times at Portland Stage, and approached Stewart about their desire to do the show.

It’s a daring programming choice because “Greater Tuna” is widely known and overexposed. But Stewart predicted that the experience and acting abilities of Tucker and Ford will distinguish this production.

The other titles in the season are “A Song at Twilight” by Noel Coward, and “Wittenberg” by David Davalos. For the holidays, Portland Stage also will produce “A Christmas Carol” and “The Santaland Diaries.”

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or at: [email protected]

Twitter: pphbkeyes