Continuing an emphasis on new work by local artists, Portland Stage will produce two plays by Portland playwrights in its upcoming season. The theater will stage “Refuge/Malja” by Bess Welden this fall and produce Monica Wood’s new play, “The Half-Light,” in winter 2019.

The theater’s executive and artistic director, Anita Stewart, announced the new season Monday night at a party for subscribers and sponsors. The 2018-19 season will be the theater’s 45th.

The theater has a long history of working with local actors and writers, and produced Wood’s “Papermaker” three years ago.

The full lineup looks like this: “Ben Butler” by Richard Strand, a true story about a runaway slave and a Union Army general, Sept. 25-Oct. 21; “Refuge/Malja,” which explores what it means to communicate across languages and cultures, with Arabic translations by Ali Al Mshakeel, Oct. 30-Nov. 18; “The Importance of Being Earnest,” Oscar Wilde’s popular comedy, which Stewart said was “the No. 1, A-1 vote getter” in audience surveys, Jan. 22-Feb. 17; “The Half-Light,” a drama about love and purpose and the ghosts that live within us, Feb. 26-March 24; “Skeleton Crew” by Dominique Morisseau, about a Detroit auto plant and the great recession, April 2-21, 2019; “The Last Five Years” by Jason Robert Brown, a story told almost entirely through song about the beginning and ending of a love affair, April 30-May 19, 2019.

The theater will return to “A Christmas Carol,” staging the Charles Dickens’ piece Dec. 1-24, and will collaborate again with Maine State Music Theatre in August to produce “Nunsense.” The two theaters have collaborated on a summer show in each of the last two seasons. The production of “Nunsense” extends that relationship at least another season.

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: pphbkeyes

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