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Chris Coleman starts his fourth season as artistic director at Portland Center Stage by adding another show to the next season.


Among shows announced Monday are a couple of pocket-sized productions bound for the 288-seat Winningstad Theatre, a fantasy musical, a modern 'Merchant of Venice' and the Tennessee Williams' classic 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.' Other productions take place in the Newmark Theatre.

'The Santaland Diaries' returns for Christmas, and there's also '36 Views,' a promising new work by Naomi Iizuka.

Coleman said Monday that annual subscriptions to Center Stage have regained the 8,000 mark. They have topped 11,000 in the past.

The 2003-2004 schedule:

• 'Topdog/Underdog,' by Suzan-Lori Parks. This is a Pulitzer Prize winner about two lowlife brothers obsessed with a card game. Sept. 23-Nov. 8, Winningstad Theatre.

• 'Bat Boy: The Musical,' by Keythe Farley, Brian Flemming and Laurence O'Keefe. An alien child disrupts a family. Oct. 28-Nov. 23.

• 'The Santaland Diaries,' by David Sedaris, and 'A Christmas Memory,' by Truman Capote. Actor Steve Wilkerson reprises successes in both. Dec. 2-Dec. 23.

• 'The Merchant of Venice,' by William Shakespeare. Hungarian hot shot Robert Alfoldi directs a modern version in his U.S. debut. Jan. 13-Feb. 1.

• '36 Views,' by Naomi Iizuka. Art hunters in Southeast Asia discover an important Japanese pillow book that might be fake. Feb. 10-Feb. 29.

• 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,' by Tennessee Williams. Coleman directs Williams' best play, about the ultimate dysfunctional Southern family. March 9-April 4.

• 'Fully Committed,' by Becky Mode. Mark Setlock repeats his off-Broadway hit role as a reservations clerk at New York's ritziest restaurant. April 13-May 30, Winningstad Theatre.

Center stage subscriptions are $56-$322. Renewals on sale through March 31; new subscriptions from June 2. Single tickets go on sale Aug. 1. Call 503-274-6588.

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