We’ve been eagerly awaiting What If? Productions’ third season, and it seems we’ll be well-rewarded for our patience. Hearts Full of Blood, the first show in the company’s 2012-13 lineup, opens this Wednesday.

This will be the show’s East coast premiere, having debuted in Chicago to rave reviews. Based on a true story, the play traces the disastrous attempt of happily married couple Jacob and Allison to set up two mismatched mutual friends. Though the double date starts harmlessly enough, by the end of Act 1 the story takes a much darker turn when a secret that threatens Jacob and Allison’s seemingly perfect marriage surfaces. This somber turn of events is juxtaposed with playwright James Asmus’ wry, pop-culture-oriented sense of humor. Actress Beth Curley says that the laughs are crucial because “you need that balance of humor to really contrast the overwhelming twist and emotions that pour of out of the show unexpectedly.” Blood should be a gut-wrenching, bittersweet pleasure, especially for the young professional crowd who will see the best and worst of themselves on stage.

Asmus is a longtime performer and writer with the the New Colony Theater of Chicago, and the What If? production of his play continues a long-standing partnership between these two sister-theaters. The New Colony is a new-works theater which produces only in-house written pieces. A few of the Colony’s current company members graduated from the College of Charleston, further strengthening the two theaters’ ties.

Last spring, What If? put on another East coast premiere of a Colony play, Five Lesbian Eating a Quiche. This comedy tells the story of five lesbians in “any-town” America who meet at the Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein in 1956. Quiche won the New York City Fringe Festival and continues its off-Broadway run at the SoHo Playhouse in NYC through the end of November.

After Hearts Full of Blood, What If? will make its first foray into a large musical with a production of Little Shop of Horrors. Later in the season, the company will also debut the regional premiere of sci-fi mystery Dark Matters, the world premiere of The Practice Child, winner of their first annual Playwrights Festival, and the French musical Jacques Brel Is Alive & Well & Living In Paris.

Tickets for Hearts Full of Blood are $18 for adults and $12 for students. For more information, visit whatifproductions.org or call (843) 793-1972.