Season Announcement

Addison's WaterTower Theatre stacks its new season with new work

Addison's WaterTower Theatre stacks its new season with new work

A Doll's House at WaterTower Theatre
WaterTower will stage Joanie Schultz's adaptation of A Doll's House. Photo by Evan Michael Woods

WaterTower Theatre's artistic director Joanie Schultz is finding her groove, with the 2018-19 season — the second full one she has planned — reflecting her commitment to new work.

The five mainstage shows and three add-ons include a world premiere, four regional premieres, a new adaptation of a dramatic classic, and the return of both a holiday hit and Detour: A Festival of New Work.

"One of the things I love about WaterTower Theatre is that it is a place where we come together," says Schultz. "We come to the theater to unite as artists and audiences in events that create unique and inspiring experiences, taking us out of our everyday lives and into the realm of imagination. Our next season is about exactly that: coming together. Be it in celebration, hope, faith, love, perseverance, or risk, the stories of this season are of people reaching out and trying to overcome divides between each other."

It all starts with a twist on a familiar play. Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House has been condensed into "90 heart-stopping minutes" by Schultz, who will also direct. This new adaptation stays true to the original time period while showcasing its relevance in today's world, as Nora and Torvald Helmer are confronted with blackmail, secrets, and shame. Ibsen shocked the world in 1879 when A Doll’s House became the first play of its kind, and now Schultz is shaping his immortal words into a powerful thriller. It runs October 12-November 4, 2018.

The season continues with the regional premiere of Tony Meneses' quirky and heart-filled Guadalupe in the Guest Room. Unlikely housemates Guadalupe and her son-in-law, Steve, connect through shared grief and bond over Mexican soap operas. As Guadalupe translates from English to Spanish the children's books her deceased daughter has written, she discovers that understanding doesn't always require speaking the same language. Christie Vela directs the show, which runs February 22-March 17, 2019.

Associate artistic director Kelsey Leigh Ervi directs up-and-coming playwright Chelsea Marcantel's newest, Everything is Wonderful. It's the story of Miri, a young woman who finds herself back in the Amish community after having been excommunicated five years earlier. Following a tragic car accident that killed her two brothers, Miri finds that her parents have taken in the car's wayward driver. She struggles with the contradictions of the culture she left behind, while being forced to confront Abram, the young Amish man whose actions drove her away. It runs April 19-May 12, 2019.

The fourth show of the mainstage season follows the inspiring true story of Josephine Monaghan in The Ballad of Little Jo. With music by Mike Reid; lyrics by Sarah Schlesinger; and book by Sarah Schlesinger, Mike Reid, and John Dias, this lively musical explores the trials and adventures of a Boston-born woman who poses as a man for nearly 20 years in a small mining town in the American West. Schultz will direct, with Vonda K. Bowling serving as music director. It runs June 7-30, 2019.

The season concludes with the world premiere of Origin Story by Nathan Alan Davis, and directed by Tiffany Nichole Greene. WTT audiences may remember this delightfully angsty play from the 2018 Detour: A Festival of New Work. Margaret’s quarter-life crisis resonates with us all as she trudges through her two monotonous day jobs, seeking to find her own identity. It runs August 2-25, 2019.

Detour is back for a second year, continuing WTT's investment in new and emerging artists and innovative works in progress. The festival will run January 17-20, 2019.

Joining Detour as a season extra are two more shows: Back by popular demand, The Great Distance Home is moving to the Canterbury Family Main Stage for an extended run November 23-December 16, 2018. Ervi returns to direct the nearly-wordless devised holiday tale of life, love, and the journey to find a home of one's own.

In the summer, WTT is presenting an exclusive limited run of Unveiled: A One Woman Play​. Written and performed by Rohina Malik, the critically lauded Chicago-based artist depicts five Muslim women from around the world as they sip tea, talk faith and culture, and break down stereotypes. It runs June 12-30, 2019 in the studio theater.

"This uplifting season is one that continues to be diverse in our presentation of classics, new work, musicals, comedies, and dramas from different points of view," says Schultz, "and each story examines the possibility of coming together."

As a special bonus, Dark Circles Contemporary Dance will be a guest company in residence for three series of performances during the season. The acclaimed local troupe, which sold out during last year's Detour festival, will perform January 24-27, March 22-24, and September 12-15, 2019. Individual tickets for these performances go on sale in September.

Five-show season subscriptions range in price from $100-$185 (Saturday evening), and are available by calling the box office at 972-450-6232. Season renewals can be made over the phone, online at www.watertowertheatre.org, or in person at 15650 Addison Rd. Individual ticket prices range from $25-$42 and go on sale in September. WaterTower Theatre also recently introduced a Flex Pass ($140) and an Under-30 Flex Pass ($99), both of which can be used for a total of five tickets throughout the season.