First a new artistic director, then a new logo, and now a new season — Addison's WaterTower Theatre is fully embracing change, and it shows in the company's 2017-18 season.
Though new leader Joanie Schultz has already made one official programming selection with Hit the Wall, Ike Holter's play about the Stonewall riots that is replacing the previously announced musical Sunday in the Park with George this July and August, this is the first full season she has selected.
There's a nice balance between shows written by major award-winners (we're talking Pulitzer and Tony) and Texas playwrights (one who's offering up a world premiere), with classic literature and a festival of new works thrown in to boot.
Read on to learn more about the slated shows, and if you have thoughts about the upcoming season, you're invited to share them with Schultz at WaterTower Theatre's town hall on April 25 from 6-7:30 pm on the Canterbury Family Main Stage at Addison Conference and Theatre Center. It's free, and no RSVP is necessary.
The first show of the new season is Pride and Prejudice, a new adaptation of the Jane Austen novel by Kate Hamill. Schultz is directing the regional premiere (Dallas Theater Center produced Hamill's adaptation of Sense and Sensibility in 2015), and it will run October 13-November 5, 2017.
Next is one of the two non-season add-ons, a holiday extra called The Great Distance Home. Created and conceived by associate artistic director Kelsey Leigh Ervi, this "multidisciplinary theatrical event" promises to immerse WaterTower audiences in "a story of joy, love, and the warmth you feel upon returning home after a long absence." It runs December 1-17, 2017.
Pulitzer Prize-winning dramatist Quiara Alegría Hudes looks at the effects of war through three generations of the same Puerto Rican family in the regional premiere of Elliot, A Soldier's Fugue. You know Hudes' name because she co-wrote In The Heights with Lin-Manuel Miranda, and because Cara Mía Theatre Co. just produced her earlier work, Yemaya's Belly. The play runs January 26-February 18, 2018.
The Out of the Loop festival might be on hiatus, but WaterTower is still focused on giving local and national artists a chance to develop their work. Detour: A Festival of New Work will present performances and readings from March 1-4, 2018. Its offerings are not part of the regular season subscription.
Another premiere comes next, but this time of the "world" variety. Dallas-born playwright Regina Taylor has penned Bread, a family drama set in Oak Cliff that explores the racial tension and social upheaval that's happening right now in America. It runs April 13-May 6, 2018.
Though it was made into a movie in 2014 with Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan, The Last Five Years is even more intimate when you see it live in a theater. That's because Jason Robert Brown's semi-autobiographical musical about a relationship that blossoms and sours is told through raw, funny, and unflinching songs — sung in opposing chronology by its two leads. Kelsey Leigh Ervi directs the two-person musical, which runs June 8-July 1, 2018.
Closing out the season is a play starring a raunchy, foul-mouthed puppet — no, not Avenue Q. Baylor grad Robert Askin's Hand to God puts us in a world where hand puppets, meant to gently impart moral lessons, take on a possessed life of their own and begin to wreak havoc in a suburban Texas town. Schultz directs, after having previously helmed an award-winning production at the Studio Theatre in Washington, D.C. It will run August 3-26, 2018.
Subscriptions for the five-show season are priced from $100-$185 and are available by calling the WaterTower Theatre box office at 972-450-6232. Individual ticket prices for the 2017-2018 season range from $25-$42, and will go on sale in September for the first two productions. Individual tickets to holiday extra The Great Distance Home are $20. For Detour: A Festival of New Work, individual tickets are $10 and festival passes are $40 for subscribers, $45 for the general public.
There are several subscription series available, including Conversation with the Artists (a five-play series on all Wednesday nights and Sunday matinees that includes a post-show discussion with the actors, artists, or expert panelists), the Flex Pass (a pack of three or more tickets good for any 2017-18 season shows), Design Your Own Series, Student/Senior Subscription Series, and Hero's Subscription (firefighters, police officers, EMTs, veterans, and members of the armed forces and their immediate families receive 50 percent off any five-play subscription package).