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Toxic superheroes and legendary divas on tap for Uptown Players' next season

Toxic superheroes and divas on tap for Uptown Players' next season

The Boy From Oz
Janelle Lutz as Judy Garland and Alex Ross as Peter Allen in Uptown Players' 2014 production of The Boy From Oz. Photo by Mike Morgan

What do you do when a local actress displays a tremendous ability to portray Judy Garland? Bring her back, of course.

Janelle Lutz, who uncannily belted and warbled her way through some of Garland's most iconic tunes last summer in Uptown Players' The Boy From Oz, will be returning in 2016 with End of the Rainbow. That's the first mainstage show of Uptown's 2016 season, which goes on to include a list of intriguing regional premieres.

Before we get Judy, we get Elton. A concert presentation of Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida will begin the season at Dallas City Performance Hall, with the backing of the Turtle Creek Chorale. Uptown has had great success with these types of performances, Sweeney Todd and Ragtime being two examples. This pop-era about a doomed love triangle in ancient Egypt had moderate success on Broadway in the early 2000s, but damn if those songs aren't catchy. That will be a limited run of January 15-17.

Then comes Ms. Garland, in a musical tragi-comedy about her comeback tours of 1968. The addictions, the failed marriages, the suicide attempts — it all seems behind her as she books a six-week stint at London's Talk of the Town. But is it really? Relive this tumultuous time in pop culture from April 1-17 at the Kalita Humphreys Theatre.

The annual fundraiser Broadway Our Way has has a bit of a holiday twist lately, but in 2016 it shifts back to a springtime focus from May 5-8. Expect bawdy, expect witty, expect sassy with one of the most fun traditions in DFW theater.

Mothers and Sons, playwright Terrence McNally's most recent show, is about a mother trying to reconcile with her deceased son's partner 20 years after his death from AIDS. Tyne Daly was nominated for a Tony in 2014 for portraying Katherine, who painfully sees the life her son might have led if he'd survived. It plays June 3-19.

Matthew Broderick and Stockard Channing led the cast of It's Only a Play on Broadway, but here we get our own kind of theater royalty: B.J. Cleveland. This jewel of a play by Terrence McNally (again!) concerns a group waiting eagerly for the reviews of their Broadway show. So meta! Catch it July 15-31.

To close out its 15th season, Uptown is introducing Dallas to Toxie, a seven-foot mutant from New Jersey who's passionate about stopping pollution. The Toxic Avenger is from the same duo that wrote Memphis, Joe DiPietro (who also penned I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change) and David Bryan (of Bon Jovi fame), and based on the 1984 film. It's a silly, campy musical that sounds right in Uptown's wheelhouse, and plays August 16-September 11.