Uptown's Theatre Three is feeling the beat in 2020-21, as its 59th season includes more than just a token musical. Artistic director Jeffrey Schmidt and associate artistic director Christie Vela have chosen an eclectic mix of classic drama, exciting musicals, and a celebration of the local.
"Jeffrey and I had a great time coming up with pieces that would engage and astound our audiences while challenging our incredible team of artists to shed new light on some familiar and beloved classics," says Vela.
"Just as important as the shows we've picked is what we do with them," says Schmidt. "Our mainstage season ranges from cult classics to wholesome Americana. What excites Christie and me the most about these shows is the opportunity to put Theatre Three's stamp on them with the ingenuity, creativity, and sense of adventure that has come to define us in the recent years."
Opening the season is the cult-classic rock musical The Rocky Horror Show by Richard O'Brien and directed by Schmidt. The deliberately kitschy rock 'n' roll sci-fi gothic musical sticks ridiculously virtuous sweethearts Brad and Janet with a flat tire during a storm, leading them to discover the eerie mansion of Dr. Frank-N-Furter, a kinky yet endearing transvestite scientist. As their innocence is lost, Brad and Janet meet a houseful of wild characters, including the mad doctor's latest creation: the perfect specimen of a man, Rocky. Audience costumes and participation are encouraged. It runs October 1-November 1, 2020.
Danielle Georgiou Dance Group's popular The Bippy Bobby Show returns to Theatre Too October 15-31, 2020. Bippy Bobby, the crooning, cocktail-toting ne'er-do-well, hosts this late-night limited engagement featuring performances by six ghosts living in the belly of the Uptown basement. Inspired by the plays they saw performed by Norma Young, Esther Ragland, Robert Dracup, and Jac Alder, the ghosts of Theater Too bring the works of Pirandello, Pinter, Albee, and Beckett into their acts.
Back upstairs, Vela directs Ken Ludwig's adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express. With a luxury locomotive full of suspects (speaking in a host of over-the-top European accents) and an alibi for each one, it's the perfect mystery for detective Hercule Poirot. Wax your mustache and hold on to your passport — from Agatha Christie's masterpiece comes this slick and comic adaptation. It runs November 27-December 20, 2020.
Bootstraps Comedy Theatre returns for the holiday season with its own mystery: Murder on the Polar Express – A Sketch Comedy Show. Death. Mayhem. Fear. Mirth. Joy. And cute little outfits. The holidays can be downright terrifying. Matt Lyle and the sketch comedy hooligans at Bootstraps Comedy Theater will face that fear for you and celebrate the courage and resiliency of the human spirit. Or they will literally die trying. It runs downstairs at Theatre Too December 11-26, 2020.
As one of Dallas' most accomplished theatrical exports, Regina Taylor is known for her luscious, ripe language and exhilarating poetry. With a background beat of be-bop, she combines realism with lilting lyricism to tell the tale of Gin Del Sol, a young saxophone player who joins an all-black, female jazz quartet in Oo-Bla-Dee. Set in the post-war era, Taylor's tribute to the ladies of jazz chronicles the struggles of musicians trying to make sweet music over the intrusive societal noise of pervasive sexism and racism. It runs February 11-March 14, 2021.
Edward Albee's 1962 masterpiece Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is an escalating, perversely erotic dance of booze, anger, and resentment. Late one evening, after an alcohol-fueled university faculty party, the middle-aged couple Martha and George receive an unwitting younger couple, Nick and Honey, as late evening guests. They draw them into their bitter and frustrated marital love-hate ambivalence and pummel each other senseless in a verbal slugfest. Directed by Schmidt, it runs April 8-May 2, 2021.
Directed by Joel Ferrell (believe it or not, his first gig with T3) with musical direction by Vonda Bowling, Meredith Willson's The Music Man is a timeless story of the fast-talking salesman Harold Hill, who cons the good folks of River City, Iowa, into believing that he can teach their children to play in a marching band. Before the fraudulent teacher can skip town with the loot, Harold's got trouble when he falls for the quick-witted — not to mention beautiful — small-town librarian, Marian. It runs June 3-July 4, 2021, and will move over to the new Coppell Arts Center for a week following that.
There are three more shows with TBA run dates. Stede Bonnet: The Worst F*cking Pirate in the World is written by Nicole Neely and Clint Gilbert, and it's a brand-new swashbuckling musical based on the true story of the Gentleman Pirate. Stede, depressed and exhausted of his luxurious life, chooses to leave everything behind and become the best pirate in the world. One problem: he's utterly clueless and painfully oblivious. After a run-in with the dramatic and conniving Blackbeard, Stede wonders if he's made a terrible mistake. After having got its "sea legs" in 2019 at Theatre Three's Monday Night Playwright program, this new work is ready to set sail.
Prolific local playwright, actor, and director Blake Hackler has now tackled Moliere's Tartuffe. Set in South Texas in the 1950s, the delicious characters of Tartuffe, Elmire, and Orgon will find themselves on a sprawling cattle ranch owned by a wealthy Hispanic family.
Imagine Broadway: Theatre Three Musical Revue is back, with all proceeds benefitting T3's programming. Step inside the swanky Manhattan apartment of a Broadway composer for an evening of song and dance and dishy theater gossip. Overflowing with panache and pizzazz, four of Dallas' top vocal talents will perform a concert showcasing Broadway's best musicals, including some familiar favorites from T3's history.
Theatre Too will continue to provide a home for Theatre Three's Monday Playwright series, which provides local writers an opportunity to showcase their works-in-progress.
Subscriptions for the 2020-2021 season will go on sale June 1, and single tickets will be available August 1. Tickets can be purchased online at www.theatre3dallas.com, over the phone at 214-871-3300, or in person.