Local News: Stages Rep Theatre Celebrates 30 years with 2008/2009 season

Posted by: Staffon 2008/7/21 13:30:00 4089 reads STAGES TURNS 30!
Landmark 2008-2009 Season Marked by Two World and Four Regional Premieres, Co-production and International Talent from Across the Pond

HOUSTON, TX – Stages Repertory Theatre’s landmark 30th season epitomizes both the spirit of adventure and innovation that launched the theatre and the extraordinary growth and expertise it has achieved in the years since. Highlights include three musical productions—a world premiere co-production...

a joyous international collaboration, and a recent Tony Award-winning Broadway hit—as well as a daring world premiere from a promising new voice, a spectacular solo show, and a powerful Pulitzer Prize-winning drama.

“This season is remarkable for Stages in terms of the range of storytelling models,” Stages Producing Artistic Director Kenn McLaughlin said. “From three grand musicals to the techno-electricity of Wallflower to the intimate sincerity of Rabbit Hole and Taking Flight, the entire program is adventurous, varied and surprising at every turn. Each play reveals, in very theatrical terms, a powerhouse of simple humanity—replete with joy, pain and promise.”

The season begins with Stages’ most far-reaching project to date, the world premiere co-production of Unbeatable—a bold new musical based on the journals of a real-life breast cancer survivor—which Stages will produce in partnership with Phoenix Theatre (Phoeniz, AZ) and Houston’s Pink Ribbons Project. The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center will serve as Lead Education Partner for the wide range of community outreach events that will accompany the production.

Immediately following Unbeatable, playwright Deborah Stein will be in residence at Stages helping shape the world premiere of her ferocious comedy Wallflower. Then for the holidays Stages will introduce Houston audiences to the very British tradition of Pantomime, or Panto (which gave rise to American Vaudeville), by bringing in experienced British Panto actors to work with local artists in the creation of a wildly re-imagined Cinderella packed with fun for all ages.

Adriana Sevan’s unforgettable solo show Taking Flight follows in January, with Annie Henk (The Cook) making her highly anticipated return to Stages. Then the Surround program for the 08-09 season will take place in conjunction with Rabbit Hole and will explore the history, significance, trends and highlights of one of the world’s most respected and coveted honors: the Pulitzer Prize. Events will include lectures, readings, lobby exhibits and a film series.

The smash hit Broadway musical Grey Gardens rounds out the season with its true-life account of the fall-from-grace of Jackie Kennedy Onassis’s most outrageous relatives—Edith Bouvier Beale and her adult daughter “Little” Edie.
“Much to my surprise, what I discovered once the season was assembled is that each play in its own magical way deals with the power of time to affect our lives,” McLaughlin said.

“From Cinderella's inevitable midnight chime to the lengthening shadows that fall on Grey Gardens to the moments that heal in Rabbit Hole or Taking Flight—each story reflects on our enduring (and often endearing) attempts to make the most of the moments we have been given. In the end, these are plays that celebrate living a full life regardless of what the clock tells us.”

2008-2009 Ticket Information
Subscriptions – $150 for 6 tickets, fixed or flexible
Single tickets – All tickets $30 in honor of Stages’ 30th Birthday
Student, educator, senior and group discounts available
FALL 2008

Phoenix Theatre, Stages Repertory Theatre & Pink Ribbons Project present
Book by Eric Coble Music and Lyrics by Todd Schroeder and Kevin Fisher
Created by Laurie Frey
Developed & directed by Michael Barnard
September 3 - 28, 2008

Tracy Boyd is a high-powered, type-A workaholic whose speed and efficiency give her superhero status among her coworkers, friends and family. She’s faster than her own assistant, able to leap mountains of paperwork in a single bound, and willing to ignore a lump in her breast for almost a year. Wait; what was that last thing? Our heroine has cancer? That’s not so super. Based on the life and experiences of co-creator and breast cancer survivor Laurie Frey, Unbeatable delves into the most intimate—and simultaneously universal—experiences of a woman fighting cancer, with a wit that keeps audiences laughing along the way.

Unbeatable was conceived during co-creator Laurie Frey’s struggle with breast cancer and has been presented in acclaimed workshop productions in Cleveland, Phoenix, Los Angeles and New York. Stages and Houston’s Pink Ribbons Project will partner with Phoenix Theatre to co-produce the final, full-length world premiere production of Unbeatable, which will open the subscription seasons at both theatres. From there, this co-production is intended to open in New York City in October 2008—Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Lead Education Partner
The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

By Deborah Stein Directed by Wendy McLellan
October 15 – November 2, 2008

Frustrated by current conditions in America, teenage Milena posts an angry video on the internet—and accidentally ignites a revolution. Suddenly Milena is not only the unwilling figurehead for a youthful army, but also a government target! As the movement gains steam, Milena learns just how powerful a single voice can be, and realizes that in the faceless age of the internet, no one is what they seem. Inventive, provocative and political, this fierce comedy explores the phenomenon of the YouTube/MySpace generation and the technology that continues to shape our world.

Wallflower was developed at The Playwrights’ Center of Minneapolis as part of the Red Eye Theatre’s “Works in Progress” showcase, and recently received a workshop and reading at Sam Houston State University in preparation for the Stages production. Deborah Stein’s other plays include God Save Gertrude, Bone Portraits and The Aerodynamics of Accident. Her work has been produced and developed nationally at Seattle Rep, the Women’s Project, the Wilma Theatre, the Playwrights’ Center, the Red Eye, 1812 Productions, Dance Theatre Workshop, Ars Nova, Walkerspace, and Theatre Artaud; and internationally in Poland, Ireland, Edinburgh (the Traverse) and most recently in Prague, where she produced a festival of new Czech and American playwriting. She has been a resident artist at Hedgebrook, Lexington Center, Princeton University, and Swarthmore College. Deborah received her MFA from Brown University and is a two-time Jerome Fellow at the Playwrights’ Center and a member of New Dramatists.

Book and Lyrics by Kate Hawley
Music by Gregg Coffin Directed by Kenn McLaughlin
December 3 - 28, 2008
This holiday season Stages will introduce Houston audiences to the beloved British holiday tradition of Pantomime with this rousing new version of one of the world’s favorite stories. The storytelling style that gave rise to American Vaudeville breathes new life into the familiar tale of humble Cinderella, her fairy godmother, her awkward prince, and her hideous (and hilarious!) stepsisters. Packed with sharp wit, wild fun and original music, this unusual twist on a magnificent classic is as entertaining for grownups as it is for kids.
A unique crossover event for all ages, Panto Cinderella will be performed as part of both the MainStage and EarlyStages seasons, with daytime performances for schoolchildren and regular evening and weekend performances for general audiences. The production will feature some of Houston’s favorite actors alongside British talent experienced in Pantomime, and will introduce area audiences not only to the Pantomime form itself, but also to the many cultural traditions that surround it.

By Adriana Sevan
Directed by Giovanna Sardelli
January 28 – February 15, 2009

Just weeks before serving as a bridesmaid in her best friend Rhonda’s wedding, Adriana Sevan instead becomes Rhonda's bedside companion after Rhonda is horrifically injured on 9/11. For the next year Adriana devotes herself to aiding Rhonda’s painful recovery—and risks losing herself in the process. In this unforgettable one-woman show, Sevan herself recounts her true-life experience with compelling honesty, earthy humor and vivid theatricality.
Taking Flight was a contribution to Center Theater Group’s “Solomania” program in 2006 and won “Best Solo Performance” from the San Diego Theatre Critics Awards.

The San Diego Tribune says “Adriana Sevan, a warm, skilled stage actor, joins the ranks of the best with her harrowing, humorous and openhearted Taking Flight.” As an actor, Adriana Sevan has appeared at South Coast Rep, LA Theater Works, the Public Theatre, Coconut Grove, ACT and Shakespeare & Co. She has guest-starred on “Law & Order,” “Sex & the City,” “Deadline” and “Law & Order: Criminal Intent”. Sevan first performed her writing at the 2002 New Works Lab at Intar, in a short piece, Flight, directed and co-conceived with Giovanna Sardelli. Her work has been developed at Sundance Theater Lab, South Coast Rep, Mark Taper Forum, Rio Hondo College and The Lark. Sevan is collecting family stories of her Armenian ancestors for her next play.

By David Lindsay-Abaire
Directed by Leslie Swackhamer
March 4 -22, 2009
REGIONAL PREMIERE Winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and nominated for 5 Tony Awards
After an unimaginable death in the family, Becca and Howie begin to pick up the pieces of their lives with the help (and sometimes hindrance) of Becca’s sister and mother. A story of life after loss, Rabbit Hole delves into the world of grief, the complexity of forgiveness, and the paradox of finding a new “normal.”
Rabbit Hole was commissioned by South Coast Repertory and first presented at the Pacific Playwrights Festival in 2005. The New York Times says Rabbit Hole is “ blessed with Mr. Lindsay-Abaire's customary grace and wit” and Variety calls it “an intensely emotional examination of grief, laced with wit, insightfulness, compassion and searing honesty.” David Lindsay-Abaire’s other plays include Fuddy Meers, Wonder of the World, Kimberly Akimbo, A Devil Inside, Snow Angel, The Li’l Plays and The Kitchen Sink Drama. David has received the LA Drama Critics Circle Award, a Garland Award, the Kesselring Prize, awards from the Berrilla Kerr Foundation, the LeComte du Nuoy Fund, Mixed Blood Theater, Primary Stages, the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival, and the South Carolina Playwrights Festival, and commissions from South Coast Rep, Dance Theater Workshop and the
Jerome Foundation. David is a graduate of Milton Academy, Sarah Lawrence College, and the Juilliard School’s Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild and the WGA.

Book by Doug Wright
Music by Scott Frankel
Lyrics by Michael Korie
Directed by Brad Dalton
April 15 – May 17, 2009
Winner of 3 Tony Awards

Meet Jackie O’s most outrageous relatives in this hit Broadway musical! Once among the brightest names in the pre-Camelot social register, Edith Bouvier Beale and her adult daughter “Little” Edie became East Hampton’s most notorious recluses. Through a series of tabloid articles, and the famous documentary that soon followed, America discovered the eccentric mother and daughter living in their crumbling mansion among ruined heirlooms, mountains of garbage, and 52 cats! Accompanied by a wildly acclaimed score, Grey Gardens recounts their alternately hilarious and heartbreaking story.

Based on the 1975 cult film, the musical got its start Off-Broadway in 2006 at Playwrights Horizons in New York, and later that year made the jump to Broadway’s Walter Kerr Theatre. Named the “#1 Show of 2006” by Times Magazine, Grey Gardens was lauded by the New York Times as “an experience no passionate theatergoer should miss!” Rolling Stone Magazine said “Here’s that shot in the arm for theater lovers who’ve been longing for something bold, haunting and hypnotic to get lost in!” and USA Today said “Grey Gardens blooms with creativity…some of the most tuneful and moving songs to grace an original musical in years.”

Characterized by courage, generosity, ingenuity, and intimacy, Stages Repertory Theatre advances theatre and enlivens culture by producing new work, interpreting established work in new ways, and nurturing talent for the performing arts field. In addition to its MainStage season of plays, Stages presents the EarlyStages series, introducing young audiences to the power and magic of live theatre. Stages also offers a range of additional education and outreach programs that encourage conversation about important ideas and issues, provide insight into other cultures and viewpoints, and help develop each new generation of citizens, artists and audiences. Stages is a member of the Fresh Arts Coalition and a constituent of Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national service organization for not-for-profit theatres. Stages operates under an agreement with Actor’s Equity Association (AEA), the union of professional actors and stage managers in the United States.

Visit Stages Theatre online at
*Theatreport.om-Houston-Theatre News