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"Bonnie and Clyde," the musical by Ivan Menchell, Don Black and Frank Wildhorn, at WaterTower Theatre in Addison, Tex. through Nov. 2; pictured: John Campione and Kayla Carlyle (photo by Kelsey Leigh Ervi)

TUTS Underground Announces New Musicals for 2015–16 Season

The Houston theatre’s series includes a ‘Sweet Potato Queens,’ a world premiere from Melissa Manchester and Rupert Holmes.

HOUSTON: A slate of new musicals, including one world premiere, will open at Zilkha Hall at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts as part of TUTS Underground‘s 2015–16 season, the company’s third. All of the shows, including Bonnie & Clyde and Heathers: The Musical, are Houston premieres.

“This year, we continue to uphold and expand our original mission—to bring revolutionary, edgy and affordable musicals to Houston,” said artistic director Bruce Lumpkin in a statement. “We want to enrich the local artistic community by continuing to produce relevant musical theatre, incubating new works and staging unique, pioneering shows which will set the scene for musical theatre of the future.”

Frank Wildhorn’s Bonnie & Clyde (Oct. 1–4) opens the season. Based on the real-life story of outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, who went from small-town nobodies to world-famous crooks, the show had a brief run on Broadway in 2011. Wildhorn will be a part of the rehearsal process for TUTS Underground.

Next up is Striking 12 (Dec. 17–20), GrooveLily’s popular alternative holiday story about a single man who makes a resolution to stay home and go to bed early instead of celebrating the season, while on the other side of the world Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Match Girl tries to sell her matches. GrooveLily is the band led by the husband-and-wife team of Brendan Milburn and Valerie Vigoda.

The new year starts with the world premiere of Sweet Potato Queens (March 17–20, 2016), loosely based on the true story of Jill Conner Brown, founder of a women’s organization with the same name as the show’s title. With a score by Melissa Manchester, lyrics by Sharon Vaughn and book by Rupert Holmes, the show explores sisterhood and self-esteem-building among middle-aged, middle-class women. The show also had a reading at TUTS Underground recently.

Finally Heathers: The Musical (April 28–May 1) will close out the season. Based on the 1989 cult film about three popular high school girls, all named Heather, whose world is overturned when misfit Veronica rejects their regime, the musical—written by Kevin Murphy, Laurence O’Keefe and Andy Fickman—premiered Off-Broadway in 2014.

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