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Sara Bruner and Sarah Jane Agnew in "Roe" at Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2016. (Photo by Jenny Graham)

ZACH Theatre Slates Season Built Around Lisa Loomer’s ‘Roe’

The play about Roe v. Wade will be joined by five other mainstage productions, a family series, and multiple holiday offerings.

AUSTIN: ZACH Theatre has announced its 2019-20 season, including six mainstage productions, the Moody Foundation Family Series, and three holiday add-ons. The cornerstone work of the season is Roe, Lisa Loomer’s exploration of Roe v. Wade and its aftermath.

“I have been in pursuit of Roe by Lisa Loomer for two years because the play is exceptional,” said producing artistic director Dave Steakley said in a statement. “The subject matter is very timely, and the Austin connection to this important story runs deep, with noted attorney and former state representative Sarah Weddington at the center of it. The 2019–20 season was literally built around this play. That’s how important it is.”

The mainstage season will open with Steven Dietz’s Dracula: Mina’s Quest (Sept. 25-Nov. 3), adapted from the novel by Bram Stoker. Commissioned for A Contemporary Theatre (ACT), the new adaptation puts a female-focused 21st-Century lens on the classic vampire tale.

Following will be A Night With Janis Joplin (Jan. 29-March 8, 2020), a concert experience that celebrates the musician and the trailblazing female blues and soul vocalists who influenced her. The play was created, written, and originally directed by Randy Johnson, with original choreography by Patricia Wilcox. Mary Bridget Davies, who originated the title role on Broadway, will star in the production.

Every Brilliant Thing (Feb. 5-March 29, 2020), by Duncan Macmillan with Jonny Donahoe, will be next. In the interactive play, a young man navigates life, love, and loss by compiling a list of special, ordinary things.

The season will continue with Lisa Loomer’s Roe (April 8-May 3, 2020). The play follows two women at the center of Roe v. Wade, whose lives reflect the national debate that resulted from the landmark case.

Next will be Reunion ’85 (May 27-June 28, 2020), created by Susan Draus, David Larson, and Cody Jamison Strand in collaboration with Becca Anderson and Dan Marshall. The immersive concert experience transports audiences to a class reunion in 1985.

The mainstage season will close with The Sound of Music (July 15-Sept. 6, 2020), featuring music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein III, and book by Howard Lindsey and Russel Crouse. In the musical, suggested by The Trapp Family Singers by Maria Augusta Trapp, a young nun brings joy and laughter back into the lives of an aching family.

The Moody Foundation Family Series will open with The Jungalbook (Sept. 7-Dec. 14), based on the Mowgli stories by Rudyard Kipling. Adapted by Edward Mast, the play is a tale of loyalty, betrayal, and courage.

Next in the series will be The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show (Jan. 18-April 26, 2020). Created by Jonathan Rockefeller, the play uses puppetry to retell many of Eric Carle’s stories.

The final production in the series will be the world premiere of Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch (Feb. 29-April 4, 2020), based on the book by Eileen Spinelli. With script and music by Allen Robertson, the new musical follows a lonely old man whose life changes when he receives a Valentine’s Day note.

ZACH will also present three holiday productions. The first of these productions will be Dave Steakley’s adaptation of A Christmas Carol (Nov. 20-Dec. 29, 2019) by Charles Dickens. Steakley will also direct, with musical direction by Allen Robertson.

Also in the holiday series will be The Santaland Diaries (Nov. 29-Dec. 29) by David Sedaris. In the play, adapted for the stage by Joe Mantello, a cynical Macy’s elf expounds on the talent it takes to balance toddlers, eccentric Santas, and tinsel during the holiday season. The production, starring J. Robert Moore, will be directed by Nat Miller.

Holiday Heroes (Dec. 7 and 14), by Allen Robertson, Shaun Wainwright Branigan, and Jerome Schoolar, will be the final holiday offering. The ZACH tradition is a singalong that gives a glimpse of how many cultures share good tidings, including Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, and more.

Founded in 1932, ZACH Theatre aims to engage the community through intimate theatre experiences.

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