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Denise Fennell will return to Stages in "Sister’s Back To School Catechism: The Holy Ghost and Other Terrifying Tales." (Photo by Claire Logue)

Stages Repertory Theatre Announces 2019-20 Season

The theatre will split its programming between its current venue and new home.

HOUSTON: Stages Repertory Theatre has announced the lineup for its 2019-20 season. The 2019 productions will take place in Stages’ current Allen Parkway facility, with the theatre transitioning to its new home, the Gordy, in early 2020. The season includes two world premieres, one U.S. premiere, and eight regional premieres, as well as the third annual Sin Muros Latinx Theatre Festival.

The season will open this summer with the regional premiere of The Doyle and Debbie Show (July 12-Sept. 8) by Bruce Arnston. The play, featuring numerous original songs, is both a parody of and a tribute to country music and its iconic duos.

The regional premiere of Sister’s Back to School Catechism: The Holy Ghost and Other Terrifying Tales (Aug, 21-Oct. 13), an installment of the Late Nite Catechism series, will follow. In the comedy, written by Maripat Donovan and Marc Silvia, a nun lectures the audience, her newest class, on how to celebrate Halloween the Catholic way. Denise Fennell will star as Sister.

Next will be Roger Bean’s Life Could Be a Dream (Sept. 6-7), a 1960s throwback featuring doo-wop favorites that follows a group of crooners as they dream of making it big.

The season will continue with the U.S. premiere of Salt, Root and Roe (Oct. 4-20) by Tim Price. In the play, to be presented as a co-production with St. Louis’s Upstream Theater, two elderly twins are living out their twilight years on the remote coast of Wales. Their plans to face death together are interrupted when one twin’s daughter returns home to inspire the sisters to face life instead. Stages artistic director Kenn McLaughlin will direct and Sally Edmundson will star.

Following will be the regional premiere of Miracle on 34th Street: A Live Musical Radio Play (Nov. 6-Dec. 15), adapted from the 1947 Lux radio broadcast by Lance Arthur Smith. This stage adaptation of the holiday classic, featuring original music, music, and arrangements by Jon Lorenz, simulates a live radio broadcast from the 1940s by including live Foley sound effects and audience interaction.

The world premiere of Adam Howard’s Panto Hansel and Gretel (Nov. 20-Dec. 15) will be next. The play, a Texas take on the British tradition of pantomime, reimagines the title characters as two social media obsessed children left in the woods by their selfish parents, who hope to become stars of the theatre.

The season will continue with The Fantasticks (Jan. 24-March 15, 2020), the inaugural production in the Gordy, Stages’ new space. The musical, with book and lyrics by Tom Jones and music by Harvey Schmidt, is about two young lovers, their meddling parents, and a love that matures in adversity.

The regional premiere of Water by the Spoonful (Feb. 7-23, 2020), the second play in the Elliot trilogy by Quiara Alegría Hudes, will follow. The drama is an exploration of addiction, recovery, and family, following a young veteran and his birth mother as they both struggle with moving forward from their pasts.

Water by the Spoonful will be produced in conjunction with Sin Muros (Without Walls): A Latinx Theatre Festival (Feb. 13-16, 2020). The festival will include free public programming, such as workshops and play and poetry readings, for audiences and local theatre artists.

After this will be the regional premiere of Honky Tonk Laundry (March 6-April 22, 2020) by Roger Bean. In the musical, featuring a selection of country music that spans decades, two women transform an inherited laundromat into a country dance hall.

MJ Kaufman’s Sensitive Guys (March 20-April 5, 2020) will be next. In the satire about society, gender roles and contemporary college life, two student-led support groups at a small liberal arts college become divided over a shocking sexual assault allegation.

The season will continue with the world premiere of Hook’s Tale (April 10-May 3, 2020) by John Leonard Pielmeier. The interactive play for all ages retells the story of Peter Pan from the perspective of Captain Hook.

Following will be the regional premiere of Annie Baker’s Circle Mirror Transformation (May 1-17, 2020). In the play, a group of strangers sign up for a six-week drama class, learning through powerful class exercises to face their lives with greater courage.

The season will close with the regional premiere of Airness (June 12-28, 2020) by Chelsea Marcantel, about an ambitious newcomer to the world of air guitar competitions who develops a true understanding of an art form she once mocked.

Founded in 1978, Stages Repertory Theatre’s mission is to advance theatre and enliven the community to make a more vibrant Houston.

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