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Alley Theatre Forgoes Live Season for 2021 Digital Lineup

The company will present short plays and full-length productions online for free.

HOUSTON: The Alley Theatre has announced that it will present 2020-21 programming virtually instead of presenting a live season onstage. The new digital 2020-21 season, as part of the company’s Alley@Home series, will be available for free to all who register for tickets. The content will center around the Alley Theatre’s Resident Acting Company.

Previously scheduled live productions of Born with Teeth by Liz Duffy Adams, Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett, Dead Man’s Cell Phone by Sarah Ruhl, Sweat by Lynn Nottage, and High School Play: A Nostalgia Fest by Vichet Chum have been canceled. The Alley Theatre remains committed to producing the canceled works in future seasons.

“Like so many of you, I too am disappointed to have to cancel our onstage season,” said artistic director Rob Melrose in a statement. “I can’t wait to gather in the Hubbard and the Neuhaus to experience live theatre with you again. At the same time, I am delighted about all the work we are creating on Alley@Home and I am excited to share a robust digital season of new plays and classics featuring the Alley’s Resident Acting Company.”

The season will kick off with August Strindberg’s The Stronger (Jan. 15-Feb. 7, 2021), translated and directed by Melrose. The play depicts the run-in of two rival actresses, played by ensemble members Elizabeth Bunch and Melissa Pritchett, at a café on Christmas night.

Next up will be Strindberg’s A Half-Sheet of Paper (Jan. 22-Feb. 14, 2021), translated and directed by Melrose. The adapted short story is about a man reminded of memories when he finds a sheet of paper of notes in the apartment he is preparing to move out of. Chris Hutchison will star.

Following will be Luigi Pirandello’s The Man With the Yellow Flower in His Mouth (Feb. 12-March 14, 2021), translated and directed by Melrose. The short play, which served as a primer for Edward Albee’s Zoo Story, is about two strangers who meet at a train station in the middle of the night.

The digital season will continue with Medea (March 5-April 4, 2021), by Euripides. Mary-Kay Gamel’s translation of the classic explores jealousy, betrayal, and revenge.

Next will be Isaac Gómez’s El Chuco Town Forever (April 2-May 2, 2021), about two long-time assistant managers at a big box store in El Paso deciding whether or not to attend a memorial service. Laura Moreno will direct.

Following will be Choosing Love (April 2-May 2, 2021), by Chisa Hutchinson, about a man’s life-changing experience at a psychic’s shop.

Next up will be the short play Man. Kind. (April 9-May 9, 2021), by Don X. Nguyen, about an independent caveman who is reluctant to band together with a cavewoman. Brandon Weinbrenner will direct.

The digital season will continue with For Steve Wozniak, On His 67th Birthday (April 9-May 9, 2021), by Jiehae Park. This short play is about three Steves, one who is dead and two who are famous.

Next will be ShaWanna Renee Rivon’s Old Black & White Hollywood (April 16-May 16, 2021), a full-length play that follows Black comedienne Doris Jean’s controversial creative partnership with Eva Rose in 1954.

Following will be Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People (April 30-May 30, 2021), translated from the Norwegian by Paul Walsh. The classic play is about a doctor working to keep his community safe after the water supply is positioned. Melrose will direct.

The digital season will close out with Strindberg’s Pariah (June 4-July 4, 2021), about two archeologists deciding what to do with a found chest of gold artifacts. Melrose will translate and direct.

Also part of the programming will be a preview of Shawn Hamilton’s Arnett Cobb ProjectFeb. 1-28, 2021. Via a grant from the Fox FoundationAlley Resident Acting Company member Shawn Hamilton is writing his first play. His subject is Arnett Cobb, the internationally acclaimed “wild man of the tenor sax,” a jazz musician who grew up in Houston and lived in the city for much of his career.

The Alley Theatre plans to resume in-person performances for the 2021-22 season, which is the Alley’s 75th anniversary season. Founded over 70 years ago, Alley Theatre seeks to educate, entertain, and innovate in American theatre.

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