Addison — WaterTower Theatre's new artistic director Joanie Schultz will select the group's 2017-18 season, but she's making changes in the current one. The last show of the 2016-17 was going to be Stephen Sondheim's Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Sunday in the Park with George, but when previous artistic director Terry Martin recently withdrew from directing that work, it opened an opportunity.
The replacement show is the regional premiere of Hit the Wall, a play by Ike Holter about the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City, the beginning of the LGBT rights movement in the U.S.
It runs in the same slot as Sunday, July 28-Aug. 20. Schultz will direct the play, which premiered in 2012 at Chicago's famed Steppenwolf Theatre.
Read more about the play and the decision in the WaterTower news release below:
WaterTower Theatre Artistic Director Joanie Schultz today announced the Company will produce Hit the Wall, the groundbreaking Ike Holter play about the 1969 Stonewall uprising. This production, the first to be selected and directed by Schultz, will replace the previously scheduled Sunday in the Park with George.
Hit the Wall will open Monday, July 31 with previews Friday, July 28 and Saturday, July 29 and a Pay-What-You-Can performance on Sunday, July 30. The show closes Sunday, August 20. Since Hit the Wall is a replacement for one of the regular Main Stage season subscription productions, WaterTower Theatre subscribers can simply use their current tickets for the new show on their usual night.
Single tickets to Hit the Wall, ranging in price from $20 to $40, are on sale now. Tickets are available online at www.watertowertheatre.org/tickets.aspx, by phone at 972-450-6232 or by visiting the Box Office at the Addison Theatre Centre, 15650 Addison Road, Addison, Texas 75001.
A few weeks ago an artistic opportunity presented itself when the director of Sunday in the Park with George, Terry Martin, had to withdraw from the project. oanie Schultz felt this was a perfect opportunity to produce a new play which deals with very topical issues in an entertaining and theatrical way.
Hit the Wall, a multi award-winning play, which premiered in 2012 at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre, is a riveting story that brings the audience back to the very flashpoint of the infamous 1969 riot that erupted at Greenwich Village's Stonewall Inn, considered the first major battle of the modern gay-rights movement. A group of unlikely revolutionaries are thrust onto the frontline of history during the early morning hours of June 28, 1969 when a routine police raid on a gay bar known as The Stonewall erupts into a full-scale riot that ignited one of the most influential social and political movements of the 20th Century. Hit the Wall focuses on the enigmatic first night of that uprising, vibrantly blending history and mythology with theatrical imagination to shine contemporary light on the legacy of Stonewall.
"I’m so thrilled to be bringing Hit the Wall to the DFW community; it has had a lasting impact on me since seeing it in Chicago years ago,” explains Joanie Schultz. “And I’m proud to be directing this inspiring play as my first production at WaterTower Theatre, introducing my own artistic work to the DFW community. Ike Holter has written a play that contains everything I love about theatre: immediacy, ensemble work, diversity, and passion. Hit the Wall is a gritty, theatrical ensemble piece that captures the spirit of a movement, and has an energy that I think will inspire audiences to look not only at this event but also at what it means to be part of a movement in a different way. It asks us to look at a diverse group of people who are simply trying to fly under the radar and live their lives and see how they unintentionally become part of an event that changes history. The pride of ‘being there’ that the characters can claim also encourages us to engage and stand up for what we believe in. It’s a theatrical event that will take our audience on a journey into a world that isn’t very pretty or clean, but it’s full of a lot of passion and joy.”
The show follows a diverse group -- including an African-American drag queen, a butch lesbian, a fiercely funny gay duo, and a bigoted gay-bashing cop, among many others -- as a joyful evening at a gay nightclub, following the death of the iconic Judy Garland, is brutally interrupted by a police raid that touches off days of violent protests. Hit the Wall premiered in 2012 at Chicago's famed Steppenwolf Theatre. Hit the Wall transports audiences to the Stonewall Riots in New York's Greenwich Village on June 27-28, 1969, when a routine police raid on an underground gay hotspot became a foundational moment for the modern gay rights movement. Featuring a howling live rock band that evokes the era's proto-punk music and fast-paced, sharp dialogue, the vivid theatrical re-imagination focuses on ten unlikely revolutionaries, each claiming in turn "I was there."
Hit the Wall is recommended for mature audiences only due to adult content and language.