The folks at Contemporary Theatre of Dallas have selected their 10th anniversary season, and it's a bit slimmed down. There are only four shows (as opposed to the usual five, or six if you include the holiday special The Santaland Diaries).
CTD founder and artistic director Sue Loncar says there are several reasons for one fewer show, one being a wedding between two staffers who met at the theater. And then there's the novel concept of taking a break.
"I don't mind slowing down," she says. "The good news is I am super-psyched about every play we are doing [next season]. And we have extended the last two shows and have had record attendance levels with the most loyal audiences."
So the 2011-2012 includes three comedies and a heavyweight drama from Tennessee Williams. It starts with a one-woman show that should be a tour-de-force for actress Shannon J. McGrann, Theresa Rebeck's Bad Dates. It then goes into the Williams, a Beth Henley classic and a 1993 play from John Patrick Shanley.
Here's the season:
Bad Dates Oct. 21-Nov. 13
Written by: Theresa Rebeck
Directed by: Robin Armstrong
The show follows the travails of Haley, an Austin, Texas single mother recently transplanted to New York City who has decided to start dating again. This idiosyncratic journey of self-discovery involving the Romanian mob, a Buddhist rainstorm, a teenage daughter, shoes, and a few very bad dates enjoyed an extended run Off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons starring Julie White. CTD's production will feature funny and versatile actress Shannon J. McGrann.
The Night of the Iguana Feb. 10-March 4
Written by: Tennessee Williams
Directed by: René Moreno
The last of the distinguished American playwright's major artistic, critical and box office successes. The play focuses on sexual relationships and odd characters, and many argue that Williams reveals more of himself in this play than in any of his previous works. Williams veers off in many philosophic directions in this searing pastoral, but the play's most poignant moments—scenes of enormous compassion—grow out of the understanding of two people, their mutual need for companionship, and their final moments of nobility in small gestures of unselfish aid to one another. The Night of the Iguana won Williams his fourth New York Drama Critics Award and was made into an Oscar-nominated film starring Richard Burton and Ava Gardner. Ashley Wood will play Reverend Shannon.
Crimes of the Heart June 22-July 15
Written By: Beth Henley
Directed by: Cynthia Hestand
The winner of the 1981 Pulitzer Prize and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award from a Southern Methodist University graduate. The scene is Hazlehurst, Mississippi, where the three Magrath sisters have gathered to await news of the family patriarch, their grandfather, who is living out his last hours in the local hospital. enny, the oldest sister, is unmarried and facing diminishing marital prospects; Meg, the middle sister, who quickly outgrew Hazlehurst, is back after a failed singing career on the West Coast; while Babe, the youngest, is out on bail after having shot her husband in the stomach. Their troubles, grave and yet, somehow, hilarious, are highlighted by their priggish cousin, Chick, and by the awkward young lawyer who tries to keep Babe out of jail while helpless not to fall in love with her. The play is the story of how its characters escape the past to seize the future—but the telling is so true and touching and consistently hilarious that it will linger in the mind long after you leave the theater.
Four Dogs and a Bone Sept. 14–Oct. 7
Written By: John Patrick Shanley
Directed by: Michael Serrecchia
A hilarious and satiric glimpse into the dog-eat-dog world of the film industry. Brenda, a seemingly guileless young actress, takes a meeting with Bradley, a troubled, middle-aged producer, to discuss the film on which they are working. Collette, the other actress in the film, is in her way, so Brenda must convince Bradley that the film is in serious trouble unless he makes certain changes, one of which is taking out Collette's part. Bradley, knowing full well that the film is seriously over budget, intimates that he will effect Brenda's suggestions if she can convince her stepbrother, a giant movie star, to make a cameo appearance in the film. Meanwhile, Collette has her own agenda: She knows she's not as young as she once was. She tries to convince Victor, the writer, to alter the film so she can be the heroine, or else, this, his first film, is destined to be lost in art houses or, worse, go directly to video. Victor, a naïve young writer from Off-Off Broadway, doesn't know how to handle any of this, and his mother just died. He needs to mourn and to drink himself into a stupor before he changes his screenplay. All hell breaks loose and all the lies and backbiting are exposed as these four dogs go after their bone.
For season ticket information, call 214-828-0094 or visit www.contemporarytheatreofdallas.com.