The 51st season for Theatre Three was announced on Sunday, and it kicks off with the naughty puppet music Avenue Q, having its second locally produced version (Music Theatre of Denton got the scoop on this one last month) after the Broadway tours have been to both Fort Worth and Dallas. The big surprise here is that AQ is only one of two shows scheduled for Theatre Too!, T3's basement space. Scheduled to open June 29 for just one month, speculation has been that if it's a hit, it will be extended. Could that mean all the way into the perennial return of the other T2 show, I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change!? We'll have to see.
With at least three production slots gone from the basement space, that means the place where Theatre Three often tries out newer work has to move upstairs.
On the main stage, T3 has lots of new planned, including the North Texas premieres of the topical Broadway plays Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo and Enron. The former is by Rajiv Joseph, who's also on Dallas Theater Center's next season (and we expect his name to pop up on other groups' rosters). Enron is Lucy Prebble's play about the financial scandal at the Houston corporation that might have been an early warning for the country's economic meltdown in 2009.
Also in the new category is a play by Mark St. Germain about a meeting between Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis, called Freud's Last Session; and a play with music that deals with Elvis Presley fans, penned by Dallas-based film/TV/stage actress Ronnie Claire Edwards, Idols of the King.
And in the revival category, the main stage season kicks off with Noel Coward's Present Laughter, and includes the musicals Godspell and the rarely done City of Angels.
Here's the official lineup and scoop from Theatre Three's news release:
On the Norma Young Arena Stage:
A comedy by Noel Coward
August 2 – September 1, 2012
The delightfully witty plot spotlights a few days in the life of the successful light comedy actor, Garry Essendine, as he prepares to travel for a touring commitment in Africa. Amid a series of events bordering on farce, Garry has to deal with younger women who want to submit to him, placate both his long-suffering secretary and his estranged wife, and cope with a super-contemptuous young playwright determined to change him into a more "serious and consequential" artist. As Garry has just turned 40, he's fending off all these attacks just as he senses his oncoming mid-life crisis. Coward himself originated the role and called the wildly amusing story "a series of semi-autobiographical pyrotechniques." All is played out by actors on a glamorous high style art deco suite in splendidly lavish high fashions. A feast of laughter and high spirits!
Freud's Last Session
A new drama by Mark St. Germain
September 20 – October 20, 2012
It's September 3, 1939, the cusp of World War II and two weeks before Freud's death. On that day, 83-year-old Freud, the great psychiatrist (and avowed atheist) suffers from life-threatening cancer. He has, in the playwright's imagination, somewhat mysteriously summoned Christian writer C. S. Lewis (then 40) to his London study. Bringing these two historical figures together is a clever dramatic construct, but doing it on that particular day is especially ingenious. A part of the prime minister's radio address provides a bit of a break from a just-begun-but-already-intense discussion about God, the Catholic Church and the hovering question of suicide. Intriguing biographical insights are woven into the strenuous yet witty arguments about belief, Lewis' friendship with J.R.R. Tolkien, and Freud's attention to ancient artifacts positioned on his desk. The play was inspired by Dr. Armand S. Nicholi Jr.'s 2003 book The Question of God.
A musical by Stephen Schwartz
November 15 – December 15, 2012
Theatre Three is a major advocate of composer Stephen Schwartz, whose latest hit is Wicked . Theatre Three first produced the composer's Godspell (in 1974), and subsequently his Working, Children of Eden, Pippin and Personals. Based on the Gospel of St. Matthew, Godspell, first produced off-Broadway in 1971, went on to be produced all over the world. The show has just had a major on-Broadway revival at Circle-in-the-Square in 2012. This latest Broadway production has all its youthful energy intact and adds new and freshened musical materials. The parables of the gospel provide story-telling materials as ten contemporary characters (who become part of a community of believers) act them out in dance, song and imaginative narratives with high spirits and youthful fervor. A great and meaningful classic musical!
Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo
A visionary new work by Rajiv Joseph
January 10 – February 9, 2013
The lives of two American Marines and an Iraqi translator are forever changed by an encounter with a quick-witted tiger who haunts the streets of war-tornBaghdad attempting to find meaning, forgiveness and redemption amidst the city's ruins. Rajiv Joseph's groundbreaking new American play explores both the power and the perils of human nature. Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo was a finalist for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize and ran on Broadway in a limited engagement in 2011 with Robin Williams starring.
Idols of the King
A musical by Ronnie Claire Edwards
February 28 – March 30, 2013
This play with music is a valentine to Elvis Presley's most devoted fans. The show weaves together the stories of an elderly couple touring the United States to exhibit the toilet Elvis used at their gas station sometime in the 1970s, a biker chick and her boyfriend stranded in the desert on their way to an Elvis concert, a man fighting a "conspiracy of the demon dentists", and a spinster piano teacher who fantasizes that she and Elvis are a couple. Combined with the music of Elvis Presley, this show is a heartfelt tribute to the fans who crowned Presley "The King".
A drama by Lucy Prebble
April 25 – May 25, 2013
One of the most infamous scandals in financial history becomes a theatrical epic in Lucy Prebbles new play. Mixing classical tragedy with savage comedy, it follows a group of flawed men and women in a narrative of greed and loss which reviews the tumultuous 1990s and casts a new light on the financial turmoil in which the world finds itself in 2009.
City of Angels
A musical by Cy Coleman, David Zippel, and Larry Gelbart
June 13 – July 13, 2013
The musical imaginatively weaves together two plots, the "real" world of a writer trying to turn his book into a screenplay, and the "reel" world of the fictional film. The setting is Hollywood in the late 1940's, with two stories occurring simultaneously: a Hollywood comedy and a detective drama. The real-life scenes are in color and the movie scenes in black and white with settings and costumes reflecting the reality vs. film. A striking socialite is ushered into detective Stone's office and hires him to find her step-daughter, a beautiful "bad girl." The simple missing daughter case turns complicated (partly because the novelist keeps rewriting the plot of the film to suit the charismatic film producer). When the novelist fulfills the producer's request to tone down a racially-motivated plotline in the screen play, the character of the detective protests. Thus creator and creation wrangle until the pair of them collaborate on writing an ending that concludes all with self respect and artistic triumph.
In Theatre Too:
A musical by Robert Lopez, Jeff Marx, and Jeff Whitty
June 29 – July 29, 2012
Avenue Q is a laugh-out-loud musical that tells the timeless story of a recent college grad named Princeton who moves into a shabby New York apartment all the way out on Avenue Q. There, he meets Kate (the girl next door), Rod (the Republican), Trekkie (the internet sexpert), Lucy, and other colorful types who help Princeton finally discover his purpose in life!
I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change
A musical by Joe DiPietro and Jimmy Roberts
January 17 – February 24, 2013
It's a hugely entertaining show that Theatre Three revives every year around Valentine's Day — and it sells out! It's the perfect revue of courtship and marriage that has earned its place as a signature piece by Theatre Three, and featuring gifted sketch comedy players who sing and dance their way through all the phases of romance and marriage.
For information about season subscriptions, call 214-871-3300 or visit www.theatre3dallas.com.