The 2012 summer season for Fort Worth's Hip Pocket Theatre has been announced, and is marked by adaptations from some of Johnny Simons' favorite authors and stories, including Mark Twain and Richard Brautigan.
The season kicks off in June with a revival of Simons' commedia dell'arte take on Twain's Tom Sawyer, which Hip Pocket first did in 1990. Simons has also adapted Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court and The Diaries of Adam and Eve, and he met Hip Pocket co-founder, the late Douglas Balentine, in a production of Huckleberry Finn at Casa Mañana, so Twain has a special history for him.
That's followed by an adaptation of another landmark work of American fiction, Herman Melville's Moby-Dick, but this one by Johnny's daughter Lake Simons, a New York puppet artist who brings a show home to Fort Worth every summer. The mammoth work, which was also adapted into an opera that Dallas Opera premiered a few years ago, will be told through puppetry and with music by Lake Simons' frequent collaborator John Dyer.
Johnny Simons has long had a love for the Tarzan stories, having adapted several of them. This year, he takes on the most famous comic book jungle woman with Sheena, Queen of the Jungle.
Then he adapts Richard Brautigan's gothic western The Hawkline Monster. Brautigan's book In Watermelon Sugar was adapted by Simons for Hip Pocket's first season in 1977, and has been revived several times times.
The season ends with a show called Solo Molemo! And the Long Tall Sallys. "Molemo" is Johnny Simons' longtime commedia name, so will he be performing in this one? It also features Hip Pocket staples Julie Ballew and Gracy Tune, sister of Tommy and operator of Arts Fifth Avenue.
Here's the season line-up:
Tom Sawyer (a banjo commedia)
by Mark Twain, stage adaptation by Johnny Simons
Music by Lee Thomas and Friends
by Herman Melville, stage adaptation by Lake Simons
Music by John Dyer
Sheena, Queen of the Jungle
Aug. 10-Sept. 2
Stage adaptation by Johnny Simons from "Golden Age Sheena"
Music by Michael H. Price
The Hawkline Monster (A Gothic Western)
Sept. 14-Oct. 7
by Richard Brautigan, stage adaptation by Johnny Simons
Music by Darren Kobetich
Solo Molemo! And the Long, Tall Sallys!
by Johnny Simons with Julie Ballew and Gracey Tune
For more information, call 817-246-9775 or visit www.hippocket.org.