Janelle Lutz as Judy Garland

2016 for Uptown Players

Next year Uptown Players has four regional premieres, including two Terrence McNally titles, Janelle Lutz as Judy Garland and The Toxic Avenger.

published Friday, August 14, 2015

Photo: Mike Morgan
Janelle Lutz as Judy Garland

Dallas — The 2016 season for Uptown Players, its 15th, has been announced. Four of the five shows at the Kalita Humphreys Theater are regional premieres, including two plays (one old, one new) by Texas native Terrence McNally. The old is It's Only a Play, which was recently revived on Broadway with Nathan Lane. Naturally, B.J. Cleveland will play that role. The other is Mothers and Sons, which had a four-month run on Broadway in 2014 starring Tyne Daly. (McNally is getting quite the North Texas workout as The Dallas Opera will soon premiere the new opera Great Scott, with music by Jake Heggie and book by McNally, based on one of his short plays.)

The other regional premieres are a play about Judy Garland called End of the Rainbow, with Janelle Lutz, who played Garland in Uptown's The Boy From Oz in 2014, starring; and the musical The Toxic Avenger, based on the 1984 b-movie.

Broadway Our Way will return, and Uptown will do its third concert staging in collaboration with Turtle Creek Chorale, of Elton John's Aida. The Pride Performing Arts Festival will also return in 2016; it's not being done this year because of the scheduling Uptown has had in the Kalita Humphreys after Dallas Theater Center's Kalita-heavy 2014-15 season.

Below is a complete breakdown of the 2016 season, followed by information about subscriptions and ticket sales. Aida is performed at Dallas City Performance Hall, and all other shows are at the Kalita.



Aida: Concert Version

January 15-17, 2016

Winner of four 2000 TONY Awards, Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida is an epic tale of love, loyalty and betrayal chronicling the love triangle between Aida, a Nubian princess stolen from her country, Amneris, an Egyptian princess, and Radames, the soldier they both love. An enslaved Nubian princess, Aida, finds her heart entangled with Radames, an Egyptian soldier who is betrothed to the Pharaoh's daughter, Amneris. As their forbidden love blossoms, Aida is forced to weigh her heart against the responsibility she faces as leader of her people. Aida and Radames's love for one another becomes a shining example of true devotion that ultimately transcends the vast cultural differences between their warring nations, heralding a time of unprecedented peace and prosperity. This concert version will be presented in conjunction with the Turtle Creek Chorale and will take place at the Dallas City Performance Hall in the arts district downtown from January 15 – 17, 2016.


End of the Rainbow

April 1 – April 17, 2016

Written by Peter Quilter, End of the Rainbow is a musical drama of Judy Garland's "come-back" concerts during December, 1968. With a six week booking at London's Talk of the Town, it looks like Judy Garland is set firmly on the comeback trail. The failed marriages, the suicide attempts and the addictions are all behind her. At forty-six and with new flame Mickey Deans at her side, she seems determined to carry it off and recapture her magic. But lasting happiness always eludes some people, and there was never any answer to the question with which Judy ended every show: "If happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow, why, oh, why, can't I?" End of the Rainbow is a savagely funny drama featuring a glorious ensemble of Judy Garland hits and infused with the glamour and the melancholy of stardom. This production will star Janelle Lutz (The Boy from Oz) as Judy Garland. This regional premiere will take place at the Kalita Humphreys Theater from April 1 – 17, 2016.


Broadway Our Way

May 5 – May 8, 2016

Now in its 14th year, Uptown Players’ annual fundraiser, Broadway Our Way, light-heartedly pits the men against the women to determine who the true Divas of the Dallas stage really are. The evening features selections from your favorite Broadway shows both past and present, done with an Uptown Players twist! It is sure to be a hot ticket with only four performances in May of 2016 at the Kalita Humphreys Theater.


Mothers and Sons

June 3 – June 19, 2016

Uptown Players will present the regional premiere of the 2014 Tony Award nominated play, Mothers and Sons, written by Terrence McNally. At turns funny and powerful, Mothers and Sons portrays a woman who pays an unexpected visit to the New York apartment of her late son's partner, who is now married to another man and has a young son. Challenged to face how society has changed around her, generations collide as she revisits the past and begins to see the life her son might have led.  The production runs June 3 – 19, 2016 at the Kalita Humphreys Theater.


It’s Only a Play

July 15 – July 31, 2016

Uptown Players continues its season with the regional premiere of another Terrence McNally recent Broadway smash, It’s Only A Play. It's the opening night of The Golden Egg on Broadway, and the wealthy producer is throwing a lavish party in her lavish Manhattan townhouse. Downstairs the celebrities are pouring in, but the real action is upstairs where a group of insiders have staked themselves out in the producer's bedroom, waiting for the reviews to come in. The good natured bonhomie with which the evening begins grows steadily bitchier—and funnier—as the reviews come in, and those assembled seek desperately to pin the blame on each other. But, as euphoria slides into despair, the narcissism, ambition, childishness and just plain irrationality that infuse the theatre and its denizens take over, and as the curtain falls plans are eagerly afoot for their next venture—this one sure to be the hit they have all been hoping for. The show stars B. J. Cleveland as James Wicker (recently played by Nathan Lane on Broadway) and runs July 15 through July 31, 2016.


The Toxic Avenger

August 26 – September 11, 2016

To close its fifteenth season, Uptown Players will present the regional premiere of the 2009 Outer Critics Circle Award winner for Best Off-Broadway Musical, The Toxic Avenger. With book and lyrics by Joe DiPietro and music and lyrics by David Bryan, The Toxic Avenger is a charming love story and laugh-out-loud musical that has it all. Melvin Ferd the Third wants to clean up Tromaville, the most polluted town in New Jersey. Foiled by the mayor's bullies, Melvin is dumped into a vat of radioactive toxic waste, only to reemerge as The Toxic Avenger, New Jersey's first superhero. Affectionately known as Toxie, our new hero is a seven-foot mutant freak with superhuman strength and a heart as big as Newark. He's out to save New Jersey, end global warming, and woo the blind librarian in town. The production runs August 16 through September 11.


Ticket prices for all shows range from $25 to $45. Performances at the Kalita Humphreys Theater, 3636 Turtle Creek Blvd at Blackburn, will run at 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings and 2 p.m. on Sundays. Performances at City Performance Hall, 2520 Flora Street are at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Four, five, or six show season ticket flex packages are available and include great discounts on both premium and regular seating. Individual and season tickets can be purchased online beginning Tuesday, August 18 at or by phone at 214-219-2718. Thanks For Reading

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2016 for Uptown Players
Next year Uptown Players has four regional premieres, including two Terrence McNally titles, Janelle Lutz as Judy Garland and The Toxic Avenger.
by Mark Lowry

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