Fun House actor Alex Duva

2016 for Fun House Theatre & Film

For the first time in its history, Plano's inventive youth theater announces a full season, and fittingly for 2016, it's all about politics.

published Friday, January 8, 2016

Photo: Fun House Theatre & Film
Taylor Donnelson
Photo: Fun House Theatre & Film
Zoe Smithey
Photo: Fun House Theatre & Film
Doak Rapp


Plano — After five years of producing imaginative, funny and exciting theater with youth actors, Fun House Theatre & Film is doing something it has not achieved before: Announcing a full season. In the past, the shows—a mix of original plays, wildly clever parodies and titles from the canon performed with youth casts—were announced one at a time.

The 2016 season is labeled "Politics Through the Proscenium," and the eight productions focus on a theme what will dominate America in 2016: politics. American dramas like David Rabe’s Sticks and Bones and John Lahr’s adaptation of The Manchurian Candidate mingle with shows about President Obama, Hillary Clinton and Rush Limbaugh. And, following in the theater’s clever parodies of American classic plays like Glengarry Glen Ross, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and A Streetcar Named Desire, there will be a Neil Simon riff: The Not-So-Odd Couple looks at another type of politics—the kind that happens in the business of theater-making. The latter is a residency production at the University of Texas at Dallas.

"Theater has always been considered a mirror of society, and over the past five years, when we have touched on politics or social issues, Jeff and I have found that when it is kids shining that mirror, the picture the audience sees is somehow sharper, resoundingly truthful and very powerful,” says Bren Rapp, Founding Partner and President of Fun House Theatre and Film. (In the interest of disclosure, Rapp is also Director of Sales and Marketing for TheaterJones.)

If you haven’t witnessed the magic that is Fun House—this group really is taking youth theater in bold directions—check out one of their shows.

Here’s the complete lineup for 2016. All shows happen at Plano Children's Theatre. Find out more at


Sticks and Bones

By David Rabe

Feb. 12-20

Directed by Jeff Swearingen

Featuring: Josh LeBlanc, Doak Campbell Rapp, Taylor Donneslon, Chris Rodenbaugh, Tex Patrello and new to Fun House, Holly He

A powerful anti-war play and 1972 Tony Award winner. A savagely comic portrait of an archetypal, middle class family, Ozzie, Harriet, David and Ricky, falling apart. When David comes back from the war blinded, he is pursued by furies that haunt him. Wanting to return their son to normal, Ozzie and Harriet attempt their best parenting. But David grows even more vengeful. Finally, it's up to guitar-playing, fudge-eating Ricky to save the day by enlisting the family in a tidy little atrocity all their own.

Photo: Fun House Theatre & Film
Alex Duva


Rush Limbaugh in Night School

By Charlie Varon

March 11-13

Directed by Jeff Swearingen

Paired with: The original sketch comedy show Babes in Electionland

Featuring 12-year-old Alex Duva as Rush Limbaugh

A hysterical satire of the outspoken, rightwing talk show host, and the media. Rightwing radio personality Rush Limbaugh seems unstoppable. His daily audience has risen to six million listeners. But Rush's manager, the fictional Barry Granatour, has disturbing news: Limbaugh faces a serious ratings battle with radio rival J. Neil Rodriguez, a Latino commentator. Granatour suggests Spanish lessons. Donning pseudonym and disguise, Rush attends language classes at the New School for Social Research in Greenwich Village, New York City. There he encounters, in the flesh, all the people he has enjoyed mocking on the air: feminists, leftists, environmentalists.

Babes in Electionland is a sketch comedy show about the current political climate during election year written by elementary school kids (10 and under) and performed verbatim by the teens of Unicorn Clearance with cameos from adult pros- under the direction of Jeff Swearingen.

With the writing talents of: Zoe Smithey, Piper Cunningham, Alex Duva, Joseph Nativi, Natalie Nobel and the youngest among them, 6-year-old Lijah Berrera


Old McDonald’s Farm, A Children’s Fable about the Obama Presidency

June 17-June 25

Written and directed by Jeff Swearingen

A cautionary tale about the dangers of political polarization, written and performed as a children’s fable. When Old McDonald turns the farm over to New McDonald, the animals of the barnyard become polarized by the new face of their caretaker.


The Not-So-Odd Couple 

Concept by Bren Rapp

Written and Directed by Jeff Swearingen

Fun House’s Artists’ Residency at The University of Texas at Dallas

Summer (dates TBD)

A director of a regional theater sets out to cast their upcoming production of Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple under the watchful eye of the theater’s "socially conscious" artistic director. A dark satire looking at the current hot-button issues of political correctness in casting, the arts and society as a whole. 

Photo: Robert Hart/TheaterJones
Jeff Swearingen and Bren Rapp


Hillary: A Modern Greek Tragedy with a (Somewhat) Happy Ending

By Wendy Weiner

Aug. 19-27

Director TBA

Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, and Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, have been at war since time immemorial. When a young girl named Hillary Rodham devotes herself to Athena alone, Aphrodite takes revenge by having her fall in love with a man of mythical charm and appetites: Bill Clinton.

"Hillary is that all-too-rare political play that merrily ignores all the expectations and opinions around it. Far from whipping the dead horse of the Clinton campaign, Wendy Weiner's clever dissection of the woman who would be president offers a refreshingly funny and unexpected interpretation of HRC's life in politics by taking the form of a Greek tragedy." — Variety   


The Manchurian Candidate

Adapted by John Lahr

Oct. 28-Nov. 5

Directed by Jeff Swearingen

An assassination plot against the president, a weak vice president, the threat of nuclear war, espionage, intrigue, and the likelihood of a right wing takeover of the United States.

"The Manchurian Candidate feels astonishingly contemporary; its astringent political satire still bites, and its story has uncanny contemporary echoes. The villains plan to exploit a terrorist act, ‘rallying a nation of viewers to hysteria, to sweep us up into the White House with powers that will make martial law seem like anarchy.’ The plot cheerfully divides blame between right and left." — Roger Ebert


Ultimate Holiday Experience 

Written and directed by Jeff Swearingen

Dec. 2-10

28 young actors, ranging in age from 6-17 bring back the hilarious Fun House holiday cult classic, also known as The Night Dan Quayle Saved ChristmasThanks For Reading

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2016 for Fun House Theatre & Film
For the first time in its history, Plano's inventive youth theater announces a full season, and fittingly for 2016, it's all about politics.
by Mark Lowry

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