Addison — We now know what a full season chosen by WaterTower Theatre’s new artistic director, Joanie Schultz, will look like. The theater’s 21st season includes the world premiere of Bread by Dallas native Regina Taylor (who has had a long relationship with the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, the city where Schultz built her career); and three regional premieres of plays by contemporary writers. The fifth season subscription show is a musical, but a small-scale one: Jason Robert Brown’s two-character The Last Five Years.
Bread, which Taylor mentioned in two interviews on TheaterJones earlier this year (here and here), is set in Oak Cliff at the end of the Obama administration, as a couple moves into a home with their teenage boy and another boy on the way, speaking of issues with raising black males in today’s America. The regional premieres are Schultz’s Washington, D.C. production of Texas playwright Robert Askin’s Tony-nominated play Hand to God; an adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, adapted by Kate Hamill, a New York-based actress who has been making waves for her adaptations of classic novels such as Sense and Sensibility and Vanity Fair; and Quiara Alegría Hudes’ Pulitzer Prize-nominated Elliot, a Soldier’s Fugue.
There will also be a season-extra of a new, devised holiday work by WTT Artistic Associate Kelsey Leigh Ervi, called The Great Distance Home. And for those wondering about the fate of WTT’s Out of the Loop Fringe Festival, which had a 15-year run and took a break in 2017 as the theater was transitioning to a new artistic director, it will be reborn as Detour: A Festival of New Work, four days of readings and workshops of new, devised work.
A month ago, WaterTower announced that Sunday in the Park with George, which was originally the final show in the current season (selected by former artistic director Terry Martin, who was to direct), has been replaced by the play Hit the Wall, about the Stonewall Riots.
Here is WaterTower’s complete news release, with descriptions, dates and ticket/subscription info:
Joanie Schultz, Artistic Director, today announced details of the Company’s 2017-2018 Season. This season marks the first for newly appointed Artistic Director Joanie Schultz, and the 21st for WaterTower Theatre. The 5-show subscription season includes a world premiere by Emmy Award-Winner, and Dallas native, Regina Taylor, the regional premiere of Schultz’ critically-lauded production of Hand to God, and a new adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, to run parallel to the New York World Premiere.
“I am thrilled to present my first season at WaterTower Theatre,” said newly appointed Artistic Director Joanie Schultz. “This season reflects and builds off two decades of tradition at WTT, presenting exciting contemporary plays, musicals, and new looks at classics. With my new vision at the helm, we are creatively stretching ourselves with innovative works that are each, in their own way, new to the DFW area. I’m confident that our community will be buzzing with excitement over these unique theatrical experiences that will each be so special and different at WTT.”
Schultz continued, “Moreover, each production has been carefully chosen to speak to each other, creating a dynamic conversation that unfolds throughout the year. Each play we are doing this season touches on family. Our families, both by birth and by choice, are so much a part of who we are: what we fight for and against, and who we will become. And what better way to consider our own family dynamics and inheritance than to laugh, cry, and contemplate these very different and vital family stories?”
The season opens with the regional premiere of Pride and Prejudice (October 13 – November 5, 2017), by Kate Hamill. Pride and Prejudice, directed by Artistic Director Joanie Schultz, is not your grandma’s Jane Austen as Hamill artfully pays tribute to the classic with a modern theatrical flair. The season continues with the regional premiere of Quiara Alegría Hudes first installment of the Water by the Spoonful trilogy, Elliot, a Soldier’s Fugue (January 26 – February 18, 2018). The Pulitzer Prize-winning dramatist’s play spans three generations of a Puerto Rican-American family and poetically weaves the common thread of war’s effect on an individual. The world premiere of Regina Taylor’s Bread (April 13 – May 6, 2018) is next in the Canterbury Family Main Stage. Bread tells the story of an Oak Cliff family as they wade through the uncertainty of late 2016. But when the prodigal son returns home, tensions mount and we discover how thick blood really is. The season continues with The Last Five Years (June 8 – July 1, 2018) written and composed by Jason Robert Brown. Associate Artistic Director Kelsey Leigh Ervi helms Brown’s stunningly intimate song-scape about love, loss, and timing. The 2017-2018 Season concludes with the regional premiere of Hand to God (August 3 – August 26, 2018) by Robert Askins. Joanie Schultz will re-imagine her Helen Hayes-nominated production of Hand to God, first produced at Studio Theatre in Washington D.C. This immersive, irreverent, and irresistible comedy that follows Jason and his possibly demon-possessed sock puppet Tyrone will have you holding a mirror toward human nature, with tears of laughter in your eyes.
The 5-show subscription package can be enhanced with the addition of The Great Distance Home (December 1 - 17, 2017), a theatrical holiday event that encapsulates all the feelings of the journey home, created and conceived by Associate Artistic Director Kelsey Leigh Ervi. Additionally, WaterTower Theatre will renew its investment in new and emerging art with Detour: A Festival of New Work (March 1 – 4, 2018), a festival committed to promoting works-in-progress.
Directors for Elliot, a Soldier’s Fugue and Bread will be announced at a later date. All productions will be staged at the Addison Theatre Centre at 15650 Addison Road, Addison, Texas 75001.
The five-play season subscriptions range in price from $100 (Previews) to $185 (Saturday evening). The renewal deadline for current subscribers to keep their same seats is July 21. Subscribers who renew by May 26 will be entered to win a drawing for a $500 Visa Gift Card. Subscriptions are available by calling the Box Office at 972-450-6232. Individual ticket prices for the 2017-2018 Season range in price from $25 - $42. Individual tickets go on sale in September for the first two shows of the season. The Great Distance Home and Detour: A Festival of New Work are not part of the 5-play Main Stage subscription season but are sold separately. Individual tickets to The Great Distance Home are $20. Individual ticket prices to The Detour Festival are $10. Festival passes are $40 for subscribers, and $45 for the general public.
WaterTower Theatre gratefully acknowledges the support of our Season Sponsors including The Town of Addison, TACA, the Texas Commission on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, The Shubert Foundation, The Canterbury Family, Don and Barbara Daseke, Paul and Norma Shultz, and Janiece and Jimmy Niemann. Production Sponsors for the 2017-2018 Season include Pinnacle, Mary Kay, Inc., Frost Bank, Whole Foods Market, The Corporate Council, Women of WaterTower Theatre, and The WaterTower Theatre Board of Directors.
THE 2017-2018 SEASON:
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
October 13 – November 5, 2017
By Kate Hamill
Adapted from the novel by Jane Austen
Directed by Joanie Schultz
Sponsored, in part, by Pinnacle and Mary Kay Inc.
Calling all Jane Austen fans – and everyone else who loves a sparkling comedy about the entanglements of family, love, marriage, and money. Following the runaway success of her adaptation of Sense and Sensibility, playwright Kate Hamill returns to the immortal English writer with a fresh take on Austen’s most famous novel. As the story of the Bennet daughters and their formidable social-ladder climbing mother unfolds, strong-willed Lizzie charts an independent course as she negotiates very mixed feelings about the aloof and seemingly snobbish Mr. Darcy. Hamill’s imaginative and irreverent version of this literary classic makes Austen’s deep insights into the foibles of human nature a theatrical treat you won’t forget.
“I feel this immense responsibility and honor as a female artist to help reclaim the classics for everyone.”
- Kate Hamill
ELLIOT, A SOLDIER’S FUGUE
January 26 – February 18, 2018
By Quiara Alegría Hudes
Sponsored, in part, by Frost Bank
Pulitzer Prize-winning dramatist Quiara Alegría Hudes takes a poignant look at the way war permeates young men’s lives in a play spanning three generations of the same Puerto Rican-American family. Elliot is a Marine Corps hero back from Iraq with an injured leg and a Purple Heart. His Pop was wounded in Vietnam; his flute-playing Grandpop fought in Korea. In a fugue-like form, different wars and different tales are strung together as Ginny, his mother, seeks to reconcile the disparate parts and heal emotional wounds. Hudes’ spare, intense, and poetically resonant play speaks to the personal cost of war across the ages.
"ELLIOT, A SOLDIER'S FUGUE is that rare and rewarding thing: a theater work that succeeds on every level, while creating something new." - New York Times
April 13 – May 6, 2018
By Regina Taylor
Sponsored, in part, by Whole Foods Market
Bread is nourishment. Bread is legacy. Bread is life itself. And bread is money. This world premiere by award-winning Dallas-born actress and playwright Regina Taylor weaves a compelling family drama of hopes, fears, thwarted dreams, and dark secrets against a turbulent backdrop of racial tension and social upheaval. It is late 2016; a time of change. James and Ruth are a middle class couple from Oak Cliff, a historic south Dallas neighborhood on the verge of gentrification. They plan a bright future for their teenage son and his soon-to-be-born brother. But when James’ brother Jeb returns home, buried family tensions resurface and the past casts a troubling shadow across an uncertain future. Taylor’s stirring, timely story of identity and family asks: How can we prepare the next generation for what’s to come?
"I’m very proud to be from Dallas, Texas. I think a place is what names you and you have to hold on to what first names you." - Regina Taylor
THE LAST FIVE YEARS
June 8 – July 1, 2018
Written and composed by Jason Robert Brown
Directed by Kelsey Leigh Ervi
Sponsored, in part, by Women of WaterTower Theatre
Think about where you were five years ago. Think about who you were with. Think about that idealized image you had of yourself in five yearstime. Now think about where you are today. Is this where you thought you’d be? The universality of this question resonates through Jason Robert Brown’s intimately observant and often funny, The Last Five Years. Through opposing intersecting chronologies, this award-winning musical follows the story of Jamie and Cathy, two 20-something artists in New York, as their relationship blossoms and sours. The beginning, the end, and everything in between is put into perspective in this touching and sympathetic tale of love, loss, and timing.
"...an emotionally powerful and intimate modern musical about two young New Yorkers who fall in and out of love." -New York Times
HAND TO GOD
August 3 – 26, 2018
By Robert Askins
Directed by Joanie Schultz
Sponsored, in part, by WaterTower Theatre Board of Directors
Public piety and seething lust, family dysfunction and repressed anxiety interact with explosive results in Robert Askins’s darkly unsettling, foul-mouthed, and uproarious dissection of the troubled currents that roil a Christian puppet ministry in suburban Texas. With wildly imaginative flair, Askins thrusts us into an almost surreal world where hand puppets (meant to impart moral lessons) take on frightening lives of their own. As Jason grieves the loss of his father, his devilish, and possibly possessed puppet, Tyrone, is relentless in causing havoc, revealing secrets, and exposing the hypocrisy around him. With a theatrical magic that makes puppets seem as real and immediate as human actors, this immersive production will have audiences holding up a mirror to their deepest fears and imperfect natures, all with side-splitting laughter. Director Joanie Schultz's Studio Theatre production of Hand to God was nominated for six Helen Hayes Awards including Best Director.
“A maliciously delicious black comedy”
– The Washington Post (referring to Schultz’s production)
“This show is completely immersive and will leave you insanely entertained.”
– DC Theatre Scene (referring to Schultz’s production)
THE GREAT DISTANCE HOME
December 1 – 17, 2018
Created and Conceived by Kelsey Leigh Ervi
This winter, we invite audiences to come home to WaterTower Theatre. In a limited engagement, multidisciplinary theatrical event audiences will be immersed in a story of joy, love, and the warmth you feel upon returning home after a long absence. At WaterTower this holiday season, home really is where the heart is.
From the co-creator of WaterTower Theatre’s “Best of Loop” winner The Spark.
DETOUR: A FESTIVAL OF NEW WORK
March 1 – 4, 2018
THE DETOUR FESTIVAL is WaterTower Theatre’s renewed investment in the creation and development of new work. A 4-day Festival which will focus on public performances and readings of devised work and new plays created by local and national artists, DETOUR is sure to inspire audiences while fostering opportunities for innovative, daring, and relevant new work.
WaterTower Theatre offers a host of subscription options, in addition to the standard Five-play, full series subscription (Pride and Prejudice, Elliot, a Soldier’s Fugue, Bread, The Last Five Years, Hand to God) which offers the best seating and greatest discounts over individual tickets. Subscribers will be able to order tickets to the Holiday Extra, (The Great Distance Home) and festival passes for Detour when they renew their subscription or order a new subscription. Continuing again next season are the following series designed to enhance the theatre-goers experience:
ENHANCED THEATRE EXPERIENCE SERIES:
Conversation with the Artists:
A five-play series on all Wednesday nights and Sunday matinees that includes a post-show discussion with the actors, artists, or expert panelists.
The Flex Pass:
A pack of three (3) or more tickets good for any show in our 2017-2018 Season. The Flex Pass allows you to lock a lower ticket price— a savings of $3 off the regular price ticket —while still giving you the flexibility to see only the shows you want to see. Flex Passes go on sale September, 2017.
Design Your Own Series:
This series provides flexibility to WaterTower Theatre subscribers. Patrons can choose their own plays and dates, creating a series specifically designed for their needs. Design Your Own subscriptions go on sale September, 2017.
Senior/Student Subscription Series:
A Senior/Student subscription series will be offered, including a special student Design Your Own Series.
Firefighters, police officers, EMTs, veterans and members of the armed forces and their immediate families will be offered a special subscription of 50% off any five-play subscription package (excluding DYO, special affinity programs, and special miniseries).