Fort Worth — Stage West's current 2016-'17 season was the first completely selected by Executive Producer Dana Schultes, and was notable because for the first time in the Fort Worth group's history, none of the plays were more than a decade old, and most were from the past few years. There's been some talk if that trend would continue (even after a letter to the editor in the Star-Telegram, from a subscriber decrying the newer, edgier work), and with the announcement of Stage West's 2017-'18 (its 39th), it looks like Schultes isn't backing off. Good for her.
With the exception of Marc Camoletti's 1980's farce Don't Dress for Dinner, the other six shows (one of them a season extra) are all from the last four years. One of them is a world premiere, Erik Forest Jackson's Like a Billion Likes, which was the winner of Stage West's most recent playwriting competition.
The season begins with Aaron Posner's Life Sucks., adapted from Chekhov's Uncle Vanya (last season Stage West did Posner's Seagull remix, Stupid Fucking Bird). We also get the area premieres of David Javerbaum's An Act of God, which was on Broadway last season with Jim Parsons (B.J. Cleveland stars at Stage West); gender-bending performance artist Taylor Mac's Hir; Branden Jacobs-Jenkins' An Octoroon, an adaptation of Dion Boucicault's 1859 work of the same title; and Halley Feiffer's A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center of New York City.
Also notable: Dallas director Christie Vela will make her Stage West directorial debut. Other directors include Lee Trull, Emily Scott Banks, Harry Parker and Akín Babatundé.
Below is the season with dates, descriptions and subscription information.
by Aaron Posner, sort of adapted from Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya
October 12 – November 12
Directed by Emily Scott Banks
Life is, like, really hard. It’s tough being the gorgeous woman desired by all but understood by none. Or the homely girl with a heart of gold. Or the middle-aged man insightful enough to see the cavernous depth of his own failings. A quirky and deeply human new installment in the Chekhov cycle from the playwright of Stupid F*cking Bird - full of all the delight and charm that love and longing can inspire.
An Act of God
by David Javerbaum
November 30 – December 31
Directed by Harry Parker, and starring B.J. Cleveland
Direct from the pearly gates, and flanked by His ever-faithful and devoted archangels, the Almighty Himself is back to set the record straight and answer the deepest questions plaguing humanity since Creation. In this hilarious, no holds barred, irreverent, and critically acclaimed new play, God takes the stage to deliver a new and improved set of Commandments that are sure to have audiences rolling in their seats with side-splitting glee while providing angel-food for thought.
Like a Billion Likes
by Erik Forrest Jackson
January 18 – February 4
Directed by TBD
Misty Riggs is a nobody. No, really, she is - that’s an undisputed fact. But just as she’s starting sophomore year, she gets the notion she should try to stand out somehow before it’s too late. Misty’s gambit, however, only cements her loserdom, and after one blow too many, she makes a final, desperate bid for glory - the terrible culmination of her burning desire to be recognized for something, anything, no matter how she achieves it.
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center of New York City
by Halley Feiffer
March 8 – April 1
Directed by Lee Trull
A slouchy, foul-mouthed young comedian and an overwhelmed middle-aged man embroiled in a nasty divorce are unexpectedly brought together when their cancer-stricken mothers become roommates in the hospital. Tensions rise and gauntlets are thrown, but appearances may be deceiving. Through confessions, fights, and uproariously inappropriate jokes, these two unwittingly invest in each other and help to pick up the pieces of their broken lives. A boisterously brazen story of the strength it takes to learn to laugh through pain.
by Taylor Mac
May 17 – June 17
Directed by TBD
After returning from the wars, Isaac arrives at his childhood home to discover that the house and family he knew have been upended. His once-timid mother is on a whirlwind crusade to subvert the patriarchy, his sister is now his genderqueer brother who refers to hirself in gender-neutral pronouns. Meanwhile, his stroke-ridden father slumps on the couch in a muumuu and clown makeup. As Isaac attempts to reclaim structure in a household that refuses to be tamed, the family is forced to confront what it is to live in a new world when one is stuck in the past.
"A remarkable, audacious, uproarious black comedy with a daring combination of realism and madcap absurdity." - New York Times
Don’t Dress for Dinner
by Marc Camoletti, adapted by Robin Hawdon
July 12 – August 12
Directed by Christie Vela
Hilarity and hijinks ensue when Bernard invites his mistress over for a weekend romp while his wife Jacqueline is meant to be away. But when Jacqueline discovers Bernard’s friend Robert is also coming over, she decides to stay. Robert is supposed to be Bernard’s alibi for the weekend, but he is also Jacqueline’s secret lover. By the time the mistress and the cook show up, trysts and sweet-nothings are postponed as marital treachery, mistaken identities, and madcap chaos take hold in an evening of adulterous mirth.
by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins
August 30 – September 30
Directed by Akin Babatundé
The Terrebonne plantation is in upheaval - the Master has died. His naïve young nephew tries to hold things together, but the evil neighbor is out to buy the land. Meanwhile, the slaves chat and gossip, and the beautiful, young ward of the estate has a secret that will change everything. Based on a controversial classic, this Obie Award winning play is part period satire and part meta-theatrical middle finger - it’s a provocative and moving challenge to the racial climate of "the land of the free" in both the antebellum South and today.
“Hilarious and harrowing... This decade's most eloquent theatrical statement on race in America today.” - The New York Times
Season tickets will go on sale June 22, and range in price from $135 to $175 with discounts for students, seniors, and teachers. Subscribers purchasing season passes prior to October 1 may purchase up to 2 tickets for An Act of God at $25 apiece.
For more information, call Stage West at (817) 784-9378. Tickets will be available soon online at www.stagewest.org/season-tickets.