Fort Worth — For its 19th season, Amphibian Stage Productions has another line-up of titles you've never seen, even the play from the 1980s by one of the world's greatest living playwrights, Tom Stoppard.
The 2018 season starts with a world premiere of a new adaptation of Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac by Jason O'Connell (he's the partner of playwright Kate Hamill, whose adaptation of Pride and Prejudice is currently at WaterTower Theatre) and Brenda Withers. This will mark Amphibians' fourth full production of a play by Withers, after Matt & Ben (written with Mindy Kaling before she hit The Office fame); a long-titled riff on Don Quixote; and Northside Hollow, co-written with Amphibian co-founder Jonathan Fielding.
Up next is U.S. Army veteran Stephan Wolfert with his recent one-man show Cry, Havoc (see video above); followed by the regional premiere of Fernanda Coppel's 2015 play King Liz, about a cutthroat sports agent; and Tom Stoppard's Artist Descending a Staircase, which was originally a radio play and then adapted for the stage in the '80s (it had a short Broadway run in 1989).
There will also be the Young Jean Lee's We're Gonna Die, in the production directed by Jake Nice that was seen in Dallas this year and will also be in the AT&T Performing Arts Center's Elevator Project next year; the return of the Baron Vaughn-curated comedy series; readings of works in development, including a piece about Julia Pastrana, who Amphibian has explored with two productions of a play about her, performed in the dark; and the National Theatre Live's NT Lives series, which screens filmed perofrmances at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.
Below is the complete news release about the season:
Amphibian Stage Productions, the contemporary theatre cultural explorers call home, is proud to announce its 2018 Season, featuring classic and new work by diverse playwrights, the return of the Phib Comedy Series with an all-star cast of comedians curated by Baron Vaughn, and the ever-popular National Theatre Live screenings in partnership with The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.
The Main Stage Series presents Cyrano by Edmond Rostand, a new adaptation by Jason O’Connell and Brenda Withers; Cry Havoc, written and performed by United States Army veteran Stephan Wolfert; King Liz by Fernanda Coppel, whose work has been developed in New York and London; and Artist Descending a Staircase by Tom Stoppard, Academy-, Tony-, and Olivier-award winning playwright and screenwriter.
“If there is a thread that unites the diverse titles I’ve chosen for this season, it is that each story questions what we value in human beings. Each play invites us to look at ourselves and others through a different lens and to face the assumptions of a world obsessed with fame, wealth, youth, and beauty,” said Kathleen Culebro, Artistic Director of Amphibian Stage Productions.
In line with its mission to produce innovative and engaging theatre, Amphibian also presents a season extra: We’re Gonna Die by Young Jean Lee, a cabaret that takes on the loneliness of misery with humor and infectious pop songs. Amphibian will stage this production in an off-site venue (to be announced) as an opportunity to take our theatre out into the community.
The New Play Series features work by two emerging playwrights: How Embarrassing for Her, written and performed by Jacqueline Novak, and La Extraordinaria Historia de Julia Pastrana (The Extraordinary History of Julia Pastrana), a performance work in progress written and performed by Laura Anderson Barbata. Staged readings of both plays will take place in Spring 2018, exact dates to be announced.
The 2018 Season also presents the third annual Phib Comedy Series, with comedy acts curated by Baron Vaughn. Known for his roles as Bud in Netflix’s Grace and Frankie and Tom Servo in the reboot of Mystery Science Theater 3000, Baron Vaughn will return to the Amphibian Stage, along with an all-star cast of comedians to be announced.
Finally, Amphibian’s nineteenth annual season brings back a Fort Worth favorite, the National Theatre Livescreenings of filmed live productions, at The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. 2018 broadcasts include Edward Albee’s classic Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf starring Imogen Poots and Imelda Staunton; a modern adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s legendary musical Follies; a new comedy, Young Marx, starring Rory Kinnear; an encore of the very popular Hamlet by William Shakespeare, starring Academy Award nominee Benedict Cumberbatch; as well as another Shakespeare classic Julius Caesar, and a “thrilling revival” (NY Times) of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams. Additional screenings will be announced as they are scheduled.
MAIN STAGE SERIES
by Edmond Rostand, adapted by Jason O’Connell and Brenda Withers
February 9 – March 4
Director and acclaimed actor Jason O’Connell reinterprets this classic story of Cyrano de Bergerac in an imaginative way, with a cast of five playing all the characters. Cyrano is a swordsman, philosopher, poet, and raconteur – everything that the love of his life, Roxane, would want in a man. But there’s one major obstacle: he has the biggest nose anyone has ever seen. He partners with the handsome yet tongue-tied Christian de Neuvillette to capture Roxane’s heart. They are rivals, but they can’t succeed without the other. Who will win?
by Stephan Wolfert
May 9 – 28
A one-person play written and performed by U.S. Army veteran Stephan Wolfert who – having battled with PTSD – proposes that citizens are recruited by the military and wired for war, but not un-wired from war. They are not rewired for society. There is no “de-cruit” process. Recounting his experiences in the military, he weaves his personal narrative with lines from some of Shakespeare’s most famous monologues dealing with war and politicians.
by Fernanda Coppel
July 13 – August 5
Sports agent Liz Rico has money and an elite client roster, but a woman in a man’s industry has to fight to stay on top. When she takes on client Freddie Luna, a high school basketball superstar with a troubled past, she discovers she must make some difficult decisions. But who will pay the price? Award-winning playwright and screenwriter Fernanda Coppel brilliantly illustrates issues of race, sex, and class with witty and poignant dialogue.
Artist Descending a Staircase
by Tom Stoppard
October 5 – 28
In 1972, an elderly avant garde artist is murdered, leaving his two friends suspecting each other. There is one thing that unites the three artists: their infatuation with Sophie. Before she tragically went blind, she fell in love with one of them after viewing his picture in a gallery, but there seems to be confusion about whose picture she saw. A radio play meets contemporary theatre, this murder mystery rewinds to the 1920s and then moves forward in time back to 1972. Who killed Donner? And who did Sophie true love?
We're Gonna Die
by Young Jean Lee
Young Jean Lee’s cabaret-style one-woman show We’re Gonna Die combines stories from Lee’s life and pop songs exploring loneliness, isolation, death, and the comfort we all seek when suffering alone. The musical theatre work debuted at the Public Theater in New York in 2011 and has since traveled the world. Young Jean Lee has been called “the most adventurous downtown playwright of her generation” by the New York Times and “one of the best experimental playwrights in America” by Time Out New York. This production will be directed by Jake Nice.
NEW PLAY SERIES
How Embarrassing for Her
by Jacqueline Novak
Spring 2018 (date TBD)
“I live a life of ideas and when those won’t do… snacks.”
That’s how comedian and author Jacqueline Novak describes her solo performance piece, How Embarrassing for Her. In the past two years, Jacqueline made her network debut on The Late Late Show with James Corden; has opened for Mike Birbiglia, Fred Armisen, and Anthony Jeselnik; and released her first book How to Weep in Public: Feeble Offerings on Depression from One Who Knows. Now she combines her literary prowess with her performance skills in a one-woman show she’ll develop as part of our New Play Series.
La Extraordinaria Historia de Julia Pastrana
by Laura Anderson Barbata
Spring 2018 (date TBD)
For ten years, artist Laura Anderson Barbata dedicated her life to the repatriation of the remains of Julia Pastrana, once billed as “The Ugliest Woman in the World.” Part theatre, part lecture, part performance art, La Extraordinaria Historia de Julia Pastrana is the story of Barbata’s battle against all odds to give Julia the resting place she deserves. She’ll be developing and performing the script here in our New Play Series.
NATIONAL THEATRE LIVE
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf
by Edward Albee
January 10 & 13
In the early morning hours on an American college campus, Martha—to her husband George’s displeasure—has invited the young new professor and his wife to their home for after-party drinks. As the alcohol flows, they are drawn into George and Martha’s toxic games. Starring Imelda Staunton (the Harry Potter films), Conleth Hill (Game of Thrones), Luke Treadaway (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time), and Imogen Poots (A Long Way Down, Jane Eyre).
by Stephen Sondheim
January 24 & 27
New York, 1971. There’s a party on the stage of the Weismann Theatre. Tomorrow the iconic building will be demolished. Thirty years after their final performance, the Follies girls gather to have a few drinks, sing a few songs and lie about themselves. Directed by Dominic Cooke, this legendary musical features a cast of 37 and an orchestra of 21, staged for the first time at the National Theatre.
by Richard Bean and Clive Coleman
March 7 & 10
This new comedy, starring Rory Kinnear, is directed by Nicholas Hytner and reunites the creative team behind Broadway and West End hit comedy One Man, Two Guvnors. It’s 1850, and Karl Heinrich Marx, Europe’s most feared socialist, is hiding in Soho. Broke, restless and horny, the thirty-two-year-old revolutionary is a frothing combination of intellectual brilliance, invective, satiric wit, and child-like emotional illiteracy.
by William Shakespeare
March 28 & 31
Academy Award® nominee Benedict Cumberbatch (BBC’s Sherlock, The Imitation Game, Frankenstein at the National Theatre) takes on the title role of Shakespeare’s great tragedy. As a country arms itself for war, a family tears itself apart. Forced to avenge his father’s death but paralyzed by the task ahead, Hamlet rages against the impossibility of his predicament, threatening both his sanity and the security of the state.
by William Shakespeare
April 18 & 21
Caesar returns in triumph to Rome, and the people pour out of their homes to celebrate. Alarmed by the autocrat’s popularity, the educated élite conspire to bring him down. After his assassination, civil war erupts on the streets of the capital. Directed by Nicholas Hytner and starring Ben Whishaw (The Lobster), Michelle Fairley (Game of Thrones), David Calder (The Lost City of Z), and David Morrissey (The Walking Dead).
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
by Tennessee Williams
May 2 & 5
On a steamy night in Mississippi, a Southern family gathers at their cotton plantation to celebrate Big Daddy’s birthday. The scorching heat is almost as oppressive as the lies they tell. With the future of the family at stake, which version of the truth is the real one? Directed by Benedict Andrews, this twentieth century masterpiece is a ‘thrilling revival’ (New York Times) starring Sienna Miller, Jack O’Connell, and Colm Meaney.
Additional screenings will be announced as they are scheduled.
Memberships and Subscriptions
2018 season memberships are now available. Devonian Society donors receive tickets to the main stage plays and readings, champagne openings nights, and National Theatre Live screenings at The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. For more information visit www.amphibianstage.com/memberships or contact Heather Quinn Gage at firstname.lastname@example.org or 817-923-3012.
About Amphibian Stage Productions
Amphibian Stage Productions is a non-profit theatre company founded in 2000 by three alumni of TCU's Department of Theatre who strive to produce innovative and engaging works of theatre that inspire new ideas, opens new doors, and increases our understanding of the vast world around us. About to begin its nineteenth season, Amphibian has produced numerous groundbreaking and challenging plays (some regional premieres, others U.S. or world premieres) that foster a deeper understanding of ourselves as members of the global community. The company is widely recognized for its stylistically and thematically varied scripts.
Committed to nurturing young and diverse audiences, Amphibian has developed a dynamic outreach project, Tad-Poles, that is steadily increasing the company’s visibility and following. The group travels to schools and community centers, performing and spreading a message of multicultural collaboration and tolerance.
Amphibian is generously funded by the American Theatre Wing, Amon G. Carter Foundation, Ann L. and Carol Greene Rhodes Charitable Trust, Arts Council of Fort Worth and Tarrant County, Dramatists Guild Fund, Fifth Avenue Foundation, Fort Worth Promotion and Development Fund, Mary Potishman Lard Trust, Pangburn Foundation, Thomas M., Helen McKee & John P. Ryan Foundation, Sid W. Richardson Foundation, Shubert Foundation, Smallwood Foundation, Southwest Bank, Texas Commission on the Arts, Wells Fargo Bank, William E. Scott Foundation, and the Devonian Society, a group of Amphibian’s devoted donors who are proud to be the force behind nurturing the next generation of artists and audiences.