Addison — If Joanie Schultz's first season at Artistic Director of WaterTower Theatre didn't signify changes coming to the Addison theater — one of the top five professional theaters in DFW, in terms of budget size — then the just-announced second season should do the trick. It's the boldest season the theater has ever managed, mainly because aside from Ibsen's A Doll's House, adapted by Schultz, it's filled with titles that even a somewhat savvy theater-goer familiar with recent off-Broadway titles and playwriting awardees wouldn't have heard of.
That, folks, is how you do it.
The mainstage season opens with A Doll's House, and follows with three regional premieres of the plays Guadalupe in the Guest Room and Everything is Wonderful and the musical The Ballad of Little Jo, and closes with the world premiere of Nathan Alan Davis' Origin Story, which was seen in a reading at WaterTower's first Detour Festival this year. Noteworthy: Not only are these plays women-driven in terms of character and story, they're all directed by women. Schultz takes on Doll's House and Little Jo, Kelsey Leigh Ervi has Everything is Wonderful, Christie Vela helms Guadalupe, and Tiffany Nichole Green does Origin Story, which she also directed at Detour. Also important to note: two of those women are women of color (Vela and Green).
Season extras include the second Detour festival (moved to January), the return of the devised holiday work The Great Distance Home, and a special presentation of Unveiled: A One Woman Play, written and performed by Chicago-based Rohina Malik, who tells the stories of five Muslim women.
To boot, WaterTower is the 2018-19 home for Dark Circles Contemporary Dance, which will have three productions in the season at WTT, each featuring new works by local and national choreographers. Dark Circles was one of the highlights of the first Detour festival, and the space must have worked out for the group.
I also want to note something Schultz has done with both season announcements that you typically don't see from arts organizations here, aside from the Dallas Opera: A unified photo story themed to the season. Just look at the pics in the slideshow (click the button on the floating menu at the bottom left of your screen). Fantastic work from rising local photog Evan Michael Wood, who's also a photography regular with Stage West and Second Thought Theatre.
Below is the complete WTT news release, with season, descriptions, dates, subscription and ticket info, and more.
Joanie Schultz, Artistic Director, today announced details of the Company’s 2018-2019 Season.
This season marks the 23rd for WaterTower Theatre, and the second full season programmed by Artistic Director Joanie Schultz. The 5-show subscription season includes a World Premiere by Nathan Alan Davis, Origin Story, first seen by DFW audiences as part of DETOUR: A Festival of New Work, a musical adaptation of a 1990’s western movie, The Ballad of Little Jo, a new adaptation of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House written and directed by Joanie Schultz, and a host of exciting additional programming.
“One of the things I love about WaterTower Theatre is that it is a place where we come together.” Said Artistic Director Joanie Schultz about the coming season. “We come to the theatre to unite as artists and audiences in events that create unique and inspiring experiences, taking us out of our everyday lives and into the realm of imagination. Our next season is about exactly that: coming together. Be it in celebration, hope, faith, love, perseverance, or risk, the stories of this season are of people reaching out and trying to overcome divides between each other. This uplifting season is one that continues to be diverse in our presentation of classics, new work, musicals, comedies, and dramas from different points of view; and each story examines the possibility of coming together.”
The 2018-2019 Canterbury Family Main Stage Season kicks off with Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House (October 12 – November 4, 2018) condensed to a heart-stopping 90 minutes adapted and directed by Joanie Schultz. This new adaptation stays true to the classic time period and storytelling genius while showcasing its relevance in today’s world. The season continues with the Regional Premiere of Tony Meneses’s quirky and heart-filled Guadalupe in the Guest Room (February 22 – March 17, 2019) about unlikely housemates overcoming a language barrier, connecting through shared grief, and bonding over Mexican soap operas, directed by Christie Vela. Up-and-coming playwright Chelsea Marcantel’s new play Everything is Wonderful (April 19 – May 12, 2019) makes its Regional Premiere in the spring of 2019. Associate Artistic Director Kelsey Leigh Ervi directs the story of Miri, a young woman who finds herself back in the Amish community having been excommunicated five years earlier. A tragedy cracks open the family’s dark history, forcing Miri to confront the ghosts of her past. The fourth show of the Main Stage Season follows the inspiring true story of Josephine Monaghan in The Ballad of Little Jo (June 7 – 30, 2019). With music by Mike Reid, lyrics by Sarah Schlesinger, and book by Sarah Schlesinger, Mike Reid, and John Dias, this lively musical explores the trials and adventures of a Boston-born woman who poses as a man for nearly 20 years in a small mining town in the American West, directed by Joanie Schultz, Musical Directed by Vonda K. Bowling. The season concludes with the World Premiere of Origin Story (August 2 – 25, 2019) by Nathan Alan Davis, and directed by Tiffany Nichole Greene. WTT Audiences may remember this delightfully angsty play from the 2018 DETOUR: A Festival of New Work. Margaret’s quarter-life crisis resonates with us all as she trudges through her two monotonous day jobs, seeking to find her own identity.
The five-show Main Stage Season is enhanced by three can’t-miss Season Extras. Back by popular demand, The Great Distance Home (November 23 – December 16, 2018) is moving to the Canterbury Family Main Stage for an extended run in 2018. Kelsey Leigh Ervi returns to direct the nearly-wordless devised holiday tale of life, love, and the journey to find a home of one’s own. In the summer, WTT is proud to present an exclusive limited run of Unveiled: A One Woman Play (June 12 – 30, 2019) in the Karol Omlor Studio Theatre. Written and performed by Rohina Malik, the critically lauded Chicago-based artist depicts five Muslim women from around the world as they sip tea, talk faith, culture, and break down stereotypes. DETOUR: A Festival of New Work (January 17 – 20, 2019) is back for a second year continuing WTT’s investment in new and emerging artists and innovative works in progress.
All productions will be staged at the Addison Theatre Centre at 15650 Addison Road, Addison, Texas 75001.
Five-show 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 13. Subscribers who renew by May 24th will be entered to win a drawing for a $500 Visa Gift Card. New Subscriptions are available by calling the Box Office at 972.450.6232, and renewals can be made by phone, in person, or online at www.watertowertheatre.org. Individual ticket prices for the 2018-2019 Season range in price from $25 - $42. Individual tickets go on sale in September. Tickets to The Great Distance Home, Unveiled: A One Woman Play and Detour: A Festival of New Work can be purchased separate from the five-show subscription season. Individual tickets to The Great Distance Home are $40 ($35 for Subscribers), Individual ticket prices to Unveiled: A One Woman Play are $25 and Detour passes are $40 for subscribers, and $45 for the general public.
WaterTower Theatre is also pleased to introduce a Flex Pass ($140) and an Under-30 Flex Pass ($99) which can be used for a total of Five (5) tickets throughout the 2018-2019 Season (stipulations may apply).
Finally, WTT is pleased to present Dark Circles Contemporary Dance as a guest company in residence for three series of performances during the season: January 24-27, March 22-24, and September 12-15, 2019. DCCD performed to a sold-out house during WTT's inaugural DETOUR: A Festival of New Work in March 2018. Individual tickets for these performances will also go on sale in September.
For more information on WaterTower Theatre and the 2018 – 2019 Season, visit us online at www.watertowertheatre.org or call the Box Office at 972.450.6232.
THE 2018-2019 SEASON
A DOLL’S HOUSE
By Henrik Ibsen
Adapted and Directed by Joanie Schultz
October 12 – November 4, 2018
Nora and Torvald Helmer are the perfect couple living a storybook life. But for years Nora has been paying off a secret debt, obtained through forging a signature, which saved her husband’s life. When Torvald is back in good health and has garnered a promotion at the bank, his first order of business is to fire the man who confidentially loaned Nora the money. Confronted with shame and blackmail, Nora is pushed to expose her secret to Torvald, but the true revelation might just be that their lives are not their own. Henrik Ibsen shocked the world in 1879 when A Doll’s House became the first play of its kind, and now WaterTower Theatre Artistic Director Joanie Schultz has taken Ibsen’s immortal words and wound them into a powerful 90-minute thriller for today’s audience.
GUADALUPE IN THE GUEST ROOM
By Tony Meneses
Directed by Christie Vela
February 22 – March 17, 2019
Guadalupe is living in the guest room of her son-in-law, Steve, while she works to translate from English to Spanish the children’s books her deceased daughter has written. Overcome with grief and separated by a language barrier, the unlikely housemates struggle to communicate. As they begin watching the same television show, the two bond in the most unexpected of ways, leading Guadalupe and Steve to learn that understanding doesn’t always require speaking the same language. Guadalupe in the Guest Room is a funny and heartfelt celebration of new beginnings, breaking barriers, and the healing power of telenovelas.
EVERYTHING IS WONDERFUL
By Chelsea Marcantel
Directed by Kelsey Leigh Ervi
April 19 – May 12, 2019
Following a tragic car accident that killed her two brothers, Miri, the excommunicated daughter of an Amish family, returns home to find that her parents have taken in the wayward driver of the car. Quickly learning that time has not healed old wounds, Miri struggles with the contradictions of the culture she left behind, while being forced to confront Abram, the young Amish man whose actions drove her away. The past and present collide as the family struggles to reconcile and seek out a new path forward in their faith. Everything is Wonderful brings us face to face with this long-misunderstood community in a striking and intricate examination of the complexity of forgiveness.
THE BALLAD OF LITTLE JO
Music by Mike Reid
Lyrics by Sarah Schlesinger
Book by Sarah Schlesinger, Mike Reid, and John Dias
Based on the film The Ballad of Little Jo by Maggie Greenwald
Directed by Joanie Schultz
June 7 – June 30, 2019
Southwest Regional Premiere
After giving birth to a son out of wedlock, Josephine Monaghan makes the difficult decision to leave her son in the care of her sister and head out west in search of a new life; one she hopes will be able to support her and her son. But after a series of ill-fated encounters, Josephine finds herself stranded in a small mining town in Idaho. With an unwavering will to survive, she disguises herself as a man called “Jo” and quickly finds a job mining silver. Things start looking up for Jo as she finds success as a man, but the dream of a better life starts to crack when news from back home in Boston reaches her. Inspired by the true story of a young woman in the Old West, The Ballad of Little Jo is a lively and compelling musical about one woman’s fearless journey to stake her claim on the American Dream.
By Nathan Alan Davis
Directed by Tiffany Nichole Greene
August 2 – 25, 2019
Margaret doesn’t know who she is or what she’s aiming for. Forced to work two jobs to pay down her debt, she wades through office triviality at The Services Corporation by day and by night she works the drive-thru of The Burg, a 24/7 fast food restaurant. But through co-workers and friends, Margaret’s existential muddle begins to resolve as connections are found in the most unsuspecting of places. Funny, satirical, and surprising, Origin Story is an offbeat look at the quarter-life crisis and how to connect in an unconnected world. Following the play’s success in last season’s DETOUR: A Festival of New Work, WaterTower Theatre is proud to present this World Premiere by Nathan Alan Davis.
“One of my goals when writing this play was to make every scene delightful.” – Nathan Alan Davis
THE GREAT DISTANCE HOME
Conceived and Directed by Kelsey Leigh Ervi
Created by Kelsey Leigh Ervi, Kelsey Milbourn, Carissa Olsen, Christopher Llewyn Ramirez, Mitchell Stephens, and Garret Storms
November 23 – December 16, 2019
Boy, like most children, has an unyielding imagination. But when the rigidness of growing up begins to stifle it, Boy sets out in search of a home to call his own, and on his way discovers a life that he never expected. Back by popular demand, The Great Distance Home moves to the Canterbury Family Main Stage this holiday season, bringing the heartwarming and nearly-wordless story of a young man’s journey of discovery to life once more.
UNVEILED: A One Woman Play
Written and Performed by Rohina Malik
June 12 – June 30, 2019
Five Muslim women from around the world sip tea and share stories about faith, culture, and prejudice in this groundbreaking one-woman show, written and performed by critically acclaimed playwright and actor Rohina Malik. An uplifting and universal performance sure to break down stereotypes of Muslim women, WaterTower is proud to bring Rohina and her powerful story to Addison for this limited engagement.
DETOUR: A FESTIVAL OF NEW WORK
January 17 – 20 2019
DETOUR is back! Last year’s inaugural festival celebrating the creation of new theatrical experiences gave voice to nearly one hundred local and national artists. WaterTower’s investment in the creation and development of new work continues for a second year with this 4-day festival focusing on devised works and new play readings. DETOUR is sure to inspire audiences while fostering opportunities for artists to test out innovative, daring, and theatrical works. From theatre and dance to music and comedy, take a detour from the ordinary, and discover something new.
A Doll’s House
October 12 – November 4, 2018
Previews: Friday, October 12 and Saturday, October 13
Pay It Forward with Pay What You Can Preview: Sunday, October 14
Opening Night: Monday, October 15
The Great Distance Home
November 23 - December 16, 2018
Previews: Friday, November 23, Saturday, November 24, and Sunday, November 25
Opening Night: Monday, November 26
DETOUR: A Festival of New Work
January 17 - 20, 2019
Dark Circles Contemporary Dance
January 24 – 27, 2019
Guadalupe in the Guest Room
February 22 – March 17, 2019
Previews: Friday, February 22 and Saturday, February 23
Pay It Forward with Pay What You Can Preview: Sunday, February 24
Opening Night: Monday, February 25
Dark Circles Contemporary Dance
March 22 – 24, 2019
Everything is Wonderful
April 19 – May 12, 2019
Previews: Friday, April 19 and Saturday, April 20
Pay It Forward with Pay What You Can Preview: Sunday, April 21
Opening Night: Monday, April 22
The Ballad of Little Jo
June 7 – June 30, 2019
Previews: Friday, June 7 and Saturday, June 8
Pay It Forward with Pay What You Can Preview: Sunday, June 9
Opening Night: Monday, June 10
Unveiled: A One Woman Play
June 12 – June 30, 2019
Opening Night: Wednesday, June 12
August 2 –August 25 2019
Previews: Friday, August 2 and Saturday, August 3
Pay It Forward with Pay What You Can Preview: Sunday, August 4
Opening Night: Monday, August 5
Dark Circles Contemporary Dance
September 12 – 15, 2019
2018-2019 Season Ticket Prices:
Five-play season subscriptions range in price from $100 (Previews) to $185 (Saturday evening).
Current subscribers are able to renew their season subscriptions by mail, fax (972.450.6244), by calling the Box Office at 972.450.6232 or by ordering online. New subscriptions will be available in by phone .
New subscriptions are on sale now. However, seating will not be assigned until late July.
About Joanie Schultz, Artistic Director
Joanie Schultz has been serving as Artistic Director of WaterTower Theatre since January 2017. Before joining WaterTower Theatre, Joanie served as Associate Artistic Producer at Victory Gardens Theater, as part of the Leadership U One-on-One Fellowship funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation administered through TCG, the national non-profit regional theatre service organization. She is also a freelance director, with recent productions at Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Studio Theatre (Washington, D.C.), The Cleveland Play House, Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, and Victory Gardens Theater. She was a Drama League Fellow, The Goodman Theatre Michael Maggio Director Fellow, the SDSF Denham Fellow, and Lincoln Center Theatre Directors Lab participant. She is an ensemble member at Steep Theatre, Artistic Associate at Victory Gardens Theater, and artistic cabinet member at Studio Theatre in Washington, D.C. Joanie has also served on faculty at Columbia College and University of Chicago. She received her B.A. in Theatre/Directing at Columbia College and her M.F.A. in Theatre Directing from Northwestern University.
About Nicholas Even, Managing Director
Nick Even joined WaterTower Theatre in October after nearly 30 years practicing as an attorney while actively serving as an arts community volunteer. He served on the WTT Board from 2005-2008 and as President in 2008. Other service has included Vice President and Nominating Committee Chair of The Dallas Opera Board of Directors, Trustee of The Dallas Opera Foundation, Vice President and Grants Committee Chair of TACA's Board of Directors, and the Second Thought Theatre Board of Directors. He was a recipient of a 2017 General Director's Award for Outstanding Board Service at The Dallas Opera. A graduate of Cornell College and Harvard Law School, Nick was an associate at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in New York City and then a partner at Haynes and Boone in Dallas.
About WaterTower Theatre
Founded in 1996, WaterTower Theatre (WTT) is one of Texas' leading professional theatre companies and one of the flagship arts institutions in North Texas, having played an important role as a leader in developing new talent and encouraging the growth of the DFW artistic community through its commitment to hiring local artists. Led by Artistic Director Joanie Schultz and Managing Director Nicholas Even, it is consistently recognized for its artistic excellence by the Dallas Theatre League, DFW Theatre Critics Forum, The Dallas Morning News, The Dallas Observer, D Magazine, and The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, among others. WaterTower Theatre has a subscription base of more than 2,000 subscribers and serves an audience of over 24,000 patrons annually.
WaterTower Theatre is 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. WaterTower Theatre relies on its ticket income and generous donations from individuals, corporations, foundations, and government organizations to produce world-class live professional theatre and to offer community engagement and arts education programs. WaterTower Theatre gratefully acknowledges the continued support of the Town of Addison, TACA, Texas Commission on the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, The Shubert Foundation, Communities Foundation of Texas, Edgerton Foundation, and Producers Circle donors AMLI Residential, Atmos Energy, FASTSIGNS Carrollton, Frost Bank, Liberty Capital Bank, Mary Kay Inc., Pinnacle Family of Companies, The Civic League, Slalom, Veritex Community Bank, Whole Foods, Andrew Brimmer, The Canterbury Family, Don and Barbara Daseke, The Bob Downs Family, Janeva and Phil Longacre, Holly and Tom Mayer, Stan Graner and Jim McBride, Kathy Messina and Gary Goodwin, Janiece and Jimmy Niemann, Karol Omlor, The Paulos Foundation, Andrea and Keith Redmon, Norma and Paul Shultz, Lisa K. Simmons, and Deborah and Craig Sutton.