Fort Worth — The 2019 season for Amphibian Stage Productions has been announced, and it’s a big one: Season 20. That means the Phibs—started by a group of Texas Christian University theater students and faculty—will be revisiting some work and bringing back playwrights and directors, as well as introducing us to new material.
The main stage plays revisit Steven Dietz’s Lonely Planet, which deals with HIV/AIDs, which the Phibs had done as a staged reading. This full production focuses on the African-American community, and features Denise Lee and Jamal Sterling Gibran, directed by William “Bill” Earl Ray. Also in the season is the return of the goofy musical Gutenberg! The Musical!, which has to have been done in Fort Worth more than in any other city: The ‘Phibs have done it twice, and a few years ago, Tarrant Actors Regional Theater produced it (all three of those productions were in the Sanders Theatre at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center). This will be its premiere in the Phibs’ Near South Side home.
Newer works on the season are an adaptation of Isak Dinesen’s short story Babette’s Feast by Rose Courtney; and Stephan Wolfert, whose one-man play Cry Havoc! was a hit last year, returns with the world premiere of Margaret, The She-Wolf of France, which uses text from William Shakespeare and focuses on Queen Margaret (of Anjou), wife of Henry VI who is in four of Shakespeare’s plays (the three parts of Henry VI and Richard III).
Amphibian also introduces “Metamorphosis,” a new play development workshops, this year bringing Hans and Sophie created by Sean Hudock, Illana Stein, and Deborah Yarchun; and The Way North by Tira Palmquist. The comedy series will return will residences set up for comedians Liza Treyger, Rhea Butcher, and Sam Jay. Season extras are still in the works and will be announced shortly.
“In planning for our 20th season I found myself drawn to plays of hope about the healing power of dreams, love, generosity, and creativity,” said Artistic Director Kathleen Culebro in the news release. “The plays I have selected, while wildly different from one another, are all inhabited by characters who are taking action to make the world a better place—whether by preparing a sumptuous meal or writing a musical, by protecting their people through epic battles or through a blood test. The beauty of difficult times is that we find out what people are made of, and these plays are filled with those who are heroic risk takers, each in their own ways. An anniversary season also invites an opportunity to look back and think of all those who have helped us grow and become a stronger company: artists, foundations, board members, donors, and subscribers. I am overcome with gratitude for all those with whom we’ve worked through these 20 years and excitement for the new collaborations that lie in our future.”
Main Stage plays, staged readings, and stand-up comedy will all be performed at Amphibian’s Berlene T. and Jarrell R. Milburn Theatre at 120 S. Main Street in Fort Worth. The company also will continue its collaboration with The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth to present National Theatre Live broadcasts in The Modern’s auditorium.
Subscriptions and memberships are available online at www.amphibianstage.com or by calling 817-923-3012. All levels come with special perks, including Amphibian’s famous giant chocolate chip cookies (Amphibian’s secret recipe baked by Stir Crazy Baked Goods).
by Steven Dietz
February 1 - 24
Directed by William (Bill) Earl Ray
Set in a small map store on the oldest street in an American city, Lonely Planet is an intimate portrait of two friends navigating loss and an uncertain world. Shop owner Jody buries his head in the sand by refusing to leave his shop. Meanwhile, Carl begins filling the store with a variety of mysterious chairs. Funny, moving, and deeply human, Steven Dietz’s timeless play examines the way we navigate our uncertain times. Amphibian presented the play in 2008 as a staged reading during a city-wide arts festival organized by the Fort Worth Opera to discuss the topic of AIDS. Sadly, the epidemic’s growth within the African-American and Latino communities make the script as timely as ever. For Amphibian, William (Bill) Earl Ray has directed King Liz and appeared in the world premiere of Bank Job, as well as the staged reading of First Person Shooter.
by Rose Courtney
Adapted from Isak Dinesen
Directed by Jay Duffer
May 3 - 26
Based on Isak Dinesen’s short story made famous by the 1987 Academy Award-winning film, this new stage adaptation tells the story of Babette, a French refugee, who finds asylum in a pious Norwegian village. With boundless generosity, she throws a lavish feast and becomes an agent of transformative grace, healing a fractured community. Jay Duffer will step in as Amphibian’s new Managing Director in January of 2019. He directed The Bible: The Complete Word of God (Abridged) in 2013 and 2017 and played the father in The Nosemaker’s Apprentice and Martin Luther in Wittenberg. He appeared in staged readings of A Lost Leonardo (formerly Daedalus) and The Mystery of Irma Vep.
Gutenberg! The Musical!
by Anthony King and Scott Brown
Directed by David A. Miller
July 12 – August 18
Back for a third time for Amphibian due to popular demand, Gutenberg! is a musical about hopes, dreams and questionable research methods. In this two-man musical spoof, a pair of aspiring playwrights perform a backers’ audition for their new project — a big, splashy musical about printing press inventor Johann Gutenberg. With an unending supply of enthusiasm, Bud and Doug sing all the songs and play all the parts in their historical epic, with the hope that one of the producers in attendance will give them a Broadway contract – fulfilling their ill-advised dreams. David A. Miller returns to direct. In past seasons at Amphibian he has directed The Nosemaker’s Apprentice, Wittenberg, First Day of School, Below the Belt, Four Edges, and many staged readings.
Margaret, The She-Wolf of France
by Stephan Wolfert, with text from William Shakespeare
Directed by Stephan Wolfert and Dawn Stern
October 18 – November 10
Despite being taken prisoner of war, then ransomed off by her father to the feckless king of a foreign country, Margaret of Anjou was no one’s pawn. She became a powerful queen who went on to command armies. William Shakespeare was so entranced with her ferocity that he included her in four of his plays. Stephan Wolfert, best known at Amphibian for Cry Havoc! in 2018, will work with local veterans of the armed forces to create a world premiere based on this powerful immigrant Queen of England.
METAMORPHOSIS DEVELOPMENT SERIES
Hans and Sophie
created by Sean Hudock, Illana Stein, and Deborah Yarchun
Developmental workshop and staged readings directed by Illana Stein
An immersive two-character portrait of Sophie and Hans Scholl’s resistance and conviction in the darkest of times. Inspired by their personal letters, coded correspondences and diaries, this is the true story of two heroic young students who gave their lives to lead an underground movement against the Nazi regime. Illana Stein returns to Amphibian after having directed A Lost Leonardo in 2017 as well as the staged reading of Two Rooms in 2012.
The Way North
by Tira Palmquist
Developmental workshop and staged readings directed by Donya Washington
On a very cold, early winter night, a traveler stumbles onto Freddy Hansen’s property. Agnes Kuur, a Sudanese refugee, is trying to get across the border and is dismayed that she’s only gotten as far as this Northern Minnesota cabin. Now Freddy—a former Sheriff—is forced to choose between what’s lawful and what’s right to find the way north again. Both the playwright and director will be new collaborators to Amphibian.
STAND-UP COMEDY RESIDENCIES
March 12 – 16
March 19 – 23
June 11 – 15
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 theatre that inspires new ideas, opens new doors, and increases our understanding of the vast world around us. Now launching its twentieth season, Amphibian has produced numerous groundbreaking and challenging plays (some regional premieres, others US 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 strong internship program, and a dynamic outreach project, Tad-Poles, that is steadily increasing the company’s visibility and following. New to Amphibian in 2018 is a multi-faceted outreach program designed for veterans of the US armed forces. The program includes workshops, special performances, and discounted tickets.
Amphibian is generously funded by the Amon G. Carter Foundation, Ann L. and Carol Greene Rhodes Charitable Trust, Arts Council of Fort Worth and Tarrant County, Communities Foundation of Texas, Dramatists Guild Fund, Fifth Avenue Foundation, Carl B. & Florence E. King Foundation, Pier 1 Imports, Mary Potishman Lard Trust, Pangburn Foundation, Rea Charitable Trust, Thomas M., Helen McKee & John P. Ryan Foundation, Sid W. Richardson Foundation, Shubert Foundation, Guido & Ruth Shumake Charitable Trust, 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.