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Second Thought Theatre Artistic Director Alex Organ will leave that role at the end of the 2020 season

2020 for Second Thought Theatre

Next year, STT has works by Lynn Nottage, Tennessee Williams and Samuel Beckett, and a premiere by Janielle Kastner. It will also be Alex Organ's final season as artistic director.



published Monday, September 30, 2019

Photo: Robert Hart/TheaterJones
Husband-and-wife team Jenny Ledel and Alex Organ

 

DallasSecond Thought Theatre’s 16th season, 2020, will close with Endgame, the title of which is symbolic, considering the Samuel Beckett masterpiece will be directed by Alex Organ and it will be Organ’s final season as artistic director of the company he will have led for six seasons.

“It's a very stressful job, and I was beginning to feel the onset of burn-out,” says Organ, who is also a member of the Dallas Theater Center’s Brierley Resident Acting Company. “It felt best to step away before the burn-out took root and began to negatively impact my work. I need some time to reflect and recharge. Six years feels like a good run.”

In those years. Second Thought Theatre moved to a new space, in Bryant Hall on the campus of the Kalita Humphreys Theater; the budget has grown to just over $200,000; and it began a transition to becoming an Actor’s Equity Association Small Professional Theatre, which will be complete in 2021.

Organ has also continued STT’s tradition of producing new works by local writers. In the company’s first 10 or so years, most of those works were by Steven Walters — one of the group’s co-founders in 2004, along with fellow Baylor University alums Barbara Bouman, Lance Currie, Tom Parr IV and Mike Schraeder. Under Organ’s leadership, STT has produced three plays by Southern Methodist University professor Blake Hackler, and in 2020 will premiere a work by Dallas writer Janielle Kastner, Sweatpea.

“I'm proud of our commitment to local artists,” Organ says. “I'm proud that we've moved the needle — even if only slightly — in the direction of increasing artist pay in our community. I'm proud that some of DFW's finest theater artists called us home. I'm proud that we've elevated local playwrights. And I am deeply proud of the fearless work we've put on stage.”

The 2020 season also includes the regional premiere of Lynn Nottage’s Mlima’s Tale, featuring the directorial debut of fellow Brierley actor Tiana Kaye Johnson; and Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, directed by Hackler and featuring Organ’s wife, actress Jenny Ledel, as Stella.

Organ says both he and Ledel will likely continue to work at Second Thought as guests artists.

Finding a replacement will be up to the STT board of directors, and the hope is to have someone in place by the start of the 2020 season so that Organ can help with the transition in his final year.

 

Below is the full news release from Second Thought, with the shows, descriptions and dates:

 

Photo: Robert Hart/TheaterJones
Second Thought Theatre Artistic Director Alex Organ will leave that role at the end of the 2020 season

Along with the announcement of the shows comprising their 16th season, Second Thought Theatre announced this morning that Artistic Director (AD) Alex Organ will transition out of his leadership position at the end of 2020. Organ’s sixth season as AD will include one world premiere, one area premiere, and two classics. Season subscription and ticket information for STT’s 2020 season is available online at secondthoughttheatre.com.

Prior to Organ’s promotion to AD in late 2014, STT’s previous leadership structure included artistic ensembles and dual artistic directors. As the only single Artistic Director in Second Thought’s fifteen-year history, Organ led the organization through tremendous artistic success and financial growth. Major initiatives launched under his leadership include the adoption of Actors Equity Association (AEA) “Small Professional Theatre” status, which allows STT to provide increased wages and health insurance eligibility to AEA members. In 2018, the company also returned to producing four show-seasons. With a focus on producing new and challenging work, his six-year term will see the production of 22 plays, including 15 regional premieres and four world premieres by Dallas-based playwrights.

“I am incredibly proud of the work we’ve produced over the last five seasons and the strides we’ve taken toward cultivating local artists,” said Organ. “Second Thought has provided me with an artistic home for over half a decade – a rare and remarkable privilege in this business. A tenure of six years feels right, and I am pleased to leave STT in a position of strong artistic and financial health. Second Thought has a bright and vital future in our artistic community, and I’ll be excited to continue my work here as a visiting director, actor, or designer. I can’t wait to see what the new Artistic Director brings to the table.”

Joshua D. Terry, STT’s Board President also sees a bright future for the organization. "We have made tremendous strides under Alex's leadership and will always be grateful for his exceptional vision and talent. Because of the artistic and financial strengths that we have built with him, STT will continue to grow and make meaningful, impactful art for years to come," said Terry. Plans are already in motion to identify Organ’s replacement. Additional details on that and the future of the company will be available in 2020.

The 2020 season begins with Mlima’s Tale by Pulitzer Prize-winner Lynn Nottage (Sweat, Ruined). Ancient and legendary African elephant, Mlima, is struck down and his massive tusks stolen as trophies. His ghost is ever-present as the tusks change hands many times and travel the world from Kenya, to Vietnam, to Beijing. Set against the backdrop of the black market ivory trade, the play explores complex questions of global consumerism, ancestral history, and human greed. Tiana Kaye Blair will direct in her STT debut.

After three immensely successful world premieres of his plays in as many years, STT Artistic Associate Blake Hackler returns to direct the Tennessee Williams classic A Streetcar Named Desire. When Blanche Dubois suddenly arrives in the French Quarter of New Orleans to visit her sister, Stella, she appears to be running from something. The power struggle that unfolds between Blanche and her brother-in-law, Stanley, threatens to reveal dark secrets in her past and shatter the illusions she's created around her life. Widely considered to be among the top tier of great American plays, A Streetcar Named Desire maintains its poignancy seventy years after its groundbreaking premiere. The role of Stella will be performed by STT Artistic Associate Jenny Ledel.

Next, Sweetpea by Janielle Kastner marks the company’s fourth world premiere by a Dallas-based playwright since 2016. A couple moves back in together. They fall apart. Their pet birds move into separate cages. They fall in love. Pecking, nesting, and mating ensue. Sweet until it's dark, funny until it's sinister, cozy until it's incestuous, Sweetpea explores the (im)possibility of intimacy and the absurdity of sharing space. Rising director Carson McCain (Empathitrax, The Great God Pan) returns to direct.

The fourth and final show of the season is Samuel Beckett’s classic absurdist tragicomedy Endgagme. In the wake of some unexplained apocalyptic and catastrophic event, Hamm and his servant, Clov, continue the same impotent and stale routine from day to day. Yet Beckett invites us to discover humor and comedy in the face of their hopelessness, despair, and even certain death. Directed by Alex Organ and featuring Blake Hackler and STT Director of Operations Drew Wall, Endgame dares us to stare into the abyss at what it means to simply exist… and perhaps what it means to not.

Second Thought Theatre’s 2020 season will be presented as follows: Mlima’s Tale (Feb. 19 – March 14); A Streetcar Named Desire (May 20 – June 13); Sweetpea (July 22 – August 15); and Endgame (Sept. 16 – October 10). All performances will take place at Bryant Hall next door to the Kalita Humphreys Theater, 3400 Blackburn Ave.

To learn more about STT’s 2020 season or how to purchase season subscriptions or single tickets, please visit secondthoughttheatre.com. Season subscriptions can also be purchased by phone at 1-866-811-4111.

  

Photo: Daylon Walton
Actress Tiana Blair will make her directorial debut in Second Thought's 2020 season

Mlima’s Tale 

by Lynn Nottage

Feb. 19 – March 14, 2020

Regional premiere

Directed by Tiana Kaye Blair

Ancient and legendary African elephant, Mlima, is struck down and his massive tusks stolen as trophies. His ghost is ever-present as the tusks change hands many times and travel the world from Kenya, to Vietnam, to Beijing. Set against the backdrop of the black market ivory trade, and written by two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner, Lynn Nottage (Sweat; Ruined)Mlima's Tale explores complex questions of global consumerism, ancestral history, and human greed. Tiana Kaye Blair directs, in her STT debut.   

Pay-What-You-Can Previews – Wednesday 2/19 and Thursday 2/20

PRESS OPENING – Friday 2/21

Regular Performances – Saturday 2/22, 2/29, 3/7; Thursday 2/27, 3/5, 3/12; Friday 2/28, 3/6, 3/13

Additional Pay-What-You-Can Performances – Monday 2/24, 3/3, 3/9

Closing Performance – Saturday 3/14

 

 

A Streetcar Named Desire

by Tennessee Williams

May 20 – June 13, 2020

Directed by STT Artistic Associate Blake Hackler

Blanche Dubois suddenly arrives in the French Quarter of New Orleans to visit her sister, Stella, but she appears to be running from something. The power struggle that unfolds between Blanche and her brother-in-law, Stanley, threatens to reveal dark secrets in her past and shatter the illusions she's created around her life. Directed by STT Artistic Associate, Blake Hackler, and widely considered to be among the top tier of great American plays, A Streetcar Named Desire maintains its poignancy seventy years after its groundbreaking premiere. Featuring STT Artistic Associate Jenny Ledel as Stella.

Pay-What-You-Can Previews – Wednesday 5/20; Thursday 5/21

PRESS OPENING – Friday 5/22

Regular Performances – Saturday 5/23, 5/30, 6/6; Thursday 5/28, 6/4, 6/11; Friday 5/29, 6/5, 6/12

Additional Pay-What-You-Can Performances – Monday 5/25, 6/1, 6/8

Closing Performance – Saturday 6/13

 

 

Photo: Angelique Higley
Dallas playwright Janielle Kastner

Sweetpea

A World Premiere by Janielle Kastner

July 22 – August 15, 2020

Directed by Carson McCain

A couple moves back in together. They fall apart. Their pet birds move into separate cages. They fall in love. Pecking, nesting, and mating ensue. Sweet until it's dark, funny until it's sinister, cozy until it's incestuous, Sweetpea explores the (im)possibility of intimacy and the absurdity of sharing space. Carson McCain (Empathitrax; The Great God Pan) returns to direct this world premiere production from Dallas playwright, Janielle Kastner.

Pay-What-You-Can Previews – Wednesday 7/22 and Thursday 7/23

PRESS OPENING – Friday 7/24

Regular Performances – Saturday 7/25, 8/1, 8/8; Thursday 7/30, 8/6, 8/13; Friday 7/31, 8/7, 8/14

Additional Pay-What-You-Can Performances – Monday 7/27, 8/3, 8/10

Closing Performance – Saturday 8/15

 

Endgame 

By Samuel Beckett

Sept. 16 – Oct. 10, 2018

Directed by STT Artistic Director Alex Organ

In the wake of some unexplained apocalyptic and catastrophic event, Hamm and his servant, Clov, continue the same impotent and stale routine from day to day. Yet master absurdist Samuel Beckett invites us to discover humor and comedy in the face of their hopelessness, despair, and even certain death. Directed by Artistic Director, Alex Organ, and starring STT mainstays Blake Hackler and Drew Wall, Endgame dares us to stare into the abyss at what it means to simply exist… and perhaps what it means to not.

Pay-What-You-Can Previews – Wednesday 9/16 and Thursday 9/17

PRESS OPENING – Friday 9/18

Regular Performances – Saturday 9/19, 9/26, 10/3; Thursday 9/24, 10/1, 10/8; Friday 9/25, 10/2, 10/9

Additional Pay-What-You-Can Performances – Monday 9/21, 9/28, 10/5

Closing Performance – Saturday 10/10 Thanks For Reading





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2020 for Second Thought Theatre
Next year, STT has works by Lynn Nottage, Tennessee Williams and Samuel Beckett, and a premiere by Janielle Kastner. It will also be Alex Organ's final season as artistic director.
by Mark Lowry

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