Always be opening
Glengarry Glen Ross, Avenue Q and 15 other productions coming to local stages
Fun fact: The iconic “Always Be Closing” speech by Alec Baldwin in the film Glengarry Glen Ross does not appear in David Mamet’s original stage version. The character of Blake didn’t even exist until Mamet wrote it specifically for Baldwin and the 1992 film. Blake won’t be in the Blue Room’s adaptation this spring, but you’ll likely not miss it in a script that won a Pulitzer Prize for drama.
Glengarry Glen Ross comes at the end of a packed schedule of locally produced theater this winter and spring, featuring everything from modern/contemporary heavy-hitters and community-theater standbys to Broadway musicals old and new and comedies from The Bard:
The Glass Menagerie, Blue Room Theatre (Jan. 11-17). For Tennessee Williams’ breakthrough work—his 1944 memory play about the broken Wingfield family struggling to keep it together in a St. Louis tenement in the 1930s—director Amanda Detmer has assembled a group of local favorites to fill out the lean cast list: Joyce Henderson, Jeremy Votava, Alex Hilsee and Evan Allen.
A Chorus Line, Chico Theater Company (Jan. 19-Feb. 11).
Living on Love, Theatre on the Ridge (Jan. 25-Feb. 11). A recent comedy by Tony Award-winning playwright Joe DiPietro (Memphis).
The Hunchback of Notre Dame, California Regional Theatre (Jan. 26-Feb. 4), at CUSD Center for the Arts.
Bug, Blue Room (Feb. 8-24). One of Tracy Letts’ earliest stage works, a dark comedy centered on a cocktail waitress slowly losing her mind to drugs and conspiracy theories as she hides from the world in a seedy motel room.
Every Brilliant Thing, Theatre on the Ridge (March 1-11). A young boy tries to cure his mom’s depression by making a list of all the best things in the world—ice cream, Christopher Walken’s voice, etc.
9 to 5, The Musical, Chico Theater Company (March 2-25). This modern musical update of the comedy classic from the 1980s features the songs of Dolly Parton.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Chico State (March 8-15), Wismer Theatre. The university’s Department of Music and Theatre assembles the dukes and queens and fairies and sprites for a production of Shakespeare’s popular comedy.
The Village Bike, Blue Room Theatre (March 8-24). British playwright Penelope Skinner’s contemporary story of an ignored and bored pregnant school teacher who becomes obsessed with sex.
The Wizard of Oz, California Regional Theatre (March 30-April 8), at CUSD Center for the Arts. The much-loved musical version of the classic 1939 film.
Brighton Beach Memoirs, Theatre on the Ridge (April 5-22). Community theater fare doesn’t get more classic than a Neil Simon comedy, and this coming-of-age story about baseball-crazy teen Eugene Morris growing up in Depression-era Brooklyn is one of his best.
A Grand Night for Singing, Chico State (April 6-7), Rowland-Taylor Recital Hall. The university music-theater ensemble The Off-Broadway presents a program of updated versions of Rodgers and Hammerstein songs, featuring both classic and innovative approaches to songs from Oklahoma, Carousel, South Pacific and more.
Noises Off, Chico Theater Company (April 13-29). One of the best slapstick farces ever.
Much Ado About Nothing, Butte College (April 27-May 6). More love shenanigans from Shakespeare in this second comedy from the master to play locally this season.
Avenue Q, Chico State (May 2-6), Laxson Auditorium. If you grew up knowing how to get to Sesame Street, then you’ve likely also made your way to Avenue Q, where the grown up muppets and puppets reside in this Broadway musical and coming-of-age story for those reared on Elmo and Kermit.
Glengarry Glen Ross, Blue Room Theatre (May 3-19).
Fresh Ink, Blue Room Theatre (May 30-June 3). The theater’s annual festival of original one-acts.