Reno’s theater scene presents a wide range of options for fall

The Sands Regency’s Utility Players are ready for a season of laughs.

The Sands Regency’s Utility Players are ready for a season of laughs.

by Jessica Santina

Don’t let the 90-degree temperatures fool you. The crisp nights and yellow leaves of fall are almost upon us. (Please, for the love of god, let them be upon us.) Before long you’ll be bundling up on dark evenings for your dinner and show. With a new bridge to convey you downtown and more local theater this fall than you can shake a stick at, there’s no excuse to miss out.

This fall’s theater lineup is a mixed bag of romances, issue-driven think pieces, musicals, Halloween horrors and a range of sweet and sour Christmas tales.

Kiss kiss bang bang: Brüka Theatre

Fresh off its run of Gary Cremeans’ original play New Canula at the International NYC Fringe Festival in August, not to mention a “Best Local Theater Company” win from the readers of RN&R, Brüka is wasting no time cooling its heels this fall. It’s holding season auditions on Sept. 11 for this season, dubbed “The Things We Do for Love.”

First is Pulitzer Prize finalist Sarah Ruhl’s new romantic comedy, Stage Kiss, opening Sept. 30. When estranged lovers He and She are thrown together as romantic leads in a long-forgotten 1930s melodrama, the line between offstage and onstage begins to blur, proving a kiss is not just a kiss.

Next comes the fourth annual Biggest Little Theatre Festival, Brüka’s celebration of original works by local writers. Submissions are open Sept. 1-10, and five scripts, of about 50 minutes each, will be chosen to appear on the Brüka stage. The festival provides local artists with the supportive structure of a theater space and a jumping-off point for future festival entries, not to mention a percentage at the door. Shows will run Nov. 9-13.

Also this fall, Rachel Lopez is bringing the Spotlight Youth Theatre to Brüka, specializing in high-quality theatrical productions that address social issues and topics relevant to today’s society and the lives of present-day youth. Classes and workshops are available for all levels of experience, ages 10-18, with some internships available for youths 16-18. Auditions are Sept. 19 and 20.

Back by popular demand, Brüka will present its locals’ favorite, Buttcracker 7.

Tickets and info:

Underdogs and Misfits: Reno Little Theater

Last season, RLT brought us Radium Girls, the unbelievable story of real-life, courageous female factory workers who blew the whistle on corporate greed.

Along those same lines, RLT launches its new season with another David-and-Goliath tale, Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People, adapted by Arthur Miller, running Sept. 9-25. One whistle-blower—with the best of intentions for his community—exposes the dangerous truth about the supposedly “medicinal” waters running through his small town. He faces the unpleasant realization that no one appreciates knowing that truth.

Next comes The Santaland Diaries, based on David Sedaris’ hilarious essay from his book Holidays on Ice. With his trademark acerbic wit, Sedaris recounts his experiences working as Christmas elf Crumpet at Macy’s. This one runs Nov. 25-Dec. 11.

If you have a chance to visit RLT’s website or stop by the box office, you might notice a striking new look on its 2016-17 season posters and marketing materials. Local artist Omar Pierce is creating one-of-a-kind, limited-edition poster art, which patrons may even have the opportunity to purchase.

Tickets and info:

Lambs, tigers and jackals: Goodluck Macbeth

Goodluck Macbeth is in the middle of a spectacular season, what with spring’s King Lear having earned rave reviews and Chris Daniels’ performance in the one-man show Buyer and Cellar up for a Forte Award. There’s only a little time left to catch Bad Jews, closing Sept. 3 (“Holy hell,” RN&R, Aug. 25).

Now how ’bout a little quid pro quo? GLM is taking on a cult classic with a haunting musical parody of Silence of the Lambs. Jon and Al Kaplan’s Silence: The Musical runs Sept. 30-Oct. 22, promising incredible music that’s at least R-rated. This smart, campy, outrageous show has never left New York, making it one of a long line of shows that are part of GLM’s major effort to bring new works to town.

Here’s another one: Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo. Written by Rajiv Joseph, it’s the story of two American Marines and an Iraqi translator whose lives are forever changed by a quick-witted tiger who haunts the streets of downtown Baghdad. It’s an intense, darkly funny story that also offers a unique examination of war and culture clashes. It runs Nov. 11-Dec. 3.

GLM’s year caps off with another musical Dec. 15-23—this one an original piece by Playwright in Residence John Bankhead. In Audition, it’s the dead of winter in New England, and a nor’easter blankets the seaboard. At the Berkshire Community Playhouse, an audition for “A Play Yet To Be Named” is set to begin. The well-known writer/director runs late, and the small group of unknown actors brave the storm, waiting for the chance to be in his next musical, a gathering that will change all of their lives—and the audience’s, who are made part of the show.

Tickets and info:

Sink your teeth into this: TMCC Performing Arts

Funnily enough, TMCC’s fall season also is comprised of some horror, a musical, an original work by a local playwright and characters who can talk to animals.

First there’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Oct. 14-30. This show is inspired by—and faithful to—the original book, ensuring appropriate Halloween creepiness and TMCC’s trademark jaw-dropping staging.

Then comes the annual holiday season children’s production, this one an original story by local playwright Colin Ross called The Boy Who Could Speak to Animals, featuring song styles ranging from rap to rock and jazz. As part of the TMCC tradition, 2,000-3,000 area schoolchildren will come to the TMCC RPAC Theater on Keystone Avenue to see the live performance, though there will be several public showings as well. It runs Nov. 15-Dec. 8.

And if you’re in the mood for some holiday cheer, catch a “Holiday Favorites” musical performance by the TMCC choir on Dec. 14.

Tickets and Info:, (775)673-7291

Smiling’s my favorite: Wild Horse Theater Company

If you, like me, believe it wouldn’t be Christmas without Buddy the Elf, head down to Carson City for Wild Horse Children’s Theater’s production of Elf The Musical, Jr., in its Northern Nevada premiere, Dec. 2-11. As with all the “Jr.” shows, this one has all the fun of the original holiday musical, but it’s a bit shorter and more appropriate for even the tiniest elves.

Tickets and info:

What Christmas is all about: TheatreWorks of Northern Nevada

TWNN’s annual dinner-and-show fundraising gala has traditionally been a murder-mystery event. But considering TWNN’s mission to provide youth opportunities for experiencing performing arts, it makes sense that this year’s gala features A Charlie Brown Christmas. This family event takes place at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa on Nov. 6. In addition to the show there’s dinner, a milk-and-cookie bar, a silent auction, and a visit from Santa—includng a photo op.

You can still catch Charlie and company when TWNN takes that show to the McKinley Arts & Culture Center Dec. 2-4 for a few more performances.

Tickets and info:

T-R-O-U-B-L-E: UNR Department of Theatre & Dance

The university’s performers are bringing The Music Man “right here to River City” Oct. 21-Nov. 5. True to form, this will be a fairly traditional production of the beloved musical that includes classic songs like “Goodnight My Someone,” “76 Trombones,” “Pick a Little, Talk a Little” and “Ya Got Trouble,” and will feature a large cast that includes area kids.

UNR’s Fall Dance Festival, featuring student choreography and dance pieces, will run Nov. 17-19.

Tickets and Info:

Fintastic: Western Nevada Musical Theatre Company

Travel under the sea as WNMTC presents Disney’s The Little Mermaid. It’ll make quite a splash with a professional orchestra conducted by Kevin Murphy, choreography by Gina Kaskie Davis, all your favorite musical numbers from the film, enchanting sets and professional flight effects by Flying By Foy. Runs Nov. 4-20.

Tickets and info: or 886-977-6849

“Yes, and &#;hellip;”: The Utility Players

If you just want to laugh really hard, there’s a show for that, too. The Utility Players, Reno’s own live and unscripted comedy improv troupe, returns to the Jester’s Theater at the Sands for their eighth season. Surprising audiences every Saturday night through December with their off-the-cuff humor, the troupe is fresher and funnier than ever. Each performance is developed on the spot in the style of Whose Line is it Anyway?, for a side-splitting 90-minute show. As usual, consider it rated R.

Tickets and info:

Favorite flop: Eldorado Resort Casino

There’s still time to catch The Full Monty before it goes away on Sept. 18.

Then on Sept. 27 and running through Nov. 1 is Mel Brooks’ Tony Award-winning comedy masterpiece, The Producers, about a washed-up Broadway producer and his accountant who conspire to put on the biggest flop in showbiz history. The classic score contains such gems as “I Wanna Be a Producer,” “When You Got It, Flaunt It,” “Springtime for Hitler,” and “Prisoners of Love.”

Tickets and info:

Golden anniversary: Harrah’s Reno

Celebrate 50 years of classic Reno showroom entertainment in Greg Thompson’s A Musical Salute to the Greatest Stars Ever to Play Sammy’s Showroom. Thompson, who has produced more than 7,000 performances in Harrah’s Sammy’s Showroom in the past 26 years, presents this spectacular revue of the best song-and-dance acts to grace the Sammy’s stage. Running now through Oct. 10.

Tickets and info: or Ω