Big ticket items

Local theater companies are pulling out their show-stoppers this fall

The cast of <i>Ubu the King</i> rehearses at Nevada Repertory Company.

The cast of Ubu the King rehearses at Nevada Repertory Company.

If there’s one thing that characterizes the local theater offerings this fall, it’s size—everyone’s going big. From Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning masterpieces to Shakespeare and Seuss, get ready for over-the-top, lush productions replete with murders, mayhem and vampires. Some companies are ushering in the new; others are saying tough goodbyes. Rest assured, there’s plenty to satisfy the healthiest theater appetites.

A Long Day’s Journey

Goodluck Macbeth

After a long summer’s journey performing historical reenactments on the Tahoe Queen, this fledgling theater company is pulling out all the stops in November with Eugene O’Neill’s masterwork, Long Day’s Journey Into Night. The autobiographical play in four acts tells the story of a dysfunctional family wrestling with addiction.

Catch the first two acts on Thursdays and the second two on Fridays. On Saturdays, all four will run consecutively, with a catered dinner served during a long intermission. “The first two acts can stand alone, and so can the second two,” says Scott Reeves, company president. “But it’s a unique opportunity to see theater in a new way, to really think about the first two acts, then come back the next night to see the rest.”

Goodluck’s boat gig will move to the MS Dixie for 12 Saturdays this fall and winter, and the company will also be offering a series of improv and acting classes.

For information, tickets and showtimes, visit

And Speaking of Macbeth

Nevada Shakespeare Company

Nevada Shakespeare Company is bringing back the Bard for its 10th anniversary. Under the guidance of David Weinberg, a Kennedy Center award-winning director, the production of Macbeth will feature witches, warriors, ghostly apparitions, elaborate stage combat choreography and live magic.

The show opens in Dayton on Oct. 16, hits the road for Winnemucca and Virginia City’s Piper’s Opera House, and returns to Reno’s Nelson Building on the 24th for several free performances. Wear your Halloween costume to the show on the 31st.

For information, tickets and showtimes, visit

Lovers, Not Fighters

Nevada Repertory Company

If Shakespeare’s tragedies are your thing, you’ll love this season. Especially tragic is the end of an era: Managing director Jim Bernardi is retiring this December after 38 years. Bernardi’s directorial swan song, opening Nov. 13, will be Romeo & Juliet.

But first comes Ubu the King on Oct. 2. It’s an anti-establishment satire of … wait for it … Macbeth! “Our students will be updating the script to make it satirical of recent leaders, including Barack Obama and George W.,” says Rob Gander, chair of Speech Communication and Theater. “The theme is that all leaders eventually get drunk on power and do things they probably shouldn’t.”

Also, stay tuned for more news about Nevada Rep’s upcoming stint as host to the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in February.

For information, tickets and showtimes, visit

Power Play

Brüka Theatre

In the same vein comes The Architect and the Emperor of Assyria, coming Oct. 2 to Brüka to portray the perils of absolute power. Coincidentally enough, director Tom Plunkett was first turned on to this play by Jim Bernardi.

Fernando Arrabal’s story, which takes place on an island, is an allegory about the game of culture and civilization. It tells the story of how two societies are forced into contact. One is absorbed and lost forever. It raises several questions, including, “Is this victory for mankind?” and “What’s gained in the loss of a culture?”

Then, return in November for The Weber Family Christmas. Come celebrate a hilarious, blasphemous Christmas at the home of Mr. Weber, grill inventor, and his family.

And don’t forget the 12th Annual Freakers Ball on Halloween, for “Music • Magic • Masquerade • Mayhem.”

For information, tickets and showtimes, visit

Siam I Am

Western Nevada Musical Theatre Company

Rulers aren’t all bad, as you’ll see in WNMTC’s lavish production of The King and I, opening Nov. 7 and featuring some of Broadway’s most beloved songs, including “Getting to Know You” and “Shall We Dance?” It’s the story of British schoolteacher Anna Leonowens, who comes to Siam to educate the king’s children, and the two develop an unexpected affection for each other.

“This show, by nature, needs to be spectacular, as it takes place in a palace. Creating that ambience is profoundly challenging, which is why we’ve waited to take it on,” explains Stephanie Arrigotti, producer and director. “We’ve created a truly sumptuous production, from the exquisite costumes to the elaborate sets.”

For information, tickets and showtimes, call (775) 445-4249.

Starving Artists and Seuss

TMCC Performing Arts

TMCC Performing Arts also ups the ante on theatricality with Rent on Oct. 30. This Broadway hit tells the story of a group of starving artists wrestling with life in the Big Apple. “The set is incredible,” says company manager John Frederick. “We’ve pretty much built New York.”

Following that is TMCC’s annual children’s theater production in December, which this year is Seussical the Musical, a fun mash-up of Seuss favorites that will incorporate big, strange, Seuss-y scenery, and features a nice price of $6 per ticket.

For information, tickets and showtimes, visit

What’s Hopping

Brewery Arts Center

For more family-friendly fare, check out BAC Stage Kids’ The Aristocats in September, showcasing the talents of 20 kids, ages 6-16. Based on the Disney film, this is the story of Duchess and her upper-class kittens, who are kidnapped and enlist the help of alley cats to get home.

Also exciting is a new semi-professional theater company, the Brewery Arts Center Performing Arts Collaborative, which kicked off its first season this summer with Urinetown: The Musical. In September, they’ll present Eric Bogosian’s Pounding Nails in the Floor With My Forehead, a very funny, not-for-children one-man show comprised of a series of unconnected monologues about what ticks him off about our decaying world.

They’ll follow that up in November with Dracula, The Musical, based on the classic tale of Dracula.

For information, tickets and showtimes, visit

Don’t Axe Me

TheatreWorks of Northern Nevada

TheatreWorks will be bringing The Lights Are Warm and Coloured to the Studio on 4th this October. Lizzie Borden has recently been acquitted for taking 40 whacks at her father and stepmother. She’s gone to live with her sister, Emma, and the two host a neighboring theater troupe, who reenact the crime and subsequent trial, raising many questions for the audience as to who might have committed the murders.

Then in December, watch for Christopher Durang’s Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge, an irreverent portrait of the Dickens character, who’s fed up with her orphan-loving husband and drinks too much.

For information, tickets and showtimes, visit

Teacher Feature

Reno Little Theater

This Halloween promises plenty of thrills and chills on stage, and Reno Little Theater has some great ones with Cliffhanger, opening Sept. 25. With the plot twists of Deathtrap combined with some warmth and charm, this is the story of a college professor who commits murder and is subsequently blackmailed.

Then in December, don’t miss The Cripple of Inishmaan, directed by Doug Mischler. It’s the story of Billy, a boy who lives with his aunts in a quirky Irish town that’s all abuzz when a film crew comes to town. It’s full of heart, humor and interesting family dynamics.

For information, tickets and showtimes, visit