Fall classics

For the autumn 2012 theater season, local theater companies look to the masterworks

Casey Burke-Ruhl as the devil and Ethan Leaverton as Doctor Faustus.

Casey Burke-Ruhl as the devil and Ethan Leaverton as Doctor Faustus.

Photo By Diana Bradbury

If your theater diet has been lean on the classics, or if you simply prefer the tried and true, this is the season for you. With only a couple of exceptions, local performing arts companies are going back to basics for the latter half of 2012, bringing you beloved Broadway musicals, Elizabethan classics and favorite fairy tales. This fall’s lineup will remind you of what’s wonderful about live theater.

20/20 vision: Brüka Theatre

Brüka launches its 20th season with “sound and fury,” returning to its roots with Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the same show Brüka opened its downtown Reno venue with in 1997. Shakespearean actor and Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival Director of Education Joe Atack lends his Bard-savvy to this production, which runs through the second half of October. Atack will lead a Shakespearean workshop for actors as well as a pre-show talk on that tricky Elizabethan style that often eludes audiences.

Then, revisit two local favorites. For the 15th Annual Freakers Ball on Oct. 27, come as your favorite character from a Brüka show (or … do your own thing). And on Nov. 16, Brüka gets back to the Buttcracker. Retaining its original premise—Brüka has hired a professional dance company to perform The Nutcracker, and they don’t show up, so now dance-challenged actors must put the show on themselves—this fourth installment was given the subtitle Zombie Apocalypse, and adds a parody of the end of the world.

Brüka also kicks off its “Artist in the House” series, an effort to embrace regional artists in all genres and give them space in which to perform. Mark Growden, a singer, composer, songwriter, record producer and visual artist starts things off Sept. 13 with a concert of original songs.

Tickets and information: bruka.org

Flying faustus:Nevada Repertory Company

If you happen to feel anti-Shakespearean this October, why not check out his supposed nemesis, Christopher Marlowe, whose classic, philosophical piece, The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus, hits the Nevada Rep stage on Oct. 19. It’s the story of a man who sells his soul to the devil in exchange for 24 years of power, wealth, fame and glory. Thanks to a $750,000 renovation in the company’s University of Nevada, Reno-based Redfield Proscenium Theatre, Faustus will feature flying angels and hell-worthy pyrotechnics.

On November 29, Nevada Rep opens The Hospital Plays: An Evening of Student-Directed One-Acts. In the wake of last year’s popular The Beach Plays, this series is in a similar vein, though more dramatic. As UNR Theater Department Chair and Company Director Rob Gander explains, “Such important, life-changing things happen in hospital settings. People are at critical moments of their lives.” The hospital serves as a backdrop for eight stories guided by student directors.

Tickets and information: unr.edu/nevadarep

Death and taxes: Reno Little Theater

Reno’s longest-running theater company opens its 78th season at the end of September with another Pulitzer-prize-winning, just-off-Broadway play, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. Doug Mishler directs the story of Willy Loman, the miserable salesman who’s failing at work and at home.

Spirits lift in November when RLT presents Michael Cooney’s Cash on Delivery, a comedy/mystery about a man whose extravagant attempts to bilk the government out of its money are coming back to bite him.

RLT’s holiday show is Inspecting Carol, a spoof on holiday shows about a theater troupe trying to put on A Christmas Carol for an important critic, despite everything going wrong. Then the drama picks back up in January with Rabbit Hole, a sobering story about a couple mourning the sudden death of their young son.

For “Thirsty Thursdays,” buy a ticket for a Thursday night show and get a free drink.

Tickets and information: renolittletheater.org

Moon over midtown: Goodluck Macbeth

Goodluck Macbeth has relocated to 713 S. Virginia St., hoping to capitalize on the new Midtown energy and growing sense of community among its business owners. GLM opened its new location with Eugene O’Neill’s last drama, A Moon for the Misbegotten. This sequel to Long Day’s Journey into Night continues the story of the Tyrone family after the death of its matriarch, and wraps Sept. 30.

Almost immediately following Misbegotten comes GLM’s original version of Frankenstein. Local writer and RN&R contributor Marvin Gonzalez crafted this modernized adaptation of the story that follows Frankenstein’s monster (“Frankie”) home after his first eye-opening semester at college.

Bryce Keil and Zach Bartot rehearse <i>Death of a Salesman</i> at Reno Little Theatre.

Photo By Diana Bradbury

In November, GLM launches its student-performed children’s show, The Princess and the Pea, as part of a new, educational collaboration with Sierra School of Performing Arts, which will involve productions, classes and workshops.

GLM will present two different holiday shows. The first, Truman Capote’s A Christmas Memory, is a mid-November benefit for several charities. The second is Christmas My Way: A Sinatra Holiday Bash, a musical revue of favorite Rat Pack Christmas tunes.

Tickets and information: goodluckmacbeth.org

Reprising its role: Brewery Arts Center

Apparently, Carson City residents were confused. According to Director of Programs Tami Shelton, the fact that BAC had in-house performance groups made it a perceived competitor, rather than a supporter, of other local groups. The recent decision to take on resident companies instead gives it a greater opportunity to fulfill its role and embrace other groups. Wild Horse Theater Company and Proscenium Players, Inc. have taken up residence, with the former BACStage Kids branching off as an independent nonprofit entity, Youth Theater Carson City.

Wild Horse kicks off its fall with Bob Reid’s original play, a political spoof called None of the Above. Then, on Nov. 30, it will present its children’s offering, Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Jr.

PPI will open its holiday show at the end of November as well—A Christmas Chaos, a spoof of Dickens’ classic Christmas tale.

BAC will also handle the dramatic end of the V&T Railroad’s Polar Express Train, which runs Nov. 23-Dec. 23. Finally, Festivale de Navidad, a celebration of the holidays for the Latino community including dance, music, storytelling, theater, visual arts and food, takes place Dec. 8.

Tickets and information: breweryarts.org

High standards: TMCC Performing Arts

Beloved classics are the name of the game for this musical theater troupe. Starting off its season is Guys and Dolls. This musical romantic comedy about high rollers, missionaries, and love birds, all set against a New York City backdrop, opens Oct. 26, and features well-loved songs like “Luck, Be a Lady” and “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat.” C.S. Lewis’ imaginative fantasy The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe comes to the stage in mid-December.

Tickets and information: performingarts.tmcc.edu

Put on your Sunday clothes: Western Nevada Musical Theatre Company

Another Broadway favorite, Hello, Dolly!, is coming to the Carson City Community Center in November. It’s the story of a lovable matchmaker, Dolly Levi, who finds herself a match. This fall’s show features choreography by Gina Kaskie Davis and accompaniment by a live orchestra conducted by Kevin Murphy.

Tickets and information: wnmtc.com

Witness a miracle:Tahoe Players

—the little girl who doesn’t believe in Santa Clause until she meets him. Miracle on 34th Street comes to John Ascuaga’s Nugget Dec. 3-7 to give more than 6,000 school children an opportunity to see live theater. The public are invited to attend one of three performances on Dec. 15 and 16.

Tickets and information: tahoeplayers.org

Dinner to die for: TheatreWorks of Northern Nevada

TWNN presents its 3rd Annual Murder Mystery Dinner on Oct. 21 at the Atlantis Casino Resort and Spa. The show, titled You Have the Right to Remain Dead, is an audience participation-required mystery that closely resembles, strangely enough, an episode of Hee Haw, and is silly enough to be appropriate for all ages. Tickets include the play, dinner, silent auction and Western-themed dance and funds benefit TWNN’s outreach drama classes for the Kid’s Kottage and the Volunteers of America Family Shelter.

Tickets and information: Call (775) 284-0789