It’s PLAY time
Now that the warm weather is here to stay—it is, right?—it’s as if we’re reverting to childhood, reveling in playing and the sheer joy of leaving our jackets at home. Local theater companies seem almost giddy at the prospect of summer. Their schedules are delightfully playful—jam-packed with whimsical, imaginative plays that will bring out the kid in all of us. You’ll find fairy tales, unscripted works, musicals, comedies and Shakespeare’s flat-out funniest stuff.They’ve got issues: Goodluck Macbeth
When Peggy, a good Christian woman, hits her head on the sink and bleeds to death after tripping over her lover’s wooden leg in a motel room, chaos erupts in a small Texas town. It’s the hilarious setup to Del Shores’ cult classic Sordid Lives, Goodluck Macbeth’s Artown offering, running July 14-29. It’s full of quirky characters, plus gay themes, just right for GLM’s annual summertime tradition of producing LGBT-centric stories to coincide with Artown and Pride Week at the end of July.
Next, things take a more serious turn with Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop, Aug. 18-Sept. 9. It’s the fictional depiction of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s last night on earth, set entirely in King’s room at the Lorraine Motel on the eve of his assassination.
Tickets & information: www.goodluckmacbeth.orgReal characters: Restless Artists Theatre Company
Based in Sparks and fairly new to the theater scene is RAT, which emphasizes small productions and smart, character-driven scripts. For summer, that means a staged reading of Motherhood Out Loud, a compendium of vignettes written by female writers who share the ups and downs of life and motherhood. Seven actors will perform the readings over a weekend, June 16-18.
Next up is RAT’s Artown offering, An Ives Thing, June 30-July 16. Everyone who’s done college theater has at some point studied David Ives, a master of absurd, comedic one-acts. RAT will produce nine of these, with the audience getting the opportunity to choose each night’s lineup of six, performed totally free-form—no setting or costuming, just the actors, the audience and the work.
Opening in late August is Andrew Bovell’s Speaking in Tongues, an Australian psychological thriller/mystery about two couples engaged, unknowingly, in marital infidelity with each other. It runs through the first two weekends in September.
Tickets & information: www.rattheatre.orgSummer of reprisal: Brüka Theatre
There’s still time to catch Stupid F**king Bird, Aaron Posner’s twisted, must-see comedic send-up of Chekhov’s The Seagull, playing until June 17.
In June, Brüka wraps this year’s Theatre for Children production of Bremen Town Musicians, about an unlikely quartet of animals who put their musical talents to work to save their farmer. A free performance is offered at Churchill County Library June 29, with two Artown shows at Brüka on July 15.
Brüka’s July Artown show is Next to Normal, a funny yet painfully honest rock musical about the not-so-fun premise of a family dealing with mental illness. Ryan Kelly and Cori Lynne Cooper reprise their roles from TMCC’s 2012 production as Dan and Diana, with TMCC veteran John Frederick directing and Cami Thompson providing musical direction.
For the seventh year in a row, Brüka will offer its Performing Arts Summer Camp, a two-week intensive for kids ages 8 to 18, in which they adapt and create their own original play based on a provided premise and under the direction of a professional artist. This year’s title is “The Enchanted Quill,” about a quill that makes magic as you write with it. The story is all up to the kids, who create characters, setting and costumes.
In August, Brüka technically goes dark, but the company will partner with the Aces on Aug. 1—raising funds through ticket sales to certain seats at that day’s game—and they’ll hold season auditions. Watch the website and Facebook to catch audition dates when they’re announced.
Tickets & information: www.bruka.org.Family, fantasy, fun: Reno Little Theater
Reno Little Theater keeps growing, and this year, company members are thrilled to be adding a part-time position for their increasingly popular education programs, as well as a full-time assistant technical director.
There’s family fun July 6-30 with RLT’s Artown show, Peter and the Starcatcher, the origin story of Peter Pan. Done in the style of do-it-yourself theater, the show invites the audience to come along on a journey into the imagination, with a sparse set that places the show in a world of your mind’s own making.
In August, RLT goes dark in preparation for its 83rd season, which opens on Sept. 8 with Equivocation, directed by Merry War Theatre’s artistic director Chase McKenna, about a playwright called Shagspeare who is commissioned by the British government to write about a national crisis from their point of view, resulting in Shagspeare’s struggle to determine what his artistic integrity is worth.
Tickets & information: www.renolittletheater.org.It’s not easy being green: TheatreWorks of Northern Nevada
TWNN returns to the Artown Family Series on July 10 at Wingfield Park with Shrek the Musical. An ensemble cast of a whopping 80 actors present the tale of the lovable ogre who unexpectedly finds love with a princess. Character meet and greets and a Shrek Swamp full of ogre-iffic activities will precede the Wingfield Park show. TWNN also will offer 12 other performances in July at its new home, Destiny Community Center at 255 Bell Street.
Tickets & information: www.twnn.orgMy favorite things: Wild Horse Children’s Theater
Carson City’s premier children’s theater company has made a tradition of producing beloved and well-known musicals designed for younger audiences. This summer’s 10th anniversary installment is Getting to Know the Sound of Music, through June 18, featuring all the beloved songs everyone remembers, without all the boring grownup parts (bye-bye, Baroness Schraeder). Eighty young people, ages 5 to 18, comprise two casts to bring the Von Trapps to life at the Brewery Arts Center.
Think your child might want to get in on the act? Consider scheduling an audition Sept. 7 or 9 for Honk, Jr., a junior-ized, contemporized retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Ugly Duckling,” hitting the stage in December.
Tickets & information: www.wildhorsetheater.comLaugh at the lake: Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival
The essential summer theater experience returns for its 45th season at Sand Harbor. Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival presents Love’s Labours Lost, one of the Bard’s earliest and most beloved comedies, about the war between the sexes and how not to woo.
On a rotating schedule with Shakespeare is The Hound of the Baskervilles, a farcical whodunit in which Sherlock Holmes must solve the case of the giant, cursed beast who has slain Sir Charles Baskerville. Three actors portray dozens of characters in this fast-paced hilarious sendup of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original work.
The two shows run on alternating days and weekends, July 8-Aug. 27 (see online schedule for specific show dates).
Intermingled with the festival run is the Showcase Series, featuring a diverse array of dance, musical and theatrical performances, July 17-Sept. 9 (check schedule for show dates).
Tickets & information: http://laketahoeshakespeare.comSend in the clowns: Merry War Theatre Group
For the remaining weekends in June, catch Merry War’s fourth installment of free summer Shakespeare on the steps of the historic Lear Theater. This year, it’s a circus-themed Comedy of Errors—complete with a circus tent, freak show performers, jugglers, a snake charmer, a bearded lady, unicyclists and a cotton candy machine. The show remains true to Shakespeare’s original text while keeping it fun and approachable for all.
Killbuck Norman, a local muralist renowned in the Burner community, has donated his talents to create the show poster and loaned Merry War hand-painted circus banners, previously viewed at a circus-themed Burning Man event, to line the Lear Theater property during the show.
Tickets & information:
All the city’s a circus, apparently—at the Eldorado, you’ll find one of a different kind: Cirque Le Noir, July 2-Aug. 27. Featuring aerialists and circus athletes from Cirque du Soleil, the show brings heart-pounding acts of balance, contortion, stamina and aerial artistry to an in-the-round venue, putting audiences up close to the action.
Tickets & information: www.eldoradoreno.com