Raise the curtain
This spring, the local theater companies are set to bloom
It’s heartening to see local performing arts organizations giving it all they’ve got, despite the many challenges they face now. And perhaps as a response to them, what characterizes this theater season is a strong commitment to children’s productions, lots of lesser-known works, enhanced opportunities for newbies, and plenty of much-needed comedy.Flying high: Good Luck Macbeth
Wrapping up its second season, this fledgling theater company has a lot to be excited about. Goodluck Macbeth now has a new performance space at the Laxalt Auditorium, 401 W. Second St.
This month, catch Leonard Gershe’s Butterflies Are Free, a comedy about Don, a young man facing the challenges of living on his own in New York as an escape from his overbearing mother. Don meets Jill, an aspiring young actress.
Good Luck Macbeth will present Hamlet during Artown.
Also in the works is a one-act playwriting competition going on now through the end of March. Both comedies and dramas are welcome. See the GLM website for competition guidelines.
Information and tickets: www.goodluckmacbeth.org.Love hurts: Nevada Repertory Company
Speaking of one-acts, Nevada Rep’s got four of them coming in early April. They’re part of I L*** You: An Evening of One-Acts, featuring plays that explore the perils of dating in dry, sardonic, funny ways. The plays are Jeffrey Parenti’s The Hypnotists, Walter Wykes’ Heart of Hearing, Joseph Zeccola’s The Unwanted and David Mamet’s All Men are Whores. Kevin Davies is a University of Nevada, Reno BFA student who is directing the show as his senior project—a first for the department.
Nevada Rep’s show-stopper is Grease, directed by Sue Klemp and running from mid-April to early May. It’s well-timed, since you can now also see the real 1946 Ford “Greased Lightning” at the National Automobile Museum.
Information and tickets: www.unr.edu/nevadarep.Winner takes all: Truckee Meadows Community College Performing Arts
TMCC’s triple-threat cast of musical performers often takes on innovative productions, and this spring is no exception. The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee ends March 14. Then, in keeping with the competitive theme, is another Mamet piece: Glengarry Glen Ross, a “dramedy” about a high-stakes corporate sales contest, runs from mid-April through early May.
May will also see plenty of song and dance, as the TMCC Concert Choir, Concert Band and dance company hold free performances.
Information and tickets: www.performingarts.tmcc.edu.A drop of golden sun: Western Nevada Musical Theatre Company
The Sound of Music is the biggest-selling movie musical. The stage version has won eight Tony Awards. Now it’s coming to Carson City this May.
WNMTC has licensed two pieces of music—“I Have Confidence” and “Something Good”—that aren’t included in the stage version, so all the music people know and love from the film will be featured. The cast is top-notch as well, and includes Maria Arrigotti, who has performed domestically and internationally in more than 75 productions.
Information and tickets: 445-4249.Company’s coming: Reno Little Theater
Reno’s oldest theater company will bring another beloved classic to the stage this April: A Streetcar Named Desire. This steamy story about the troublesome and delusional Blanche DuBois who arrives on her pregnant sister’s doorstep is directed by Doug Mishler.
In May comes Marc Camoletti’s Don’t Dress for Dinner. Directed by Dr. Sam Coleman, the play is a breakneck comedy about Bernard, who plans a weekend with his mistress that goes horribly wrong.
As part of Artown, RLT presents the Aesop fable “Androcles and the Lion,” in commedia dell-arte style, which generally involves masks and improvisation. While this and other RLT shows take place at the Hug High School Theater, two free performances of “Androcles” will be presented at the Downtown Reno Library.
Information and tickets: www.renolittletheater.org.Making a splash: Nevada Shakespeare Company
Artown will also see two offerings from NSC. The Young Shakespeare production of The Tempest will be done in Pirates of the Caribbean style, complete with pirates and splashing water. J.R. Beardsley, an expert in stage combat, will work with the cast on their swashbuckling. It will run for 14 free performances, and tour to at least eight different venues around Northern Nevada, in conjunction with the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival.
NSC occasionally enjoys branching out from the Bard, which is why local playwright John Blomberg’s twisted retelling of Sleeping Beauty (“a fractured fairy tale”) has made its way into the July lineup.
Information and tickets: www.nevada-shakespeare.org.Fresh brew: Brewery Arts Center
Kids will find no shortage of performing arts opportunities. In late March, Brewery Arts’ BAC-Stage Kids, ages 6 through 10, will perform Really Rosie, written by the legendary Maurice Sendak and with music by Carole King. Then, in June, the 11- to 15-year-olds will tackle A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with kids handling all aspects of the production.
Meanwhile, the BAC-PAC (Performing Arts Collaborative) will take on The Laramie Project, in association with PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) and the BAC’s new filmmaking club, the Northern Nevada Film Factory. The show, which deals with the murder of gay student Matthew Shepard, begins in mid-April.
BAC will bring you A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum to its summer stock, presented on the lawn in a festival atmosphere, complete with a picnic area, a bar and about 200 seats.
Information and tickets: www.breweryarts.org.On the Fringe: Brüka Theatre
Always willing to confront society’s evils, Brüka now offers Angels in America, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Tony Kushner piece dealing with the AIDS hysteria of the mid-80s. Brüka is partnering with Northern Nevada HOPES (HIV Outpatient Program, Education and Services) for this show, part of its plan to partner with local charities. Bring nonperishables to the show and help fill the HOPES pantry.
In April comes The Book of Liz, written by Amy and David Sedaris, and directed by Jim Martin. This comedy follows the Squeamish Sister Elizabeth, a nun, who feels underappreciated and goes on the run, then meets a host of colorful characters.
The Great American Trailer Park Musical takes over in May. Through fun, bluesy music it tells of the offbeat residents, including an agoraphobic and a stripper, of a trailer park community.
Dog Sees God takes the stage in July, imagining Charles Schultz’s Peanuts as troubled adolescents. “It’s a great show if you like Peanuts and are open-minded about what could have happened to them,” says producing director Mary Bennett.
There’s lots more happening at Brüka this season, including original play readings; “talk-back” sessions following each Sunday matinee; an August performing arts parade; Rapunzel, a children’s theater production; and a play-writing contest for kids that will become part of the three-year Grimm’s Fairy Tale project.
Information and tickets: www.bruka.orgWild rides: TheatreWorks of Northern Nevada
TWNN goes off the tracks with several wild rides. First there’s Cahoots, running through March 20, about a dinner party that grinds to a halt when a guest suddenly dies. Then, in May, comes The Whole Shebang, which asks the question, “What if the entire universe was just some nerd’s science project?”
Also in May is Bridge to Terabithia, a TheatreWorks youth company adaptation of Katherine Paterson’s Newbury Award-winning book. And as part of the Artown Family Series, catch Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, the story of Mowgli, who is raised by wolves and grows up believing he is one. In conjunction with the show will be a book drive for the Washoe County School District’s Read and Succeed Program.
Information and tickets: www.twnn.org