Reno's fall stage preview
Along with all the other things that start this time of year—school, football, the network TV schedule—most of the area's theater companies are kicking off their seasons. And they're bringing it big time, with new venues, exciting collaborations, and an impressive lineup so full of choices that your weekends might just be spoken for between now and Christmas.Bells and whistles: University of Nevada Department of Theatre & Dance
The University of Nevada, Reno’s Department of Theatre & Dance has, arguably, the most to be excited about this fall. Their season starts Oct. 10 with Love and Information by Caryl Churchill, which explores love and connection (or lack thereof) in the Information Age. It incorporates human-robot interaction, giving theater students a chance to collaborate with the University’s Robotics Research Lab.
There will be robots on stage, people.
Even more exciting is the $4 million renovation to the Redfield Proscenium Theatre, which reopens just before Thanksgiving in grand style with A Christmas Carol: The Musical. This family-friendly production will show off the new theater, from ghosts that fly to increased, stadium-style seating. Equally as thrilling, Reno boy-turned-New Yorker Adam Cates—fresh off his gig as associate choreographer for the 2014 Tony Awards’ Best Musical—will return to direct this holiday extravaganza. The show’s huge budget ensures it will be quite a spectacle.
On October 24 and 25, catch an innovative fall dance performance, Site Specific Dance Works, during which dancers will perform in unexpected spaces around campus and travel mid-show with audiences, much like street performance. Admission is free; stay tuned for details about specific locations.
Tickets and information: www.unr.edu/cla/theatredance.An Oldie but a Goodie: Reno Little Theater
This last year brought milestone changes to Reno Little Theatre, with the company going from one paid staff member to three, including Chad Sweet from Goodluck Macbeth, who joins RLT as full-time technical director. Sweet reported for duty this summer, and gradually will be working to turn over the reins of GLM.
Even more noteworthy is that this fall, RLT kicks off its 80th season. They’ll be celebrating all year long with an ambitious lineup, starting Sept. 12 with Tennessee Williams’ classic The Glass Menagerie. In a new twist, the story will be told as a memory play, through the recollections of the much older main character, Tom.
Next comes the 80th anniversary celebration show slated for Oct. 11 and 12. This show brings people who have been involved with the organization over the last decade to come back, watch and participate. It will include scenes from some of the last decade’s most popular RLT shows.
Starting Oct. 24 is John Logan’s Red, a two-person biographical drama that follows expressionist painter Mark Rothko as he reflects on his commission to create a painting for the Four Seasons restaurant and questions the nature of art with his assistant.
Opening Nov. 28 is Christopher Durang’s comedy, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. This send-off of Chekhov’s most memorable and dysfunctional characters is about cohabitating middle-aged siblings whose lives are interrupted when their movie-star sister and her much-younger lover return to sell the family home. Not a Chekhov fan? No worries, you’ll still find this one funny, per Durang’s usual zany style, though fans will find plenty of Easter eggs.
Finally, the year ends with comedic playwright Ken Ludwig’s family farce, ’Twas the Night Before Christmas, running days Dec. 5-14. It’s complete with adventure, mistaken identities, a little hip-hop, elves and all things naughty and nice.
On top of all that, catch one of Reno’s improv troupes, The Jesters League, doing monthly shows at RLT.
Tickets and information: www.renolittletheater.org.No brainer: Goodluck Macbeth
In the spirit of collaboration that’s running rampant this fall, Goodluck Macbeth presents the highly anticipated Evil Dead: The Musical Sept. 26-Oct. 31. It’s co-directed by former Truckee Meadows Community College Performing Arts Company manager John Frederick and local actor Ashley Marie James, and stars TMCC regular Evan Harris. Expect total camp in this mash-up of the first two ED movies, as well as plenty of splatter (ponchos and other supplies will be on sale).
The rest of the season is still up for grabs, says the outgoing Sweet, but it’s expected that the company will be shifting more toward using the space as a venue for alternative programming, such as movies and sing-alongs. And returning in October is the Spotlight Academy for Young Actors’ week-long day camp for grades 4-8, during which kids will create one-acts that they then perform at week’s end.
Tickets and information: www.goodluckmacbeth.com.Even deader: TheatreWorks of Northern Nevada
Reno comic actor and Utility Player Christopher Daniels, wrapping up his performance as Miss Ginger Divine in his one-woman show at Goodluck Macbeth, lends his writing talents to this fall’s TWNN fundraiser, the fifth annual Murder Mystery Dinner (and silent auction), Oct. 12 at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa. The show, Good Evening, Artown, is a comedy suitable for all ages about a band of actors trying to mount a Broadway show despite a tyrannical director—until someone, of course, dies, leaving the audience guessing whodunit. Come dressed as your favorite living or dead Hollywood icon—best costume gets a prize.
This major yearly fundraiser supports the nonprofit’s outreach programs and classes for youth (ages 6-12, Thursday nights) and teens (ages 12-18, Monday nights).
Tickets and information: www.twnn.org, call 240-6970 or like them on Facebook.Mad world: TMCC Performing Arts
Catch another collaboration in TMCC’s first show of the season, Reefer Madness: The Musical, running Oct. 10-26. This spoof on the 1936 propaganda film about the evils of marijuana became a cult classic in the ‘ ‘60s, when people realized just how far off its ridiculous claims were. With an enormous cast of 28, it’s co-directed by TMCC professor Carolyn Wray and Brüka Theatre’s Mary Bennett in a long-anticipated team-up.
Next comes Seussical the Musical, a children’s show for Washoe County School District students, with two public performances Dec. 5 and 6.
The fall semester winds down Dec. 10 with a multicultural TMCC choir performance.
Tickets and information: www.tmcc.edu/vparts.Seeing is believing: Brüka Theatre
The 22nd season of Brüka (the “Believe” season) features a full, ambitious roster of shows, regardless of up-in-the-air plans for the Virginia Street Bridge overhaul.
In case you don’t get enough of that special Brüka sauce at TMCC’s Reefer Madness, you can catch it a few times this fall at Carson City’s Brewery Arts Center or on the Brüka main stage. The company is growing a partnership with BAC, touring five of its smaller shows to BAC’s black box theater.
The season starts with Rajiv Joseph’s Gruesome Playground Injuries, running Sept. 12-19 at Brüka and Sept. 26-27 at BAC. This sort-of love story follows two 8-year-olds who meet on the playground and bump into each other every few years at various emergency rooms and sick beds.
Next comes Sam Shepard’s Fool for Love, running at Brüka Oct. 3-25. It explores a 15-year, love-hate, fascination-repulsion relationship.
Late Night TV returns to Brüka two weekends in October with “The Halloween Episode”—an original, 30-minute sitcom written by Gary Cremeans and Mary Bennett, about the Dumass family from Sunny Valley, Nevada.
Celebrate Nevada’s sesquicentennial with Bennett’s own original 50-minute show, NV 150. See Nevada’s entire 150-year history in 50 minutes, presented in collaboration with the Carson City Ghost Walk. It runs Nov. 1 at BAC and at Brüka Nov. 5-8.
The year wraps up with Ham for the Holidays by Shad Willingham, running Dec. 5-21. In this old-timey farce, set on a December morning in 1939 at a small-town Georgia radio station, the staff is all in a tizzy over their special Christmas show guest, Orson Welles—if the freak blizzard doesn’t stop him from coming.
This fall, Brüka also continues to expand its Artist in the House Series with workshops in dance creation with Alexander Biber; dramaturgy and directing with Tony Degeiso, actor movement with Holly Natwora and improv with Mary Bennett.
Tickets and information: www.bruka.org.A Loverly Evening: Western Nevada Musical Theatre Company
With two major productions each year, WNMTC’s fall features Tony- and Oscar-winner My Fair Lady for three weekends in November at the 750-seat Carson City Community Center. The beloved story of phonetics professor Henry Higgins and his protégé, lowly flower girl Eliza Doolittle, features a score with numerous memorable hits, performed by a live orchestra.
Tickets and information: www.wnmtc.com or (866) 977-6849.