Spring fling

Shakespeare, musicals and dark comedy are some of the theater offerings this spring

Gothic North Theater continues its 2000-2001 season with <i>Steel Magnolias</i>, which runs through Jan. 28.

Gothic North Theater continues its 2000-2001 season with Steel Magnolias, which runs through Jan. 28.

In keeping with the hopeful, thoughtful ambiance of the new millennium, the area’s spring theater lineup is appropriately full of rollicking comedies, with a heady sprinkling of more poignant dramatic works. Old favorites will play alongside world premieres and veteran companies will add to their extensive repertoires, while newcomers try their hand at stagecraft.

Despite the overall diversity of theater play lists this spring, Shakespeare or Shakespeare-themed plays seems to be a popular option on just about every stage in the area.

In March, the Nevada Repertory Company will take on the well-loved Comedy of Errors, Shakespeare’s witty tale of twins separated at birth, who find themselves embroiled in political and romantic intrigue. Meanwhile, the Actory Theatre Arts Centre will be performing a darker Shakespeare masterpiece: Julius Caesar, a drama about the most powerful man in the world and the betrayal that ended his life. Brüka Theatre will wrap up the season with another tragic drama, Othello, in June. Down the valley in Carson City, Carson Performing Arts will tackle the comic The Taming of the Shrew in January and February. The Proscenium Players, Inc. will present a wry take on the master with their March production of Paul Rudnick’s I Hate Hamlet.

There’s still plenty of contemporary works going on in area theaters. Gothic North Theater kicked off 2001 with its production of Robert Harling’s Steel Magnolias last weekend. The play, which runs through Jan. 28, will be followed by the comedy Bus Stop in March. Bus Stop focuses on a group of travelers and unlikely companions, who are stranded in a Kansas City diner. In April, the company will feature Kevin Wade’s comedy Key Exchange, which follows a young couple as they navigate the rough waters of a new relationship. In May, Gothic North presents Jerry Sterner’s Other People’s Money, a drama about a Wall Street takeover artist and his clash with human compassion. Finally, the theater will close its season in June with a musical revue, Six Women With Brain Death—Or Expiring Minds Want To Know. The decidedly dark yet un-serious production will be presented in “cabaret dessert theater setting,” according to producers. For more information, call 329-7529.

Brüka Theatre will also dabble in black comedy with its presentation of Harold Pinter’s The Homecoming, a “comically shocking” play about a college professor, his wife, his wildly dysfunctional family and their disturbing interactions, when they all spend a little too much quality time together. The play runs Jan. 12 through Feb. 10. The production will be followed in May by a very different work, the groundbreaking Three Penny Opera by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill. For more information, call 323-3221.

Later this month, the Actory Theatre Arts Center will present Ladies of the Camellias, Lillian Garret-Groag’s farce about an imaginary meeting between theater divas Sarah Bernhardt and Eleonora Duse. In April, the theater group will offer the cleverly funny Art by Yasmina Reza. The show deals with three friends, an expensive painting and a violent rift. The company will follow the production with its season closer, Wit, by Margaret Edson, in April and May. For more information, call 331-9228.

Other upcoming spring productions include:

·Reno drama newcomers Black Curtains Theatrical Productions will leap on to stage with Stage Fright Left (Jan. 14), Sarasponda (February and March); Millennium Variations (March 18), Alyssa, or The Absence of Insanity (April), Comus (June, in repertory during summer). Call 827-5234.

·Nevada Repertory Theater will present the Tony Award-winning Dancing at Lughnasa (April-May). Call 784-6847.