Summer stock

RN&R previews what’s on local stages this summer

Column note

As the weather warms and school ends, our routines lighten. Nothing too heavy—that goes for our clothing, our food and our entertainment choices. Summer is about fun.

Local theater companies have set the stage for a lighthearted lineup of summer fun. You’ll find plenty of comedy—from Barbra to the Bard—not to mention music, dancing, and a healthy dose of Disney magic.

Here’s what’s in store this summer:

The way we were: Goodluck Macbeth

File this under “Bizarre Trivia”: In her 2010 book My Passion for Design, Barbra Streisand details her love for architecture and design—including that of the shopping mall in her basement.

Her turn-of-the-century style mall/basement includes a doll shop, a costume shop, a candy store, an antiques store and an antique clothing store. In 2013, playwright Jonathan Tolins found this whole notion so fascinating that he wrote his one-man show, Buyer and Cellar, about the poor schmuck who might work in Streisand’s basement mall. The play, which will star managing director Christopher Daniels, runs July 8-31. It’s part of a fairly new company tradition to do LGBT-friendly productions in concert with July’s Artown and the Northern Nevada Pride celebrations.

Next is Joshua Harmon’s Bad Jews, running Aug. 19-Sept. 3. Jewish cousins come together after the death of their grandfather and fight over who should get the treasured heirloom jewelry he managed to hide from the Nazis during the Holocaust. The thought-provoking play examines cultural traditions and religious faith.

Daniels is a busy boy this summer. On top of starring in a one-man show and running GLM, he’s a member of comedy improv troupe The Utility Players. They’re on hiatus until Season 12 begins in September, though the troupe will perform a pop-up show at The Sands on June 25.

And then there’s his role as Reverend Devine of Alchemist Theatre, an interfaith mashup of spirituality, sermons, music, meditation and theater, which calls GLM home. Alchemist Theatre will host its fundraiser, The Revival—its own brand of hootenanny tent revival—on June 24 at the Center for Spiritual Living. This all-ages event will feature a fair, food trucks, guest musical performances, and trademark inspiring and witty sermons delivered by Daniels and others. Proceeds benefit Alchemist Theatre.

Tickets and information:

Goodluck Macbeth Theatre Co.:

The Utility Players: or

Alchemist Theatre:

In revue: Reno Little Theater

Reno's longest-running theater company is putting the finishing touches on the final production of its Latino series, La Gente. Lights Out was written by Marvin Gonzalez, a local playwright who developed it—and is still developing it at the time of this writing—thanks to a grant from the Dramatists Guild Fund. Running June 14-19, it’s the story of what happens when a massive solar flare wipes out all electricity, and four people on a ranch in Elko are left to wonder whether it’s the apocalypse causing creepy things to happen.

From a show in review to a musical revue, next up is Stephen Sondheim’s Side by Side, directed by Lenny Leibowitz, renowned Drama Desk Award nominee and founding artistic director of Marvell Repertory Theatre, who will not only be lending his talents to this RLT production but also will host several workshops throughout summer. Side by Side runs July 7-31.

RLT also hosts Ageless Repertory Theatre, a company performing theatrical staged readings, as it presents Twentieth Century. Set in the observation car of a train traveling from Chicago to New York, this is the story of producer and egomaniac Oscar Jaffe, who’s desperately in need of a hit and determined to sign—and win back—his former lover and protégé, actress Lily Garland. This free show takes place July 26, 27 and 29.

For outgoing kids looking for out-of-school activities, RLT will offer three week-long camps. Each week culminates in a final performance.

Tickets and information:

Summer of enlightenment: Brüka Theatre


RLT isn't alone in exploring what happens when the lights go out. Brüka's first official summer production is the Northern Nevada premiere of Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play, running through June 25. This “dark” musical comedy is an indescribable combination of a post-apocalyptic blackout, a song-and-dance musical (with musical direction by Cami Thompson) and an episode of The Simpsons.

Next comes New Canula, an original piece written by company member Gary Cremeans II for Brüka’s Biggest Little Theater Festival in 2014. Billed as “an unromantic feel-good dramedy,” New Canula was inspired by Brüka director Mary Bennett’s mother, who, before her death, used a canula for oxygen and often joked about escaping to “New Canula,” a magical, happy land free of troubles. Cremeans imagines this land in his play, which will run July 10 at Brüka. It heads to the Hollywood Fringe Festival in June and the New York International Fringe Festival in August.

This summer, count on some Shakespeare—it’s part of WillPower 2016, the city-wide celebration of the Bard’s 400th “deathiversary” (“Much Ado,” RN&R, April 16). In honor of the man himself (not to mention well-timed for Artown and Pride), Brüka presents Malvolio, or What You Will, July 8-30. Written by Sandra Brunell-Neace and Rachel Lopez, this piece of social theater, inspired by Malvolio of Shakespeare’s comedy Twelfth Night, explores what it means to be transgender in an intolerant society. Each performance will begin with a Brüka “Greenshow,” a short, original mask performance piece.

Last but not least are the final performances of Brüka’s Theatre for Children show, Snow White & Rose Red, both on July 16.

Tickets and Information:

Midsummer dreams: Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival

The quintessential summer theater experience returns for its 44th season at Sand Harbor State Park. Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival presents The Comedy of Errors, a farce of mistaken identities and class divides, widely considered the Bard’s greatest comedy, with design inspired by Rio de Janeiro’s colorful Carnival celebration.

Rotating in repertory with Shakespeare is Forever Plaid, a musical comedy. On a stormy night in the 1960s, four singers known as The Plaids meet their untimely death in a Mercury on the way to their first big gig. They return from the afterlife in 2016 to get one last chance to perform their 1950s hits.

The two shows run on alternating dates, Tuesdays through Sundays, July 8-Aug. 21 (see schedule for specific show dates).

Intermingled with the festival run is the Showcase Series, featuring one-off dance and musical performances by local companies, July 18-Sept. 10.

Tickets and information:

Sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll: Eldorado Resort Casino

High energy music and dancing can be found all summer long at the Eldorado. First, there's Rock of Ages running through July 24. This musical, which is set in Hollywood in the 1980s, follows two nightclub employees on their quest for stardom and love.

Next, The Full Monty offers a … revealing look at what unemployed steelworkers from Buffalo are willing to do to impress their wives and make a buck. It runs Aug. 2-Sept. 18.

Tickets and Information:

Down the rabbit hole: TheatreWorks of Northern Nevada

Winding down its 10th anniversary season, TWNN goes out with a bang to present Alice in Wonderland, with 12 performances over 14 days in July at four locations, all as part of Artown. Three performances—one at Wingfield Park and two at Renown Health’s Mack Auditorium—are free to the public; the rest take place at Laxalt Auditorium and the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa.

This is TWNN’s largest cast to date, ages 7 to senior citizen, with some modern twists. The July 18 Wingfield Park show is part of a “Very Merry Un-Birthday” event in the park, featuring themed activities like flamingo croquet, a tea party and character meet-and-greets. It starts at 5 p.m., amid a Wonderland setting decorated by the Reno Boys & Girls Club. Costumes are encouraged.

TWNN also will offer two weeks of summer camp for kids ages 8 to 14 led by theater pros. Registration is limited to 24 per week. Participants get a chance to perform in the mainstage production.

Tickets and information:

Whole new world: Wild Horse Children's Theater

Carson City-area kids also can take advantage of performance camp through Wild Horse's Summer on Broadway program. This two-week camp for kids in grades K-6 culminates in a performance of Little Red Riding Hood.

But the big event for Wild Horse is Disney’s Aladdin Jr., a musical spectacular for which the company has been raising funds for months. Incorporating special effects by Las Vegas’ Flying By Foy, this show will feature flying characters (and a carpet). Based on the Broadway version of the show, Aladdin Jr. runs the first two weekends of July at the Carson City Community Center and will feature beloved hits such as “A Whole New World” and “Friend Like Me.”

Tickets and information: