Alley Theatre's 2012-13 Season: Death of a Salesman, Clybourne Park, The Elephant Man & More

With an emphasis on the company actors themselves, the Alley Theatre today announced its 2012-13 season, with James Black taking on Willie Loman in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, John Tyson playing the President of the United States in David Mamet's November and Todd Waite once again becoming the consummate Sherlock Holmes, this time in Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Suicide Club, by Jeffrey Hatcher, based on "The Suicide Club" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Robert Louis Stevenson.

New productions of older plays -- A Few Good Men and The Elephant Man -- were also announced by Alley Artistic Director Gregory Boyd, as well as new plays including Kenneth Lin's Warrior Class, Katori Hall's The Mountaintop and Bruce Norris's Clybourne Park, winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for plays.

Two winter holiday traditions will continue: A Christmas Carol (who gets to be Marley's ghost this time?) and The Santaland Diaries (also worth it to see Waite in full elf uniform).


Here's the lineup from the Alley press release:

November By David Mamet Neuhaus Stage August 24 - September 23, 2012. Opens August 29, 2012

As the 2012 Presidential election campaign continues, David Mamet's November offers audiences a fiendishly funny, over-the-top, no-holds-barred take on American politics. Unfolding in one day, just days before a national election and with poll numbers "lower than Gandhi's cholesterol," President Charles Smith (Alley Company Artist John Tyson), the most corrupt and inept buffoon to sit in the Oval Office, sets his sight on a second term. With his usual acerbic wit and edgy social commentary, Mamet's latest masterpiece is a gleeful cornucopia of corruption and political incorrectness full of shady backroom schemes like Thanksgiving turkeys awaiting pardon and an American Indian lobbyist who wants to turn Nantucket into a gambling resort.

Death of a Salesman By Arthur Miller Hubbard Stage September 28 - October 28, 2012. Opens October 3, 2012

The return to the Alley of Arthur Miller's Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece could not be more relevant in a post-recession world. The play juxtaposes the American Dream with the realities of a fluctuating economy, unequal opportunities and unfair advantages, with vivid characters and consummate theatricality. As salesman Willy Loman (Alley Company Artist James Black) approaches the end of his working life, he must reconcile his unrealized dreams while struggling against the current world.

The Mountaintop By Katori Hall Hubbard Stage January 11 - February 3, 2013. Opens January 16, 2013

Taking place on April 3, 1968, The Mountaintop is a gripping reimagining of events the night before the assassination of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. After delivering one of his most memorable speeches, an exhausted Dr. King retires to his room at the Lorraine Motel while a storm rages outside. When a mysterious stranger arrives with some surprising news, King is forced to confront his destiny and his legacy to his people. The Mountaintop received the 2010 Olivier Award for Best Play and playwright Katori Hall won the 2011 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize.

Clybourne Park By Bruce Norris Neuhaus Stage January 18 - February 17, 2013. Opens January 23, 2013

The powerfully provocative Clybourne Park, called "a spiky and insightful new comedy" by The New York Times and "completely audacious, ingenious entertainment" (Entertainment Weekly), and "superb, elegantly written, and hilarious" (The New Yorker), is the most talked-about show of the 2012 Broadway season and "the funniest play of the year" (London Evening Standard). Home is where the heart is as jokes fly and hidden agendas unfold in the same North Chicago house that was the setting for the 1959 classic A Raisin in the Sun. In Houston native Bruce Norris's 2011 Pulitzer Prize-winning and Olivier Award winner for Best Play, Race is pitted against Real Estate. Two different generations of characters delicately dance around social politics as a white community in the 1950s splinters over the black family about to move in, and the roles reverse 50 years later with the start of gentrification. The razor-sharp satire explores the evolution of racism and how the date on the calendar may change but perceptions may not.

A Few Good Men By Aaron Sorkin Hubbard Stage March 1 - March 24, 2013. Opens March 6, 2013

Aaron Sorkin (Moneyball, The Social Network, The West Wing) returns to the Alley Theatre (The Farnsworth Invention, 2009) with the captivating courtroom drama. A Few Good Men, Sorkin's first play, ran for nearly 500 performances on Broadway in 1989, became an Oscar-nominated film in 1992 and was reconceived for a 2005 London revival. Originally inspired by true events (Sorkin's sister served with the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General's Corps [JAG]), this taut, tense thriller erupts when two Marines are accused of the hazing death of a fellow Marine at Guantanamo Bay. This hard-hitting, suspenseful story puts the Marine code of honor on trial.

The Elephant Man By Bernard Pomerance Hubbard Stage April 12 - May 5, 2013. Opens April 17, 2013

Tony Award-winning and Drama Desk winner The Elephant Man is based on the true story of the "elephant man," so-called because of his hideous deformity. Its powerful and moving story chronicles the life of John Merrick, detailing his desperate existence in a Victorian freak show to his days as the toast of London high society. Pomerance weaves Merrick's tale into a parable on beauty, innocence and human dignity.

Warrior Class By Kenneth Lin Neuhaus Stage May 3 - June 2, 2013. Opens May 8, 2013

Kenneth Lin returns to the Alley with his newest play, Warrior Class, as part of the Alley Theatre's New Play Initiative, which facilitates the creative collaboration between playwrights, directors, actors and designers during all stages of a new play's development. In 2010, the Alley produced Lin's world premiere of Intelligence-Slave as part of its New Play Initiative. Warrior Class centers on Julius Weishan Lee, a New York assemblyman who's been dubbed "The Republican Obama." Lee is the son of Chinese immigrants and a decorated war veteran with a seemingly limitless political career ahead of him. Then someone from his past threatens to reveal a college transgression, and Lee must decide how far he'll go to keep the incident out of the public eye. Whatever his decision, the consequences may be costly.

Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Suicide Club By Jeffrey Hatcher Based on "The Suicide Club" by Robert Louis Stevenson and Characters created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Hubbard Stage May 24 - June 23, 2013. Opens May 29, 2013

Based on Robert Louis Stevenson's "The Suicide Club" and featuring beloved characters created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Jeffrey Hatcher (Mrs. Mannerly, 2010) crafts a smart new Sherlock Holmes mystery. Having played Sherlock Holmes in The Crucifer of Blood (2009) and Sherlock Holmes (2003), Alley Theatre Company Artist Todd Waite will again play the iconic and illustrious detective in a spectacular, lavish production. Dark forces may be manipulating the deaths of prominent men in a plot so far-reaching that the fate of Europe is at stake. It is up to the brilliant Detective Holmes and his old friend Dr. Watson to uncover the chilling secret of the "suicide club."

Holiday Productions:

A Christmas Carol - A Ghost Story of Christmas By Charles Dickens Adapted and Originally Directed by Michael Wilson Directed by James Black Hubbard Stage November 16 - December 24, 2012. Opens November 18, 2012

Houston's seasonal favorite the Houston Press described as having "Spectacular London sets...the inimitable Dickens tale -- spiced with the usual fog and an unusual twist on the ghosts past, present and future." A Christmas Carol - A Ghost Story of Christmas follows Ebenezer Scrooge's journey with the three ghostly spirits that visit him on Christmas Eve. A Christmas Carol instills a powerful message about redemption and the spirit of the holiday season.

The Santaland Diaries By David Sedaris Adapted for the stage by Joe Mantello Directed by David Cromer Neuhaus Stage November 24 - December 30, 2012. Opens November 29, 2012

Company Artist Todd Waite reprises his role as "Crumpet the Elf" in the outlandish, and true, chronicles of David Sedaris's experience as a worker in Macy's SantaLand display. This compact, one-character comedy is an hilarious cult classic, featuring comic encounters during the height of the holiday crunch. NPR humorist and best-selling author of Me Talk Pretty One Day and Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, David Sedaris has become one of America's pre-eminent humor writers.

For ticket information, go to the theater's website or call 713-220-5700.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Margaret Downing is the editor-in-chief who oversees the Houston Press newsroom and its online publication. She frequently writes on a wide range of subjects.
Contact: Margaret Downing