Infernal Bridegroom Productions, that sassy alternative theater troupe that has, over the past three years, thumbed its nose at stuffy theatrical conventions, has taken a bold new turn in scheduling its 1997-98 season: musicals. Company directors Jason Nodler and Greg Dean will take on three musicals: Grease!, The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Threepenny Opera. Fans left screaming why, why, why? may want to stop sobbing long enough to recall that IBP's inventive (if not necessarily musically sound) production of Guys and Dolls garnered healthier ticket sales than any other show in the company's short history. The idea behind the musical-heavy season, Nodler says, is to attract new audience members who may just stick around for heavy-duty art.
Lost in L.A.
Speaking of theater-for-profit, the ambitious and fiscally minded young director who started up Absolute Theater this season, Steve Spurgat, has been missing from the theater scene since late August. If you were sad and confused about this disappearance, take heart. Spurgat has been located in L.A. The UH grad is starting a West Coast sister company for Absolute, but will return to Houston early next year to direct Edward Albee's playwrights' workshop productions at Stages, as well as to schedule a new season of his own in the Absolute's tiny space next to Chapultepec Mexican Restaurant on Richmond.
Desperately Seeking Playwright
Stages artistic director Rob Bundy is sifting through stacks of scripts in search of a worthy candidate for the theater's first playwright-in-residence position. A result of the local Dramatists Guild push for Texas-grown plays in local theaters, the job will include developing new (and hopefully ambitious) work, as well as collaborating with Stages' artistic team. The writer must be a Texan, and should, Bundy says, have more interest in pushing the theatrical-convention envelope than in writing "kitchen sink drama" (so-called because it often includes characters chatting around the kitchen sink discussing soul-altering choices such as "Darling? Shall I use Palmolive or Ivory?"). Send your best stuff, Attention: Rob Bundy, Stages Playwright-in-Residence Search, 3201 Allen Parkway, Suite 101, Houston, TX 77019.
-- Megan Halverson