The Diabolical Plots of Wolf Hall Come to Houston in Main Street Theater's 2016-17 Season

Main Street Theater's new stage will be put to the test in October through December when Wolf Hall, Parts One and Two will play in repertory with a cast of 23 actors.

The regional premiere of this ambitious work based on the Hilary Mantel novels tells the story of Thomas Cromwell and the machinations he goes through as King Henry VIII rids himself of one queen and then another. 

But then again, Main Street under the artistic direction of Rebecca Greene Udden has taken big chances before — the three parts of Tom Stoppard's The Coast of Utopia in 2012— and carried them off to great success. 

In today's season announcement, Main Street also said it will be doing The Revolutionists by Lauren Gunderson, Copenhagen by Michael Frayn, Grand Concourse by Heidi Shreck and Native Gardens by Karen Zakarias. All but Copenhagen are regional premieres. 

And the Prague Shakespeare Company will return with a performance of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, this time set in World War II Britain. 

Here's the season as described by Main Street Theater:

2016 – 2017 MainStage Season

The Revolutionists
Regional Premiere
By Lauren Gunderson
September 3 – October 2, 2016

Marie Antoinette and Charlotte Corday walk into a bar… Okay, not exactly, but The Revolutionists is a whirling fantasia of a tale about four fiery, renegade women whose lives collide during the French Revolution. At the height of the Reign of Terror, playwright Olympe de Gouges, assassin Charlotte Corday, activist Marianne Angelle, and former queen Marie Antoinette plot murder, try to beat back extremist insanity in Paris, and explore how we actually go about changing the world in this irreverent, brutal comedy.
Wolf Hall
Regional Premiere
Based on the Novels by Hilary Mantel
Adapted for the Stage by Mike Poulton
Part One: October 22 – December 18, 2016
Part Two: October 29 – December 18, 2016

This dramatic event features two exceptional plays set in the court of Henry VIII and adapted from Hilary Mantel’s novels. In Part One (Wolf Hall), the court of Henry VIII is in utter upheaval as the King rages over his lack of a male heir. The shrewd and ambitious Thomas Cromwell inserts himself into the political scene to help the king pursue his passion for Anne Boleyn and secure an annulment from Katherine of Aragon. Part Two (Bring Up the Bodies) charts Anne’s downfall, the rise of Jane Seymour, and Cromwell’s alliances with his greatest enemies. Featuring a cast of 23, Parts One and Two will run in repertory.
By Michael Frayn
February 11 – March 12, 2017

"No one understands my trip to Copenhagen. Time and time again I’ve explained it. To Bohr himself, and Margrethe. To interrogators and intelligence officers, to journalists and historians. The more I've explained, the deeper the uncertainty has become. Well, I shall be happy to make one more attempt." –Heisenberg in Copenhagen

In 1941, German physicist Werner Heisenberg went to Copenhagen to see his Danish counterpart, Niels Bohr. Together they had revolutionized atomic science in the 1920s, but now they were on opposite sides of a world war. In this incisive yet very human drama, the spirits of Werner Heisenberg, Niels Bohr and Bohr's wife Margrethe, meet after their deaths to attempt to answer the question that Margrethe poses in the first line of the play, "Why did he [Heisenberg] come to Copenhagen?” Copenhagen is a powerful rumination on why we do what we do as human beings. 2000 Tony Award for Best Play.
Grand Concourse
Regional Premiere
By Heidi Shreck
April 1 – 30, 2017

Having dedicated her life to religious service, Shelley runs a Bronx soup kitchen with unsentimental efficiency, but lately her heart’s not quite in it. Her brisk nature masks an unsettling fear that her efforts are meaningless. When Emma — an idealistic but confused college dropout — arrives to volunteer, her reckless mix of generosity and self-involvement pushes Shelley to the breaking point. With keen humor and startling compassion, Heidi Schreck’s play navigates the mystery of faith, the limits of forgiveness, and the pursuit of something resembling joy. A finalist for the 2015 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, a nominee for the 2015 Lucille Lortel Award, Grand Concourse also made The Kilroys List in 2014.

Native Gardens
Regional Premiere
By Karen Zakarías
May 20 – June 18, 2017

Gardens and cultures clash, turning friendly neighbors into feuding enemies in this hilarious new play. Pablo, a high-powered lawyer, and doctoral candidate Tania, his very pregnant wife, are realizing the American dream when they purchase a house next door to community stalwarts Virginia and Frank. But a disagreement over a longstanding fence line soon spirals into an all-out war of taste, class, privilege, and entitlement.
Main Street continues its partnership with Prague Shakespeare Company once again in 2016-2017

Much Ado About Nothing
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Guy Roberts
December 31, 2016 - January 15, 2017

Shakespeare’s beloved comedy of love, languish and language in a smart new production from Prague Shakespeare Company. Set in World War II Britain, a group of nurses, wounded servicemen and patriots produce a radio broadcast of Much Ado About Nothing to raise morale of the troops on the front. Featuring Her Britannic Majesty’s Ambassador to the Czech Republic Jan Thompson, OBE as Beatrice, Jessica Boone as Hero, Guy Roberts as Benedick and Karel He?mánek Jr. as Claudio. 

2016 – 2017 Theater for Youth Season

Duck for President
Based on the book by Doreen Cronin
September 27 - October 29, 2016

Duck for President! Duck for President! He’s had enough of Farmer Brown’s oppression; he’s fighting for change! Unhappy with the working conditions on Farmer Brown’s farm, Duck campaigns to put himself in charge. In this hilarious tale by Doreen Cronin, the author of Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type, Duck seeks nothing less than the highest office in the land. Our fellow Americans, we present to you Duck for president! Recommended for Pre-Kindergarten and up.

Fancy Nancy Splendiferous Christmas
Based on the book by Jane O'Connor
November 7 - December 17, 2016

What could be fancier than Christmas? Presents with elegant wrapping paper, festive decorations, Christmas cookies with sprinkles - and who could forget the tree? After all, there is no such thing as too much tinsel. Ooh la la! This year, Nancy is especially excited. After selling some of her old gowns and accessories, Nancy has enough money to buy a brand-new sparkly tree topper. She can't wait to decorate the Christmas tree. But when things don't turn out the way Nancy planned, will Christmas still be splendiferous? Based on the New York Times bestselling picture book by Jane O'Connor. Recommended for Pre-Kindergarten and up.
Based on the book by Kathryn Erskine
Winner of the National Book Award
January 24 - February 19, 2017

In Caitlin’s world, everything is black or white. Things are good or bad. Anything in between is confusing. That’s the stuff Caitlin’s older brother, Devon, has always explained. But now Devon’s dead, and her father cries a lot. Caitlin wants to move past it, but as an eleven-year-old girl with Asperger’s, she doesn’t know how. When she reads the definition of “closure” in the dictionary, she realizes that is what she and her father need. In her search for closure, Caitlin discovers that not everything is black and white—the world is full of colors—messy and beautiful, and it is through this discovery that she embarks on a road which leads her to find both healing and closure. Commissioned by the Kennedy Center, Julie Jensen’s play is an adaptation of Kathryn Erskine’s National Book Award-winning novel of the same name. Recommended for Fifth Grade and up.

Ramona Quimby
Adapted from the books by Beverly Cleary
February 28 - April 1, 2017

Unpredictable. Exasperating. Boisterous and independent. That's Ramona Quimby, alright! She’s always aggravating her older sister, Beezus, constantly getting into trouble, and sometimes "making a big, noisy fuss" when things don't go her way. But as this feisty third-grader learns, even though life isn’t fair and you often have to make sacrifices, sticking together as a family is the most important thing of all, and even though sisters may not always agree, they can still be good to have around! Adapted by Obie Award-winning playwright Len Jenkin. Recommended for Kindergarten and up.
Goosebumps the Musical – Phantom of the Auditorium
Based on the book by R.L. Stine
April 11 - May 20, 2017

Brooke and Zeke are excited to star in their school's next hit musical, The Phantom, until they hear a rumor that the show is cursed! Mysterious events start happening at the theater, and no one can be sure if it’s just coincidence or the work of…The Phantom! This silly and (only a little) spooky musical is based on the beloved series from R.L. Stine. Recommended for First Grade and Up.
Main Stage Shows are seen in its Rice Village theater, at 2540 Times Boulevard, while student shows are seen at the MATCH, 3400 Main Street in Midtown. For information, call 713-524-6706 or visit

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