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Stages returns to Miller Outdoor Theatre with Roger Bean’s Doo-Wop musical Life Could Be a Dream.
Stages returns to Miller Outdoor Theatre with Roger Bean’s Doo-Wop musical Life Could Be a Dream.
Photo by Bruce Bennett

Stages Repertory Theatre Announces its 2019-20 Season With a Touch of Doo-Wop

With a move halfway through the upcoming season to its new home at The Gordy, Stages Repertory Theatre has a packed season ahead of it as evidenced by its release of what's ahead.

With everything from its old reliables — Panto and Sister's Catechism — to several new works (two world premieres, one U.S. premiere and eight regional premieres), not to mention the third year of its Latinx Festival, Stages has clearly cut an ambitious path for itself and its audiences.

The season will start in its present facility at 3201 Allen Parkway and more across the street to the Sterling Stage at The Gordy in January 2020.

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For more information, visit stagestheatre.com.

Here's the season from Stages:

The Doyle and Debbie Show
By Bruce Arnston

REGIONAL PREMIERE

July 12 – September 8, 2019

After failed marriages and tabloid scandals Doyle Mayfield recruits a new singing partner – also his third Debbie – in an attempt to regain his former stardom. But when Debbie’s star starts to rise, the comeback becomes a setback for this has-been legend. Featuring original songs – “When You’re Screwin’ Other Women (Think of Me),” “Barefoot and Pregnant,” and “ABC’s of Love”, this brilliant parody is a hysterical tribute to country music and its beloved iconic duos.

Yeager Theatre / 3201 Allen Parkway

Sister’s Back to School Catechism: The Holy Ghost and Other Terrifying Tales
By Maripat Donovan and Marc Silvia

REGIONAL PREMIERE

August 21 – October 13, 2019

In this newest class, Sister puts the backbone in back to school with a host of lessons about starting anew as well as celebrating the Church’s approved tales of ghosts and goblins and a Catholic-appropriate Halloween costume contest! One of Stages’ most popular and oft-requested offerings, the Late Nite Catechism series features unique interactive fun for Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

Denise Fennell reprises her role as Sister, delighting the longtime audiences who have become her devoted fans over nearly a decade of Catechism performances. Fennell has also been seen by Stages audiences in Shear Madness and The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe.

Arena Theatre / 3201 Allen Parkway


Life Could Be a Dream

By Roger Bean

September 6 & 7, 2019
at Miller Outdoor Theatre

Join us at Miller Outdoor Theatre as we revisit a Stages musical favorite! From the creator of The Marvelous Wonderettes, this 1960s throwback follows Denny and the Dreamers, a group of crooning buddies, as they dream of making it to the big time by entering the Big Whopper Radio contest. Featuring doo-wop favorites like "Earth Angel," "Unchained Melody," "Only You" and many more, Life Could Be a Dream will leave you laughing, singing and cheering for more.

Stages originally produced Life Could Be a Dream in an extended run in 2012. In addition to Life Could Be a Dream and The Marvelous Wonderettes series, Roger Bean also wrote previous Stages hit The Andrews Brothers as well as the upcoming musical Honky Tonk Laundry – the first show to be produced on the Warehouse Stage at The Gordy.

With special support from Presenting Sponsor Phillips 66 and the Miller Theatre Advisory Board, this important investment in community engagement allows more than 10,000 Houstonians to experience Stages’ work completely free of charge.

Salt, Root and Roe
By Tim Price

A co-production with Upstream Theater

U.S. PREMIERE

October 4 - 20, 2019

On the remote coast of Wales, 80-year-old twins Anest and Iola are determined to live out their twilight years on their own terms —agreeing to face even death together. But Anest’s daughter Menna returns home to inspire the sisters to face life instead. Salt, Root and Roe is a poetic masterwork about the nature of change, the comfort of home, and the eternal bond of love.

Stages Artistic Director Kenn McLaughlin will direct this U.S. premiere developed in partnership with Upstream Theater in St. Louis, MO, and starring Stages veteran Sally Edmundson. Stages previously co-produced the U.S. Premiere of De Kus / The Kiss with Upstream Theater in 2016.

Yeager Theatre / 3201 Allen Parkway

Miracle on 34th Street: A Live Musical Radio Play
Adapted from the 1947 Lux radio broadcast by Lance Arthur Smith
Original lyrics, music and arrangements by Jon Lorenz

REGIONAL PREMIERE

November 6 - December 15, 2019

Get into the holiday spirit with the classic story of the last-minute replacement Santa for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade who claims to be the real Kris Kringle. Join us as a studio audience member for the live musical radio play adapted from the original 1947 Lux radio broadcast. This beloved holiday classic melts the most cynical of hearts and is destined to become a highlight of the holiday season!

Appropriate for audiences of all ages, this holiday heartwarmer simulates a true live radio broadcast from the 1940s, complete with live foley sound effects and studio audience interaction.

Arena Theatre / 3201 Allen Parkway

Panto Hansel and Gretel
By Adam Howard

WORLD PREMIERE

November 20 - December 15, 2019

Follow the breadcrumbs into an outrageous reimagining of the tale of Hansel and Gretel as two selfish Houston parents pursue their dream to be stars of the theatre after leaving their social-media-obsessed children in the woods. It’s going to take Buttons to save the day, but he’s busy battling an ambitious wood-nymph determined to take his place as comic sidekick. Come ready to laugh, cheer and boo as all your Panto favorites join a new cast of characters to sing, dance and make joy for the whole family!

For more than a decade, Stages has been delighting Houston audiences of all ages with a Texas take on the British tradition of Pantomime, or Panto. With roots in commedia dell‘arte and vaudeville, Panto invites audience interaction, especially from children, and uses double entendre and a host of recognizable conventions to create a unique theatrical experience for audience of all ages.

Yeager Theatre / 3201 Allen Parkway

The Fantasticks
Book and lyrics by Tom Jones
Music by Harvey Schmidt

January 24 – March 15, 2020

Celebrate the love of theatre itself with this timeless gem for The Gordy’s inauguration! Follow your imagination into a whimsical tale of young lovers, meddling parents, and a love that matures in adversity. The longest-running musical in world history has been refreshed for the new century and is the perfect valentine to the theatre and the eternal – and universal – power of love.

The Fantasticks will be the inaugural production at Stages’ new home, The Gordy, and the first to be presented in the showpiece Sterling Stage. Stages has produced The Fantasticks twice before: once as part of the theatre’s very first season, and again in the first season at 3201 Allen Parkway. The Fantasticks originally premiered at Greenwich Village’s Sullivan Street Playhouse in 1960 and holds the record for the world’s longest-running musical.

Sterling Stage / The Gordy

Water by the Spoonful
by Quiara Alegría Hudes

REGIONAL PREMIERE

February 7 – 23, 2020

An Iraq War veteran and former addict finds solace in an online chatroom as he struggles to reconnect with his mother – herself a former heroin addict. Winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Water By The Spoonful is an uplifting and heartfelt meditation on broken lives, forgiveness, and strength to carry on.

Water by the Spoonful will be produced in conjunction with Stages’ 3nd annual Sin Muros Latinx Theatre Festival.

Water by the Spoonful will be the first production in The Gordy’s Lester and Sue Smith Stage. Originally commissioned as part of Hartford Stage’s Aetna New Voices Fellowship, Water by the Spoonful premiered at Hartford Stage in 2011, with an Off-Broadway run at Second Stage in 2012. Hudes is also known for her work on In the Heights and Miss You Like Hell.

Lester and Sue Smith Stage / The Gordy

Sin Muros (Without Walls): A Latinx Theatre Festival
February 13 – 16, 2020

Stages Repertory Theatre will celebrate Latinx voices and stories reflecting the diversity of local Texas communities during the third annual Sin Muros (Without Walls) Theatre Festival. The weekend will be filled with free public events for audiences and local theatre-makers, including workshops, play and poetry readings, and much more!

Honky Tonk Laundry
By Roger Bean

REGIONAL PREMIERE

March 6 – April 22, 2020

The creator of The Marvelous Wonderettes brings us a brand new boot-scootin’ musical! After inheriting the Wishy Washy Washeteria from her grandmother, Lana Mae hires Katie to help run the business, but the two soon join forces to convert their good ol’ laundromat into the town’s hottest honky-tonk. This hilarious musical is packed with a country song list that spans decades of classic and contemporary hits, from “I Fall to Pieces” and “These Boots Are Made for Walkin” to “Take It Back” and “Wide Open Spaces”.

Honky Tonk Laundry is the first show to presented in the Warehouse Stage at The Gordy and is the second show by Roger Bean to be featured in the 2019-2020 Season, following the limited engagement of Life Could Be a Dream at Miller Outdoor Theatre September 6 and 7, 2019. Honky Tonk Laundry premiered at Milwaukee Repertory Theatre in 2005. A revised version premiered in 2017 at the Broadway Theatre in Vista, CA.

Warehouse Stage / The Gordy

Sensitive Guys
By MJ Kaufman

REGIONAL PREMIERE

March 20 – April 5, 2020

At a small liberal arts college, two student-led support groups work to help mitigate sexual assault on campus. But a shocking allegation divides both the Men’s Peer Education group and The Women’s Survivor Support group as they struggle to take effective action against the toxic culture of the school. Five women perform all the roles in this compelling satire about society, gender roles and contemporary college life.

Sensitive Guys originally premiered at InterAct Theatre Company in 2018.

Lester and Sue Smith Stage / The Gordy

Hook’s Tale
By John Leonard Pielmeier

WORLD PREMIERE

April 10 – May 3, 2020

A long-lost journal from the notorious – and much maligned – Captain Hook offers the true tale of Peter Pan, and nothing is as you have been told! Award-winning playwright John Leonard Pielmeier (Agnes of God) joins Stages’ favorite Donald Corren (Bobby Riggs in Balls) to create a one man tour-de-force that tells the Pan story from Hook’s point of view. Finally discover the friendly alligator, the helpful tick of the clock, the true love of the island’s indigenous population, and the real price of never growing old in this magical, theatrical romp for the whole family.

This fun, interactive play is appropriate for all ages and might be described as Wicked meets Panto.

Sterling Stage / The Gordy

Circle Mirror Transformation
By Annie Baker

REGIONAL PREMIERE

May 1 – 17, 2020

In a small Vermont town, an unlikely company of strangers sign up for a six-week drama class: a recently divorced carpenter, a high school junior, a former actress, and the husband of the class instructor. As the weeks pass, the powerful class exercises inspire both teacher and students to face their lives with greater courage.

Circle Mirror Transformation won the 2010 Obie Award for Best New American Play. It premiered Off-Broadway in 2009 at Playwrights Horizons.

Lester and Sue Smith Stage / The Gordy

Airness
By Chelsea Marcantel

WORLD PREMIERE

June 12 - 28, 2020

A quirky group of champion air guitarists is challenged by Nina, an ambitious female newcomer. As Nina pursues the national air-guitar title, she develops a true understanding of an art form she had once mocked – and finds her heart along the way. Airness is an exuberant celebration of rock-and-roll and the towering rock performances that dare us all to pick up our imaginary guitars.

Airness was featured in the 2017 Humana Festival and won the 2018 M. Elizabeth Osborn New Play Award bestowed by the American Theatre Critics Association. The U.S. Air Guitar Championship is a real event founded in 2003.

Sterling Stage / The Gordy

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