After trying out Sweet Potato Queens in a staged reading earlier this year, Theatre Under the Stars' TUTS Underground has decided to go all in, and present the work fully developed in its next season.
In addition, TUTS Underground plans a play on Bonnie and Clyde, a meeting of a grumpy man and the Little Match Girl, and what it describes as "the ultimate teenage popularity contest (hair scrunchies included." All performances will be in Zilkha Hall at The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts.
"I am excited to announce the innovative musicals that we have lined up for the third season of TUTS Underground- A Theatre Revolution," TUTS' Artistic Director, Bruce Lumpkin said in a press release.. "This year, we continue to uphold and expand our original mission--to bring revolutionary, edgy, and affordable musicals to Houston. We want to enrich the local artistic community by continuing to produce relevant musical theatre, incubating new works and staging unique, pioneering shows which will set the scene for musical theatre of the future. I invite Houston to join the revolution."
And here's the lineup as released by TUTS Underground:
Bonnie & Clyde October 1 - 4, 2015
At the height of the Great Depression, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow went from two small-town nobodies in West Texas to America's most renowned folk heroes and the Texas law enforcement's worst nightmares. Fearless, shameless, and alluring, the Tony-nominated Bonnie & Clyde's the electrifying story of love, adventure and crime that captured the attention of an entire country. The legendary Frank Wildhorn (Jekyll And Hyde, Civil War, Dracula), who wrote this thrilling musical, will be actively engaged during the rehearsal period of this TUTS Underground production.
When Bonnie and Clyde meet, their mutual cravings for excitement and fame immediately set them on a mission to chase their dreams. Their bold and reckless behavior turns the young lovers' thrilling adventure into a downward spiral, putting themselves and their loved ones in trouble with the law. Forced to stay on the run, the lovers resort to robbery and murder to survive. As the infamous duo's fame grows bigger, their inevitable end draws nearer.
Striking 12 December 17 - 20, 2015
On New Year's Eve, an over-worked and under-inspired single guy who's had enough of holiday cheer makes a resolution: to stay home and go to bed early. On another New Year's Eve, a continent away--and more than a century earlier--Hans Christian Andersen's Little Match Girl tries unsuccessfully to sell her matches in the snow.
The two stories are brought together when a young woman selling special "full-spectrum holiday light bulbs" to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder shows up at the grumpy man's door. Though the man (who probably could use the bulbs) seems to enjoy the young woman's company, he sends her away. It's not until he reads "The Little Match Girl" that he is finally pulled out of his funk.
All of this unfolds through a tuneful pop/rock/jazz score that retains the vibrant style of its original performers: the celebrated band, GrooveLily. Through simple, unpretentious theater created through the voices and instruments of the performers, Striking 12 reminds us that "the world looks like new... on the first day of the year."
Striking 12 is a perfect alternative to standard holiday fare while still being family-friendly.
Sweet Potato Queens March 17 - 20, 2016
Sweet Potato Queens (SPQ) is loosely based on the life-story of #1 New York Times best-selling author and SPQ founder, Jill Conner Browne, and the organization's philosophy which was born out of her need for some excitement and a new direction.
The Sweet Potato Queens ® is a women's organization based in Jackson, Mississippi, that has 6,200 chapters in 37 countries. It involves a belief in a sisterhood that promotes self-esteem and positive thinking, appealing to mostly middle-aged middle-class women. Each local chapter assumes its own theme and designs its own costumes. Some chapters even participate in parades and fundraisers in their local community--the Saint Patrick's Day parade being the biggest event.
After its recent successful staged reading here at TUTS Underground, Sweet Potato Queens will be fully staged and produced for the world premiere next March.
The musical is being developed in partnership with Grammy® award winning singer/songwriter Melissa Manchester (music), Oscar® nominee, multiple #1 songwriter and Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee, Sharon Vaughn (lyrics) and Rupert Holmes (book). Holmes is the first person in theatrical history to solely win Tony® Awards for Best Book and Best Music and Lyrics, and Best Musical for The Mystery of Edwin Drood. For his play Say Goodnight, Gracie, he earned a 2004 National Broadway Theater Award and a Best Play Tony® nomination. He most recently was represented on Broadway by Curtains, winning several awards and 8 Tony® nominations.
Heathers The Musical April 28 - May 1, 2016
Based on the classic 1989 film, Westerberg High is ruled by a shoulder-padded, scrunchie-wearing junta: Heather, Heather and Heather... the hottest and cruelest girls in all of Ohio. But misfit Veronica Sawyer rejects their evil regime for a new boyfriend, the dark and sexy stranger J.D., who plans to put the Heathers in their place - six feet under. Relive your high school years, friends and foes, in this rollercoaster ride of a musical!
For more information, call 713-558-8887 or visit TUTSUnderground.com