The 2017-2018 Theatre Season
By Stephen Radosh
By Stephen Radosh
Now that Labor Day has come and gone, it signals that the new theatre season is about to begin. And here in the Coachella Valley we are lucky to not only have access to the L.A. and San Diego stages but to an increasingly professional theatre season right here in the Valley. So let’s take a look at what is on the theatrical horizon.
DEZART Peforms is back with an intriguing mix of plays for its 10th Anniversary Season, starting with THE LEGEND OF GEORGIA MCBRIDE (November 3 - November 12). It’s a comedy about a young father-to-be, who is barely making ends meet when he is fired from his gig as an Elvis impersonator in a run-down, small-town Florida bar. When the bar owner brings in a B-level drag show to replace his act, Casey finds that he has a whole lot to learn about show business...and himself.
Next up is the Pulitzer Prize winning RABBIT HOLE (Jan 12-Jan 21). Becca and Howie Corbett have everything a family could want, until a life-shattering accident turns their world upside down and leaves the couple drifting perilously apart. RABBIT HOLE charts their bittersweet search for comfort in the darkest of places and for a path that will lead them back into the light of day.
Rounding out the season is MOTHERHOOD OUT LOUD (March 30, 2018 – April 8, 2018). When entrusting the subject of motherhood to such a dazzling collection of celebrated American writers, what results is a joyous, moving, hilarious, and altogether thrilling theatrical event. Utterly unpredictable, MOTHERHOOD OUT LOUD shatters traditional notions about parenthood, unveils its inherent comedy and celebrates the deeply personal truths that span and unite generations
THE DESERT ROSE PLAYHOUSE, the only theatre in the Valley presenting plays by and about the LGBT community, has an exciting season ahead starting with the 2013 Tony winner for Best Play, VANYA & SONIA & MASHA & SPIKE by Christopher Durang, running from Sept. 22 – Oct. 15. With wit and absurdity it blends Chekhov’s famous world-weariness with the modern-day toils and troubles of celebrity, social networking, and age into a laugh-out-loud comedy that will tickle your funny bone and stimulate your mind.
Next up is TIMES SQUARE ANGEL by Charles Busch running from Nov. 17 – Dec. 17. It’s a salute to holiday extravaganzas everywhere. The show combines elements of A Christmas Carol and It’s a Wonderful Life with Busch’s favorite 1940’s movies and includes a variety of Yuletide musical numbers. Season’s Greetings from the wildly imaginative mind that created Vampire Lesbians of Sodom and The Divine Sister.
Starting off 2018 is the magnificent play FIFTH OF JULY by Pulitzer Prize winning Lanford Wilson running from January 12 – February 4, 2018. It’s the story of gay veteran Ken Talley who lost his legs in Viet Nam. Now, Ken and his lover Jed live on the Talley Family Farm in Lebanon, MO. They are visited by friends from Ken’s college years and a couple of relatives with their own agendas. The talk is sharp, funny and extremely revealing of lost hopes and dreams which must be pushed aside to achieve the good that life can offer.
This is followed by SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER (March 9 – April 1, 2018) Tennessee Williams’ classic horror story of Sebastian Venable’s life and death and his mother Violet’s diabolical plan to stifle the truth about Sebastian by cutting the memories out of her niece Catherine’s brain.
Rounding out the season is the World Premiere of the award-winning play DARE by Allan Baker playing from April 20 – May 13, 2018. It’s a funny and intimate story of an elderly gay man whose desire to die on his own terms sparks an impassioned challenge from his younger gay doctor. The conversation that follows is an intense exploration of love, friendship, AIDS and activism – and a celebration of the rule-breakers who came before us, paving the way for same-sex marriage legislation in 2015.
It’s an exciting season for sure. For tickets and more information, visit them at DesertRosePlayhouse.org or our EVENT PAGE
The COACHELLA VALLEY REPERTORY Theatre has once again mounted a theme linked season. This time around it’s ROMANCE, Real or Imagined.
First up is the provocative VENUS IN FUR by David Ives, playing from October 25-November 19, 2017. It tells of a director who is desperate to find an actress to play the lead in the classic sadomasochistic tale Venus in Fur. Into the audition walks a vulgar and equally desperate actress with a strange command of the material. As they work through the script, they blur the line between play and reality, entering into an increasingly serious game of submission and domination that only one of them can win. A mysterious, funny, erotic drama that represents yet another departure for the multifaceted David Ives.
Next is the musical ROMANCE/ROMANCE running from January 17-February 11, 2018. This sparkling and intelligent musical is actually two one act musicals which take varied looks at romance seekers. The first is a delightful romp through the sexual ennui of turn of the century Vienna based on Schnitzler’s tale The Little Comedy. Act 2 is a modern look at affection and disaffection in a two couple summer house in the Hamptons based on the Jules Renard play Summer Share.
This is followed by the outrageously funny Tony Award winning play THE GOAT, OR WHO IS SYLVIA? by Edward Albee, running from March 7-April 1, 2018.
It’s the story of Martin—a hugely successful architect who has just turned fifty—who leads an ostensibly ideal life with his loving wife and gay teenage son. But when he confides to his best friend that he is also in love with a goat (named Sylvia), he sets in motion events that will destroy his family and leave his life in tatters.
Closing out the season is 2 ACROSS by Jerry Mayer playing from April 25 – May 20, 2018. Two strangers board a San Francisco BART train at 4:30 a.m. They’re alone in the car, each is married, and both are doing the New York Times crossword. She’s an organized, sensible psychologist. He’s a free-spirited, unemployed ad exec. She is a crossword pro, he always quits. When he tosses his puzzle away, she snaps, “Crosswords are a metaphor for life, those who finish, succeed, those who don’t, fail.” This starts an eighty-minute ride described by critics as “Hilarious,” “Witty,” “Romantic,” “Poignant,” and “Wonderfully entertaining.” Two opposites in an enclosed space, attacking each other’s values but also being swayed and intrigued by them. As the train ride ends, it’s obvious each of them has been changed for the better.
Once again, the McCallum Theatre presents several tours of Broadway musicals as well as concerts of particular interest to theatre lovers. This season’s offerings are a mix of new musicals and older classics.
The first is a production of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s CINDERELLA, playing from Nov 24 - Nov 28, 2017. Originally written for television, the script and score have been adapted for this lavish stage version of the classic fairy tale.
Next up is MOTOWN THE MUSICAL playing Jan 16 - Jan 21, 2018. This hit Broadway musical tells the story of the rise of Motown from obscurity to become the hit maker of America.
Immediately following MOTOWN comes the classic long-running musical A CHORUS LINE which runs from Jan 26 - Jan 28, 2018. It’s a celebration and true-to-life depiction of dancers and their intense love and dedication to their art.
From Feb. 16- Feb. 18, 2018 the McCallum presents DIRTY DANCING, the stage adaptation of the film favorite. The expanded score includes the hit song, “THE TIME OF MY LIFE.”
Rounding out the McCallum’s theatre season is the Roundabout Theatre Company's Tony Award-winning production of Kander and Ebb’s classic musical CABARET, directed by Sam Mendes and is playing from March 28 – April 1, 2018.
Turning to Los Angeles’ ever growing theatre scene there are some shows which should be of interest to almost every theatre lover.
At the beautiful Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, the blockbuster musical HAMILTON has settled in for an extended stay now through Dec. 30, 2017. This exciting and very modern production is well worth the trip (the drive is just under 2 hours – make a day of it!) and actually lives up to the hype surrounding the show.
It’s followed by the long running Broadway hit DISNEY’S ALADDIN playing Jan. 10 – Mar. 31 2018. Need I say more?
Then it’s a show that many in America never thought they would see. From April 3 –April 22, 2018 it’s LOVE NEVER DIES, the sequel to PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. After a lackluster London premier, the show was retooled and opened in Australia to great reviews. Presumably, it is this version that will be playing at the Pantages home.
STOMP returns for a brief visit from April 24 – April 29, 2018. Who knew there were that many ways to bang out a beat?
SCHOOL OF ROCK, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s latest hit musical based on the popular film bearing the same name will be playing from May 3 – May 27, 2018.
Just 2 days later, from May 29 – June 17, 2018 is the streamlined and rethought out production of THE COLOR PURPLE, winner of the 2016 Tony for Best Revival.
Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s CINDERELLA makes a brief stop from June 19 – June 24, 2018 in case you missed it at the McCallum earlier in the season!
From July 6 –July 29, 2018 it’s ON YOUR FEET!, the musical biography of Emilio & Gloria Estefan featuring many of their hit songs.
Then place your ticket orders for WAITRESS running from August 2 – Aug 26, 2018. You’ll never look at pies the same way again!!!
Heading downtown, the Ahmanson Theatre has some treats in store for theatre lovers as well.
First up is the always creative Matthew Bourne’s adaptation of THE RED SHOES, playing now-October 1, 2017.
Then it’s Steve Martin & Edie Brickell’s sweeping tale of love and redemption set in the South of the 1920s and '40s, BRIGHT STAR playing from Oct. 11 – Nov. 19, 2017.
Next on tap is the hilarious SOMETHING ROTTEN! running from Nov. 21 – Dec. 31, 2017. It’s about 2 brothers who, in the 1590’s, set about writing the first musical comedy.
A revival of the long running Broadway smash CRAZY FOR YOU is up next, running from Feb.7 – Mar. 18, 2018. With a glorious score by George and Ira Gershwin and a clever book by Ken Ludwig, it is a joyous 2 hours of musical pleasure.
Then it’s the world premiere of David Henry Hwang’s (M. Butterfly) SOFT POWER from May 3- June 10, 2018. It’s described as “hilariously provocative, what begins as a contemporary play bursts into a musical set in the future.”
Closing out the season is the Tony Award winning THE HUMANS from June 19- July 29, 2018. It is a “hopeful, and heartbreaking play that takes place over the course of a family dinner on Thanksgiving.
These are just a sampling of some of the exciting new productions coming our way during the 2017-2018 season. So whether it’s a day’s outing to Los Angeles or just down the block, give yourself a treat and go to the theatre. You will be better for it!