The mainstage season opens with Stuart Ross’ Forever Plaid (September 7-16). When four young singers are killed in a car crash, they posthumously take the stage for one final gig in this goofy 1950s nostalgia trip, including well-known four-part harmony songs, like “Crazy ‘bout You Baby,” “Sixteen Tons,” and “Three Coins in the Fountain.” This musical is appropriate for all ages.
God of Carnage will also be presented this season (October 19-28). In this 2009 Tony-award winner by Yazmina Reza, a playground altercation among eleven-year-old boys brings together two sets of Brooklyn parents for a meeting to resolve the matter. At first, diplomatic niceties are observed. As the meeting progresses, and the rum flows, tensions emerge and the gloves come off, leaving the couples with more than just their liberal principles in tatters. This dark comedy is intended for adults.
For the second consecutive year, Theatre Tuscaloosa is partnering with the Alabama Conference of Theatre to host the Alabama Community Theatre Festival (November 2-4). Up to eight community theatres throughout Alabama will present sixty-minute performances in the Bean-Brown Theatre. Tickets to individual performances and/or the entire festival will be available to the general public.
The second musical of the season is Regina Taylor’s Crowns (February 15-24). This gospel musical celebrates the southern black experience. When a young black woman travels to South Carolina to stay with her aunt after her brother is killed in Brooklyn, she discovers the beauty, ceremony, and symbolism of her triumphant, hat-wearing southern sisters. In exquisite variety, the characters use the hats to tell tales concerning everything from the etiquette of hats to their historical and contemporary significance. This show is appropriate for all ages.
In May, audiences are invited to Inherit the Wind (May 17-26) by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee. This play has its genesis in the events of the famous Scopes Monkey Trial, the heart of which is the debate over evolution vs. creationism/science vs. faith. It is considered one of the most outstanding dramas of our time. According to the New York Times, “The portrait it draws of an explosive episode in American culture remains as fresh as it ever was.” All ages are welcome.
The mainstage season will conclude with one of the world’s most popular musicals, Grease (July 12-21) by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey. Rydell High’s senior class of 1959 has one year left to make high school memories. Head “greaser” Danny Zuko and the new “good girl” Sandy try to relive the high romance of their “Summer Nights” as the rest of the gang sings and dances its way through such songs as “Greased Lightnin’,” “It’s Raining on Prom Night,” and “Hopelessly Devoted.” Grease became the soundtrack of a generation. This show is appropriate for ages thirteen and up.
Theatre Tuscaloosa is offering several special events during the 2018-2019 season that may be added to season ticket orders. The add-on events include the SecondStage season, A Christmas Carol, and the Shelton State student production.
The SecondStage season includes two productions. Love, Loss and What I Wore (October 2-6) by Nora and Delia Ephron can be viewed at Green Bar (2209 4th Street). A tapestry of monologues weaves together women’s clothing and the memories each item evokes into a touching performance. The SecondStage season concludes with A Festival of One-Acts (March 27-31), which will feature ten-minute plays inspired by Alabama’s bicentennial and written by local playwrights. These performances will be held at the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center (620 Greensboro Ave.).
Back by popular demand, Theatre Tuscaloosa is reviving Romulus Linney’s stage adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (December 10-16). In this traditional tale, four mysterious spirits visit Ebenezer Scrooge to help him find the true meaning of Christmas. It is a show for both young and old and a great way to get the whole family into the holiday spirit.
The Shelton State Community College (SSCC) Theatre Department will present Almost, Maine (April 11-14), which features nine vignettes about couples in the imaginary town of Almost, Maine. This show examines the joy and pain of falling into and out of love. Audiences will be supporting the talent of the future when they attend this student production.