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10 Must-See Plays: Alley Theatre Announces Season of Award Winners

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Alley Theatre

Alley Theatre (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

A season of award-winning playwrights and productions fills the schedule for Tony Award-winning Alley Theatre’s 67th season in Houston.

Artistic Director Gregory Boyd announced the upcoming season Saturday. Among the 10 plays slated include the Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy “You Can’t Take It With You,” Outer Critics Circle’s Outstanding New Play winner “Other Desert Cities,” 2011 Tony Award nominee for Best Play, “Good People,” a comedy by Alan Ayckbourn, plus an intriguing epic by Bertolt Brecht.

Also returning for the new season is Houston’s grandest holiday tradition, Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” plus edge-of-your-seat excitement in ExxonMobil Summer Chills production of Agatha Christie’s “The Hollow.”

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Season tickets are available for purchase at their website, alleytheatre.org, at the Alley Theatre Box Office, 615 Texas Avenue, or by phone at 713-220-5700. Individual tickets will be available for purchase on August 28. Group discounts are available for 10 or more people.

Alley Theatre will also host a number of popular audience programs again this season, including the GLBT pre-show “ActOUT” mixers, TalkBacks with cast and artistic staff, and $10 tickets with charitable contributions on select dates.

The theatre is equipped with audio captioning and descriptions for the hearing impaired so all Houstonians can enjoy the magic of theater.

ALLEY THEATRE’S 2013-2014 SEASON

Please note: play titles and dates are subject to change.

You Can’t Take It With You
By Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman
Hubbard Stage
September 20 to October 20, 2013

This Pulitzer Prize-winning classic by the team of Kaufman and Hart (The Man Who Came to Dinner, 2009) is perhaps the greatest American comedy ever written. Alice Sycamore must introduce her fiancé’s straitlaced family to her rather more eccentric family. When the wildly different families meet, the worlds of the wealthy, uptight Kirbys and the off-kilter Sycamores collide. At first the Sycamores seem mad, but it is not long before we realize that if they are mad, the rest of the world is madder. Kaufman and Hart’s hilarious You Can’t Take It With You features the Alley Resident Company of Actors. Recommended for general audiences.

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Venus in Fur
By David Ives
Neuhaus Stage
October 18 to November 17, 2013

Theatrical mastermind David Ives’ sexy, provocative comedy, Venus in Fur, is an electrifying game of cat and mouse between a young actress and a demanding playwright-director that blurs the lines between fantasy and reality, seduction and power, love and sex. “Role-playing takes on a whole new meaning” (New York Post) in this “don’t miss” play The Wall Street Journal says is “deadly serious, madly funny … you won’t see a funnier play this season, or a smarter one.” Recommended for mature audiences.

Other Desert Cities
By Jon Robin Baitz
Hubbard Stage
January 10 to February 2, 2014

A riveting new play by Pulitzer Prize nominee and creator of TV’s hit drama Brothers & Sisters, Jon Robin Baitz’s Other Desert Cities was named the Outstanding Play by the Outer Critics Circle and called “the best new play on Broadway” by The New York Times. After a six-year absence, Brooke Wyeth returns home to Palm Springs to celebrate Christmas with her parents, brother and aunt. The warm desert air turns chilly when news of her upcoming memoir threatens to revive the most painful chapter of the family’s history. The New York Daily News calls this dysfunctional family drama “a winner … funny and fierce, invigorating and intelligent.” Recommended for mature audiences.

Related Story: Houston Alley Theatre Auditioning For Barbara Jordan Play

Freud’s Last Session
By Mark St. Germain
Neuhaus Stage
January 24 to February 23, 2014

Freud’s Last Session centers on legendary psychoanalyst Dr. Sigmund Freud, who invites a little-known professor C.S. Lewis, (who later wrote the children’s classic The Chronicles of Narnia), to his home in London. Lewis, expecting to be called on the carpet for satirizing Freud in a recent book, soon realizes Freud has a much more significant agenda. On the day England enters World War II, Freud and Lewis clash on the existence of God, love, sex, and the meaning of life. “The humor is plentiful” (The New York Times) in this “thrilling” (Variety) tête-à-tête. Recommended for general audiences.

Never the Sinner: The Murder Trial of the Century
By John Logan
Hubbard Stage
February 21 to March 16, 2014

Playwright John Logan – who received three Academy Award nominations and wrote the recent James Bond film Skyfall, and won the Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critic Circle and Drama League awards for his play Red (Alley production, 2012) – returns to the Alley with the play that launched his career. Never the Sinner is about two boys who commit a murder – not for gain, or out of passion – just to do it, just to experience the thrill. Based on the infamous 1924 trial of Leopold and Loeb, Never the Sinner is their story, and the story of one of the most famous American lawyers and civil libertarians, Clarence Darrow. In the case of a lifetime, Darrow is called in to defend the monstrous and try to win freedom for the depraved. Recommended for mature audiences.

Communicating Doors
By Alan Ayckbourn
Hubbard Stage
April 4 to April 27, 2014

Award-winning playwright Alan Ayckbourn (House & Garden, 2002) returns to the Alley in this ingenious comic tour de force where Back to the Future meets Hitchcock. In 2024 Phoebe, a “private personal services consultant,” finds herself with an elderly client in a posh hotel room – she opens the wrong door and finds herself running for her life. Soon she is confronting her own past by way of a woman named Ruella, and the two join forces to prevent a murder, while Phoebe’s gradual friendship with that remarkable woman changes the future for both of them. Eleven plays penned by Alan Ayckbourn have been produced by the Alley, including the American premiere of Henceforward in 1987. Alan Ayckbourn has been inducted into the American Theatre’s Hall of Fame, received the 2010 Critics’ Circle Award for Services to the Arts, became the first British playwright to receive both Olivier and Tony Special Lifetime Achievement Awards and was knighted in 1997 for services to the theatre. Recommended for adults due to language.

Good People
By David Lindsay-Abaire
Hubbard Stage
May 16 to June 8, 2014

Nominated for a 2011 Tony Award for Best Play, Good People is a funny, tough and tender story about the insurmountable class divide. When Margie Walsh loses her job at a South Boston dollar store, she reaches out to old flame Mike, a neighborhood boy who escaped and became a successful doctor. Margie’s attempt to hit Mike up for a job takes on a surprising twist when she realizes the power a secret from Mike’s past holds. From Pulitzer Prize winner David Lindsay-Abaire, Good People looks at the extraordinary consequences of choosing to hold on to the past or leaving it behind. “Thoroughly absorbing … Good People is good stuff” (Variety) and one of the finest new American plays. Recommended for mature audiences.

The Good Woman of Setzuan
By Bertolt Brecht
Neuhaus Stage
May 30 to June 29, 2014

Can we practice goodness and create a world to sustain it? In Brecht’s comic, intriguing epic play, this question is raised by one of his most entertaining characters, Shen Teh, the good-hearted, penniless, prostitute who is forced to disguise herself as a savvy businessman named Shui Ta to master the ruthlessness needed to be a “good person” in a brutal world. Recommended for mature audiences.

ExxonMobil Summer Chills
Agatha Christie’s The Hollow
By Agatha Christie
Hubbard Stage
July 5 to August 4, 2013

A weekend gathering at The Hollow family estate of Lady Lucy and Sir Henry Angkatell explodes in the murder of one of their guests, physician John Cristow. When the good doctor is found shot, almost everyone is suspect with opportunity and motive including his dim but loyal wife, his current mistress, and his ex-mistress, who lives on a neighboring estate. Don’t miss this classic Christie whodunit filled with brilliantly eccentric characters. Recommended for general audiences.

Houston’s Holiday Favorite
A Christmas Carol – A Ghost Story of Christmas
By Charles Dickens
Adapted and Originally Directed by Michael Wilson
Directed by James Black
Hubbard Stage
November 15 – December 29, 2013

Houston’s seasonal favorite the Houston Press described as having “Spectacular London sets … the inimitable Dickens’ tale – spiced with the usual fog and an unusual twist on the ghosts past, present and future.” A Christmas Carol – A Ghost Story of Christmas follows Ebenezer Scrooge’s journey with the three ghostly spirits that visit him on Christmas Eve. A Christmas Carol instills a powerful message about redemption and the spirit of the holiday season. Recommended for general audiences.

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