Up first, however, is Dogfight which will close out the first season. Adapted from the 1991 movie of the same name, Dogfight is a story of compassion, heartbreak and redemption. Winner of the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Musical in 2013, Dogfight runs August 20- August 23 at The Studio Theatre located at 320 West 7th Street in downtown.
The 2015-2016 season includes six musicals. Four of them will be making their Little Rock premieres. One of the other musicals will have its first non-touring production in Little Rock.
The new season kicks off on October 22 with a show filled with scary tales about the evils of doing bad. It is the satire Reefer Madness based on the non-satirical but unintentionally hilarious 1936 movie of the same name.
This musical, written by Kevin Murphy and Dan Studney, premiered in Los Angeles in 1998 and Off Broadway in 2001. The Studio Theatre production will be directed by Ryan Whitfield. The show will run from October 22 until October 31.
The Studio Theatre had a hit in 2015 with Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years. In January 2016, they will present his first musical Songs for a New World. This song cycle premiered Off Broadway in 1995 and has become a popular show throughout the US. The musical style of the score varies broadly. The thing that unites the songs is the concept of making a choice or taking a stand.
The production will be directed by Monica Clark Robinson. Songs for a New World will run January 21 to 24.
Once upon a time, Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine wrote a musical based on the Grimm Brothers’ folk tales. Into the Woods will be the third show next season. Opening on Broadway in 1987, it may have lost the Tony for Best Musical to The Phantom of the Opera, but it has not suffered as a popular musical.
This production of Into the Woods will run from March 10 to 26. It will be directed by Rafael Castanera, who beautifully directed Nine earlier this year.
Based on the Alice Walker novel and the Steven Spielberg movie, The Color Purple will be the fourth musical of the season. Running from May 12 to 22, it will be directed by Crystal Mercer.
After it premiered in Atlanta in 2004, it made it to Broadway the following year. The show has a book by Pulitzer winner Marsha Norman. The songs are by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray. The show was nominated for 11 Tonys and won one.
The 1980s hair bands will be honored by the 5th show as Rock of Ages takes the stage. Directed by Justin A. Pike, it will run from July 14 to 24. With a book by Chris D’Arienzo, the musical features songs from Styx, Journey, Bon Jovi, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister, Steve Perry, Poison and Europe.
Rock of Ages first played Off Broadway before transferring to Broadway. It closed in January 2015 after playing more than 2300 performances on Broadway.
The final musical of the 2015-2016 season is James and the Giant Peach. Based on the Roald Dahl book, this musical features a score by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. The pair were nominated for a Tony for their score of the musical version of A Christmas Story.
This show will run from August 11 to 21. It will be directed by Mark Burbank. He is also directing Dogfight which features a score by Pasek and Paul.
(This is not connected to the production offered by the Arkansas Arts Center a few seasons back.)