The Studio Theatre offers six musicals in 2015-2016; one show still remains in current season

studioThe Studio Theatre has announced the shows for their second season.

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.)

9 TO 5 closes out 59th season of CTLR

9to5musicalWhat better way to end your 59th season than with a show with a 5 and a 9?  The Community Theatre of Little Rock presents the musical 9 to 5 through June 21st at The Studio Theatre (320 West 7th Street).

Performances are at 7:30pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings and at 2pm on Sunday afternoons.

9 to 5 is written by Patricia Resnick, who co-wrote the movie screenplay, with songs by Dolly Parton.  Parton received a Tony nomination for her score.

Set in the late 1970s this hilarious story of friendship and revenge in the Rolodex era is outrageous, thought-provoking, and even a little romantic.  Pushed to the boiling point, three female co-workers concoct a plan to get even with their boss. In a hilarious turn of events, Violet, Judy and Doralee live out their wildest fantasy – giving their boss the boot! While Hart remains “otherwise engaged,” the women give their workplace a dream makeover, taking control of the company that had always kept them down.

The cast is led by Bridget Davis, Becky McAlister and Karena White as the main trio of women working hard to get ahead in the workplace. They are joined by Duane Jackson as the sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical, bigot of a boss from Hell and Cheryl Troillett as his lackey.  Others in the cast include Chuck Massey, Chase Cundell, Jeremiah Herman, Leon Baggett, Rachel Garrett Bland, Mark Burbank, Jerry Davidson, Katy Fraley, Amanda Garrison Gilmore, Shann Nobels, Tanner Oglesby, Michael Pete, Jennifer Jackson Restum, Hannah M. Sawyer, Danny Troillett, Bruce Ward, Olivia Witcher and Jerry Woods.

The production is directed by Justin Pike with Jo Murry serving as music director.

Little Shop of Horrors continues at The Studio Theatre

LSOHTSTThe second production of The Studio Theatre is the award winning 1983 musical Little Shop of Horrors.  Featuring book and lyrics by Oscar winner Howard Ashman and music by Oscar winner Alan Menken it is based on an early film from Roger Corman.

The cast includes Sharayah Wallace, Jess Carson, Denai Brown, Jeremiah James Herman, Gabi Baltzley, Jeremy Hall, David Weatherly, Duane Jackson and Mark Burbank.

The show is directed by Michael Henderson with music direction by Matthew David Mentgen.  Brandon Nichols is the choreographer.

The show opened on Thursday, September 11.  It continues tonight, September 18-20 and September 25-27 at 7:30pm.  On September 21, there is a special 5pm performance.

Tickets are $20.

YOU’RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN inaugurates new Studio Theatre in downtown LR

TST YAGMCBLittle Rock’s newest downtown performance space opens tonight.  The premier production of The Studio Theatre is You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown based on the Comic Strip “Peanuts” by Charles M. Schulz with book, music and lyrics by Clark M. Gesner.  Additional songs were written by Andrew Lippa.

The show is directed by Jeremy Hall and musical directed by Bob Bidewell.  Drew Samuelson is the technical director.

The cast for the show is Mark Burbank-Charlie Brown, Rachel Garrett Bland – Lucy, Sam Barker-Linus, Gabi Baltzley-Sally, Brandon Nichols-Snoopy and Kent Wulf-Schroeder.

The show runs June 12-14, 19-21, and 26-28 at 7:30pm.  There is a special performance on Sunday, June 22 at 5:00pm.

For more information, visit www.thestudiotheatre.org

THE OUTSIDERS coming soon to Weekend Theater

The Weekend Theater’s next production opens this Friday.  It is the stage adaptation of S. E. Hinton’s novel The Outsiders.

For those unfamiliar with the novel or the 1980s movie, The Outsiders tells the story of two groups of teenagers whose bitter rivalry stems from socioeconomic differences. However as the plot unfolds there are some characters who realize these differences in social class do not necessarily make natural enemies of the two groups.

Directed by Ryan Whitfield the cast includes Damon McKinnis, Harley Burks, Colin Galloway, William Hughes, Will Nicholson, Blaise Galloway, Madison Hannahs, Wendy Darr, August Fitzgerald, Morgan Henard, Henry Ledbetter, Mark Burbank, Gillian Anderson, Hillary Bell, David Monteith, Don Bright and Mary Ann Hansen.

The play runs on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30pm through December 15.