The Show Must Go On

Fort Worth's Circle Theatre loads 36th season with regional premieres

Fort Worth's Circle Theatre loads season with regional premieres

Tonya Pinkins and Diane Wiest in the Off-Broadway premiere of "Rasheeda Speaking"
Tonya Pinkins and Diane Wiest in the 2015 Off-Broadway premiere of Rasheeda Speaking. Photo courtesy of The New Group

For its 36th season, Circle Theatre is continuing its mission to produce contemporary plays by offering up five regional premieres. It's the first season since co-founder Rose Pearson passed away, and the first chosen by Bill Newberry and Tim Long.

Newberry co-founded Circle Theatre with Pearson in 1981 and now assumes her former role as executive director. Long, who previously held the title of associate producer, moves into the position of general manager/producer. Kyle Montgomery, who started as an intern in 2011, will take over as associate producer.

"In her work, Rose often used the theatrical mantra 'The show must go on,' and we intend to honor her memory by continuing Circle’s mission of producing innovative theater in an intimate setting," a press release from the company states.

Though all five plays are penned by males, there are three female directors on tap.

The season starts February 16 with Aaron Posner's adaptation of several Kurt Vonnegut stories. Who Am I This Time? (And Other Conundrums of Love) features seven versatile actors finding "hilarity and humanity" in the stories Long Walk to Forever, Who am I This Time?, and Go Back to Your Precious Wife and Son. The release promises "a smart, delightful comedy for the whole family" but cautions that the show includes adult language and subject matter. It will be directed by Steven Pounders and run through March 11.

Joel Drake Johnson's Rasheeda Speaking is a psychological thriller directed by Krista Scott. When one co-worker receives a promotion to monitor the other, it creates a battle of office politics, racism, and friendship, and "will have you on the edge of your seat until the very end." Unsurprisingly, this play also contains adult language and subject matter. It will run April 27-May 20.

After that is a work by Circle favorite Tom Dudzick: King O' the Moon, which revisits the Pazinski family. It's the second play in a trilogy inspired by the author’s childhood of growing up Catholic above his father’s bar in Buffalo, New York, and takes place 10 years after Over the Tavern (which Circle produced in 2005). Harry Parker returns to direct, as he has helmed all three of Dudzick's works at Circle. It's pointed out that this play, which runs June 15-July 15, does not require previous knowledge of the Pazinski family or the other two plays.

David Lindsay-Abaire is perhaps the most famous playwright on this list, having won the Pulitzer Prize for his drama Rabbit Hole. But Ripcord is a comedy, set in the Bristol Place Assisted Living Facility, where two residents are battling it out over what started as a harmless bet. Robin Armstrong directs, and the show runs August 17-September 16.

The season concludes with Application Pending, a look into "the cutthroat world of kindergarten admissions and what it ultimately means to be a good parent." Written by Greg Edwards and Andy Sandberg, the play follows a kindergarten assistant who is suddenly thrust into the head of admissions role at Edgely Prep, an elite Manhattan private school that is harder to get into than Harvard. Jennifer Engler directs, and the show runs October 19-November 18.