Circle Theatre is shaking things up this year, not only with leadership (they hired an artistic director for the first time) but with how it approaches its season.
Typically, the theater begins selling season tickets at a discounted rate during the summer, long before the plays are announced later that year. This year, however, artistic director Matthew Gray and executive director Tim Long couldn't wait to announce the theater's 38th season.
This also means that current season subscribers can renew now for a discounted rate — essentially paying for only three productions but seeing five — and they will know what's on the docket for 2019. Non-subscribers can take advantage of that discounted pricing from August 16-September 15.
So what's the season? A modern classic, a regional premiere, a musical thriller, and two world premieres from local playwrights.
"The season deals with time, the fragility of life, and a reminder to us all about what it means to be a member of the human race," says Gray. "I've chosen five plays that each will entertain, challenge, and address the erosion of empathy in their own compelling, funny, and potent ways. My goal is to provide Circle audiences with productions that are entertaining, fearless, and original in their theatricality."
Kicking it all off is Our Town, Thornton Wilder's iconic drama about family, love, loss, and the importance of living in the moment. Gray will direct, and it runs January 31-March 9, 2019.
The regional premiere of Office Hour by Julia Cho is next, bringing a penetrating drama that could easily leap from today's headlines. A troubled student hides behind dark glasses and writes disturbing and provoking literature. Is he venting or really troubled? His professor is the only one willing to get close enough to understand. It runs April 18-May 11, 2019.
In a rare move for Circle, the next show is a musical. Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's Sweeney Todd is a heart-pounding thriller set on the seedy side streets of 19th century London. Filled with diabolical humor and extraordinary music, this eight-time Tony Award-winning musical tells the tale of an exiled barber's quest to avenge the wrongs done to him and his family by a lecherous judge. Joel Ferrell directs, and it runs June 6-July 13, 2019.
Local playwright Matt Lyle's new work, A 3D Adventure, follows a small theater troupe's madcap production that goes inexplicably, spectacularly off the rails. The actors find themselves cast into a strange, surreal world resembling some of the world's most beloved films, offering raucous adventure through time and space and lots of extremely quotable lines. Gray directs, and it runs August 15-September 14, 2019.
Hot on its heels is another new work by another local playwright. What We Were by Blake Hackler introduces three sisters in an East Texas town that have a dark family secret. Weaving scenes from the past and present, this story of escaping, coping, and caring asks "can one ever truly go home again?" Christie Vela directs, and it runs September 26-October 19, 2019.
Tickets can be purchased by calling 817-877-3040 or visiting the Circle Theatre website.