Season Announcement

The play's the thing for Fort Worth's Circle Theatre in 2020

The play's the thing for Fort Worth's Circle Theatre in 2020

1984 on Broadway
1984 played Broadway in 2017. Photo by Julieta Cervantes
Denzel Washington and Viola Davis in Fences
Denzel Washington and Viola Davis starred in a movie adaptation of Fences. Courtesy photo
One Man, Two Guvnors on Broadway
James Corden starred on Broadway and in London in the play One Man, Two Guvnors. Photo by Sara Krulwich
1984 on Broadway
Denzel Washington and Viola Davis in Fences
One Man, Two Guvnors on Broadway

The second season under artistic director Matthew Gray — and Circle Theatre's 39th in total — backs away from musicals but doesn't shy away from premieres and audience favorites.

A comedy, two regional premieres, a modern classic, and a political thriller make up the 2020 season, which begins in January.

"We are exhilarated for our 39th season," says Gray. "The season addresses our perceptions of reality. I've chosen plays that are funny, poignant, delightful, and powerful. They also ultimately ask what is the truth versus what is our version of the truth, and what do we do to reconcile them? My goal, as always, is to provide Circle audiences with productions that are entertaining, fearless, and original in their theatricality. I can't wait to see you at the theater."

Richard Bean's updating of A Servant of Two Masters, One Man, Two Guvnors, takes audiences to Britain in the swinging '60s. Francis Henshall finds himself in the employ of two men: gangsters Roscoe Crabbe and Stanley Stubbers — mortal enemies of one another. However, it turns out that "Roscoe" is already deceased, and Roscoe's twin sister, Rachel, has been posing as him. Fighting a mounting sense of confusion and distractions, Francis frantically tries to keep Roscoe and Stubbers apart. How long can he keep this charade up? Joel Ferrell directs, and it runs January 30-March 7, 2020.

Theatre Three recently produced Selina Fillinger's Armor Plays, and now Circle has the regional premiere of her 2019 work Something Clean. Wash the dishes. Mop the floors. Change the sheets. Change the past. Charlotte is a wife and mother who'll try anything to put her family back together. Fillinger's new drama captures a mother's guilt, grief, and the ways she grapples with the unthinkable — especially when it comes to her son. It runs April 23-May 16, 2020.

Kitchen Dog Theater is also onto Audrey Cefaly, participating early next year in the rolling premiere of her play Alabaster, while Circle has her new play with music. Cefaly wrote the book and lyrics to The Last Wide Open, with Matthew M. Nielson writing the music. Lina and Roberto have been working together for years but rarely talk. When a late-night thunderstorm finds them alone in the restaurant at closing time, their lives intersect in surprising and mystical ways. The Last Wide Open imagines how the universe conspires to bring us together. Directed by Sarah Gay, it runs June 18-July 11, 2020.

August Wilson's seminal work Fences follows Troy Maxson, a former star baseball player who was excluded as a black man from the major leagues during his prime. Troy's bitterness takes its toll on his relationships with his wife, who reevaluates their marriage when Troy comes home with a baby he fathered with another woman, and his son, who now wants his own chance to become a football star. This sensational drama was the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize and numerous New York Drama Critics and Tony awards. It runs August 13-September 12, 2020.

This is not the version of George Orwell's 1984 that recently ran on Broadway (and apparently made some audience members faint), but Michael Gene Sullivan's adaptation is still based on the iconic classic dystopian novel. It's the story of Winston Smith, who lives in the state of Oceania — a nation where fervent, unquestioning patriotic zeal is expected of every citizen, having rebellious thoughts is a crime, and where the love for anything but The State is treason. Gray directs, and it runs October 22-November 21, 2020.

In addition to supporting emerging playwrights, Circle has created an annual High School Playwriting Project. Area students will submit their 10-minute plays for a chance to receive prizes, scholarships, and a public reading on Circle's stage. The free reading will take place Sunday, May 5, at 3 pm.

Call 817-877-3040 for further information and reservations, or visit CircleTheatre.com to buy tickets online.