World premieres join old favorites for Fort Worth theater's 2019 season
A mix of old and new comprises Amphibian Stage Productions' 20th season, with world premieres joining audience favorites and the theater's stand-up comedy series.
"In planning for our 20th season, I found myself drawn to plays of hope, about the healing power of dreams, love, generosity, and creativity," says artistic director Kathleen Culebro. "The plays I have selected, while wildly different from one another, are all inhabited by characters who are taking action to make the world a better place — whether by preparing a sumptuous meal or writing a musical, by protecting their people through epic battles, or through a blood test. The beauty of difficult times is that we find out what people are made of, and these plays are filled with those who are heroic risk takers, each in their own way."
First up is Steven Dietz's Lonely Planet, directed by William "Bill" Earl Ray. Set in a small map store on the oldest street in an American city, the play is an intimate portrait of two friends navigating loss and an uncertain world. Amphibian first presented the play in 2008 as a staged reading during a city-wide arts festival organized by the Fort Worth Opera to discuss the topic of AIDS. It runs February 1-24, 2019.
Hans and Sophie, created by Sean Hudock, Illana Stein, and Deborah Yarchun, is an immersive two-character portrait of resistance and conviction in the darkest of times. Inspired by the personal letters, coded correspondences, and diaries of Sophie and Hans Scholl, this is the true story of two heroic young students who gave their lives to lead an underground movement against the Nazi regime. Stein directs, and it runs March 30-31, 2019.
Next is Babette's Feast by Rose Courtney, adapted from Isak Dinesen and directed by Amphibian's new managing director, Jay Duffer. Based on the short story made famous by the 1987 Academy Award-winning film, this new stage adaptation tells the story of Babette, a French refugee, who finds asylum in a pious Norwegian village. With boundless generosity, she throws a lavish feast and becomes an agent of transformative grace, healing a fractured community. It runs May 3-26, 2019.
Gutenberg! The Musical! is the summertime offering, back at Amphibian for the third time. Anthony King and Scott Brown's two-man musical spoof about a pair of aspiring playwrights who perform a backers' audition for their new project: a big, splashy musical about printing press inventor Johann Gutenberg. David A. Miller directs, and it runs July 12-August 18, 2019.
Stephan Wolfert samples from William Shakespeare for Margaret, The She-Wolf of France, and will work with local veterans to create a world premiere based on this powerful immigrant Queen of England. Despite being taken prisoner of war, then ransomed off by her father to the feckless king of a foreign country, Margaret of Anjou was no one's pawn, and Shakespeare was so entranced with her ferocity that he included her in four of his plays. Wolfert directs with Dawn Stern, and it runs October 18-November 10.
The other development workshop and staged reading is The Way North by Tira Palmquist, running December 7-8, 2019. Directed by Donya Washington, it's set on a cold winter night when a traveler stumbles onto Freddy Hansen's property. Agnes Kuur, a Sudanese refugee, is trying to get across the border and is dismayed that she's only gotten as far as this Northern Minnesota cabin. Now Freddy — a former sheriff — is forced to choose between what's lawful and what's right to find the way north again.
Season extras are still in the works and will be announced shortly.
The stand-up comedy residencies include Liza Treyger (March 12-16, 2019), Rhea Butcher (March 19-23, 2019), and Sam Jay (June 11-15, 2019).
The company also will continue its collaboration with The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth to present National Theatre Live broadcasts in The Modern's auditorium.
Subscriptions and memberships are available online at www.amphibianstage.com or by calling 817-923-3012. All levels come with special perks, including Amphibian's famous giant chocolate chip cookies (Amphibian's secret recipe baked by Stir Crazy Baked Goods).