Fort Worth's Circle Theatre focuses on 2024 season full of heart
For its 2024 season, the first from new artistic director Ashley H. White, Circle Theatre is promising new vision, new focus, and the same heart.
Its five shows are comprised of one Pulitzer Prize winner, one Pulitzer finalist, three regional premieres, and one world premiere by White herself.
"From Artemisia’s first stroke to Chad Deity’s final hit, Circle Theatre’s 2024 season packs punches, canvases emotions, straddles lifelines, and brings raw emotion to its audiences like never before," says White. "Circle Theatre 2024 reminds us to not only do whatever it takes to survive, but forces us to examine what makes us thrive."
It starts with Artemisia by Lauren Gunderson, a regional premiere directed by Taylor Staniforth.
Artemisia Gentileschi was the most celebrated female painter of the 17th century, yet her name was all but lost for centuries. Attacked at just 17, publicly shamed and tortured to prove her truth, Gentileschi nevertheless fought for her art and the freedom to make it on her own terms. She painted women from history, myth, and religion as protagonists of their stories or equal to men lacking the “classic feminine traits” of sensitivity, weakness, and timidity.
Gunderson’s Artemisia is a work of humor and warmth that celebrates the courage, artistry, and humanity of a woman who attacked the glass ceiling with every brush stroke. This play contains adult language and situations including mental, physical, and sexual abuse It runs February 1-24, 2024.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning Water by the Spoonful by Quiara Alegría Hudes is next, directed by Alexandra Hernandez.
We meet in Philadelphia, where Elliot has returned from Iraq and is struggling to find his place in the world. We meet in an online chat room, a digital sanctuary where recovering addicts keep each other alive, hour by hour, day by day. We meet in the moment and outside of the moment, as boundaries of family and community are stretched across continents and cyberspace. Birth families splinter and online families collide in this beautiful play that reminds us of the power of family, the need for connection, and the healing value of forgiveness.
The play contains adult language and situations, and it runs March 21-April 13, 2024.
A regional premiere musical is next: Hundred Days, with book by Sarah Gancher, music and lyrics by Abigail and Shaun Bengsons, directed by Evan Michael Woods, and with music direction by Ian Ferguson.
What would you do if you only had a hundred days to live? To love? Hundred Days is a whirlwind rock journey that pulls us into a world where raw emotions run free, where the thrill of the unknown collides with the poignant beauty of a love story, all attached to an intoxicating score. This folk-punk musical is a testament to embracing life’s unpredictability, to taking a daring leap, and to loving relentlessly.
Hundred Days contains adult language and situations. It runs June 1-17, 2024.
Imposter! Hypocrite! Tartuffe! By Ashley H. White (Based On the Play by that One Guy) is a world premiere also directed by White.
Wit, cunning, and hypocrisy are on full display in this punk-rock remake of Moliere’s classic farce. Get ready for a swift, unapologetic whirlwind that reintroduces the timeless tale of a man who deploys his charm and feigned piety in an attempt to disrupt a household, but his clever scheme is no match for the astute women of the family who decide to beat him at his own game.
With a compact cast, contemporary language, and nonstop bits, the musical delves deep into the realms of human desires and power dynamics, offering a fresh, biting take on the classic French comedy. It contains adult language and situations, and runs August 1-14, 2024.
The season finishes with The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, a Pulitzer Prize finalist directed by Alejandro Saucedo.
The show opens by introducing us to an unconventional wrestling duo. Macedonio Guerra (“Mace”), a Puerto Rican wrestling fanatic (and “jobber” in the ring), finds himself teamed up with Vigneshwar Paduar (“VP”), a Brooklynite of Indian descent. The two have found a unique bond and ambition to fight together, wrestling for fun and for funds. In an electrifying turn of events, they are picked up and cast as “terrorists” in the ring. The crowd revels in this narrative, forcing audience members to pick up the pieces.
Through Macedonio and Vigneshwar, Playwright Diaz pushes boundaries beyond the wrestling ring, addressing unspoken issues such as racism and politics — and their presence within mass media. The play contains adult language and situations, and runs October 3-26, 2024.
The High School Playwriting Project, funded by the Kiwanis Club of Fort Worth, culminates in the Finalist Reading Series on May 5, 2024. Teachers who are interested in bringing this program to their schools can find more information at circletheatre.com/hspp or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
To purchase tickets to the 2024 season, call 817-877-3040 or visit CircleTheatre.com.