New works from local writers — including a fully produced world-premiere musical — and unsung older plays highlight Taproot Theatre Company’s 2017 mainstage season.
New works from local writers and unsung older plays highlight Taproot Theatre Company’s 2017 mainstage season.
All five shows feature the theme of pursuit, said producing artistic director Scott Nolte, with characters striving for justice or vengeance or love — or, as in the season’s opener, maybe just a good time.
Taproot still has four shows in 2016, including “Joyful Noise” (through Oct. 22), a musical about Handel; two holiday-themed shows, “The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge” (Nov 18 -Dec 30) and “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” (Nov. 30-Dec. 28); and the politically thorny “The God Game,” (Oct. 13-29) apropos to “the strange political season we’re in right now,” Nolte said.
“Room Service” (Feb. 1 to March 4, 2017)
The season begins on a comedic note with Allen Boretz and John Murray’s farce, later adapted into a Marx Brothers-starring film. On the skids, a theater troupe tries to put up a play and get away with not paying their massive hotel debt. Naturally, shenanigans ensue.
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“[There’s] a lot of comic mayhem,” Nolte said.
“Evidence of Things Unseen” (March 29 to April 29)
The newest work from local actor-turned-playwright Katie Forgette will receive its world premiere next year, but it’s been on Taproot’s mind for a while. The theater had first talked to Forgette about “Evidence of Things Unseen” several years ago, but it wasn’t a fit until this upcoming season, Nolte said.
The intimate familial drama represents something of a change of pace for Forgette. Her Arthur Conan Doyle/Oscar Wilde mash-up “Sherlock Holmes and The Case of the Jersey Lily” has been staged all over the country, while her acerbic senior-center comedy “Assisted Living” went up at ACT in 2013.
“Evidence of Things Unseen” deals with a family’s disparate reactions to a tragic car accident. Will there be vengeance or will there be forgiveness?
“Busman’s Honeymoon” (May 17 to June 17)
Dorothy L. Sayers’ final novel featuring the detective Lord Peter Wimsey was first conceived as a stage play, and it has a tantalizing premise that lets audience members exercise their deductive abilities, too.
Wimsey is planning on enjoying his honeymoon in his new farmhouse after his marriage to Harriet Vane, but there’s a dead body in the basement, and the murder seems to have occurred with the house locked and no one else inside.
“All the clues [to] the murder are onstage,” Nolte said. “Dorothy wanted to write a mystery that really anybody could solve.”
“Persuasion” (July 12 to Aug. 19)
“Persuasion” is a first for Taproot: a fully produced world-premiere musical — and it’s another product of local talent.
Harold Taw and Chris Jeffries’ musical, an adaptation of Jane Austen’s final novel, has received readings as part of the 5th Avenue Theatre’s New Works Program and the Texas Musical Theatre Workshop at The University of Texas at Austin.
“Persuasion” examines the possibility of second chances, as a woman confronts her broken engagement from nearly a decade prior.
“Relativity” (Sept. 20 to Oct. 21)
Albert Einstein is a popular figure for theatrical re-imagination, whether it’s the erudite whimsy of Steve Martin’s “Picasso at the Lapin Agile” or the time-bending philosophizing of Terry Johnson’s “Insignificance,” later adapted to film by Nicolas Roeg.
Mark St. Germain’s “Relativity” picks up on a true element of Einstein’s life — a mysterious daughter born in 1902 and unheard of after — and spins a bit of historical fiction on the matter involving a journalist on the hunt for answers.
“It becomes this debate on whether it’s possible to be a good person and a great person at the same time, because he was kind of a jerk to his family,” Nolte said.
Taproot is one of four theaters staging “Relativity” as part of the National New Play Network’s “rolling world premiere” program. It was originally scheduled for a 2016 slot, but got pushed back.
Information and tickets: 206-781-9707 or taproottheatre.org.