ALLEY THEATRE

www.alleytheatre.org

Rob Melrose, Artistic Director

Dean R. Gladden, Managing Director
Box Office Phone 713-220-5700

Presents

THE 2021 - 2022 SEASON

 


 

 

2021-2022 SEASON SCHEDULE

 

ALLEY'S VARIETY OF MASKS

By Theresa Pisula

theresa@houstontheatre.com

September 30, 2021

 

The Alley Theatre's return to live performances includes three world premiere plays, a world-premiere musical and a Pulitzer Prize-winning play.  This year, the Alley Theatre will be telling a variety of stories that are not only entertaining, but also thought-provoking.  It has been said that Variety is the spice of life.  Similarly, included in this page are the variety of masks that Artists of the Alley Theatre have put on in the last couple of decades.  Alley theatre artists have often utilized wearing various masks and changing their costumes to fit the character they are portraying. 

As the general public steers its way to deal with the onset of the Corona virus pandemic, we are all familiar with the fact that we all have to wear masks for protection.  I, for one, wear a variety of masks against the Covid 19 virus, each a different color to match my wardrobe.

 

PULITZER PRIZE WINNER 

SWEAT

BY LYNN NOTTAGE  


DIRECTED BY ROB MELROSE  

Associate Directed by Eileen J. Morris

Produced in collaboration with the Ensemble Theatre

The Alley's Hubbard Theatre

October 1 - 24, 2021

Filled with humor and tremendous heart, SWEAT tells the story of three women who have spent their lives sharing drinks, secrets, and laughs while working together on the factory floor.  But when layoffs and picket lines begin to chip away at their trust, they find themselves pitted against each other in a heart-wrenching fight to stay afloat.


James Black's variety of masks

Charles Dickens, the prominent author of the annual Alley Theatre play, A Christmas Carol, wrote a variety of colorful characters in his works.  Especially in one of his literary masterpieces The Personal History of David Copperfield, a novel of which is also considered autobiographical.  Most recently, specifically 2019, it has been turned into a movie written and directed by Armando Iannucci.  In this page, I decided to include quotes from the 2019 comedy-drama film because I find it the most amusing movie, I have seen this year.  Laughter, as they say, is the best medicine.  If you’ve already seen the film, then you know what I’m talking about.  If you have yet to see the movie, I have to tell you, that Ben Wishaw as the Charles Dickens villainous character Uriah Heep is one of the most hilarious inventions ever created.  If you want to laugh, I urge you to see this delightful movie.

“It was a joke.  I’m sorry, it was a joke.  I’ve been attempting to learn gentleman’s humor from a book.” – Uriah Heep in the 2019 movie The Personal History of David Copperfield.

 

 

GRIPPING FAMILY DRAMA

72 MILES TO GO… 

BY HILARY BETTIS 

Directed by Jose Zayas

The Alley's Neuhaus Theatre

October 15 - November 14, 2021

72 miles.  It's the distance between Tucson, Arizona and Nogales, Mexico - and the distance between a recently deported mother and her American-born husband and children.  72 Miles to Go ..... follows one family over a decade as they grow up, fall in love, fight in wars, and fight for each other.  This play by Hilary Bettis (The Americans), returns to the Alley following development in the 2019 Alley All New Festival and its world premiere off-Broadway.


Chris Hutchison's variety of masks (with Elizabeth Bunch)

 


James Black's variety of masks


Paul Hope's variety of masks (with Chris Hutchison)


Shawn Hamilton as Reverend Martin Luther King and Paul Hope as Juddge Howard Smith

“Master Copperfield, no sooner are we reunited, then we must part again.  Like the Bible story.  I’m sure there must be a bible story about that.”  -- Mrs. Micawbre in the 2019 movie The Personal History of David Copperfield.

 

 

Quite true, there seem to be a bible story about everything.  For instance, the Bible contains a variety of patron saints for every calamity, cause or creed.  As they say, these saints in heaven will perform miracles for you, if you pray for the specific patron saint assigned to that particular department.  For instance, in the Catholic faith, if a friend or a relative has been diagnosed with breast cancer, one prays to Saint Agatha, the patron saint of this particular disease.  The patron saint for general cancer patients is Saint Peregrine.  Another example, Saint Anthony de Padua is the patron saint of lost things.  Which means, if you lost a wedding ring, and couldn’t find it anywhere around the house, you can pray to Saint Anthony and he will help you find it. 

Saint Thomas of Aquinas is the patron saint for Education.  That is probably why there are a number of universities named after Saint Thomas.  Or if one lives in a country with a Spanish influence, such as the Philippines, there are establishments named Universidad de Santo Tomas.  Saint Christopher is a patron saint for traveling.  And yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.  Saint Nicklaus is the patron saint for gift-giving.  Saint Maximilian Kolbe is the patron saint for prisoners, having died in prison himself.  He is also the patron saint for recovering drug addicts, journalists, political prisoners and amateur radio operators.

 

CHARLES DICKENS’

A CHRISTMAS CAROL

ADAPTED BY DORIS BAIZLEY 

Directed by Brandon Weinbrenner

The Alley's Hubbard Theatre

November 19 - December 29, 2021 

A highly inventive adaptation of the Dickens' classic pared down to its essential elements.  A resident company of actors assemble to perform a new production of the heartwarming Christmas story.  When two of the troupe's actors can't arrive in time for the performance, others step in to create a magical world of holiday make-believe.  It will be a 'Christmas Carol' like no other.

 

“Might I be so bold, Master Copperfield, as to ask you to come to tea with me and mother?  I understand Master Copperfield, I understand.  It’s not my place to invite the likes of you to tea.” – Uriah Heep in the 2019 movie The Personal History of David Copperfield.

 


Alley Theatre's variety of masks:  James Black, Elizabeth Bunch and Melissa Pritchett


Melissa Pritchett's variety of masks

 

WORLD PREMIERE COMEDY

HIGH SCHOOL PLAY: A NOSTALGIA FEST

BY VICHET CHUM  

Directed by Tiffany Nichole Greene

The Alley's Hubbard Theatre

January 21 - February 13, 2022 

It's senior year in Carrollton, Texas and Riverside High School's competitive theatre troupe is climbing back to the top from last year's unprecedented loss.  Dara is trying to rally his teammates, while new kid Paul disrupts Dara's complete understanding of himself and his small town suburban life.  When coaches Dirkson and Blow make a bold choice for the one-act play competition and the community takes issue, friends and rivals duke it out and find themselves in this uniquely Texan and thoroughly universal coming of age comedy by Texan playwright Vichet Chum, directed by Houston native Tiffany Nichole Greene. Developed in the 2020 Alley All New Festival.

 

“They live with us now. I hear their snores like lovelorn toads calling across the swamp.” – Agnes Wickfield in the 2019 movie The Personal History of David Copperfield.

 

 

Personally, I’d like to do a shout out to Saint Jude, the patron saint of lost causes.  I have prayed to him in the past and he answered my prayers with a positive outcome.  It has been said, that when that happens, one has to publicly express one’s gratitude.  At the time this occurred, which was several years ago, I didn’t understand why I had to publicly acknowledge Saint Jude for the miracle he performed for me.  When I pray my rosary, it’s an internal, private, silent act of contrition.  Why do I have to thank him publicly?  Why do I have to advertise it like a TV commercial?  Lately, I’ve been praying to Saint Jude a lot.  With friends and relatives affected by the Corona virus, cancer, stroke, heart attacks, paralysis and other ailments, the patron saint of lost causes seems to be right department to direct my prayers to. 

 


Elizabeth Bunch's variety of masks

 

“Shall I make us a bowl of punch? We need a lemon. Miss Trotwood, you look like you're sucking one.” – Uriah Heep in the 2019 movie The Personal History of David Copperfield.

 

 

WORLD PREMIERE PLAY

AMERIKIN

BYCHISAHUTCHINSON 

Directed by James Black

The Alley's Neuhaus Theatre

February 11 - March 13, 2022 

Developed as part of the 2019 Alley All New Festival.  Jeff Browning, a new father desperate for community, casually follows his buddy’s advice and tries to join a white supremacist group…but the results of his ancestry test prove surprising.  Amerikin follows Jeff as serious consequences come knocking and the line between "us" and "them" gets incredibly blurry. 


Elizabeth Bunch's variety of masks

 

 

Nowadays, I’m beginning to understand why I have to honor Saint Jude with an act of public acknowledgement.  I believe that the purpose of openly expressing gratitude to Saint Jude is to promote his services to other living souls who happen to need a solution for their own unfortunate hopeless circumstance.  Some people need to know who to turn to in times of dire need and utter helplessness. Also, he is not to be confused with Judas Iscariot, that backstabbing apostle.  It’s not unlike a Yelp review.  It’s to let other people know, that if they need to ask for assistance, Saint Jude will listen and will be there to help.

 

Which makes me wonder, is there a patron saint assigned for pedophile priests?  I know, some people will probably crucify me for putting the words ‘patron saint’ and ‘pedophile priests’ in the same sentence.  But then again, it wasn’t I who committed the crime.  I’m just some writer, expressing my thoughts on paper.  Or rather, typing words on a keyboard.  Publicly revealing my thoughts on a desktop.  Just thinking loud enough for all the world wide web to hear.  I did not do the dirty deed. 

 

I have often speculated how these pedophiles were able to get away with their crimes undetected by the authorities.  Maybe it was the practice of Omerta that resulted in the continued success of their pedophilia.  You know, that code of silence utilized by the most secret of organizations.  The hushed practice by that underground crime syndicate.  Whose acts of corruption, wrong doing and law breaking are so severe, their name is almost unmentionable, (of which begins with the capital letter M and ends with the letter A).  Omerta is how they got away with it.  By using Omerta as common practice, you can get away with it too.  Successfully and for several years.  Over and over again.  Unnoticed by the government and overlooked by the community.  Concurrent to the criminal’s insidious actions, maybe Father Geoghan’s supervisors did not bother to conduct the essential psychological background checks before they granted him the official uniform to wear. 

I mean, what could possibly be worse than a pedophile Catholic priest?  Maybe, an incestuous pedophile.  Those people who bear children, just so they can rape them.  Yes, Virginia, there is evil everywhere.  Not just in the Catholic Church.

But then all will be forgiven in the end.  At least, that’s what my preacher tells me.  The Church is very forgiving.  But I digress.

“Do you mock me?”  – Uriah Heep in the 2019 movie The Personal History of David Copperfield.


Bettye Fitzpatrick in A Christmas Carol 2008 production.  She passed away in 2011 at 79 years old.

“Oh, she will burst with gratitude that you have acknowledged her spontaneously, Master Copperfield.” – Uriah Heep in the 2019 movie The Personal History of David Copperfield.

CLASSIC ROMANTICFAVORITE

SENSE AND SENSIBILITY

BY KATE HAMILL 

Based on the novel by Jane Austen

Directed by Adriana Baer

The Alley's Hubbard Theatre

March 4 - 27, 2022 

A playful new adaptation of Jane Austen’s beloved novel follows the fortunes (and misfortunes) of the Dashwood sisters—sensible Elinor and hypersensitive Marianne—after their father’s sudden death leaves them financially destitute and socially vulnerable. Set in gossipy late 18th-century England, with a fresh female voice, the play is full of humor, emotional depth, and bold theatricality.  Sense and Sensibility examines our reactions, both reasonable and ridiculous, to societal pressures. When reputation is everything, how do you follow your heart? 


 


Chris Hutchison's variety of masks

 

 

 

OFF-THE-WALL COMEDY

DEAD MAN’S CELL PHONE

BY SARAH RUHL  

Directed by BRANDON WEINBRENNER

The Alley's Hubbard Theatre

April 15 - May 8, 2022 

An incessantly ringing cell phone in a quiet café. A stranger at the next table who has had enough. And a dead man. So begins Dead Man’s Cell Phone, a wildly imaginative comedy by MacArthur “Genius” Sarah Ruhl (The Clean House). An off-the-wall play about the odyssey of a woman forced to confront her own assumptions about morality, redemption, and the need to connect in a technologically obsessed world.

 

“You’ve always been a puppy with a proud stomach.  Riding in the coattails of that vile creature who called you Daisy.”  – Uriah Heep in the 2019 movie The Personal History of David Copperfield.

 

 

 

 


Elizabeth Bunch's variety of masks

 

“Time is an issue?  Are you worried humbleness is an infectious disease?”  – Uriah Heep in the 2019 movie The Personal History of David Copperfield.

 

 

As you can see, as evidenced by the variety of Alley Theatre masks worn by the artists.  I have demonstrated that Masks in various colors, shapes and sizes are worn not just to protect the wearer, but also to transform the artist’s character into the role they are working to portray.  Some people may disagree, but these days, masks are needed to protect one from outside diseases.  Masks, just like prayers, are tools utilized to protect one from undesirable outside influences and stimuli.  Certainly, faithful souls like mine, are in dire need of prayers to ward off evil forces and guide me to acceptance and proper direction.

 

Melissa Pritchett's variety of masks

 

“You falsified my signature!  You’re the source of this calamity, Heep.  A thousand curses upon you.  I take it back.  A thousand and four!”  – Mr. Wickfield in the 2019 movie The Personal History of David Copperfield.

 

 

When ground-breaking, innovative pioneer and founder Nina Vance started the Alley Theatre in 1947, she sent out 214 penny postcards and stated “It’s beginning! Houston, this is your Theatre.” As the visionary, she played a variety of roles in her mission to birth and shepherd the Alley Theatre through its formative years. Through the 1940’s, she was a high school drama teacher by day. She was also a Houston Theater volunteer, getting props, doing walk-on parts, and helping with the box office. Intrigued and excited to start a theater for Houston, she reached into her purse, found $2.14 and purchased the now legendary 214 post cards. Consequently, more than 100 respondents to her postcard met at 3617 Main to discuss the start of the Alley Theatre.

For the 2022 Season and beyond, this year’s 75th Anniversary, the Alley is committed to being a Theatre for all Houstonians. The Alley’s team has been diligently planning this celebratory return. The Alley will continue to monitor Houston’s COVID-19 cases and vaccinations as the safety of guests, staff, and artists are of the utmost concern. As the Theatre begins to reopen, the Alley will keep guests updated on any changes to subscription packages, seating capacities, ticketing options, and safety protocols for returning.

WORLD PREMIERE PLAY

BORN WITH TEETH

BY LIZ DUFFY ADAMS  

Directed by ROB MELROSE

The Alley's NEUHAUS THEATRE

May 6 - June 5, 2022 

An aging authoritarian ruler, a violent police state, a restless polarized people seething with paranoia: it’s a dangerous time for poets. Two of them—the great Kit Marlowe and the up-and-comer Will Shakespeare—meet in the back room of a pub to collaborate on a history play cycle, navigate the perils of art under a totalitarian regime, and flirt like young men with everything to lose. One of them may well be the death of the other. Developed in the Alley All New Reading Series.

 

“Oh, she will burst with gratitude that you have acknowledged her spontaneously, Master Copperfield.”  – Uriah Heep in the 2019 movie The Personal History of David Copperfield.

 

 


David Rainey's variety of masks

In 2019, the same year that the movie The Personal History of David Copperfield by Armando Iannucci came out, a movie entitled 1917 was also released.  Produced and directed by Sam Mendes, it is a story of two British soldiers who were assigned a mission to deliver an important message during the First World War.  One year later, the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic broke out.  These were difficult times.  Just think about it.  If our forefathers were able to survive two World Wars and the first worldwide pandemic, our generation can and will survive the current plague of the Corona virus.  Back then, our species was able to continue and persevere even after these insurmountable challenges and difficulties.

Ultimately, life is all about survival.  Now.  Today.  This is what life is.  We need protective masks in all varieties.  In these contagion times, we are all just one contaminated breath away from disease and impending death.  We are all just hanging off of a precarious precipice, barely hanging on by the very end of our fingertips.  We have to be forever vigilant, to continually watch out for our physical, mental and spiritual well-being.

 


Todd Waite's variety of masks

 

“Now!  There’s no time like the present.”  – Mr. Micawber in the 2019 movie The Personal History of David Copperfield.

 

 

More than ever, we must make it our definitive mission to take very good care of our family and our fellow man.  We have to persevere in order to maintain the preservation of mankind and ensure the continuation of the forthcoming society who will inherit this earth.  We must persist with the utmost confidence and diligence, to express our acknowledgement and willingness to move forward to a brighter future.  Today we say, twenty-twenty-two, we are ready for you.

 

 

WORLD PREMIERE MUSICAL

NOIR

A NEW MUSICAL 

BOOK BY KYLE JARROW

MUSIC BY DUNCAN SHEIK

Lyrics by Kyle Jarrow and Duncan Sheik

Directed by Darko Tresnjak

NOIR IS PRODUCED BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT WITH ROBERT COLE, MARY BETH O’CONNOR, CARL MOELLENBERG. AND LUCKYGODOT LLC.

The Alley's HUBBARD THEATRE

June 2 - July 3, 2022 

A heartbroken man never leaves his apartment, finding his only solace in the music on the radio. Then a couple moves in next door.  Eavesdropping becomes his new entertainment - and his new obsession.  Soon he finds himself drawn into a web of love, lies, deceit, and danger. Inspired by early radio plays and classic film noir, this new musical is written by Broadway artists Duncan Sheik (Spring Awakening) and Kyle Jarrow (SpongeBob SquarePants) and directed by Darko Tresnjak (A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder).

 

“London is full of more wonders and wickedness than all the cities of the earth!  And it’s ours, David.  To go wherever we choose.”  – Mr. Micawber in the 2019 movie The Personal History of David Copperfield.