Summer Theatre Roundup: 'Texas,' Shakespeare, summer youth musicals, special screenings, more
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By Chip Chandler — Producer
Theater fans in Amarillo will have several options to satisfy their itch over the summer.
Though the traditional arts season in Amarillo runs from late August through May, several theatrical productions will be staged over the summer. In addition to two youth musical productions, summertime Shakespeare and, of course, Texas, theater lovers can enjoy a new original play and a favorite dramedy.
Plus, the 72nd annual Tony Awards will broadcast Sunday on CBS, a couple of classic film musicals will screen in special engagements, and a couple of highly regarded productions will screen here direct from New York and London.
Check for details on all of your summer theater options below.
Previewing the 53rd season of "Texas"
The 53rd season of the beloved outdoor musical Texas opened June 1 and will continue at 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays in Pioneer Amphitheatre in Palo Duro Canyon State Park.
Cast members include the returning Sean Evan Jones and Marlee Wall as Calvin Armstrong and Elsie McLean, newcomers Cheyenne Haynes and Blayne Childers as Parmalee Flynn and Dave Newberry, and veterans Dennis McMennamy, Kim Hernandez, Brian Kuhnert and Cloyce Kuhnert as Tucker Yelldell, Kate Lucas and Uncle Henry and Aunt Anna, respectively.
The cast also will perform June 13 at Center City of Amarillo's High Noon on the Square.
Tickets are $16.95 to $30.95, plus fees, for adults and $12.95 to $26.95, plus fees, for children. An optional dinner from Feldman's Wrong Way Diner (beginning at 6 p.m.) is $15.95 for adults and $8.49 for children.
Two Worlds — One Passion
The Amarillo Little Theatre special event Two Worlds — One Passion will feature popular Amarillo singers Chuck Alexander and Devlon Jones performing Broadway, pop and gospel songs that influenced both of their lives.
Also singing are Kristen Loyd, Chana Smith, Ryan Sustaita, Justin Loe and more.
Shows will be staged at 8 p.m. June 8 and 9 in the ALT Mainstage, 2019 Civic Center. Tickets are $25.
Surrounding the June 9 performance are a pre-show party and a post-show "afterglow." Tickets are $50 to each.
Several of Amarillo's burlesque troupes plan some steamy shows for the upcoming hot summer nights.
Director Allexa Zwink said the show "takes us back to the era of prohibition, when jazz was hot, and the girls were hotter."
It will feature performances by Lola LeStrange, Chola Magnolia, Nikki DaVaughn and more, plus a live band led by Austin Brazille and Jacob Rives.
Tickets are $15 for general admission and $25 for VIP admission, or $150 for a VIP table of seven. The venue is BYOB. Call 806-282-6573.
Then comes Bomb City Pretties and Galatea Burlesk's Love and Confection — which will celebrate "all things edible and delectable," according to Galatea leader Nox Falls — at 9 p.m. July 14 at The 806 Coffee + Lounge, 2812 S.W. Sixth Ave. Tickets are $10.
Broken Belts will do a Best-Of show July 13 and an additional show Aug. 10, but details are still being finalized for each.
And, Bomb City Pretties will stage cabaret shows following performances of Wonderland Wives in late June (see below).
Song of the Eagle
If it's summer, that means it's time for the Kwahadi Dancers' Song of the Eagle.
The annual production — which celebrates the dancing, music and culture of Native Americans of the Southwest — will be staged at 7 p.m. June 9, 16, 23 and 30, and July 7, 14 and 21 at the Kwahadi Museum of the American Indian, 9151 E. Interstate 40.
An optional dinner begins at 6 p.m.
Show tickets are $9 for adults, $8 for seniors and $7 for children.
It's the next best thing to actually going to New York: The 72nd annual Tony Awards will broadcast at 7 p.m. June 10 on CBS.
You'll likely see performances from all of this year's nominated musicals, both new and revival: SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical, Mean Girls, Frozen, The Band's Visit, My Fair Lady, Once on This Island and Carousel.
Producers will surely try to somehow feature the play nominees, as well, particularly Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two and Angels in America. Other new play nominees include The Children, Farinelli and the King, Junk and Latin History for Morons. Other play revival nominees include Three Tall Women, The Iceman Cometh, Lobby Hero and Travesties.
Sara Bareilles and Josh Groban will host.
To help you prepare, here's my Spotify playlist for this year's awards. My Fair Lady and Carousel aren't available yet, so I used songs from past productions, as well as songs sung by nominated actors in some of their earlier roles. For Summer: The Donna Summer Musical, I just picked two of the diva's best songs. I also included Brian Tyree Henry's "We Can Always Come Back to This" from This Is Us, a couple of tracks celebrating lifetime achievement winners Chita Rivera and Andrew Lloyd Webber, and one from special Tony winner Bruce Springsteen.
Special film screenings
Theater comes to the big screen several times over the summer, including a pair of filmed-live performances and some classic movies based on beloved musicals.
The National Theatre Live screening of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time brings to life the acclaimed book (which itself is part of PBS's The Great American Read). Filmed at a London staging of the popular play (which went on to win five Tony Awards in 2015, including best play), the special screening is set for 7 p.m. June 12 at United Artists Amarillo Star 14, 8275 W. Amarillo Blvd.
Up next is the TCM Big Screen Classics series screening of West Side Story at 2 and 7 p.m. June 24 and June 27. The 1961 film, which won 10 Oscars, will screen at both United Artists Amarillo Star 14, 8275 W. Amarillo Blvd., and Cinemark Hollywood 16, 9100 Canyon Drive.
Then comes Bandstand, a short-lived Broadway swing musical that garnered a passionate cult following (and a Tony Award for best choreography). Starring Corey Cott and Laura Osnes, the musical follows a group of soldiers adapting to life on the homefront following World War II. It'll screen at 7 p.m. June 25 and 28 at both United Artists Amarillo Star 14, 8275 W. Amarillo Blvd., and Cinemark Hollywood 16, 9100 Canyon Drive.
And finally, the TCM Big Screen Classics series will continue with a 60th anniversary screening of South Pacific, the beloved Rodgers & Hammerstein musical about wartime on a South Pacific island. It'll screen at 2 and 7 p.m. Aug. 26 and 29 at both United Artists Amarillo Star 14, 8275 W. Amarillo Blvd., and Cinemark Hollywood 16, 9100 Canyon Drive.
In their (limited) off-hours from staging the musical drama Texas, cast members (and often hospitality crew members, too) annually produce a Shakespearean classic.
This season, it's Richard III, one of the Bard's historical dramas that tells of the British king's bloody rise to short-lived power.
The drama, to be directed by departing West Texas A&M University theater director Andrew Barratt Lewis, will be staged at 8:30 p.m. June 18 and 25 in Pioneer Amphitheatre in Palo Duro Canyon State Park.
Tickets are $10. Call 806-655-2181.
Amarillo acting troupe Merely Players will stage two shows over the summer, beginning with the beloved dramedy Steel Magnolias.
As fans of the 1989 film know, Robert Harling's play depicts the bond between six Southern women as they deal with family dramas, grumpy friends and a tragic death. But unlike the film, all of the action stays in Truvy's beauty salon and is strictly focused on the women; no other characters appear in the play.
Coincidentally, it'll be the first of two visits to the salon for Amarillo audiences in coming months: Amarillo Little Theatre also will stage it in February and March.
It'll be staged at 7:30 p.m. June 15, 16, 22 and 23 in the Amarillo College Experimental Theatre on the Washington Street campus.
Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for students and seniors. Call 806-371-5359.
You'll catch up with favorite characters like Snow White, Cinderella, Belle and others as they discover that life is truly no fairy tale.
It'll be staged at 8 p.m. June 29 and 30 and July 6 and 7 at RR Bar, 701 S. Georgia St.
The Bomb City Pretties burlesque troupe will stage cabaret shows following the June performances.
Tickets are $10 (or $15 with cabaret admission). Text 806-206-4326.
The Secret Garden
In founding director Linda Hughes' final production, the student cast of Amarillo College Summer Youth Musical will stage The Secret Garden.
The musical by Marsha Norman and Lucy Simon adapts the popular children's novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett about a young English girl who's sent to live with unfamiliar family members following the death of ther parents. There, she discovers a neglected garden and helps repair both it and the relationship between her damaged uncle and sickly cousin.
The cast also will perform June 20 at Center City of Amarillo's High Noon on the Square.
It'll be staged at 7:30 p.m. July 6 and 7 and 2:30 p.m. July 8 in the Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts, 500 S. Buchanan St.
Tickets are $20, plus fees. Call 806-378-3096.
Into the Woods
Amarillo Little Theatre Academy will tackle the Stephen Sondheim/James Lapine musical Into the Woods for its first summer production.
It's an intimate production of the popular deconstruction of fairy tales, starring five young men and five young women.
The show didn't fit in the academy's regular season because, with its adult themes, it's not something the theater would stage for school audiences as it does all of its regular shows, director Jason Crespin has said.
It'll be staged at 7:30 p.m. July 13 and 14 and 20 and 21, plus 2:30 p.m. July 15 and 22.
Tickets are $18 for ages 12 and older and $15 for ages 11 and younger.
When a Woman's Fed Up! It Ain't Nothing Left to Talk About
Noah's Art Outreach Ministry will stage Amarillo playwright Kissey Reed's drama When a Woman's Fed Up! It Ain't Nothing Left to Talk About in a one-night event in July.
The play — about a hardship-stricken family who's "sick and tired of being sick and tired," according to the play description — will be staged at 7 p.m. July 21 in the Sam Houston Middle School Auditorium, 815 S. Independence St.
An "All That Jazz" after party will follow.
Tickets are $25 for the show and party, $15 for the show only, and $10 for the party only.
PAW Patrol Live
Popular Nickelodeon children's show PAW Patrol will hit the stage in Amarillo in August.
PAW Patrol Live will be staged at 10 a.m. and 2 and 6 p.m. Aug. 4 and 2 p.m. Aug. 5 in the Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts, 500 S. Buchanan St.
The stage show takes place on the day of the Great Adventure Bay Race, with the PAW Patrol called in to find the missing mayor and make heroic rescues.
Tickets are $18 to $41, plus fees, or $110 for VIP meet & greet tickets, plus fees.
Cotton Patch Gospel
Acting troupe Merely Players will revive its production of Cotton Patch Gospel, a musical based on Clarence Jordan's The Cotton Patch Version of Matthew and John.
In the musical — featuring a script by Tom Key and Russel Treyz and music by Harry Chapin — the life of Jesus is retold and set in modern-day rural Georgia.
The show — last staged in 2008 — will be staged at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 17, 18, 24 and 25 and 3 p.m. Aug. 19 in the Amarillo College Experimental Theatre on the Washington Street campus.
Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for students and seniors. Call 806-371-5359.