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Season Preview: A look at TheatreAC's 2016-17 offerings
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TheatreAC's season opens Oct. 6.

By Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer

A contemporary musical, an ancient Greek comedy, an iconic absurdist classic and a contemporary mind-bender are on tap for TheatreAC's 2016-17 season.

Student actors will stage three plays and a musical from October through May in the Experimental Theatre on the Amarillo College Washington Street campus. Season tickets are $24 for adults or $18 for students, seniors and AC faculty and staff. Call 806-371-5359.

The season opens with King of Shadows, a 2009 drama by American playwright Roberto Aguire-Sacasa to be staged Oct. 6 to 9. Director Monty Downs said the drama has ties to a classic comedy — one he has recently directed, in fact — though he wants to maintain the surprise as long as possible.

The thriller focuses on four characters — a mid-20s woman working on a postgraduate degree by interviewing homeless teens, her police officer boyfriend, her 15-year sister and a teenage runaway who says he's on the run from demonic creatures from a mythical underworld.

"I read a lot of scripts ... over the summer, and this one kept intriguing me, kept pulling me back," Downs said. "I think it's a really good acting piece for the students."

Up next is Pseudolus, on stage Dec. 8 to 11. The comedy, by ancient Roman playwright Plautus, was first staged in 191 B.C.

"I love Roman comedies," director Ray Newburg said. "I always have fun when I do them, and Pseudolus is a crowd-pleaser."

The play, which was the inspiration for Stephen Sondheim's A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, is about a clever slave (the title character) who schemes to raise a great amount of money for his master's son so the young man can marry his true love. 

The season continues with Luigi Pirandello's Six Characters in Search of an Author on Feb. 23 to 26. The play, written in 1921, delves into the relationship between authors and their characters. 

"It's a symbolist piece from an era where we're starting to enter the more experimental, modern dramatic theater," Newburg said. "It was starting to get a little weird. ... But it's probably one of the more accessible ones before we get into absurdism and Dadaism and other things.

"I've always loved the show," he continued. "It's important in the sense that these kinds of shows ... helped evolve theater into a more imaginative art form."

And the season concludes with First Date, a musical by Austin Winsberg, Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner to be staged April 28 and 29 and May 5 to 7.

The musical, which debuted on Broadway in 2013, charts a blind date between a young man and woman, inspired by the romantic travails of the three authors.

"It's really tongue-in-cheek," Newburg said. "I think it will be very accessible for a younger group."





Chip Chandler is a digital content producer for Panhandle PBS. He can be contacted at, at @chipchandler1 on Twitter and at on Facebook.