The Alley Theatre of Houston has a lot to celebrate this year. Not only did it receive the 1996 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre, it is also preparing to open its 50th anniversary season.
The highlight of the season is The Greeks, a two-evening epic, directed by Artistic Director Gregory Boyd, as adapted by John Barton and Kenneth Cavender from nine plays by ancient Greek playwrights, including Sophocles and Euripides, as well as storyteller Homer.
Through two evenings of theatre, or one marathon day, audiences will be able to witness the stories of the Trojan War and the fall of the House of Atreus in a modern narrative, revealing that humanity hasn't changed much in more than 2,000 years. A recent press release referred to the production as "the most ambitious project in the Alley's history," and Boyd says of the production, "It is an epic that demonstrates a social consciousness reflecting our shared humanity and I can't imagine a better time in the Alley's history than right now to present such a work that celebrates the essence of theatre." The Greeks runs Feb. 28-Mar. 4.
The season opens on the Neuhaus Arena Stage with one of Bertolt Brecht's earliest plays, In the Jungle of Cities. Adapted and directed by Gregory Boyd, the play is subtitled The Fight Between Two Men in the Gigantic City of Chicago, and is being described as a surreal and violent and thrilling piece of theatre noir. Jungle runs Sept. 13 through Oct. 6.
Next in the season, Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee runs on the Large Stage, Oct. 18-Nov. 16. The fictionalized drama of the 1925 Scopes Monley Trial which argues human rights and freedom of thought, recently received a successful New York production by Tony Randall's National Actors' Theatre. A.R. Gurney's Sylvia continues to receive rave reviews in productions around the country since it left Manhattan Theatre Club this past season. The play originally starred Sarah Jessica Parker as Sylvia, a dog who temporarily gets in the way of her doting master and his wife. Sylvia runs on the Neuhaus Arena Stage, Nov. 1-24.
Emily Mann's Having Our Say, the Delany Sisters' First 100 Years invites audiences into the home of two African-American sisters who share their trials and traumas of growing up "colored" over the course of the century. Having Our Say was also well received in the 1995 Broadway season, and runs on the Large Stage, Jan. 10-Feb. 8.
For five days, Anna Deavere Smith will perform her riveting account of characters involved in and affected by the 1992 Los Angeles Rodney King Riots at the Cullen Theatre, Jan. 21-26. Arriving next to the Alley is The Greeks, an Epic in Two Parts on the Large Stage. Part One is called The War and the Murders, and Part Two, The Gods.
. Wrapping up the season is the Southwest premiere of Terrence McNally's Tony Award-winning Love! Valour! Compassion!, followed by Steve Martin's Picasso at the Lapin Agile. Both have had enormous success in New York and other cities around the country. Love! Valour! Compassion! illustrating a few weekends between five homosexual friends, runs May 9 through June 1 on the Arena Stage. Picasso, reflecting an argument between young painter Pablo Picasso and young genius Albert Einstein, closes the season on the Large Stage, May 16 through June 14.
Subscriptions for the season are now on sale. For tickets, or more information, call (713) 228-8421.