Two recent Off-Broadway productions and a new play with music will tread the boards at Dallas's WaterTower Theatre in 2000-01. Both the musical Enter the Guardsman and Elaine May and Alan Arkin's Power Plays will be regional premieres with the new musical Blind Lemon: Prince of Country Blues making its first full-scale debut.
The season closer, Blind Lemon tells the story of the first African American blues legend, Blind Lemon Jefferson, as he travels from Wortham, Texas to Chicago where he emerges as a major recording artist. Dallas playwright Alan Govenar penned the play with Akin Babatunde, while sprinkling the biography with the blues songs Jefferson made famous. Blind Lemon: Prince of Country Blues runs May 24-June 16.
But back to the beginning. Enter the Guardsman kicks off the WaterTower 2000-01 season Oct. 19-Nov. 11. The Olivier-nominated musical by Scott Wentworth, Craig Bohmler and Marion Adler concerns two married actors who wonder if their passion for one another has cooled. The husband decided to test his wife by inventing and becoming a guardsman who professes love for her. Robert Cuccioli of Jekyll and Hyde played the lead Off-Broadway in spring 2000.
Arkin and May's Power Plays, a series of three one-acts based on power struggles in contemporary life, makes its regional premiere March 1-24. Four actors play the comic characters, originally portrayed by Arkin and May and their children, Anthony Arkin and Jeanne Berlin, in 1998 at Off-Broadway's Promenade Theatre.
Also in the season will be Don Nigro's mystery thriller, Ravenscroft (Jan. 18-Feb. 10) and a revival of Eugene O'Neill's Desire Under the Elms (April 12-May 5). For the holiday season, the WaterTower will present Rockin' Christmas Party, Nov. 30-Dec. 23. Developed at Austin's Zachary Scott Theatre, Party takes the greatest hits of the 60's and 70's to create a seasonal ode to girl groups, complete with Kris Kringle and his reindeer. For subscription tickets ($100-$50), call (972) 450-6232. The WaterTower Theatre is on the web at http://www.watertowertheatre.com.
The WaterTower Theatre's 1999-2000 season included Alan Menken Howard Ashman's Little Shop of Horrors (Oct. 21-Nov. 6, 1999), Steven Martin's Picasso at the Lapin Agile (Jan. 20-Feb. 5, 2000), Nuncrackers: The Nunsense Christmas Musical (Dec. 2-18), Neil Simon's Barefoot in the Park (March 2-18), Golf With Alan Shepard (April 20-May 6) and Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill (June 1-17).
-- By Christine Ehren