Paula Vogel's How I Learned to Drive, the most-produced script in American regional theatres this season, opens its Southwest premiere run Oct. 7 at the Alley Theatre's Neuhaus Arena Stage in Houston, TX. Previews were Oct. 2-6.
The provocative, Pulitzer Prize-winning drama concerns the sexual abuse of "Li'l Bit" (Sherri Parker Lee) by her "Uncle Peck" (played by James Black). It runs to Oct. 25 in the 296 seat Neuhaus. Mark Ramont directs.
The show was supposed to go up in May 1998 but was postponed so the Alley could stage Not About Nightingales.
How I Learned To Drive opened at the Vineyard Theatre Off- Broadway in 1997 and transferred to the Century Theatre. Ironically, the production posted a closing notice for April 19, before the 1998 Pulitzer announcement April 14. It closed, as scheduled. Vogel also is author of Desdemona, Hot and Throbbing, And Baby Makes Seven, The Mineola Twins, The Baltimore Waltz and The Oldest Profession.
American Theatre magazine reported in its October 1998 issue that 26 Equity-affiliated stagings of the small-cast (of five) Vogel drama are scheduled in 1998-99 season.
Tickets for the Alley production are $12-$28. The Alley is at 615 Texas Avenue, Houston. Call (713) 228-8421 for information. Meanwhile, on the mainstage, the Alley is staging the premiere of Frank Wildhorn's oratorio, The Civil War.
Also on the Alley schedule:
Christmas-time brings the return of Alley associate artist, Michael Wilson (now Artistic Director of Hartford Stage) to stage the Alley's annual Dickens show, giving the piece "a fresh take." Zack Brown will design new costumes, with Tony Straiges contributing a new set. A Christmas Carol runs Nov. 23-Dec. 27, opening Nov. 27.
The beginning of the new year will bring the luck of the Irish to Houston with the Regional Theatre premiere of award-winning, The Beauty Queen of Leenane by Martin McDonagh from Jan. 8- Feb 6, 1999.
Two Edward Albee classics will take the Neuhaus Arena Stage, Feb. 5-28, 1999 (opening Feb. 10, 1999): The Zoo Story and The American Dream. Both pieces were written 40 years ago by the playwright who went on to pen Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Death of Bessie Smith, A Delicate Balance and Three Tall Women.
Another, as-yet-unnamed play will close the Neuhaus season.
A View From The Bridge, which won a Best Play Revival nod from the Tonys, will be on the Alley roster, Feb. 19-Mar. 20, 1999 (opening Feb. 24, 1999). Stephen Rayne of England's Royal National Theatre will direct this tale of Eddie Carbone (James Black) getting a little too jealous of his niece's immigrant boyfriend. Other works by playwright Arthur Miller include The Crucible and Mr. Peters' Connections.
Spring at the Alley will bring the award-winning Off Broadway hit, Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde, with Jeffrey Bean playing the title character of Moises Kaufman's biographical drama (Apr. 2 May 1, 1999, opening Apr. 7, 1999).
Closing the mainstage season, May 14-June 13, 1999 (opening May 19, 1999) will be the intellectual G.B. Shaw comedy, Misalliance, recently revived at the Roundabout in New York. David Wheeler directs this farce of crashing planes and unleashed sexuality.
Winner of the 1996 Tony for outstanding regional theatre (as recommended by the American Theatre Critics Association), the Alley Theatre has produced such works as 1990's Jekyll & Hyde (which later toured and now runs on Broadway), and Robert Wilson's Hamlet, A Monologue.