World Premiere of Cleo to Detail Infamous Love Affair Behind Cleopatra

Regional News   World Premiere of Cleo to Detail Infamous Love Affair Behind Cleopatra The comedy will debut at the Alley Theatre as part of the newly announced 2017–2018 season, along with Rajiv Joseph’s Describe the Night.
Elizabeth Taylor
Elizabeth Taylor ©1963 20th Century Fox

Houston’s Alley Theatre has announced its 2017–2018 season, which will feature three world premieres: Rajiv Joseph’s Describe the Night; Lawrence Wright’s Cleo, a comedy that chronicles the infamous love affair between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton during the filming of Cleopatra; and Grammy winner Suzanne Vega’s Lover, Beloved, a tribute to Southern writer Carson McCullers featuring music co-written with Duncan Sheik.

Describe the Night, the newest work by Pulitzer Prize finalist Joseph, spans nearly 100 years, tracing the stories of seven people connected by history, myth, and conspiracy theories. The play was commissioned by the Alley, and will kick off the new season this fall. Direction will be by Giovanna Sardelli, with performances scheduled to play September 15–October 15.

The world premiere will be followed by the debut of Cleo, which will take audiences behind the scenes of the making of Cleopatra, the film that sparked a world-renowned love affair between its two stars. Directed by Bob Balaban, performances are scheduled for October 4–22.

The year will conclude with the return of David Sedaris’ The Santaland Diaries, adapted for the stage by Joe Mantello with direction by David Cromer (November 30–December 31), and Charles Dickens’ holiday favorite, A Christmas Carol – A Ghost Story of Christmas, adapted for the stage by Michael Wilson with direction by James Black (November 17–December 30).

In the new year, the Alley will stage its third world-premiere production: Vega’s Lover, Beloved, featuring songs co-authored by Spring Awakening composer Sheik. The new play with music will pay homage to writer McCullers, to be performed by Vega with direction by Jackson Gay. Performances will run February 9–March 11, 2018.

Also slated for 2018: Robert Schenkkan’s The Great Society, directed by Kevin Moriarty (January 26–February 18), Terry Teachout’s Satchmo at the Waldorf, directed by Gordon Edelstein (March 2–25), a revival of Steve Martin’s Picasso at the Lapine Agile, directed by Gregory Boyd (April 20–May 13), Jeffrey Hatcher’s Holmes and Watson, directed by Mark Shanahan (May 25–June 24), and Bekah Brunstetter’s The Cake (June 15–July 15).

Casting for all productions and a director for The Cake will be announced at a later date.

Season tickets can be ordered online alleytheatre.org or by phone (713) 220-5700.