By Adam Hetrick
13 Feb 2008
The TUTS season kicks off with the national of The Color Purple Sept. 16-28. Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker, the Gary Griffin-directed musical features a score by pop writers Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray with a book by Pulitzer Prize winner Marsha Norman.
The Purple national tour currently stars Jeannette Bayardelle as Celie and Tony nominee Felicia P. Fields as Sofia – a role she originated in the Broadway production. Michelle Williams, a former member of Destiny's Child, plays soul-singer Shug Avery, while "American Idol"'s LaToya London portrays Nettie.
For the holidays TUTS will stage an original production of Irving Berlin's White Christmas Dec. 4-17. Adapted from the popular 1954 classic film, songs in the score include "Snow," "The Best Things Happen While You're Dancing," "Love You Didn't Do Right By Me," "Sisters," "Count Your Blessings" and the title song.
In the New Year TUTS heads back to college when the national tour of Legally Blonde takes the stage Feb. 10-22, 2009. Based on the popular film, the musical adaptation features direction and choreography by Jerry Mitchell, with a score by Laurence O'Keefe (Bat Boy: The Musical) and Nell Benjamin and a book by Heather Hach. Casting for the Legally Blonde national tour will be announced at a later date.
TUTS will present another popular screen-to-stage adaptation with its own production of the musical Meet Me in St. Louis. From March 4-April 5, the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair fills the stage with songs including "The Boy Next Door," "The Trolley Song" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas."
The 1950's return when the national tour of Happy Days — based on the long-running television series — takes to the Hobby stage May 12-24. The musical features a book by Garry Marshall and music and lyrics by Oscar-winning composer Paul Williams.
The TUTS season concludes June 16-28 with its own production of the Tony and Academy Award-winning musical Cabaret.
Cabaret features a book by Joe Masteroff, based on the John Van Druten play "I Am a Camera" and the original stories by Christopher Isherwood. John Kander and Fred Ebb penned the Tony-Award winning score to the 1967 musical that features such hits as "Willkommen," "Maybe This Time," "So What," "Don't Tell Mama," "I Don't Care Much" and the title song.
Tickets for the 2008-2009 TUTS season are available by calling (888) 558-3882 or by visiting www.TUTS.org.
The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts is located at 800 Bagby at Walker in Houston, TX.