TUTs' new shows

Theatre Under the Stars shines with new season of marvelous musicals, cutting-edge tales, and kooky comedies

TUTS shines with new season of dynamic musicals, operas, and comedies

Once On This Island Original Broadway Cast
TUTS brings the touring Broadway revival of Once On This Island to Houston in February 2020.  TUTS Courtesy Photo

With a melodious mix of classic and contemporary musicals, along with one down-home country world premiere, Theatre Under the Stars plans to dance into their 51st year with a dynamic new season. While their 50th anniversary season continues to bring new productions of audience favorites, TUTS gets ready to leap into their future with revolting youths, a chorus of real-life stories, some Texas country twang, and a holiday elf surprise.

“On the heels of our 50th anniversary, the upcoming season is a defining moment for us as we embark on our next 50 years,” said Dan Knechtges, TUTS artistic director. “We have an exciting mix of both traditional and contemporary Broadway classics, with the professional premiere of a new Texas-themed musical, the return of a heartwarming holiday classic, and the exclusive Houston engagement of the national tour of the 2018 Tony Award-winning Best Revival.”

Here’s a closer looks at all the shows we’ll be humming along to in the fall and into 2020.

A Chorus Line (September 10-22, 2019)
Life on the line takes its place center stage in this multiple Tony Award winning classic from the 70s with with book by James Kirkwood and Nicholas Dante, music by Marvin Hamlisch and lyrics by Edward Kleban. This TUTS revival might bring a bit of 21st century sensibility to the show with director Julie Kramer and choreographer Jessica Hartman perhaps adding some additional female perspective.

Spring Awakening  (October 8 - 20, 2019)
Frank Wedekind’s play about youth in revolt in late 19th-century Germany found new life and great resonance with Broadway audiences as the alt-rock opera, the Tony winning Spring Awakening. The story follows a group of adolescents as they navigate their journey into adulthood with a poignancy and passion that is illuminating and unforgettable.

Spring Awakening is a bit of a departure for us in the sense of the subject matter and in the modern rock score,” said Knechtges. “However, I want TUTS to honor recent exemplary theatre in addition to the traditional classics. This soul-stirring story from the late 1800s is remarkably relevant today.”

Elf-The Musical (December 7-22, 2019)
Buddy, the human, raised by a loving family of elves at the North Pole stops by for holiday antics at the end of the year to teach his bio family, and Houston, about the spirit of the season. The musical, with songs by Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin and book by Thomas Meehan and Bob Martin, has quickly become a holiday favorite. This production will be directed and choreographed by Dan Knechtges.

Once On This Island (February 18 - March 1, 2020)
Though TUTS self-produced all the shows for its 50th season, (which continues with Mamma Mia! in February) the company has a history of bringing in one or two Broadway touring musical a season. They go back to this beloved traditional next season with national tour of the 2018 Tony Award winner for Best Revival of a Musical, Once On This Island. The show follows Ti Moune, a peasant girl in search of her place in the world, but who is willing to risk it all for love. Guided by the mighty island gods, Ti Moune sets out on a remarkable journey to reunite with the man who has captured her heart.

Pure Country (April 14 - 26, 2020)
TUTS has premiered a few musicals to world in the past, including Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and in 2020 it gets back into the game with the world premiere professional production of this new musical based on the 1992 George Strait film, Pure Country. The musical tells a jaded hero’s journey of a country music mega-star who walks away from successful to return to his Texas roots and find his love of music and life again.

Pure Country is obviously a celebration of Texas culture, but it also has a universal message about the importance of home, both in terms of geography as well as the inherent human need to manifest our true passions, even when the world has other expectations of us,” said Knechtges, who will also direct and choreograph the show. “I’m also excited that TUTS is able to play this pivotal role in the development of this new musical, which is a renewed commitment to our heritage of fostering new works.”

Disney’s Newsies (May 19 - 31, 2020)
The riotous, striking paperboys are back in this revival production of the feel good hit. This band of singing underdogs become unlikely heroes when they stand up to the most powerful men in turn of the 19th to 20th century New York. The production will be directed and choreographed by Chris Bailey, who just directed Disney’s Beauty and the Beast for TUTS in December.