The Alley Theatre’s new artistic director, Rob Melrose, might have not be a native Houstonian, but the city seems to have beguiled him rather fast — if the just-announced 2019-2020 season is any indication. Filled with both new spins on classics and innovative contemporary works, audiences will likely also detect a Houston and Texas resonance to the season.
“I am excited to continue the artistic legacy of the Alley and turn the page to a new chapter at the Theatre,” stated Melrose with the announcement. “This season, my first as Alley Artistic Director, I drew inspiration from the community I now call home. Infused with the vibrant cultures that exist in Houston and showcasing the incredibly talented Resident Acting Company, the season includes references to the literary world with adaptations of Jane Austen, George Orwell, and Miguel de Cervantes alongside new works by acclaimed Texas author Lawrence Wright and playwright Chisa Hutchinson.”
Officially beginning this summer, the new season races towards us like, well, a delightful murder train filled with dramatic and dazzling characters. Check out this sneak peek and get those subscription tickets early to hop aboard the Alley Express.
Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express (July 19-August 25, 2019)
The first show of the season features two Alley favorite storytellers in one, Christie as adapted by Ken Ludwig. Yes, we’re all ahead of Poirot in this mystery by now, but the suspense lies in seeing Melrose’s Alley directorial debut of the classic.
The Winter’s Tale (September 18-October 13, 2019)
It wouldn’t be an Alley season without some Shakespeare and who doesn’t love the one with the exit pursued by a bear. Melrose will take the directorial reigns again, likely with a cast of Alley company members. The new artistic director has a reputation for bringing new insight to Shakespeare, so we’re looking forward to his take on the lovely romantic comedy.
Vietgone (October 4-November 3, 2019)
Qui Nguyen’s comic love story of two Vietnamese refugees in 1970s America became one of the most lauded works out of New York in recent years. Desdemona Chiang directs this regional debut that should be music to Houston.
A Christmas Carol-A Ghost Story of Christmas (November 15-December 29, 2019)
The Alley’s longest running tradition, this family-friendly re-telling of Charles Dickens’ classic story will once more be directed by one of Houston’s favorite actor/directors and Alley’s Interim Artistic Director, James Black.
Fully Committed (November 26-December 29, 2019)
While the joyous and spooky Christmas Carol haunts the upstairs Hubbard Stage, downstairs in the Neuhaus audiences get to experience the holidays from a whole other perspective. This one-man comedy about the struggling actor manning the reservation line of one of New York’s hottest restaurants gives a riotous face to the poor souls on the other side of the customer call line.
Quixote Nuevo (January 17-February 9, 2020)
El Paso playwright Octavio Solis’s reimagining of Don Quixote gets a decidedly modern Texas spin. Set in a fictitious Texas border town, this Quixote still pursues the impossible dream and lost love. Directed by Texas-native KJ Sanchez, the show will star “Sesame Street’s” Emilio Delgado.
Camp David (February 14-March 15, 2020)
After world premiering his play Cleo last season, the Alley brings in another recent work from Pulitzer Prize–winning Texas author Lawrence Wright. The drama offers behind-the-scenes look at the 1978 meeting at Camp David hosted by U.S. President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter that brought Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat to the same table. The production will be directed by Public Theater’s Artistic Director, Oskar Eustis.
1984 (March 6-March 29, 2020)
George Orwell’s dystopian vision seems to be having a popular resurgence these past few years becoming a best-seller again and popping up on stages across the country. Melrose will direct this Michael Gene Sullivan with likely intentionally horrific results.
Dead Man’s Cell Phone (April 17-May 10, 2020)
One of Houston theater community’s favorite contemporary playwrights, Sarah Ruhl brings a unique perspective to any subject and genre. In this comedy, a woman forced to confront her own assumptions about morality, redemption, and the need to connect in a technologically obsessed world.
Amerikin (May 8-June 7, 2020)
The Alley once again harvests a play in progress from its All New Festival, play reading series, to produce it as a world premiere a year or two later. In this brand new work by Chisa Hutchinson, a new father desperate for community, casually follows his buddy’s advice and tries to join a white supremacist group, but the results of his ancestry test prove surprising.
Sense and Sensibility (June 5-July 5, 2020)
The go-to woman for exciting new twirls on the classics, Kate Hamill’s adaptation of Jane Austin favorites has been a hit across the country. Her adaptations celebrate the original work while giving actors the ultimate innovative workout. This will likely make for a whirlwind end to dynamic season.
For tickets and showtimes, visit The Alley Theatre.