Transsexuals, queens, half-human creatures, witches with issues and presidential first ladies are some of the characters who will work their magic onstage at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts.
Four traveling spectacles and two self-produced shows comprise Theatre Under the Stars (TUTS) playbill for the 2013-14 season, the art presenter's 46th year offering Houston audiences a melange of musicals, a blend of timeless classics and innovative productions. The season is sponsored by St. Luke's Episcopal Health System.
Click on the videos to watch a short clip of the musical, keeping in mind that productions and casts will vary.
Priscilla, Queen of the Desert - The Musical (Sept. 29 - Oct. 12)
If you have an aversion to chatting about wigs, dresses, bust sizes, penises, drugs, stilettos, night clubs, exploding tampons and Abba, then it's best to keep your distance from this absolutely fabulous drag queen musical set down under. Think "I Will Survive," "Shake Your Groove Thing" and "Hot Stuff" in Aussie patois.
Elf - The Musical (Dec. 6 - 19)
Some may say that Elf - The Musical is just too young to be considered a holiday tradition like A Christmas Carol or The Nutcracker. But Matthew Sklar's and Chad Beguel's score plus a story about a young orphan, Santa's sleigh and a rendezvous to the North Pole are ideal elements of a feel-good show where the naughty and nice alike learn what Christmas is all about. Elf will be produced by TUTS.
We Will Rock You (Jan. 22 - Feb 2. 2014)
Here is a winning formula: The '80s, which are the new '70s, and the jukebox musical, a Broadway genre that has exploded in the past decade. We Will Rock You, which premiered in 2002, tunes into Queen's big hair anthems like "Somebody to Love" and "Bohemian Rhapsody" to craft an intertwined tale about prophecies and supernatural guitars.
The Wizard of Oz (March 4 - 16, 2014)
From the dude that gifted the world with Phantom of the Opera, Jesus Christ Superstar and Sunset Boulevard comes this fresh Andrew Lloyd Webber 2011 setting of an old film favorite, an adaptation that won Best Musical Revival at the 2013 Whatsonstage.com Theatergoers Choice Awards. Everyone knows what happens when Dorothy journeys along the Yellow Brick Road, but no one gets tired of revisiting the wizard. Because anything that's ridiculed by South Park will most likely survive the test of time.
Evita (May 6 - 18, 2014)
Tim Rice, who provided some of the lyrics for The Wizard of Oz, and Andrew Lloyd Webber are the duo responsible for the score that adds sass to the life of one of South America's most beloved civic leaders. Argentina's former First Lady Eva Perón is yet another example that women — not men — rule the world.
Evita says not to cry, but you probably will.
Disney's The Little Mermaid (June 13 - 26, 2014)
It's Disney, and that, in a nutshell, certifies this TUTS under-the-sea production feels as refreshing as a dip in cool ocean waters on a hot and humid Houston midsummer night. Moral of the story: Stay clear of demonic sea witches named Ursula.
Subscriptions to Theatre Under The Stars 2013-14 season are available online and by phone at 713-558-TUTS.