Nuns, ’80s rockers, sea creatures, and a Continental Congress of singing founding fathers all await Houston musical theaters lovers in Theatre Under the Stars’ 2020-2021 season at the Hobby Center. The just-announced lineup offers shows from golden era of Broadway to contemporary pop cultural crowd-pleasers, from South Pacific to Sister Act.
"What excites me about this season, is the range of experiences this line-up offers. Pre-Broadway! Rock Concert! Disney Spectacular! High Romance! Disco Diva! Broadway Smash!" says TUTS artistic director Dan Knechtges in a statement, summing up what’s to come for audiences from the Houston musical theater institution.
So unwrap those goodies and let’s get a preview of all the shows to arrive for TUTS’s 52nd season.
1776 (September 8-20)
Long before Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton (in fact, a decade before the birth of Miranda), there was 1776, the musical chronicling the signing of The Declaration of Independence and the contentious men in the room where it happened. Only a few cities will get a preview of this new innovative revival from Tony-winning director Diane Paulus before it hits Broadway in 2021 and Houston is on the list. What better way to begin an election year season than with this late ’60s classic that began a musical revolution of its own.
Rock of Ages (October 20-November 1)
There’s jukebox musicals and then there’s Rock of Ages. This ’80s nostalgia love story between a Los Angeles rockstar wannabe and starry eyed Kansas girl lets all the fun melodrama loose to the music and lyrics of REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister, Bon Jovi, Styx, and Journey. Jessica Hartman, who has designed the choreography for several recent TUTS shows will choreograph and direct this one.
Disney’s Little Mermaid (December 6-24)
Take a dive under the seas for the holidays with this revival of the Disney Broadway favorite with music by eight-time Academy Award winner, Alan Menken, and lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater. Mermaid Ariel gains legs but loses her voice to seek out a new life and love on land. We don’t have to wait for the rumored live action on the screen version when we can have real live singing and dancing action on the Hobby stage in front of us.
South Pacific (February 9-21, 2021)
Winning a Pulitzer and 10 Tonys in its time, the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic finds new audiences with each revival. The songs like “Younger Than Springtime” and “Some Enchanted Evening” continue to entice, while each generation can discover new nuances and meaning in this World War II story of prejudice, war, sacrifice, and love.
Sister Act (April 6-18, 2021)
Dan Knechtges will direct and choreograph this musical based on the blockbuster Whoopi Goldberg film, a TUTS premiere. Houston’s own Simone Gundy (NBC’s The Voice, TUTS Memphis) gets into a TUTS habit as Sister Mary Clarence, a.k.a nightclub singer Deloris Van Cartier, who must go into divine witness protection after witnessing a murder. She soon finds the music spirit as part of the convent choir.
The final show of the season remains a mystery, though TUTS promises a big reveal the mysterious Tony-winning sensation in March.
Tickets for Theatre Under The Stars 2020/21 Season are currently only available by subscription. Visit TUTS or call 713-558-8887 for more information.