Taking it to the streets
Houston theater company's new season hits the street with world premieres and audience favorites
When Main Street Theater announced its new season for 2023-24, executive artistic director Rebecca Greene Udden touted it as "building on the momentum from this season and producing many new titles." The slate of shows offers three regional premieres and a world premiere by a nationally renowned Houston playwright.
The Mainstage season opens on September 16 with What the Constitution Means to Me by Heidi Shreck. A regional premiere, the play won the Obie Award for best play of 2019, and was both a Tony nominee and Pulitzer Prize finalist. Based on her own experiences earning her college tuition by debating the Constitution in competitions across the U.S., the play was hailed as “Uproariously funny, wrenchingly moving, critically challenging, and politically inspiring" by the New York Review of Books.
Offering a new perspective on one of our country's founding documents, What the Constitution Means to Me also examines how it will shape the next generation. Shannon Emerick will play the role of Heidi. "I am beyond excited a honored!" she told CultureMap about taking on the role. What the Constitution Means to Me runs through October 8.
Rolling into the holidays is Main Street's second regional premiere of the season, Georgiana and Kitty: Christmas at Pemberley, the final installment of Main Street's wildly popular Christmas at Pemberley series. This entry, by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon, authors of Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley and The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley, is also based on Jane Austen's iconic characters in Pride and Prejudice.
This finale of the series concentrates on Mr. Darcy's younger sister Georgiana and the youngest Bennet sister, Kitty, who are impatiently awaiting the arrival of Georgiana's secret correspondent, Henry Grey. If previous Christmas at Pemberley incarnations are an indication, Georgiana and Kitty should be a holiday hit. The show runs November 18 through December 17.
26 Miles by Quiara Alegría Hudes opens 2024, running February 10 to March 3. In this regional premiere, a brown-skinned mother and her white-skinned teenage daughter, estranged after an eight-year custody battle, reunite on a road trip across the country. As they find their way back to themselves, they encounter all manner of obstacles from each other and the world around them. They hunt for valuables, get lost in Wyoming, and more in a play that is heartfelt and funny.
Audiences will recall playwright Alegría Hudes, who won the Pulitzer Prize for Water by the Spoonful and was a Pulitzer finalist for her play Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue which Main Street Theater produced in 2020. The New York Times called 26 Miles “charming, spunky, and ultimately heart-rending."
Houstonian and TSU professor Thomas Meloncon's Stagolee and the Funeral of a Dangerous Word takes place in 1990, where an East Texas office of the NAACP is planning a funeral for the N-word. This world premiere brings to light how language affects us. The action focuses on a close-minded white man who's determined to have a frank discussion about this funeral with Stagolee, a black man known for his father’s legendary status and swagger. Stagolee and the Funeral of a Dangerous Word runs March 30 to April 21, 2024.
In renowned British playwright Alan Ayckbourn's Taking Steps, a solicitor finds himself in over his head, overseeing the sale of a run-down, possibly haunted, house that was once a brothel. As two couples, the solicitor, and the realtor move through a tumultuous night and morning, chaos ensues — and there's a ghost. This classic British farce runs May 18 to June 9, 2024.
At press time, Main Street was finalizing its final show of the season, which is set to run July 13 to August 4.
Season tickets are currently on sale, with prices starting at $210. Discounted student subscriptions are also available. All performances take place at Main Street Theater's Times Village location. Full details are available on Main Street Theater's website.