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WaterTower Theatre Announces 25th Season as Fair Assembly Makes Its Debut

The cast of Young Frankenstein perform
Jeff Spicer/Getty Images

As one theater company marks a milestone with a celebratory season, a new theater company opens its first show.

WaterTower Theatre in Addison announced its 2020-2021 season, marking its silver anniversary with musicals, monsters, two Tony Award-winning plays and a 25th anniversary season celebration.

“I think it very much represents a new beginning but also a continuation of the excellence that put WaterTower on the map,” Shane Peterman, WaterTower Theatre’s Producing Artistic Director, said.

The 2020-2021 Terry Martin Main Stage Season begins with the musical adaptation of the hit 1974 film, Young Frankenstein, directed by Cheryl Denson and music directed by Adam C. Wright. 

Filled with outrageous laughs that only a Mel Brooks show can deliver, this adaptation from London’s West End was awarded the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Musical in 2018. The musical runs from Oct. 22 to Nov. 8.

Programmed to complement Young Frankenstein, the theater will present the U.S. premiere of AMP: The Electrifying Story of Mary Shelley, written and performed by Jody Christopherson and directed by Isaac Byrnein the Karol Omlor Studio.  AMP is an electrifying 60-minute solo work based on the life of Mary Shelley, the creation of Frankenstein, and the birth of modern feminism.

“I knew that it paired perfectly with Young Frankenstein and gave us an opportunity to develop a new work, a feminist work, the story of a literary giant. It was a no-brainer,” Elizabeth Kensek, WaterTower Theatre’s Associate Producer, said. The show runs from Oct. 22-25 as a season add-on.

The 25th season continues with an all-new Cirque Holidays, a co-production with Lone Star Circus, featuring new acts by circus performers from all around the world through a unique blend of theatre and circus. The show runs Dec. 10-20 as a season add-on.

The new year begins with the regional premiere of Simon Stephens’ play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, directed by Emily Scott Banks.  This Tony Award winning contemporary play tells the story of fifteen-year-old Christopher, an extraordinary boy who is determined to solve a mystery in his West London neighborhood. This show runs Feb. 4-21, 2021.

WaterTower Theatre is celebrating the theater’s silver anniversary with its 25th Anniversary Concert event. The event will celebrate the history of WaterTower Theatre by featuring North Texas performers and musicians who have performed on the theater’s stage over 25 years.

“I think that Dallas-Fort Worth has some of the most incredible artists in the nation. We have an embarrassment of riches,” Kensek said. The show will run from March 4-21, 2021. 

Phyllis Cicero director of A Raisin in the Sun (Photo by Jason Anderson)

Phyllis Cicero will direct Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun.  This American classic tells the story of the Younger family living in Chicago in the 1950’s, a story that remains as powerful and relevant today as it was 50 years ago. The drama will run April 22 – May 9, 2021.

The season concludes with the world premiere of a musical, Goin’ Hollywood by Stephen Cole & David Krane.  Alice Chandler and her writing partner Garson Stein find themselves hurtling back in time to Hollywood in 1949, the golden age of movie musicals where they meet L. B. Mayer who hires them as writers. Alice and Garson soon discover that everything is not as they imagined; the studio system crumbling around them and the blacklist is targeting their closest allies.

Peterman hopes Goin’ Hollywood moves to Broadway. “One of my big goals is to put this theater company and this town on the map as much as the Dallas Theater Center by having something that moves straight onto New York,” Peterman said. The musical runs June 10-27, 2021.

Emily Ernst as Juliet with Brandon Walker as Romeo (Photo by Joshua L. Peugh courtesy of Fair Assembly)

Three alumni of Southern Methodist University’s Meadows School of the Arts have united to form a new theater company, Fair Assembly. The company’s first annual production is a brisk, minimally produced production of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, set to be performed Jan. 30 – Feb. 2 at Arts Mission Oak Cliff in Dallas.

The company is the initiative of Emily Ernst (recent graduate of Ecole Internationale de Theatre Jacques Lecoq and Associate Director of Flatwater Shakespeare Company), Joshua L. Peugh (Founder and Artistic Director of Dark Circles Contemporary Dance), and Baltimore-based actor Chris Rutherford.

“We didn't set out to start a company; we actually just wanted to do a project that brought some of our classmates back together to create something again after working on our own for 13 years. The amount of knowledge and experience in this group is spectacular, and that collected knowledge--along with our shared training--has created a rehearsal process that feels so fresh and alive,” Peugh said.

The company’s name is a nod to its first production. “A fair assembly" is one of Romeo's lines. It's a phrase that appears more than once in Shakespeare--it's in Much Ado, All's Well that Ends Well, and Henry VIII,” Ernst said.

Ian Ferguson as Mercutio (Photo by Joshua L. Peugh courtesy of Fair Assembly)

The Shakespearean classic provides an ideal opportunity for the new company to pursue its mission.

Romeo and Juliet is a spectacular, iconic piece of art that has been interpreted and reimagined forever. It's always thrilling to me personally to return to the source of an iconic character or story and see what is really there and what has been lost, added, or manipulated,” Peugh said. “We don't plan to limit ourselves to Shakespeare although we are ‘Shakespeare curious.’ We've discussed mounting works from Brecht to Jesus Christ Superstar in the future. As long as we're fulfilling our mission to produce work that is physically alive, textually stimulating and that is driven by an ensemble, anything is game.”

The rehearsal process reflects the company’s intentions for the future.

“It's more democratic than the American tradition of one director, one vision, one concept. Three people who form a directing team. If we tell the story clearly and without too much ornamentation and concept, it doesn't matter who has the best idea. We all recognize what is physically true onstage,” Ernst said.

Learn More: WaterTowerTheatre.org | Fair Assembly on Facebook

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