ARTS & CULTURE
TheatreSquared Opens 15th Anniversary Season with Options to Watch at the Theater or at Home
Banner season features new plays, Tony Award-winning musicals and the world premiere of Designing Women
Text and photos courtesy of TheatreSquared
Though Northwest Arkansas has been without live, in-person performances since March, TheatreSquared has been busy behind the scenes. The company — now Arkansas’ largest professional theater, nationally recognized for its original productions — begins a yearlong celebration of its 15th anniversary this fall.The company is also celebrating the completion of its $31 million two-venue facility, which has attracted national praise from Architect Magazine, ArchTypeand others. Since performances were suspended to support COVID-19 containment efforts, the company has been building sets, assembling creative teams, casting plays, offering digital educational outreach and developing new works.
“Our community is strong, and our art is resilient,” said T2 Artistic Director Robert Ford. “We will rise to these challenges and continue to adapt to serve Northwest Arkansas, our artists and the American theater.”
“We’ll be ready to welcome audiences back as soon as the local health circumstances permit, and we’re planning to resume performances this fall,” said T2 Executive Director Martin Miller. “The safety of our artists and audiences is paramount, and we’ve instituted rigorous new electrostatic sanitation and collaborated with live television broadcasters to give us the option to either join our performances in person at the theater or stream them live in high definition to ticket buyers at home.”
The Commons Reopens for Outdoor Dining, Online Ordering
The Commons Bar/Café, located in the architecturally significant public space at the new TheatreSquared, is also reopening for outdoor service this August. Through partnerships with local restaurants, the café offers a full bar with craft cocktails, Wood Stone Craft Pizza, a custom blend of Arsaga’s coffee, artisan sandwiches on toasted Dirty Apron baguettes, confections from Briar Rose and salads with fresh Ozark All Seasons greens. Sixteen taps at The Commons feature rotating local and national craft beers alongside cocktails and premium wines. The venue
is initially opening with modified hours; guests can visit commonsbarcafe.comto pre-order online or call (479) 777-7017 for details.
The Season — Last Chance to be a Founding Subscriber
The expanded season features seven brand-new plays, a December return engagement of T2’s signature holiday classic, A Christmas Carol, and the three titles which were delayed in the virus containment efforts.
The seven-play 2020 15th anniversary subscription series will include a world premiere adaptation of Designing Womenby Linda Bloodworth Thomason, the creator of the megahit television series who has deep connections to Northwest Arkansas. It’s 2020 and Julia, Suzanne, Mary Jo and Charlene are on the verge of a radical decision. TheNew York Times celebrated the title in March, saying, “Designing Womenis under renovation for TheatreSquared’s new, permanent building…” With headline buzz from the national press, this timely, whip-smart, new Southern comedy is set to take the theater world by storm.
TheatreSquared will also stage a tribute to science in The Half-Life of Marie Curie.The new off-Broadway hit byLauren Gunderson, author of Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley,illuminates the real-life friendship of two rockstar scientists, with both women at the height of their careers and lives. This potent mix of science, scandal, humor and humanity “radiatesempowerment.” (Time Out NY)
The season will also feature the joyous roadtrip musical Violet, from the Tony Award-winning composer of Fun Home, Jeanine Tesori, and her collaborator Brian Crawley. When Violet hops onto a Greyhound bus traveling across Arkansas toward a miracle in Tulsa, it turns into the journey of a lifetime. “A terrific, heart-stirring musical with tangy flavors of country, gospel, blues and honky-tonk rock.” (NYTimes).
Over the winter, T2 will remind us that high school is dramatic even in Ghana with what NY Magazinecalled a “funny and fast-paced” new comedy in School Girls, or, The African Mean Girls Playby Jocelyn Bioh. Paulina, the reigning queen at Ghana’s most exclusive boarding school, is sure she’s a lock for the Miss Global Universe pageant – until a new rival arrives. Extended twice in its off-Broadway debut, the play has a strictly limited engagement in Northwest Arkansas.
Similarly sure to sell out is American Mariachiby Jose Cruz Gonzalez. A hilarious and heartwarming new comedy filled with explosive, joyous live music. In what the Denver Postcalled, “A big-hearted, musical tug at the heartstrings,” a ragtag group of young women defy tradition — and their parents — by secretly launching an all-female mariachi band.
Also on stage will be a truthful and darkly hilarious new comedy by Bryna Turner called At the Wedding. The play willdebut at Lincoln Center and then come back to where it was originally developed – TheatreSquared. Carlo is going to be really well behaved today. She’s not going to get drunk. She’s not going to give any long-winded speeches. And she’s definitely not going to try to steal the bride back.
Also, the season will offer a new performance schedule that will feature the three titles originally scheduled for spring 2020. In Ann, a one-woman tour de force shows us the “funny, fiery, salty and brash” Gov. Ann Richards (NYTimes), whose ambitions and famous one-liners were even bigger than Texas.My Father’s Waris a funny — and deeply moving — time-traveling adventurestarring Amy Herzberg. Whenshe puts on her father’s 1940s helmet, Amy plunges back into a world at war, surviving one near-death experience after another through luck, chutzpah and sheer comic timing. And in June 2021, TheatreSquared will stage Matilda the Musical. Riotously acclaimed and five-time Tony Award-winner Matildais an international phenomenon. Fresh from its hit Broadway run, it’s the story of an extraordinary girl who, armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, dares to take a stand and change her own destiny.
Finally, nothing says summer like a romantic comedy. And in summer 2021, the stage will swell with a music-filled version of William Shakespeare’s “most wonderful” romantic comedy, Twelfth Night, brought to life by TheatreSquared. A frothy blend of shipwrecked twins, drunken pranks, music, foolery and impassioned love all crash together for one singular — and hilarious — live theater experience.
Tickets for TheatreSquared’s 15th Anniversary Season are on sale now. Founding subscription options include seven to 11 play packages starting at $119, with four to six play flex packages starting at $69. Benefits for season ticket holders also include savings of up to 20%, free unlimited exchanges, discounted reserved parking and same-day discounts in the Commons Bar/Café and other T2 restaurant and hotel partners.
Subscriptions and single tickets can be reserved by visitingtheatre2.org/subscribeor calling (479) 777-7477.