The School of Theatre & Dance at the Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts at the University of Houston is pleased to announce its 2022-23 season. Featuring 10 productions, the season promises to be one of the school’s most ambitious in recent memory.
For the first time ever, this production season will feature professional guest directors leading each play.
“We have been hiring more and more professional directors in recent years, and the 2022-23 season is the culmination of that initiative,” said Robert Shimko, director of the School of Theatre & Dance. “Some of these exciting guest artists have prior connections to our school, while others are making their UH directing debuts.”
The season kicks off in September with the classic Moliére comedy “The Learned Ladies,” directed by Brandon Weinbrenner, associate producer and casting director at the Alley Theatre.
“Brandon directed a wonderful production of ‘Picnic’ at UH last year, and we are very excited for his hilarious 90s sitcom-inspired take on ‘The Learned Ladies,’” Shimko said.
November will see the world premiere of “Fish’s Belly,” written by UH senior playwright Jaurius Norman and directed by recent alum ShaWanna Renee Rivon. Inspired by George C. Wolfe’s modern classic “The Colored Museum,” “Fish’s Belly” centers a thematically-linked set of narratives about missing Black youths.
“Jaurius’ play tackles the underreported problem of missing Black kids in America,” Shimko said. “It’s an incredibly powerful piece of work—a truly amazing debut play by a rising young star.”
Other highlights in the fall semester include a highly imaginative young audiences production of “Rumpelstiltskin,” as well as José Zayas directing the Obie Award-winning magical realist play “Marisol.” Zayas has directed over 100 productions in New York, regionally and internationally, and directed a show at the Alley Theatre last year. The fall semester will conclude with the annual Emerging Choreographers Showcase, featuring a diverse selection of new works from up-and-coming dance UH artists.
The spring semester begins in February with “The Wolves,” a recent Pulitzer Prize finalist about a girls’ high school soccer team, directed by Sophia Watt.
Aaron Brown, a first-time UH director and professor of directing at Sam Houston State University, will helm a dynamic production of “Shakespeare in Love,” a stage adaptation of the Oscar-winning film.
Also included is the eleventh annual 10-Minute Play Festival, featuring nine brand new works from the school’s Bachelor of Fine Arts playwriting program. The season will conclude with UH Ensemble Dance Works, featuring a slate of exciting original pieces choreographed by UH Dance faculty and professional guest artists.
“The Learned Ladies” by Moliére
Directed by Brandon Weinbrenner
Performances: Sept. 23 – Oct. 2
Young Henriette is in love with the dashing Clitandre, but her mother wants her to marry the intellectual Trissotin. And even though her father wants her to follow her heart, her sister wants her to quit it with the boys and get back to studying! And of course, there’s a hefty dowry to factor in. What’s a girl to do? In a production that is simultaneously a seventeenth-century French satire and a ‘90s sitcom set in New Orleans, “The Learned Ladies” invokes laughter, love, and politics to ask the question: Do you know what’s good for your own life?
“Marisol” by José Rivera
Directed by José Zayas
Performances: Oct. 21 – 30
Brooklyn is a war zone, coffee is extinct, the moon has disappeared, and angels are trading in their wings for machine guns. As a celestial battle against an old and senile God brews in heaven, the rebellion spills over into New York City. Without the protection of her guardian angel, Marisol Perez begins a surreal journey through the chaos of a crumbling world to find her way home. Met by vagrants and vagabonds at every turn, she must salvage what hope remains amidst the rubble of the apocalypse.
“Fish's Belly” by Jaurius Norman
Directed by ShaWanna Renee Rivon
Performances: Nov. 11 – 13
This world premiere, written by UH School of Theater & Dance senior Jaurius Norman, presents a stylized, episodic chronicle of individuals navigating an America where Black children go missing at higher rates than their peers. Inspired by George C. Wolfe’s modern classic “The Colored Museum,” “Fish’s Belly” centers a thematically linked set of narratives about missing Black youths, an issue that all too frequently goes underrepresented in the media.
“Rumpelstiltskin” by Linda Daugherty
Directed by Afsaneh Aayani
Performances: Nov. 17 – 20
In this playful adaptation of the Grimm Brothers’ fairytale, a young woman, Alana, must enlist the help of a mysterious stranger to ensure the safety of herself and her father. However, everything has its price, and her future hinges on Alana discovering the name of this troll-like creature. “Rumplestiltskin” features unique and exciting puppetry to heighten an entertaining comedy about greed, love and trickery.
Performances: Dec. 2 – 3
For over twenty years, the UH School of Theatre & Dance has presented the Emerging Choreographers Showcase to introduce audiences to rising student talent. UH School of Theatre & Dance students produce, choreograph, perform, and design the entire evening, showcasing their performance, design, and production skills in a professional theatre setting.
“The Wolves” by Sarah DeLappe
Directed by Sophia Watt
Performances: Feb. 24 – March 5
Left quad. Right quad. Lunge. A competitive girls indoor soccer team warms up. Nationals are just a few weeks away and the pressure is on. Nine young women prepare for adulthood and independence as their endurance and strength is tested both on and off the field. Relatable and resilient, this pack of adolescent warriors will push and train for their games, while navigating a growing understanding of their complicated world. A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, “The Wolves” boldly celebrates the grit and grace of 21st-century American girls.
“Circle Mirror Transformation” by Annie Baker
Directed by Elizabeth Bunch
Performances: March 3 – 5
Five people are each on a search for something that will change them, anchor them, or help them find a new life path. That hunt brings them together for a community-center drama class. As they begin to experiment with exercises and games, hearts are mended, humor springs from honesty, and tiny wars are waged and won. Winner of the Obie Award for Best New American Play, “Circle Mirror Transformation” is a beautiful diorama, a petri dish in which we see, with hilarious detail and clarity, the antic truthfulness that can be revealed when we put hearts on the line in a rehearsal room.
“Shakespeare in Love” by Lee Hall
Directed by Aaron Brown
Performances: April 7 – 16
Young Will Shakespeare has writer's block. The deadline for his new play is fast approaching, but he's in desperate need of inspiration. That is, until he finds his muse... the feisty, brilliant and beautiful Viola. This crafty young woman is Will’s greatest admirer and will stop at nothing (including breaking the law) to appear in his next play. Against a bustling background of mistaken identity, ruthless scheming and backstage theatrics, Will’s love for Viola quickly blossoms, inspiring him to write his greatest romantic masterpiece.
10-Minute Play Festival
Directed by Various
Performances: April 28 – 30
The UH School of Theatre & Dance is excited to present the eleventh annual 10-Minute Play Festival! This popular showcase highlights some of the best new work from our BFA playwrights, as well as one curated piece selected from our national 10-minute play contest.
UH Ensemble Dance Works
Performances: April 28 – 30
The spring concert features original dance theatre by faculty and guest artists as performed by our pre-professional dance company, the UH Dance Ensemble. This show is an annual audience favorite! Come see students shine in new works created especially for them.
General Public - $30; Staff/Faculty/Alumni - $25; Seniors and Students - $25. Contact the KGMCA Box Office at (713) 743-3388 or purchase tickets online at: https://kgmcaboxofficetheatredance.universitytickets.com/?cid=169