After two years of last-minute show announcements and up-in-the-air production calendars due to COVID-19, local performing-arts companies are finally back to planning and announcing full seasons, with several of them bringing back season tickets.
And I do mean full seasons. This fall’s jam-packed lineup promises to keep you busy nearly every weekend. You’ll find numerous small, relationship-oriented comedies; thought-provoking, issue-driven dramas; and a few cherished musicals, not to mention holiday fare, both new and classic.
Despite my best efforts, not every company could be reached, nor did they all provide show information by press time. Be sure to check companies’ websites for schedule and ticketing information.
Reno’s only readers’ theater troupe continues its tradition of presenting twice-monthly dramatic readings of popular plays on the Reno Little Theater stage. This fall brings a lineup of dramas dealing with family dynamics and dysfunction.
On Oct. 18 and 21, look for James Sherman’s Relatively Close, about three sisters who return to their summer home on Lake Michigan following their parents’ death to decide what to do with the house and furnishings, which makes for a tense, comedic family gathering.
Next comes A.R. Gurney’s Love and Money on Nov. 15 and 18. It’s a comedy about wealthy widow Cornelia Cunningham, who is determined to donate her ill-gotten gains. But her plan hits a snag when a young man arrives claiming to be a relation and rightful heir.
That’s followed by ART’s holiday offering, Phil Olson’s A Nice Family Christmas, Dec. 13 and 16, about a widow who begins receiving unexpected visits from family members, including one who plans to write an exposé detailing his family’s dirty secrets.
All performances are free (donations welcome) and take place at 1 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Auditions just wrapped for A.V.A. Ballet’s Nutcracker, the most highly attended nonprofit performing arts event in Northern Nevada. It was one of the only shows to have been performed before a live audience in December 2020—though they were limited to 50 people at a time, and performed selected scenes only.
Fortunately, the big show is back at full length and full capacity this year, Dec. 9-11, at the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts. Look for guest artists from prominent international ballet companies and accompaniment by the full Reno Philharmonic Orchestra, with Laura Jackson conducting. Purchase tickets on the Pioneer Center’s website.
The folks at Brüka have dubbed its 30th anniversary season “Illuminate.” Its lineup includes thoughtful plays that seek to shed light on existing works, characters and ideas. Brüka is bringing back its season tickets after two years without them.
First up is Jen Silverman’s The Moors, Oct. 7-29. It is a dark comedy/gothic romance about two unhappy sisters who live with their maid and dog in an isolated home in the desolate English wilds.
Next up is the 12th annual Biggest Little Theatre and New Works Festival, Nov. 10-13, featuring a variety of local playwrights and theater artists performing and reading bold, original new works.
A cherished holiday cult classic once again returns after three long years: Brüka’s Buttcracker takes the stage Dec. 2-22—and what a long, strange trip it’s been for this annual, homegrown riff on the most popular ballet in history. (There’s no high-brow toe-shoeing here.) This year’s theme, Rockstar, has Clara playing the part of groupie to an array of spectacular and wickedly weird rockstars.
Things once again get serious at the start of 2023, when The Lifespan of a Fact runs Jan. 20-Feb. 11 and explores the blurring of lines between fact and fiction in the contemporary world of literary nonfiction.
There’s new blood at the helm of GLM: Sarah Hinz brings an impressive background in theater production and directorship in New York and Minnesota to her new role as GLM’s executive director, replacing Christopher Daniels, who stepped down this summer to pursue other opportunities. Hinz’s energy and ideas promise exciting things for the 2023 season, which will be announced in October. (GLM observes a calendar-year schedule.)
Speaking of “new blood,” Daniels’ final act with GLM will be as co-director, along with Joe Atack, of the show that kicked off his GLM career eight years ago: Evil Dead The Musical, Oct. 7-29. This slasher parody plops five college students into an abandoned cabin in the woods for spring break, where they encounter demonic forces. It’s campy, comedic horror with plenty of blood spatter to go around. (Fair warning: Dress appropriately, front-row patrons.) This one’s selling fast, so get your tickets early.
The rest of the 2022 season was somewhat up in the air at press time. Keep an eye on the website for a Reno Jazz Orchestra concert, a December fundraiser and more.
RLT is hitting an impressive milestone this fall—the beginning of its 88th season! Executive director Melissa Taylor says this also will be RLT’s first full season of mainstage shows since before the pandemic began, which means season tickets are once again available for purchase.
It kicks off with Tiny Beautiful Things, based on the book by Cheryl Strayed and adapted for the stage by actor/writer Nia Vardalos. The scriptis drawn from real letters about real problems that Strayed received when working as an advice columnist called “Dear Sugar.” It runs Sept. 30-Oct. 16.
Since we’re all relearning family dynamics at Christmastime after two pandemic years, RLT’s How to Survive Your Family at Christmas, Dec. 1-18, seems fitting. It’s the story of a Harvard student coming home for the holidays and realizing she now has little in common with her blue-collar family.
From Nov. 11-20, the RLT Broadway Our Way youth program presents Northwoods Nonsense. In this light comedy featuring a cast of about 20, a family with a rundown vacation cabin in the woods attempts to drum up visitors by faking a Bigfoot sighting.
RLT also continues to host Ageless Repertory Theatre’s twice-monthly performances, as well as monthly For the Love of Jazz shows and productions from Latino Arte, including its Dia de los Muertos festival. Keep checking the RLT website for an updated schedule.
Finally, make plans to catch RLT’s first mainstage show of the new year, farce-master Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville, a fun, fast-paced version of the classic Sherlock Holmes story The Hound of the Baskervilles, opening Jan. 20.
Fresh off its production of Swan Lake, SNB is turning its attention to lighter fare—Peanutcracker: The Story in a Nutshell, a locally beloved tradition since SNB’s founding artistic director, Rosine Bena-Porter, first created it in the mid-’90s after hearing how many young children loved seeing The Nutcracker, but had trouble paying attention the whole way through.
Bena-Porter’s abbreviated version is just 45 minutes long. Along with performances designed specifically for the Washoe County and Carson City school districts, two performances will be open to the public on Dec. 4 at the Carson City Community Center.
The Pioneer will host several local productions, including the Reno Philharmonic’s Classix Series installments Scheherazade on Oct. 15 and 16, The Organ Symphony on Nov. 12 and 13, and perennial holiday favorite Spirit of the Season Dec. 2-4. The “Prince of Spanish Guitar,” Benise, and his flamenco stylings take the stage Oct. 22, and Artown brings Dance Theatre of Harlem to the Pioneer on Oct. 30; and the Soweto Gospel Choir on Nov. 6. Then, of course, there’s A.V.A. Ballet’s The Nutcracker.
We also have two exciting national touring productions to look forward to: The Tony Award-winning musical Hairspray Sept. 27-Oct. 2, and Alton Brown Live: Beyond the Eats—The Holiday Variant on Dec. 16. And mark your calendar for Dear Evan Hansen, part of the Broadway Comes to Reno series, coming Jan. 17-22.
Kevin and Caruso’s Magique features dazzling illusions, impressive special effects, the hottest beats, amazing choreography and multimedia sure to delight. The show runs every Saturday and is appropriate for all ages.
Reno’s resident youth theater company has a newly renovated space on Spokane Street, just in time for its fall production of Treasure Island, running Oct. 14-23. With a cast of about 20 young actors, this compelling show features a 9.5-foot-long pirate ship, sword fights incorporating true fight choreography, actors walking the plank, and all the rest of the treasure-hunting, pirate fun of R.L. Stevenson’s story.
Next comes TWNN’s annual fall festival, Oct. 28-29. The front of the house features entire-family-friendly carnival games and a bake sale, while the back will house TWNN’s own brand of haunted house, for which the troupe unearths costume goodies from shows past and makes those characters spooky—think Aladdin and Willy Wonka with a creepy twist. This free fundraiser encourages donations from attendees.
Closing out the year is the company’s annual holiday family gala fundraiser, featuring a live, family-friendly theatrical performance, a silent auction, photos with Santa, preshow entertainment, dinner, and champagne and cider toasts. At press time, TWNN still had not confirmed the details, but its show is in the planning stages: a parody of The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Just as the theater department at TMCC was getting excited about its forward movement on a new theater being built on campus, the COVID-19 pandemic put those plans abruptly on the back burner, along with its shows. Now under the guidance of new instructor Shea King, TMCC Performing Arts is slowly rebounding and beginning to offer more arts-educational programs and shows. These include technical theater certifications and apprenticeships; King says these offerings were requested by students, who have specifically asked for tech instruction.
As for shows, its first offering of the season is Abraham Lincoln’s Big Gay Dance Party by Aaron Loeb, Nov. 10-19 in TMCC’s Red Mountain building. It’s the story of a fourth-grade teacher in Illinois who tells her class that their local homegrown hero Abe Lincoln was gay—and the controversy and chaos that erupt as a result.
That paves the way for That Day in Tucson, about the young intern who helped save the life of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords after a shooting rampage. It opens Jan. 30.
King says the department also is excited to move into a new venue in Sparks’ Oddie District for its 2023 shows.
UNR’s Department of Theatre and Dance will launch its fall schedule of performing arts with An Evening of One Acts—a collection of five one-act plays directed by students exploring a multitude of mature themes, running Oct. 7-16. Content is rated PG-13 and includes discussions of suicide.
The musical theater program’s fall musical will be 9 to 5, with music and lyrics by Dolly Parton and book by Patricia Resnick, slated for Oct. 27-Nov. 6.
This year’s Fall Dance Festival, Nov. 16-20, will offer contemporary, innovative pieces by student choreographers as well as pieces by faculty designed in preparation for the American College Dance Association regional festival. A choreographer talk-back will follow the Nov. 17 performance.
The folks at RAT are excited for a busy sixth season and proud to hang their hat on affordable ticket prices, which haven’t been raised since they opened in their downtown Sparks location.
In just a matter of weeks comes Signs of Life, Oct. 28-Nov. 7, about two working-class folks from New Jersey who travel on the interstate highways of the American West to find America and themselves.
Dec. 9-19, RAT will present Things I Know To Be True, by Andrew Bovell. Though it’s relevant to the holidays, being that it’s about family dynamics, it’s probably the only non-holiday-themed play scheduled for December in the area.
That leads right to a second Ken Ludwig show slated for Jan. 6-16: Dear Jack, Dear Louise. It’s an award-winning play that follows the real-life correspondence between his own parents—him, a doctor in the military, and her, a dancer and actress—during World War II, in the midst of their courtship.
Finally, RAT brings back its monthly Friday Chautauquas on Oct. 14, Nov. 11 (Veterans Day), and Jan. 20, welcoming Nikita Khrushchev, Theodore Roosevelt, and Gene Roddenberry, respectively.
SSPA prides itself on its theater education program, and this fall, its offerings include a workshop for ages 13+ called Broadway Choreography Repertoire, which explores original choreography from popular Broadway musicals, taught by Reno’s own Broadway darling, Adam Cates. Then on Oct. 15, SSPA will offer both Little Sprouts! Adventure in Creative Drama for 5-to-8-year-olds, and Broadway Song and Dance, which is taught by Abby Rosen, for ages 9+.
Then SSPA will present Peter Pan, JR, starring a cast of 28 youths ages 8-18; it keeping the beloved story of Peter Pan intact, though condensed to one hour. Performances will take place at Damonte Ranch High School’s theater, Dec. 9-11.
CARSON CITY/CARSON VALLEY
Minden’s own community theater company will present Reginald Rose and Sherman Sergel’s Twelve Angry Jurors (aka Twelve Angry Men) at the Carson Valley Civic Hall, Oct. 14-23. It’s a riveting one-room-set drama about the jury deliberation in the first-degree-murder trial of an 18-year-old Puerto Rican boy accused in the stabbing death of his father.
Only a few days remain this fall for you to tag along with your guide Madame Curry (played by Mary Bennett), wife of Carson City’s founder, Abe Curry, on a walking tour of the capital city’s legendary, haunted locales. The regular 90-minute tours depart from McFadden Plaza on Oct. 1 and 8 at 7 p.m. (flashlight tours); on Oct. 22 there will be two special two-hour, daytime ghost walks, featuring home tours and characters from Carson City’s past. Attendee costumes are encouraged, and merchandise, photo ops, and psychics will be on scene!
Sometimes we just need the good-old-fashioned holiday stuff. Look no further—WNMTC will usher in your holidays with Holiday Inn, Nov. 4-20 at the Carson City Community Center. It’s the story of Jim, who leaves a struggling song-and-dance trio to run a farmhouse in Connecticut, where he showcases performances to celebrate each holiday, from New Year’s Day to the Fourth of July. Romance, impressive dance routines, comedy and a live, professional orchestra come with this Irving Berlin classic that brought us such beloved tunes as “Cheek to Cheek,” “It’s a Lovely Day Today,” “Easter Parade” and “White Christmas.”
This company has increasingly built a great reputation for its Broadway-style musicals that offer performance opportunities and entertainment for children and adults.
Wild Horse Stage Company, its adult division, will present Spring Awakening at the Brewery Arts Center, Jan. 27-Feb. 3. Set during World War II, this Tony Award-winning, angsty rock musical explores the trials and tribulations of adolescence. The company has brought on an inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility (IDEA) consultant to ensure inclusive, diverse casting for this production.
Wild Horse Children’s Theater is not to be outdone in the angst department. From Dec. 2-11, it will present Oliver! JR, another junior version of a major musical that is condensed for young audiences. It captures all the heart and favorite moments of the original Dickens story, with fewer of the dark, dreary ones. The company is incorporating a steampunk theme into the production.