There is no denying that 2012 was a great year for theatre in Houston. Excellent productions were housed all over the city. And with the way things are shaping up, it appears that 2013 will be another fabulous year for theatre in the city. As I glance at the calendar for 2013, I find that there are many productions that I am already looking forward to. Utilizing the greatest restraint I could muster and considerable effort, I offer to you my top 5 most anticipated shows of 2013 in the order that they open...
Houston Grand Opera's production of SHOW BOAT (January 18 to February 9, 2013)-This piece of American musical theatre is extremely important in the development of the genre. Premiering in 1927, it was the first musical to join together spectacle with the serious. It was not entertainment for entertainment's sake. It did away with the light frivolities of the trivial and unrealistic operettas, light musical comedies, and follies type shows that came before it. Ahead of its time, SHOW BOAT laid the groundwork for the "book musical," which later came into its own as an art form with the 1943 premiere of OKLAHOMA.
Theatre Under the Stars' production of CAMELOT (January 22 to February 3, 2013)-It has been a while since Houston has seen a production of CAMELOT, and TUTS is pulling out all the stops. TUTS is bringing some major Broadway power into this production. Likewise, the duo that wrote CAMELOT also created Broadway classics such as MY FAIR LADY and BRIGADOON. Having never seen CAMELOT (not even the film adaptation), I am thrilled to see this classic brought to life by such a capable and large company.
The three productions of LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS-1.) Produced by Bayou City Theatrics (February 15 to February 24, 2013), 2.) Produced by Stage Door, Inc. (March 28 to April 21, 2013), and 3.) Produced by Music Box Musicals (Summer 2013)-This frivolous and fun musical is included for purely selfish reasons. This piece is perhaps my favorite piece of musical theater. As a toddler, I drove my family insane by demanding to see "Plant Movie" over and over (often in the same day). I don't know what nerve this show strikes in me, but I love seeing it as often as possible. I never grow tired of it. There is something magical about an Alan Menken score coupled with the interaction of humans with puppets made to look like man-eating space aliens that I simply cannot get enough of.
Houston Ballet's production of THE RITE OF SPRING (March 7 to March 17, 2013)-The premiere of this rich, dark, and brooding score by Igor Stravinsky and avant-garde choreography by Vaslav Nijinsky almost caused a riot in 1913. The Houston Ballet will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the piece with choreography by Stanton Welch. While I don't expect Houston audiences will react in a similar fashion as the 1913 Parisian audiences did, I do think that Stanton Welch and his excellent dancers will have some fantastic and thrilling surprises in store for us. This is sure to be a night of ballet you won't be forgetting anytime soon.
Stages Repertory Theatre's production of DOLLHOUSE (April 3 to April 28, 2013)-Rebecca Gilman's modernization of Henrik Ibsen's classic A DOLL HOUSE promises to provide an ending that is just as shocking to modern audiences as Henrik Ibsen's ending was for his original audiences. Moreover, Rebecca Gilman's play explores all of the major themes and problems that Henrik Ibsen's original did. Concerning its examination of relationships, Bill Gorman wrote "DOLLHOUSE is the kind of play that could cause a difference of opinion with your significant other." Also, Chicago Sun-Times critic Hedy Weiss felt that the play "may also turn out to be the quintessential American play of the early 21st century." With the allure of pristine profundity squarely in place, it is hard to ignore such glowing notices that only add to the anticpation of this piece.