The Catastrophic Theatre's fifth anniversary season is also the twentieth anniversary of artistic director Jason Nodler and associate director Tamarie Cooper's first collaboration for the stage. And if that weren't cause enough for celebration already it is also Catastrophic's inaugural season in its new facility at 1119 E. Freeway.
We've worked to see that each of these plays honors these artists' common past while looking to the future. We've got two world premieres, a return to company favorite Wallace Shawn, Samuel Beckett's seminal work, and a limited run remount of 2011's beloved hit There Is A Happiness That Morning Is.
Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
March 22 - April 13 at The Catastrophic Theatre
Catastrophic artistic director Jason Nodler will direct Greg Dean, Troy Schulze, Charlie Scott, and Kyle Sturdivant in the most enduring play from the unwitting inventor of the Theatre of the Absurd. Last year Nodler directed Dean and Schulze in an award-winning production of Beckett's Endgame, which led the Houston Chronicle to ask, "Does Beckett Get Any Better?" and the Houston Press to declare "The magnificent Endgame gets magnificent treatment from Catastrophic." We cannot think of any better play with which to inaugurate our new theatre. As an elderly homeless man once said to Nodler upon seeing his Endgame t-shirt, "Samuel Beckett, heh, heh, heh..." We couldn't have put it better ourselves.
There Is A Happiness That Morning Is by Mickle Maher
May 10 - 25 at The Catastrophic Theatre
Very Limited Run
Last summer's 11-week, sold-out run of Maher's beautiful ode to love, sex, and the poetry of William Blake inspired the Chronicle's Everett Evans to begin his review, "I can scarcely contain my enthusiasm for Catastrophic Theatre's ideally realized presentation of Mickle Maher's delightfully original There Is A Happiness That Morning Is, so I'm not even going to try." On the morning after two university professors made love on the public green for all to see, they must successfully defend or apologize for their actions or risk losing their jobs, their love, and their lives as they've come to know them. An extraordinary romantic comedy, told almost entirely in verse, Catastrophic is bringing this one back because you demanded it. Nodler directs Catastrophic stars Amy Bruce, Troy Schulze, and Kyle Sturdivant in their original roles. Catch it early if you can. There's an excellent chance you'll want to return with friends.
Tamarie Cooper is Old as Hell by Tamarie Cooper, PatRick Reynolds, and friends
July 12 - August 24 at The Catastrophic Theatre
Tamarie's back with the next installment of her series of super-popular, original musicals, but this time there's a problem. At the end of the opening number, the Theatre Police arrive threatening to close down the show. They cite Tamarie for being in violation of the Ingenue Code, which relegates all actresses over the age of 40 to play character roles like nosy neighbors, crazy aunts, and dotty maids. The only way to save the show is to recast the role of Tamarie with a younger actress. Removed from her own show, Tamarie attempts to connect with the youth of today in order to demonstrate her suitability to play the role of herself. Tamarie Cooper is Old as Hell features a live orchestra, an original score, an enormous cast, and more singing, dancing, and over-the-top hilarity than you can throw a pie at.
The Pine by Mickle Maher
September 27 - October 19 at The Catastrophic Theatre
This one's been a long time in the making and we've been talking it up since The MAP Fund awarded Mickle Maher, Jason Nodler, and The Catastrophic Theatre ensemble a commission to create a new work for the stage. Maher will write, Nodler will direct, and the ensemble will do everything else. Chicago playwright Mickle Maher has become familiar to Catastrophic audiences through the production of three of his previous plays: The Strangerer, Spirits to Enforce, and the afore-mentioned There Is A Happiness That Morning Is. Audiences and critics have agreed that Catastrophic's productions of Maher's remarkable works have been among our very best. The Pine is a fairy tale mixed up with a ghost story mixed up with Amazing Stories-type pulp fiction. It takes place in the ghost of an old hotel--one filled with an infinite number of rooms, each one of them infinite itself. As per usual, Maher is drawing from a number of unlikely sources to create something much more than the sum of its parts. After all, Maher has yet to write a play that failed to enchant and astound. And did we mention it's in verse? This one's going to be a doozy.