The Triangle’s vibrant theater scene, with more than 50 theater companies and presenting organizations, offers everything from hit musicals on tour and plays fresh from Broadway to original works by area playwrights.
Here are some highlights to sample this spring.
▪ “Bright Star”: April 17-22, N.C. Theatre/Broadway Series South, Memorial Auditorium, Raleigh. nctheatre.com. Academy Award winner Steve Martin and Grammy winner Edie Brickell’s 2016 Broadway musical about love and redemption in the 1920s is set in N.C. locations, including Raleigh and Zebulon.
▪ “Waitress”: May 1-6, Durham Performing Arts Center. dpacnc.com. This still-running Broadway musical, based on the popular 2007 film starring Keri Russell, comes from six-time Grammy nominee Sara Bareilles and screenwriter Jessie Nelso. It tells the story of Jenna, a waitress and expert pie maker, who wants out of her small town and her loveless marriage.
▪ “Phantom of the Opera”: Feb. 28-March 11, Durham Performing Arts Center. dpacnc.com. The official touring production of Broadway’s longest-running musical comes with new scenery, choreography and staging.
▪ “The Wizard of Oz”: March 13-18, N.C. Theatre/Broadway Series South, Memorial Auditorium, Raleigh. nctheatre.com. This classic script (not the recent Andrew Lloyd Webber adaptation) comes with all the familiar songs and scenes.
▪ “The Color Purple”: April 3-8, Durham Performing Arts Center. dpacnc.com. Based on the beloved Alice Walker novel, this newly reconceived version won the 2016 Tony Award for Best Musical Revival.
▪ “The Sound of Music”: April 20-22, Durham Performing Arts Center. dpacnc.com. The Rodgers and Hammerstein classic is back for a visit in a version with an eye towards age-appropriate casting and deeper characterizations.
Fresh from Broadway
▪ “King Charles III”: April 12-29, Burning Coal Theatre, Raleigh. burningcoal.org. Mike Bartlett’s speculative play about Prince Charles as King of England deals with scandals and the press. The show ran on Broadway in 2016, and a filmed version was shown on PBS last year.
▪ “Hand to God”: April 20-May 6, Theatre in the Park, Raleigh. theatreinthepark.com. The 2015 Tony-nominated play is an irreverent comedy about a Texas fundamental church’s puppet ministry for teens, which goes awry when the puppets begin expressing the “sinful” desires of the teens manipulating them.
Two premieres – One local playwright
Triangle-based playwrightMike Wiley has the rare privilege of two scripts premiering this spring.
▪ “Leaving Eden”: April 4-22, PlayMakers Repertory Company, Chapel Hill. playmakersrep.org. A story of racial tensions and economic difficulties in a small N.C. town, enhanced with songs and music by Laurelyn Dossett.
▪ “Blood Done Sign My Name”: May 11-27, Raleigh Little Theatre, Raleigh. raleighlittletheatre.org. A new full-cast version, expanded from Wiley’s earlier one-man show, is based on the Timothy Tyson book about the 1970 murder of Henry “Dickie” Marrow in Oxford, N.C.
A Fond Farewell
Durham’s Manbites Dog Theatre, after 31 seasons as a beloved theatrical institution, is closing its doors to become a funding organization supporting local theatres and artists. This will be its final show.
▪ “Wakey, Wakey”: May 10-June 10, manbitesdogtheater.org. Will Eno’s 2017 Off-Broadway play has a protagonist that deals with impending death by seeing it as part of the vaudeville of life, with all its delights and failings, a fitting metaphor for what Manbites has given its audiences to laugh and cry over through the years.
Roy Dicks: email@example.com