TSF announces 33rd season selections

2018 main stage shows to include two TSF premieres

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Barely two months after concluding the 32nd Texas Shakespeare Festival season, the company announced the lineup for the 33nd season.

Associate Artistic Directors Meaghan and Matthew Simpson made the announcement on the festival’s Facebook page and YouTube channel Friday afternoon, noting the season includes two TSF premieres.

As has become standard at TSF, the season’s four main stage plays will consist of two plays by William Shakespeare, one non-Shakespearean play and one musical.

The 2018 season will feature “Love’s Labour’s Lost,” “Tartuffe,” “King John” and “110 in the Shade,” along with a children’s play and an UpStairs Space production that will be announced later this fall.

Shakespeare’s “Love’s Labour’s Lost” will open the season, marking the return of the play that was previously part of the 2009 and 1994 seasons.

“A comic romp about a young king and his three friends who swear to avoid the company of women in favor of more intellectual pursuits, until they meet four beautiful young women who make it impossible for them to keep that vow,” Matthew Simpson said during the announcement video. “Young at heart, colorful and full of nostalgia, ‘Love’s Labour’s Lost’ is sure to delight audiences of all ages.”

The TSF production will be set in the 1920s and feature popular songs from that period.

Molière’s “Tartuffe” also will make a return to Kilgore after being performed during the 2009 and 1989 seasons.

“We are bringing back one of dramatic literature’s true comic masterpieces… When the kind, yet gullible Orgon invites a religious zealot named Tartuffe into his home, he has no idea that he has accepted a snake into his den,” Meaghan Simpson said in the video. “As the play unfolds, Orgon’s wife and son, through a series of deliciously vengeful tricks, succeed in exposing Tartuffe as one of the world’s most detestable hypocrites.”

The final two main stage shows will be TSF premieres. The first is Shakespeare’s play “King John.”

“The play deals with John’s unfortunate decisions and his human shortcomings,” Matthew said calling it one of the most dramatic periods in England’s history. “Royal infighting about who is the rightful heir to the throne and the political and social unrest during King John’s reign.”

Although King John can be remembered as the king who was forced to sign the Magna Carta or who fought against Robin Hood, Matthew said, Shakespeare avoids both of those story lines. Instead, the story is about “the fall of a weak king and the rise of a stronger one.”

“The play is full of surprises and memorable characters, and it offers our audience a chance to see a rare performance of one of Shakespeare’s hidden gems,” he said.

The season’s final main stage show will be another premiere with the musical “110 in the Shade,” set in a drought-stricken western American town desperate for rain, Meaghan said.

The 1964 musical is based on the Broadway play “The Rainmaker” by Richard Nash.

“(It) tells a heartwarming story of young Lizzie Curry, who is convinced she will be a spinster, and Bill Starbuck, the charming con-man who comes into town promising to make it rain,” Meaghan said. “It is a musical about the value of hope and the importance of dreams; the power of believing in something. It is a touching love story that rekindles our faith in human nature and uplifts our human spirit.”

In addition to the summer announcement, TSF also announced Tuesday the start of the fall TSF Roadshow.

This fall marks the Roadshow’s move to October and November from the spring. TSF Guild members will get a chance to see a free performance of the educational traveling shows (“The Taming of the Shrew” at 2 p.m. and “Shakespeare’s Greatest Hits” at 4 p.m.) on Sunday, Nov. 5 in the Festival Center’s UpStairs Space.

Each show lasts about one hour with an abridged version of “The Taming of the Shrew” and a collection of scenes from Shakespeare’s shows making up the “Shakespeare’s Greatest Hits.” Included among the scenes are “As You Like It,” “Hamlet,” “Twelfth Night,” “Macbeth,” “Othello” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

Guild members interested in attending a performance should reserve their seat by calling 903-983-8119.

The holiday season will also see the return of the live radio play “It’s a Wonderful Life” (see inset).

“We look forward to seeing you at the theater this summer to celebrate another season, and we thank you for your support and patronage for the last 32 years.”

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