Longtime Houston theater company stages new season of local, diverse tales and rousing romps

One of Houston’s most cherished and longstanding theater groups is making a triumphant return to live, in-person performances, just in time for fall.

Stages has unveiled its 2021-2022 season, which will showcase the venerable company’s impressive new campus, The Gordy.

This new lineup promises comedies, musicals, and six world premieres — four of which have been written by Houston-based playwrights, per a press release. Another draw is the fifth-annual Sin Muros Latinx Theater Festival.

Fall family fun

As mentioned, the new season launches in October with celebrated playwright John Leonard Pielmeier’s Hook’s Tale. The family-friendly romp offers a re-imagining of Peter Pan that questions the real price of refusing to grow up.

Another family-friendly offering in October is the hilarious and Tony-award winning scholastic tale, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. The rousing musical follows six teens competing for the spelling bee championship of a lifetime.

Ushering in the holiday season, Sister’s Christmas Catechism: The Mystery of the Magi’s Gold marks the return of Houston’s favorite wise-cracking nun (Denise Fennell) and her quest to discover what happened to the Magis’ gold.

Panto fans will delight in the world premiere of Panto Little Mermaid, which makes a splash with magic, romance, and silliness for all ages. The Panto work comes courtesy of Houston-based playwrights Elizabeth A.M. Keel and ShaWanna Renee Rivon.

Tooled-together tale

The new year fun gets whittled together with MacGyver: The Musical, which is based on the original TV series created by Lee David Zlotoff. The rock-n-roll musical comedy pits MacGyver against the Soviet Empire and as added fan fun, the leading actor who plays MacGyver is selected from the audience each night, a press release notes.

Spring flings

February 2022 marks the aforementioned, fifth-annual Sin Muros (Without Walls): A Latinx Theater Festival. Expect free plays and poetry readings by Texas-born and Texas-based Latinx artists, plus workshops and other public events.

March gets a little — but not too — dark with Sunrise Coven, a timely, sharply crafted dark comedy about the American healthcare system, penned by Brendan Borque-Sheil, the Houston-based author of Stages’ hit The Book of Maggie.

ShaWanna Renee Rivon’s You Are Cordially Invited to Sit-In follows later. The spirited story, based in Houston, is set to love songs, dance hits, and game-changing tunes of the 1960s-1970s and follows four Black college freshmen who join the revolution against racism.

Next up is Inda Craig-Galvan’s Black Super Hero Magic Mama. The gripping tale offers “surprising comedy,” press materials note, as a mother loses her son and subsequently retreats inward to a technicolor universe to cope.

Diverse offerings also include Song of Me, which closes out the 2021-2022 season. Yet another Houston-based tale, the story by emerging local artists Mai Le and Dat Peter Ton centers on family, tradition, Vietnamese cooking, and growing up in Houston.

Those interested in showtime schedules or season subscriptions ($144 to $513) can call 713-527-0123, or visit the official site.

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