Brazos Valley TROUPE begins its 24th season Friday by going back to its earliest days. Lights, Camera ... Action! is an original musical revue that celebrates the magic and music of the movies.

M.A. Sterling, TROUPE’s amazing managing/artistic director, said, “There will be salutes to the classics, to Oscar-winning songs, to great songs by villains and a special salute to various princesses that have made the movie industry pure ‘Cinemagic.’

“With a cast that includes a stellar group of YOUTH from TROUPErdores and a few TROUPE alums, Lights, Camera ... Action! promises to be great entertainment for the entire family.”

TROUPErs in the cast include Chloe Burrescia, Nicolas Burrescia, Rebekah Byers, Jadyn Case, Ramona Dworkin, Henry England, Skylar Ford, Jessica Goodman, Grace Greenwood, Patrick Greenwood, Emma Lawson, Kit Rodroguez, Gabriela Roy, Ron Toback-Wolf, Sage Vantine, Maddie Weeks, Emma West, AJ Wright and Kentaro Yamauchi.

TROUPE alums in the cast include Garrison Liles, Calista Moats, Ray Paul Marshall and Mollie Rush. In addition to Sterling and Andrew Burgos, last seen as Mufasa in TROUPE’s summer smash, Disney’s The Lion King jr, and one of TROUPE’s Aggie interns, will be part of the production.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at TROUPE’s 29th Street Studio, 3702 E. 29th St. in Bryan’s Town & Country Center.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for TROUPE members and $6 for children 3-11. Premium table seating is $25 per person or $85 for a table for four people and includes concessions tokens and up-front table seating. Bistro table seating is $20 per person and is in the rear of the theater at taller tables and also includes concessions tokens.

TROUPE members may make reservations by emailing bvttix@yahoo.com up to five hours before curtain time. If available, tickets will be available at the door, but can be purchased online via Eventbrite.com.

New season

As Navasota Theatre Alliance begins work on A Tuna Christmas, the final production of its 2017 season, it is looking forward to the new year.

Unlike other theaters in the area, Navasota Theatre Alliance operates on a calendar year. For 2018, the Theatre Alliance has scheduled three plays that may be new to most of us and concludes the year with a holiday classic, A Christmas Carol. Two of the productions will be directed by Chaz Pitman, who returned to the area only recently and already has been involved in productions at StageCenter and The Theatre Company. Navasota Theatre Alliance legend Earlene Rainey will direct A Christmas Carol.

Here is a look at the 2018 season:

Too Soon for Daisies by William Dinner and William Morum is the story of three English women who escape their retirement home in a rowboat. They lose their oars and drift down the coast until they arrive ashore near the coastal village of Suffolk. They happen upon an empty cottage and the play revolves about their dreams of movie in and never returning to their former home.

Pitman directs.

The play is sponsored by a leadership gift from Jo Ann Smith and Harold Urbanosky.

Too Soon for Daisies will have 11 performances Feb. 9 through Feb. 25. Auditions will be Dec. 18 and 19.

• Sam Bobrick’s The Psychic will run April 13 through April 29. Auditions are slated for Feb. 12 and 13. Jane Brewer will direct

The play follows Adam Webster, a down-on-his-luck writer who, desperate to find the money to pay his rent, puts a sign in his apartment window: “Psychic Readings $25.”

The Navasota Theatre Alliance website says: “The sign soon draws the interest of the lovely and conflicted Laura; her shady husband, Roy; Roy’s mistress, Rita; a gangster named Johnny Bubbles; and ace Detective Norris Coslow. In the surprising twists that follow, The Psychic entangles Adam in a hilarious murder mystery that you won’t want to miss!”

• Murder mysteries are popular with Navasota Theatre audiences, so the third show of the season will be Southern Fried Murder by Billy St. John, slated for Sept. 28 through Oct. 14. Auditions will be July 30 and 31.

Once again, Pitman directs.

Magnolia Capote — it is a Southern murder mystery after all! — has written a will full of twists and turns and clues. She calls the family together to dinner in a posh restaurant to talk about the will. Soon, she is murdered and mayhem ensures when the heirs engage in what amounts to a treasure hunt.

The murder mystery spoofs Tennessee Williams’ heroines, Bette Davis in Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte, characters from Erskine Caldwell’s Tobacco Road, Truman Capote, and other denizens of the Deep South.

• Final show of the upcoming season will be A Christmas Carol. Charles Dickens’ 1843 novella has become a holiday favorite and no doubt Rainey will work her directorial magic with this oft-told tale.

Surely everyone knows the story of the bitter miser Ebenezer Scrooge, his clerk Bob Marley. Tiny Tim and the three ghosts of Christmas past, present and yet to come.

A Christmas Carol opens Dec. 6, 2018. Auditions are slated for Oct. 15 and 16.

Rainey also will direct the popular summer theater camps. Children who will complete kindergarten through fifth grade at the end of 2017-2018 school year will bring the African savannah to life when they participate in the production of Disney’s The Lion King, Kids. This is the first year the kids version of the popular Circle of Life musical is available and Navasota Theatre Alliance pounced on the opportunity to include it for the younger thespians.

Older children, those who will graduate from the sixth to twelfth grades in May will present Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs, one of the most popular fairy tales for the musical stage.

Enrollment for the summer camps opens in late November, in time for Christmas gifting. Be advised, the camps fill up fast, so don’t wait to enroll your children, grandchildren or other special kids in your life. For more information, go to navasotatheatre.org.

Navasota Theatre Alliance expanded its season selection process this year. In addition to reviewing approved titles not selected in previous years and reviewing new plays, the board invited proven directors to submit titles to be included.

Board President Sheryl Brown said, “Bringing these processes together has resulted in a promising season of Navasota Theatre Alliance regional premieres and continues our tradition of offering comedies, mysteries, and classics that our patrons love.”

She said, “It’s going to be an amazing season.”

Meanwhile, tickets for A Tuna Christmas are going fast. The show will run Thursdays through Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. from Dec. 7 through Dec. 17. Go online soon to navasotatheatre.org to reserve yours.

Haunting drama

The Blinn College Theatre Arts Program opens its season this week with a U.S. premiere of a chilling adaptation of a classic 1967 Australian novel that has been the source for an opera, a feature film, a television series and numerous plays.

Picnic at Hanging Rock is Tom Wright’s adaptation of Joan Lindsey’s novel of the same name. Although the book is entirely fictional, it reads like a true story.

Blinn-Bryan’s theatre director Greg Wise said the play, set in the early 1900s, opens with the inexplicable disappearance of three schoolgirls and their teacher at a local geological formation known as Hanging Rock. A fourth student, who was with the group at the time of their disappearance, returns in hysterics with no recollection of the incident.

Panic ensues as school officials and the local community struggle to solve a mystery that has kept audiences on the edge of their seats for decades.

Wise said, “It has a stronghold on the Australian psyche, and we are thrilled to bring it to our community.”

Picnic at Hanging Rock opens at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and continues nightly through Saturday and at 2 p.m. on Oct. 22. Tickets are $5 for students and $10 for the general public. They may be purchased at www.blinn.edu/vpa/bryan-schedule.html or at the door.

The play will be presented in Room F-120 of the Blinn-Bryan campus Student Center.

Theatre student Lizzy Lovejoy, who portrays multiple roles in the production, said, “The audience will be transported to another world with just the words of the actresses. It really will make you think long after the performance is over.”

Others in the cast include Judith Igwilo, Cherilyn Kubicek, Chelsea Mansker and Kelsey Marquis.

Ghostly memories

Halloween is almost here, so it is time for the annual Lanterns & Legends visits to Oakland Cemetery in Navasota.

Put on by Navasota Theatre Alliance, Lanterns & Legends features actors dressed as characters buried in the historic cemetery. Guests will learn about the history of this area and it isn’t scary at all.

This month’s tours will explore the legacy of Thomas Scott Deaderick; businesswoman Louisa Smith and the wife of Capt. Philip Aurene Smith; farmer Martin Joseph Fahey; farmer’s wife and mother Emeline C. Nettles and her sons Thomas, Willie, and Little Bob; businessman Robert Shaw and his dog “Jackie Boy” Shaw; and twins Julia and Jessica Owen who were music teachers, performers, and staunch Baptists.

Lanterns and Legends will be presented Oct. 26, 27 and 26, with tours leaving every 15 minutes from 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. at the cemetery, 801 Sixth St. Wear comfortable shoes and bring a flashlight.

This year, for those who are up to the cemetery tour, an indoors session has been added at 2 p.m. on Oct. 29 at the Sunny Furman Theatre, 104 Washington Ave. in downtown Navasota. Tickets are $10 each and are available at navasotatheatre.org.

Overtures

• Today through Oct. 22 — Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, The Theatre Company behind JoAnn Fabrics in Bryan’s Tejas Center, Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m., $7 to $20, several shows close to selling out. (www.theatrecompany.com)

• Thursday through Saturday — The Desk Set, StageCenter at 201-B W. 26th St. in Downtown Bryan, above Mr. G’s Pizza, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., $10 to $15. (www.stagecenter.net)

• Today — A Grand Night for Singing, a tribute to Rodgers and Hammerstein, Unity Theatre, 300 Church St. in downtown Brenham, 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 4 p.m. Sundays. $30. (tickets.unitybrenham.org)

• Every Sunday — Open mics and poetry slams sponsored by Mic Check Poetry, 8:30 p.m. Revolution Café in Downtown Bryan, (miccheckpoetry.com)

Items for Arts Watch should be emailed to robert.borden@theeagle.com. Deadline is noon Tuesday before the weekend you want it to run.

 

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