Setting the Stage 

Area theater companies ready new seasons

Usually, a couple of theater companies tend to dominate the headlines (here's a hint: one is associated with a famous English writer and the other just bought its own theater space). Not that they're not deserving of such attention, but the smaller guys in town are just biding their time and preparing a season of entertainment.

For theatergoers, there's a little drama, a little comedy and, of course, a musical or two, waiting in the wings. But why wait to find out what's playing when? Here's a preview of the coming theater season.

Alley Repertory Theater

One of Boise's newest theater companies, housed in the new Visual Arts Collective in Garden City, is carving out its own identity with the help of volunteer actors and crew, according to Andrea Hakett, marketing director.

Alley presented its first production, A Little Dog Laughed in May and is gearing up for its next endeavor, Burial at Thebes, by Nobel-Prize-winning writer Seamus Heaney. It's a new adaptation of Sophocles' classic tale of Antigone, the eldest daughter of Oedipus, who goes against the powers-that-be to do the right thing.

The play runs Oct. 3-5 and 9-12, and will be followed by a production of Craig Lucas' dark Christmas-themed drama/comedy, Reckless Nov. 21-23, 28-29 and Dec. 5-7. 208-388-4ART, alleyrepertorytheater.clamcity.com.

Climbing Tree Productions

Here's another relatively new theater company to join the Boise scene. This one is based on the idea that artists of all genres can collaborate to create one big-old art free-for-all.

It's an approach the company will be using in its production of Boys' Life by Howard Korder. The play tells the story of three college friends faced with the daunting decision of whether to grow up and accept some responsibility or stay perpetual teenagers.

Performances are July 31-Aug. 2 at the Visual Arts Collective and Aug. 9 at Neurolux. In an effort to be all-arts inclusive, the set will feature paintings by local artists and area bands will take the stage at VAC following the performances. Contact the venue for tickets.

The public is invited to a promotional party at 7 p.m. on July 20 at Lush in downtown. The event is free and open to the public, and company players will offer a sneak preview of the upcoming production.

CAN-ACT

The Caldwell-based company's latest production hits the stage beginning July 11, giving Canyon County audiences some adult comedy.

Same Time, Next Year by Bernard Slade tells the story of two lovers who meet each year on the same date, in the same room of the same hotel for 25 years. They share their lives and loves, but there's only one problem: they're both married to other people.

The play runs July 11-12 and July 17-19. Showtime is 8 p.m. for Friday and Saturday shows, 7 p.m. on July 17, and there's a special 2 p.m. matinee on July 19. Tickets cost $10 or $12 depending on the show. 208-442-0676, can-act.org.

Stagecoach Theatre

Closer to Boise, the Stage Coach Theatre presents the oft-performed two-man show, Greater Tuna July 11-12, 17-20 and 24-26.

The play is a parade of the colorful characters of Texas' third-smallest town as they make their way through the local radio station.

Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays, 8:15 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets cost $10 or $12 depending on the show. 208-342-2000, stagecoachtheatre.com.

Boise Little Theater

The venerable theater company kicks off its 61st season in September with Plaza Suite by equally venerable playwright Neil Simon.

The play features three couples who spend time in one hotel suite. Director and business manager Pat Ryan described the play as a set of three one-acts linked by location. The first vignette is a drama with funny lines, the second is a straight comedy and the finale is a full-on farce.

Performances run Sept. 5-6, 11-14 and 18-20.

Plaza Suite will be quickly followed up by The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Rupert Holmes. The writer was nearly done with the script when he died, leaving it unfinished. It has since been made into a sort of choose-your-own-adventure mystery/comedy/musical. As the play reaches the ultimate climax, the audience chooses how it ends by selecting one of four characters as the murderer. The cast will have to be on their game to finish the play with a nightly to-be-determined ending. Edwin Drood runs Oct. 17-18, 23-26, 29-31 and Nov. 1.

BLT finishes out the year with The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge, in which the infamous character, having returned to his nasty ways, is suing Jacob Marley and the Christmas ghosts for breaking and entering, kidnapping, slander, pain and suffering, attempted murder and the infliction of emotional distress. The play runs Nov. 28-29, Dec. 4-7 and 10-13.

BLT is all about planning, and already has its 2009 schedule in the works. Included is a production of Open House by local author Tom Donahoe, Foxfire, Our Town and Bleacher Bums. 208-342-5104, boiselittletheater.org.

Knock 'em Dead Dinner Theater

The downtown mainstay has announced its 2008-2009 season, kicking off in October with Ragtime. The show will be followed in rapid succession by An Old Fashioned Christmas, Much Ado About Nothing, Once on This Island and The Importance of Being Earnest. 208-385-0021, kedproductions.org.

Daisy's Madhouse

The company that brought you Psycho Beach Party is heading back to Neurolux in September with Dog Sees God, Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead. Basically, it's what happens when the gang from Peanuts grows up a bit (think Charlie Brown after puberty).

The company promises it's both funny and haunting, and it will take the stage Sept. 26-27 and Oct. 3-4. Contact the venue for tickets.

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