Although some Houstonians are still hyperventilating over the forthcoming arrival of Hamilton this May, Theatre Under the Stars decided to add to the excitement by announcing next year's lineup. The season—also the company's 50th anniversary—will be the second year on the job for Artistic Director Dan Knechtges, who officially joined TUTS late last summer.
“Our 50th Anniversary Season is not only going to be a year-long salute to the best musical theatre in Houston and beyond, we will also be launching new works, community projects and expanding our reach into classrooms across the greater Houston region," Knechtges said in a press release.
Two of the season's productions—Oklahoma! and Mamma Mia!—share both exclamatory punctuation and a reputation as tried-and-true box office hits, with iconic scores featuring music by Rodgers and Hammerstein and pop mega-group ABBA, respectively. No word on whether screen actor Pierce Brosnan will reprise his much-maligned performance as Sam in the TUTS Mamma Mia! (it would, after all, be a nice denouement for the forthcoming and incredibly necessary Mamma Mia Here We Go Again! slated for summer 2018).
Two prominent Tony-winning musicals join the lineup. Come October, fans of the 1978 Diana Ross and Michael Jackson in The Wiz—the film that followed a Tony-studded 1975 Broadway run—will get a chance to see the hip twist on The Wizard of Oz. And Ragtime, based on the book by E.L. Doctorow, explores a raucous collision of race, class, gender, and pride the following spring.
For the holidays, TUTS will dredge up Beauty and the Beast. It was a sell-out smash hit when it premiered in Houston 25 years ago, and, given the more than a billion dollars the live action movie grossed last year, we should expect the old beast to reliably fill the Hobby Center.
As for the sixth and final production of the season, TUTS remains mum. Clues will roll out periodically via social media, with those who correctly guess the mystery production's name entered into a lottery for free season tickets. In the meantime, we'll be doing a deep-dive into every musical with a cane-wielding character and get back to you with our conclusions.
Theatre Under the Stars 2018–2019 Season
Oklahoma! – September 11–23, 2018
The Wiz – October 23–November 4, 2018
Disney's Beauty and the Beast – December 11–23, 2018
Mamma Mia! – February 19–March 3, 2019
Ragtime – April 16 - 28, 2019
TBA —May 28 - June 9, 2019