BWW Exclusive Details on TUTS Underground’s 2013-14 Season

Back in February, when Theatre Under the Stars (TUTS) announced their 2013-2014 season, Bruce Lumpkin, TUTS’ Artistic Director, gave BroadwayWorld an exclusive heads up about an exciting development that was occurring within the organization. Now TUTS is ready to announce their exhilarating new project, an invigorating and diverse season of fresh, edgy musical theatre called TUTS Underground. This season will run in The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts’ intimate Zilkha Hall and feature innovative modern works. According to Bruce Lumpkin, the intended audience for this line up is “a contemporary minded audience, an audience looking for something new, something different than what’s been offered.” The inaugural season for TUTS Underground will feature four fresh shows that are “not only new, newly done, but newly done for our audiences here.”

Opening TUTS Underground’s first season is the rock musical LIZZIE by Steven Cheslik-deMeyer, Tim Maner, and Alan Steven Hewitt, which runs from October 10-20, 2013. Historically, because of a lack of witnesses, Lizzie Borden was acquitted and ultimately declared innocent. Yet, her legacy has been passed down for generations as the familiar jump rope rhyme: Lizze Borden took an axe, gave her mother forty whacks… and so on. This very rhyme serves as the basis for Steven Cheslik-deMeyer, Tim Maner, and Alan Steven Hewitt’s rambunctious musical that imaginatively retells the story of Lizzie Borden, America’s favorite Victorian girl and infamous axe-wielding double-murderess.

Why David Clarke is Excited: While LIZZIE won’t be enjoying its World Premiere in Houston, I am more than thrilled to experience, as Bruce Lumpkin says, LIZZIE’s “first major production.” Additionally, the writers envision LIZZIE as a staged presentation of a spectacular rock concept album, drawing inspiration from such legendary rock phenomena as Ozzy Osbourne, Alice Cooper, KISS, Grace Slick, Heart, Riot Grrls, and more. When these two ingredients are combined, I feel Houston audiences are guaranteed an explosive evening of original musical theatre. Lastly, the two-disc concept album, which will be released by Broadway Records and features Carrie Manolakos as Lizze Borden and Storm Large as Emma Borden, drops just prior to this production’s opening night. So, I’m sure the LIZZIE camp and the TUTS camp will be working together to ensure that October 10, 2013 is truly a night to remember!

Why Kristina Nungaray is Excited: First of all, an edgy rock musical? Count me in! I love shows that veer away from the standard Happy-Go-Lucky narrative, and force us to feel uncomfortable, excited, unnerved, and most importantly something different. I love it! LIZZIE, a rock musical that is chock full of love, betrayal, and murder certainly seems to fit that camp and promises to give us a theatre going experience unlike any other. What I am looking forward to the most is that at the center of this brutal tale of reinvention and redemption is a strong female lead in an unconventional role. Let’s face it, we tend to root for the good girls, the pure and the honest. What will we think of a girl like Lizzie? I can’t wait to find out.

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