The Southern Agenda

Hot Tickets: Five Plays You Have to See

This spring, the South takes center stage in five new plays and revivals

illustration: Illustrations by Tim Bower

Austin, Texas
“I get a lot of cracks about my hair,” the late (and legendary) tough-as-nails Texas governor Ann Richards once said, “mostly from men who don’t have any.” The politician was as famous for her one-liners as for her voluminous snow-white coif. Emmy-winning actor Holland Taylor returns to Texas to celebrate Richards’s legacy with her one-woman show, April 6–May 15 at Zach Theatre.—

Bright Star
New York, New York
Steve Martin teamed up with fellow Texan and singer-songwriter Edie Brickell to write this musical, set in the mountains of North Carolina in the first half of the 1900s. The show, which made its Broadway debut in February, tells the tale of Alice Murphy, a literary editor whose run-in with a young World War II soldier reveals a shocking secret.—

Mary Page Marlowe
Chicago, Illinois
In 2008, the Oklahoma-born playwright and actor Tracy Letts won both a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony for August: Osage County. With his new play, Mary Page Marlowe, running March 31 through May 29 at the Steppenwolf theater, Letts demonstrates again his ability to make niche stories feel universal. The action follows an accountant as she peels back the layers of her ordinary life to discover hidden impulses.—

Porgy and Bess
Charleston, South Carolina
When George Gershwin wanted to understand the place that inspired DuBose Heyward’s novel Porgy, he rented a house on Folly Beach. His Lowcountry sojourn inspired the opera Porgy and Bess. This spring, Spoleto Festival marks its fortieth season and welcomes the musical home (May 27–June 12) to the revamped Gaillard Center. The local Gullah artist Jonathan Green is designing the set and costumes.—

The Robber Bridegroom
Jackson, Mississippi
Celebrate the New Stage Theatre’s fiftieth anniversary (May 24 – June 5) with this revival of the 1975 bluegrass musical—book and lyrics by the Georgia-born playwright Alfred Uhry; music by Robert Waldman—based on Eudora Welty’s classic novella. The fairy-tale-like story of double mistaken identity set in the Deep South is produced in partnership with the Eudora Welty Foundation.—