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You’re Invited: Post-performance discussion June 3

2 Jun

Stages Repertory Theatre Next to NormalThe 2012 Surround

Each year Stages Surrounds a play with a series of free events that enrich and provide a more dynamic connection to that play. This year’s Surround focuses on Next To Normal and is presented in cooperation with our community partner, NAMI Metropolitan Houston (our local affiliate of the national organization), who will have information about mental health and advocacy available in the lobby at every performance, and who will provide speakers for select Sunday afternoon post-show discussions, including the one this Sunday, June 3.

This Sunday’s speaker is Jack Callahan, who works for Disability Rights Texas. Disability Rights Texas is the legal protection and advocacy system for Texans with disabilities. He received both a Bachelor of Business Administration degree and a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from the University of Texas at Austin.

The discussion follows the matinee performance of Next to Normal and is free and open to the public – please join us!

We’ve got more Surround events coming up in June, including two more post-show dialogues and our student project What is Normal? Here are all the details!

2012 Surround: FREE Event 5/28!

28 May


Each year Stages Surrounds a play with a series of free events that enrich and provide a more dynamic connection to that play. This year’s Surround focuses on Next To Normal and is presented in cooperation with our community partner, NAMI Metropolitan Houston (our local affiliate of the national organization). On Monday, May 28, we’re thrilled to host NAMI’s presentation of In Our Own Voice (IOOV), a unique public education program developed by NAMI, in which two trained speakers share compelling personal stories about living with mental illness and achieving recovery. IOOV is an opportunity for those who have struggled with mental illness to gain confidence and to share their individual experiences of recovery and transformation. Throughout the IOOV presentation, audience members are encouraged to offer feedback and ask questions. Audience participation is an important aspect of IOOV because the more audience members become involved, the closer they come to understanding what it is like to live with a mental illness and stay in recovery. 

Monday, May 28
7:00 PM
In Our Own Voice

At this IOOV, you will meet two dynamic, charismatic presenters: Elizabeth Green Smalling and Jerry Babbitt. Elizabeth was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, OCD, and PTSD at the age of 19 while studying psychology at University of Colorado at Boulder. Today she is living on her own, working at NAMI as the Peer & Recovery Program Coordinator and just graduated with her Masters in Healthcare Administration. Jerry was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder at the age of 68. Today he serves on the NAMI Board of Directors and is an IOOV trainer. He is a staff member at St. Joseph House, a transitional facility exclusively for people who suffer with mental illness.

We’ve got more Surround events coming up in June, including three more post-show dialogues and our student project What is Normal? Here are all the details


9 May

Unexpected Man

This is the final week of performances for THE UNEXPECTED MAN!

“[Sally Edmundson and James Belcher] have never been better… . Just Continue reading

2012-2013 Season Announced!

7 May

We’ve still got one amazing show left in the 2011-2012 season, but we’re also gearing up for 2012-2013! Season tickets (subscriptions) are on sale now, and you can see the full season lineup here. Subscribers get first dibs on seats! Individual tickets for the summer shows (LIFE COULD BE A DREAM and STEEL MAGNOLIAS) will go on sale May 21, then the rest of the 2012-2013 shows will be available beginning July 11. Questions? Get in touch via the contact form at the bottom of this page, or give the Box Office a call at 713.527.0123.

I’m with Normal

3 May
Jito the dog

Jito will be walking too! Come join us!

This Saturday a team of Stages staff and friends will join thousands of other folks across the country for NAMI Walks, a community event to raise money and awareness about our country’s need for a world-class treatment and recovery system for people with mental illness. Led by Eva Laporte, the Stages crew will sport shirts emblazoned (or perhaps bedazzled, scrawled, painted…we can’t wait to see!) Continue reading

You say Co-op, we say Alliance!

26 Apr

The Alliance AuditionsIt’s time again for a grand Houston theatre tradition…the Alliance Auditions! (formerly known as the Co-op Auditions). Stages coordinated the Auditions for many years before handing the reins over to the Houston Theatre Alliance in 2011. The HTA is administering the Auditions again this year and registration is now open! The Auditions are scheduled for  Continue reading

Dream duo reunites for UNEXPECTED MAN

14 Apr
Sally Edmundson

Sally Edmundson

James Belcher

James Belcher









Sally Edmundson and James Belcher are familiar faces on Houston’s stages – Sally, a Stages mainstay, has been involved with Stages since its earliest days, and James, a longtime Alley company member, was last seen at Stages in the intriguing A Picasso. The two have acted together at Stages before, in the 1997 production of Doug Wright’s Quills, and are now reunited in Yasmina Reza‘s early work The Unexpected Man. We’re excited to see what happens when these two amazing talents take the stage together again!

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A Stages Icon Passes

11 Apr
The Blue Beast

It's so hard to say goodbye

Anyone who has worked or spent time at Stages is probably familiar with this beautiful blue beast, which for at least 15 years has served as the repository of staff lunches, event leftovers, actors’ forgotten takeout meals, and a vintage jar of orange marmalade. Stages lore has it that the refrigerator was donated to the theatre by astronaut John Glenn himself, and it must have been quite a marvel in its day, with early examples of ice maker and water dispenser, a strange small pass-through door (for those times when it’s just too difficult to open the entire door) and a wealth of removable bins and compartments.

Early this morning, Stages staffer Mitchell Greco opened the refrigerator as usual, only to discover that its once-icy majestic bulk felt….WARM. The freezer, likewise. And so today we say goodbye to this Stages icon, who has served so faithfully for so long. Farewell, old friend. In the words of John Glenn, it’s been a great ride!


10 Apr

We’re unbelievably excited to announce that we’re working with the amazing team at Culturepilot to develop a brand new Stages website! We’ll be launching the beta version in May, but in the meantime, everything you need will be right here on our blog. Dive in!

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Artist O’ the Week: Denise Fennell!

9 Feb

Denise Fennell stars as Sister in Late Nite CatechismHoly Moly! This week’s AotW, DENISE (MARIE CHRISTINA) FENNELL plays “Sister” in the Late Nite Catechism series, and prior to this, Stages fans most recently saw her in last spring’s Sister’s Easter Catechism: Will My Bunny Go To Heaven?

Denise is originally from Boston, MA, where she grew up in a very strict Italian Catholic neighborhood, often attending mass with her Grandma Bianca on a daily basis. Denise currently calls both Los Angeles and New York City home. Some of you may recognize Denise from Tony ‘n Tina’s Wedding, in which she frequently appears in the title role of Tina. Maripat Donovan discovered Denise as Tina in her white wedding dress, blue eye shadow and her hair sprayed so high it almost reached heaven. Maripat apparently saw something that led her to believe there was a nun lurking somewhere behind the gum chewing, wise-cracking bride. All kidding aside, Denise would like to thank Maripat for believing in her and for being patient while Denise took the time to believe in herself. It is with great honor that she trades her wedding dress in for a habit, and instead of Tony chooses to marry God.

And Sister spoke all these words, saying: “I am the Lord your Nun, who brought Laughter out of the land of Houston, out of the house of The Stages Theatre.

I shall have no other Sisters before me at Stages Theatre. It would be heartbreaking. I love to perform for the audiences here in Houston, and simply love Stages Theatre. Everyone at Stages has come to feel like Family to me. Love you all xoxo

You shall not make for yourself late for my class at Stages or chew gum or drink water or talk to your neighbor, or CLIP YOUR NAILS!!!

I shall share 3 secrets with you that happen right before performing the role of Sister. I have terrible stage fright, I tie my shoes over and over, and I convince myself right before I go on stage that someone has stolen my personality and that maybe I am not funny anymore.

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