Coyote StageWorks, the Coachella Valley-based award-winning Actors’ Equity professional theater company, announced that its eleventh season will include full productions of two highly entertaining stage plays, an increase of the popular free Play Dates Reader’s Series, and the return of the Palm Springs Young Playwright’s Festival. All of Coyote’s award-winning programming will now be under one roof at the Palm Springs Cultural Center, and made possible through the generosity of Season Sponsors, Patti & Jack Grundhofer.
Coyote StageWorks will begin the season with a full production of A Doll’s House, Part 2 by Lucas Hnath, which will run from February 7 through 16. Directed by Founding Artistic Director Chuck Yates, this play picks up where Ibsen’s famous A Doll’s House ended. In the final scene of Ibsen’s 1879 groundbreaking masterwork, Nora Helmer makes the shocking decision to leave her husband and children, and begin a life on her own. This climactic event—when Nora slams the door on everything in her life—instantly propelled world drama into the modern age. In A Doll’s House, Part 2, many years have passed since Nora’s exit. Now, there’s a knock on that same door. Nora has returned. But why? And what will it mean for those she left behind? You do not need to know the original to laugh at this irreverent sequel!
The cast is comprised of Robin McAlpine as Nora, Don Amendolia as Torvald, Mary Baird as Ann Marie, and Britt Adams as Emmy.
The second production for this season, running March 13 through 22, is The Velocity of Autumn by Eric Coble. Also directed by Yates, The Velocity of Autumn swirls around Alexandra, an 80-year-old artist in a showdown with her family over where she’ll spend her remaining years. In Alexandra’s corner are her wit, her volcanic passion, and the fact that she’s barricaded herself in her Brooklyn brownstone with enough Molotov cocktails to take out the block. But her children have their own secret weapon: estranged son Chris, who returns after 20 years, crawls through Alexandra’s second-floor window and becomes the family’s unlikely mediator. No sooner are the words “Hi, Mom” uttered than the emotional bombs start detonating. The Velocity of Autumn is a wickedly funny and wonderfully touching discovery of the fragility and ferocity of life.
The cast is comprised of David Youse in the role of Chris, and Barbara Gruen portraying Alexandra.
Chuck Yates remarked “At the recent Desert Star Awards, Coyote was honored with three awards, two of which were for the staged reading of A Doll’s House Part 2, which was so well received that we decided to mount the full production this season. Britt Adams won best supporting actress, staged reading/professional, and Robin McAlpine took home the award in the Best Actress, staged reading/professional
All tickets for Coyote StageWorks’ Main Stage productions are $50. Opening Night performances are $60 and include a post-show wine reception. A special Valentine’s evening performance will be offered at $75 and will include Champagne and desserts. A Q&A session with cast members will follow Thursday matinees and each Play Date. To purchase individual tickets, visit coyotestageworks.org. For group sales call 760-318-0024.
For the coming season, Coyote’s outreach program has been renamed The Barbara Keller Play Date Series, in memory of stalwart champion and cherished friend Barbara Keller. This program is generously supported by John P. Monahan, The Palm Springs Cultural Center, and The Monkey Tree Hotel.
“We are thrilled to expand our Play Dates staged readings,” remarked Yates. “This educational community outreach program brings thoughtful and thrilling play readings to the entire community free of charge and enables us to present interesting and compelling works that would normally be cost-prohibitive to produce. Providing these for free to the community is our way of giving back to the many people who have supported us through the years.”
Coyote StageWorks eleventh season will also feature the return of the Palm Springs Young Playwright’s Festival (PSYPF), designed to help discover and nurture the next generation of writers from local middle and high school students. Yates remarked “We have partnered with The Riverside County Office of Education to expand our outreach to young playwrights to include not just the Coachella Valley, but all of Riverside County. Funded by The Western Wind Foundation with Jeremy Hobbs, join us as we present the unique stories of student playwrights between the ages of 8 to 18! Supported by Louisa Nelson Higgins, Visual and Performing Arts Administrator.
Given decreased public-school funding, the arts are less accessible to youth, which can make a career in the arts seem unattainable. PSYPF works to fill this gap by providing students an opportunity to be fully immersed in an artistic production, to have their voices heard, and to be introduced to professional theater.
A panel of theater professionals — actors, directors, writers — read and evaluate submitted plays. Playwrights who get selected through the screening process receive directing and mentoring to build their skills, talent, and confidence; their plays are directed and performed in a public reading each June by seasoned professional artists at The Palm Springs Cultural Center. More information is available at psypf.com.