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A 'Wicked' fall theater lineup 

Plus, TheatreSquared's '4,000 Miles,' 'Red' at The Rep and more

click to enlarge 'WICKED': Oz before Dorothy.
  • 'WICKED': Oz before Dorothy.

Let's just get this out of the way right here at the outset: "Wicked" is coming back to Little Rock (Sept. 25-Oct. 6) for another run at Robinson Center Music Hall. It's one of the most popular musicals of the last, oh, eternity, and there will be 16 performances this go-around. Will that be enough to satisfy the masses of people who want to find out about what happened before Dorothy got her red slippers?

In Fayetteville, TheatreSquared's season continues at the Walton Arts Center's Nadine Baum Studios with Amy Herzog's "4,000 Miles" (Sept. 26-Oct. 13). This Pulitzer-nominated dramatic comedy concerns a 21-year-old college dropout who builds a relationship with his nonagenarian communist grandmother. The Weekend Theater produces "Nora" (Oct. 4-19), Ingmar Bergman's interpretation of Henrik Ibsen's "A Doll's House," a tale of a repressed woman on the verge of leaving her family to find herself.

Murry's Dinner Playhouse offers mystery and intrigue with "Dial M For Murder" (Oct. 8-Nov. 9), a whodunit inspired by the Hitchcock thriller starring Grace Kelly. If there's a more lucrative enterprise than the combination of Disney stories and big-budget Broadway musicals, then it's probably not legal. Case in point: the smash-hit Disney's "Beauty and the Beast," which comes to the Walton Arts Center Oct. 18-20.

This looks very cool: In collaboration with the Arkansas Arts Center, The Arkansas Repertory Theatre will produce "Red" (Oct. 25-Nov. 10) to complement the AAC's upcoming exhibit "Mark Rothko in the 1940's: The Decisive Decade." "Red," a biographical drama about the famous painter, will be directed by The Rep's artistic director Robert Hupp and will star Joe Graves.

The Weekend Theater will stage "A Clockwork Orange" (Nov. 1-16), a play based on the Anthony Burgess novel and the 1971 Kubrick film version.

Next up at Murry's Dinner Playhouse will be "Run For Your Wife" (Nov. 12-Dec. 29), in which cab driver John Smith must face the consequences of his double life — and his two wives.

Hendrix College's Murphy Visiting Theatre Director, Daniel Stein, will direct a student production of his play "Still. Going Forward Backward" (Nov. 13-16), which deals with "themes running to sexual attraction, infidelity, and relationships that break down," according to NPR's Morning Edition.

On Nov. 18, UCA's Reynolds Performance Hall hosts "The Addams Family Musical," featuring the classic characters of the television show with an original story and score. Kicking off the holiday season on stage will be the Walton Arts Center, with Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" (Nov. 19-24). It's a new musical based on the classic holiday movie (and was well-received last year at The Rep).

Speaking of The Rep, the state's largest nonprofit professional theater company will host the world premiere of "Because of Winn Dixie" (Dec. 4-29), a new musical based on the novel by Kate DiCamillo about a young girl and a dog she finds at a Winn Dixie supermarket.

TheatreSquared keeps up the holiday spirit with its production of "A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens" (Dec. 5-29) at Walton Arts Center's Nadine Baum Studios. And on a similar theme, The Weekend Theater will stage "Scrooge! The Musical" (Dec. 6-22), a musical version of Dickens' classic holiday tale "A Christmas Carol."

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