Zach Theatre had two big announcements late last week: Michael Learned, who is known as the matriarch of “The Waltons” TV show, will be playing another mother in Texas playwright Terrence McNally’s “Mothers and Sons.” Jennifer Holliday will star in the Duke Ellington musical review “Sophisticated Ladies.” Holliday is best-known for her Tony-winning performance in “Dreamgirls.”
“Mothers and Sons” will be at the Topfer Theatre May 27-June 21. Martin Burke, William May and Nicholas Rodriguez also will star and Dave Steakley will direct. A mother makes a surprise visit to the New York apartment of her late son’s ex-partner. He’s now married to another man and has a young son. She is witness to the changing society around her and what might have been had her son still been alive.
Zach Theatre has done other McNally-written plays including “Ragtime,” “Master Class,” Love! Valour! Compassion!,” and “Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune.”
“Mothers and Sons is a beautiful play of this moment in time as our country, and our state, struggles to define what constitutes a family, and who has the right to marry,” said Steakley in a press release. He went on to say, “We are poised at one of those moments in American history, and I’m delighted we are one of the first to produce McNally’s thoughtful, human, compassionate play.”
“Sophisticated Ladies” will run July 15-Aug. 23 and be directed by Abe Reybold. Dominique Kelley will do the choreography. It’s the story of Harlem’s Cotton Club and will figure a full orchestra on stage. Hits include “Mood Indigo,” “Take the A Train” and “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing).”
“I’m thrilled that Jennifer is joining this incredible cast,” said Reybold in a press release. “She has a real affinity and love for Duke Ellington’s music, which I know will come through in her performance and will bring something very special to this production.”
Tickets for either show start at $25 and are at http://www.zachtheatre.org, by phone at 512-476-0541 ext. 1 or at the box office at Topfer Theatre, 202 S. Lamar Blvd.