Waco’s theater stages have a busy fall ahead of them, but it comes after something different for Waco: a busy summer, with four companies staging children’s productions, musicals, dramas and comedies.

Starting this month, the fall will see offerings from five Waco theaters that will continue this lineup of presentations with a staged concert and original work thrown into the mix. Unlike past pre-pandemic seasons, several theaters are entering the fall enjoying the momentum and energy of successful summer shows and collaborations.

Waco theatergoers will see a downfall with 10 productions on the schedule, not counting the Christmas and seasonal productions that typically fill December. For several directors, there is a synergistic energy conveyed by the actors and the public this summer.

“Five theater companies are scary for a city our size,” admitted Eric Shephard, executive director of the Waco Civic Theatre. But WCT’s collaboration with Silent House Theater Company on the musical “Godspell” earlier this month proved a win-win for both companies and a promise of increased cooperation.

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The musical not only sold out several performances, always a good thing, but attendance seemed to mix the typical theater audience and acting pools. Both theaters have also seen their social media followings increase. “It’s better to join forces than to be competitors,” said Silent House co-founder Bradyn Braziel.

Waco’s busier, more diverse summer and audience response continues a spring trend, and Baylor University Theater Department Chair DeAnna Toten Beard has taken notice.

“There’s a lot more enthusiasm for contemporary pieces, things that are empowering and demonstrate diversity — and I love that,” said Toten Beard, a new work champion during her time at Baylor.

With more diverse offerings available, Waco audiences not only have choices when it comes to stage work, but can expand their horizons by sampling the theaters’ varied plays. This, in turn, can open the door to more theater of different types, she said. “It’s good for everyone,” she said.

With the fall, Waco Theaters will transition from summer programming. For WCT, that means following an “extraordinarily busy summer” of seven camps, the musical collaboration “Cinderella” and “Godspell” on a Broadway musical and a drama, both centered on women. The musical is “La lumière sur la place” by Adam Guettel, about a mother, her daughter and their vacation in Italy. It’s a more traditional musical than the jukebox musicals Community Theater has presented in recent seasons, Shephard said. “It matches our talent base,” he noted.

“Silent Sky,” the theater’s October offering, is playwright Lauren Gunderson’s tale of female astronomer Henrietta Leavitt and her struggle to make a name for herself in a male-dominated field.

“Light” and “Silent Sky” will use widescreen video technology unveiled at “Cinderella” this summer, the theater manager noted. Also on the WCT schedule is a Halloween show and its shadowcast “Rocky Horror Picture Show,” a Waco Racetrack tradition.

Wild imaginings, silent house

Theater company Wild Imaginings launched its first musical this summer, a production of Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods,” and it’s returning to music this month with a concert featuring “West Side Story” from the 16 to September 18.

It returns to original work, one of the company’s missions, in October with its annual New Works festival from October 13-16, held at Cultivate 7twelve. This festival will see the world premiere of Amy Tofte’s “Cardboard Castles Hung on Walls”, the winner of Wild Imaginings’ new play festival last spring, which Tofte is expected to attend.

The company will premiere “The Thanksgiving Play,” the final read in its contemporary game series, from Nov. 10-13.

Sutton said the uptick in Waco’s theatrical presentation over the past few years confirms his belief that more theater drives more theater. “The harder we all work, the better it is for Waco. It’s exciting,” he said. “Good theater is something people love.”

The Downfall of Silent House presents drama in the form of “Hedda Gabler”, Henrik Ibsen’s classic drama of a late 19th century Norwegian woman trapped in society and culture. It’s a stark departure from the company’s “Godspell,” but the tonal shifts are something of a point of pride for Silent House, which followed its production of Arthur Miller’s earnest “The Crucible” with the black comedy “God of Carnage”.

The company will also be offering special needs workshops on Saturdays this fall at the Jubilee Theater in Mission Waco and an as-yet-unannounced production scheduled for November.

Baylor, MCC

After a summer where several Baylor actors took part in local productions, the downfall of the Baylor Theater begins on September 28 with the heartwarming musical “Amelie”, which is set in Paris and wears a charm on its arm with fantasy, puppets and romance. “It’s a funny, sweet story and a love story,” Toten Beard said.

The theater’s upcoming productions in the fall, however, will have different moods and tones. An update to the 1950s courtroom drama “12 Angry Men,” now “Twelve Angry Jurors,” offers yet another twist under Sam Henderson’s direction: it’s set in contemporary Waco. It opens on October 26.

The theater’s November play moves into the dramatic territory of grief and loss navigated through fantasy with “A Monster Calls,” based on the Patrick Ness novel of the same name.

At McLennan Community College’s McLennan Theater, the fall season kicks off with a comedy-drama with its staging of “Steel Magnolias” from September 29 through October 29. 2 with straight-up comedy in November with Ken Ludwig’s “The Gods of Comedy” from November 17-20.

And, if productions from five theater companies aren’t enough for the fall, a new professional theater company, Heart of Texas Children’s Theater, will debut “How I Became a Pirate” October 8-9 at the Waco Hippodrome. Theater. .

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