PERFORMANCE — A Bigger, Better Stage

Coyote StageWorks returns to Annenberg Theater with five productions fine-tuned to the community

Coyote StageWorks founder Chuck Yates will star in Tru, the company’s last production of the season, in April 2013.


In January, when attendance spikes at gyms in the post-glut of holiday meals and parties, Chuck Yates may still be downing a large plate of pasta or eating one more cookie. You see, he’s preparing for a long-dreamed-of role in an April production of Tru.

“I’ve been waiting 20 years to be old enough — and fat enough — to play Truman Capote in this amazing play,” the Coyote StageWorks’ founding artistic director says. Tru will cap the company’s five-production season at Annenberg Theater.

Coyote StageWorks was born in 2008, a result of former TV sitcom writer Yates’ twin yearnings to make a home in the desert and return to the stage. The company’s early productions — Greater Tuna at the 44-seat Thorny Theater in Palm Springs and A Tuna Christmas and Fully Committed at the Palm Springs Woman’s Club Theatre — gained the attention of the area’s theater-going public, as well as the leadership at Annenberg Theater, which has never had a resident theater company. Yates produced two shows there last season (Plaid Tidings and the classic farce Boeing Boeing) and was invited back for the 2012-13 season.

“Annenberg Theater Council’s board and membership are excited about the new season of performances being planned by Coyote StageWorks,” says Tom Truhe, the council’s chairman. “The five-show offering is the perfect follow-up to [the company’s] excellent and well-received first year at the theater.”

The season opened Nov. 23 with the Tony Award-nominated comedy Souvenir, running for the company’s customary two weeks. In February, Suds: The Rocking ’60s Musical Soap Opera will celebrate a midcentury moment with more than 50 tunes from the era. The production adds a performance dimension to the wildly popular Palm Springs Modernism Week (Feb. 14-24, 2013).

Coyote StageWorks also offers a Play Dates program, enabling underserved populations such as students and seniors on fixed incomes to experience live professional theater at little or no charge. On March 10, 2013, actor/writer Laurence Luckinbill will present, free of charge, his critically acclaimed one-man play Clarence Darrow Tonight!

Perhaps the company’s most anticipated event is its one-night-only gala benefit staged reading of Clare Booth Luce’s caustically funny The Women on Jan. 19, 2013. An all-star cast will show its support for Coyote StageWorks’ mission and Yates’ goal of launching a Palm Springs theater festival.

Nationally and locally known participants scheduled to appear include Lucie Arnaz, who says, “I can’t wait — not only for getting to help keep a valuable sandbox alive for actors like my husband, Larry [Luckinbill], and I to play in, but also for an entire evening of trying to steal scenes away from the likes of Michele Lee, Kaye Ballard, Charles Busch, and Carole Cook. What could be more fun?”

“I adore Chuck Yates and am crazy about Palm Springs,” says Busch, a playwright himself. “And I’m mad for The Women, so it was destiny that I should be involved in this benefit reading.”

Others on the bill include Nancy Bleiweiss-Nevil, Mary Jo Catlett, Mo Gaffney, Helene Galen, Beth Grant, Barbara Keller, Vicki Lewis, and Stefanie Powers.

“I feel so enormously privileged and really excited to be a part of Clare Booth Luce’s brilliant play,” says Keller, a museum trustee. “Everything about this event resonates with me. It’s the Annenberg! It’s a benefit! The cast is amazing!”

When the season wraps, then you may find Yates on a treadmill working to lose the 35 pounds he packed on for Tru and thinking about the 2013-14 season.

Plaid Tidings
Last season, Coyote StageWorks produced Plaid Tidings, a holiday musical based on Forever Plaid.

Photo by David A. Lee


Fully Committed
David Engel starred in Becky Mode’s Fully Committed.

Photo by David A. Lee



Through Dec. 2
Souvenir by Stephen Temperley
Tickets: $39-$55

Jan. 19, 2013
The Women by Clare Boothe Luce
Gala benefit performance
Tickets: $75-$500

Feb. 7-17, 2013
Suds: The Rocking ’60s Musical Soap Opera by Melinda Gilb, Steve Hunderson, and Bryan Scott
Tickets: $39-$55

March 10, 2013
Play Dates performance of Clarence Darrow Tonight! by Laurence Luckinbill
Free admission

April 18-28, 2013
Tru (from the words and works of Truman Capote), by Jay Presson Allen
Tickets: $39-$55

For subscriptions, visit the Annenberg Theater Box Office at Palm Springs Art Museum or call 760-325-4490. 

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