‘Haunting of Hill House’ to lead off UTRGV theater season

The lights dim, the curtains open and there’s a stillness in the air as the actors make their way onto the stage.

Grab a seat and don’t forget the program because the show is about to start.

That show is the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s Theatre Department’s upcoming season, and it starts with a bang. A spooky one at that.

The theater department has announced this year’s schedule of plays including a Halloween-themed play, a musical, a mythological show and a comedy.

The theater season kicks off in early October with their production of “The Haunting of Hill House,” a play that follows a parapsychologist and his assistants who investigate the paranormal, but the group will find “more than they bargained for.”

Running from Oct. 20-29, the play shares the same name of the 1959 Shirley Jackson novel that has spawned the popular Netflix anthology series and the 1963 and 1999 films, “The Haunting.” This production was adapted for the stage by F. Andrew Leslie.

Not only will audiences be able to enjoy a spooky play but also get to experience UTRGV’s first musical since the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year will feature “Fun Home” by Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron, who based the production on the graphic novel by Alison Bechdel. The musical memoir follows the life of cartoonist Alison Bechdel from childhood to her early years in college as she reflects on her father’s life and his legacy.

The play will be on stage from Nov. 30 through Dec. 3.

“The Haunting of Hill House,” based on the novel by Shirley Jackson, was adapted for the stage by F. Andrew Leslie for a UTRGV Department of Theatre production scheduled for the fall of 2023. (UTRGV Image)

Along with the two productions in the fall, the department will also be participating in the worldwide event called Climate Change Theatre Action 2023, in which they will present a series of short plays on that subject.

For more information about the series, email Jennifer Saxton-Rodriguez at [email protected].

As the spring semester rolls in, the department is kicking it off with a mythological play — “Metamorphoses” by Mary Zimmerman — that highlights stories of love, loss and transformation.

The play will run from March 1-3, 2024.

Wrapping up the semester, the department will present “Airness” by Chelsea Marcantel, a rock and roll comedy describing the competitiveness of air guitar and “discovering the airness within.”

One can check out the comical production from April 19-21.

For more information about these productions, call the university’s theater box office at (956) 655-3518 or visit utrgv.edu/theatre.