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Fall stage: Macbeth, mermaids, more

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'Elvis Lives!' in Maumelle
  • 'Elvis Lives!' in Maumelle

A bloody tragedy. A spelling bee for adults. And, finally, a mermaid's tale. That's what the Arkansas Repertory Theatre has lined up for its 40th anniversary season that begins this fall.

The milestone season began with William Shakespeare's "Macbeth," which opened Sept. 11. The tragedy of ambition, madness and corruption runs through Sept. 27. Several special events have been scheduled around it, including a preshow tasting of Goose Island beer at 6 p.m. Sept. 24, sponsored by the Arkansas Times and Golden Eagle, and an after-party with the Smittle Band on Sept. 26. Both events are at Foster's, The Rep's bar.

Next up is "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee," the Tony Award-winning interactive musical comedy from William Finn, the composer of "Falsettos," "A New Brain" and "Little Miss Sunshine," running Oct. 16 through Nov. 8. A story for adults about the pain of adolescence, the show will allow audience members to compete with the actors portraying a menagerie of prepubescent misfits vying for a spot in the National Spelling Bee Championship.

Disney's "Little Mermaid," the musical adapted from Hans Christian Andersen's story about the mermaid princess who longs to live on land, brings the fall season to a close with performances Dec. 4 through Jan. 3.

With the Robinson Auditorium still under construction, Celebrity Attractions brings its fall Broadway show — "Elvis Lives!" — to the Maumelle Performing Arts Center on Oct. 23-25. The multimedia and live music concert, billed as the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Event, features three champions and finalists from Elvis Presley Enterprises' worldwide Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest, each representing different stages of his career, accompanied by a live band, backup singers, dancers and an Ann-Margret tribute artist.

Celebrity's Christmas offering is "Broadway Holiday," Neil Berg's critically acclaimed music revue, set for Dec. 18-20. The show features traditional and contemporary Christmas songs alongside classic Broadway showstoppers "My Fair Lady," "South Pacific," "West Side Story," "Chicago," "Jersey Boys" and "Wicked."

The Weekend Theater opens its 23rd season Sept. 25 with Neil LaBute's, "The Shape of Things," in which four college students in a small Midwest college town push the boundaries of love and friendship. The show runs through Oct. 10. "God's Man in Texas," David Rambo's comedy about an aging pastor of a Baptist megachurch, comes to the Weekend stage Nov. 6-22. Comedy favorite "The Foreigner," by Larry Shue, the winner of two Obie Awards, runs Dec. 4-20.

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