"Designing Women" debut puts Fayetteville's TheatreSquared in national spotlight

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Photo courtesy of TheatreSquared

"Designing Women," a new play based on the '80s and '90s-era TV show, premieres tomorrow at TheatreSquared. It's a fun throwback for Gen Xers — and a great discovery for millennials and Gen Zers.

Why it matters: Well, besides having another fun thing to go do, it's pretty cool that the play is making its national debut in Fayetteville. The NWA arts scene is no joke. The play is written by the original show's creator, Linda Bloodworth-Thomason.

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Background: The sitcom centered around four women working at an interior design firm in Atlanta.

About the play: It's the same characters but set in October and November 2020. This time, the ladies are talking about 2020 issues, director Harry Thomason tells Axios. (Playwright Bloodworth-Thomason tells The New York Times the theatrical drama tackles #MeToo, Donald Trump, and the Kardashians.)

  • The set is also a modern update of the TV series.

The play is meant to satisfy those who watched the original series and engage younger people who may not be familiar with it, says Dexter Singleton, director of new play development at TheatreSquared.

  • "The hardest shows to find are truly good comedies that also have social content. This is right smack dab in that alley," says TheatreSquared artistic director Bob Ford.

Context: The organization hosts Arkansas New Play Festival at Fayetteville, Bentonville, and Little Rock venues each year. The festival helps playwrights develop their work. Singleton says organizers have committed to hosting at least one new play each season.

  • Part of the theater's mission is to show works by a variety of writers — experienced, new, local, some with a national profile, racially diverse, and women.

Details: The show runs from Friday through Oct. 24. Ticket prices range from $10 to $58.

1 COVID thing: TheatreSquared requires proof of vaccination or a negative antigen test performed within 72 hours before the show. Masks are also required.

  • Or you can watch the show from your couch. The theater is offering some digital stream showings, and you can get tickets.

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