THE UNDERSTUDY And GREATER TUNA Among Offerings Of Coyote Stageworks Tenth Anniversary Season At The Annenberg

Coyote StageWorks, the Coachella Valley based award-winning Actors’ Equity professional theater company, announced that its Tenth Anniversary season will include productions of three highly entertaining stage plays, presented at the Palm Springs Art Museum’s Annenberg Theater, an increase of the popular free Play Dates Reader’s Series, and the debut of the Palm Springs Young Playwright’s Festival.

The Coyote StageWorks season will open with a performance of “The Understudy” by Theresa Rebeck. The show, a hilarious comedy about life in the theater, will run for nine performances from November 2 – 11, 2018. This will be followed by the production “Honky Tonk Laundry” by Roger Bean, a new musical from the creator of “The Andrews Brothers,” that will run for nine performances from February 1-10, 2019. The Tenth Anniversary season will conclude with a production of “Greater Tuna” by Jaston Williams, Joe Sears, and Ed Howard. This popular play about a small Texas town is the production Coyote StageWorks first mounted ten years ago. It will run for nine performances, running from March 22-31, 2019, and will attempt to “Make Tuna Greater Again.”

“Ten years ago, Coyote StageWorks was formed with very little budget but with dreams of changing the theatrical landscape of the Coachella Valley,” said Chuck Yates, Founding Artistic Director of Coyote StageWorks. “What we didn’t have in the bank, we set out to make up for in talent, entertainment and vision. We didn’t know then that a decade later we would be lauded as a forerunner in production excellence with 73 Desert Star Awards, 2 “Best Live Theater” wins in Desert Magazine, countless rave reviews, 3 productions to transfer outside of the Palm Springs community, a handful of other wonderful awards and nominations, plus thousands of audience members and supporters cheering us on along the way. It’s been quite a ride!”

This season, Coyote Stageworks has expanded its free Play Dates Reader’s Series at the Camelot Theaters/Palm Springs Cultural Center to an almost monthly event. The popular Play Dates will feature fresh and compelling scripts read by new and established actors.

“We are thrilled to expand our Play Dates staged readings,” continued Yates. “This educational community outreach program brings thoughtful and thrilling play readings to the entire community free of charge and enables us to present interesting and compelling works that would normally be cost-prohibitive to produce. Providing these for free to the community is our way of giving back to the many people who have supported us through the years.”

Coyote StageWorks Tenth Anniversary season will also feature the debut of the Palm Springs Young Playwright’s Festival, designed to help discover and nurture the next generation of writers from local middle and high school students. This exciting new festival will be accepting qualified submissions from new voices in the community, culminating with staged readings by industry professionals in May 2019, for those lucky playwrights chosen.

About the Productions

Coyote StageWorks will start the 2018-2019 Tenth Anniversary season with a full production of “The Understudy” by Theresa Rebeck. The play will run for nine performances from November 2 – 11, 2018 and will feature performances by Alex Best, Robin McAlpine, and David Youse. It will be directed by Chuck Yates. “The Understudy” is a hilarious exploration of the existential vagaries of show business and life. Charged with running the understudy rehearsal for a Franz Kafka undiscovered masterpiece making its Broadway premiere, Roxanne finds her professional and personal life colliding when Harry, a journeyman actor and her ex-fiancé, is cast as the understudy to Jake, a mid-tier action star yearning for legitimacy. As Harry and Jake find their common ground, Roxanne tries to navigate the rehearsal with a stoned lightboard operator, an omnipresent intercom system, the producers threatening to shutter the show, and her own careening feelings about both actors and her past. “The Understudy” is a dazzling and humanistic look at people trying to do what they love in the face of obstacles that mount until all anyone can do is dance. The New Yorker described the play as “…a clever indictment of contemporary theatre while making the characters’ personal circumstances ever more Kafkaesque: They are no more in control of the forces of celebrity, art, money, and Broadway than they are of their own fates.”

“Honky Tonk Laundry” will run for nine performances from February 1-10, 2019. A new musical from “The Andrews Brothers” creator Roger Bean, “Honky Tonk Laundry” stars Misty Cotton and Bets Malone and tells the hilarious story of Lana Mae Hopkins, owner and proprietress of the Wishy Washy Washateria, who hires Katie to help out in the laundromat. They soon find themselves up to their elbows in soap, suds, and cheating hearts. These two country angels turn their laundromat into a honky-tonk, and start exacting a touch of revenge against those that did them wrong, all while guaranteeing every customer receives a good, clean time. This production features the music of Carrie Underwood, Trisha Yearwood, Martina McBride, Reba McEntire, Sara Evans, Dixie Chicks, Chely Wright, Dolly Parton, Pam Tillis, Gretchen Wilson, Terri Cark, Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, and Patsy Cline. StageSceneLA describes this play as “…a jukebox musical treat!”

The Tenth Anniversary season will conclude with a production of “Greater Tuna” by Jaston Williams, Joe Sears, and Ed Howard. It will run for nine performances from March 22-31, 2019. This popular comedy is about a small town in Texas named Tuna, Texas’ third-smallest town. The wacky inhabitants of this town — men, women, children and animals — are all played by two skillful, transformative actors who must change parts at a rather breakneck speed and use inventive voicework. Alan Denny and Chuck Yates will be the featured performers who will take on 22 roles, and the production will be directed by Larry Rabin. “Greater Tuna” is the production Coyote StageWorks first mounted ten years ago.

Tickets for Coyote StageWorks’ staged productions are $45 – $55 for matinees and $50 – $60 for evening performances. A Q&A session with cast members will follow Thursday matinees and each Play Date. To purchase individual tickets or subscriptions, call 760- 325-4490 or visit For group sales, call 760-318-0024.

The 2018-2019 Coyote StageWorks season is generously sponsored by David Lee and Annette Bloch. Earlier this year, David Lee also issued a $30,000 challenge grant that doubled any donation the company received. The organization benefits from the expert leadership of its Business Advisory Board, comprised of Barbara Keller, David Lee, Dorothy Lefkowitz, John P. Monahan, Ann Sheffer, and Martin Wiviott. It also benefits from the insights and advice from its Artistic Advisory Board, comprised of Lucie Arnaz, Gloria Loring, Laurence Luckinbill, and Lorna Luft.

Coyote StageWorks is a nonprofit, 501(c)3 company dedicated to advancing theatre as a vital art form in the desert communities of the Coachella Valley. It is their mission to provide a forum for thought-provoking, entertaining, and culturally significant works in an environment that nurtures the creativity of the individual and the enrichment of the community. These shows are not Palm Springs Art Museum or Annenberg Theater presentations. For more information about Coyote StageWorks, please visit

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