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Uptown Players' New Season: Blair and Tootie, Fresh and Fruity

Must we really wait almost a year for The Facts of Life: The Lost Episode? ’Fraid so, theater lovers. But mark your calendar now for June 13, 2008, when Uptown Players present the local premiere (at the Rose Room at Station 4) of Jamie Morris’ all-drag and totally unauthorized parody of the oddly popular 1980s sitcom about teenage girls in the Eastland Academy boarding school.

The stage show, a bonus offering on Uptown’s 2008 season, “finds” FoL’s fictional lost episode in which the girls turn to prostitution to offset budget cuts and save headmistress Mrs. Garrett’s job. (Start the campaign now for Dallas actor B.J. Cleveland, a master at acting like a miss, to play the show’s resident wisecracking chubbess, Natalie Green. Nobody -- nobody --else could do justice to that role.)

Facts falls toward the end of what looks to be a challenging (in a good way) season for Uptown Players, a company that’s found great success doing mostly gay-themed comedies, dramas and musicals for a mostly gay audience.

Its seventh season -- and you’re reading the lineup here first, kids -- starts next February at the newly renamed KD Studio Theatre (formerly the Trinity River Arts Center) with the regional premiere of Bare: A Pop Opera, a Rent-like musical about Catholic boarding school seniors (do we see a theme here?) seeking answers to coming-of-age dilemmas. That’s followed in April by Martin Sherman’s acclaimed drama Bent, which follows two gay men through the nightmares of Nazi persecution in 1930s Berlin.

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Uptown’s 2008 season continues next summer with the regional premiere of Tim Acito’s Zanna Don’t!, a musical fairy tale about a matchmaking teen who turns relationships upside-down. Think of it as a gay (or gayer) High School Musical. The theater will wind up its production year in October with James Kirkwood’s comedy Legends, starring B.J. Cleveland and Coy Covington as fading film stars Sylvia Glenn and Leatrice Monsee, roles played by Joan Collins and Linda Evans in the creaky road tour that blew through Bass Hall recently.

That’s next year’s fare. Uptown Players’ next show this season opens Friday. It’s the much-anticipated adaptation of Jackie Susann’s cult classic Valley of the Dolls, taken from page to stage (with lots of references to the wonderful-terrible 1967 movie) by Dallas writer-directors Bob Hess and Doug Miller. Patty Breckenridge stars as Neely O’Hara, the pill-popping songstress, with Cara Serber in the Sharon Tate role of Jennifer, the boobylicious model-turned-porn-star, and Lynn Blackburn as the good girl in the pillbox hats.

Tickets for all Uptown shows cost between $22-30. Curtain goes up at 8 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays at the KD Studio Theatre, 2600 Stemmons Freeway at Motor Street.

To reserve seats for Valley of the Dolls or to buy 2008 season packages, call 214-219-2718 or go to the Web site. --Elaine Liner

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