Trinity Shakespeare Festival: Welcome, 2016 Cast

Trinity Shakespeare Festival announces its company for 2016, its 8th season, running June 7-26 at the TCU campus in Fort Worth. It features a distinguished assemblage of national artists, regional professionals and new faces. TJ Walsh directs The Winter’s Tale and Stephen Brown-Fried directs A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Tickets will go on sale online in … Continue reading

FAME meets Fortune with Junior Players

Want to be a famous star? Do you know yourself well enough to handle it? A whirlwind of stylistic changes have transformed musical theatre performance since David De Silva’s stage adaptation based on the film Fame debuted in 1988 in Miami, Florida, as Fame on 42nd Street. Still, its core issues – the intense desire … Continue reading

Criticalrant’s Final “First Choices” of 2015

  2015 unfolded as a stunner of a thespian year, from classics to new work, dynamic paradigm-shifters to re-invigorated audience favorites, ensemble achievements to compelling solo work. Youth to senior artists. And music? Glorious music! Performance art in our region thrives with energy, respect, initiative and genuine variety. Dedicated, impassioned creative people form the backbone … Continue reading

BLACK NATIVITY: A Transcendent Tradition at TeCo Theatrical Productions

When celebrated African-American poet, novelist and playwright Langston Hughes’ gospel music-driven production Black Nativity opened Off Broadway in December 1961, it became one of the first African-American written plays ever to be staged there. Performed regularly coast to coast since that time, Black Nativity has charmed TeCo Theatrical Productions’ audiences at Dallas’ Bishop Arts Theatre … Continue reading

Tragedy of Convention: Cara Mia Theatre’s BLOOD WEDDING, Human Enough

Federico Garcia Lorca. Blood Wedding. Cara Mia Theatre Company. Duty v. Desire. Moments of breath-taking beauty implode into explosions of anguished desolation throughout the tragedy, burning deep into the senses of those who attend this morality masque, a ritualized soul cleansing with proto-feminist overtones. Through December 13 at Dallas’ Latino Cultural Center. An internationally recognized … Continue reading

Magnificently Grand: GRAND HOTEL at Lyric Stage

Grand Hotel isn’t just grand. It’s magnificent. Normally discussion of a show’s music jumps first off the page in a review of a work staged by a regional leading musical theatre presenter. In the case of Luther Davis, Robert Wright and George Forrest’s Grand Hotel, with additional music and lyrics by Maury Yeston, running though … Continue reading

Art to Inspire: THE WHALE and HARBOR

I almost never walk into a theatre with a preconceived notion of how I will write a review. Then sometimes the format or need for a particular perspective sweeps over me as soon as I arrive. The first people I ran into at The Kalita Humphreys Theater when I attended Uptown Players’ opening night of … Continue reading

Primal Imperfection: Shakespeare Dallas’ KING LEAR

Shakespeare Dallas ushers in North Texas’ fall season with a regal, austere production of Shakespeare’s King Lear, set on a nearly bare stage, impressively framed with somber-hued hanging banners that blaze with noble fire as stage lights wash across them. When Lear (national performance artist/ playwright Fred Curchack) makes his first entrance, pausing upstage center … Continue reading

Giving a Fig: The Ochre House Goes Flamenco

Good thing The Ochre House Artistic Director Matthew Posey doesn’t give half a fig about sticking to telling linear stories in his original plays. Otherwise, the Dallas stage-scape would be a lot less enchanting. September 9-12, Posey and his crew of “Pioneers of the Suavant Guarde” mounted a deliciously enchanting, and non-linear, co-production with the … Continue reading

Best on the Boards: DFW Theatre Critics Forum 2015

Another year of outstanding D/FW thespian endeavor rolls by. Herein I post the decisions arrived at by the Dallas-Fort Worth Theatre Critics Forum after three hours of deliberation, negotiation, advocacy and munching David Novinski’s delicious gluten-free brownies to finish our potluck meal at Martha’s. I’m stoked by the diversity and quality of performance art in … Continue reading

Stranded in Love & Execution at Circle Theatre

  Somehow, Shakespeare always gets away with it. Whether viewing long-lost siblings reunited or lovers cast awry under a woodland spell, his audiences can always leap over the hurdle of suspension of disbelief to follow along contently. Playwright John Strand doesn’t make the leap happen effectively, in Lovers and Executioners, currently running through September 19th … Continue reading

Be Lovin’ It: Uptown Players’ HEDWIG Rocks the Kalita

Amor omnia vincit. Maybe in Hedwig’s case, Wink-it? Love conquers all. Not every day, or every time, or every situation. But in Uptown Players’ production of the revered 1998 rock musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch, running through September 13 at the Kalita Humphreys Theater, love—in an honest, intense, human, revelatory, intimate, glorious, explosive way … Continue reading

unMasqued Theatre’s WASTELAND tours Stage West August 20-23

Wasteland,  Susan Felder’s searing prisoner of war play, opened at TimeLine Theatre in Chicago in 2012, and she wrote it like a veteran. It delivers unforgettable visceral impact in portraying the mind-warping suffering of two young American soldiers imprisoned and isolated from each other in Vietnam, while examining the universal themes of connection and isolation. … Continue reading

What lurks beneath? GOD OF CARNAGE at Our Productions

Have you ever been drawn into a Facebook argument and immediately wished you had stayed out of it? Or if you’ve ever been forced to endure a particularly awkward, lengthy parent-teacher conference, then you might understand what it feels like to be the characters in Yasmina Reza’s Tony Award-winning 2009 play, God of Carnage (translated … Continue reading

Fated into Existential Freefall: David Rabe’s STREAMERS at L.I.P.Service Productions

Tony Awards, 1977: Annie sweeps the musicals category. Michael Christopher’s Pulitzer Prize in Drama winner The Shadow Box, about death and survival, beats out the nominated Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf, Simon Gray’s Otherwise Engaged and David Rabe’s Streamers in the Best Drama category. The Shadow … Continue reading

Burnin’ for the Future at Stage West

Nobody would ever accuse Stage West of shying away from risk-taking in show programming. Over the years I have seen an enjoyably eclectic assortment of quirky, thought provoking, over the top and often intellectually rigorous work on their main stage. No apologies, full steam ahead. Some works turn out more memorable, more effective than others. … Continue reading

L.I.P. Service Productions: David Rabe’s STREAMERS, a model of artistic inspiration

When longtime stage actor/director and film professional Jason Leyva stepped into his current position as Technical Director and Production Manager for the Farmers Branch Firehouse Theatre in 2012, he hoped his diverse technical skills, imagination and people savvy could help support and upgrade the venue and its family programming. He also brought to the Firehouse … Continue reading

Junior Players’ “Bollywood Spectacular”: Celebration of Love’s Mystical Power

How many hundreds, thousands, of modernizing stylistic adaptations has Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream suffered through in the name of accessibility or some director’s whim over the years? Some work well. Some bury the play. Some simply make me want to puke. With Dallas’ Junior Players’ production, billed as “A Bollywood Spectacular”, running through August … Continue reading

OTHELLO: Rage-rockin’ the Bard with Second Thought

And when I love thee not Chaos is come again. Act 3, Scene 3 Othello Chaos is come again.…. Chaos “comes again” with the heat of a raging forest fire and tension of a python squeezing prey with steel-taut coils in Second Thought Theatre’s production of Shakespeare’s Othello. It runs through August 8 in Bryant … Continue reading

A Question of Manliness: DGDG at FIT 2015

 I never thought of being a man Until you told me so… What was I when I wasn’t what I should be? Haunting lyrics bookend Danielle Georgiou Dance Group’s (DGDG) holistic offering at the 2015 Festival of Independent Theatres, running July 10 through August 1st at the Bath House Cultural Center. The Show About Men … Continue reading

Sisterhood of Synchronicity: “Manicures and Monuments” at WaterTower Theatre

  “Life comes in cycles, appearing when we’re ready for them,” muses Dallas area leading stage director Susan Sargeant. Stepping out of her customary role as Producing Artistic Director of WingSpan Theatre, Sargeant helms the production of local playwright Vicki Cheatwood’s play “Manicures and Monuments”, opening on Water Tower Theatre’s Main Stage June 5, 2015. … Continue reading

The Right Time: “The Amish Project” at CityRep

“It’s always the right time to do a play about forgiveness.” Are you not sure you want to see a play based on a deranged man’s shooting of ten children in 2006? It would give anyone pause. Before you write it off as sensationalistic capitalization on a horrific deed that could guarantee nightmares, please read … Continue reading