On the Edge, Out of the Loop 2015: Take One

Now in its 14th year of inspired, quirky, performance, Water Tower Theatre’s OUT OF THE LOOP FRINGE FESTIVAL provides its eager audience with another diverse array of intriguing, thought provoking works of promise. I’m not seeing everything by a long shot (pothole blown tire assured that tonight), but here are capsule reviews of what I’ve … Continue reading

Anti-Intellectual Antidotes Triumph Center Stage

With the rise of a particularly unsavory brand of anti-intellectualism blasted across cable media and boldly defended in many halls of political discourse, especially in Texas lately, it’s a delight to observe the success of two outstanding theatre productions setting the artistic standard for the N. Texas region. By success, I mean their ability to … Continue reading

Speed-dating at Fun House: A Shakespearean Debacle

Huge disappointment alert. Nobody in this arts community has been a more enthusiastic advocate of the productions mounted by Fun House Theatre in Plano than me. I knew they would eventually open a show that I could not give a positive review to in good conscience. Here it is, based on Romeo and Juliet‘s opening night performance. … Continue reading

CAVALIA ODYSSEO: Horses Reign in Grace

“ A horse, a horse! My kingdom for a horse!”     Man’s fascination with the horse began when an early human first peered over the crest of a grass-covered hill to watch a herd storming across a plain, wild and free. Artists have strived forever to express the magical relationship between horse and human. But … Continue reading

Getting Warmer: WHY THINGS BURN

“You’re not the only one to hear a song in the woods, or crinkle cellophane in the wind, or catch rain in a bottle. The gods let you do that.”  There are mysterious truths one can learn from the searing light of a flame, the aftermath of swallowing a razor, the crinkle of cellophane grasped … Continue reading

Once the Musical, twice: enough

John Carney wrote and directed his 2007 hit Irish musical film Once on half a shoestring budget, c. $150,000. Released worldwide, it had grossed over $20 million by early 2009. Critics praised it widely as “most charming” and “show-stopping”. The Chicago Tribune’s Michael Phillips gushed, “”It may well be the best music film of our … Continue reading

Cliff-diving with Wendy Welch: Sonia in CityRep’s “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike”

  This coming weekend, Oklahoma City Repertory Company (CityRep) opens the #1 most produced play in the United States, Christopher Durang’s fine-tuned comedy with Chekhov-inspired characters and themes, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, featuring a diverse, talented, seasoned cast. The play opened Off-Broadway in 2012 then transferred to Broadway in 2013. There it won … Continue reading

Follow the Path to Ferguson: AART’s “Detroit 67″

On Halloween night 2014, African American Repertory Theatre’s (AART) regional premiere of Dominique Morisseau’s award-winning period drama Detroit 67 opened its run at the KD Studio Theatre with an enthusiastic standing ovation from its sold-out multi-generational, multi-ethnic audience. The crowd hung around after to congratulate the cast and bask in the play’s artistry and discuss … Continue reading

Finding True Home with Lyric Stage’s “The Golden Apple”

Imagine this : An American Puccini wins a Guggenheim grant and writes an epic American musical score based on Western civilization’s most catalytic Greek myth with a wunderkind “Jules Verne” lyricist in the early 1950’s…. and you have The Golden Apple: exhilarating, stately, saucy, poignant, immersive, seductive, demanding amazing depth, scope and stamina from its … Continue reading

Back to the Garden: “Flower in the Machine” @ THE OCHRE HOUSE

Creation is the Buzzword at Matt Posey’s The Ochre House, where collaborator artist Kevin Grammer’s original play Flower In The Machine surprises the audience with a tender, budding love fable that emerges from a grim, robotic, computer-dominated desolation drama. Simple language and sympathetic, intriguing characters ricochet off of a drab, ultra-compartmentalized Orwellian existence. Hope flourishes! … Continue reading

Bite Down: “The Golden Apple” at Lyric Stage

 1950’s Broadway audiences backed away from The Golden Apple. It was all Greek, all intimidating Classical Greek, to them, they reasoned, even if it was sung in English. It didn’t follow the era’s conventional format for successful musical theatre. Never mind that the critics praised it highly with almost unanimous voice. Never mind that it … Continue reading

WHY THINGS BURN: Trick or Treat with Van Quattro

Performance Art with a Fright Night Deadline! Most of you folks in the North Texas theatre community recognize Van Quattro as the world-weary donut shop owner who stole the show in Tracy Letts’ Superior Donuts at Theatre Three in 2012 or as the grim psycho with a freaky hand fetish in Second Thought Theatre’s A … Continue reading

Oklahoma honors Steinbeck in theatre, music and history

Troubadour Everyman and mythic storyteller. Play narrator and occasional actor. Interpretive instrumentalist, weaving an evocative score underneath searing human drama. Guardian of the precious flame of human spirit…multi-faceted, professional performance artist and musician Sonny Franks wears a number of significant hats in the stage adaptation of John Steinbeck’s celebrated novel The Grapes of Wrath, as … Continue reading

2013-14 DFW Theater Critics Forum Awards

Some of these shows I did not see. A number I  would not honor with awards. EVER. I am disappointed that neither Ochre House’s Christhelmet (directed by Matthew Posey) nor Diana Sheehan’s  Full Gallop or her sophisticated cabaret,  Searching for Gertrude Lawrence at WaterTower Theatre met the critical popularity threshold. I am quite thrilled for other wins. Call it a draw…. Direction: … Continue reading

Arrested Mid-stride: “Full Gallop” at Water Tower Theatre

Wearing a severe, elegant, black pantsuit with a few carefully selected, distinctive accessories, actress Diana Sheehan glides into Water Tower Theatre’s swank 1970’s era NYC apartment living room set with all the confidence, grace and elegance of a pedigreed Grand Prix level dressage horse striding onto a manicured dressage court to compete for Olympic Gold. … Continue reading

Festival of Independent Theatres 2014: A Reluctant Pass

  Several of this year’s participants in the Festival of Independent Theatres have presented productions of extremely limited worth, in my opinion. These shows, as they exist, lack cohesive artistic merit: in terms of content, in terms of production values, in terms of aesthetic. I have stared at a blank page on my MacBook numerous … Continue reading

No Error In Sight: Junior Players’ Comedy of Errors

  No “errors” noted in William Shakespeare’s early comic farce The Comedy of Errors, presented 1920’s film-style by Junior Players in collaboration with Shakespeare Dallas at the Samuell-Grande Amphitheatre through Sunday July 27. As part of its yearly arts outreach to nearly 6000 Dallas area youth, Junior Players mounts a full-scale, fully costumed, professional caliber … Continue reading

Grace in Styrofoam: CHRISTHELMET at The Ochre House

As posted on Dallas Morning News online: http://www.dallasnews.com/entertainment/arts/headlines/20140717-matthew-posey-packs-a-punch-in-christhelmet-at-the-ochre-house.ece Glide from chaos to redemption with the Ochre House’s Christhelmet, a vaudevillian drama with a transformative twist, written and directed by Ochre House founder Matthew Posey and featuring him in the title role.  A fixture of local theater for more than 20 years, Posey has carved out a … Continue reading

Mostly Entertaining Millie at Prism Theatrics

Lofty aspirations always merit praise, setting the bar high, while adding a dose of hubris can be off-putting. New venture Prism Theatrics states their vision on the inside cover of the show program of their inaugural production, Richard Morris and Dick Scanlan’s Thoroughly Modern Millie, with music by Jeanine Tesori. “By bringing a Broadway caliber … Continue reading

Feasting Beggars, Flying Inspectors: DTC’s “Les Miserables”

I sympathize with the Dallas Theater Center. I comprehend the in depth planning behind their “concept” productions and note their fascination with descriptive words like “new, innovative, modern, and accessible to all”. I get the fact that the powers making artistic decisions there generally don’t seem to trust plays or their characters as written or … Continue reading

Trinity Shakespeare 2014: Oh, blessed brave new world!

AESTHETIC — noun A guiding principle in matters of artistic beauty and taste; artistic sensibility. An underlying principle, a set of principles, or a view often manifested by outward appearances or style of behavior. Nearly all theatre companies in this region function with mission statements, action plans of a sort, some better crafted, better articulated and … Continue reading

Dr. Who and Downton Abbey Actors perform Texas playwright’s London reading of THE LADY REVEALED

Celebrated Dr. Who and Downton Abbey  actors join the cast of the British premiere reading of Texas-based playwright and eminent theatre scholar Dr. Andrew Harris’ original work THE LADY REVEALED at Tristan Bates Theatre, Covent Garden, London, July 4, 2014.  About the play: “I have had great difficulty in containing myself or making myself go off … Continue reading

Triumph of the Soul’s Dark Night: Lyric Stage’s TITANIC

When I attend Lyric Stage’s resplendent productions I often feel I am not just enjoying superior entertainment, I am gaining a unique, immersive perspective into the richness of the American musical theatre genre not available elsewhere. Peter Stone and Maury Yeston’s “Titanic” fits into that category, at full tilt. From the exquisitely arranged orchestrations conducted by … Continue reading

Gone Southie: Watertower Theatre’s GOOD PEOPLE

David Lindsay-Abaire’s homage to the work-worn, hard-edged folk of South Boston (known as ‘Southies’), “Good People”, gets a sincere production from a strong acting ensemble in WaterTower Theatre’s regional premiere running through June 29 in Addison. Its 2011 Manhattan Theatre Club production won numerous prestigious award nominations from the reigning East Coast set, winning Tony … Continue reading

Tickets Going Fast: BOOTH at Second Thought Theatre

SOLD OUT! SOLD OUT! CALL FOR WAITING LIST! “For Second Thought Theatre, turning away patrons by the dozens is a great problem to have….” A Second Thought Theatre creative  driving force and playwright and director of the historical drama BOOTH, Steven Walters expresses sheer amazement at the overwhelming audience response to the original work, now in … Continue reading

No Waiting for Mendes’ Lear @ National Theatre Live

Within the first ten seconds that National Theatre Live’s “King Lear” opens on the screen, minus any credit roll or “Tour London Now” commercial distraction, Simon Russell Beale storms through immense leaden upstage center doors into the austere, militaristic, shadowy set like a mad bull on a rampage and snatches the ominous, dread-filled scene by … Continue reading

Sock It To Bernard: “Boeing Boeing” Flies High at GLCT

French people often get recognized both for their rudeness and their risqué sense of humor. Marc Camoletti’s romantic farce “Boeing Boeing”, listed in 1991’s Guinness Book of Records as the ‘most performed French play in the world’, explores both aspects of the French personality and delivers a hilarious evening of fun, fluff and frou-frou. If … Continue reading

Sanitizing Genocide & Dissing Critics at Undermain

Don’t you love it when theatre companies make stuff up and it unravels on Facebook? Here’s a recent example: Email I received from Undermain’s Press Director Dana Cobb on 3/10, re: press seats for 3/22 opening of We Are Proud to Present…: “Undermain Theatre strives to make as many performances accessible for reviewing press. Due … Continue reading

Winners announced: TeCo’s 12th Annual New Play Competition

WINNERS ANNOUNCED: “Strangers In A Chapel” by Antay Bilgutay wins 12th Annual New Play Competition. Literary Prize shared between Steven Young and Elle Vernee. Congratulations to this year’s winners. Every year I’ve attended the TeCo Annual New Play Competition, I have seen the quality of submissions improve substantially. What at first seemed like a casual jumble, … Continue reading

CityRep Soufflé: Cooking Up Much Ado

Producing a play shares similarities with cooking a perfect soufflé. Carefully selected, measured ingredients get mixed with scientific precision (with a master chef or director’s signature touch) and then “baked” at the right temperature for an exact duration. Removed carefully from the “oven” and presented elegantly to its audience at table (or in the theatre), … Continue reading

Sock It To Me, Jesus: “Godspell” at the Winspear

As I hustled out of the Winspear Opera House… …while the Dallas audience gave its customary, if somewhat tepid, standing ovation to the Lexus Broadway Series touring production of Stephen Schwartz’s early 1970’s musical “Godspell”, based on the Gospel of Matthew, two thoughts came to mind. The first: “You can’t make a silk purse out … Continue reading