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

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

Diana Sheehan: Enjoying A First-rate Second Act

  Diana Sheehan’s blue eyes sparkle with inner warmth, reflecting her confidence, generosity and adventurous spirit. “You sure know how to make a girl feel at home, Dallas,” she exclaims, reflecting on the nearly seven years she has lived here. “How grateful I am for all of the wonderful actors, directors, designers, stage managers, dressers, … Continue reading

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