No, they didn’t take my suggestion and debut a new musical specifically written for gay resident actor Cedric Neal, to be called “Cedric, Fabulous and Short,” but when Dallas Theater Center artistic director Kevin Moriarty announced his first season at the soon-to-open Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre, there were still “huzzahs” all around.
The season opensÂ the WylyÂ on Oct. 24 with “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” with Neal as the fairy Puck (type-casting?), Hassan Al-Amin as Oberon and Liz Mikel as proud Titania. Moriarty will direct.
Moriarty, who seems as connected to theater royalty as anyone in Dallas has ever been, asked pal Dan Knechtges (who invented the roller-choreography for “Xanadu”) to premiere his new musical, “Give It Up!,” at the DTC in January. The Wyly stage will be turned into a giant basketball court in this ribald mix of “Lysistrata” and “High School Musical.” Gay playwright Douglas Carter Beane (“The Little Dog Laughed,” “As Bees in Honey Drown”) is writing the script.
The small studio space at the Wyly will be the venue for a trilogy of plays by provocative writer Neil LaBute, collectively here called “The Beauty Plays:” “The Shape of Things,” “Fat Pig” and a title “to be announced in September.” (On an unrelated matter, LaBute’s latest play about beauty, “Reasons to be Pretty,” opened earlier this month on Broadway. Ahem.) Moriarty, Joel Ferrell and Matthew Gray will each direct one for a three-month run starting in February.
Shockingly, the DTC, in its 50 year history, has never produced “Death of a Salesman.” Well, for season 51, it will, starting in April. Neal’s in this one too, playing Happy.
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, whose “Based on a Totally True Story” about his life as a gay comic book author and playwright opens on Thursday at WaterTower Theatre, is writing a new book for the rarely revived 1960s superhero musical “It’s a Bird… It’s a Plane… It’s Superman!” Moriarty will direct again, with Ferrell providing choreography. It closes the season in June (a late debut for the DTC).
And, for the final time at the Kalita Humphreys, “A Christmas Carol” will be back, this time with company member Sean Hennigan as Scrooge â€” the first time in about 20 years Scrooge has been played by a local actor (something I have actively lobbied for since the Richard Hamburger days). God bless us, everyone.