Kevin Moriarty's daring gambit with the DTC

Posted on 21 Apr 2008 at 2:21pm

The first thing I realized after looking at the list of plays that mark the first season of the Dallas Theater Under under its gay artistic director Kevin Moriarty was: Not a “Macbeth” or a “My Fair Lady” in the lot.

“If you had asked me at the beginning of the season, I would have expected a Shakespeare or a Rodgers & Hammerstein, too,” Moriarty confessed after the announcement. But there just wasn’t room.

Those of us who have been following Moriarty since his appointment wondered how he would find room for all he wanted to do. At the ceremony after his appointment was announced last June, Moriarty rattled off a list of all the things he wanted to accomplish: a new world premiere every year, classics, stories that speak to the community, musicals… just how many shows did he think he’d be putting on?

But he’s done just what he planned, and more.

The most significant development is his plan to institute a repertory company of nine actors who will perform in at least two shows every year. “Keeping it local” was a refrain that often seemed to fall on deaf ears with the DTC, which routinely casts its plays out of New York, despite the depth of talent in the Metroplex.

But it makes sense. In all the years I’ve been attending and reviewing theater in Dallas, I never once saw former DTC artistic director Richard Hamburger in the seats at any plays other than his own; in the last eight months, Moriarty has been a fixture time and again. He’s been absorbing the local theater scene, and he knows what it has to offer. This may be the greatest boon to the Dallas acting community in decades. (He’ll hold auditions and begin casting for the nine slots this summer, he said.)

The plays Moriarty has picked are risky — a collection of 15th century morality plays, two world premieres and one Dallas premiere, the raucous musical “Tommy,” which Uptown Players tried a few seasons back — but with that risk comes energy. You could tell everyone from blue-haired season subscribers to newcomers were excited by the ballsiness. And as one local veteran said to me after, referring to the impish Moriarty, “How can you not get excited when Peter Pan makes the announcement.”

We believe, Peter Pan; we believe.

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