Chorale scores turtley awesome season finale

turtlely 80sFor its third concert of the season, newly appointed Turtle Creek Chorale conductor Sean Baugh was taking the stage. In this weekend’s Turtle-ly 80s season finale, he owned the stage.

But Baugh isn’t afraid to share the spotlight. Good thing, because the chorale has so much talent to spotlight.

Steven Fontaine’s “Wind Beneath My Wings” had me in tears. He captured the passion of the song that was sung at so many AIDS funerals.

Steven Patterson’s ballad version of “Open Your Heart” was simply beautiful.

Before I go on about the singing, I need to rave about Soundbytes, the Chorale’s dancers, because last concert I didn’t talk about the wild reception they’re getting. From their hips and heads and cartwheels in “Footloose” to their briefcase flinging “9 to 5″ to their creepy entrance onto the stage during “Thriller,” they’re an integral part of Baugh’s new and improved, maybe best-ever Turtle Creek Chorale.

The 80s Broadway Montage began with a wonderful “La Cage Aux Folles” but the send-up of my most hated musical ever, Cats, (not now, not ever) did that miserable show and its whiny music the justice it certainly deserved. Thank you. If you had just one song to ever drag through the mud … wonderful.

Throughout the show, the joy was loud and proud but the humor was sometimes subtle. The Chamber Chorus singing “Papa Don’t Preach” with the men’s group telling papa they decided to keep the baby was delicious.

I didn’t mention the rest of the soloists. Each one — Brian Dixon, James Jackson, DiMarcus Williams, Eric Ramsey, Brian Scott Carey, Ricky Phoummany, Fathay Smith-Kiawu, Peter Mena, Grant Myers, Steven Patterson, David Barnes, Matthew Harrington, Dan Baillie, Daryl Curry, Bryan Daniel, Doug Fonville, Mike Grant, Grayson Palmer, Benny Ruiz and Michael Sullivan — was powerful, distinctive, warm, wonderful. One didn’t top another. One just didn’t let the audience catch its breath when the next one took us in a different direction. Brilliant.

Oh, (each time I think I’m done here, I realize there’s more) Don Jones, long time signer for the Chorale seemed to have more fun with this show than with just about any other. How could he help it? We all had that much fun tonight.

Three encores following three standing ovations. I love that the Chorale I loved for so long is back.

So here’s where I say there’s still another show on Sunday, June 14 at 2:30 p.m. There are still some tickets left. Go have fun. Oh, and get tickets here.

You can also order season tickets online for next year’s season. I’d tell you about it, but Chorale interim executive director Bruce Jaster told me from the stage to keep my mouth shut. My partner, Brian, has had some interesting new experiences since we met three years ago. He noted this was the first time he’s heard someone specifically tell me to shut up from the stage, though, and said I should say, “Thank you, Bruce.” OK, I’ll shut up, but I’m telling you, you might want to get tickets for next season now.

—  David Taffet

The Turtle Creek Chorale is back and better than ever

Sean-Baugh-TCC-by-HHenley

TCC Artistic Director Sean Baugh (photo H Henley)

Have you ever walked out of a Turtle Creek Chorale concert grinning from ear to ear and singing? Saturday night’s performance had people out of their seats cheering one of the best shows the group has ever performed.

And that’s wasn’t just me saying it. That was one person after another I heard after the show at City Performance Hall on Saturday.

The audience at Saturday night’s Britten, Beatles & Bond was clapping along from the opening Beatles number and not just cheering but giving standing ovations throughout the evening.

The reception was well deserved.

This was Artistic Director Sean Baugh’s first concert since being named permanently to the position. He’s been acting artistic director since last summer. This was also acting Executive Director Bruce Jaster’s first concert since taking the position earlier this year. May the two have a long and continued successful tenure together. They’re obviously the right combination the chorale needed.

Jaster, a former singer and board member, was at ease dressed as Sgt. Pepper — I think he was more Dr Pepper — and Baugh has gotten better and better with each concert he’s conducted this season. He’s made that stage his own in less a full season on stage. All the fun the audience remembers from a Tim Seelig concert is back and Baugh’s breadth of music knowledge is apparent from the minute he picks up his baton through his final bow.

If you’ve ever been a Turtle Creek Chorale fan but have stayed away lately, it’s time to give the Chorale another look. There’s another concert this weekend called Musica de Mayo at 7:30 p.m. on May 2 the Latino Cultural Center.

Featuring small ensembles and soloists from the chorale, the Hotchkiss Elementary School Choir and Mi Diva Loca, the sizzling music celebrates Latino culture and heritage just in time for Cinco de Mayo. The evening honors Sheriff Lupe Valdez. Tickets are $25-35 and available online.

Turtle-ly 80s on June 12-14 celebrates the chorale’s founding decade of teased hair, baggy pants and more and is a chance to sing along with those 150 or more fabulous voices. Tickets for that performance are available here.

—  David Taffet

Michael Urie opens ‘Buyer & Cellar’ tomorrow night

Even though he trained in theater here in North Texas, Wednesday night will be something special: the professional Dallas stage debut of Michael Urie, in his one-man show Buyer & Cellar. Urie recreated his starring role in the off-Broadway hit — about a man who curates Barbra Streisand’s memorabilia mall — with a handful of performances at the City Performance Hall. Welcome home, Michael! We look forward to enjoying you again … for the first time.

0630 flash

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Resounding Harmony kicks off its 5th season with concert Saturday

Resounding Harmony will celebrate its fifth anniversary of bringing music and philanthropy together this weekend as it opens its new season with a concert at City Performance Hall.

The chorus will perform songs of hope, peace and love Saturday night during its “Let me be the Music” concert, the first of its new season. The concert benefits the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, which supports the search for the cause and cure for childhood brain tumors.

Robert Huneke, Resounding Harmony’s operations manager, said he was excited to kick off the new season and proud to mark five years with the organization. He said the organization has raised more than $160,000 for causes in the area over the last four years.

“I’m very excited that we’re starting our fifth year,” he said, adding that as of Friday afternoon Saturday’s performance was sold out. “We’re got great patrons and a great beneficiary.”

Resounding Harmony’s concerts will all take place at the new City Performance Hall, at 2520 Flora St.

Huneke said he was looking forward to a large turnout Saturday and at future concerts. The next concert is scheduled for June 15 and will benefit USO Wounded Warriors.

 

—  Dallasvoice

This week’s takeaways: Life+Style

Dallas Pride Weekend is just around the corner, but the week leading up to it is jam-packed with events.

It’s the first weekend after Labor Day, which means theaters are churning out openings. Among the shows you can see this week: Rent at Theatre Arlington, The Second City Does Dallas at the Dallas Theater Center, the sexually complex Or, from Echo Theatre (at the Bath House, pictured above), War Horse at the Winspear as part of the Lexus Broadway Series and an entire selection of short plays courtesy of Uptown Players’ second annual Pride Performing Arts Festival. But we gotta say, the show we’re kinda most looking forward to this weekend is The Most Happy Fella at Lyric Stage. The rarely performed Frank Loesser musical (which immortalized our town in the song “Big D”) gets the fully orchestrated treatment courtesy of musical director Jay Dias, whom we profiled last month. Lyric only does two weekends of shows; it’s too bad, because they usually do a fantastic job. Cheryl Denson directs, too!

It’s not just theater, though, that takes to the stage. Drag diva Coco Peru performs her show at the Rose Room starting Thursday, unofficially launching Pride in Dallas. Best of all? Dallas Voice readers get a discount off tickets of up to 40 percent, just by using the promo code VOICE when they order here. And you can also see an actual theater — not something performed on its stages — by taking one of the behind-the-scenes architectural tours of the new City Performance Hall, which begins its gala weekend celebration on Thursday.

And if the Democratic National Convention only whetted your appetite for hearing gay people talked about on TV, tune into The New Normal on NBC at 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, for the newest sitcom about gay life that could very well be the next Will & Grace … only this time, it looks more like Will & Jack.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones