DTC donates nearly $60K to NTFB

ACC NTFB Check Presentation - Kris Martin, Kieran Connolly - by Dana Driensky

Former Dallas Voice staffer Kris Martin, as representative for the NTFB, collects a check from Scrooge (actor Kieran Connolly) at the final performance of ‘A Christmas Carol’ at the Wyly Theatre. Additional donations at that performance raised the total donation to nearly $58,000.

For six Christmases, the Dallas Theater Center has collected canned food and cash from patrons at its annual production of A Christmas Carol, and this year was an especially good one. For its first time since returning to the Arts District — and its first time in the Wyly Theatre — the DTC managed 934 pounds of nonperishable goods (nearly twice the amount taken in last year at the Kalita Humphreys) and raised $57,993.81 in cash donations (above the average for prior years). That brings the total monetary donations — donated to the North Texas Food Bank — to $297,912.16 since 2008. Each dollar accounts for about three meals donated to the hungry across the Metroplex.

We’re big fans of the NTFB here at the Voice — I decorate a cake every year for charity, and the NTFB is a feeder donator the Resource Center’s food pantry — so we’re happy to see how generous people are. But the need continues beyond Christmas; you can donate time, food or money here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Collin Duwe wants to be a rich world traveler and you can help him

CollinDuweCollin Duwe wants the best job in the world. And we kinda want him to have it.

Actually, we wouldn’t mind having the job, either. This is it: Become a world traveler at a hefty salary ($100k) and spend a year reporting on destinations from Atlanta to the Maldives for the website Jauntaroo.com. Pretty sweet. (GayTravel.com has had a similar contest, with the GayTravel Guru, which I’ve reported on.)

Now, we’d all want a job like that, but Collin is actually close: He’s one of 30 finalists worldwide, and he needs people to vote for him. We certainly don’t mind throwing a word out for him. Collin is part of North Texas’ LGBT community, and works at Dallas Theater Center right now, so the theater community probably knows him, too. And I think DTC could manage if he decided to travel internationally for a year.

If you’re so inclined, all you have to do to help Collin is click here and vote. I’m sure he’d appreciate it — maybe he’ll even send you a postcard of thanks from exotic Fort Worth — that’s one of the stops on his tour.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

DFW Theater Critics Forum selects best of season in local theater

The Chairs5

Kitchen Dog’s ‘The Chairs’ was a big winner from the theater critics, winning for actors Raphael Parry and Rhonda Boutte, director Tim Johnson and set designer Scott Osbourne.

Among the highlights: As always, there were tons of gay winners (hey, it’s theater), including Tim Johnson (for The Chairs at Kitchen Dog, which had a stellar season), and Regan Adair (In a Forest Dark and Deep and Joel Ferrell (Gruesome Playground Injuries), both at Second Thought, which also had a standout season. Knock Me a Kiss, a play with a gay theme over at Jubilee, was singled out for Barbara Wood’s performance.

The group also recognized two of last years best performances: Marianne Galloway in Children of a Lesser God and Theatre 3 founder Jac Alder in a rare performance as Sigmund Freud in Freud’s Last Session. Tween Kennedy Waterman was also recognized for her role in Daffodil Girls. Season’s best show, On the Eve, was a runaway hit with five awards.

Two Fort Worth productions of The Taming of the Shrew received lots of kudos, including one at Stage West; its founder, Jerry Russell, died last week, and was given a special citation for his years of artistry.

The participating critics — me, Elaine Liner (Dallas Observer), Mark Lowry (TheaterJones.com), Lawson Taitte (Dallas Morning News), M. Lance Lusk and Liz Johnstone (D Magazine), Lauren Smart and Kris Noteboom (TheaterJones.com), Martha Heimberg (Turtle Creek News and TheaterJones.com), Alexandra Bonifield (Critical Rants), Lindsey Wilson (CultureMap Dallas) and Punch Shaw (Fort Worth Star-Telegram) — selected the following winners (after the break). Congrats.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Cedric Neal wins Helen Hayes Award

Liz Cedric Terry

We miss Cedric Neal in Dallas, but we’re also glad he’s met with such success. The former member of Dallas Theater Center‘s resident acting company (pictured above with fellow company member Liz Mikel and WaterTower artistic director Terry Martin) first went on to a role on Broadway in Porgy and Bess (he even went on a few times as Sportin’ Life, a role he understudied) and has continued to work. And it’s paid off.

Last week, Neal won a Helen Hayes Award, presented for excellence in theater in the Washington, D.C., area. He won best featured actor in a musical for his role in the Signature Theatre’s production of Dreamgirls, beating such competition as former Tony Award nominee Robert Cuccioli who appeared in 1776. Congrats, Cedric!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

BREAKING: DTC’s 2013-14 schedule

rsDTC Artistic Director Kevin Moriarty_Photo by Tadd MyersThe Dallas Theater Center’s Kevin Moriarty has said since he started there as artistic director that his goal was to provide every audience an experience in the “city’s theater.” The diversity evident in the coming season reflects that. (Three gay playwrights are represented next season.)

The seven-production season is divided into both “classic” (four plays) and “contemporary” (three plays) series — two musicals, a holiday tradition, a famous play and its unofficial sequel among them.

The “big” news is the first locally-produced professional production of Les Miserables, which closes the season in the summer of 2014. Before then, however, are six more shows.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

DTC donates more than $63K to NTFB

For the fifth year, the Dallas Theater Center was not a Scrooge during its production of A Christmas Carol, raising $63,186.72 from patron donations to donate to the North Texas Food Bank. (That number reflects amounts donated after the check presentation above.) That raises the total amount donated by audiences to nearly a quarter of a million dollars. Every dollar provides about three meals to a North Texan in need. Audiences also donated about 568 pounds of non-perishable food items.


—  Arnold Wayne Jones

DTC postpones ‘Dracula,’ adds Oscar and Felix

One of the more anticipated debuts this season of theater was going to be The Dracula Cycle, a play by gay Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark scribe Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, debuting at the Dallas Theater Center in the spring. Well, it’s been placed on hold, according to a release from the DTC this morning. In its place: The Odd Couple, which will run March 15–April 14.

Hmm… from a bloodsucker to a neat freak.  I kinda see it.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

REVIEWS: DTC’s “Joseph,” T3′s “Ave. Q”

Sydney James Harcourt as a buff Joseph. (Photo courtesy Karen Almond)

The problem with the Webber and Rice musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat has always been its roots as a kids’ Sunday school pageant. It was written to be 20 minutes of Bible education set to music; when they decided to expand it, you could tell where they were padding. The result is tuneful, light enjoyment — 70 minutes of anachronistic songs about the Old Testament. But there’s never been a lot of meat to it; it’s a sing-along show with a Broadway attitude.

Or at least it used to be. Joel Ferrell, who directs and choreographs the version now playing at the Dallas Theater Center, has found a way around Joseph‘s weaknesses. First, the DTC has licensed the extended score, including a mega-mix curtain call medley that reiterates the entire score in digest form.

Second, he’s given a shape to the story it has always been in desperate need of: Instead of the show just being what it is, we now have a reason for it. A group of school kids trudge through a museum with a stern security guard (Liz Mikel). One of the children is fascinated by a copy of the Torah, and the guard takes note. She tell him the story of Joseph and his 11 brothers, and as she does, the stage opens into a Pee-Wee’s playhouse of colorful stagecraft; the kid even imagines himself as the baby brother in the tribe. This conceit does more than bookend the play: It explains to hip weirdness the show has always wrestled with, specifically, songs (and some characters) that seem unexpectedly modern. Why is Pharaoh be portrayed as Elvis? It makes sense if a 21st century child projects his ideas onto a story. And it gives Ferrell the chance to ratchet up the disconnects. The brothers now are skateboarding iPod junkies in baggy shorts and ball caps.

The change does two important things: It raises the energy level of the show, and it allows Ferrell to mount one of the gayest family musicals you’ll ever seen. (Maybe those are the same thing.)

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

EXCLUSIVE: Inside the shocking comic moment in DTC’s “God of Carnage”

Ask anyone who has seen Dallas Theater Center’s production of God of Carnage what the most memorable moment in the play is, and you will get a chorus of unanimity — guaranteed. If you’ve seen it, you know. If you haven’t, spoiler alert!

It comes about 20 minutes in. A graceful socialite, played by Sally Nystuen Vahle, announces she’s feeling queasy. Then, with almost no warning, she blows chunks. Throws up. As in projectile vomiting that seems to go on forever. And is milky. And has big pieces in it (apples and pears, if you follow the dialogue). And it gets everywhere.


And fucking hilarious.

The process of making the scene work was a confluence of Vahle’s stagecraft and the efforts of John Clauson, the props designer, and his team. And it took a lot of trial-and-error.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

BREAKING: WaterTower’s (very gay) new season

Addison’s WaterTower Theatre released the schedule for its 2012-2013 season, and the line-up is among the gayest for the company in recent memory.

• The season begins in September with The Mystery of Irma Vep, experimental gay playwright Charles Ludlam’s hilarious send-up of melodramas revolving around the strange goings-on at a spooky estate. (Sept. 28–Oct. 21.)

• The holiday show will be It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play. This is a new concept for WTT, which typically stages a musical comedy or revue with a Christmas  theme. This production will transport the beloved film to the studio of a 1940s-era radio station for an authentic recreation of the old-school radio play. (Nov. 24–Dec. 16.)

• The season picks up again in January with Putting It Together, a musical revue featuring the music of gay composer extraordinaire Stephen Sondheim. Diana Sheehan, who played Big Edie in WTT’s Grey Gardens, stars. (Jan. 11–Feb. 3.)

• This past year, WTT’s Out of the Loop Fringe Festival was super-gay — it often is. Next year’s line-up won’t be announced until early next year, but you can always count on odd and engaging new works. (March 7–17.)

• WTT’s gay artistic director Terry Martin, who recently starred in the Dallas Theater Center’s production of Next Fall, pictured (Martin’s on the right), will direct Frank Galati’s award-winning adaptation of The Grapes of Wrath, about the Joad family’s journey from Dust Bowl Oklahoma to the fields of California in the 1930s. (April 5–28.)

• Prolific playwright A.R. Gurney, who mined the field of WASP culture in plays like Love Letters, tackles the formal wedding toast in Black Tie, a comedy about a father trying to maintain some dignity at his son’s upcoming nuptials, only to have his own late father appear as a ghost, offering advice. (May 31–June 23.)

• The season ends next summer with one of the gayest musicals ever conceived: Xanadu. Playwright Douglas Carter Beane’s hysterically campy adaptation of the godawful 1980s movie musical, released in the waning days of disco, inserts pop music into a revised plot about the establishment of a roller disco. (July 26–Aug. 18.)

—  Arnold Wayne Jones