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.

Nasty.

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

DTC screens “Joseph” sing-along Tuesday

The Dallas Theater Center’s summer musical is, as usual, a family friendly show, and this time, it’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. It doesn’t open until June 22, but you can get a preview of DTC’s version, followed by a screening, tomorrow evening. For the second year, DTC has paired up with Studio Movie Grill on 75 and Royal for a meet-and-greet Q&A session, where you can visit with the cast of DTC’s production (including recent B’way veteran Liz Mikel, pictured) and then watch the filmed version of the show, starring Donny Osmond, in a sing-along. And all of it is free. Doors open at 6:45 p.m. on June 5 to meet the players, with seating at 7:10, Q&A at 7:30 and the movie at 7:45.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

DTC announces 2012-13 season

The Dallas Theater Center’s fourth season at the Wyly Theatre continues to extend performances into the Kalita Humphreys space where Uptown Players calls home, but this will officially be the last year A Christmas Carol is performed there. The upcoming season itself claims lots of new works or regional premieres in an eclectic season of comedy, professional wrestling, flying men and musicals with the word “fly” in the title.

See the schedule of shows after the jump.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Theater troupes to release seasons, but we already know one by the Bard

It’s that time of year when theater companies begin to unveil their seasons, and nowadays, they like to make it a show. Tonight, the Lexus Broadway Series will reveal its third season at the Winspear (look here on Instant Tea this weekend for an update!) and next week, the Dallas Theater Center and Theatre 3 both have ceremonies to announce their seasons.

We already know one of the plays on the Lexus slate: The Tony-winning War Horse, pictured, which was revealed last year. But we also know one of the DTC’s upcoming shows.

This fall will mark the start of the company’s fourth season at the Wyly, and artistic director Kevin Moriarty has always opened his season with a Shakespeare play: The comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the history Henry IV (Parts I and II) and the romance The Tempest. That only leaves one of the major tragedies (Hamlet, Romeo & Juliet, Othello, Macbeth and King Lear), and smart money has always been in Lear: It’s less performed than all the others except Othello, and so the production would be pretty fresh. The question was, who would tackle the lead?

Now we know. The DTC may not have released its schedule yet, but Trinity Rep in Providence, R.I. — with which Moriarty has had a long affiliation — has. It released its 2012-13 season brochure a few weeks ago, which I happened upon online, and here’s what it says:

King Lear [Sept. 13—Oct. 21] Our resident acting company joins forces with the acclaimed Dallas Theater Center for a co-production of Shakespeare’s masterpiece. … In the winter, Trinity Rep’s actors will venture to Dallas to remount this thrilling co-production. Resident acting company member Brian McEleney stars as Lear.

It looks, then, like Shakespeare will not kick off DTC’s season for the first time at the Wyly, but will wait until early 2013, following DTC’s annual presentation of A Christmas Carol … another show Trinity Rep is also doing. Might there be other convergences on the two schedules? We’ll find out next week!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Column Award theater nominations announced

Uptown Players' 'Next to Normal' is a major nominee in the Column Awards.

The Dallas Theater Center and Uptown Players are head-to-head with the most Column Award nominations for Equity theater companies with 39 and 28 respectively. But that’s nothing compared to the Non-Equity winner, Artisan Center Theatre, with 52 nods. (As always, tons of gay folks are nominated.)

Now that the Dallas Theater League’s Leon Rabin Awards don’t exist, the Columns are the only non-critic awards in town for local theater. Eligible theater professionals (and, actually, me) will now vote in the final round. The  winners will be announced at the Column Awards gala on Feb. 27 at the Patty Granville Performing Arts Center in Garland.

The complete list after the jump.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones