Exclusive: Uptown Players is stayin' put for awhile

UP @ Kalita
Uptown Players’ co-founders Craig Lynch and Jeff Rane on the stage of the Kalita Humpheys.

When the Dallas Theater Center left the Kalita Humphreys Theater in the heart of gay Uptown for its Downtown digs at the new Wyly Theatre, it freed up the historically-protected venue up to other theater companies. Gay-centric Uptown Players was the first to jump at the opening, planning three shows — its fundraiser, Broadway Our Way, and its first two full-length shows, the play Equus (which just closed, breaking attendance records for Uptown Players) and the upcoming Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (it opens April 13). After that, Uptown was headed back to its old digs at the KD Theatre.

Not so fast.

Uptown Players had already moved a lot of its operations — office space and box office operations — to the Kalita. But they have just inked an agreement to stay at the Kalita for the remainder of its 2010 season. That means Regrets Only,  Forbidden Broadway’s Greatest Hits and Closer to Heaven will all debut at the Kalita, which has three times as many seats as KD at its most generous configuration.

And it seems to be working. Folks who wouldn’t dream of going to “alternative” performance spaces are lining up to return to the Kalita, an ageing but eye-catching theater designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

“We feel it is now time to make the step into a larger facility that will allow us room for growth and bigger and more complex productions,” says co-founder Craig Lynch.

And the North Texas theater scene gets just a little gayer.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones