GIVEAWAY: VIP tix to “Million Dollar Quartet”

Thanks to the Dallas Summer Musical peeps for offering Dallas Voice readers the chance to win VIP tickets to the opening night of the musical Million Dollar Quartet. That’s a sweet package of first-orchestra seats and an invitation to the cast party after the show. How many people can now say they are gonna schmooze and mingle with Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins? OK, sorta. MDQ is based on the recording session in which all these legends collaborated and never again. From Dallas Summer Musicals.

On December 4, 1956, these four young musicians gathered at Sun Records in Memphis for what would be one of the greatest jam sessions ever. Million Dollar Quartet brings that legendary night to life, featuring a score of rock hits including “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Fever,” “That’s All Right,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “Walk the Line,” “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” “Who Do You Love?,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Hound Dog” and more.

This thrilling musical brings you inside the recording studio with four major talents who came together as a red-hot rock ‘n’ roll band for one unforgettable night. Don’t miss your chance to be a fly on the wall of fame… at Million Dollar Quartet!

For tickets, just drop us an email here with you and your guest’s name (for the cast party list) and phone number (to notify winners) with “Gimme a Million” in the subject line. Winners will be randomly selected on Tuesday.

MDQ runs March 6–18 at the Music Hall at Fair Park.

—  Rich Lopez

Best Bets • 02.10.12

KC_Sparkle_ShirtFriday 02.10

Your life will suck without her
Kelly Clarkson kinda got a raw deal at last week’s Super Bowl. The Burleson native  killed the crowd singing the national anthem, but everyone keeps talking about halftime. We can make it up to her as she headlines her night in town. Matt Nathanson opens.

DEETS:
Verizon Theatre
1001 Performance Place, Grand Prairie
7:30 p.m. $25–$50
Ticketmaster.com.

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Tuesday 02.14

Your funny Valentine
If chocolates and flowers aren’t your kinda thing, maybe a good laugh is. Spice up Valentine’s Day with comedy. Paul Varghese was named the Funniest Comic in Dallas and headlines this Valentine’s show taking the pressure out of romantic expectations, and going for a laugh. But candy and champagne are included just to seal the deal.

DEETS:
Backdoor Comedy
8250 N. Central Expressway (in the Doubletree Hotel)
7:30 and 9:30 p.m. $28
BackDoorComedy.com.

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Tuesday 02.14

They’re here, they cheer
From the movie screen to the stage, cheerleading rivals learn there’s more to life then human pyramids and herkies in Bring It On: The Musical. But awesome choreography and high school drama add to the fun.

DEETS:
Music Hall at Fair Park
909 First Ave. 8 p.m. $15–$80.
Ticketmaster.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 10, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas

GIVEAWAY: Tickets to “Bring It On: The Musical”

We like our cheerleading competitions enough on ESPN, but when they fall and break something, it’s just too much to bear. So we’ll opt for a musical. From the movie screen to the stage,  cheerleading rivals learn there’s more to life then human pyramids and herkies in Bring It On: The Musical. The show has major Broadway cred behind it, as well. Check out this roster of creatives behind it: Tony Award-winning writer Jeff Whitty (Avenue Q); Tony Award-winning composer Lin-Manuel Miranda (In The Heights); Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning composer Tom Kitt (Next to Normal) and lyricist Amanda Green (High Fidelity); Tony Award-winning orchestrator Alex Lacamoire (In The Heights); and Tony Award-winning director/choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler (In The Heights).

Sounds like fun, right? You could check it out yourself. We have a pair of tickets to give away for the opening night of Bring It On at the Music Hall at Fair Park. Here’s what you do. Just list us five different types of cheerleading jumps (we gave you one already) along with your name and contact info, put “Gimme a T” (you know, for tickets) in the subject line and email us here. The winner will be drawn next week.

Good luck.

—  Rich Lopez

Best bets • 06.10.11

Saturday 06.11

These weiners don’t tweet
We’re not sure what culinary masters would think of this pairing, but Weenies & Martinis sounds just fine to us. The Lone Star Ride fundraiser features a weiner roast (jokes welcome), s’mores and all the ingredients for a grown-up campfire. The best part is that 100 percent of the proceeds go to LSR Fighting AIDS.

DEETS: Jack’s Backyard, 2303 Pittman St. 7:30 p.m. $20. Search the event on Facebook.com

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Sunday 06.12

Next comes the senior discount
Likely your funny bone has been tickled by Paul J. Williams at one point or another. So pay him back with birthday greetings at his 50 and Fabulous gathering in the upstairs bar. He’ll appreciate your presence far more than the subscription to AARP that will be in his mailbox soon.

DEETS: JR.’s Bar & Grill, 3923 Cedar Springs Road. 9 p.m. PaulJWilliams.com

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Tuesday 06.14

The Holy Grail comes to town
Seriously, our email inboxes should be called Spamalot, but those Monty Python people took it before we could. King Arthur’s quest never came across as all that funny until now in this musical version of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

DEETS: Music Hall at Fair Park, 909 First Ave. 8 p.m. Through June 26. $15–$70. DallasSummerMusicals.org

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 10, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Best bets • 06.03.11

Friday 06.03

All the Cox you could want
Could there be any better timing for this year’s 6th Annual MetroBall? The AIDS fundraiser is smack dab in the middle of Razzle Dazzle Dallas. We’d go no matter what since dance diva Deborah Cox is headlining. You know she’ll sing her signature hit “Nobody’s Supposed To Be Here,” to a packed house. Ironic, huh?

DEETS: Station 4, 3911 Cedar Springs Road. 7 p.m. $30. GDMAF.org.

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Saturday 06.04

This ain’t the Pink Floyd version
Musical accompaniment to The Wizard of Oz will not be a classic rock album this night. Instead, the DSO pays homage in Oz with Orchestra by performing the original soundtrack as the movie plays. And extra bonuses to the people who dress up as their favorite character.

DEETS: Meyerson Symphony Center, 2301 Flora St. 7:30 p.m. $30–$70. DallasSymphony.com.

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Tuesday 06.07

Now these cats can recycle
We wonder if the Stomp people throw anything away. Clearly everything, even trash, can be turned into a musical instrument or noisemaker, but these guys know how to do it the right way.

DEETS: Music Hall at Fair Park, 909 First Ave. Through June 12. $15–$75. Ticketmaster.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 3, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Applause • Shrek’s appeal

Jason Moore, the gay Broadway director of this year’s State Fair musical, promises something for everyone — and he means everyone

STEVEN LINDSEY  | Contributing Writer

Director Jason Moore
Director Jason Moore works his magic on fairy tales and flatulence in this fall’s ‘Shrek the Musical.’

Dallas Summer Musicals, Music Hall at Fair Park
909 First Ave. Shrek the Musical runs Sep. 28 through Oct. 17. Tuesdays–Sundays, 8 p.m., weekend matinees 2 p.m. $25–$133. 214-631-2787.
DallasSummerMusicals.org.

Flatulence makes the heart grow fonder. That’s just one of the irreverent messages at the center of a musical comedy with a surprising amount of emotional resonance — hidden beneath a grand dose of silliness, of course. Shrek the Musical, about an ogre and a donkey on a quest to save a princess in a land of famous fairy tale characters, began as a beloved children’s book before becoming one of Hollywood’s biggest movie franchises. So bringing it to the Broadway stage — and then on a national tour — meant the stakes were high both with audiences and producers.

“If people love something already, they’re protective of it and they want it to live up to their memory and expectations of what they love about the movie or the book. We deliver what people love, but deliver a bunch of stuff that people have never seen,” says Jason Moore, co-director (with Rob Ashford) of the original Broadway and the national touring productions.

“We don’t think of it as a cartoon. The movie is only 80 minutes long and our show is two hours with an intermission. There are elements directly lifted from the film and then a whole bunch of new stuff, like the score. The movie is not a musical, unlike some of the other adaptations of cartoons that were musicals to begin with. Keeping the familiar look from the movie helps people get used to the fact that they’re hearing music now.”

The sets are colorful and wonderfully elaborate, which isn’t often the case with a touring production.

“The task of making something so it can travel makes you come up with more fun, creative and imaginative ways to solve bigger problems.

That’s why I think tours in some ways tend to be better versions of the shows they reflect, because they’re a little more distilled down to the story,” he says. “Though the tour of Shrek is a huge production, it’s distilled down from Broadway a bit, but still huge. It’s a fairy tale. You need size and scale and fantasy.”

Moore, who also directed the Tony-winning Avenue Q, has a long history directing musicals and comedies. But with Shrek he could quickly be the go-to guy for snarky musicals featuring puppets.

“Ha!” he laughs. “The puppets [in Shrek] couldn’t be more different. There are several puppets in the national tour, but we have this big new beautiful dragon puppet, which is like 24 feet long and magnificent. It flies and there’s a whole new dragon number. Puppets are magical and it’s so great in Shrek because the scale is so huge.”

The fairy-tale world also opens up a lot of new challenges for a director because suddenly, you’re dealing with a menagerie of characters that aren’t human.

“The ogres need to move like ogres, the donkey needs to seem like a donkey. In some ways, everyone is a version of a kind of puppet. They have to manipulate their costumes and their bodies just like a dancer would, like in The Lion King or Little Mermaid. It’s a lot of fun for the actors. To choreograph for a donkey, a dancing egg and a gingerbread man is a challenge, but a rare gift,” he smiles.

Perhaps even more rare is a musical number involving the delicate subject of, well, breaking wind.

“I like to think that we are the first and maybe last. It is a song about farting, but it’s based on an old theater convention: Anything you can do, I can do better. The song at its essence is really about two characters who are falling in love with each other. A lot of times when people fall in love, it’s not based in language. It’s based in kind of awkward physicality. Farting and burping is just our version of it because we’re dealing with ogres. It’s indigenous to their behavior.”

The deeper message at the center of Shrek is something he hopes resonates with anyone who, like the big green ogre, has ever been an outcast.

Shrek the musical
Shrek and Donkey create a new family of choice when they meet Princess Fiona

“It’s definitely a fairy tale world that runs by different rules. There’s a song in Act 2 called Freak Flag, which basically is the message of the show. Love who you are and others will love you,” he says. “As a gay man myself, I think that can be said of any human, but particularly true of gay humans. Shrek is essentially an outcast and we were often mindful of people who would be considered outcasts, from redheads to gays to other minorities to people who had awkward teeth. Certainly I’d like to think there is something special in it for gay people.”

But ultimately, it’s about bringing something to the stage for people of all ages and all backgrounds. Shrek, he says, is about exploring universal truths — with a lot of laughs along the way. And most of all, it’s about bringing to the stage something you can’t experience anywhere else.

“You have to ask, what can you do in the theater that you can’t do in the movies? That’s what we deliver. On the road, in any theater, audiences are seeing a show for the first time and we always want to give them as much magic as we can.”
Cue the singing mice and flying dragons.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 27, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas

They’re your ‘Dreamgirls’ starting today at Fair Park’s Music Hall

Don’t lie — you know all the words

American Idol alum Syesha Mercado takes her stab at Dreamgirls as Deena, but of course, everyone will wait for Moya Angela’s Effie to sing a particular centerpiece song. We wonder which one that would be.

DEETS: Music Hall at Fair Park, 909 First Ave. Through July 18. $30–$85. DallasSummerMusicals.org.

—  Rich Lopez

Best Bets • 06.25.10

Saturday 06.26

An apple-tini for Fido, please
The Dallas Association of Style Houses (DASH) is lending a helping hand to the Dallas Humane Society with Canines and Cocktails. Sip a cosmo and perhaps pet a dog by the same name. Just don’t slip some vermouth into the water bowl, no matter how much that dog may whine. He may be trying to kick a bad habit.

DEETS: Studios 1019, 2278 Monitor St. 8 p.m. $70–$100. Dash-Dallas.org.

Saturday 06.26

When he blows, it’s oh so nice
Dave Koz has a big horn. Look at it — that’s one long instrument, and he blows it himself to the delight of many. To top it off, it appears he’s into a good threesome. The Koz comes back to town and this time he brings fellow jazz man Jonathan Butler and former Prince protege Sheila E. Nice.

DEETS: House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St. 8 p.m. $29–$75. HouseofBlues.com.

Wednesday 06.30

Don’t lie — you know all the words
American Idol alum Sayesha Mercado takes her stab at Dreamgirls as Deena, but of course, everyone will wait for Moya Angela’s Effie to sing a particular centerpiece song.

DEETS: Music Hall at Fair Park, 909 First Ave. Through July 18. $30–$85. DallasSummerMusicals.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 25, 2010.

—  admin