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

STAGE REVIEW: ‘On the Eve’

Here’s a suggestion for you when you see On the Eve, which has just three more performances (out of just 10 total) this weekend: Sit through the opening number. If you aren’t instantly dazzled by the music, style and energy, bolt. And say a prayer for yourself. Because what Nouveau 47 and Spacegrove Productions are doing over at Fair Park’s Margo Jones Theater inside the Magnolia Lounge is a dazzling bit of stagecraft. But if you don’t like it from the get-go, you never will. And that would be sad.

Sitting in the 50-seat space, watching the likes of Gregory Lush and Jenny Ledel and Seth Magill dash around a stage that looks like a shabby three-ring circus, is as hypnotically captivating as anything I’ve seen in a long while. It feels as if you are at the birth of Spring Awakening or Rent or Godspell, watching magic come to life. You might be compelled to lay frankincense and myrrh at the box office when you leave.

Still, I’ll be damned if I can tell you just what On the Eve is about — because it’s kind of about everything. Does it help to say a time-traveling rock star beds Marie Antoinette just as Joseph and Etienne Montgolfier invent the hot air balloon while a statue comes to life? I didn’t think so. Plot be damned:  On the Eve is about nothing short of the creative process itself — the sacrifices and failures and repeated mistakes that infuse every aspect of our lives, and have throughout history, as we try to make an impact on the lives of others. If it sounds heady, it’s anything but.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones