It's all about me

The tables were turned on me recently when Mark-Brian Sonna, an actor, playwright and sometime contributor to the gay Web site EdgeDallas.com, interviewed me about my role as theater critic. I assume most of the quotations are correct, but I was pretty drunk when we did the interview — it was, after all, after 2 p.m. on a Wednesday. You can read it here. 

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

'Big Bang' extended

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“The Big Bang,” Theatre Three’s hysterical mini-musical in the downstairs black box space, have been extended to Sept. 14, which leaves even more time to see the all-gay cast — Gary Floyd, Doug Miller and Terry Dobson — sing and sweat their hearts out. Don’t miss it.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

From Q Cinema to Q Theater

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Todd  Camp, the founder of Fort Worth’s Q Cinema film festival, has been MIA for a few weeks, ever since he was unceremoniously let go from his job writing for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram last month. He had been there for 18 years, so hardly a last in-first out situation. Damn mainstream media!

Anyway, word comes from Camp that he and his partner just returned from a vacation to the Great Northwest — just in time for him to undertake a very different occupation: Acting. Camp has been cast as one of the leads in Neil Simon’s play “God’s Favorite,” a modern adaptation of the Book of Job, at Onstage in Bedford. As he notes: “My character was originally played by Charles Nelson Reilly on Broadway, so that should give you an idea of what to expect.”

At least he hasn’t lost his sense of humor. 

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Dallas, Heaven and the Fringe

I blogged here a few months back that Marco Rodriguez, the wonderfully talented Dallas-based playwright and actor, had his award-winning show, “Heaven Fobid(s)!,” accepted in New York’s Fringe Festival of independent theater… only he needed the funds to attend. 

Word came this weekend that the community stepped up, and he’s taking the show to the Big Apple for five shows between Aug. 9 and Aug. 16.  Congrats, Marco!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Kids' stuff

I don’t usually comment on the work of critics’ from rival publications, but I had to make a mention of something Joy Tipping at the DMN said today in a review of “High School Musical:”

“Whatever its artistic merits, Disney’s ‘High School Musical’ has accomplished something possibly never before witnessed at the Music Hall at Fair Park: Throngs of children and teens lined up giddy with excitement over like theater.”  

(I reviewed it too this week; you can read that here.)  

 The thing is, I saw what she described just last week. If you want to expose your offspring to good age-appropriate theater, take ‘em to DCT’s “Frog and Toad.” But please don’t take them to the kind of show that would put most discerning kids off their feed. We want to encourage theater-attendance, not bore them.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Breaking news, Natalie! "Facts of Life" extends

Craig Lynch, one of the producers of Uptown Players, sends the Dallas Voice this exclusive bit of news: “The Facts of Life: The Lost Episode” is such a hit, the run has been officially extended through July 18 … at least. There a “possibility of an open ended run,” he adds.paulvoice-1.jpg

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Girls! Girls! We're a hi-i-i-t!

In Friday’s edition, Paul J. Williams, who stars as Mrs. Garrett in “The Facts of Life: The Lost Episode” inside the Rose Room, wondered whether Uptown Players’ subscribers — and the Station 4 clientele — would take to having a full-length play performed there. Turns out it the answer is “yes.” Word is in the show will be extended beyond its scheduled June 29 closing date, although details still need to be worked out.

Read a full review of the show on Friday. 

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Tony Awards: Supplement

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In Friday’s print edition of the paper, I discuss the likely Broadway winners at the Tony Awards this weekend — and which are the gayest of the lot. I basically limited by coverage to musicals, because, well, that’s mostly what people go to New York to see.

But the best show there right now isn’t gay at all and it’s likely to take a heap of Tonys: “August: Osage County.” Already this year’s Pulitzer Prizewinner for drama, this Tracy Letts play about a dysfunctional Oklahoma family calls to mind countless precursors in American theater — O’Neill’s “Long Day’s Journey into Night,” Tennessee Williams’ “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” Hellman’s “The Little Foxes” and almost everything written by Sam Shepard — and yet it seems completely, organically unique. Expect it to win best play, director, featured actress (Rondi Reed) and for Deanna Dunagan, as a pill-popping matriarch, to surpass co-star Amy Morton for leading actress in a play. The only real surprise is that none of the men in the show were nominated at all.

Both Kitchen Dog Theater and Contemporary Theatre of Dallas have histories doing either Letts’ work or insightful American dramas, but whoever does it locally, go see it when you can. And don’t miss the Tony Awards on Sunday on CBS, hosted by Whoopi Goldberg. 

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Ay, papi! Martice needs your help

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Marco Rodriguez is a tease.

 For a number of months now, the local playwright and actor has been telling me he had something “big” in the wings, but try as I might, he wouldn’t spill the beans. (He said even his boyfriend didn’t know what it was.) All I knew was that (a) it had to do with his most recent play, “Heaven Forbid(s)!” being (b) staged somewhere other than Dallas. 

So today, he finally ‘fessed up: “Heaven,” in which Marco and Rhianna Mack cross-dress to play a variety of character in purgatory, has been selected from among more than 1,000 entries to play at the New York International Fringe Festival in New York. If you don’t already know or can’t guess, whenever you say “New York” and “play” in the same sentence it’s a pretty big deal. And this is a very big deal.

But, as with almost every independent theater operation, Rodriguez needs money to do. So, he’s asking for contributions. If you wanna help out, try calling his ticket line at 214-750-7435. Or you can even write to me and I’ll forward along his e-mail. I’ll do in despite the fact that Marco didn’t even bother to offer me an exclusive. Congrats anyway, Marco! 

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Dallas theater veterans on the move

Two well-known (and better yet, well-liked) veterans of Dallas theater are on the move — one right out of the state.

Staying put is Lee Trull, who this week moved on to a full-time position as artistic associate with the Dallas Theater Center. Trull, who’s straight but a nice guy anyway, is an actor (“End Times,” DTC’s “A Christmas Carol”) and playwright (“Puppet Boy”) who has been one of the team that produces at Kitchen Dog Theater.

At least Lee will still be local; not so Tom Sime, the managing director of the Contemporary Theatre of Dallas and erstwhile theater critic for the Dallas Morning News. Sime, who’s gay but a nice guy anyway,  is making the big move: He’s headed for New York. Sime has always worn multiple hats in the arts, as a critic then theater manager, but also as a visual artist and playwright. His newest full-length play, “Bloodletters” (which I saw in an enjoyable staged reading last year), opens at Teatro Dallas later this summer.

We’ll have Tom around for a while longer — he’ll be with CTD until the end of the year, when Russell Dyer takes over… and I have to break another one in… 

—  Arnold Wayne Jones