Uptown Players is lookin’ for some guys to get nekkid

When Uptown Players announced last summer that their upcoming 2012 season would include the Tony Award winner Take Me Out, everyone familiar with the Broadway show knew immediate what they meant: Naked ballplayers.

The plot of Take Me Out deals with a (fictional) Derek Jeter-type who (hypothetically, Derek!) comes out, and throws his MLB team and the sport as a whole into a frenzy. As followers know, it includes a locker room scene loaded with clothing-free athletes engaged in good natured (and definitely homoerotic) horseplay.  Of the cast of 10 male roles, seven require nudity.

Which brings me to my point: Please, please, actors out there — audition if you look like a baseball player, not if you simply go to the gym and want to show off, or just liked to get naked and aren’t ashamed of your body. My biggest complaint with plays set in the sporting world is, the actors need to look like athletes. That does not mean (necessarily) pretty boys; hairless twinks may be nice to look at in a magazine, but just pick up Sports Illustrated (or review footage of the Rangers’ World Series appearance) and notice that baseballers come in a lot of sizes and styles. Some are kinda beefy (especially the power hitters) and don’t have Michael Phelps’ build. Don’t be afraid to audition just because you aren’t  sculpted good. Theatergoers (and sports fans) want realism, not abs.

Auditions begin Nov. 28 and continue through callbacks on Dec. 4; video submissions are accepted. Click here for more information, including sides.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Brian Stokes Mitchell tonight at the Winspear

Theater king
TITAS brings in Broadway leading man Brian Stokes Mitchell for a one-night engagement. The Tony Award winner performs a night of songs proving he can carry a show well on his own.

DEETS: Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St. 8 p.m. $12–$200. TITAS.org.

—  Rich Lopez

Best bets • 08.26.11

Friday 08.26

Don’t rec yourself
After completing the new member clinics on playing volleyball, virgin recreation level players in DIVA will put everything they learn to the test Friday night. Sure it’s nerve wracking to come into a new sport and have balls fly at you at so many miles per hour, but once that’s done, the rest of the season is a blast.

DEETS: Texas Advantage Sports, 4302 Buckingham Road, Fort Worth. 7:30 p.m. DivaDallas.org.

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Sunday 08.28

What’s your identity?
Identity Festival, the first-ever exclusively electronic music tour, hits the Big D including queer faves Hercules and Love Affair, pictured, the neo-disco project from New York backed by gay DJ Andy Butler. Steve Aoki, The Crystal Method and Nervo also perform at the all-day event.

DEETS:  Gexa Energy Pavilion, 1818 First Ave. 1 p.m. $35. Ticketmaster.com..

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Thursday 09.01

Theater king
TITAS brings in Broadway leading man Brian Stokes Mitchell for a one-night engagement. The Tony Award winner performs a night of songs proving he can carry a show well on his own.

DEETS: Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St. 8 p.m. $12–$200. TITAS.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Augus

—  Michael Stephens

Uptown Players sets line-up for 2012 season

stage-3
AM BUSCH | Coy Covington (in ‘Die Mommie, Die!’) returns to his roots in drag acting by once again serving as Charles Busch’s surrogate in ‘The Divine Sister.’

Uptown Players begins its third season at the Kalita Humphreys Theater next year, with a lineup that numbers among its gayest ever.

“I don’t wanna say it’s more gay, but I definitely feel it has more gay aspects than some recent seasons,” said co-founder Craig Lynch.
As usual, the season includes a drama, a comedy and two musicals, plus several bonus shows.

The 11th season kicks off Feb. 3, 2012, with Take Me Out, gay playwright Richard Greenberg’s Tony Award-winner about the reaction when a professional baseball player comes out of the closet. WaterTower Theatre last produced the show locally in 2006.

That’s immediately followed by Broadway Our Way on March 16, the annual fundraiser that showcases musical numbers traditionally sung by men being sung by women and vice versa.

As with this season, Uptown will clear out of the Kalita for a few months while the Dallas Theater Center, which still holds the lease on the building, mounts two shows in the space: God of Carnage and Next Fall. In the meantime, the troupe will return to the stage of the Rose Room for The Silence of the Clams, another of its comic spoofs, again written by Jamie Morris (The Fact of Life: The Lost Episode). It opens April 27.

On July 13, Coy Covington returns to his wheelhouse performing in drag in the most recent Charles Busch comedy, The Divine Sister. This will be Covington’s fourth go as Busch’s surrogate for Uptown. “We saw it off-Broadway and met with Busch,” Lynch said. “His production of the play is touring but is not coming to Dallas, so we snatched up the rights.”

Uptown will then attempt what is arguably its biggest production to date when it tackles  Mel Brooks’ mega musical The Producers. It also happens to be one of the gayest mainstream smashes in the history of Broadway. National tours have come to North Texas, but this will be the first major local production. It opens Aug. 24.

The season will end on Oct. 5 with Hello Again, gay composer Michael John LaChuisa’s musical play about relationships through the decades. John de los Santos will direct.

It’s an ambitious season for the company that began soon after 9/11 in a 120-seat space off Stemmons but is now only the second troupe to be a resident company at the historic Kalita Humphreys. When they started, did they ever think they’d mount something as big as The Producers?

“Heck, no!” said Lynch. “We were debating whether to do The Producers for a year now but after doing research I see how it can work. We’ve learned some valuable lessons in the space. We know we need to scale back here and be more abstract there. We were used to a small space and small-scale thinking; now we times that by a hundred.”

— A.W.J.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 9, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Gary Floyd lands 3 OutMusic Award nominations

For 20 years, the OutMusic Awards have recognized openly gay musicians who not only make great music, but music that speaks to the gay community. And one of the frontrunners this year is Dallas’ Gary Floyd.

Floyd has been a staple in the Metroplex for more years than he’d like to admit, performing cabaret, musical theater and a host of other styles. But it’s for his languid, inspirational songs, represented on his 2010 album The Gospel of Zen, that he’s most recognized — locally, of course, and now nationally.

“Behold” is in contention for best contemporary spiritual song. (Last year’s winner in this category was Tony Award winner Levi Kreis.) Better still, the CD itself is nominated for best album — and we mean best overall, against such heavy-hitters as Hunter Valentine, Ray Boltz, Rachael Sage and the Heartland Men’s Chorus. Not bad for a six-song, independently-released disc.

In addition, Floyd’s composition “Love of My Life” is up for the prestigious Martin Bello Love Song Award, which comes with a cash prize. (“It’s not on the album, nor even recorded commercially [by me], though Marvin Matthews did a cover,” Floyd says.)

The nominations came out of the blue. Floyd was counseled to submit the album for consideration by his booking agent, but didn’t expect it would actually nab two major noms.

The awards, voted on by the LGBT Recording Academy, mean a lot to Floyd, as does the chance to attend the gala ceremony in New York on Dec. 1 — it will be hosted by Carol Channing, with Cyndi Lauper, Melissa Etheridge and Chely Wright set to attend.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 12, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Spanish harem

History’s most notorious womanizer gets his just desserts — as does the audience — in Dallas Opera’s sweetly comic ‘Don Giovanni

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor jones@dallasvoice.com

STD-LICIOUS  |  Even prim Donna Anna (Claire Rutter) can hardly resist the wooing of a Spanish noble (Paulo Szot) in Dallas Opera’s charming ‘Don Giovanni.’ (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)
STD-LICIOUS | Even prim Donna Anna (Claire Rutter) can hardly resist the wooing of a Spanish noble (Paulo Szot) in Dallas Opera’s charming ‘Don Giovanni.’ (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

DON GIOVANNI
Winspear Opera House,
2403 Flora St.
Oct. 30 and Nov. 5 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 7 at 2:30 p.m.
Tickets from $25.
DallasOpera.org

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A character in the musical Nine describes an Italian film director, based on Federico Fellini, as “a mixture of Catholicism, pasta and pornography.” The phrase could just as easily apply to ­­­­­the title antihero of Don Giovanni, at least in Dallas Opera’s Pulp Fiction-like interpretation. A rollicking, Dadaist take on Mozart’s dark, dreamy comedy-drama, it’s a romp.

If Giovanni (Tony Award-winner Paulo Szot, as sexy as all get-out), who romances woman with serial obsession, were alive today, he’d have an entire hour to himself on a sex-addict edition of Jerry Springer: He woos Donna Anna (Claire Rutter) while avoiding revenge from her betrothed, Don Ottavio (tenor Jonathan Boyd) and the wrath of a former conquest, Donna Elvira (Georgia Jarman, looking like Lana Turner in a shiny catsuit). If it didn’t end with Giovanni swallowed up by hell, it would be an all-out French farce or American teen sex comedy.

There’s Mozart’s music, of course, which elevates the discourse, as do director-designer John Pascoe’s gorgeous sets and playful handling of the material. This is woozy fun.

Watching Szot, already flirtatious and sexy, frolic around in a fountain is­­­ like some kind of homoerotic Renaissance wet T-shirt contest.

But it’s not all about matinee-idol looks. Szot’s acting — indeed, the acting by the entire cast — is as strong as the singing. Jarman’s performance is especially engaging, and Ailyn Perez as the peasant Zerlina deserves props for staying sensuous during an annoyingly loud set change.

Bass Mirco Palazzi as the servant Leperello milks humor easily with his physicality, and Boyd’s lovely rendition of “Dallas sua pace” is a highlight of Act 1.

The last time the Dallas Opera mounted Don Giovanni, it was a dour, stiff affair without any sparks; this version reinvents the show for them, and makes an excellent kick-off to their new season.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 29, 2010

—  Kevin Thomas

Best bets • 10.22.10

Friday 10.22

Speaking out on arts and AIDS
This month’s Queerly Speaking event brings in rapper, author, poet (and more) Tim’m West in this special Arts and AIDS edition. West uses hip-hop, spoken word and performance art in selections of “Ready Set Grow” where he takes on coming out, race and sexuality and his triumphs and travails in his battle with AIDS.

DEETS: South Dallas Cultural Center, 3400 S. Fitzhugh. 8 p.m. $5. RedDirt.biz.

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Saturday 10.23

These are the good kind of Con men
The Art Conspiracy people call what they do street-level philanthropy. We call it greatness. The annual event raises money for nonprofits with this year’s proceeds going to Today Marks the Beginning which educates children on non-violence through art. If that’s not enough, then the reasonably priced art and local live bands will make the night more worthwhile.

DEETS: Art Con Warehouse, 511 W. Commerce St. 7 p.m. $10. ArtConspiracy.org.

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Wednesday 10.27

Hump day with a major hottie
Mozart’s Don Giovanni still gets us verklempt thanks to hottie baritone Paulo Szot. He plays the legendary Don Juan in this Dallas Opera production following his Metropolitan Opera debut. And he’s a Tony award winner. He’s got major cred to go with those swoony bedroom eyes.

DEETS: Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St. 7:30 p.m. Through Nov. 7. $25–$400. ATTPAC.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 15, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas

Spend ‘An Evening With Judy Garland’ tonight in Irving — or Liza in Dallas

Scheduling conflict for days

All right Friends of Dorothy, Liza performs her last show tonight at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra at the Meyerson, but before you head out, did you know about this show? While Liza’s “New York”-ing it in Dallas, the Irving Symphony Orchestra presents “An Evening with Judy Garland” with guest conductor and former Liza musical director Michael Berkowitz. Maybe this will help you decide. Either way, you’ll catch a true diva in action. Tony Award winner Debbie Gravitte takes on Judy in her show, so any decision you make is a win-win.

DEETS: Liza Minnelli with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Meyerson Symphony Center, 2301 Flora St. 8 p.m. $45–$122. DallasSymphony.com. An Evening With Judy Garland at the Irving Arts Center, 3333 N. MacArthur Blvd., Irving. Oct 9 at 8 pm. $19–$54. IrvingArtsCenter.com.

—  Rich Lopez