This week’s takeaways: Life+Style

The Bruce Wood Dance Project has three more performances of the choreographer’s new show at Booker T. Washington in the Arts District, including an encore of the first program, which debuted last night (with Gary Floyd providing beautiful vocals to the stunning new “I’m My Brother’s Keeper”). Wood is up to his old tricks: The technical beauty of classic ballet combined with the muscular physicality of modern dance plus Wood’s own unique contributions of humor and an emphasis on the potential of the male form. Don’t miss it — it ends this Sunday.

Also over this Sunday is Oklahoma! at Lyric Stage; don’t miss it, either (you have a busy weekend ahead of you!). As we’ve come to expect, director Cheryl Denson has crafted a massive and engaging piece of classic theater with a huge cast, full orchestra and dazzling sets. You have more time to see Jersey Boys at the Winspear Opera House — it’ll be around almost another month — but it’s just as unmissable.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Concert Notice: Indigo Girls and Janis Ian head to Dallas — but not together

While looking at the ol’ concert calendar, I noticed that a couple of major queer icons in music are headed this way. Better yet, they are performing in venues that should truly let them shine.

The Indigo Girls will play with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra on Aug. 29 at the Meyerson Symphony Center. I think that could be quite an interesting show seeing how the IG play such minimalist music. How do you add a whole symphony to “Watershed” or “Strange Fire” and still keep that distinct IG feel?

Tickets are $30–$105 and on sale now.

I had the pleasure of speaking to the legendary Janis Ian the last time she came to Dallas. Back in 2009, she performed a benefit show at the Rose Room. But this winter, she’ll perform at the Hamon Hall at the Winspear Opera House. Although I haven’t seen it yet on the ATTPAC calendar, but Ian has Dec. 8 (as does Pollstar) listed on her website as her day (or night) in Dallas. For tickets, stay tuned to the ATTPAC’s listing when it goes up.

Ian is most famous for her “At Seventeen” hit, but did you know the folk star dabbled in disco? Watch the video of “Fly Too High” after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez

This week’s takeaways: Life+Style

Del Shores is back! For someone who’s not from Dallas, Winters, Texas native Shores has spent a lot of time here, and he’s back on Friday at the Rose Room inside Station 4, for yet another one of his standup performances. If you haven’t seen him before, trust me: He’s bitchy, dishy, energetic and hysterically funny. The show’s at 8 tonight, so get your tickets now.

As a child of the 1980s, I’m not ashamed — OK, I’m a little ashamed — to say I listened to Air Supply. Worse, I even enjoyed them. And bought their records. Why not? They sang catchy songs — and the likes of Jim Steinman (Meat Loaf) even wrote and produced some of their songs, so you can’t dismiss them entirely. Well, at 10 a.m. June 15, tickets for their Dallas concert (on Sunday July 29) at the Winspear go on sale at I can’t guarantee there will be a rush on the box office, but I bet it sells really well. There are a lot of us out there.

After more than a month, Bernie continues to sell out shows at Landmark’s Magnolia Theatre, and with good reason: The East Texas comedy is spot-on hilarious about a gay mortician who is the darling on a town that makes Tuna, Texas, look like San Francisco. Jack Black deserves an Oscar nominations. See if before it goes away. On the other hand, it’s not a bad idea to steer clear of Rock of Ages, a joylessly awkward and slogging film musical that’s saving grace is the romance between Russell Brand and Alec Baldwin.

Jersey Boys plays for about a month at the Winspear Opera House, but Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson at Theatre 3 won’t be here quite that long, and is definitely worth a look-see.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

This week’s takeaways: Life+Style

Razzle Dazzle gets into full swing this weekend, with Taylor Dayne performing at the MetroBall at Station 4 tonight. And on Saturday, the Cedar Springs sidewalk sale, LifeWalk WaterPalooza and more events take place along the strip.

The Tonys are the gayest of all awards shows, and this year is no exception, with Neil Patrick Harris hosting again.  The AT&T Performing Arts Center is hosting a Tony-watching party at the Winspear Opera House on Sunday; doors open at 6:30 p.m. You can RSVP here.

Also down at the Arts District this weekend, gay pianist Michael Feinstein teams with Marvin Hamlisch and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra for a performance honoring Cole Porter. The two-night engagement runs Friday and Saturday at the Meyerson Symphony Center.

The long-awaited prequel to Alien, Prometheus, opens today, and it’s definitely worth seeing if you enjoy being scared. And the return of Dallas isn’t here until Wednesday, but the superduper gay fantasy soap True Blood returns on Sunday.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

“American Idiot” tonight at the Winspear

Three’s company

Direct from Broadway, the smash-hit musical American Idiot tells the story of three lifelong friends, forced to choose between their dreams and the safety of suburbia. Their quest for true meaning in a post 9/11 world leads them on the most exhilarating theatrical journey of the season.

Based on Green Day’s Grammy-winning multi-platinum album, American Idiot boldly takes the American musical where it’s never gone before. The result is an experience Charles Isherwood of The New York Times declares “thrilling, emotionally charged, and as moving as any Broadway musical I’ve seen this year!”


DEETS: Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St. Through May 20.

—  Rich Lopez

Lexus Broadway Series’ line-up

The Lexus Broadway Series at the Winspear Opera House confirmed its 2012-13 will contain seven shows, up from the usual four or five. As already reported, it features the play War Horse, the Tony Award-winner using remarkable puppet horses and other animals (including Joey, pictured), which runs Sept. 12-23. Much of the rest of the season, though, contains some familiar titles … though some are welcome back.

The season begins Aug. 14 with Chicago, which has been through North Texas a lot — last year, in Fort Worth with John O’Hurley; he’s here again in this production. After War Horse, Constantine Maroulis, the Idol who did a good job in the recent Rock of Ages, will be seen in Jekyll & Hyde (Dec. 4-16), a delightfully bombastic musical that hasn’t been to Dallas with a national tour since before it opened on Broadway.

A ” bonus” show (not part of the Series package) is Cirque Dreams: Holidaze, another Soleil wannabe from Neil Goldberg, from Decc. 18-23.

The season returns in 2013 with the national tour of the current Broadway hit revival Anything Goes† (Feb. 13-24), followed by the African-themed Fela! (May 7-19) from Bill T. Jones. The last show, Traces (Jun 11-23), is an unknown quantity, but looks like a cross between Cirque, Stomp and Movin’ Out.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Pink Martini’s gay bandleader Thomas Lauderdale commits to Sunday’s outdoor show rain or shine

Before Sunday’s concert at Annette Strauss Park, Pink Martini’s gay bandleader Thomas Lauderdale discussed just why the eclectic jazz outfit as been so productive lately. With four releases in the last three years, the band has churned out material faster than in their early days.

Lauderdale also says that with Dallas’ random weather lately, Pink Martini is set to deliver on Sunday whether there’s a crowd or not proving the band’s commitment to spread its distinct sound that delves into foreign lands and classic movies.

Read my conversation with Lauderdale after the jump. Pink Martini performs at Annette Strauss Square at the Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St. 8 p.m. $45–$65.

—  Rich Lopez

REVIEW: “In the Heights”

There are almost always walk-outs during intermission even of a good show, but honestly, barring a family emergency, I cannot imagine anyone not coming back for Act 2 of the In the Heights other than it being — ahem — “too ethnic.” The opening number is an eight-minute rap sung by Dominicans, Cubans, Puerto Ricans and African-Americans. The dance moves are more pop-and-lock than step-ball-change. They wear Nikes and Bedazzled tank-tops, not toe shoes and tutus. The only white faces you’ll see for two and half hours are those in the audience. Don’t like it? It’s called life.

In the Heights has a Broadway antecedent in Rent, but Lin-Manuel Miranda’s score simply has more street cred than Jonathan Larson’s more traditional rock-by-way-of-Puccini music. Caribbean beats, Latin rhythms and freestyle rap/hip-hop live alongside each other in the same harmony as the residents of New York’s Washington Heights barrio. Usnavi (played at the performance reviewed by Robert Ramirez) runs the bodega next to the neighborhood salon and the Rosarios’ cab company. It’s the day before July 4, and the Rosarios’ daughter, Nina (Virginia Cavaliere, who has a beautiful voice) has just returned from college in California. Benny (Kyle Carter) has a crush on Nina, but he’s not good enough for Mr. Rosario (Benjamin Perez)  that is, not the right color. Meanwhile, Unsavi is trying to shore up the courage to ask out Vanessa (Presilah Nunez), who works at the salon but will be moving downtown.

This is a rangy story, that centers around how the week’s winning lottery ticket was sold at Usnavi’s store; when we learn who, the audience lets out a collective gasp. We know it’ll change at least one life forever.

The songs are remarkably adept capturing the immigrant experience; I defy anyone to list to “Inutil,” “Paciencia y Fe” or the title opener and not be both moved and exhilarated. Even in this non-Equity production (Carter seems the most out of his depth), the passion, the energy and the singing are apparent. If Ken Burns ever wanted to make a musical, he couldn’t find a better expression of the American experience than In the Heights.

In the Heights at the Winspear Opera House through March 25. Dallas Voice Life+Style Editor Arnold Wayne Jones will hold a discussion about the show in the Winspear’s Hamon Hall before the performance on Tues., March 20 at 7 p.m.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Best Bets • 02.17.12

Friday 02.17Vera-Pearl-3qtr

Time to get funked up
While the late Whitney Houston recharged one of Chaka Khan’s biggest hits, there’s no denying the funk queen’s own style. Khan comes to Dallas for a night of some legendary R&B with The O’Jays, Jeffrey Osborne, The Mary Jane Girls and Ohio Players as part of the Love Train show. What’s better — that’s not even the entire roster.

American Airlines Center
2500 Victory Ave.
6 p.m.



Sunday 02.19

Knight in shining armor
The Dallas Opera gets all soap opera like in their production of Richard Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde. Sparks fly between a princess and a knight, but her husband isn’t too thrilled. He also happens to be the king. The tale is a classic and doomed love story, but the show gets a refreshed touch with this modern production.

Winspear Opera House
2403 Flora St.
2 p.m. Through Feb.
25. $25–$275


Tuesday 02.21

No helper needed for this Tuna
Joe Sears and Jaston Williams reprise our favorite roles for Tuna’s Greatest Hits: 30 Years of Laughter. Vera, Bertha, Petey and the rest all get a bit older, but only get better as they remind us why we can’t get enough of some Tuna.

Eisemann Center
2351 Performance Drive, Richardson.
8 p.m. Through Mar. 4.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 17, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas

REVIEW: Loretta Lynn at the Winspear Sunday

I hadn’t invested much time into the lore of Loretta Lynn. I’m a fan of her music, I had seen Coal Miner’s Daughter and applauded her reinvention with Jack White for 2004′s Van Lear Rose. But I did not expect the spectacle of her Sunday night show at the Winspear — and by spectacle, I mean her lavender, bedazzled gown. That thing was a show in itself with its flared out skirt and shoulder pads. Oh, those shoulder pads. Fortunately, someone got a great pic of it.

Gown or not, Loretta Lynn showed why she is the legend that she is. Short and sweet, Lynn managed to jam-pack a career of songs into I’d say less than an hour, and yet, the show was overly satisfying. Mostly singing her classics like “You’re Looking at Country,” “She’s Got You” and “You Ain’t Woman Enough to Take My Man,” she delivered crystal clear vocals against a rich backdrop provided by her very able band. She did shorten some of her tunes to lead into others, but I can’t say I ever felt cheated. The enthusiasm by her fans was contagious. The people around me lost their shit as a big hit bellowed from her microphone and it was both endearing and fascinating to watch.

Lynn sat down after a couple of songs due to her new “titanium knee” and held court with her gown spread out and mic in hand. She never overdid anything and in true diva fashion, she let the band and the audience simply watch her sing and chat. The audience kept shouting out songs they wanted her to sing or mentioned their meemaw’s birthday and none of it shook her. Her game was on and she made it look like it was a breeze. After all these decades of performing, perhaps it was.

Her daughters performed as openers and they sounded fine, but her son, Ernie Lynn was the worst part of the night. At least the daughters inherited good voices, the son did not. He and LL’s backing band, The Coalminers, opened the show with a couple of covers like “Slow Hand,” that did not set any bar high. His scraggly voice and bad stage presence was quickly forgotten thanks to a more inspired showing by his sisters.

As if to make it worse, he chimed in during much of Lynn’s banter with the audience and embarrassingly so. He mentioned trying to find a girlfriend and creepily admitted to his likeness of Taylor Swift. Yuk. Apparently, this is nothing new.

But LL was magic overall and nothing could eclipse what she delivered Sunday night. Although she didn’t do an encore, the audience about fell out when she finished with “Coal Miner’s Daughter” and reminded us of greatness.

Watch a small video clip by ATTPAC live tweeter Brad Ehney (@got80s) after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez