In a free-wheeling discussion about the arts scene and his plans for the future, Kevin Moriarty announced the lineup of shows for the 2017-18 season at the Dallas Theater Center — his tenth since taking over as artistic director of the company.
Four shows — Hair, Frankenstein, The Great Society and The Trials of Sam Houston — had already been announced, though their run date were not known. We now know the schedule: Hair, at the Wyly Sept. 22–Oct. 22; Frankenstein, at the Kalita Feb. 2–March 4, 2018; The Great Society, the follow-up to last season’s All the Way, back at the Wyly March 9–April 1 (with much of the same cast from All the Way, including star Brandon Potter, returning); and the world premiere of Aaron Loeb’s The Trials of Sam Houston, about two important but largely unknown facts about one of the founders of Texas, at the Kalita April 20–May 1. In addition, as usual A Christmas Carol will return as an extra no including in season tickets. That will return to the Wyly Nov. 22–Dec. 28, with Lee Trull directing.
The three un-announced mainstage shows will alternate between the Kalita and the Wyly, including the Wyly’s smaller Studio Theatre which will be expanded to accommodate up to 150 patrons. (Its current capacity is 99 seats.)
The season kicks off this summer with Miller, Mississippi, a world premiere from playwright Boo Killebrew, spanning the Civil rights Movement as seen from a white family and their African-American servant. It will be in the Studio Theatre Aug. 30–Oct. 1. Following Hair, and concurrent with Carol, they will return to the studio with Fade, about a Latina writer hired on for a TV show, who finds herself more drawn to the studio’s Hispanic janitor than that bullpen of white male writers. It plays Dec. 6–Jan. 7.
Next up will be Frankenstein, Great Society and Sam Houston, and the season will end with White Rabbit Red Rabbit, one of the most controversial and mysterious plays in the world today. Why? Because no one is allowed to talk about. The author, Nassim Soleimanpour, is Iranian and now living in exile. He wrote the allegorical play, which does involve, at some level, a rabbit or two, to comment on Iranian oppression. The secret is, no performance is exactly the same. Each show has a different act cast in the one-man show, and that actor has not seen the script or know anything about it before it is handed to him when he walks onstage. He (or she!) is then required to perform everything in the play until the end 80 minutes later. The audience is also deeply involved. (Think of The Crying Game meets Groundhog Day set in a puzzle room.) That will be in the studio May 30–July 1.
In addition, DTC will continue with its Public Works Project, which seeks to perform Shakespeare with a mix of professional and community actors in a series of free performances. The first such show in the project, The Tempest, will take place this Friday through Sunday; next season it will be The Winter’s Tale, Aug. 31–Sept. at the Wyly.
Moriarty maintains that this line up should set the standard for the next few seasons: Seven mainstage productions in the studio and Rose Hall of the Wyly, alternating with the Kalita; and as many as three bonus/add-on shows outside of the subscription for a total of 10 productions a year. Moriarty also wants to include a family-friendly musical to be staged each summer at the Wyly. (The world premiere Hood will probably fit that bill this summer; nothing is yet scheduled for 2018.)
In addition, queer playwright Jonathan Norton (Mississippi Goddam) will have his specially-commissioned piece, Penny Candy — about his childhood in Pleasant Grove — as part of the 2018–19 season, probably arriving around October 2018. Two other local playwrights, Matt Lyle and Steven Walters, are also working on commissions.
For more information, visit DallasTheaterCenter.org.