Many North Texas arts companies have impressive seasons lined up, but these 10 titles are the ones that have us most excited in the coming year
As I was compiling the list of all the spectacular dance, theater, music, comedy and fine arts performances and exhibitions scheduled for the coming year, it was difficult not to get especially excited about some of them. So I just put it out there: What I’m excited about seeing. I boiled it down to a Hot 10, listed in order of opening dates.
Are you as racked with anticipation about these as I am? Then check out the full seasons of many major troupes and companies that follow this list, and put together your own scorecard of the shows you definitely wanna get tickets for.
The Hot 10
The Rocky Horror Show (DTC, opens Sept. 11). Director-choreographer Joel Ferrell has a rep for enlivening familiar musicals, and his side-show casting call only whetted our appetites. It’s just a jump to the left. …
Hands on a Hard Body (T3, opens Sept. 25). The Broadway production was a flop, but the show was lucky enough to record a cast album before it closed, and we were wowed by the catchy songs. Dallas’ Doug Wright wrote the book to the musical, which turns the Texas-based docu-film about a contest where the grand prize is a pickup truck into something theatrical. We’re really interested to see how they pull it off — it seems ideal for Theatre 3’s in-the-round stage.
The Marriage of Figaro (DO, opens Oct. 24). Kevin Moriarty walks across Flora Street from his usual digs at the Dallas Theater Center’s Wyly building to take a stab at opera — well, a second stab. Moriarty also helmed the small-scale one-act opera The Lighthouse for the DO a few seasons back, which ran in the more intimate space of the Wyly. This time, he’s got to fill the 2,200-seat Winspear.
Once (ATTPAC, opens Dec. 17). The movie Once was one of those lightning-in-a-bottle bits of romantic alchemy, and everything we’ve heard says the stage version — a multiple Tony winner — is equally magical.
Tru (T3, opens Jan. 8, 2015). I saw Robert Morse on Broadway in Tru, the one-man show about bitchy gay literary lion Truman Capote, before he won the Tony, but I’m equally excited to return to the play, 25 years later, to see how Texas’ own Jaston Williams does it. Williams has performed the role in the past, but not in front of me! This is appointment theater.
Kinky Boots (DSM, opens Feb. 24, 2015, and PAFW, opens Oct. 27. 2015). Cyndi Lauper, Harvey Fierstein and some shit-kicking thigh-high leather stilettos? Gurrrl …. you know we’re there!
Colossal (DTC, opens April 2, 2015). DTC’s last sports-themed show, The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, was a smash, but it can be a hit-or-miss relationship. Bruce Wood was planned as the movement coordinator before he passed; we can’t wait to see what they do without him.
Rodgers+Hammerstein’s Cinderella (DSM, opens June 9, 2015, PAFW, opens June 23, 2015). The first of two Douglas Carter Beane shows to run in Dallas simultaneously next summer, his re-writing of the delightful classic got joyous reviews. And there’s no beating the songs.
The Nance (UP, opens June 19, 2015). Beane’s other big debut, a coup for Uptown Players, with B.J. Cleveland taking over (natch) the role created by Nathan Lane — a closeted burlesque hall comic with a tragic streak.
The Beulaville Baptist Book Club Presents: Macbeth (MBS, opens July 16, 2015). I laughed a lot the first time I saw MBS Productions’ Beulaville Nutcracker parody, so the move from Tchaikovsky to the Bard should be epic.
ATTPAC. The touring productions at the Winspear (formerly called the Lexus Broadway Series) got underway last week with The Phantom of the Opera (through Aug. 24; reviewed in this issue), then will take a break until the regional premiere of the multi-Tony-winning musical Once (Dec. 17–28), based on the hit Irish film. In 2015, there’s the return of last year’s hit The Book of Mormon (Feb. 10–22, 2015), followed by the Disney charmer Newsies (April 29–May 10, 2015), the revival of the kid-friendly Annie (June 23–July 5, 2015) and finally Motown: The Musical (July 21–Aug. 9, 2015). Also coming in 2015 (but with no announced dates yet): The cross-dressing kid-comedy Matilda. ATTPAC.org.
The center also presents its new series, Off-Broadway on Flora, which brings smaller, quirky shows to the City Performance Hall, Hamon Hall in the Winspear or Potter Rose Hall in the Wyly. The series begins with the premiere of Buyer & Cellar (Sept. 3–6), starring its original New York star, Michael Urie followed by The Second City: 55th Anniversary Tour (Nov. 13–15), monologuist Mike Daisey’s The Great Tragedies (Feb. 26–28, 2015), Rude Mechs’ Stop Hitting Yourself (May 28–30, 2015) and Nora Ephron’s Love, Loss and What I Wore (June 25–27, 2015). (The center’s ongoing project of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare continues with monthly staged readings as well.) ATTPAC.org.
Contemporary Theatre of Dallas. It continues its 2014 season with the current production of the thriller Wait Until Dark (Aug. 15–Sept. 7), followed by Little Women: The Musical (Oct. 10–Nov. 2). ContemporaryTheatreOfDallas.com.
Dallas Summer Musicals and Performing Arts Fort Worth. DSM’s current season ends, for the first time in decades, before the State Fair, with Nice Work If You Can Get It (Sept. 2–14). It picks up again, with a new presenting sponsor (Texas Instruments), in time for the holidays with last season’s Broadway musical stage adaptation of A Christmas Story (Dec. 2–14), co-written by gay composer/lyricist Benj Pasek. Then 2015 welcomes the North Texas premiere of the transgender smash Kinky Boots (Feb. 24–March 8, 2015), followed by The King and I (March 20–April 5, 2015), then a magic show called The Illusionists (April 7–19, 2015). In June, there’s a quick succession of three shows: the still-running hit Rodgers+Hammerstein’s Cinderella (June 9–21, 2015), which has a new book written by gay scribe Douglas Carter Beane, immediately followed by a stage version of Dirty Dancing (June 23–July 5, 2015), and the Tony-winning revival of Pippin (July 7–19). DallasSummerMusicals.org.
Performing Arts Fort Worth begins the holiday season early, with Elf (Nov. 18–23), followed by Beauty and the Beast (Jan. 14–18, 2015) and Chicago (April 3–4). It will also share four shows with DSM and one with ATTPAC: the eight-time Tony-winner Once, which plays in Dallas in December, will move to Cowtown in 2015 (Feb. 18–22, 2015). Three DSM shows will all play for a week at Bass Hall following their Dallas debuts: Cinderella (June 23–28, 2015), then Dirty Dancing (July 7–12, 2015) and finally Pippin (July 21–26, 2015). You can also see Kinky Boots in Fort Worth if you miss it in Dallas, though you’ll have to wait until Oct. 27–Nov. 1, 2015. BassHall.com.
Dallas Theater Center. Dallas’ premiere theater will bobble between its two main venues (the Wyly and the Kalita) starting next month with the very gay Rocky Horror Show (Sept. 11–Oct. 19, at the Wyly), followed by June Squibb (Nebraska) starring in Driving Miss Daisy (Oct. 16–Nov. 16, at the Kalita). A Christmas Carol (Nov. 25–Dec. 27) returns to the Wyly for its holiday run, followed by The Book Club Play (Jan. 1–Feb. 1, 2015, at the Kalita), the homegrown musical Stagger Lee (Jan. 21–Feb. 15, 2015, at the Wyly), School for Wives and Medea (Feb. 19–March 29, at the Kalita) the sports-themed musical Colossal (April 2–May 3, 2015, at the Wyly) and Sense and Sensibility (April 23–May 24, 2015, Kalita). DallasTheaterCenter.org.
Kitchen Dog Theater. On the heels of a spectacular few seasons, the edgy company highlights four regional premieres: Thinner Than Water (Sept. 19–Oct. 27), The Arsonists (Nov. 7–Dec. 13), Wilde/Earnest (March 13–April 18, 2015), a world premiere by local company member Lee Trull that adapts Oscar Wilde’s most famous work; and the mainstage production of the 2015 New Works Festival, The Firestorm (May 22–June 27, 2015). KitchenDogTheater.org.
Lyric Stage. Last season’s Mame got sadly bumped from the schedule, but this season features some top-notch Golden Age musicals: Fiddler on the Roof (Sept. 5–14), The Golden Apple (Oct. 24–Nov. 2), Annie Get Your Gun (Jan. 22–25, 2015), Lady in the Dark, (April 24–May 3) and finally South Pacific (July 12–21, 2015), LyricStage.org.
MBS Productions. The gay-themed troupe opens, as usual, with a classic twist for Halloween: Dante: Purgatori (Oct. 16–Nov. 8), followed by the return of the hit The Beulaville Baptist Book Club Presents: A Bur-Less-Q Nutcracker! (Nov. 28–Dec. 28). Lovely Uranus is back with Lovely Confessions (Jan. 29–Feb. 22, 2015), then Hotel California (March 26–April 19, 2015), Dream Café (May 28–June 21, 2015) and finally a new trip to East Texas — The Beulaville Baptist Book Club Presents: Macbeth! (July 16–Aug. 9, 2015). MBSProductions.net.
Stage West. Fort Worth’s preeminent company is still dealing with the passing this time last year of its founder, Jerry Russell, but the lineup will include Bedroom Farce (Oct. 16–Nov. 16), The Explorers Club (Nov. 28–Jan. 4, 2015), The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence (Feb. 19–March 22, 2015), gay playwright John Logan’s Red (April 9–May 10, 2015) and the return to North Texas of this year’s hit from Uptown Players, Christopher Durang’s Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (June 4–July 12, 2015). The season will end with Mr. Burns, a post-electric play (Aug. 6–Sept. 13, 2105), a musical inspired by The Simpsons. StageWest.org.
Theatre 3. The uptown company’s mainstage season is already underway, with Candy Barr’s Last Dance (through Aug. 31), about the colorful mid-century stripper. It’s followed in the fall by gay Dallas-bred playwright Doug Wright’s most recent Broadway show, the musical Hands on a Hard Body (Sept. 25–Oct. 19), based on the documentary set in Texas. The holiday production will be a musical by lesbian playwright and Pulitzer Prize-winner Paula Vogel (How I Learned to Drive) called Civil War Christmas (Nov. 20–Dec. 14), set along the Potomac during the bitter winter of 1864. Jaston Williams is on deck for Jay Presson Allen’s Tru (Jan. 8–Feb. 8, 2015), a one-man show about Truman Capote. That’s followed by Hot Mikado (March 12–April 5, 2015), an outlandish adaptation of the Gilbert & Sullivan classic. The sixth show of the season (scheduled for May 2015) has not be announced, but the season closer will be The Liar (June 25–July 19, 2015), Corneille’s classic comedy adapted by David Ives (Venus in Fur). In Theatre Too: The current hit Shear Madness continues through Sept. 20, then next year, the return of gay writer Joe DiPietro’s I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change (Jan. 15, 2015 with no set closing date). Theatre3Dallas.com.
Uptown Players. The company’s official season ended last week, but the 2014 Pride Performing Arts Festival is still on deck for the fall, (Sept. 12–20). It will include a concert version of The Last Session and Dan Savage Live. The 2015 season begins in 2014, with the annual Broadway Our Way fundraiser now called Christmas Our Way (Dec. 11–14), followed by the bonus show in the Rose Room, the parody Gilligan’s Fire Island (Feb. 13–March 15, 2015). The mainstage season will be The Nance (June 19–July 5, 2015), Catch Me If You Can (July 24–Aug. 9, 2015), Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Aug. 28–Sept. 13, 2015) and Harbor (Oct. 9–Nov. 7, 2015). UptownPlayers.org.
WaterTower Theatre. The season — the 15th for WTT’s artistic director, Terry Martin — opens with a musical biography with Dallas roots: Bonnie & Clyde (Oct. 10–Nov. 2), which had a brief run on Broadway two seasons ago. That’s followed by a new holiday show built around a familiar theme, The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical (Dec. 5–Jan. 4, 2015), which follows the antics of The Great American Trailer Park Musical, which WTT has produced in the past to acclaim. The Explorers Club, co-produced with Stage West, runs Jan. 16–Feb. 8, 2015, followed by Arthur Miller’s Tony Award-winning drama All My Sons (April 17–May 10, 2015). Local playwright Vicki Caroline Cheatwood debuts her new play Manicures & Monuments (June 5–28, 2015), and the season closes out with the musical Sweet Charity (July 14–Aug. 16, 2015). In addition, the theater’s annual Out of the Loop Fringe Festival returns for its 14th incarnation, March 5–15, 2015. WaterTowerTheatre.org.
WingSpan Theatre Co. This quirky small theater is among the gay-friendliest in town, as shown by its 17th season centerpiece by a favorite playwright: Tennessee Williams’ The Two Character Play with Lulu Ward and Kevin Scott Keating (Oct. 9–24). WingSpanTheatre.com.
(You can see seasons for more area companies at CircleTheatre.com, JubileeTheatre.org.,
TheatreArlington.org and Undermain.org.)
Opera and Music
The Dallas Opera. The season kicks off with DTC’s Kevin Moriarty helming The Marriage of Figaro (Oct. 24, 26m, 29, Nov. 1, 7 and 9m), then Salome (Oct. 30, Nov. 2m, 5, 8 and 16), the dual performances of La Wally (Act IV) and Everest (Jan. 30, Feb. 1m, 4, and 7, 2015), the world’s favorite opera, La Boheme (March 13, 15m, 18, 21, 27 and 29m, 2015) and finally Iolanta (April 10, 12m, 15 and 18, 2015). DallasOpera.org.
Fort Worth Opera. The moment the Dallas Opera season ends, FWO picks up the slack with its annual Spring Festival, with three operas performing in repertory: The new work Dog Days (April 24, 26, 28, 29, May 1 and 2m, 2015, at the Scott Theatre), Verdi’s revolutionary tragic masterpiece La Traviata (April 25, May 3m and 9, at Ball Hall) and Hamlet (May 2 and 10m, 2015). FWOpera2015.org.
ATTPAC. Music and comedy shows are also part of the ATTPAC lineup, including virtuoso fiddler Joshua Bell (Nov. 6), queermedian Paula Poundstone (Jan. 31, 2015) in concert, the dazzling sound of 2Cellos (Feb. 26, 2015) and velvet voiced gay singing icon Johnny Mathis (June 11, 2015) among them. (See also music performances from TITAS, below.) ATTPAC.org.
Dance and Ballet
Texas Ballet Theater. Cowtown-based TBT launches in October with Sleeping Beauty (Oct. 17–19, at Bass Hall), then the Christmas staple plays both Fort Worth and Dallas: The Nutcracker (Nov. 28–Dec. 7, at the Winspear; Dec. 12–27, at Bass). There will also be a special presentation of The Nutty Nutcracker on Dec. 19. 2015 meets The Merry Widow (Feb. 6–8, 2015, Bass Hall), Masterworks (April 17–19, 2015, Dallas’ CPH) and finally Artistic Director’s Choice (May 29–31, Bass). TexasBalletTheater.org.
TITAS. The experimental dance troupe MOMIX arrives for two shows (Sept. 12–13), followed by the debut of Youssou N’Dour (a music, not dance, program) (Sept. 19), then the debut of Spectrum Dance Company (Sept. 27). All of those performances will be at the Winspear, then performances move across the street to City Performance Hall for the debut of Brian Brooks Moving Company (Nov. 21–22), back to the Winspear for Ronald K. Brown/Evidence (Jan. 17, 2015), then two more shows at CPH for musician Maya Beiser (March 6–7, 2015) and architectural dance troupe Diavolo (March 27–28, 2015), then the popular Parsons Dance Company is back at the Winspear (April 25, 2015). The season concludes with Malandain’s Ballet Biarritz (May 1–2, 2015, at CPH), and the local debut of Ballet West (May 29–30, 2015, at the Winspear). TITAS also hosts its Command Performance Gala at the Winspear (May 16, 2015). ATTPAC.org.
Dallas Museum of Art. The DMA has three current exhibits which continue through the fall: From the Village to Vogue: The Modernist Jewelry of Arthur Smith (through Dec. 7), Concentrations 57: Slavs and Tatars (through Dec. 14) and Mind’s Eye: Masterwords on Paper from David to Cezanne (Oct. 26). New exhibits coming soon include Isa Genzken: Retrospective (Sept. 14–Jan. 4, 2015) which looks at the influential contemporary female artist and Bouquets: French Still Life Painting from Chardin to Matisse (Oct. 26–Feb. 8, 2015). Next year welcomes Shiraga/Motonaga: Between Action and the Unknown (Feb. 8–July 19, 2015), Concentrations 58: Chosil Kil (Feb. 22–July 19, 2015) and Michael Borresman: As Sweet As It Gets (March 15–July 5, 2015). DMA.org.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 15, 2014.