At Contemporary Theatre, Paul Zindel's Mildred Wild Stumbles Through Scenes of Cinema Dreams

Categories: Theater

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Contemporary Theatre of Dallas

For some playwrights, winning the Pulitzer Prize for a first or second play marks the end of a promising career as a dramatist. It happened with Margaret Edson and her 1999 Pulitzer winner W;t (she's never written another play). With Charles Fuller and A Soldier's Play (1982). And with Paul Zindel, whose first play, The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, won the 1971 Pulitzer. Zindel wrote a few others after that, but he never had a follow-up stage hit. He found more success as author of young adult novels, publishing 53 of those, including My Darling, My Hamburger and the popular Pigman trilogy, before his death in 2003.

Zindel's best play was Gamma Rays, made into a so-so film starring Joanne Woodward. But it's one of those Pulitzer winners (and there are more than a few) that hasn't held up over time. It's never been revived in New York and rarely turns up in regional theaters. It focuses on fractious people in a bleak environment. Most of Zindel's plays - others were And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little and Ladies of the Alamo - were like that, revolving around two or three shrieky women characters who make life miserable for everyone around them.

The Secret Affairs of Mildred Wild, which played only 23 performances on Broadway in 1972 and is now at Contemporary Theatre of Dallas, is such a play, two hours of noisy bickering, a tragedy pretending otherwise. The title character is a frowzy Greenwich Village housewife in her 60s, married for 40 childless years to Roy, a spineless twerp in a too-obvious toupee. They live in a squalid apartment above a failing candy store that's due to be wrecking-balled, leaving them homeless.


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When an Artist Lives a Human Life, Like They All Do

Categories: Theater

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WaterTower Theatre
Cast of All My Sons.

When writing of WaterTower Theatre's production of All My Sons, which opens tonight, the Morning News' Nancy Churnin raises an interesting point about the show's playwright Arthur Miller. She says that in the past decade her admiration for Miller has been challenged by the 2007 revelation in a Vanity Fair article that he had a fourth son with down syndrome whom he failed to acknowledge during his lifetime. Essentially, he dropped off his son, Daniel Miller, at a home for the mentally challenged and never spoke of him again, not even mentioning him in his memoir.

When the original story hit eight years ago, it sent ripples through the Internet. What did this mean about Miller? Would we need to reject his place in the theatrical canon? Would we redact his heroism in the face of Congress when he refused to point fingers and call Communist? That original article's author, Suzanna Andrews, even suggested that Miller wasn't quite the same genius that he'd been before Daniel's birth. Surely this was a sign that he was plagued by guilt like we all might hope he'd be.


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Fort Worth Opera's 2015 Festival Opens with Strong Line-up This Weekend

Categories: Opera

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Beth Morison Projects
Dog Days premieres at the FW Opera Festival.

Spring is festival season in Texas and before it gets too hot head over to Cowtown for this years' Fort Worth Opera festival. Since the Fort Worth Opera shifted from a traditional season to a festival format in 2007, fans look forward to this opportunity to spend a weekend focused on opera.This years festival is complete with pre-show lectures, a few opportunities to get up-close and personal with artists and maybe even a trip back stage. The big attractions, though, are the performances and this years lineup includes three diverse offerings.


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Free & Cheap Culture Events in Dallas This Week

Categories: Events

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Sammons Lunch Jam is a great way to get out of the house.

There are plenty of excuses to stay home. The couch is comfortable, Netflix is full of cool documentaries that you haven't seen, and food can actually be delivered to your front door. The comforts of the 21st century are great, but it is also occasionally cool to get out into the world and take in some of the creative and interesting art and music that the people who live in our fair city are constantly creating.

Put on some damn pants, and plan to head to one of these five free (or cheap!) culture events this week. You can celebrate the environment, listen to some cringe-worthy stories, and take in some great jazz music. Either way, you can finally tell your coworkers that you did something interesting for a change. They're probably really bored with all those stories about your cat.


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The DSO's Requiem Was Lopsided and Underwhelming

Categories: Classical Music

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Luke Fritz, Wikimedia Commons

Here we have the sound of creativity longing for immortality, reaching for infinity and failing brilliantly--melancholy fashioned as a grand statement on the frustration of living with an expiration date. Inside, genius is showcased as elegantly brittle, the transcendent made vulnerable to the grim and the lowly; the supernatural grounded, flung to earth by the snares of time and flesh. Directly or indirectly, in The Requiem, Mozart crashed up against the one adversary he could not stifle with his art: Death.

The noise of that crash was, and remains eerily forceful and magnetic, tapping into some raw vein of emotion that doesn't merely express the tragedy of mortality, but thrusts you deep inside.

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I Should Have Been a Pop Star

Categories: Visual Art

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Clint Catalyst
Miley doesn't worry about money.

In this series of articles, Leslie Moody Castro takes on the role of journalist or interlocutor to explore the inequity in the creation, curation and exhibition of art. Read more here.
Telling my story
By Leslie Moody Castro
I have a longstanding inside joke that I bounce around regularly with a colleague and conspirator in the contemporary art world. One day in my last semester in graduate school I passed her a $50 bill, the same amount of money she and I had taken turns loaning each other over the course of months. It was my turn to pay it back. Granted, I was still a student, but by that point I had been working independently as an arts professional in some capacity for a number of years.

At that point specifically I was finishing a masters degree in Museum Education with a portfolio supplement in Museum Studies from UT Austin, I had lived abroad, I spoke two languages, had a fair amount of published articles in the world, and especially for my age I had some pretty great experience under my belt. But even with all this I was facing one of the most depressing and discouraging moments of my life: I simply could not find a job. I sent application after application, and was met with rejection after rejection. Let's be honest, no one likes rejection, not in personal life, or professional life, and after a while it just begins to chip away at you.

I had never second guessed myself so vehemently as I did at that point in my life.


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Leslie Moody Castro Isn't Curating an Art Exhibition at CentralTrak, At Least Not One with Art

Categories: Visual Art

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Hueso sin Huesito Productions, Jesus Garcia, and Armando Miguelez 2015
Leslie Moody Castro's blank canvas.

Leslie Moody Castro arrived in Dallas with an idea for an exhibition. Moody Castro, a curator based in Mexico City and Austin, is currently a resident at CentralTrak, the University of Texas at Dallas' artist residency program in Exposition Park. While there, she was planning to curate an exhibition filled with art. Of course, that's wildly different than the exhibition that she will open this weekend. The exhibition, I Should Have Been a Pop Star: Evaluating Value, will be empty.

After facing insurmountable budget challenges and realizing that shouldering the financial burden herself might not be valuable she decided to focus on the conversations that could be had about the realities of art creation and curation. Instead of displaying art, Moody Castro will take on the role of journalist or interlocutor, publishing a series of journalistic articles here on Mixmaster, as well as hosting discussions and workshops. We kick off the series today by chatting with Moody Castro about what happened to her original project and what she hopes to accomplish.


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18 Awesome Things to Do in Dallas This Weekend, April 16-19

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The weather's great, the weekend is on its way (or arrived, depending on when you're reading this), and we're looking at nothing but culturally relevant fun for the next four days. Kick it off tonight with a play or two of your favorite comedians, and then head into some galleries, or hop on a bbq tour. Dallas is a happening place.


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Newsies' Choreographer Chris Gattelli Seizes His Chance to Lead Others to Dance

Categories: Theater

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┬ęDisney. Photo by Deen van Meer
Newsies' Chris Gattelli hopes his choreography inspires other young men to leap into dance.
Even though we're terribly far away from the East Coast, Dallas frequently plays host to some of the most beloved Broadway shows when they head out on the road. If you're interested in the theatre and don't mind seeing a touring cast, you can damn near see any Broadway musical that you like via the AT&T Performing Arts Center's Lexus Broadway Series.

This time, they've brought the stage adaptation of Newsies, a Disney film about a paperboy strike that originally starred Christian Bale, later adapted for an incredibly successful run on Broadway -- including a Tony Award for best choreography. The man behind that choreography, Chris Gattelli, has choreographed some of theater's best loved shows, among them South Pacific and a forthcoming version of The King And I and has starred and directed in plenty of others. Ahead of Newsies' run in Dallas, we talked to Gattelli about his first exposure to Newsies, how he came to work on this incredibly successful show and how he hopes that his work inspires a future generation of dancers.

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Sulphur Springs Native Competes on The Voice

Categories: Film and TV

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NBC
Hannah Kirby on The Voice

When Hannah Kirby finished "Gimme Shelter" in The Voice's battle round, her fate was in the hands of her coach, Blake Shelton.

If you've never seen The Voice, it's a singing competition show that strives to cut out the looks and glamour of being a musician and get to the root of it all -- the voice. That's why the audition process requires the coaches (not judges on this show) to have their backs to the singer, so the voice is the only thing on their minds.

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