Dallas Theater Center Kicks Off with a "Kickass" Rocky Horror Show

Categories: Theater

Dallas Theater Center
The wonderfully weird cast of Rocky Horror Show.

Dan Domenech wears jeans and a casual blue hooded sweater as he sips a root beer. Standing over 6 feet tall, it's easier to imagine him dribbling a basketball than wearing fishnets and eyeliner. His dark brown eyes light up in sheepish amusement when he admits that he walks around his hotel room in heels to rehearse for his role in Dallas Theater Center's Rocky Horror Show. But it's not wearing the heels that he finds embarrassing; it's the possibility he won't be comfortable enough in them. As the show's Frank-N- Furter, he'll need to nimbly slink across the boards if he doesn't want to be booed offstage.

"It's not my first time wearing heels. I did that in Rent years ago," Domenech says with a laugh. "But I'm training a muscle I don't normally use. I have to do a lot of strutting."

Plus, he wants to do the part justice, because hundreds of die-hard Rocky Horror fans will be in the audience and Domenech has iconic heels to fill.

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The Year of the Rooster Is Another Tired Story About a White Man and His Cock

Categories: Theater

Upstart Productions
Brian Wickowitz (right) bets big on his bird Joey Folsom in The Year of the Rooster.
For centuries, white male narrators have dominated storytelling. We're talking everyone from Homer's Odysseus to Shakespeare's Hamlet to America's Rick Perry. Western cultural mythology is steeped in white male hegemony. And at the center of most of those stories is a tricky little devil known as ego. Whether characters are pursuing love, war, power, fame or money, they will be battling an ego along the way. It's a simple metaphor for manhood, or a male's need to seek fulfillment outside of himself. Basically, it's all about the penis.

That we haven't moved into a more sophisticated, gender-friendly world in 2014 is enough to send a modern woman into the doldrums. And to ask her to sit through an extended metaphor about a man and his cock on a Friday night might inspire the filing of a metaphorical restraining order. But what almost saves The Year of the Rooster from theatrical regression is its Dickensian self-awareness, even using the daily routine of male fowl to emphasize that there truly is nothing new under the sun.

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Audacity Solo Salon Offers Early Glimpses at Three Solo Stage Works

Categories: Theater

Steve Young, ElizaBeth Bontley and Van Quattro will present works in progress at Audacity Solo Salon.
In May, Brad McEntire and Audacity Theatre Lab brought eight artists and eight solo shows to town and stacked them all together inside the Margo Jones Theatre. For the first festival of its kind here, Dallas Solo Fest went well. So well, in fact, that McEntire has devised a quarterly workshop event, the Audacity Solo Salon, to foster an environment that provides ongoing support for Dallas solo performers.

With the Solo Salon, audiences and artists are given a chance to see solo acts present their works-in-progress, providing a front-row seat to the development of the pieces. Things could go terribly wrong, actors could fall flat on their asses or things could go terribly right and you have the chance to catch a beautiful moment in creative history.

"This will be a way for solo artists to rehearse, experiment and develop their work in front of supportive audiences. The Audacity Solo Salon artists have the opportunity to perform and try out new work in a safe and informal setting," McEntire says. "It is my hope that it will serve as a gathering place so solo artists and their audiences can meet and inspire each other, maybe cultivating a collaborative network of solo performers, playwrights, directors and so on."

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Plano Native, Ugly Betty Star Michael Urie Brings His Hit Off-Broadway Show Home

Categories: Theater


It's a sunny day in May, and I see Michael Urie's toothy smile before I've even opened the glass door to the City Performance Hall. He's home from New York City for the weekend, quietly hosting press conferences before heading to Austin for a wedding. The tour of his hit off-Broadway show, Buyer & Cellar, hasn't been announced yet, but Urie is giddy to put a September stop in Dallas on his calendar. It's set to be the last stop on the mini-national tour and the season opener for the AT&T Performing Arts Center's Off-Broadway on Flora series at the City Performance Hall, September 3-6.

"I'm excited for my high school teachers and some family to see me on stage," says Urie, a Plano Senior High School graduate. "I wouldn't have guessed that I'd spend this much time with Barbra Streisand."

He's not sharing the stage with Babs -- at least, not exactly. Since 2013 he's been acting in a one-man show about a struggling L.A. actor who works in the basement of her Malibu home, where the eccentric madame built a shopping mall.

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Dallas Theater Center Does Just About the Nicest Thing Ever

Karen Almond
Marius and Eponine get a hipster update.

The Dallas Theater Center's version of Les Miserables has turned quite a few heads for its contemporary take on the classic tale of the French Revolution. Director Liesl Tommy's politically charged update has earned comparisons to Occupy Wall Street and the Arab Spring. The musical when placed in a modern context signals the story's timelessness, as well as the repetitive nature of history. And this courageous interpretation has earned DTC mountains of press throughout the globe, placing it in front of the eyes of many an interested theater-goer. Including, it turns out, a 16-year-old girl named Anna in Alaska.

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Candy Barr's Last Dance Is a 90-Minute Gabfest, a Two-Minute Striptease

Categories: Theater

Jeffrey Schmidt
"Picture it, Dallas, Texas." The wind-ups in Candy Barr's Last Dance at Theatre Three are something worthy of Sophia Petrillo. And perhaps The Golden Girls is the best foundation for understanding a comedy about aging women, sitting around a kitchen table, laughing over scandalous memories.

Despite the popularity of that late 80's television show, protagonists of most contemporary theater and television remain young, rarely handing the spotlight to a woman past a certain age. In that regard, thank god for Ronnie Claire Edwards, who wrote a little ditty about Jack Ruby's favorite stripper, but wrote it from a later-in-life perspective. The tales these retired strippers tell would make your grandmother blush and giggle. But by the end of the 90-minute show, the stories will feel vaguely familiar and repetitive, a little bit like your grandpa's stories about "back in my day."

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ATTPAC's The Elevator Project Begins With A Rooster's Crow

Categories: Theater

Upstart Productions
The Year of the Rooster team at The Elevator Project press conference.

The Chinese zodiac may indicate that 2014 is the Year of the Horse, but on August 22nd, Year of the Rooster will take the stage at the Wyly Theatre. Upstart Production's performance of the play inaugurates a six-part series that AT&T Performing Arts Center has dubbed The Elevator Project. The series invites small, local companies to utilize the sixth and ninth floors of the Wyly for one show of their season each.

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The Phantom of the Opera Is Bigger Than Ever. Better? Maybe.

Categories: Theater

Matthew Murphy
You should be running away, Christine.

When musicals make the trek from the Great White Way to the silver screen, it's likely they'll find a way back to the stage. There is no better publicity than a 21/2 hour blockbuster film. Currently in the Arts District, the Dallas Theater Center mounts a reinterpretation of Les Miserables - just years after Russell Crowe butchered the notes on film - and a tour of The Phantom of the Opera plays at the Winspear Opera House through August 24.

Of course, The Phantom never left the stage. At 26-years-old, Andrew Lloyd Webber's bombastic musical is the longest running show on Broadway. But the touring production you'll see at the Winspear Opera House has been lavishly reimagined - by some of the same designers - with costumes and a set to match the ostentatious music.

Everything's a little bit bigger in Cameron Mackintosh's new production. The costumes by Maria Bj├Ârnson are flashier; the choreography more grandiose; and the set is impossibly large and intricate. It's been a decade since the film version hit theaters. This new stage production is comparably elaborate. And necessarily so. Certainly The Phantom wasn't in need of fixing, but Mackintosh would never be confused for a cheapskate. Although this Phantom may make the Broadway production -also a Mackintosh show - look chintzy.

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The Art of the Striptease Takes Center Stage in Candy Barr's Last Dance

Categories: Theater

Jeffrey Schmidt 

She was tiny. She was blonde. Her green eyes looked into your soul and shook it silly. The curves of her hips were pathways to pleasure. If she wiggled her butt, then it was all over. You were hooked. Candy Barr got you.

This is the legend of infamous Dallas stripper Candy Barr. But it isn't all folklore and gossip. This burlesque queen has quite the story to tell, and actress-turned-playwright Ronnie Claire Edwards wants to tell it. In her latest play, Candy Barr's Last Dance, opening August 11 at Theatre Three, Edwards gives voices to three ex-strippers when they meet before Candy's funeral in 2006, and open up about their pasts, their memories of Candy, and of what happened in 1963.

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Dallas-based Actress Diana Sheehan Discusses Transforming into Fashion Icon in Full Gallop

Categories: Theater

Kelsey Leigh Ervi
Diana Sheehan as Diana Vreeland

No matter how skilled the storyteller, it can sometimes be hard to tell a story. This task becomes immeasurably more difficult when the teller is expected to fully transform into the character both physically and mentally. To further complicate things, add the fact that your protagonist has a personality that is both legendary and larger than life. At Addison's WaterTower Theatre, local actress Diana Sheehan has been given quite the tall order. Full Gallop, opening at WaterTower Theatre Saturday night, chronicles the life of storied journalist and glamourous character, Diana Vreeland.

Vreeland, who served as editor of both Vogue and Harper's Bazaar, had a lavish and influential career in the fashion industry that spanned over five decades, culminating with her tenure as a special consultant at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute. In the play, Sheehan plays Vreeland as she faces a crucial moment in her career: being fired from Vogue in 1971. Mixmaster sat down with Sheehan to talk about transforming into Diana Vreeland, the surreality of playing a character with your own name, and the difficulty of performing a one-woman show.

Are there any specific things that you did to prepare that helped guide your transformation into Diana Vreeland?

It's very unusual to play someone who was a real person, first of all. Then, it was even more unusual to play someone who was so deliberate and well-edited as Diana Vreeland. Every single choice she made was important to her. There was a lot to do in terms of developing this character, but fortunately there is a lot of great material out there that helped me learn more about who she was. There are a lot of books on her, and there is a really great documentary about Diana Vreeland called The Eye Has To Travel.

There's a lot of footage of her in that film, so I was able to observe exactly how she was. How she moved, dressed, talked, and gestured. I also went to New York to visit The Costume Institute, which she founded. It was really fun, and I wanted to see this sort of opulence she talked about in regards to fashion and just her life in general. I also walked down Park Ave and found her apartment. I may have stalked down the doorman a little. I walked in her footsteps and reminded myself of her power.

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