Stuffed Shirts (and Critters) Object to a Woman in The Explorers Club at WaterTower

Categories: Theater

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Kelsey Leigh Ervi
John-Michael Marrs and Dana Schultes explore romance in period comedy The Explorers Club at WaterTower Theatre.

Drinks and sexist attitudes fly in The Explorers Club, the protofeminist farce now playing in a chortle-worthy production at Addison's WaterTower Theatre. Nell Benjamin's 2013 play is set in 1879 Victorian London in the polished and paneled saloon of a poncy men's club whose starchy members fancy themselves scientists and intellectuals.

The men's brains turn to mush, however, when a woman anthropologist, Phyllida Spotte-Hume (Dana Schultes), dares to request membership. She's championed by a love-struck botanist, Lucius Fretway (John-Michael Marrs), whose pet project is a mysterious plant that causes confusion, itching, coma and possible death to anyone who touches it.

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Theatre Three's Capote Play Is a Tru Delight

Categories: Theater

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Kirk R. Tuck

Suspend any expectation that the actor playing Truman Capote in the one-man play Tru, now on at Theatre Three, will attempt an impression of the author as accurate as the late Philip Seymour Hoffman did in his Oscar-winning performance in Capote.


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The Book Club Play at Dallas Theater Center Should Be Shelved

Categories: Theater

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Karen Almond
Let's do some basic forensics on how a thing as wretched as The Book Club Play got produced at the Dallas Theater Center. DTC is our big League of Resident Theatres professional showplace with a large staff dedicated to bringing top quality scripts, new and old, to audiences. There have to be valid reasons why The Book Club Play, two of the most bafflingly bad hours of theater ever wrought upon the Kalita Humphreys stage, came to be done there. More valid than "lots of other regional theaters are doing it."

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The Heartache of Celluloid Dreams Echoes in The Flick and Why Things Burn

Categories: Theater

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Undermain Archive
Taylor Harris, Mikaela Krantz, Alex Organ and Jared Wilson star in Annie Baker's The Flick at Undermain.

The end of a movie marks the start of Annie Baker's 2014 Pulitzer Prize-winning play The Flick, now on in a fastidiously directed and beautifully acted regional premiere at Undermain Theatre. The movie is The Naked and the Dead, a 1958 Raoul Walsh action film whose soundtrack throbs with the pompous drumbeats of Bernard Herrmann's score.

From our vantage point in the intimate Undermain, we are the movie screen. Facing us are four rows of empty red seats and the gray back wall of a rundown movie house. (Robert Winn's realistic scenic design gets every detail right, as do costumer Giva Taylor's wardrobe choices and sound designer Paul Semrad's snatches of movie music.)

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Hard to Detect Much Comedy in Pegasus' Another Murder Mystery

Categories: Theater

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Pegasus Theatre
Kurt Kleinmann as Harry Hunsacker, the unfunny detective.

So much attention to detail goes into every show that Pegasus Theatre does in its trademarked "Living Black and White" style. Presented as a vintage piece of silver screen silliness come to life, the plays written by and starring Pegasus founder Kurt Kleinmann strip all the color from everything on the stage. Actors, costumes, props and scenery are rendered in chalky monochrome. When the curtain goes up, the visual effect can be a stunner.

Then the play starts and you wonder why, with so much artistry involved in the physical aspects of the production, didn't Kleinmann work harder on the script?

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Breaking Big in 2014: DFW Theater Artists Went Bold, Took Risks This Year

Categories: Theater

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Mike Morgan
Martha Harms and Michael Federico were suburban survivalists in the premiere of Matt Lyle's hilarious Barbecue Apocalypse at Kitchen Dog.

This was the year DFW's favorite theater kids grew up. No longer newcomers on local stages — as actors, playwrights or companies — they did big things in big ways in 2014. Here's a look back (and a glance ahead). Please hold your applause till the end.

If you watched cable TV's Fargo last spring, you saw Allison Tolman playing lead character Molly Solverson, a small-town Minnesota cop slogging to solve a series of murders. Tolman made her debut on Dallas stages a decade ago, as a recent Baylor grad and co-founder of Second Thought Theatre. After whipping through Second City's Conservatory in Chicago, she landed the TV role via video audition. She was nominated for an Emmy and Golden Globe for her performance on the show, and was also picked by Entertainment Weekly as one of a dozen breakout stars in 2014. The mag called her the "heart and brains" of Fargo, and she'll surely be that in whatever projects she takes on next, too.

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Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Delights Dallas Audiences This Weekend

Categories: Holiday, Theater

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Karen Almond Photography

On Tuesday night, downtown was filled with gleeful, excited children. Their parents quickly grabbed their hands to stop them from running into the street. Where were they running? Well, only to the most famous reindeer of all. Rudolph.

Yes, folks, it's time to get your Christmas spirit on and take the kids, or yourself, to the Majestic Theater for Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, the Musical. The beloved TV classic is brought to live-action life thanks to Wishing Star Productions. Presented by the AT&T Performing Arts Center, the production celebrates Rudolph's 50 years on television, and is slowly creating a new holiday tradition in Dallas. The entire gang is ready to deck the halls with you: Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, the Abominable Snowman, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius and, of course, Rudolph.


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Nouveau 47 Looks at Christmas in 10 Short Plays by Local Writers

Categories: Theater

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Danielle Vance
DeWayne Blundell, Maya Pearson, Ana Gonzalez in Jim Kuenzer's Gift of the Hipster.
A series of 10 short plays dubbed A Very Nouveau Holiday is on for a few more performances at the Margo Jones Theatre in Fair Park, and it's a little naughty, a little nice. The collection is hit-and-miss, ranging from mawkishly bad to absurdly smart, but the actors -- Ginger Goldman (the most versatile comic actor in the ensemble), Maya Pearson, Johanna Nchekwube, DeWayne Blundell, Ana Gonzalez, Shane Hamlin and Maxim Overton -- commit wholeheartedly to each piece.

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Bad Taste, Good Time at Trailer Park Christmas Musical

Categories: Theater

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Karen Almond Photography
Sara Shelby-Martin, Cara Statham Serber, Megan Kelly Bates (front) with Amanda Passanante and Tony Daussat (back) in The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical at WaterTower.
If you have soured on The Nutcracker or are humbugged by too many Christmas Carols, pull into The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical, now onstage at WaterTower Theatre in Addison. It's a hot mug of sassy-crass tea, two hours of low comedy with a high-caliber cast.

Christmas season has arrived at Armadillo Acres, a swampy clump of rusty RV's that may or may not be squatting illegally somewhere in Florida. A nasty feud has erupted between half of the trailer park's residents, who have decorated their "manufactured homes" with plastic baubles and Star Wars-themed nativity scenes, and the local Scrooge, a meanie named Darlene Seward (Amanda Passanante), whose last name is pronounced "C-word." (The down-and-dirty script by Betsy Kelso and lyrics by David Nehls recycle trashy wordplay throughout the show. It's def R-rated. Do not bring the kiddies or sensitive elders to this one.)

When a loose wire sends enough volts through Darlene to light up death row, she switches to loving all things yule. She also has a change of heart about her bully of a boyfriend, Jackson (Greg Hullett), proprietor of a Hooters-like pancake house called Stacks. During her 12 days of amnesia, she falls for scruffy neighbor Rufus (Tony Daussat, doing a cuddly Jack Black thing) sparking a tinsel-wrapped tussle for who'll come out on top. Of Darlene.

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Get in the Holiday Spirit with 10 New Plays at A Very Nouveau Holiday

Categories: Theater

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Christmas Time is Queer Again by David Bernard Houck

Christmas comes early thanks to the group over at the Margo Jones Theatre in Fair Park. Nouveau 47 is back with the second annual A Very Nouveau Holiday, and keeping with the group's commitment to developing new works, the entire show is 100 percent new. All ten of the plays are premieres from local playwrights--which is refreshing, and dare I say, a Christmas miracle?

A Very Nouveau Holiday is representative of how the Margo Jones Theatre stays occupied throughout the year, filled with an array of small companies. From Soul Rep Theatre to Nouveau, to Audacity Theatre Lab, these theater troupes keep the billing fresh and varied, and you'll see a sampling of each of their individual style in Nouveau Holiday.


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