Miranda Parham on Directing Her First Show, Working in Dallas Theater

Categories: Theater

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Second Thought Theatre
Drew Wall in Nocturne at Second Thought Theatre

Opening night of any show is nerve-wracking. What if someone forgets their lines? Or walks onstage at the wrong cue? What if the lights don't work or the music won't play? It can make even the most polished professional feel the urge to nervous puke all over their shoes. Now imagine sitting in the back row on opening night of your first foray as a professional director, just a year out of college, at one of the most beloved theaters in Dallas. This was the seat Miranda Parham took at opening night of Second Thought Theatre's Nocturne, but if you'd caught her eye, it didn't show signs of fear. Her show was ready and would go on to earn rave reviews from critics, including the Dallas Observer's Elaine Liner.

As we dig into the heartbeat of the Dallas arts, it's easy to find first timers in all arenas. Artists here are getting off their asses and creating opportunities, many of them at an age that most of us wouldn't associate with the word "professional." Parham follows Key in a new series, Five Under 25, which highlights local artists in an age bracket that will almost certainly remind you of your wasted youth. Swallow your self-pity and read on about her work on Nocturne, playing a gay Ebenezer Scrooge, and setting her sights on Los Angeles.

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DTC Does the Time Warp for 2014-'15 Season of Nine Shows

Categories: Theater

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DTC
Instead of Kit Kat Girls, you'll be up close with sweet transvestites.

A transvestite, an Oscar nominee, a football team, a mother who kills her kids and some Jane Austen. Dallas Theater Center's 2014-'15 season has all of those, plus Scrooge and a play about a book club called, what else, The Book Club Play. No big family-oriented show, however, unless that's how you think of Medea.


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No Count Dracula in DTC's New Season Lineup, but Count on a Return of Ebenezer Scrooge

Categories: Theater

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Karen Almond

Dallas Theater Center is just hours away from releasing its official announcement of its 2014-'15 season, but we already know this: No Dracula, no Shakespeare.

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Jeffrey Colangelo Creates a New Brand of Physical Theater for Dallas

Categories: Theater

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The sound of artists at work can be heard in Trinity Groves. On Monday afternoon, at the intersection of Bataan Street and Singleton Blvd, the sound of drills, paper shuffling and loud conversation filled a bright green warehouse. Throughout the space visual artists install site-specific work; at the center, Prism Co. founder and theater director Jeffrey Colangelo spreads thousands of sheets of 81/2 by 11 paper, hoping not to get a paper cut.

"In all of our shows, we incorporate two things: Movement and fun," Colangelo says. "In each one so far, we've chosen a specific material to play with, whether it's paint, light, children's toys. For this one, it was paper."


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Director Dylan Key on Dallas: 'No One Complains that Theater's Dead Here'

Categories: Theater

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Courtesy Dylan Key

My first swings at arts journalism were articles about Undermain Theatre. A poetry student at Southern Methodist University, I turned my eyes up from my belly button just long enough to attend a few shows and immediately began writing about the exciting new work happening in Deep Ellum's basement theater. I'd encourage you to Google my early writings, but apparently student work expires after a certain, unmentionable number of years. God, I'm getting old.

Speaking of gracefully aging, Undermain turned 30 this year. To celebrate the company did what they do every year: produced three new plays, the last of which by playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury runs through April 19. The youngest person in this story is the 24-year-old Dylan Key, an artistic associate at the company, a University of Dallas graduate, a one-time aspiring lawyer, and the director of the the long-winded show, We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as Southwest Africa, From the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915.

Key is the first theater artist we chat with in a new series, Five Under 25, which highlights local artists in an age bracket that will almost certainly remind you of your wasted youth. Swallow your self-pity and read on about the show, his love of Rangers baseball, and what the Dallas theater scene is missing.

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Six Best Plays to See in Dallas This Spring

Categories: Theater

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Ochre House Theater

Spring is here. Fittingly, the weekend's weather forecast calls for highs of 90 degrees and lows of 45. This means that at theaters across the city, you'll be battling strange combinations of air conditioning and heat. But that's no excuse to miss any of the shows on this list. If we know anything about theater, these shows are the best plays you can see in Dallas during this dramatic season.


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Clare Floyd DeVries: The Architect Who Fell in Love with the Theater

Categories: Theater

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Matt Mrozek
Clare Floyd DeVries Set for Slasher

Over her oven, Clare Floyd DeVries affixed a "Mrs. Lovett's Pie Shop" sign. She's a far cry from the cannibal baker in Sweeney Todd, it's just a souvenir from one of the many sets she's designed.

"I do actually make meat pies," she laughs. "Probably not the same kind though."

DeVries is one of Dallas' award-winning designers, who's earned a reputation for the detailed, elaborate sets she's created for nearly every theater in town. She's currently an artistic company member at Kitchen Dog Theater, where you can see her most recent design work in Gidion's Knot, a new play by Johanna Adams opening Thursday April 3, about the school system and freedom of expression.

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Out of the Loop's Star Diana Sheehan on the Festival, Living in Texas and Gertrude Lawrence

Categories: Theater

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WaterTower Theatre

Diana Sheehan is an award-winning actress and singer who relocated to Dallas five years ago and found herself following a successful New York career with a shining start in Texas, including winning "Best of the Loop" two years in a row at Watertower Theatre's Out of the Loop Fringe Festival, among a variety of notable awards and performances in Dallas. Loop provides her and tens of other artists a chance to explore new material with enthusiastic crowds, as it has for 13 years.

This year, Sheehan's Searching for Gertrude Lawrence is a cabaret exploring mysterious stories surrounding the most famous Broadway star in the world from the 1920's to 1950's. You can catch the show Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p. m. We caught up with Diana Sheehan about her enduring obsession with Gertrude Lawrence, her travels following the elusive memory of a Broadway star, and how it all plays out on the Watertower stage.

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Jim Caruso Brings his Cast Party from Broadway to Dallas in May

Categories: Theater

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Stephen Sorokoff
Jim Caruso and Billy Stritch
For a decade cabaret star Jim Caruso has been lighting up Mondays, traditionally Broadway's performance-free "dark night," with his late-night Cast Party. It's a star-studded open mike at Manhattan's Birdland nightclub, a time for stars to try out new material and unknowns to try to be discovered. Liza Minnelli likes to stop in and sing. Michael Feinstein's a regular. There have been surprise pop-ins by Martin Short, Paul Schaffer, Linda Lavin and Jeff Daniels. Phoebe Snow came in to see the show and the audience wouldn't stop shouting until she got up to sing.

With his name now in the title, Jim Caruso's Cast Party, co-starring pop-jazz pianist and singer Billy Stritch, regularly goes on the road to Vegas, Chicago, LA and, May 22-23, to North Dallas' Kitchen Cafe. Caruso got his start in Dallas in the 1980s as an actor, singer and witty cabaret emcee, acting at Theatre Three and the old Dallas Repertory Theatre and singing at supper clubs. (In the 1980s our first review of his trio, The Wise Guys, called them "three hams on wry.") Caruso has plenty of talented friends here -- Liz Mikel, Denise Lee, Gary Lynn Floyd -- whom he'll be inviting to share the stage in May.

New York Times nightlife critic Stephen Holden recently called Caruso "a polished, amusing host and all-around entertainer." He's also an all-around fun, friendly guy who took a few minutes before a gig at Lincoln Center to answer a few questions.

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Director Cody Lucas Discusses His Bathtub Play Sweet Chariot

Categories: Theater

Comin' for to carry me to the bathtub.

Out of the Loop Fringe Festival is an annual event at Watertower Theater featuring a packed schedule of mostly local acts through Sunday. Cody Lucas returns to his hometown for the fest, with Sweet Chariot, a show about a man in a bathtub. There are two more chances to see the show, Friday at 9 p.m. and Saturday at 9:30 p.m. Midway through its run, we caught up with the Chicago resident and creator of Denton-based Sundown Collaborative Theatre to ask, "what's the deal with the bathtub, yo?"

How long have you been in Chicago?
Just since July. I left Denton specifically because I wanted to try new things, reach out. I thought that nobody should be in the same place doing things over again because you're not going to get any better.

So this is your first Chicago winter?
Yeah, it's like the first winter of my life. Today was a balmy 20 degrees, and I only had to wear one coat, but during the polar vortex negative 18 was the high and negative 40 with the wind chill.


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