DTC Takes a Wright Turn Back to Kalita for 2014-'15 Season

Categories: Theater News

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Kalita Humphreys Theater
Dallas Theater Center will produce nine shows next season (up from seven this season), five of them back at DTC's original home, Kalita Humphreys Theater on Turtle Creek. That may be good news to theatergoers who prefer the free parking at Kalita and the more bottom-friendly seats at the 55-year-old Frank Lloyd Wright building, over the paid parking and hard green chairs inside the not-yet-5-year-old Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre in the Arts District. But it could complicate the seasons of two other theater companies: Uptown Players, who've been producing their seasons at Kalita since 2009, and Second Thought Theatre, the smaller troupe using the black box space in Heldt Hall next to Kalita.

This season DTC is producing all seven of its shows at the 600-seat Wyly. That included a new production of A Christmas Carol, one of the company's two box office hits this year (along with Oedipus el Rey). Yet to come are Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure, opening April 25, and Les Miserables, opening June 27. DTC hasn't produced a show at Kalita, which has about 200 fewer seats, since last April's musical Fly by Night.

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Book of Mormon Is Coming Back to Dallas, Plus Newsies, Matilda and More from Last Night's ATTPAC Unveiling

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In December, Dallas audiences will hear the stunning music of Once
If you are one of the masses that didn't make it the Winspear Opera House the last time Book of Mormon came to town (that makes two of us), this little blog post is about to make your day. The hit show coming back to Dallas, as part of the 2014-15 season of the AT&T Performing Arts Center's Broadway Series.

But Matt Stone and Trey Parker's dancing elders aren't enough to make a season, so the Performing Arts Center booked a red-headed orphan, ragtag newsboys, and a disfigured opera house inhabitant.

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We'll Get Another Ride On The Eve, This Time at Theatre Three

Categories: Theater News

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If you missed On the Eve, the thrilling new rock musical by Dallas' own Michael Federico (book) and Seth and Shawn Magill of the band Home by Hovercraft (music), during its sold-out run at the Magnolia Lounge last fall, you'll get your chance to see it on a bigger stage during Theatre Three's 2013-'14 season. Theatre Three founder Jac Alder made the announcement yesterday.

Originally produced by Spacegrove Productions in association with Nouveau 47 Theatre, the show will again be designed and directed by Theatre Three artistic associate Jeffrey Schmidt (one of Dallas Observer's latest class of Masterminds).

Critics and audiences went nuts for the On the Eve, a lively fantasy incorporating space travel, the first hot air balloon, Marie Antoinette and some gorgeous Irish step dancers. Seth Magill played the leading role of the time-hopping astronaut in the original production. No casting announcements have been made for the revival, but let's hope they get most of the original ensemble back for this second, longer run. They included Gregory Lush, Martha Harms, Maryam Baig, Brian Witkowicz, Tara Magill and Jenny Ledel.


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Second Thought Theatre, Theatre Nouveau, Trinity Shakespeare Announce 2013 Seasons

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James Stroman
Theatre Nouveau 47 company member (bottom row) Michael Federico, Shawn Magill, Clay Wheeler and (top) Tom Parr IV, Matthew Tomlanovich and Jim Kuenzer
Second Thought Theatre artistic directors Kelsey Head and Steven Walters took their sweet time picking shows for the 2013 season at Bryant Hall. But maybe it was worth the wait. This small theater, along with Theatre Nouveau 47 and Fort Worth's Trinity Shakespeare Festival, made season lineup announcements nearly simultaneously today. Some good, edgy, bloody, funny, nutty stuff coming up.

See also: ATTPAC and Shakespeare Dallas Will Perform Every Shakespeare Work Ever

For its ninth season, Second Thought will present a Texas premiere, two dark comedies and a one-woman show. The choices "offer North Texas audiences four plays that will make them laugh, encourage conversation and provide unique perspectives," says Head in the media release.

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The Rise of the Understudies: Two Booker T. Grads Step into the Lights on Broadway

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Brian and Cedric's Facebook pages
Left: Brian Gonzales on stage. Right: Cedric Neal as Sportin Life.
It was a good weekend on Broadway for the Booker T. High School Class of '92. Actors Brian J. Gonzales and Cedric Neal, who graduated the same year from Dallas' performing arts magnet school, both stepped into leading roles in big New York shows on a moment's notice.

Gonzales, understudy for Tony winner James Corden in the hit comedy One Man, Two Guvnors, did the show at Sunday's matinee after the actor fell ill. (Corden, a workhorse performer, hadn't missed any other performances.) Neal, understudy for Tony-nominated David Alan Grier in The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess, performed the role of "Sportin' Life" Friday and Saturday nights while Grier was off.

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Shakespeare Dallas Brings The Heat To Coriolanus

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Linda Blase
Kevin Keeling and Alex Organ
Leave it to director René Moreno (profiled in this week's "People" issue) to find a way to make Coriolanus hot. For Shakespeare Dallas' first production of this rarely done bit of Bard, Moreno cast the easy-on-the-eyes (and ears) actor Alex Organ in the title role. He plays Shakespeare's lonely warrior, a career soldier who loves fighting for the rights of the Romans but can't stand the people themselves.

It's a monster role to perform, loaded with long, difficult speeches, interrupted only by other characters, mostly Roman Tribunes, delivering more long speeches about all the battlefield conquests Caius Martius Coriolanus has led. The bigwigs want him to be elected consul, but Coriolanus refuses to campaign. He even hates the smell of the citizenry's sweat, yelling "Hang 'em!" when they come too near.



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In Ruth, Vicki Cheatwood Explores Life's Darkest Stages

Categories: Theater News

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Vicki Cheatwood's new play Ruth opens this week.

Dallas writer Vicki Cheatwood's new play Ruth is a modern retelling of the Ruth and Naomi story from the Old Testament. What Cheatwood went through personally while writing it, however, sounds more like the Book of Job.

Debuting Friday, May 25, at The McKinney Avenue Contemporary as the centerpiece of Kitchen Dog Theater's 2012 New Works Festival, Ruth is the story of two women, one Latino and one Anglo, their friendship and how they deal with the ghosts that haunt their lives. When she started the play a few years ago after revisiting the Book of Ruth in a Bible study group, Cheatwood didn't know how close to home her scenario would eventually hit.

This past winter, as she was finishing the final rewrites of the script, her husband of 19 years, Mark Daves, was battling throat cancer. Unable to speak in his final weeks, he took to writing messages on his wife's iPad. One of his last was "work on Ruth." (Daves died March 22 at the age of 48.)


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WaterTower Theatre's Terry Martin Returns to Acting for a Big Role at Dallas Theater Center

Categories: Theater News

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Terry Martin

Casting news for local plays isn't usually headline-worthy. Unless, that is, the artistic director from one major theater is cast as an actor in a much-anticipated production at another major theater. That's the inside-baseball scoop about WaterTower Theatre honcho Terry Martin showing up as the lead in Dallas Theater Center's upcoming Next Fall, which opens April 13 at Kalita Humphreys Theater.

Martin will co-star with DTC company member Steven Walters (who's also the playwright and founding member of Second Thought Theatre, currently running his play Pluck the Day). It will be Martin's official DTC debut, though he's participated in some readings of plays there over the past few years. He hasn't been onstage as an actor since playing the Stage Manager in Our Town, which he directed at WaterTower in 2010.

"I auditioned," says Martin about how he got the role in Next Fall. The Tony-nominated play by Geoffrey Nauffts tells the story of Adam, an older agnostic gay man (to be played by Martin) who falls in love with Luke, a young devout Christian (Walters). When the younger man is injured in an accident, Adam must battle Luke's Bible-thumping parents, who don't approve of the men's relationship and want to deny Adam access to the hospital room.


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In Theatre Three's The Farnsworth Invention, Alex Organ Keys in on His Latest Starring Role

Categories: Theater News

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The cast of The Farnsworth Invention

A few good men were involved in the invention of television. That's the subject of the play The Farnsworth Invention, written by Oscar and Emmy winner Aaron Sorkin (West Wing, The Social Network, Moneyball) and opening tonight at 7:30 p.m. in previews at Theatre Three, where it will run through March 17.

The play focuses on the two men who battled to control the development of TV. Idaho farm boy Philo T. Farnsworth, played at T3 by actor Alex Organ, was a teenage genius when he put together the first components of a machine that could transmit live images electronically. His invention then was poached, or adapted (if you're more generous) by RCA president and NBC founder David Sarnoff, played by Jakie Cabe. The men fought over rights and patents for more than a decade. One had wealth and power; the other had the idea. Guess which one died drunk and broke?

More about the play and the Dallas actor playing the underdog after the jump.

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With Her Musical Out of the Loop Show, Diana Sheehan says Midlife Is a Cabaret

Categories: Theater News

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Five years ago, actress Diana Sheehan had what she describes as "the most euphoric day of my life." Both of her young children were in school all day at last and, for the first time in years, Sheehan found she was free to do whatever she wanted.

"I danced for joy," she says of that day. "It was this incredible re-awakening. Everything, all my senses, came alive. I started writing down songs. Before you know it, I had 25 songs written down. I divided them into two parts. The first group is all songs about waking up again. The next part is about how these songs work together, all about longing and hope."

The result of this blast of creative energy became Midway, a solo 90-minute cabaret show Sheehan will perform for local audiences for the first time at this year's Out of the Loop Fringe Festival at Addison's WaterTower Theatre. (Dallas Observer is a sponsor of the 10-day celebration of theater, music and dance.)

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