Sarah Rutan in Amphibian Stage’s ‘Spaceman.’ (Courtesy photo by Evan Michael Woods)

Stage Notes is a weekly aggregate post about theater, classical music and stage news, events, reviews and other pertinent information.

Amphibian drops rehearsal trailer for Spaceman

Amphibian Stage’s first production of the year will be a full-sensory, surround-sound trip to Mars. Spaceman follows Molly Jennis’s solo mission to the red planet after her husband’s failed, tragic attempt at the same journey. The show opens Feb. 10 and runs through March 5.

The creative team includes Amphibian Co-Artistic Director Jay Duffer as the show’s director, David Lanza as sound designer. The show features Sarah Rutan as Molly Jennis, Jeff Ararat as Harry Jennis with Meagan Harris as Molly Jennis understudy.

This week, the company released the trailer for Spaceman by Burnt Pie Productions which features Rutan in rehearsals for the role. Watch the video below:

Tickets are available here.

NTPA receives award for Favorite DFW Theatre

Broadway World announced the recipients of its annual regional theater awards which recognized North Texas Performing Arts as DFW’s Favorite Local Theatre. The awards were big for the company primarily based in Plano. NTPA won four awards total that included Big Fish (Best Theatre For Young Audiences Production), Sasha Garcia for Spongebob the Musical (Best Music Direction and Orchestra Performance), Tom Wash for The Music Man (Best Supporting Performer In A Musical)

REVIEW: Pretty Woman the Musical is pretty fun

In its time, Pretty Woman the movie was a huge movie hit and Julia Roberts breakthrough as the leading rom-com queen (or of one of them) of the late 1900s. But with a few decades separating the movie from the musical which debuted 2018, a lot changed. And fortunately, this feel good musical kept the now-dated story fresh, respectful and fun.

Pretty Woman the Musical has made its home at the Music Hall at Fair Park since Feb. 25 and closes Sunday. It will then move on to Bass Hall from Feb. 7-12.

Much of the show served as theater comfort food. There’s nothing too earth-shattering about the story. The songs are good but maybe not immediately memorable. The dancing is phenomenal, however. The sets worked to help tell the story. Pretty Woman certainly checks all the boxes it needs to.

The cast however was a delight to watch which kept Pretty Woman a charming romp. On the show’s second night, Carissa Gaughran played Vivian as the sex worker with a smile and a dream. As Vivian made her way through from the streets to high society, Gaughran played her with compelling curiosity. She was distinct in having Vivian’s arc blossom beautifully but still mixed in the slapstick physical comedy and famous movie quotes like a pro. Her chemistry with Tony-nomineed Adam Pascal (Rent) as Edward took a while to mesh but the two ultimately made for an ideal pair.

Pascal never felt like a rom-com leading man, but his seriousness played up to his character’s stoic demeanor which is melted away by Vivian. He was certainly sexy and romantic though which allowed for some swoony moments. His voice though just slayed and when he belts out “Freedom,” it was a breathtaking moment.

Not to be overlooked was Jessica Crouch as Vivian’s streetwise friend Kit. Funny and sassy for sure, but her vocal runs and rage were beyond comprehension. She defined what “bringing down the house” means.

Pop singer Bryan Adams penned the songs with Jim Vallance and the story is by the film’s director Garry Marshall with J. E. Lawton. These nods to the orignal film and the ’90s were apropos to the show. That Adams could pen a big dance number for the stage though was a surprise. “On a Night Like Tonight” and “Together Forever” were high energy with the cast filling the stage giving the show some irrestible showstoppers.

WaterTower releases lineup of shows for its new season

After a few teases of what’s to come on its socials, Addison’s WaterTower Theatre announced its new season earlier this week. The new season features four productions total with two musicals and two plays kicking off in November.

The new season features (from WTT):

Nov. 8-19: Chaplin the Musical.The new musical spans the comic’s entire career, from his first performance in 19th-century London to his acceptance of an honorary Academy Award in 1972. The show documents the actor’s rise to fame and the people who shaped his life, including his mother Hannah, his older brother Sydney, his fourth wife Oona O’Neill and gossip columnist Hedda Hopper. Directed by Cheryl Denson; music directed by Vonda K. Bowling and choreographed by Ann Nieman.

Feb. 14-25: Ann. This portrait of Ann Richards, the late governor of Texas brings audiences face to face with a complex, colorful and captivating character bigger than the state from which she hailed. Written and originally performed by Emmy Award winner Holland Taylor, Ann takes a revealing look at the  woman who enriched the lives of her followers, friends, family and fellow Texans. Directed by Susan Sargeant.

April 17-28: Satchmo at the Waldorf. This one-man, three-character play portrays Louis Armstrong, the greatest of all jazz trumpeters; Joe Glaser, his white manager; and Miles Davis, who admired Armstrong’s playing but disliked his onstage manner. It takes place in 1971 in a dressing room backstage at the Empire Room of New York’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, where Armstrong performed in public for the last time. just four months before his death. Reminiscing into a tape recorder about his life and work, Armstrong seeks to come to terms with his longstanding relationship with Glaser, whom he once loved like a father but now believes to have betrayed him, and Davis’ criticisms of him as a fellow Black artist. Directed by Feleceia Wilson.

July 17-28: Mary Poppins. Based on the books by P.L. Travers and the classic Walt Disney film, Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s Mary Poppins delighted Broadway audiences for over 2,500 performances and received nominations for nine Olivier and seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical. A delight for both grown-ups and children- we can all learn a lesson or two from the nanny who advises that “Anything can happen if you let it.” Mary Poppins is an enchanting mixture of irresistible story, unforgettable songs, breathtaking dance numbers and astonishing stagecraft with flying effects by ZFX. Directed by John De Los Santos; music directed by Cody Dry.

The Dallas Opera set to premiere new production of Das Rheingold

The Dallas Opera kicks off 2023 with a fresh version of a classic opera.  Th company will premiere the new production of Wagner’s epic tale Das Rheingold, a title returning to the Winspear after more than 20 years. Created by the Atlanta Opera, the production will open on Feb. 10-18.

The show also features some interesting notes such five anvils being added to the orchestr roster for this production. Six harps will be played as opposed to one or two. The set was built here at Dallas Stage Scenery and the production featres a 50-foot LED wall. Also, eleven cast members will be making their role debuts.

Lord of the Rings fans may find this show appealing. TDO writes a cursed ring, greed, and the fight for supreme power—sound familiar? The Lord of the Rings has famously drawn comparisons between its story and that of Das Rheingold. Fans of mythology and familiar with Tolkien’s adventures will find themselves fully immersed in Wagner’s world during their visit to the Winspear.

The creative team and cast include Emmanuel Villaume leading The Dallas Opera Orchestra—96 players strong to tackle the Wagnerian score. Tomer Zvulun, General and Artistic Director of The Atlanta Opera, directs the cast led by Nicholas Brownlee as Wotan and Michael Mayes as Alberich with TDO debut members Amanda Echalaz as Fricka, Brenton Ryan as Loge, Barry Banks as Mime, and Karen Slack as Freia.

Erhard Rom is set and projection designer, Mattie Ullrich debuts as costume designer, Robert Wierzel serves lighting designer and David Zimmerman is the show’s wig and make-up designer.

TDO also continues its additional programming with each of its productions. The Pre-Opera Talk is a half-hour lecture that begins an hour before each production and is free with tickets. Following the Sunday matinee, the Sunday Post-Opera Talkback is brief and casual Q&A session with members of the cast giving audiences an opportunity to ask questions to the artists themselves and is hosted by TDO General Director and CEO Ian Derrer.

Tickets are available here.

Houston Ballet seeks dancers from Dallas for summer intensive

In a press release on Tuesday, Houston Ballet Academy, the official school of the Houston Ballet, announced it will hold auditions in Dallas on Feb. 12, as part of its international audition tour to Australia, Japan and throughout the United States for its 2023 Summer Intensive Program. Pre-professional ballet students are invited to audition for the immersive five-week program.

“Houston Ballet Academy’s Summer Intensive students gain skills and experience that prepare for them for a future in ballet,” Jennifer Sommers, Houston Ballet Academy Director said in the release. “Not only do they grow as artists through learning and performing choreography from Houston Ballet’s extensive repertory, but they also have access to trainers and coaches who help them build the necessary foundations in health and wellness for professional dancers.”

Houston Ballet Academy’s 2023 Summer Intensive offers an array of opportunities to prepare young dancers for a career onstage. The class schedule comprises ballet technique, pointe, pas de deux and dedicated men’s classes, repertory, modern, jazz, musical theater, social dance, strength and conditioning, Yamuna Body Rolling and Pilates.

Auditions will take place in the form of a full-length master class. Those accepted into the program will receive letters of admittance via mail, along with any relevant scholarship information. Dancers are encouraged to pre-register online to secure their spot.

Opening this week:

Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra: Meet the Composer – Greenberg Discusses Elgar, 6 p.m. today at the Kimbell.

Elevator Project: Tear Down These Walls by Emerge Coalition, today-Saturday at the Wyly Studio Theatre.

Circle Theatre: Lonesome Blues, today-Feb. 11.

WaterTower Theatre: The Play That Goes Wrong, Friday-Feb. 12.

Firehouse Theatre: Spamalot, Friday-Feb. 19, pictured.

Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra: Twist and Shout – the Music of the Beatles, Friday-Sunday at Bass Hall.

Rockwall Community Playhouse: Clue on Stage, Friday-Feb. 19.

Jubilee Theatre: Moon Man Walk, Friday-Feb. 26.

Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra: Heroes at the Symphony, 11 a.m. Saturday at Bass Hall.

Songs of Our World: Three Voices of Our Last 100 Years, 7 p.m. Saturday at the Nasher

American Baroque Opera: Rodelinda, Saturday and Sunday at Moody Performance Hall.

The Dallas Opera: TDO Family Series: The Billy Goats Gruff, 2 p.m. Sunday

Beethoven in Search of Creation, 7 p.m. Sunday at the Nasher

Broadway at the Bass: Pretty Woman: The Musical, Tuesday-Feb. 12.

Casa Manana: Unchain My Heart: The Music of Ray Charles, Tuesday-Feb. 18.

Ochre Theatre: JC, Amaté, Wednesday-Feb. 25.

Plague Mask Players: Romeo and Juliet, Feb. 9-18 at the Bath House Cultural Center

Bishop Arts Theatre Center: 1619 Project – One Act Festival, Feb. 9-26.

Onstage now:

MainStage Irving-Las Colinas: Ada and the Engine, through Saturday in the Dupree Theater at Irving Arts Center, pictured.

Broadway Dallas: Pretty Woman: The Musical, through Sunday at the Music Hall at Fair Park.

Allen Contemporary Theatre: Ken Ludwig’s The God of Comedy, through Feb. 12.

Garland Civic Theatre: A Few Good Men, through Feb. 12 at the Granville Arts Center.

Runway Theatre: Beer for Breakfast, through Feb. 12.

Theatre Too: I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, through Feb. 18 at Theatre Three.

Theatre Three: The Elephant Man, through Feb. 19.

The Core Theatre: Every Livin’ Soul, through Feb. 26.

Artisan Center Theatre: Freaky Friday, through March 1.

–Rich Lopez