Jay Duffer will take over Amphibian Stage as its artistic director upon Kathleen Culebro’s resignation. (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.

Stage Notes Calendar

Opening this week:

Echo Theatre: Beyond the Yellow Wallpaper, today-May 25 at the Bath House Cultural Center, pictured.

Arts District Chorale: Voices in Flight, 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Frontiers of Flight Museum.

Uptown Players: The Kinsey Sicks presents Deep Inside Tonight!, 8 p.m. Friday at the Kalita Humphreys Theater.

Theatre Arlington: Comedy Club, 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Auriga Produtions: Hamlet, Friday-May 19 at Arts Fort Worth

Rockwall Community Playhouse: Tuesdays with Morrie, Friday-May 26

The Elevator Project: Pintura, Poesia y Pasion by Flamenco Fever, Saturday at Strauss Square

Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra: Lasting Impressions, Saturday at Will Rogers Auditorium.

Las Colinas Symphony Orchestra: Stephen Beus, 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Irving Arts Centerh. 

Coppell Community Chorale: At the Movies, Saturday and Sunday at the Coppell Arts Center

Uptown Players: Simply the Best, Saturday and Sunday at the Kalita Humphreys Theater.

New Philharmonic Orchestra of Irving: Enchanted!, 3:30 p.m. Sunday at the Irving Arts Center

Dallas Winds: In This Circle with Hila Plittman, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Meyerson.

Onstage now:

Art Centre Theatre: Reefer Madness the Musical, through Saturday.

McKinney Repertory Theatre: Steel Magnolias, through Saturday.

Sundown Collaborative Theatre: Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind: 30 Plays in 60 Minutes, through Saturday.

Garland Civic Theatre: You Can’t Take it With You, through Sunday.

MainStage ILC: On Golden Pond through May 18, pictured.

Ochre House: Patti and Theo, through May 18.

Allen Contemporary Theatre: Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery, through May 19.

Bishop Arts Theatre Center: Fannie: The Music and Life of Fannie Lou Hamer, through May 19.

The Core: Our Town, through May 19.

Theatre Arlington: Steel Magnolias, through May 19.

Theatre Frisco: Six Degrees of Separation, through May 19.

Undermain Theatre: The Persians, through May 26.

Theatre Three: Misery, through June 2 in Theatre Too.

Broadway Dallas: Hamilton, through June 9 at the Winspear.

After 25 years, Amphibian Stage founding Artistic Director is passing the baton

On Thursday, Amphibian Stage announced a historic change in leadership: Founding Artistic Director Kathleen Culebro will step down from her current position at the end of Amphibian’s 25th Season. Jay Duffer has accepted the position of Artistic Director.

“After profound soul searching and thoughtful planning alongside Jay Duffer, I’ve made the decision to embark on a new chapter outside of my role at Amphibian Stage,” Culebro stated. “While this change will be bittersweet, I’m genuinely excited about the prospect of exploring fresh horizons in the arts. I will always be a part of this company that means so much to me, but soon it will be as an enthusiastic donor and patron watching with pride as it continues to grow and evolve with fresh talent and leadership.”

Culebro has spent the last quarter-century building the small theater company into a thriving, well-respected organization, both regionally and nationally. Amphibian Stage was born on the campus of Texas Christian University. In its 25 seasons, Amphibian has produced 83 plays, 13 world premieres, and more than 40 stand-up comic residencies as well as developed nearly 70 new plays.

“For 25 years Kathleen has poured her heart and soul into establishing this organization as a creative force in the national theater landscape,” Board President, Jennifer Jolin said in the announcement. “Although her departure is tinged with sadness, all of us on the board at Amphibian are cheering her on as she pursues new artistic endeavors.”

One of Culebro’s most recent contributions to Amphibian is SparkFest, an annual performing arts festival that returns to Fort Worth this June. The festival works to showcase artists who aren’t historically well represented within the industry. SparkFest’23 celebrated Middle Eastern, North African, and Middle Eastern (MENASA) art. SparkFest’24 will uplift the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. The festival features acting competitions, new play readings, lectures, and more.

The season will conclude with The Amazing, Fabulous, and Spectacular Untruths of Juan Garcia written by Culebro based on the play La verdad sospechosa by Juan Ruiz de Alarcón. The play is slated for Oct. 11-Nov. 3 on the mainstage followed by A Winter’s Cabaret in December.

Duffer recently directed Heroes of the Fourth Turning for Second Thought and will direct The Handless King this summer for Amphibian’s main stage. Duffer joined Amphibian as Managing Director in 2019 and was named Co-Artistic Director in December 2021.

“Jay has been a vital part of the staff for five years now and is very familiar with the arts scene in Dallas-Fort Worth and the inner workings of the theater,” Jolin states. “The board at Amphibian is absolutely thrilled that Jay has agreed to transition to Artistic Director and we know that he will take Amphibian to new heights while honoring its proud history.”

Culebro and Duffer had a history of collaboration before she brought him onboard as Amphibian’s Managing Director in 2019. He led the company through COVID-19’s height which kept Amphibian afloat until audiences returned to the theater. Duffer elaborated on this new chapter for him and the theater company.

“Kathleen has been an incredible leader of the organization for 25 years. The singularity of her vision has established Amphibian Stage as a prominent theater in DFW and beyond,” he said in the announcement. “Her mentorship over the last five years has truly been a gift. I’m honored to carry on this vibrant legacy and excited to lead Amphibian Stage to continued success and growth in a trajectory already set at its origin.”

Undermain Theatre announces its 41st season as The Season of Identity

The Undermain will contemplate the question, “Who am I?” for its 2024/25 season. Undermain continues into the 41st Season with a curated selection of language-driven productions which kicks off in September. The season includes four shows with two premieres.

The season includes the following (From Undermain):

Sept. 5-29: Athena by Gracie Gardner. Mary Wallace and Athena are brave, and 17, and fencers training for the Junior Olympics. They practice
together, they compete against each other, they spend their lives together. They wish they were friends. This regional premiere is a look into two young women driven to make their way through the ranks of competitive fencing and their fascination with each other.

Oct. 31-Nov. 24: Exit the King by Eugène Ionesco. This absurdist comedy is set in the crumbling throne-room of the palace in an unnamed country where King Berenger the First has only the duration of the play to live. Once, it seemed he ruled over an immense empire and commanded great armies, now his kingdom has shrunk to the confines of his garden wall. Refusing to accept his end, he is attended by his present and former Queens who must help him face the final inevitable truth of life.

Feb. 27-March 23: Box by Jarrett King. Part magic show, part historical speculation, part romantic drama—this play explores the harrowing story of Henry Box Brown, the abolitionist lecturer and early magician who escaped slavery by mailing himself to freedom and went on to become a famed magician on the London stage. Using actual magic, this world premiere imagines an unwritten chapter in the story of one of history’s most overlooked folk heroes.

May 1-25: H*llo K*tty Syndrom by Brian Dang. In this professional premiere, they just quit their job as a police officer, broke up with their cowboy-partner, and made a vendetta with their brother-in-law. In Brian Dang’s absurd comedy, they find themselves caught in the throes of a family drama, noir, and romance. And worst of all, nobody will stop commenting on the fact that they are wearing a Hello Kitty™ mascot costume (but it’s slightly off because of copyright laws.)

For more informatoin and tickets, click here.

–Rich Lopez