Sky Williams and Maddie Suttles in Circle Theatre’s ‘Artemisia.’ (Courtesy photos)

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

Stage Notes Calendar

Opening this week:

Dallas Symphony Orchestra: Saint-Saëns Organ Symphony, Thursday-Sunday at the Meyerson.

Orchestra of New Spain: Angels and Devils with the Atlas Tango Project, 8 p.m. Friday at Moody Performance Hall

Over the Bridge Arts: Messy Love, Friday and Saturday at Artstillery

Texas Ballet Theater: Brilliants, Friday-Sunday at Bass Performance Hall.

Verdigris Ensemble: Dust Bowl, Friday-Sunday at the Wyly Theater

Stolen Shakespeare Guild: Much Ado About Nothing, Friday-March 10

Theatre Coppell: Crimes of the Heart, Friday-March 10.

Pocket Sandwich Theatre: I Hate Hamlet, Friday-March 23

Fort Worth Opera: dwb (driving while black), 2 p.m. Saturday at Kimbell Art Museum

Brian Stokes Mitchell Trio, 8 p.m. Feb. 24 at the Eisemann Center

Coppell Community Chorale: Coppell Chamber Singers ensemble premiere, 3 p.m. Feb. 25 at the Coppell Arts Center

Head Over Heels, Feb. 28-March 3. 

Onstage now:

Echo Theatre: Feeding The Cat, Incorrectly, Several Times Over, through Friday at the Bath House Cultural Center.

Art Centre Theatre: The Vagina Monologues, through Saturday.

Casa Manana: The Music of Linda Rondstadt, through Saturday.

Circle Theatre: Artemisia, through Saturday.

Company of Rowlett Performers: Moon Over Buffalo, through Sunday at the Plaza Theater in Garland.

Firehouse Theatre: Something Rotten!, opened through Sunday.

Kitchen Dog Theatre: Shape, through Sunday at D-Town CrossFit.

Lewisville Playhouse: Pageant, through Sunday.

Mesquite Arts Theatre: She Loves Me, through Sunday in the Mesquite Arts Center.

Second Chance Players: Bill W. and Dr. Bob, through Sunday at Cox Playhouse.

Theatre Denton: A Moon for the Misbegotten, through Sunday.

Theatre Wesleyan: Exit, Pursued By a Bear, opened through Sunday at Texas Wesleyan University.

WaterTower Theatre: Ann, through Sunday.

Artisan Center Theater: Bright Star, through March 2.

Lakeside Community Theatre: It’s Only a Play, through March 2.

Ochre House Theatre: Town for Sale, through March 2.

Teatro Dallas: XXI International Theater Festival, through March 2 at the Latino Cultural Center.

Art Centre Theatre: A Streetcar Named Desire, through March 3.

Broadway Dallas: Beetlejuicethrough March 3.

Jubilee Theater: Bread & Gravy: The Songs and Life of Ethel Waters, through March 3.

Theatre Frisco: A Grand Night for Singing, through March 3.

Theatre Arlington: Cabaret, through March 3.

Theatre Three: God of Carnage, through March 3.

Cara Mia Theatre: Yanga, through March 5 at the Latino Cultural Center.

Stolen Shakespeare Guild: The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, through March 9.

Upright Theatre: Into the Woods, through March 17.

Stage Notes Exclusive: Artemesia lead at Circle Theatre talks about the legacy of her character

Artemisia, Circle Theatre, 2024

Before Circle Theatre’s Artemisia closes this Saturday, actor Sky Williams talked about playing the title role in Lauren Gunderson’s play about Baroque artist Artemisia Gentileschi. The actor has found the role to be a dream come true. But she’s also found some significance in Artemisia that reverberates today. 

“This is a woman with her own voice and personality and she’s going to face some adversity in that time period,” Williams said. “And me with my own identifiers, I come with my own healthy amount of adversity.”

Williams is Black and lesbian and of course, a woman.  

She takes those identifiers and that adversity with her into every role she plays, but for this one – it was crucial. 

Gentileschi was an artist who was considered an accomplished artist in 17th century Italy became lesser known as male artists were held in higher regard.

 “I can imagine that she had to face the world she lived in with as much gumption as she had, she made the environment work for her,” Williams said. 

In the play, Gentilieschi is not a pushover. She is unfortunately attacked and raped by a man but Gunderson’s story doesn’t let that define her. Williams thus plays the role boldly and unapologetically. 

And she takes something from that as well. 

“I think that unapologetic behavior is what I like so much about her. She knows what she’s doing the whole time and she doesn’t back down,” she said. 

Williams actually shares Artemisia with Maddie Suttles. Suttles plays the younger version (as well as Artemisia’s daughter in Act 2) and interestingly, neither discussed their approaches to the character with each other. 

“We both brought a certain sass and brassiness to the character without talking about it. There was a steadfastness as well and I think that she and I both brought that is a testament to Taylor’s casting,” she said. 

Taylor Staniforth directed this production about a woman, written by a woman and featuring women – a fact not lost on Williams. 

“I personally love that. With her, we were able to bring a healthy amount to our roles and have a full range of human emotions,” she said. “She really let me explore the nuances of Artemisia’s humanity.”

In today’s world, a strong woman bucking the system is basically an automatic queer icon. So would Gentilieschi be seen as such now?

“Oh yes she would,” Williams exclaimed. “She wasn’t waiting for other people to tell her she was amazing. She knew she was and had the talent to back it up. She bent the rules toward what she needed and that’s powerful.”

Review: The real queens of the ‘burbs step up in Pageant

The cast of ‘Pageant’ at Lewisville Playhouse. (Photo by Sean Lynch)

The musical comedy Pageant seems to be a hit at Lewisville Playhouse. Men in drag in the suburbs without protests? Thank goodness because director Eddie Floresca crafted a fabulous and funny experience while his cast of beauty queens prance their way to the title of Miss Glamouresse.

The show has boasted some sold out nights since its opening two weekends ago and even one for tonight’s performance. And deservedly so. The cast of six queens and one emcee all delivered the goods at last Friday’s show. Deceivingly simple, the gorgeous set of purple lights and the show’s marquee by Kriss Lloyd created the illusion of a nicely stylized pageant where the entire show took place.

RELATED: The comedy queens rule in Pageant at the Lewisville Playhouse

Cast as the pageant contestants were Mikey Abrams, Locan Gaconnier, Michael B. Moore, Andrew Carroll, Jorge Martin Lara and Jared Johnson. Each served up their individually-specific energies across the spectrum. Where Carroll was demure, Moore was audacious. Johnson gave a well-received performance as Miss West Coast that was a mix of valley girl and high-off-her-ass mystic where Mikey Abrams channeled Leslie Jordan for his Miss Deep South. Lara was almost intimidating with his steely-faced queen where Gaconnier’s goody-Christian ways were underlined by some sneaky undermining all with a smile.

As Frankie Cavalier, Scott Bardin’s emcee duties were a thrill. Almost putting the character on another planet, Bardin’s character creation was perfect. As if Cavalier had been doing pageant after pageant, Bardin played him with both a slight detachment alongside the idea of a has-been performer hanging on to this gig for dear life.

With guest judges from the audience, a different queen wins the pageant each night, but the real winners are the audience.

The show runs through Sunday.

The Turtle Creek Chorale announces its 44th season Tapestry

TCC Artistic Director Sean Baugh with the chorale. (Courtesy photo)

Turtle Creek Chorale announced Thursday that its 44th season will be known as Tapestry and will include its fourth annual Rhapsody Gala with three new concerts and more.

“I could not be more thrilled to unveil the 2024 season of the Turtle Creek Chorale. ‘Tapestry’ represents everything I love about choral music,” Turtle Creek Chorale Artistic Director Sean Baugh said in the press release. “Soaring melodies, powerful messages, uplifting and meaningful. So many textures and styles — truly something for everyone. We also continue our dedication to presenting new music from emerging and established composers. The singers of the Turtle Creek Chorale have something to say — and they do it with such beauty and passion. You can’t help but be moved.”

The season includes:

May 19: Pages. This concert features Chamber Chorus, Coloratura, TerraVox and Turtle Creek Dance Company. These groups will perform a program designed to educate, inspire, and honor the books that challenge notions, ideas, and history that some may find objectionable. The ensembles aim to celebrate the power of literature while addressing the concerning trend of censorship and book banning in America. Pages will be performed on at the Northaven United Methodist Church. 

June 1: Rhapsody. The fourth annual gala benefiting the Chorale’s mission to entertain, educate, unite, and inspire will be held at the OMNI Dallas Hotel and will feature a special guest performer. Past featured performers are Idina Menzel, Audra McDonald, and Patti LuPone.

June 27 and 28: I, Too, Sing America. Accompanied by a brass chorus and featuring the Herman W. and Amelia H. Lay Family Concert Organ, the concert includes patriotic tunes and introduces new, thought-provoking pieces that explore what it means to be an American. This performance emphasizes that, regardless of our diverse backgrounds, gender, sexual expression, race, or origin, we all contribute to the rich ‘tapestry’ of Americans. Two performances will take place at the Meyerson Symphony Center. 

Fall: Bach to the ‘90s: The Chorale will travel back in time for a musical journey that spans centuries – back to the 1790s, 1890s, and 1990s. Featuring music from these decades and beyond, the concert will be a blast from the past and a symphony for the ages as the Chorale celebrates the diversity and richness of musical history. Date and venue TBA.

November: Considering Matthew Shepard: Combined TCC ensembles, in conjunction with Cathedral of Hope and The Women’s Chorus of Dallas, will present Craig Hella Johnson’s powerful oratorio, Considering Matthew Shepard. Through a captivating combination of theater, narration, and soulful score, the concert offers a moving exploration of love, loss, and hope. Date and venue TBA.

December: Wonder. The Chorale’s annual holiday concert series is set to captivate audiences with the nostalgic ‘wonder’ of childhood Christmases. Santa Claus himself and Frosty the Snowman will make special appearances, spreading holiday cheer to young and old alike. Experience the joy of waking up to a winter wonderland, the excitement of a snow day, and the charm of classic TCC holiday specials with a full orchestra, singing, dancing and theatrical elements. Date and venue TBA.

“The Turtle Creek Chorale’s 44th season promises to be a journey through choral music mastery presented as only the TCC can,” Turtle Creek Chorale Executive Director Jeremy Wayne said in the release. “Each of the concerts will present new music along with favorites from the choral canon in a ‘Tapestry’ that showcases the signature Turtle Creek Chorale sound. You will not want to miss a minute of this uplifting season.”

Concert tickets will be available for purchase here in the months leading up to each performance. Stay updated with more information on TCC’s socials @TurtleCreekChorale.

Review: Ann rules at WaterTower Theatre

Krista Scott in the title role of ‘Ann’ at WaterTower Theatre. (Photo by Paris Marie Productions)

Ann opened last Wednesday at WTT and will close this Sunday. A short run, but a strong one. The one-actor show stars Morgana Shaw, but at last Saturday’s matinee, understudy Krista Scott held court as Texas Governor Ann Richards — and my goodness, did she.

Written by one of our favorite lesbians, Holland Taylor’s play began at a commencement speech where Richards talked about her life and how to approach the future. Then Richards runs the state from her capitol office and large desk made of rich wood where she jumps off and on phone calls with the help of her assistant Nancy.

Scott didn’t play the part. She channeled the governor’s style and voice throughout the show. Even in some slight slip ups, those added to the humanity that Scott was conveying. In short, Scott was Ann Richards. This was definitely helped by Jessie Wallace’s costuming of Richards’ suit and Michael B. Moore’s wig design. Kae Styron’s set of Richards’ office felt official giving proper gubernatorial vibes.

Susan Sargeant directed the show with wonderful ease and Scott’s performance was warm and funny just as the Governor was remembered. Throughout the script, there were lines that spoke to many of today’s situations which were not lost on the audience. Scott always gave pause to those moments .

Ann reminded of a different time even if it was brief, but worth every minute.

–Rich Lopez