The cast of Uptown Players’ ‘Jada Bells: A Holiday Extravaganza.’ (Courtesy photos)

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

Opening this week:

WaterTower Theatre: CHAPLIN the Musical, opened Wednesday-Nov. 19, pictured.

Dallas Symphony Orchestra: Strauss Don Juan, today-Sunday at the Meyerson.

Undermain Theatre: No Man’s Land, today-Dec. 3.

When You Wish Upon a Star, 8 p.m. Friday at the Eisemann Center

Dallas Black Dance Theatre: Director’s Choice, Friday and Saturday at the Wyly Theatre.

Fort Worth Symphony Pops: Bond and Beyond, Friday-Sunday at Bass Hall.

Pegasus Contemorary Ballet: The Perspective Project, Friday-Sunday at Arts Mission Oak Cliff.

Irving Symphony Orchestra: An American Salute, Saturday at the Irving Arts Center

Get Happy! Michael Feinstein Celebrates the Judy Garland Centennial, 8 p.m. Saturday at the Eisemann Center.

Art Centre Theatre: The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Saturday-Nov. 19.

The Dallas Opera: Pépito, 2 p.m. Sunday.

Turtle Creek Chorale: Border Songs, 7 p.m. Sunday at Holy Trinity Catholic Church.

Onstage now:

Mainstage ILC, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, 2023

The Dallas Opera: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Winspear.

Amphibian Stage: The Visit, through Sunday.

Circle Theatre: I’m Proud of You, through Nov. 18.

Mainstage ILC: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, through Nov. 18 at the Dupree Theater, pictured.

Ochre House: Kaput, through Nov. 18.

Teatro Dallas: Two Kids in the Universe (Lirica), through Nov. 19 at the Latino Cultural Center.

Theatre Frisco: The Sweet Delilah Swim Club, through Nov. 19.

Artisan Center Theatre: Guys and Dolls, through Dec. 16.

Stage Notes Exclusive: Pegasus Contemporary Ballet brings the audience into its season opener

Pegasus Contemporary Ballet kicks off its new season with the immersive ‘The Perspective Project.’ (Photos by DFW Dance Photography)

Pegasus Contemporary Ballet’s third season is officially will kick off with the immersive show, The Perspective Project, premiering at Arts Mission Oak Cliff this Friday-Sunday. The show works to bring audiences into the performance as they move around the space with the dancers. The show will include two pieces choreographed and conceptualized by PCB’s resident choreographer and artistic associate, Carrie Ruth Trumbo and guest choreographer Kevin Jenkins, the Artistic Director of Ballet Counterpointe.

Prior to the show, PCB’s artistic director and resident choreographer discussed how this unique show came to be and what the audience can expect not only from the show’s pieces but in moving along with the show.

This seems like a new way or at least unique way to experience dance. Can you talk about opening the season with this show?

Diana Crowder (PCB Founder and Artistic Director): We wanted to open the season with a production that invites audiences to experience dance up close and immersively. Going into this season, I had been playing with the idea of presenting a multi-viewpoint show for some time. The basis of the original concept was that the audience would view the performance from different angles and perspectives, perhaps even shifting perspectives during the show, so that each person would experience the performance differently.

Pegasus Contemporary Ballet commissioned two choreographers, Kevin Jenkins and our Resident Choreographer, Carrie Ruth Trumbo, to create different works on this theme of ‘perspective,’ and The Perspective Project was born.

How does a moving show get choreographed throughout different spaces but with a line of continuity?

Carrie Ruth Trumbo: When presented with the idea of multi-sided seating arrangement, my mind immediately went to a courtroom, and how a trial is a performance in its own right. That left me asking myself how to deliver the audience with just enough information that they would be invested in certain characters and their outcomes. Arts Mission Oak Cliff was home to our inaugural performance two years ago, and I’ve been hanging on to the idea of an immersive show in this space since.

Adaptability is the key. I’ve been warning the dancers from the jump to be prepared to make modifications when we get in the actual space, and quickly. Fortunately, the artists have really embraced the process, despite its inherent chaos. I decided to go with one master playlist through the venue, so that audience members will all hear the same music, but depending on which room they’re in, will have one of three different experiences with said music. Ultimately, we all meet in the main sanctuary space for the final courtroom scene, which is really the bulk of the piece.

There is this very human thing we all do, which is to fill in the blanks when not given all the information on a subject. I wanted to play with that idea, that you can’t always trust your own autofill.

How do you describe the show?Pegasus Contemporary Ballet, Perspective Project, 2023

Crowder: Broadly, The Perspective Project reflects on the idea that our viewpoints can vastly influence our experiences. This show encourages us to reflect on divisions and challenges that face our society. By considering more than one viewing angle and asking audience members to choose what they see, we aim to provoke patrons to question in what ways, in both this show and in life, is my view potentially limited? How do my unique vantage points inform my judgments and impact how I experience the world?

The program opens with Resident Choreographer Carrie Ruth Trumbo’s “All Rise.” An immersive work, patrons will be invited to explore different spaces in the building to peer into one family’s domestic life and its subsequent downfall. Choreographer Kevin Jenkins’ new work “Any Other World” is designed to be viewed from three sides of the stage, creating a setting where the audience's experience is dependent on their literal point of view.

Given the format of the show, audiences will have the ability to see dance up close in a way that is intriguing and fun.

What can people expect in terms of standing room only, seated areas, options on moving or following?

Trumbo: Given the performance will be immersive and audiences will be guided through stairs and hallways, comfortable footwear is encouraged. Both pieces are designed to give everyone in the audience a unique perspective of the show. All tickets for the show are general admission and audience members will be able to choose their viewing experience.

For tickets to The Perspective Project, click here.

KDT’s production of the baseball play Safe at Home will be staged right on Riders Field

Kitchen Dog Theater will batter up for its Season 33 with the second-ever professional production of Safe at Home by Gabriel Greene and Alex Levy.  And instead of sticking to a traditional theater, the company will present the show at Riders Field in Frisco using existent spaces as multiple stages for patrons to move around from scene to scene.

From KDT:

In less than two hours, star pitcher Victor Castillo is set to take the mound for game 7 of the World Series. But when a rumor begins to circulate that Castillo may use the sport’s biggest stage as a political protest, the shock waves hit all corners of the stadium, from the owner’s box to the locker room. An engaging and provocative site-specific work designed to be performed inside a baseball stadium, Safe at Home examines the complex intersection between baseball, politics, and the American Dream. 

The show will be directed by Founder/Artistic Director Emeritus of Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis Jack Reuler who helms an 18-strong ensemble cast. On Friday, KDT announced the cast and creative team for Safe at Home.

The cast features KDT Artistic Company Members Lee George (Barry), Max Hartman (Charlie), Barry Nash (Tim Donovan), and Jamal Sterling (Andy Bradford) alongside  Jovane Caamaño (Ramon Gonzalez), Andrés Carbonell (Marine), Rosaura Cruz (Andrea Leighton), Victoria Angelina Cruz (Alejandra), Ryan Michael Friedman (Victor Castillo), Francine Gonzalez (Lucia), Bill Hass (Angelo Baker), Whitney Holotik (Friar), Lana K. Hoover (Phyllis), Brandy McClendon Kae (Stephanie Laird), Jennifer Kuenzer (Alison Shelby), Omar Padilla (Chicken) and Bryan Pitts (Gerald Carter).

The production team features KDT Artistic Company Members Claire Carson (Sound Design Team), Abby Kraemer and Ruth Stephenson (Stage Managers) alongside Zak Gutzwiler(Sound Design Team), Straton Rushing (Dramaturg and Media Design) and Susan Yanofsky (Costume Design).

Safe at Home opens Dec. 7 with just five performances through Dec. 10. Read more about the show and get tickets here.

A look at Uptown Players’ holiday premiere Jada Bells

Jada Bells, Uptown Players, 2023

Uptown Players will open its new season with Jada Bells – A Holiday Extravaganza, starring Lee Walter as the vivacious Jada Pinkett Fox who may be naughty or nice in this seasonal premiere. Directed by BJ Cleveland, the production will run Dec. 1-10 at the Kalita.

From Uptown:

Set in Jada’s warm and festive apartment, the story unfolds with the holiday spirit in full swing. Following 13 electrifying weeks of filming the “Miss Mary Dragmas” competition in Los Angeles, Jada Pinkett Fox, portrayed by Lee Walter, returns to welcomes her guests for an evening filled with entertainment and anticipation. The night crescendos into a grand holiday party and drag show at the club, where the winner of “Miss Mary Dragmas 2023” will be revealed. Musical selections include contemporary holiday tunes as well as classic holiday and Broadway favorites.

“Jada Bells – A Holiday Extravaganza” is not just a performance; it’s a celebration of love, friendship, and the magic of the season through music and dance.

Along with Walter, the cast includes Presley Duyck, Peter DiCesare, Micah Green, Isaiah Harris, Jacob Hemsath, Coy Covington, David Lugo, Michael Moore, Seth Paden, Sara Shelby-Martin, Sammy Swim, Lee Walter, Brett Warner and Evor Wright. The creative team for Jada Bells includes Music Director Gary Adler, Choreographer Kelly McCain, Musical Arranger Adam Wright, Set Designer Dennis Canright, Lighting Designer Jason Foster, Costume Designer Suzi Cranford, Props Designer Jane Quetin, Sound Designer Brian Christensen, Stage Manager Lexi Salmon and Hair/Make Up Designer Michael B. Moore.

Tickets are available here.

Season announcements

Onstage in Bedford announces shows for its 2024 season

OIB recently released the five shows it will produce for its upcoming season. The company also made some adjustments to its usual operations by shortening its run dates and curtain times. The theater did state that additional performance dates are possible depending on ticket sales.

From OIB:

Curtain times have changed! We’re backing everything up 30 minutes, so Friday and Saturday shows will now start at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays will be at 2:30 p.m. 

Productions are only two weeks: Due to rising production costs and lower ticket sales, we’re reducing performances by one weekend. If something is really selling well, we may extend into a third weekend, but that’s on a case-by-case basis.

OIB’s 2024 season:

Feb. 2-11: Relatively Speaking by Alan Aykbourn. Set in the ’60s, Greg and Ginny are living together, but Greg is becoming somewhat suspicious that he is not the only man in her life. He wonders about Ginny’s plan “to visit her parents” and follows her. Ginny is going to see a considerably older lover to break up with him. Greg, however, mistakes the ex-lover and his wife for Ginny’s parents. Directed by Hannah Bell.

March 29-April 7: Butterflies Are Free by Leonard Gershe. Young Don Baker, hero of his mother’s Donny Dark books for children, has been blind since birth, his overprotective mother following his every move. Don finally decides to take his own apartment in Manhattan and pursue his songwriting ambitions. When she meets his kooky neighbor, sexy actress Jill, Mrs. Baker’s controlling instincts go into overdrive, with hilariously touching results. Directed by Ben Phillips.

June 7-16: Bright Ideas. Genevra and Joshua Bradley’s three-year-old son, Mac, is next on the waiting list to get into the Bright Ideas Early Childhood Development Academy — and everyone knows once you’re in there, your life will unfold with glorious ease. Josh and Gen have had to scramble all their lives to get this far and now they are one fatal dinner party away from the ultimate success as parents: The Right Pre-School. Very loosely based on Macbeth, you may never look at pre-school—or pesto—the same way again. Directed by Joe Chapa.

Aug. 9-18: Ann is an intimate, no-holds-barred portrait of Ann Richards (Melanie Mason), the legendary late Governor of Texas. This inspiring and hilarious play brings us 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 impassioned woman who enriched the lives of her followers, friends, and family. Directed by Stacy Stickler.

Sept. 27-Oct. 6: Always…Patsy Cline by Ted Swindley is a true story about Cline’s friendship with a fan from Houston named Louise Seger, who befriended the star in a Texas honky-tonk, and continued a correspondence with Cline until her untimely death in a plane crash. Complete with down-home country humor, true emotion, and even some audience participation, songs include many of Patsy’ unforgettable hits such as “Crazy,” “I Fall to Pieces,” “Sweet Dreams, and “Walking After Midnight.” Directed by Bill Sizemore. Note: Due to contractual obligations with the publisher, we cannot refund any tickets for this production. Exchanges can only be made for other performances of the show.

All performances will be held at the Old Bedford School. Season subscriptions can be purchased here and individual tickets here.

Thrive is the theme for Circle Theatre’s 2024 season

The tagline for Circle Theatre’s new season is New Vision. New Focus. Same Heart. In its season announcement earlier this week, the Fort Worth theater announced five shows, a world premiere and three regional premieres for the upcoming year.

“From Artemisia’s first stroke of paint to Chad Deity’s final hit — Circle Theatre’s 2024 season packs punches, canvases emotions, straddles lifelines, and brings raw emotion to its audiences like never before. Circle Theatre 2024 reminds us to not only do whatever it takes to survive, but forces us to examine what makes us thrive,” Ashley H. White, Artistic Director said in the press release.

And here are its upcoming productions:

Feb. 1-24: Artemisia by Lauren Gunderson. In this regional premiere, Gunderson’s Artemisia is a work of humor and warmth celebrating the courage, artistry, and humanity of a woman who attacked the glass ceiling with every brush stroke. Artemisia Gentileschi was the most celebrated female painter of the 17th century, yet her name was all but lost for centuries. She painted women from history, myth and religion as the protagonists of their storiesn and attacked for it. Contains adult language and situations including mental, physical, and sexual abuse. Directed by Taylor Staniforth. 

March 21-April 13: Water by the Spoonful by Quiara Alegría Hudes. We meet in Philadelphia, where Elliot has returned from Iraq struggling to find his place in the world. We meet in an online chat room—a digital sanctuary where recovering addicts fight to keep each other alive. We meet in the moment and outside of the moment as boundaries of family and community are stretched across continents and cyberspace. Birth families splinter and online families collide in this regional premiere that reminds of the power of connection and the value of forgiveness. Directed by Alexandra Hernandez.

June 6-July 29: Hundred Days with book by Sarah Gancher ad The Bengsons and music and lyris by Abigail and Shaun Bengson. This regional premiere is a whirlwind rock journey that pulls us into a world where the thrill of the unknown collides with the poignant beauty of a love story; all intertwined with an intoxicating score. This folk-punk musical is a testament to embracing life’s unpredictability, to taking a daring leap, and to loving relentlessly. Directed by Evan Michael Woods with music direction by Ian Ferguson. 

Aug. 1-14: Imposter! Hypocrite! Tartuffe! written and directed by Ashley H. White+. Wit, cunning, and hypocrisy are on full display in this punk-rock world premiere remake of Moliere’s classic farce. Get ready for a whirlwind that reintroduces the timeless tale of a man who deploys his charm and feigned piety in an attempt to disrupt a household. However, his clever scheme is no match for the astute women of the family who decide to beat him at his own gamein this fresh, biting take on the classic French comedy.

Oct. 3-26: The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity by Kristoffer Diaz. The unconventional wrestling duo of Macedonio Guerra (“Mace”), a Puerto Rican wrestling fanatic (and “jobber” in the ring), finds himself teamed up with Vigneshwar Paduar (“VP”), a Brooklynite of Indian descent. The two have found a unique bond and ambition to fight together, wrestling for fun and funds. In a turn of events, they are cast as “terrorists” in the ring. The crowd revels in this narrative, forcing audience members to pick up the pieces. Directed by Alejandro Saucedo.

Season tickets are now available here.

—Rich Lopez