Stage Notes is a weekly aggregate post about theater, classical music and stage news, events, reviews and other pertinent information.
Uptown Players begins raising money for new box office/tech space
In an email this week, Uptown Players announced its capital campaign for a new space in the Design District. Not to worry. Shows will still go on at the Kalita, but plans have been made that will push UP to move its rehearsal space, box office and scene/costume shops to a new, more economical space. Changes in rental costs and building polices will increase this September for the company. The plan is to move into that space later this year.
That plan works with money.
UP’s capital campaign has a goal of $350,000 to raise by September 30 in order to make the move. The funds are needed to modify the space for its needs. UP’s new administrative space will be located at 1327 Motor Circle.
From Uptown Players:
An Equitable Access Plan has been created by DTC in coordination with the Office of Arts and Culture that is intended to open up the venue to other groups when it is not used by DTC or Uptown Players. Uptown Players strongly supports the spirit of the Equitable Access Plan (EAP) and looks forward to having other minority and up and coming theater groups use both the main stage and the Bryant Hall spaces on the Kalita Humphreys Theater campus.
The Equitable Access Plan more than doubles the rent to $7000 per week for all groups (including will pay DTC to perform in the space, and removes the ability to build sets in the basement or rehearse in the rehearsal rooms. Based on this information shared with us in late January, Uptown Players has secured a facility in the Design District to construct its sets and rehearse its productions. This facility will also contain our daytime box office, administrative offices and costume, set, and prop storage. We will move into this new space officially on September 1 and we are initiating a capital campaign to raise the $350,000 we need by September 1 to purchase the building and modify the interior to meet our needs. This is an ambitious goal but one that is necessary to ensure that Uptown Players continues to serve the LGBTQ+ community by telling our stories on the stage for many years to come.
To contribute to the capital campaign, click here. A contribution of $25,000 will get your name on the rehearsal space, so there’s that.
Uptown Players will open its annual fundraiser Broadway Our Way Thursday night through Sunday at the Kalita.
Dallas Theater Center to host Kalita Humphreys Theater public meeting
DTC announced its second public meeting for June 16 at 6p.m. to discuss the Kalita Humphreys Theater Campus Master Plan. The meeting will be held at the Kalita Humphreys Theater.
As an ongoing initiative, this inclusive, city-wide effort involves the active participation of community members, working together with Dallas Theater Center, the City of Dallas, and an esteemed team of renowned architects, led by Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R). The completed Master Plan will be delivered to the City of Dallas by the end of 2022.
“The Master Plan for the Kalita Campus will have many exciting elements, including restoring the Kalita to its 1959 period of significance while maintaining its functionality as a 21st-century theater, two smaller theater spaces in new construction, and amenities, including a restaurant and special spaces for events,” said DTC Board Chair Jennifer Burr Altabef. “Most importantly, the Kalita Campus will have increased green space and reduced surface parking. The Master Plan will also include beautiful connections to the Katy Trail and Dean Park. We envision the Kalita Campus as a nexus for Uptown, the Katy Trail, Dean Park, the Turtle Creek Corridor, Oak Lawn and beyond, and a unique environment where Frank Lloyd Wright’s only purpose-built theater is celebrated not only by theater and architecture lovers, but also as the crown jewel in a beautiful, natural space that is used and cherished by our community.”
The upcoming public meeting will feature a presentation from DS+R and include an opportunity for public questions and comments. The community’s insights at the meeting will then inspire DS+R during the design phase. Later in the fall, DTC will host another public meeting to share the designs and solicit feedback, before presenting the master plan to the City of Dallas by the end of 2022.
“DTC has spent the winter in the Discovery Phase, working alongside Diller Scofidio + Renfro, City of Dallas, a dedicated Steering Committee, a wide variety of stakeholders and internationally-renowned experts in historic preservation, theater spaces and landscape architecture,” said Kevin Moriarty, DTC Enloe/Rose Artistic Director. “We’ve met with community members, neighbors, preservationists, leaders from Dallas Parks and Recreation and the Office of Arts and Culture to hear their hopes, dreams and potential challenges regarding the future of the Kalita campus. As we enter the Design Phase, we are eager to share with the community what we’ve learned thus far, as well as some of the opportunities and challenges we’re in the midst of exploring.”
Bruce Wood Dance to feature three premieres in SPRING
Bruce Wood Dance presents SPRING this weekend Friday-Sunday at Moody Performance Hall. The bill will feature a world premiere in “When the Sky Fell Purple” and the premiere of artistic director Joy Bollinger’s “Slip Zone Suite.” Additionally, the show will include the Dallas premiere of Bruce Wood’s “The Rite of Spring” last performed 20 years ago.
“As Bruce Wood Dance continues to create, innovate, and collaborate, we present the mixed bill, SPRING, featuring a world premiere by award–winning, Chicago–based artist Stephanie Martinez; my new multimedia work in collaboration with the Dallas Museum of Art; and a revival of Bruce Wood’s highly evocative take on Igor Stravinsky’s ‘The Rite of Spring.’ With deep visceral appeal and distinct imagery, this program speaks to the emotional arc of the human experience,” Bollinger said in the press release.
“When The Sky Fell Purple” is a tribute to Martinez’s late mother, who passed away last summer. Martinez said, “This is not a depressing interpretation, but rather an act of a eulogy or celebration of one’s life . . . I wanted to pose the question, ‘How do we continue to learn from someone even in their absence?’ . . . Bruce Wood Dance was definitely the right company to unravel and unpack this idea. A lot of ballets can be based on an idea—but this actually happened to me, and with Bruce Wood Dance I was able to tackle it and go in and get it out.”
Bollinger’s “Slip Zone Suite” was originally commissioned by Dallas Museum of Art and inspired by its exhibition, Slip Zone: A New Look at Postwar Abstraction in the Americas and East Asia. “Slip Zone Suite” explores the journey of the exhibition artists through the lens of dynamic movement relationships. The dance captures the vivid swirls of color, the bursts of shape, and the serenity of monochrome.
“Shifting the focus to the experience rather than the product, I am drawing from unconventional artistic technique—allowing the dancers to react to one another in real time. I am also looking at the vulnerable side of creating art where the artists move beyond words, beyond descriptions, and engulf themselves in the process to share the most authentic expression of the human spirit,” Bollinger said.
SPRING‘s Dallas premiere of Bruce Wood’s The Rite of Spring brings Wood’s political interpretation of Stravinsky score making it relevant to today’s dialogue.
“It’s still so powerful today,” BWD executive director Gayle Halperin said.
About the piece, the late Bruce Wood said, “I thought I would just take the music at face value and see what happens. The only thing I really started with was that the music has a fanatical quality to it—almost manic.”
Click here for tickets.
Stage West announces new season
On Tuesday, Stage West announced the lineup for its 44th season. The new season will feature six shows, two of which will be co-productions. Three will be presented in the Evelyn Wheeler Swenson Theatre (“The Evie”), and three in the Jerry Russell Theatre. Of the six shows, four will be regional premieres.
The 2022-23 season includes the following (from Stage West):
Oct. 20-Nov. 20: Guards at the Taj (regional premiere). India, 1648. Two hapless Imperial Guards watch from their post as the sun rises for the first time over the newly-completed Taj Mahal. But the morning light brings with it an unthinkable task that will shake the foundations of everything they thought to be true. In this disarmingly funny and deeply moving story, two friends behold the most sublime of wonders and discover the perils of bearing witness to perfection.
Dec. 8-Jan. 8: Handle with Care (regional premiere). A young Israeli woman on holiday with her grandmother in the United States is confronted by an unexpected turn of events. Now, she finds herself stranded in a motel room on Christmas Eve with an oddball delivery man. Is their meeting an accident, or is it destiny generations in the making? Hilarious and tragic circumstances culminate in a heartfelt romantic comedy about what you can find when you feel lost.
Feb. 16-March 5: The Play That Goes Wrong (a co-production with WaterTower Theatre). Welcome to the opening night of The Murder at Haversham Manor, where things are quickly going from bad to fiasco. With an unconscious leading lady, a corpse that can’t play dead, and actors who trip over everything (including their lines), the whole evening is a disastrous smash. Chock-full of mishaps and madcap mania, this classic murder mystery is sure to bring down the house!
May 4-21: Cruel Intentions: the 90s Musical (a co-production with Uptown Players). In an epic game of cat and mouse, two diabolically charming step-siblings place a bet, and vow to destroy anyone who gets in their way. Seduced by passion and revenge, this devious duo spins a web of dangerous liaisons, and they soon find themselves entangled in the cruelest game of all: love. Based on the cult classic film and featuring your favorite 90’s hits, this new jukebox musical is utterly intoxicating.
June 15-July 9 2023: I Wanna F*cking Tear You Apart (regional premiere). Best friends and roommates, Sam and Leo are an unbreakable team. But when a new friend enters the scene, doubt creeps in, and a shattering secret is about to be dragged kicking and screaming into the light. A hilariously modern ode to the complications of friendship in its many messed-up forms, with a special nod to a kind of love that sometimes looks a lot like rage.
Aug. 31-Oct. 1 2023: Grand Horizons (regional premiere). Bill and Nancy are 50 years into their marriage. They can anticipate each other’s every sigh, snore, and sneeze. But just as they settle comfortably into a new senior living community, the unthinkable happens – Nancy wants a divorce. This funny, shocking, and intimate story takes an honest look at the unpredictable, complicated, and enduring nature of love.
Season tickets will go on sale to the general public July 18. Sales will include the Bargain Season Ticket (for Thursdays only) at $155, the Standard Season Ticket for $210, the Premium Season Ticket (which includes additional perks) at $318 and the Select 4 Season Ticket (patrons choose four shows from the list) at $152 each.
Tickets and information will be available online soon here.
Theaters reschedule shows
A number of theaters have reschedule shows for a variety of reasons. Contact the company directly to update any ticket purchases.
The Core Theatre: From Thursday: “We regret to inform you that we are forced to postpone our final weekend of Steel Magnolias. A close family member of one of our actors tested positive for COVID-19. Thankfully, the actor continues to test negative.
While we recognize that the pandemic is showing signs of coming to an end, a portion of our audience is still at heightened risk of exposure. And, due to the exceptional talent of our crew, some cast members have already been assigned acting roles later this summer that depends on their health. It’s impossible for us in good conscience to continue the show as planned.
But, the show must still go on! Please join us for our final performances on June 24-26. Your current tickets will be automatically converted to the new dates corresponding to the day of the performance. We also recognize how inconvenient this is for some, so if you cannot attend the show on the new dates, we will honor your ticket purchase for any of our shows this summer up until Sept. 1.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out:
Kitchen Dog Theater: From Wednesday. “Kitchen Dog Theater continues to implement rigorous safety protocols to address the current Covid-19 pandemic which includes regular testing for all of our team members. On Monday night, one of these tests returned a positive result. In an abundance of caution and in accordance with Kitchen Dog Theater, CDC and Actors’ Equity Association guidelines, we will be cancelling our first scheduled week of performances (today-Sunday) of High Five.The safety of our patrons, artists, and staff remains our top priority and we greatly appreciate your flexibility and understanding.
The new performance dates are:
In-person performance opening:June 16 at 8 p.m.
In-person performance closing: June 26 at 2 p.m.
Performance schedule: Thursdays-Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.
Streaming Option: A professionally filmed version of the play will be available for streaming June 30-July 3.”
Onstage in Bedford: From Wednesday. “Due to illness in the cast, Preview Night and all three regular performances this weekend of Leaving Iowa have been cancelled. Preview night will be rescheduled at a date TBD. Regular and season ticket holders will be contacted in the next few days to either reschedule or refund their tickets. We’re as disappointed as you are, but we fully expect all remaining performances to run as scheduled. More information as it is available!”
Theatre Three: From Wednesday.
At the request of Dallas Fire Rescue, Theatre Three will be cancelling preview performances of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? this weekend and the Monday night performance While the Theatre Three building is up to date on safety protocols, there are necessary approvals that need to be completed before our doors can open to the public. There will now be a preview performance on June 16 at 7:30 p.m., and opening night will now take place on June 17 at 8 p.m.
All patrons with tickets to the previously announced preview and opening night performances will be contacted by the Theatre Three box office in the next day. If you have questions please call the Theatre Three Box Office at (214) 871-3300 or e-mail at email@example.com
Texas Ballet Theatre announces new artistic director
Texas Ballet Theater (TBT) announced Tuesday that Artistic Director Ben Stevenson, O.B.E., pictured, who led its troupe for nearly 20 years, will assume a new role as Artistic Director Laureate starting July 1.
As the longest-serving Artistic Director in TBT history, the company gave him the new title in honor of his accomplishments during his tenure. The 2022-23 season will be a celebration of his work, beginning with his new, family-friendly production, Cirque du Ballet, and closing with his production of Alice in Wonderland.
“Ben Stevenson is one of the great storytellers of ballet who has brought magic to the stages of Dallas and Fort Worth. It is impossible to overstate his importance in elevating our company to the internationally acclaimed ensemble that it is today,” Anne Bass, TBT Board of Governors Chairman said in the press release.
A native of Portsmouth, England, Stevenson appeared with the Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet and English National Ballet where, as a principal dancer, he performed leading roles in many ballet classics. His accolades include three gold medals at the International Ballet Competitions of 1972, 1982 and 1986. In December of 1999, Queen Elizabeth II named Stevenson an Officer of the Order of the British Empire.
Stevenson joined the company in 2003.
The Board of Governors also announced TBT Associate Artistic Director Tim O’Keefe has been named Acting Artistic Director.
O’Keefe began his professional ballet career at Houston Ballet in 1982, where he was promoted to soloist in 1985 and named a principal in 1995. In 1997, he originated the titular role in Stevenson’s Dracula. He joined TBT in 2002.
“We are extraordinarily fortunate to have someone with the talent and experience of Tim O’Keefe to serve as Acting Artistic Director. Tim has been a key part of this Company for nearly two decades, and we are looking forward to his leadership.” – Mrs. Anne Bass, TBT Board of Governors Chairman
The Board of Governors will share details about a search for a permanent Artistic Director once timing is determined and looks forward to celebrating Stevenson throughout the coming season.
Lewisville Grand Theater announces four new shows for June
The LGT kicks off its four new shows for June with a partnership with Orchestra of New Spain in a concert celebrates the Texas roots of Juneteenth with a range of classical music and song by Black composers this Friday at 7:30 p.m. Celebrating Juneteenth in Music is the first of four new programs to be presented this June. Here is the complete schedule of LGT’s new shows for the month.
Friday: Celebrating Juneteenth in Music featuring the Orchestra of New Spain and guest operatic soprano Alfrelynn Roberts, 7:30 p.m.
June 16: Lewisville Talks – City Speaker Series with author Donald Norman-Cox who will discuss his book Juneteenth 101: Popular Myths and Forgotten Facts. This event is followed by a screening of the film Miss Juneteenth, 7 p.m.
June 18: Dad Jokes: An Evening of Stand-Up, 4 and 8 p.m.
June 26: Black Box Songwriter Series: Courtney Patton, 6:30 p.m.
Tickets to each are available here.
TACA distributes $346K to spring grant recipients
The Arts Community Alliance – announced Monday that 43 Dallas County grantees are recipients of its second round of Catalyst grants. Catalyst grants are distributed without restrictions and are made twice each year in the fall and spring. The grants are designed to support high-performing arts organizations in the community that strengthen Dallas’ arts identity.
The 43 Catalyst grantees are sharing $346,000, with grants ranging from $4,000–$12,000. Among the grantees, there are six that are either new or not recently funded, including Arts Mission Oak Cliff, Artstillery, Creative Arts Center of Dallas, Echo Theatre, Sweet Pass Sculpture Park and The Writer’s Garret. Grantees may use the funds as they wish toward program costs, salaries, administration, office expenses, technology and other operational needs.
This year, TACA has awarded a total of $378,000 in funding and anticipates awarding at least an additional $500,000 through the ongoing Pop-Up Grant program, Fall 2022 Catalyst Grants, and the newly re-imagined TACA New Works Fund that focuses on new artistic works by BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and/or female artists.
“We at Artstillery are so excited to be the recipient of the TACA Catalyst Grant,” Artstillery team member, Maria Hobby said in a press release. “This funding will help uplift our newest project in Fair Park opening this July 2022 titled In Spite of History Part 1. TACA is a supportive resource for Artstillery, and we are humbled and in gratitude for the opportunity to work with this progressive organization. This support allows us to continue to create immersive experiences uplifting community narratives in an elevated performative modality.”
The recipient organizations are:
American Baroque Opera Company, Arts Mission Oak Cliff, Artstillery, Avant Chamber Ballet
Bishop Arts Theatre Center, Blue Candlelight Music Series, Broadway Dallas, Bruce Wood Danc
Cara Mía Theatre Co., Creative Arts Center of Dallas, Cry Havoc Theater Company
Dallas Chamber Symphony, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Dallas Center for Photography, Dallas Children’s Theater, Dallas Contemporary, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Theater Center
Echo Theatre, Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra, IMPRINT Theatreworks, Junior Players, Kitchen Dog Theater Company
Lone Star Wind Orchestra, Lumedia Musicworks, Nasher Sculpture Center
Plano Symphony Orchestra, Prism Movement TheaterSammons Center for the Arts, Second Thought Theatre, Soul Rep Theatre Company, Sweet Pass Sculpture Park
Teatro Dallas,Texas Ballet Theater, Texas Winds Musical Outreach Inc., Theatre Three, The Writer’s Garret, TITAS/DANCE UNBOUND, Turtle Creek Chorale
Undermain Theatre and Uptown Players.
Quick reviews: Theatre Arlington’s Spelling Bee, Lyric’s Cabaret
The sass in Theatre Arlington’s The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Be was off the charts on last Sunday’s opening weekend matinee. The energy the cast brought to the musical gave the show a hilarity that was non-stop laughs throughout. Kicked off by a joyous opening number helmed by Rona Lisa Peretti (Brett Warner), the production, directed by Micah Green, hit the boards running and enver stopped.
Warner’s quick wit as the bee facilitator was astonishing as she had to improv with the audience, guest spellers and even the cast. As Vice-principal Panch, Steven D. Morris also had to improv off of the cast and nary missed a moment to throw in a bitchy retort without ever being mean. He delivered a magic act of a performance as the slighted adminstrator who was always on the edge of exploding.
The show demands loads from its actors and the spelling cast never missed a beat when it came to correctly getting the words or rapid-paced musical numbers with dancing AND spelling. As Boy Scout Chip, Garrett Caelan Weir was perfectly white-bread unti his hornier, shadier side began to show. Jude Laine Lewis’ Schwarzy was delightful but their lisp sometimes got in the way of undertanding compleely what they were saying or singing. As the perfectionist Marcy, Jayden Russell really carved out a layered character in its arc. As oddball Leaf Coneybear, Darin Martin’s performance was a mixture of things. He created a distinct personality for Leaf that was quirky and charming but then at times he’d play Leaf as comfortably gay youth but the two virtues never seemed to meet. Martin was definitely fascinating to watch the entire time.
As the love story of the show, Barfee (Maximiliian Swenson) and Olive (Donovan Marie Lawson) were unexpected. Swenson’s hulking presence gave his nerdy Barfee a lovely contradiction and he matched perfectly with Lawson’s cheery and optimistic Olive. The surprise was Sinclair Freeman’s thankless role as the comfort coach Mitch Mahoney. He took the audience to church with some out of nowhere vocals in his musical numbers.
Green’s direction kept the high energy needed with the appropriate lulls for the audience to catch a break from the laughs. Mark Mullino’s music direction and orchestra brought a crisp soundtrack tothe show that gave it added personality.
Or if you need a different definition of Theatre Arlington’s production, it was damn funny to watch. The show runs through June 19.
Lyric Stage’s Cabaret in Concert oozed sexiness all over the place. In the lush Majestic Theater, the show makes an impression before it starts with a rich purple lit stage and curtain where the orchestra already waits. Then we’re introduced to the Master of Ceremonies played by the ridiculously muscled Christopher Deaton. He set the tone with a very playful and erotic performance dashed with great comic timing. Although Lyric doesn’t do sets, the cast and crew really created a visual space for the Kit Kat Club and the hotel where American authro Clifford Bradshaw (Preston Page) and performer Sally Bowles (Catherine Carpenter Cox) reside under the eye of Fraulein Schneider (Barbara Catrett).
Directed and choreographed by Penny Ayn Maas, Thursday’s opening night performance was lucid with marvelous flow. The Kit Kat dancers were all strong and a tantalizing mix of male and female presenting actors. As Bowles, Cox delivered a strong singing performance. At times, her acting overreached a bit into British caricature. This sometimes lost the character but she would get it back quickly. Page was a solid leading man that balanced both meekness and a strong-will in Bradshaw’s perspective to the Nazi politics as well as his affection toward Sally.
The first act however was very long and when intermission it was almost a surprise. By that point, it seemed they were going to go without one. While the first act had more humor and comedy, the second is far more dramatic and the cast delivered strongly in both. The all-female orchestra felt as much part of the goings-on rather than just there for music which added more energy to the production. The shame here is that the show only runs through Sunday.
Opening this week:
On stage now:
— Rich Lopez