Broadway Our Way 2020. (Courtesy Uptown Players)

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

Uptown Players to present Broadway Our Way 2022 fundraiser

Uptown Players has announced its 19th annual fundraiser Broadway Our Way ’22 opening Thursday, June 9-12 at the Kalita Humphreys Theater. The team behind BOW includes writer and director  B.J. Cleveland, choreography by Andrew Coopman with music direction by Kevin Gunter and Kelley Poche Rodriguez with musical arrangements by Adam C. Wright.  A fan favorite, the show features actors from past seasons performing Broadway showtunes past and present, but with a fabulous twist. This year’s cast of 22 will sing and dance to 30 songs from recent Broadway hits to classic revivals including Oklahoma, Tick Tick Boom!, Funny Girl, West Side Story, Wicked, Mean Girls, The Prom and Next to Normal.

This year’s event includes two special guests, Emerson Collins and Black McIver.

From Uptown Players:

Collins produced and starred in the film of A Very Sordid Wedding and returned to Uptown for the world premiere stage production last fall. He appeared in Southern Baptist Sissies with Uptown. Collins co-produced and recurred in LOGO’s Sordid Lives: The Series

McIver began his career at six, winning the title of Star Search’s Junior Vocalist Champion. TV and film roles include Full House, The Little Rascals, The Nanny, Home Improvement, Clueless and The Drew Carey Show. He has been seen on the Uptown stage in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (Felicia) and The View Upstairs (Wes). As a singer / songwriter, Blake recently wrote and performed the end credit song in Del Shores’ film A Very Sordid Wedding.

This year’s cast features Michael Alonzo, Chimberly Byrom, BJ Cleveland, Coy Covington, Peter DiCesare, Jennifer Kuenzer, Denise Lee, Linda Leonard, Gena Loe, David Lugo, Randy Pearlman, Thomas Renner, Sara Shelby-Martin, Amy Stevenson, Kylie Stewart, Sammy Swim, Trey Tolleson, Emily Truelove, Lee Walter and Jodi Wright, with special guests Emerson Collins and Blake McIver

Tickets are available now by clicking here.

REVIEW: Oklahoma! might be OK? Not sure

The company of the national tour of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s ‘Oklahoma!’ (Courtesy photo)

I will openly admit I have never seen Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma onstage before. And I saw the movie too many years ago to remember it, but after watching the current revival of the show by Broadway Dallas at the Winspear Wednesday night, I can certainly see how polarizing the show can be. This defintely was not your grandpa’s Oklahoma.

Honestly, I think I will  forever be processing this show. In  many ways, director Daniel Fish’s revival clearly reveres the original but also seems to give a defiant middle finger to theatrical productions. Not only did Fish bring a hefty amount of realism to the theater classic but just blatantly defied rules with crew in everyday clothes coming onstage to change out props or the use of film cameras onstage. To describe Oklahoma! as avant-garde seems like we’re in a multiverse of madness.

In an interview with Dallas Voice, actor Hennessy Winkler, who played Will Parker, discussed how darker elements of the show aren’t glossed over by singing and dancing and certainly that was the case here. The drama was often intense but there was still room for the humor and livelier dance numbers. The show’s approach to suicide, sex and murder were not subtle.

I can’t criticize a fresh approach to an old show. I find it respectable when theater can reimagine the classics in far different ways than we’re used to. The execution however — well, that was a different thing.

Several things were amiss in Wednesday’s performance that were hard to determine if it was the actors or the tech. Sean Grandillo’s Curly suffered primarily from Grandillo’s undistinguishable vocals. He did not have that gravitas to deliver the acoustic titular opening number and often sang under the music. Ado Annie, played by Sis, had the best moments onstage of all the actors but her vocals often gave way to mumbled lyrics. As Laurey, Sasha Hutchings was divine in her singing and performance as was Winkler, Christopher Bannow as Jud, Benj Mirman as peddler Ali Hakim and Barbara Walsh as Aunt Eller. They all rose above the others with sublime singing.

The staging itself was a problem. With such a vast room, there was no intimacy in a story that centered much on personal relationships and flirting. But the use of darkness was a revelation in more emotionally-focused scenes. Rather than just spotlight the characters, the lights went out in Oklahoma! and returned with a slow fade up. The effect was impactful but jarring as well.

The first act had very low-key energy which wasn’t helped by an audience seemingly trying to figure out what they were seeing, but the second fared better with higher energy and drama. The interpretive dance that opened the second act was confusing lending nothing to the show’s tone and never blossomed into something poetic. Fish didn’t sacrifice the joyfulness of signature songs, but the finale was a shocking end that changed the perspectve of the number.

This Oklahoma! felt more like an experience than a production. Perhaps sometimes, it felt like a work still in progress but without anything to compare it to, it wasn’t short on impactful emotion and drama with a few fun dance numbers thrown in.

At the very least, Oklahoma! will spark some post-show conversation for sure.

Oklahoma! runs through June 12 at the Winspear presented by Broadway Dallas.

A look at Bruce Wood’s SPRING

Bruce Wood Dance will premiere SPRING June 10-12 at Moody Performance Hall. The show will feature four dances. From BWD:

  • Slip Zone was commissioned by the Dallas Museum of Art inspired by their current abstract expressionist exhibit. We premiered the work at the Arts & Letters Live event at the Horchow Auditorium on April 13th. Joy choreographed the work for the full company. The work has 6 sections and is truly remarkable.
  • When the Sky Fell Purple – BWD commissioned Chicago-based Latina choreographer Stephanie Martinez who created a wonderful passionate tribute to her mother and all moms.
  • Know Thyself — a revival of Bruce Wood’s first work for BWD that’s a virtuosic solo of speed, strength, and resiliency.
  • The Rite of Spring — a revival of Bruce’s version of this iconic work set to the Stravinsky score. Bruce’s version is bold, harsh, aggressive, and powerful.

As a preview, BWD released these photos of Slip Zone and The Rite of Spring taken by Sharon Bradford. Tickets are avaialble now for SPRING by clicking here.

‘Slip Zone.’

‘The Rite of Spring.’


Opening this week:

The Elevator Project:  Love You Madly: Celebrating the Music of Duke Ellington pesented by Urban Arts Collective, today-Saturday in Strauss Square.

PNC Patio Sessions: The Shepherds, 5:30 p.m. today at Sammons Park.

TITAS/DANCE UNBOUND: Santos Salon Series – BalletX, 6:30 p.m. today at Moody Performance Hall.

Dallas Comedy Club: Queer Factor Pride Edition, 8 p.m. today.

Dallas Comedy Club: Queer AF Comedy Jam, 9:30 p.m. today.

The Cliburn: Preliminary Recital, today-Saturday at Van Cliburn Concert Hall at TCU.

Dallas Symphony Orchestra: Baumer String Quartet Chamber Concert, 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Meyerson

TITAS/DANCE UNBOUND: BalletX, Friday and Saturday at Moody Performance Hall.

Theatre Arlington: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Friday-June 19.

Hip Pocket Theatre: Pinochio Commedia, Friday-June 26.

Dallas Symphony Orchestra: Presto, Mambo! The Music of Latin America Family Concert, 11 a.m Saturday at the Meyerson.

Dallas Black Dance Theatre Big Dance: Boot Scootin’ Boogie – A Hometown Salute to Charley Pride, 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the Meyerson.

Dallas Comedy Club: Stories of Pride: A Storytelling Show, 7:30 p.m.

Teatro Flor Candela: Rapsodia de un Pueblo (Coronada y el Toro), 8 p.m. Saturday at Arts Mission Oak Cliff.

The Women’s Chorus of Dallas:Pop DIVAS! fundraising concert, 7 p.m. Saturday at Sammons Center for the Arts.

Casa Manana: Disney’s Newsies, Saturday-June 12.

Dallas Symphony Orchestra: Yanga in partnership with the Latino Arts Project and African American Museum, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Meyerson.

The Writer’s Garrett: Inner Moonlight poetry series with Ayesha Asad, 7:30 p.m. at The Wild Detectives.

Orchestra of New Spain: Celebrating Juneteenth, 7 p.m. June 9 at Zion Lutheran Church.

Lyric Stage: Cabaret, June 9-12 at the Majestic.

Uptown Players: Broadway our Way 2022, June 9-13.

Pegasus Theatre: Death is a Bad Habit! (presented in RadioVision), June 9-25 at the Bath House Cultural Center.

Rover Dramawerks: Artifice, June 9-25 at the Cox Playhouse.

Kitchen Dog Theatre:  2022 New Works Festival Mainstage – High Five, June 9-26 at Trinity River Arts Center.

Onstage in Bedford: Leaving Iowa, June 9 (preview)-June 26.

Stage West: Into the Breeches, June 9-July 3.

Theatre Three: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, June 9-July 3.

On stage now:

CORP Theatre: Seussical, through Saturday at Plaza Theatre, Garland.

Ochre House Theatre: Under the Moon (In the Garden series), through Saturday.

Art Centre Theatre: Heathers: The Musical, through Sunday.

Richardson Theatre Center: A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, through Sunday.

The Classics Theatre Project: Sex, Guns, and Vodka (Anton Chekhov’s Untitled Play), through June 11 at the Margo Jones Theatre in Fair Park.

Broadway Dallas: Oklahoma!, through June 12 at the Winspear Opera House.

The Core Theatre: Steel Magnolias, through June 12.

Runway Theatre: (title of show), through June 12.

Upright Theatre: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, through June 18.

Jubilee Theatre: If Pretty Hurts, through June 26.

All About Bette: An Interlude with Bette Davis by Morgana Shaw, through June 30 at Four Day Weekend Theater. 

— Rich Lopez