Phillip Cole White stars as Arnold in Uptown Players production of ‘Harvery Fierstein’s Torch Song.’ (Photo courtesy UP by Mike Morgan)

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

Uptown Players opens new season with Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song

The new season will kick off with the new two-act revival of Fierstein’s original 1983 Torch Song Trilogy. As the original title indicates, “Torch Song Trilogy” consisted of three plays when it originally opened on Broadway and was trimmed to two-acts for an off-Broadway revival in 2018 that later transferred to Broadway in 2019.

The play follows the life of Arnold Beckoff, a Jewish drag queen who makes it his life journey to find happiness in 1970s New York in the midst of homophobia and intolerance, even by his own family and partners. The play chronicles the all-too-human journey about the families we’re born into, the families we choose, and the battles to bring them all home. All Arnold Beckoff wants is a husband, a child and a pair of bunny slippers that fit, but a visit from his overbearing mother reminds him that he needs one thing more: respect.

Directed by Cheryl Denson, the show runs April 8-17.

The rest of Uptown Players’ season includes the following:

June 9-12: Broadway Our Way directed by BJ Cleveland.The Uptown Players divas return for this annual fundraiser performing selections from Broadway shows, both past and present, all done with an Uptown Players spin.

July 15-31: Kinky Boots directed by John de Los Santos. Also written by Fierstein with songs by Cyndi Lauper, Charlie Price forms an unlikely partnership with cabaret performer and drag queen Lola to produce a line of high-heeled boots to continue his father’s shoe-making legacy and save the family business.

Aug. 19-28: The Little Dog Laughed directed by Robin Armstrong. In this Douglas Carter Beane play, Mitchell, an up-and-coming actor, and Diane, his agent/producer, pretend to be a couple to avoid negative press about Mitchell’s homosexuality. The plan works until Mitchell falls for Alex, a young male prostitute, who changes Mitchell’s views about relationships and convinces him to love, while Diane, tries desperately to avoid a scandal.

For tickets and more information, click here.

TACA relaunches New Works Fund

In a press release Monday, The Arts Community Alliance announced that it will bring back its New Works Fund grants that support the creation and presentation of new works of literary, performing and visual art by BIPOC individuals, LGBTQ+ individuals, women and intersections therein.

TACA believes that new works of art are vital to a vibrant arts community. New works support local artists, explore new ideas, inspire innovation, challenge traditional thinking, and keep art fresh and relevant. In today’s world, it is also imperative that we amplify and support artistic creation by artists underrepresented in the current canon of their respective artistic genres.

Originally launched in 2012 to ignite the creation of new art, the fund helped support the launch of 28 new works between 2012-2019 with $900,000 in grants. The fund was suspended during the pandemic. As TACA relaunches the fun, the organization stated that it will have “a more specific focus that responds to the societal challenges of today.”

Previous recipients include Carmen Menza of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra (2019) and Jonathan Norton for African American Repertory Theatre (2013) and Dallas Theater Center (2017).

The grant applications will open April 18 with the deadline set for June 15. Finalists will be determined July 5. Click here for guideline information and here to register for an information session.

Shakespeare Dallas announces 50th anniversary with new season

Shakespeare Dallas, North Texas’ professional theater company that performs the works of William Shakespeare, is turning 50 this year. For its anniversary, the company is planning a calendar of events that extend beyond its theatrical season. The company will also launch a new season subscription program.

“Shakespeare Dallas has always been the People’s Theater. The productions are community crossroads with people from all walks of life coming together under the Texas stars to experience the poetry and words of William Shakespeare and the writers inspired by him,” Raphael Parry, Shakespeare Dallas executive and artistic director, said in a press release last week.  “As we continue to have a wide array of streaming options for entertainment, nothing can replace the act of gathering together as a community. Shakespeare Dallas is a gem in the performing-arts fabric in North Texas. Especially now, I am grateful to be a part of the year-long celebration of this venerated company.”

The anniversary festivities kicked off with a reception for top donors. Among its non-theater events include a pub crawl coinciding with Shakespeare’s birthday on April 23, a free outdoor family picnic in June and its Movies in the Park series through April 16.

But most importantly, Shakespeare Dallas announced its three shows for the season:

June 15-July 23: A Midsummer Night’s Dream directed by Parry. A story of order and disorder, reality and appearance, and love and marriage.

June 22-July 22: The Tempest directed by Jenni Stewart. Prospero, a magician, creates a vast magical storm, wrecking the ship of his enemies and leaving them to wash up on shore. When they wake they find themselves lost on a fantastical island where nothing is as it seems.

Sept. 7-Oct. 9: Hamlet directed by Christie Vela. A ghostly encounter leads to madness, revenge, death, and the downfall of the kingdom.

Additional offerings will include summer camps and the Junior Players’ co-productions.

WaterTower Theatre continues to tease its new season (Update)

If you follow WaterTower Theatre on social media, you’ll have noticed that it has been slowly releasing the lineup for its upcoming 27th season — at least it’s been that way on Instagram. While we’re still waiting for more announcements, here’s what we know so far WaterTower announced its season opener after dropping its entire season show by show the past few weeks. Here is the theater’s new season:

Nov. 30-Dec. 11: Jesus Christ Superstar. WaterTower Theatre will be one of the first theaters in the nation to produce this Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice rock-opera following the completion of the 50th anniversary tour which will stop in both Dallas and Fort Worth later this year.

Feb. 1-12, 2023: The Play That Goes Wrong. This regional premiere of the acclaimed comedy is a co-production with Stage West. The opening night of “The Murder at Haversham Manor” kicks off with an unconscious leading lady, a corpse that can’t play dead and actors who trip over everything (including their lines).

April 19-30, 2023: The Manic Monologues. Zachary Burton and Elisa Hofmeister’s play based on true stories works to disrupt the stigma around mental illness.

July 19-30, 2023: Goin’ Hollywood. WaterTower’s 27th season wraps up with this big splashy musical featuring an original, jazz-tinged score composed by David Krane and a”snappy script and clever lyrics” by Stephen Cole all in the vein of those big MGM musicals.

That leaves one more announcement according to WTT’s latest post from Monday. The caption for that reads “Our final announcement will be a blockbuster! We are excited to open our 27th Season of excellent theatre with a rocking musical that hasn’t been professionally produced in the DFW area with homegrown talent in decades. It has also never been produced on the WaterTower stage!”

The theater received some flak last year for its lack of diversity and inclusion in its casting. The theater addressed those concerns publicly last fall and has been working to reassure audiences of its intent for inclusivity. As its released its new season information, it has posted the following message throughout:

WTT is committed to being a supportive home for diverse artists. We will cross-pollinate our spaces with artists who: work in different styles, forms and genres; range from emerging to experienced; are from DFW and around the world; and that speak from different backgrounds, genders, sexualities, abilities, and countries of origin.

Teatro Dallas mourns the loss of its founder

The theater company posted a memoriam of its founder Jeff Hurst on its socials Tuesday morning. He founded the nonprofit theater with former artistic director and partner Cora Cardona in 1985. Since its inception, the theater has given focus to Latin theater as well as international productions.

From Teatro Dallas:

Teatro Dallas, its family, friends and artists mourn the loss of its founder Jeff Hurst. Jeff was a filmmaker, lighting designer, arts advocate, cultural activist, and musician. He was actively involved in the struggle for arts parity and equity in Dallas, and he served on numerous boards, commissions, and grassroots organizations that helped transform the Dallas arts ecosystem. Teatro Dallas’ mission to empower the Latino community through professional theater was grounded in Jeff’s vision for a vibrant and healthy city in which we all uplift one another.

Theatre Three announces 60th anniversary season

For the past couple of years, Theatre Three has been somewhat of a traveling company. With ongoing construction at their Quadrangle home, the company has performed throughout Dallas, primarily in outdoor spaces. They’ve also dealt with the pandemic through an imposed hiatus and virtual productions. Now, the company gets to return home for its new season in its “new” home. T3 will actually perform this season’s next show, Stede Bonnet: A F*cking Pirate Musical, at its Norma Young Arena Stage on April 7.

“Theatre Three, founded in 1961, is celebrating it’s 60th season. Let that sink in,” artistic director Jeffrey Schmidt said in a press release. “We are part of the fabric of Dallas arts and culture. Uptown grew up around us. We were and are integral to the success of one of the most vibrant and lucrative neighborhoods in the country. As the Quadrangle, our home, receives a much needed transformation, Theatre Three continues to do what it does best with its sights set on the future and a nod to the past.”

The season includes the following:

Sept. 1-25: Big Scary Animals by Matt Lyle.

Oct. 13-Nov. 13: Young Frankenstein, performed in partnership with Fort Worth’s Circle Theatre and directed by Joel Ferrell with music direction by Cody Dry.

Jan. 19-Feb. 19: The Elephant Man, directed by Schmidt.

April 6-30: The Butterfly’s Evil Spell, a regional premiere of Federico Garcia Lorca’s play with English translation by Dante Flores.

June 1-July 7: Next to Normal, directed by Christie Vela with music direction by Vonda K. Bowling.

“I’m thrilled to be bringing this eclectic mix to Theatre Three audiences,” associate artistic director Christie Vela added. “These are some of my favorite newer, well-known shows intermingled with an obscure classic that we’re breathing new life into. These shows will be a feast for the senses. “

The Monday Night Playwright series will continue, offering accessibility for new works by local writers.

Theatre Three plans to continue the T3 Translates initiative where a commissioned writer will translate a play without an English translation resulting with a staged reading. The Festival of Bad Ideas is expected to return in summer 2023.

Subscriptions for the new season will go on Sale April 7 and single ticket sales will begin May 4. For more information, click here.

Second Thought Theatre releases its new season lineup

The season announcements keep on coming. For Second Thought Theatre, its 2022 season is also its first full season of live theater since March 2020. Under the leadership if artistic director Carson McCain, the theater will explore a running theme throughout its show selections.

“My intention with this season is to examine disparity,” said McCain. “I’m interested in not only the wealth and economic disparity we’ve seen highlighted by the COVID pandemic, but also how these discrepancies hold hands with racial and gender disparities. It is my hope that each of these shows investigates and interrogates how we might all be complicit in perpetuating disparity across the board.”

STT’s 2022 season includes the following:

April 6-23: Dry Powder by Sarah Burgess. Originally performed in March 2016 at Public Theater in New York, helmed by Hamilton director Thomas Kail, the play is  about the price of success and the real cost of getting the deal done.

July 13-30: Pass Over by Anoinette Chinonye Nwandu. This was the first full play to open on Broadway in 2021 after the pandemic lockdown. This reinterpretation of Waiting for Godot mixed with the biblical Exodus story centers on the spirit of young Black men looking for a way out.

Oct. 26-Nov. 12: One Flea Spare by Naomi Wallace. The playwright uses the setting of 1665 London during the Bubonic plague to explore paralleling oppression across time and between cultures and examine what she determines as a fundamental root of human struggle: imperialism.

Season subscriptions and tickets for Dry Powder are available here.

PNC Patio Sessions return in Dallas Arts District

The weekly PNC Patio Sessions concert series returns to Sammons Park today at the AT&T Performing Arts Center. Sponsored by PNC Bank, the sessions will be featured weekly on Thursdays from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Guests can enjoy happy hour beverages, live music, miniature golf and cornhole outside the Center Cafe.

“Dallas is home to a pool of emerging talent, especially young songwriters and performers,”  Debbie Storey, president and CEO of the AT&T Performing Arts Center said in a press release. “It’s important to both the Center and PNC Bank that we offer an accessible platform to share their talents with our guests, LIVE outside with PNC Patio Sessions. It’s the perfect way to reconnect with your colleagues and friends, downtown in the Dallas Arts District.”

PNC Patio Sessions will continue weekly through the fall. Happy hour offerings include wine and beer, barista drinks and light fare. Guest can enjoy the concerts with their drinks at the cafe tables and chairs, or go play cornhole, ping-pong, or test their putting skills on the Reliant Putting Green.

“PNC Patio Sessions is a dynamic addition to our longstanding collaboration with the AT&T Performing Arts Center, one of the great cultural resources in North Texas,” Brendan McGuire, PNC regional president for North Texas mentioned in the release. “When we launched the PNC Members Lounge at AT&T PAC in 2017, we knew there were more achievements ahead as we understand the economic, social, and civic impact a thriving arts and culture community brings to a city. Supporting PNC Patio Sessions and its format of bringing free shows from emerging artists to Dallas is another way we are living those values through our Main Street Bank approach.”

Opening this week:

Dallas Symphony Orchestra: All-Mozart Concert, Thursday-Saturday at the Meyerson.

The Core Theatre: The Greatest Generation trilogy – Play 1: My First Date;  Play 2: Forever; Play 3: Life’s Little Miracles, in repertory, today-April 9.

Arts Fort Worth: Original Works Series presents: Dig, 7:30 p.m. Friday

Art Centre Theatre: Backwards Broadway, Friday-Sunday.

Richardson Theatre Centre: Present Laughter, Friday-April 10.

Theatre Arlington: Sister Act, Friday-April 15.

Dallas Theater Center: The Sound of Music, Friday-April 24 at the Wyly Theatre.

Jubilee Theatre: Over Forty, The Musical, Friday-April 24.

Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra: World premiere and Tchaikovsky’s Fifth: Veronika Ágnes Fáncsik, R. Strauss and Tchaikovsky, Friday-Sunday at Bass Hall.

Arts Fort Worth: Original Works Series presents: New and Improving, 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Irving Symphony Orchestra: Grand Finale with Jon Secada, 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Irving Arts Center.

Art Centre Theatre: Now That’s What I Call Comedy Vol. 7, 9:30 p.m. Saturday.

Upright Theatre Company: Fair Trade staged reading, 7:30 p.m. Monday at Arts Fort Worth.

Altered Shakespeare: Shadows of Men staged reading, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Arts Fort Worth.

Theatre on the Square: The Diary of Anya Drozdova staged reading, 7:30 p.m. March 30 at Arts Fort Worth.

Imprint Theatreworks: The fifth annual First Impressions Festival featuring readings of new works from local DFW playwrights, March 30-April 3 at the Addison Conference and Theatre Center.

WaterTower Theatre: The Odd Couple, March 30-April 10.

On stage now:

MainStage Irving/Las Colinas: Sherwood: The Adventures of Robin, through Saturday at the Irving Arts Center.

Ochre House Theatre: The Academic, through Saturday.

Rover Dramawerks: Sweet Revenge, through Saturday at the Cox Playhouse.

The Dallas Opera: The Barber of Seville, Friday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Winspear Opera House.

Garland Civic Theater: Something Rotten, through Sunday at the Granville Arts Center.

Undermain Theater: Whither Goest Thou America: A Festival of New American Play Readings, through Sunday.

Circle Theatre: An Empty Plate in the Café du Grand Boeuf, through April 2. 

– Rich Lopez