Prince William as Pythios with ensemble in UT Arlington’s ‘Head Over Heels.’ (Photos courtesy UTA)

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

Stage Notes Calendar

The Dallas Opera, Romeo and Juliet, 2024Opening this week:

UT Arlington: Head Over Heels, Opened Wednesday-Sunday at UTA Fine Arts Building.

Bishop Arts Theatre Center: The Sum of Us One-act Festival, Friday-March 17.

Undermain Theatre: This time, Friday-March 17.

American Baroque Opera: Giulo Cesare, 7:30 p.m. Friday at Moody Performance Hall

Dallas Symphony Orchestra: The Book with Seven Seals, Friday-Sunday at the Meyerson

Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra: Beethoven, Vaughan Williams and Carlos Simon, Friday-Sunday at Bass Hall.

Texas Ballet Theater: Brilliants, Friday-Sunday at the Winspear.

The Dallas Opera: Romeo and Juliet, Friday-March 9, pictured.

McKinney Repertory Theatre: The Diary of Anne Frank, Friday-March 9.

The Core Theatre: The Scenic Route, Friday-March 10

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

Richardson Symphony Orchestra: Stars of the Future, 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Eisemann Center

Casa Manana: Once, Saturday-March 10

Coppell Commuity Orchestra: Spring is in the Air, 3 p.m. Sunday at the Coppell Arts Center.  

Sammons Jazz: Remembrance, 7:30 Wednesday at the Sammons Center for the Arts

Onstage now:

Theatre Arlington, Cabaret, 2024Artisan Center Theater: Bright Star, through Saturday.

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

Ochre House Theatre: Town for Sale, through Saturday.

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

Art Centre Theatre: A Streetcar Named Desire, through Sunday.

Broadway Dallas: Beetlejuicethrough Sunday.

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

Theatre Frisco: A Grand Night for Singing, through Sunday.

Theatre Arlington: Cabaret, through Sunday, pictured.

Theatre Three: God of Carnage, through Sunday.

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

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

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.

Upright Theatre: Into the Woods, through March 17.

Lonesome Blues, through April 7 at Club Dada

In the face of DEI bans, UT Arlington opens a very queer forward Head Over Heels musical

The company of UT Arlington’s ‘Head Over Heels.’

On Wednesday, University of Texas at Arlington Department of Theatre and Dance opened its spring musical Head Over Heels in its mainstage theater. With a massive space, the department filled the stage with an expansive set of graffitied and fluorescent tones mixed with some Renaissance vibes. The musical features music by The Go-Go’s and was directed by program head J. Austin Eyer. 

With a mere six performances, get to this queer extravaganza as soon as possible. 

“I am incredibly excited to bring this work to UTA’s campus,” Eyer said in a press release. “When the show premiered, it was the first Broadway musical to feature a nonbinary character and feature a trans actor in an original leading role. The people of Arcadia reflect the students in our Department of Theatre Arts and Dance incredibly well.”    


Loosely based on Sir Phillip Sidney’s The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia,the plot follows a royal court as they are warned by the Oracle of Delphi that they will soon lose their divine “beat.” King Basilius, whose title is at stake, forces the royal family to try to escape their fate. Through a plot containing usurped kingship, unlikely lovers, and gender-fluid disguises, Head Over Heels explores unconditional love no matter someone’s gender or sexual identity.  

The show explored those aspects enthusiastically. With a diverse cast across the board, the students delivered an exciting and fun-loving show that didn’t just feature queer, NB and trans characters and actors, but celebrated that queerness from the opening. An enthusiastic audience helped with appreciative applause and roars throughout opening night. 

Senior Musical Theatre Major Sarah Jo Adams said in the show’s release, “What I love most about Head Over Heels is the joy it brings with positive queer representation. We don’t see happy endings for queer characters very often in the arts, especially in the theater, but Head Over Heels allows for an acceptance of one’s true authenticity.” 

Key characters were lesbian or nonbinary, but Eyer didn’t let any of that queerness fade away with the ensemble. The fluidity of the company actors and dancers was a thrill to watch as they mixed and mingled (and kissed) with all genders. Add to that the sheer energy of the cast feeding off an energetic audience made for a show — or rather an experience that slayed. 

The show’s scenery and costuming were a mix of Renaissance fair and 80s fashions that worked well against the fluorescent lights and graffiti tones. Leah Mazur and her team’s set was expansive, filling the entire space in glorious pinks. Hers and Kai Goff’s lighting served fluorescent colors without ever feeling gimmicky.

Margaret Monostory’s costumes echoed that environment with rainbow bright and shiny costuming that mixed the periods well without distraction, although I felt for the leads in heels the whole time. Monostory’s costumes, along with Julia Rosenblum’s assistance, had enough New Wave flair to pay homage to the music. Their Athena-warrior lewk for Musidorous was also some impressive stuff as was the effective translation of Pythios’ costumes as the mysterious oracle.

Vicky Nooe’s music direction was spot on with pop-rock energy of The Go-Go’s music and Eyer’s choreography was always thrilling to watch with the music. 

Eyer’s cast of principals all served their parts with various strengths. The versatility of them all was a showcase of triple-threat talents.

Max Rose delivered a charming performance as Musidorous opposite Janina Jaraczewski’s equally delightful Philoclea who knew how to deliver some a heart wrenching moment in Act II. Olivia Newbold played up her comedic talents as Pamela which was counterbalanced by Breana Deanda’s more serious Mopsa, Pamela’s lady-in-waiting. Lane Benham’s Dametus often served as the foil but delivered a beautiful moment with nonbinary actor Prince Williams late in the show. Williams delivered mysterious cool vibes as Pythios from their acting to compelling movement with just enough sass thrown in to keep it light. Robert Twaddell held a regal weight as King Basilius where Sarah Jo Adams kept surprising as Queen Gynecia peeling back her character’s layers from stern royalty to flirty and giddy and ultimately, empowered. 

UTA’s Head Over Heels was exhilarating but also gave some hope for a world where 80s music and queer love can be a part of every day. 

The show runs through Sunday.

Hip Pocket Theatre announces its 48th season which opens this spring

Hip Pocket Theatre, 2023

Last week, Hip Pocket Theatre announced its 48th season which will begin in May through November at its outdoor amphitheater with one show slated for an indoor venue during the summer. The entire season will feature five shows. Hip Passes will be available for purchase on the Hip Pocket website Feb. 23-May 31; Single tickets will be available beginning April 15.

The season includes:

May 17-June 2: A Twisty Intergalactic Spectacle by Basil Twist.  Something spacy is coming this way from the mind of internationally acclaimed puppetry artist, Basil Twist. He returns to Hip Pocket for a one-of-a-kind intergalactic Twist-ian experience.

June 14-July 7: A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare. Love, enchantment and hilarity ensue under the Texas sky! Experience Shakespeare’s classic in the magical setting of Hip Pocket Theatre. Worlds collide in this beloved comedy, perfect for any audience.
Directed by Yvonne Duque-Guererro with music by Darrin Kobetich.

Aug. 9-25: Raft Project by Lake Simons and John Dyer. Topsy-turvy upon open waters. Seeking solace from troublesome days. For want of balance and burdens unbound. Adrift upon a floating stage. Hip Pocket takes the outside inside with a newly devised work by Lake Simons and John Dyer. Venue to be announced. 

Sept. 6-29: Big Love by Charles Mee. Based on the Greek play The Suppliants by Aeschylus, this masterwork is a perfect match for Hip Pocket: lyrical, sexy, beautiful, bloody, hilarious, and untamed like a free-flowing poem without rules, yet firmly anchored to a classical structure. Directed by Emily Scott Banks

Oct. 11-Nov. 3: Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. The season ends with a true classic from the mind of Franz Kafka. Break free from your stone-built sarcophagus, crawl amongst the carcasses, and watch restless dreams turn to waking nightmares. Directed by Christina Cranshaw.

WaterTower Theatre reveals a show for each season in its 29th years

Shane Peterman, WTT Producing Artistic Director announced details of the 2024-2025 season last week marking the company’s 29th season and the fifth for Peterman and  Associate Producer Elizabeth Kensek. The company will produce four shows beginning this fall. Specific run dates have yet to be announced.

“As we enter our 29th season at WaterTower Theatre, what may be described as our summer or ‘high’ season, we are humbled by the opportunity to share stories of humanity that shed light on every season of life,” Peterman said in the press release. “I am pleased to bring to you another beautiful series of stories that I hope will inspire and entertain you while highlighting the beautiful professional theatre makers and artists here in North Texas. Indeed…a story for every season and every person.”

The season includes:

Fall 2024: The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe by Jane Wagner. This one-woman show examines American society, art, and human connectivity and explores the feminist movement. As one actor transforms into a series of other archetypal characters, they become the play’s guiding conscience for the audience—a comical, quirky, and outlandish conveyor of the nuances of American society. Adult langauge content and suggested for ages 13 and older. Directed by Ashley Puckett Gonzales.

Winter 2024: The Play That Goes Wrong by Henry Lewis, Henry Shields, and Jonathan Sayer. This co-production with Stage West is brought back to the stage after successful run in 2022. Welcome to opening night of The Murder at Haversham Manor where things are quickly going from bad to utterly disastrous. With an unconscious leading lady, a corpse that can’t play dead, and actors who trip over everything (including their lines). 

Spring 2025: A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams. After losing her Mississippi home to creditors, Blanche du Bois relocates to the New Orleans home of her younger sister and brother-in-law, Stella and Stanley Kowalski. Undermined by romantic illusions, Blanche is unable to cope with life’s harsh realities. Though she finds a glimmer of hope while connecting with Stanley’s gentlemanly friend, Mitch, Blanche cannot face the truth of her own troubled past and ultimately descends into madness. Adult content and language. Suggested for ages 16 and up. Directed by Terry Martin.

Summer 2025: School of Rock with book and lyrics by Julian Fellowes and Glenn Slater and new music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Based on the hit movie, this musical follows Dewey Finn, a failed, wannabe rock star who decides to earn a few extra bucks by posing as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school. There he turns a class of straight–A pupils into a guitar- shredding, bass-slapping, mind-blowing rock band. But can he get them to the Battle of the Bands without their parents and the school’s headmistress finding out? Directed by Cody Dry. 

Season tickets are available now here.


Uptown Players announces Cabaret Weekend in May with The Kinsey Sicks and ‘Simply the Best’

Undermain workshops a new queer play by nonbinary playwright Brian Dang

–Rich Lopez