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Jac Alder's 50th and Theatre 3's New Season
by Jerome Weeks 14 Apr 2011

At a gala luncheon today, arts patrons and performers celebrated Theatre 3’s 50th anniversary — and honored its long-time leader, Jac Alder.


Jac Alder accepting standing ovation at the celebratory luncheon

At a gala luncheon today in Dallas, arts patrons and performers marked Theatre 3’s 50th anniversary. KERA’s Jerome Weeks reports that as much as celebrating the theater, the event honored its long-time leader, Jac Alder.

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[audience sounds under] Performer-playwright Camilla Carr was one of several theater artists who spoke or performed at the luncheon honoring Theatre 3’s executive producer-director Jac Alder. Carr defined Alder’s achievement with a whoop.

Carr: “You’re the artistic director of a theater longer than anyone else in the United States of America – whoa! [applause]”

Over the years, Theatre 3 was an early employer of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwrights Beth Henley and Douglas Wright. It has been instrumental in the acting careers of Morgan Fairchild, Irma P. Hall and Ronnie Claire Edwards, who went on to star in TV’s The Waltons.

But as Alder himself pointed out, its greatest achievement – beyond longevity – may be that it continues to produce 320 shows a year.  That means almost every day, there’s a show on either its mainstage or its basement space. And in troubled times for non-profits, Theatre 3 own its own facility and remains financially sound.

Alder took the occasion to announce his theater’s ambitious 50th season, which includes the area premieres of Broadway’s hit rock musical, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (left)– the big surprise — and the drama, The Farnsworth Invention, by Aaron Sorkin, Oscar-winning writer of The Social Network.

Alder answered the two questions that are often asked. Why did he and his late wife Norma Young start Theatre 3 – and how does he keep on?

Alder: “What really motivated us to start the theater and what keeps me so engaged in it is that I believe in human joy — and I believe it comes from what it means to be human.”

The complete announced season:

Wild Oats (August 11 – September 10) The late Texas playwright James McClure’s “wild west” adaptation of John O’Keefe’s 18th century comic masterpiece of mistaken identities.

A Catered Affair (October 13 – November 12) A musical based on the 1956 film starring Bette Davis, score by John Bucchino, adaptation by Harvey Fierstein.

La Bête (December 8 – January 14) David Hirson’s 1991 Broadway verse comedy inspired by the plays and life of Moliere, long a favorite playwright at Theatre 3.

The Farnsworth Invention (February 16 – March 17) A “mile-a-minute” re-telling of the invention of television by Aaron Sorkin.

TBA (April 12 – May 12)

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (June 7 – July 7) The big surprise announcement of the season: the area premiere of Michael Friedman’s rock musical about, yes, that American president.