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Final Roundup Before Labor Day!
by Jerome Weeks 2 Sep 2011

Before we hit the beach, we offer yet another Dallasite making a debut on a New York stage — this time with a play. We catch up with KNON and ‘Porgy and Bess,’ plus Brit theater flickering to life at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth


RAISING THE TEXAS PRESENCE IN NYC THEATER: Actor-writer-Second-Thought-and-Dallas-Theater-Center mainstay Stephen Walters — soon to appear in the DTC’s The Tempest — simultaneously has a new play, Pluck the Day, headed for a premiere in New York City. Front Row reports that the Araca Group, which has helped develop such new works as Urinetown and Wicked, is taking a flyer on Walters’ comedy about three friends trapped in a “sun-drenched, emotionally challenged parcel of the West Texas landscape.” The play opens Sept. 8 for a 14-show run at the American Theatre of Actors on 54th Street.

AND SPEAKING OF TEXANS SOON TO BE IN NYC THEATER: The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, the much anticipated, already controversial, “re-imagined” version of the classic opera that features Dallas’ own Cedric Neal as Frazier, opened Wednesday in Boston — before it heads to Broadway in January. The NYTimes‘ Ben Brantley says you could just call it Bess! because the great Audra McDonald’s performance is the sole reason to see the show. Variety agrees, saying the attempts to root the still-appealing opera in a kind of Broadway-style reality make it “earth-bound,” more “folk” than “opera.”

KEEPING TEXAS AIRWAVES ALIVE: In this week’s Dallas Observer, Laura Mann visits with KNON — now that the scrappy community radio station has had to extend its quarterly pledge drive to three weeks. In KNON’s case, it lost an annual federal grant of $100 grand from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting because of accounting irregularities in 2008’s books. The station has appealed for the grant to be re-instated, says the problem has been addressed, but until (if) that happens, it still has to raise the extra scratch from the community. So, a personal plug: I give money to the blues shows because no other FM station in North Texas plays our great homegrown music as much as they do.

HOW DO YOU SAY ‘YEE-HAW’ IN BRITISH? Fort Worth Weekly says Fort Worthies can now see some live British theater beamed their way. Previously, Fathom Events has hosted such deals — but only in the Angelika Theaters in Dallas and Plano. Starting next month, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and Amphibian Productions are offering four National Theatre Live performances.