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Friday Morning Roundup
by Stephen Becker 14 Oct 2011

Today in the roundup: AART welcomes back an old friend, reviewing Uptown Players’ “The Temperamentals,” defending the banjo.


THE ONCE AND FUTURE DIRECTOR: Tonight, African American Repertory Theater debuts Two Trains Running, the seventh play in August Wilson’s 10-play “Pittsburgh Cycle.” And at the helm is a familiar face – Willie Minor, who thought he had retired from the theater only to be drawn back in by the playwright. “Each of August’s characters represents a different segment of society and a different response to the world,” Minor tells dallasnews.com. “I want you to think about that, but not while the play is happening. I want you to think on the way home. That’s what art is for – to make this a kinder, gentler society.”

A REGIONAL PREMIERE: Uptown Players is presenting the regional premiere of The Temperamentals, about the founding of the first gay-rights organization. The play’s title was a code word for “homosexual” in the 1950s. So how is it? “Part docu-drama and part love story, the production, directed by Bruce R. Coleman, is thoughtful, well-acted and quietly touching,” writes Martha Heimberg on theaterjones.com. In summing up his review, Arnold Wayne Jones writes on dallasvoice.com: “If it sounds as though The Temperamentals is more educational than entertaining, that’s unfortunate; it is both. If you want to feel a real sense of gay Pride, watch how a few men paved the way.” Meanwhile, Lawson Taitte was mostly bored. “The performances are good enough that you almost think a drama is happening,” he writes on dallasnews.com. Judge for yourself through Oct. 23.

QUOTABLE: “People are much less dismissive of the banjo, and even curious and excited by it nowadays. There used to be a lot of prejudice against the banjo because of stereotypes encouraged by Hee Haw, Deliverance and The Beverly Hillbillies. Lots of great music continues to emanate from the Southern rural part of the banjo’s story, but now it is balanced by many different points of view.”

– Bela Fleck, in an interview with DC9 at Night. Bela Fleck and the Flecktones perform tonight at Annette Strauss Artist Square.