This week, Time magazine listed 10 theater productions outside of New York City that bear watching this year. Number six is the musical adaptation of Jonathan Lethem’s bestselling novel, The Fortress of Solitude, which will makes its world premiere in March at the Dallas Theater Center before it heads to the Public Theatre in New York next season.
Fortress is about two boys, one white and one black, growing up in Brooklyn in the ‘70s. Their friendship is expressed through comic books, graffiti art and music. Playwright Itamar Moses is a longtime friend of Theater Center artistic director Kevin Moriarty — the DTC staged Moses’ baseball drama, Back, Back, Back, in 2009. That’s how Moriarty heard about the adaptation and when he saw an early workshop, he said he’d do anything to produce it in Dallas. Turns out, the Public Theatre was interested, too — so the two companies joined forces, as they have previously on Giant and The Good Negro.
But Moriarty heard about the Time story the way many of us do these days: through social media. “Between Facebook and Twitter,” he says, “I suddenly felt like something had exploded. And I looked down at my phone and saw, Oh my goodness, we have one of the pieces that people across the country want to see this year.”