Next year, the Dallas Theater Center heads into a season-long flashback to the ’60s — from a world-premiere musical based on the long-running, cornpone TV comedy-variety show Hee Haw (which debuted in 1969) to a revival of the Broadway musical Dreamgirls (based on the rise of the Supremes and Motown in the ’60s) to the Tony Award-winning drama, All the Way, which featured Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston on Broadway playing Lyndon Johnson in 1964, the year he passed the Civil Rights Act and won re-election.
The 50-year anniversary look-back at the civil rights movement that’s lead to such cultural events as the current controversial film, Selma, also can be found in Katori Hall’s drama The Mountaintop. The DTC will present the area premiere of the play in the Wyly’s Studio Theatre. The Mountaintop takes place entirely on the last night of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life before his assassination in 1968.
In addition, the Theater Center will present William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet at the Kalita Humphreys Theater, plus two world-premiere dramas not set in the 1960s: Clarkston, playwright Samuel D. Hunter’s modern-day drama inspired by the legacy of the Lewis and Clark expedition, and Deferred Action, co-written by Dallasites David Lozano and Lee Trull. Deferred Action concerns the ‘Dreamers,’ young, undocumented Latino immigrants — and is a collaboration between DTC and Cara Mia Theatre Company, which Lozano runs.
Such a multi-company collaboration is also behind All the Way. Directed by DTC artistic director Kevin Moriarty, playwright Robert Shenkkan’s drama will be a co-production with Houston’s Alley Theatre and will blend both theaters’ acting companies. It will also be presented in partnership with The Sixth Floor Museum.
As for Moonshine, it also owes some of its creation to Dallas-area talent. Grammy Award-winning country music singer-songwriter Shane McAnally (born in Mineral Wells) and his frequent collaborator Brandy Clark are the composer-lyricist team behind the show, which is loosely inspired by the popular TV show that once brought cornfield jokes, scantily-clad country lasses and top-flight banjo picking to millions of Americans, including ones in such unlikely ‘country’ markets as Chicago and New York. McAnally is a Nashville pro, having won the Academy of Country Music Award’s Songwriter of the Year, two Grammys (he’s up for a third this weekend) and produced a slew of #1 country singles for such acts as Kenny Chesney, Lady Antebellum and Reba McEntire. He is also the rare out-gay country music recording artist.
In all this, it’s worth noting the new season represents a significant return to the Wyly Theatre (to both of its performance spaces) by the DTC. When it was announced last year, the current season schedule raised eyebrows because it had the DTC shift more than half of its productions back to the Kalita Humphreys, the company’s original home which it had left only five years before to move into the Wyly. This season has one fewer show than the current one (eight vs. nine), but only one production (Romeo and Juliet) will be staged in the Kalita.
The full release:
DALLAS THEATER CENTER Announces World Premieres of Moonshine: That Hee Haw Musical, Samuel D. Hunter’s Clarkston and Deferred Action As Part of 2015-2016 Season
DALLAS (February 5, 2015) – Dallas Theater Center Artistic Director Kevin Moriarty announced today the theater’s 2015-2016 season, which includes productions in the Potter Rose Performance Hall and the Studio Theatre at the Wyly Theatre in the AT&T Performing Arts Center and the Kalita Humphreys Theater on Turtle Creek. DTC’s 2015-2016 season will include three world premieres, new productions of Dreamgirls and Romeo and Juliet, the regional premiere of All the Way in collaboration with the Alley Theatre in Houston, and The Mountaintop. The world premieres include a new musical comedy, Moonshine: That Hee Haw Musical; a new play, Clarkston, by MacArthur Foundation Fellow Samuel D. Hunter; and Deferred Action, the culmination of a collaborative project between Dallas Theater Center and Cara Mia Theatre Co.
“Our 2015-2016 season is packed with three world premieres, two large scale musicals, a Texas sized collaboration with Houston’s Alley Theatre, a Shakespearean classic, and two intimate dramas in our Studio Theatre,” says Moriarty. “Each play will spark a lively dialogue in our community, ranging from the personal to the political, from stories about love and family to explorations of immigration and social justice, from hilarious comedies to thought-provoking dramas. The season will highlight the artistry of our Brierley Resident Acting Company, while bringing to Dallas some of the most exciting, nationally recognized theater artists working today, including leading country music artists, Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally, who will create their first musical theater score. The season also includes acclaimed writers Samuel D. Hunter, Robert Horn, David Lozano and Lee Trull, award winning director Gary Griffin, and the collaboration of the acting companies from the Alley and DTC.”
DTC’s seven-play subscription series includes a toe-tapping good time with the world premiere of Moonshine: That Hee Haw Musical, a new musical comedy lovingly (and loosely) inspired by the iconic TV show; the glitter and glamour of 1960s R&B group stardom in a fresh new production of the classic Dreamgirls; one of the greatest love stories ever told and the third production in DTC’s ongoing classical theater initiative, Romeo and Juliet; the Tony Award®-winning political drama All The Way; a world premiere new play by MacArthur Genius playwright Samuel D. Hunter, Clarkston; the world premiere of Deferred Action by David Lozano and Lee Trull, the culmination of a collaborative project with Cara Mia Theatre Co.; and an intimate production of the recent Broadway drama about famed civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr., The Mountaintop, by Katori Hall. DTC will also produce the beloved holiday classic A Christmas Carol.
The full season will be presented as follows: in the Potter Rose Performance Hall at the Wyly Theatre Moonshine: That Hee Haw Musical (Sept. 2 – Oct. 11); in the Studio Theatre at the Wyly Theatre The Mountaintop (Sept. 16 – Nov. 15); in the Potter Rose Performance Hall A Christmas Carol (Nov. 25 – Dec. 26); in the Studio Theatre Clarkston (Dec. 3 – Jan. 31); at the Kalita Humphreys Theater Romeo and Juliet (Jan. 27 – Feb. 28); in the Potter Rose Performance Hall All The Way (March 3 – 27); in the Potter Rose Performance Hall Deferred Action (April 20 – May 15); and in the Potter Rose Performance Hall Dreamgirls (June 10 – July 24).
Dallas audiences will be the first to see the world premiere musical comedy Moonshine: That Hee Haw Musical, featuring a score by multi-award winning artists Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally (two of country music’s hottest new singer/songwriters), a book by Robert Horn, direction by Gary Griffin and choreography by Denis Jones. Hilarious and downright irreverent, Moonshine: That Hee Haw Musical distills the spirit of an iconic television series and bottles it into an original musical comedy! Set in present day Kornfield Kounty, this highly anticipated show introduces a new generation of irresistible characters as it tells the story of Misty Mae, the ultimate hometown girl who heads out to follow her dreams in the big city… of Tampa. When she returns home to introduce her slick city-boy beau to her friends and family, everything goes haywire!
“Shane and I both grew up watching ‘Hee Haw,’ so it’s thrilling that we get to make our musical theatre writing debut using source material that really shaped and defined so much in terms of the history of country music. We’re loving the collaborative process of writing for the theater, too,” Clark said.
Co-composer McAnally said, “I’m from the Dallas area, so getting to debut the show in my hometown is especially exciting for me, and I can’t wait for audiences to see it!”
Clarkston is a new play by MacArthur Foundation Fellow Samuel D. Hunter that loosely explores the modern day legacy of Lewis and Clark. The three-person play is an intimate exploration of the friendship formed between two young men in rural Washington as they face what comes next in their lives.
Deferred Action by Dallas playwrights David Lozano and Lee Trull centers on young, undocumented Latino immigrants called Dreamers as they search for a place in the country to which they were brought to live at a young age. This world premiere production is the culmination of a collaborative project between Dallas Theater Center and Cara Mia Theatre Co. and brings the two organizations’ resident acting companies together for the first time.
The Tony Award®-winning Dreamgirls, with book and lyrics by Tom Eyen and music by Henry Krieger, will fill the Wyly with the legendary sounds of R&B all summer long. Directed by DTC Associate Artistic Director Joel Ferrell in a fresh new production, Dreamgirls follows girl group The Dreams on their path to superstardom complete with number one hits, band break ups and all the drama that makes the music so good.
Just moments after the death of President John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson boarded Air Force Two, took off from Dallas and was sworn in as President of the United States before he landed in Washington, D.C. All the Way is a Tony Award®-winning and gripping political drama by Robert Schenkkan about the man from Texas who found himself unexpectedly in the highest office of the land at the height of the civil rights movement. Under the direction of Kevin Moriarty, the regional premiere will join the resident acting companies of Houston’s Alley Theatre and DTC, the state’s two largest, most lauded regional theater companies. DTC’s production of All the Way will also include a community partnership with The Sixth Floor Museum, an institution dedicated to exploring the events surrounding the assassination of President Kennedy.
“We are tremendously excited to collaborate with Dallas Theater Center, and especially on this big, brilliant, wonderful new American play,” said Alley Theatre Artistic Director Gregory Boyd. “All The Way is an exciting and hugely entertaining piece of theatre about a transformative moment in American life and politics. And that moment resonates as resoundingly now as it ever has. The play catches the spark in the history and brings it thrillingly to theatrical life.”
Two families at odds, wicked brawls in the street and two young lovers so hopelessly committed to each other that they make the ultimate sacrifice. William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is a story known by most, but directed by Joel Ferrell at the historic Kalita Humphrey’s Theater, DTC’s production will be one that stays fresh on the minds of all North Texans.
Martin Luther King, Jr. – for a person so heavily in the public eye, few knew the man he was deep inside. In The Mountaintop, Olivier Award®-winning playwright Katori Hall dramatizes an intimate look at one of the most influential people in American history the night before his untimely death by an assassin’s bullet. It reflects on morality and society’s strengths and frailties, and questions the value of the things we leave behind. DTC will work with Dallas Faces Race for the second season in a row to engage North Texans in a civic dialogue about issues pertinent in their communities today.
The Holiday Extra (and favorite) A Christmas Carol returns to the Wyly Theatre. An actor brand new to the role will play everybody’s favorite humbug, Ebenezer Scrooge, in this critically acclaimed adaptation by Kevin Moriarty, interpreted with a few new surprises by director Christie Vela. After two years of record-breaking box office success, A Christmas Carol returns to tell a magical story filled with holiday cheer, magical ghosts and lots of snow!
Full season subscriptions go on sale February 9, 2015 and will be available for as little as $126. Subscriptions can be purchased online at DallasTheaterCenter.org or by calling the AT&T Performing Arts Center Box Office at (214) 880-0202. Single tickets to A Christmas Carol will be available later in the season, after a subscriber-only early access pre-sale.
For those who want to take their theater-going experience to the next level, DTC’s program, [email protected], offers patrons a variety of exclusive benefits, including premium seats, a VIP intermission lounge, special invitations, complimentary drinks, free parking and much more. Visit DallasTheaterCenter.org/Friends or email [email protected] for more information.
DTC will continue the Come Early, sponsored by Wells Fargo, and the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group Stay Late programs in 2015-2016. Come Early is a free 30-minute informative talk designed to enhance a patron’s play-going experience. Given one hour before every performance, a member of the cast or artistic staff will share details about the play’s origins and context, as well as share insight into the creative process behind the production. Stay Late is a free, brief, post-show conversation with a member of the cast about the show. Patrons will engage with the artists, learn about the production and be able to share their insights about the play in a lively discussion.
ABOUT DALLAS THEATER CENTER:
One of the leading regional theaters in the country, Dallas Theater Center (DTC) performs to an audience of more than 120,000 North Texas residents annually. Founded in 1959, DTC is now a resident company of the AT&T Performing Arts Center and presents its Mainstage season at the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre, designed by REX/OMA, Joshua Prince-Ramus and Rem Koolhaas and at its original home, the Kalita Humphreys Theater, the only freestanding theater designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Kevin Moriarty and Managing Director Heather M. Kitchen, DTC produces a seven-play subscription series of classics, musicals and new plays and an annual production of A Christmas Carol; extensive education programs, including the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award-winning Project Discovery, SummerStage and partnerships with Southern Methodist University’s Meadows School of the Arts and Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts; and community outreach efforts including leading the DFW Foote Festival and recent collaborations with the Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Public Library, Dallas Holocaust Museum, North Texas Food Bank, Dallas Opera, and Dallas Black Dance Theater. Throughout its history, DTC has produced many new works, including The Texas Trilogy by Preston Jones in 1978, Robert Penn Warren’s All the King’s Men, adapted by Adrian Hall, in 1986, and recent premieres of FLY by Rajiv Joseph, Bill Sherman and Kirstin Childs; Fly by Night by Kim Rosenstock, Michael Mitnick and Will Connolly; Giant by Michael John LaChiusa and Sybille Pearson; The Trinity River Plays by Regina Taylor; the revised It’s a Bird… It’s a Plane… It’s Superman by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Charles Strouse and Lee Adams; Give It Up! (now titled Lysistrata Jones and recently on Broadway) by Douglas Carter Beane and Lewis Flinn; Sarah, Plain and Tall by Julia Jordan, Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin; and The Good Negro by Tracey Scott Wilson.
Dallas Theater Center gratefully acknowledges the support of our season sponsors: Texas Instruments; American Airlines; Chase; City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs; and Lexus.
2015-2016 Season Lineup
Production information subject to change
MOONSHINE: THAT HEE HAW MUSICAL Sept. 2 – Oct. 11, 2015
Music and Lyrics by Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally Wyly Theatre
Book by Robert Horn
Directed by Gary Griffin
Hilarious and downright irreverent, MOONSHINE: That Hee Haw Musical distills the spirit of an iconic television series and bottles it into an original musical comedy! Set in present-day Kornfield Kounty, this highly anticipated show introduces a new generation of irresistible characters as it tells the story of Misty Mae, the ultimate hometown
girl who heads out to follow her dreams in the big city… of Tampa. When she returns home to introduce her slick city-boy beau to her friends and family, everything goes haywire! Featuring an original score by 2014 CMA winners and Grammy® nominees Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally (two of country music’s hottest singer/songwriters), a book by Robert Horn, direction by Gary Griffin, choreography by Denis Jones and orchestrations by Tony® and Grammy® Award winner Stephen Oremus, MOONSHINE: That Hee Haw Musical gets the Broadway treatment when it has its eagerly awaited World Premiere this fall at DTC.
THE MOUNTAINTOP Sept. 16 – Nov. 15, 2015
by Katori Hal Wyly Theatre • Studio Theatre
What thoughts and emotions were pulsing through Martin Luther King, Jr.’s mind and heart on his last night on Earth? Set in Memphis’ Lorraine motel just hours before the civil rights leader was assassinated, The Mountaintop presents King as a very human man, stripped of the mountains of mythology now woven into his remembrance. This recent Broadway hit and the 2010 winner of Britain’s Olivier Award for Best New Play will bring every audience member within feet of the actors in an intensely intimate Studio Theatre production. Crackling with metaphysical magical realism, The Mountaintop throws lightning bolts of insight upon our societal strengths and frailties and our own personal accomplishments and failings as, with Dr. King, we ponder the cost of what we contribute and the legacy of what we leave behind.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL Nov. 25 – Dec. 26, 2015
By CHARLES DICKENS Wyly Theatre
Adapted by KEVIN MORIARTY
Directed by CHRISTIE VELA
The must-see family tradition that marks the beginning of Dallas’ holiday season, A Christmas Carol is a critically acclaimed, delightfully reimagined take on Dickens’ enduring classic. The Dallas Morning News proclaimed this transcendent, all-ages musical treat “socially conscious… and theatrically spectacular.” Join us as Scrooge returns to the Wyly Theatre, where the audience will be surrounded by magical ghosts flying above, scary ghosts bursting out of the floor and snow falling on everyone, bringing this timeless story to vivid new life. With two years of record breaking box offices, only subscribers are guaranteed access to this beloved holiday classic!
CLARKSTON Dec. 3, 2015 – Jan. 31, 2016
by Samuel D. Hunter Wyly Theatre • Studio Theatre
Meet Jake, a descendant of the explorer William Clark, who has recently been diagnosed with Huntington’s disease; and Chris, who is searching for a way to use his degree in Post-Colonial Gender Studies to make a discernible contribution to society. Against the backdrop of an increasingly corporatized and dehumanized American West, these two young men attempt to join together to forge ahead into an uncertain future. Leavened with humor and compassion, Clarkston juxtaposes day-to-day existence with historical allusions and larger themes
of faith and doubt. Written by 2014 MacArthur Foundation Fellow Samuel D. Hunter, one of the most provocative new voices in American theater, Clarkston continues DTC’s commitment to bringing the nation’s most exciting writers to Dallas.
ROMEO and JULIET Jan. 27 – Feb. 28, 2016
by William Shakespeare Kalita Humphreys Theater
Directed by Joel Ferrell
From Joel Ferrell, the director behind DTC’s 2014 blockbuster hit The Rocky Horror Show, Romeo and Juliet bursts breathlessly to life as the Bard’s immortal tale of impetuous young lovers and the senseless hatred that poisons their hope asks the question: can any generation escape the sins of the fathers? This sleek, sexy new production immerses you in the emotional chaos of two innocent teens fighting desperately to choose their own destiny.
ALL THE WAY March 3 – March 27, 2016
by Robert Schenkan Wyly Theatre
Directed by Kevin Moriarty
A co-production with Alley Theatre Winner of the 2014 Tony Award®, this suspenseful Texas-sized new play about
one of the most powerful Texans, takes us from the earliest moments of Lyndon B. Johnson’s accidental presidency to his hard-won landslide election one year later. The resident acting companies of Dallas Theater Center and Houston’s Tony Award®-winning Alley Theatre join together to create this monumental play, which will be performed in both cities. Robert Schenkkan’s masterful script paints a gripping portrayal of LBJ, civil rights hero, ruthless bully, and perhaps one of our greatest legislative presidents. With a title harkening back to the slogan for his 1964 campaign, All the Way is a searing and enthralling dramatization that explores political gridlock, strong-arm manipulation, and the morality of politics and power. Contains adult language.
DEFERRED ACTION April 20 – May 15, 2016
by David Lozano and Lee Trull Wyly Theatre
Directed by David Lozano
A co-production with Cara Mía Theatre Co. The world premiere of DTC’s collaboration with Cara Mía Theatre Co., Deferred Action focuses on Javier Mejía, one of the immigrants known as Dreamers who arrived in the USA as an undocumented minor. Now, after years in the States, he finds himself caught in the tangle of existing immigration laws, new presidential policies and the harsh reality of living in the shadows. Javier hopes that temporary administrative mechanisms like Deferred Action will be the answer to his dilemma. But will hope be snatched away? Can politicians who say they are the Dreamers’ friends be trusted? Deferred Action follows the lives, loopholes, and dangers of those who dare to dream.
DREAMGIRLS June 10 – July 24, 2016
Book and Lyrics by Tom Eyer Wyly Theatre
Music by Henry Krieger
Directed by Joel Ferrell
Tony®s, Oscars, Grammys … this modern-day classic sparkles with almost as many awards and accolades as its costumes have sequins. Take a trip back to the seminal music scene of the 1960s, when young women sang their way to musical prominence in a man’s world. Set in the Motown era that brought us powerhouse voices like Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross—and ultimately Destiny’s Child and Beyoncé—Dreamgirls explodes from the stage with legendary songs and timeless appeal.