PRESENT TENSE: Contemporary Theatre of Dallas faces an interesting challenge in staging Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park: how to return to the early ’60s without making the play feel dated. The answer seems to be by not making everything seem so optimistic. Lawson Taitte writes that Contemporary opts for, “a fresh, more realistic approach. What it lacks in punchiness it makes up for in charm,” in his dallasnews.com review. M. Lance Lusk was also mostly charmed, writing on theaterjones.com that, “Director Cynthia Hestand lets the play be its ready delightful self by not fussing it up with distracting contrivances, tightening the pace and letting fine actors inhabit their roles selflessly.” You can see for yourself through Nov. 21.
HE’S STILL GOT IT: Also heading back in time – way back – is Stage West. The Fort Worth company is staging Moliere’s The Miser, a comedy from the 17th Century about a man who loves money above all else. And Jerry Russell, who plays the show’s title charcter, is receiving plenty of praise. “Best of all is Russell, who doesn’t just nail the comic selfishness of the character, but also the undercurrent of tragedy,” Christopher Kelly writes in his dfw.com review. “Russell’s expert comic timing and undaunted energy keep the play moving along sprucely,” concurs Lawson Taitte on dallasnews.com. Catch The Miser through Nov. 28.
LOOKING NORTH: LuminArte is located in Downtown Dallas, but its art director, Christian Millet, lives in Denton. And Millet felt that it was about time that Dallas got a closer look at the Denton art scene. The result is “Denton Rising Artists,” a group show of all Denton artists. “I think for the most part, Dallas people see Denton art more than they know,” LuminArte owner Jamie Labar tells the Denton Record Chronicle. “Denton is in such a ferment right now. There is tremendous growth in the arts scene, and just a lot of activity. Denton really isn’t part of Dallas. A lot of people won’t drive to Denton, but they’ll come here.” Take a look through Nov. 26.