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DTC’s New Season: Novels into Musicals, Plus Big-City Social Justice

by Jerome Weeks 4 Mar 2013 9:30 AM

Everyone’ll be hot for Les Miz, even after the movie. This’ll be the first Texas company to stage it. But you want something new? Try adapting Jonathan Lethem’s terrific 2004 novel, Fortress of Solitude.


The Dallas Theater Center will get a lot of attention next year when it’ll be the first professional company in Texas to stage Les Miserables. But KERA’s Jerome Weeks reports the Theater Center’s new season actually has more ambitious offerings.

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One thing that can definitely be said for Les Miz next year — even after the 20 years on Broadway, all the tours and the recent Oscar-winning film adaptation. As a summer offering from the DTC, it’s at least comparatively more substantive than The Wiz or Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Plus, it’ll be your first chance to see the live show in something like an intimate, up-close setting.

But if we’re talking ambitious offerings in the new season — ambitious, as in risk-taking and new — then that would be the musical adaptation of Fortress of Solitude, Jonathan Lethem’s acclaimed novel from 2004. The world-premiere co-production with New York’s Public Theater will have music by Michael Friedman. He composed the raucous off-Broadway hit, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, which Theatre 3 presented last year in Dallas. Fortress of Solitude is the story of two friends, one white, one black, who grow up in Brooklyn in the ’70s — and then their lives diverge.

Theater Center artistic director Kevin Moriarty points out that just the characters’ first names — Dylan and Mingus — tell us ” this is going to be a story shot through with music. And indeed we move from the ‘70s to today, so we move from urban funk and soul all the way up through hip-hop.”

But Fortress of Solitude is also a highly literary novel, so conveying even a portion of Lethem’s prose style will be a challenge for book-writer Itamar Moses, a longtime friend and colleague of Moriarty. Moses’ baseball drama, Back Back Back, was staged by the Theater Center in 2009.

Another ambitious project will involve two shows, pairing Lorraine Hansberry’s classic, Raisin in the Sun, with last year’s Pulitzer Prize-winner, Clybourne Park. It’s a natural that some theater was inevitably going to try, given the way Clybourne Park author Bruce Norris has updated — to a degree, flipped — the issues of race and urban development in Raisin. Raisin will be directed by Fort Worth Jubliee Theatre artistic director Tre Garrett; it follows an embattled black family moving into a white Chicago neighborhood in 1959. Clybourne is set before and after Raisin — in the same neighborhood. That neighborhood is now  all-black and is fighting white gentrification. The two plays are scheduled so their runs overlap in October; theatergoers will be able to see both in one day.

Then there’s Oedipus el Rey by Luis Alfaro. Alfaro re-locates Oedipus Rex among Latino gangs (it’s been compared to the great old HBO series, OZ ). El rey has been done by a number of the more progressive theater companies around the country, including Woolly Mammoth in DC and Victory Gardens in Chicago. As a result of such programming — although Moriarty says it wasn’t planned this way — the Theater Center season revolves around issues of big-city neighborhoods, race, social justice and poverty.

“We’re going to have a very interesting conversation,” Moriarty says, “about the relationship of citizens in a democracy to urban planning and justice. Not to be too heavy-handed about it, but Les Miz very much questions those same things: Can you escape from your past in order to create a more just future?”

Even Moriarty’s new staging of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol — the first to be done in the Wyly — fits such social issues.  But maybe not the last show. It’s by Steven Dietz, the Austin-based writer who has been popping up a fair amount lately in North Texas. The seventh show is Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure, Dietz’s re-write of the long-running William Gillette/Arthur Conan Doyle stage adaptation from 1899.

All seven shows will be available in a subscription series, but DTC has also divvied them up into two smaller series, akin to Coke Classic and New Coke: the ‘Classic’ series for the whole family includes Les Mis, Christmas Carol, Raisin and Sherlock, while the more adventurous ‘Contemporary’ series has Clybourne, Fortress and el Rey.

The full release:


Announces 2013-2014 Season


DALLAS (March 4, 2013) – Dallas Theater Center Artistic Director Kevin Moriarty announced today the theater’s 2013-2014 season, which will take place at the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre at the AT&T Performing Arts Center. DTC’s 55th season will once again include a seven-play subscription season comprised of classic plays and musicals as well as new works, including a world premiere new musical and a new adaptation of A Christmas Carol.

“Our 2013-2014 season will take audiences on a journey that will offer fresh re-imaginings of beloved classics, a world premiere new musical, thought-provoking dramas and moving stories that will be filled with fresh ideas, bold performances and amazing theatricality,” says Moriarty. “From a new production ofone of the biggest smash-hits in musical theater history to an explosively funny Tony Award® and Pulitzer Prize winner, from a never-before-seen adaptation of a holiday classic to a modern-day retelling of one of the world’s most enduring stories, next season will offer theatrical experiences that will speak to our community, celebrate our common experiences, spark conversations, and entertain audiences of all ages and backgrounds.”

DTC’s Classic Series of four plays will bring to life four beloved stories in fresh new productions, perfect for the entire family: Les Misérables, the most popular musical in the world will fill with Wyly stage with glorious music; the world’s greatest detective will surprise audiences with danger, wit and intrigue in Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure; A Christmas Carol, in a spectacular, new production, comes to the Wyly Theatre for the very first time; and the great American classic drama A Raisin in the Sun will demonstrate that it is still as powerful today as it was when it first premiered 50 years ago.

DTC will also produce a three-play Contemporary Series, featuring new plays and musicals that will make audiences think about the world in new ways: Clybourne Park, the award-winning, hit Broadway comedy; The Fortress of Solitude, a world-premiere musical with an irresistible soul, funk and hip hop score, in a co-production with New York’s The Public Theater; and Oedipus el Rey, an intense, sexy reboot of a legendary Greek tragedy.

The full seven-play Theater Lover’s Subscription Series will be presented as follows: in the Potter Rose Performance Hall at the Wyly Theatre A Raisin in the Sun (Sept. 13 – Oct. 27) and Clybourne Park (Oct. 4 – Oct. 27) in rotating rep; and A Christmas Carol (Nov. 21 – Dec. 24) for the first time ever at the Wyly. In the Studio Theatre at the Wyly Theatre – Oedipus el Rey (Jan. 16 – March 2). In the Potter Rose Performance Hall – The Fortress of Solitude(March 7 – April 6); Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure (April 25 – May 25); and Les Misérables(June 27 – Aug. 10).

Les Misérables by Alain Boubil and Claude-Michel Schönberg, is an epic award-winning musical on stage and screen and will be produced for the first time by a professional theater company in North Texas. With a large cast and orchestra, in the intimate Wyly Theatre, where every seat is close to the stage, this classic, powerful affirmation of the human spirit will thrill audiences with beautiful melodies (music by Claude-Michel Schönberg and lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer) and an impassioned story of hope, redemptions and forgiveness.

In Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure, directed by Kevin Moriarty, the world’s greatest detective is near the end of his remarkable career, when a case presents itself that is too tempting for him to ignore.With his trusted companion Doctor Watson at his side, Sherlock Holmes marches into the lair of his longtime adversary, Professor Moriarty.In the regional premiere of Steven Dietz’s spirited adaptation of stories by Arthur Conan Doyle and based on the original 1899 play by William Gillette and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, this play features all the danger, humor and surprise Holmes’ devoted fans have come to expect.

With a brand new adaptation of the Charles Dickens’ classicand direction by DTC Artistic Director Kevin Moriarty and, A Christmas Carol will fill the Wyly Theatre with music and special effects – from flying ghosts to falling snow – with the audience right in the middle of the action, in classic DTC style. This all-new version of the beloved holiday story, choreographed by Joel Ferrell, will put your entire family in the Christmas spirit. Join Scrooge and Tiny Tim in saying, “God bless us, everyone!”

The New York Times called it, “The play that changed American theater forever.” First staged in 1959, Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun provided the nation with a radically different portrayal of African-American life that was both authentic and deeply moving. Her storyof an embattled Chicago family, directed for DTC by Tre Garrett, is an unflinching vision of what happens to people whose dreams are constantly deferred.

Clybourne Park, by Bruce Norris and directed by Joel Ferrell, is the wickedly funny and fiercely provocative play about race and real estatethat won nearly every honor the theater has to give, including the Tony Award® and the Pulitzer Prize. Act One takes place in 1959, as nervous community leaders try to stop the sale of a house to the black family depicted in A Raisin in the Sun. Act Two takes place today, when the African-American neighborhood battles to hold its ground in the face of gentrification.

Oedipus el Rey, a powerful, sexy reboot of the legendary classical Greek tragedy, is written by MacArthur Genius Grant winner, Luis Alfaro. In it, a young Chicano ex-con sets out on a journey to become the king of South Central LA – the explosively violent gang capital of America.The gripping story, directed by Kevin Moriarty, follows his family of ex-cons through the vicious cycle of fate and violence in which they find themselves trapped.

A new co-production with The Public Theater, The Fortress of Solitude, with book by Itamar Moses and music and lyrics by Michael Friedman, is a world premiere musical based on the best-selling novel by Jonathan Lethem. In The Fortress of Solitude, conceived and directed by Daniel Aukin, two motherless boys, Dylan and Mingus, become close friends in 1970s Brooklyn. They grow up in a world of soul and funk, superheroes and graffiti-tagging in this story of loyalty and friendship.

Full season subscriptions are on sale now for as little as $105; or choose our Classic Series for as little as $60 or our Contemporary Series for as little as $45. Subscriptions can be purchased online at or by phone at (214) 880-0202.

For those who want to take their theater-going experience to the next level, DTC’s program, Friends@DTC, offers patrons a variety of exclusive benefits, including premium seats, a VIP intermission lounge, special invitations, complimentary drinks, free parking and much more.  Visit or email [email protected] for more information.


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 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 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: American Airlines; the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs; The Dallas Morning News; Haynes and Boone, LLP; Lexus; Texas Instruments and WFAA.





2013-2014 Season Lineup

Production information subject to change



A RAISIN IN THE SUN                                                                                       Sept. 13 – Oct. 27

By Lorraine Hansberry

Directed by Tre Garrett


The New York Times called it, “The play that changed American theater forever.” First produced in 1959, A Raisin in the Sun is unflinching in its vision of what happens to people whose dreams are constantly deferred. In her portrait of an embattled Chicago family, Lorraine Hansberry posed eternal questions about identity, justice, and moral responsibility. The result is an American classic that’s as powerful today as it was 50 years ago.



CLYBOURNE PARK                                                                                                                  Oct. 4– Oct. 27

By Bruce Norris

Directed by Joel Ferrell


Clybourne Park … why does that name seem so familiar? Oh, yes! The neighborhood in the classic A Raisin in the Sun, riven by tension in 1959 when the first African-­American family moves in. This is the other side of that story. Rendered in two outrageous acts set 50 years apart, it’s a wickedly funny, Tony Award®­ and Pulitzer Prize-winning examination of race, real estate, and the volatile values of each.



A CHRISTMAS CAROL                                                                         Nov. 21 – Dec. 24
By Charles Dickens

Adapted and Directed byKevin Moriarty

Choreographed by Joel Ferrell


A spectacular new production brings the hope and joy of Dickens’ perennial classic to the
Wyly Theatre for the very first time. This dazzling new Carol will fill the Wyly Theatre with music and special effects – from flying ghosts to falling snow – with the audience right in the middle of the action. From “Bah! Humbug!” to “God bless us, everyone!” A Christmas Carol is a holiday tradition full of merriment and chills, meant to be shared with family and friends.



OEDIPUS EL REY                                                                                                                         Jan. 16 – March 2

By Luis Alfaro

Directed by Kevin Moriarty


Rhythms pound. Violence escalates. A Chicano delinquent fights his way to the pinnacle of gangland power. But not even he can win the ultimate battle against fate. Sizzling, sexy, and startlingly contemporary, playwright Luis Alfaro’s adaptation tears Sophocles’ timeless Greek tragedy out of its mythic past and catapults it into the vivid, vicious reality of today’s LA barrios.



THE FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE                         March 7 – April 6

Book by Itamar Moses

Music and Lyrics by Michael Friedman

Conceived and Directed by Daniel Aukin

Based upon the novel by Jonathan Lethem

Co-produced by The Public Theater


A musical based on the bestselling novel by Jonathan Lethem, The Fortress of Solitude is a story of how racial differences impact two boys, Dylan and Mingus, growing up in1970s America. It is the story of impossibly joyful afternoons of games in the street and of living in a society in which you don’t belong. It is the story of prison and of college; of Brooklyn and Berkeley; of soul and rap; of murder and redemption. And, it is the story of what would happen if two teenage boys obsessed with comic book heroes actually … maybe … had superpowers.



By Steven Dietz

Based on the original 1899 play by William Gillette and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Directed by Kevin Moriarty


The ageless appeal of the world’s greatest detective comes thrillingly to life in this regional premiere of a witty play filled with intrigue, humor and surprise. With stalwart sidekick Doctor Watson by his side, Sherlock Holmes pursues a blackmail case that leads him straight into the lair of his arch­-adversary, Professor Moriarty. Follow the clues with the clever duo on their mysterious adventure, told in true Holmes­-Watson fashion.

LES MISÉRABLES                                June 27 – Aug. 10

Book by Alain Boubliland Claude-Michel Schönberg

Music by Claude-Michel Schönberg

Lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer


“Do you hear the people sing?” The most popular musical in the world takes over the Wyly Theatre with its glorious music and heartfelt story. In this thrilling new DTC production you will be immersed in this beloved story in a way you’ve never experienced it before: surrounded by the passion of the French revolution; engulfed by the romantic music; and overwhelmed by the experience of hope, redemption and forgiveness.


Assistant Producing Partner: Vinson & Elkins LLP