The Dallas Theater Center has announced, next season, it’ll premiere a new musical and a new drama about a UT football player. It’ll also expand its season offerings from seven shows to nine. But KERA’s Jerome Weeks reports, more than half of the shows will be presented in the Theater Center’s old home, the Kalita Humphreys Theater.
- KERA radio story:
- Online story:
It can look like a retreat, the Theater Center moving most of its season into the Kalita, only five years after moving into its new home, the Wyly. But the decision wasn’t based on money, which is what the theater community has been speculating the past two weeks. In fact, artistic director Kevin Moriarty says the Kalita doesn’t actually represent that much of a cost savings to run than the Wyly.
“No, certainly not in any general way,” he says. The fee for the the Kalita is lower than the Wylie’s, but with the Wylie, you’re paying for everything, including the ‘front-of-house’ expenses, like ticket takers. At the Kalita, you pay less but have to provide the front-of-house staff yourself. Plus, there’s no on-site costume shop — or most of the other amenities the Theater Center enjoys at the Wyly. So the Kalita has some built-in expenses and inconveniences the Wyly doesn’t.
“The way in which the Kalita is cheaper,” Moriarty adds, “is if you were to do a big musical or a big play. There is just less possibility for scenery and you can’t put a big orchestra there. So the space at the Kalita limits how much you can spend.”
Then – why five shows just in the Kalita? Not too long ago, that’d be an entire season for the Theater Center.
The why is a boring, complicated reason about schedules and choices of plays. The past several summers in the Wyly, the Theater Center has presented big, popular, family-friendly musicals like The Wiz, so they can give them long runs. The musical this year will be The Rocky Horror Show — which is not so family friendly, and so it doesn’t get the summer slot. Instead, Rocky will open the new season. But that pushes everything else back, and the DTC’s schedule runs up against the allotted weeks when the Dallas Black Dance Theatre shares the Wyly.
“So I don’t think there’s a surprise we’re in our historic home,” Moriarty says. “I think the calendar and the plays dictate that.” The Theater Center has been a two-theater company for more than 30 years, and it’ll stay that way: “We have a Frank Lloyd Wright building and a Rem Koolhaas building. That’s an embarrassment of riches and we intend to use both to their maximum as much as the programming allows.”
Next season basically confirms this: If the move to the Kalita were about cutting costs, then why expand to nine shows? What’s more, just as one might expect, the season’s big musicals (and A Christmas Carol) are scheduled for the Wyly, while the smaller dramas will be in the Kalita. One drama will even be in the Kalita’s basement, a space that hasn’t been used as a stage in more than a decade.
Those dramas include a new-old emphasis. The Theater Center is launching a new, five-year-long classical play initiative with two shows running in repertory: Moliere’s comedy, The School for Wives, and Euripides’ great tragedy, Medea. Why two? Moriarty wants to start the initiative with a push. Echoing statements made by a number of local critics over the years, notably the News’ Lawson Taitte, Moriarty argues North Texas simply hasn’t seen much classical theater lately. We need some.
“There’s so much exciting stuff happening with living playwrights creating work for us right here, right now,” Moriarty says. “Conversely, you take Shakespeare out of the equation, it’s very, very unusual in Dallas to see professional productions of great classical theater.” (That drought is one of the reasons, for instance, the Undermain has been producing ‘early modern classics’ by Strindberg.)
Both world premieres next season at the Theater Center continue Moriarty’s drive to collaborate with other arts organizations. Stagger Lee is a new musical that’s been previously announced and delayed — as it’s been developed over the past two years with SMU. SMU is where hip-hop theater artist Will Power has been an artist-in-residence — before he became an artist-in-residence at the Dallas Theater Center. Stagger Lee incorporates blues, folk and hip-hop in telling the story of mythic African-American figures.
The other world premiere — by Austin playwright Andrew Hinderaker (left) — is the only drama to be staged in the Wyly next season. Hinderaker’s Colossal needs the Wyly because it’s not your typical sports drama. It’s the story of an injured UT football player whose father is a choreographer.
For Colossal, says Moriarty, “we’re going to remove the balconies from the theater, flatten out the entire floor, put the audience on bleachers. We’re going to fill the Wyly with turf, put up goalposts and scoreboards.” The play features a live drum corps, thirteen football players “who will do full-contact football plays” – and a modern dance company.
That modern dance company will be choreographed by North Texas’ own Bruce Wood of the Bruce Wood Dance Project.
The other dramas in the season are almost as ‘bookish’ as this season with its productions of Fortress of Solitude and Les Miz. Next season it’ll be a stage adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility and even a new play called The Book Club Play. And what may well enliven a pretty safe bit of programming — Driving Miss Daisy — is the return of June Squibb, who played the crusty matriarch in Horton Foote’s Dividing the Estate three years ago. Oh yeah, she then went on to garner an Oscar nomination for her performance in the film, Nebraska.
Subscriptions for the Dallas Theater Center’s new season are on sale now.
Austin TV report on Colossal at the Cohen New Works Festival in 2013:
The full release:
DALLAS THEATER CENTER
Announces 2014-2015 Season
DALLAS (April 8, 2014) – Dallas Theater Center Artistic Director Kevin Moriarty announced today the theater’s 2014-2015 season, which will take place at the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre at the AT&T Performing Arts Center and the Kalita Humphreys Theater on Turtle Creek. DTC’s 2014-2015 season will expand from its current seven productions to nine total productions next season. In addition to popular musicals, comedies and dramas, DTC is producing two world premieres and launching a new multi-year classical theater initiative.
“Our 2014-2015 season will make use of DTC’s two incredible theatrical homes, both designed by award-winning architects – the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre at the AT&T Performing Arts Center and our historic home, the Kalita Humphreys Theater. These spaces will be filled with our most expansive season yet,” says Moriarty. “Audiences will see nationally recognized actors, such as 2014 Academy Award®-nominee June Squibb, on stage alongside DTC’s own Brierley Resident Acting Company, and our artistic collaborations will range from DTC Playwright-in-Residence and SMU Meadows Prize recipient Will Power to the masterful choreographer, Bruce Wood. It is truly a season designed to awe and inspire.”
DTC’s seven-play subscription series includes an immersive production of the gender-bending rock and roll classic, The Rocky Horror Show; Driving Miss Daisy, featuring master actress June Squibb; Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen’s classic romantic novel brought to life on stage; the world premiere musical Stagger Lee, written by DTC Playwright-in-Residence Will Power and Justin Ellington; Colossal, a new play by Andrew Hinderaker that will see the Wyly Theatre transformed into a football field; The Book Club Play, a regional premiere of a romantic comedy about books and the people who love them; and Moliere’s sparkling comedy The School for Wives, which launches DTC’s multi-year Classical Theater initiative.
As the second production in its Classical Theater initiative, DTC will also offer a limited engagement run of Euripides’ classic Greek tragedy, Medea, in rep with The School for Wives. Plus, the Holiday Extra A Christmas Carol is back after last-year’s sold-out run at the Wyly.
The full season will be presented as follows: in the Potter Rose Performance Hall at the Wyly Theatre The Rocky Horror Show (Sept. 11 – Oct. 19); at the Kalita Humphreys Theater Driving Miss Daisy (Oct. 16 – Nov. 16); at the Wyly A Christmas Carol (Nov. 25 – Dec. 27); at the Kalita The Book Club Play (Jan. 1 – Feb. 1); at the Wyly Stagger Lee (Jan. 21 – Feb. 15); at the Kalita The School for Wives (Feb. 20 – March 29) in rotating repertory with Medea (Feb. 19 – March 29) in Down Center Stage at the Kalita; at the Wyly Colossal (April 2 – May 3); and at the Kalita Sense and Sensibility (April 23 – May 24).
The Rocky Horror Show, with book, music and lyrics by Richard O’Brien, kicks off DTC’s 2014-2015 season in cult-classic style, directed and choreographed by Joel Ferrell (director of DTC’s Cabaret). This outrageous rock musical, complete with transvestites, mad scientists and monsters, premiered on Broadway more than 40 years ago and now Dallas audiences can see it live on stage at the Wyly Theatre. Grab your popcorn and get ready to do the Time Warp!
Recent Academy Award®-nominee June Squibb returns to the DTC stage for the first time since her critically-acclaimed role in Dividing the Estate in Driving Miss Daisy, directed by Joel Ferrell. This Pulitzer Prize®-winning play by Alfred Uhry follows the relationship of an elderly Southern Jewish woman and her African-American chauffer from one of suspicion and mistrust to friendship and respect.
Jane Austen’s romantic Sense and Sensibility brings the Dashwood sisters to the Kalita in a play about the delicate dance between love and heartbreak. Adapted by Jon Jory and directed by Sarah Rasmussen, the production will appeal to Austen aficionados of all ages.
Dallas audiences will be the first to see the world premiere musical Stagger Lee, by DTC’s Playwright-in-Residence Will Power and Justin Ellington, directed by Patricia McGregor, with music supervision by Daryl Waters. It reboots the legendary tales of Stagger Lee, Frankie and Johnny, and Long Lost John with an original score that celebrates the history of African-American music throughout the 20th century. Stagger Lee was developed in collaboration with The Meadows School of the Arts, Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas as a part of Will Power’s Meadows Prize residency.
Colossal will put audiences on the fifty yard line in the Wyly in this new play by University of Texas graduate Andrew Hinderaker, directed by Kevin Moriarty. Colossal, an intimate and epic story about the nation’s most popular sport, will feature a bold and never-before-seen new configuration in the Wyly Theatre’s Potter Rose Performance Hall, a drum line and full-contact choreography by Bruce Wood. Colossal is being produced as a rolling world premiere by Olney Theatre Center (Maryland), Mixed Blood Theatre (Minneapolis), Dallas Theater Center (Texas) and Southern Rep (Louisiana) as part of the National New Play Network’s Continued Life Program.
Next season, DTC launches a Classical Theater initiative, featuring masterpieces of theatrical literature from around the world, with The School for Wives. Molière’s hilarious 18th century play is directed by Kevin Moriarty. Filled with scheming and young love, it tells the story of Arnolphe and his attempt to woo a much younger perfect bride and keep her admirer out of the picture. The School for Wives is performed in rotating rep with Medea, also directed by Moriarty and featuring DTC Company Member Sally Nystuen Vahle in the title role. Euripides’ tale of betrayal and vengeance, written in the 5th century BCE, will take audiences into the Kaltia’s Down Center Stage basement performance space for the first time in more than 30 years.
In The Book Club Play by Karen Zacarías, directed by Meredith McDonough, Ana has the perfect life with an adoring husband and regular meetings with her book club. But add to the mix a documentary film crew, a problem-causing new member and a few provocative titles, and Ana’s perfect-life-scenario gets thrown for a loop. The Book Club Play is about life, love, literature and the crazy things we do when we’re being filmed.
After last year’s sold-out run, the Holiday Extra A Christmas Carol returns to the Wyly Theatre. Chamblee Ferguson plays everybody’s favorite humbug, Ebenezer Scrooge, in this brand new adaptation by Kevin Moriarty, directed by Lee Trull and choreographed by Jeremy Dumont. A Christmas Carol is a magical story filled with holiday cheer, magical ghosts and lots of snow!
Full season subscriptions are on sale now 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 and Medea 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 2014-2015. 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: American Airlines; Chase; Lexus; Texas Instruments and WFAA.
2014-2015 Season Lineup
Production information subject to change
THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW Sept. 11 – Oct. 19
Book, Music and Lyrics by RICHARD O’BRIEN Press Opening Sept. 19
Directed and Choreographed by JOEL FERRELL
Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre
Let’s do the Time Warp again! Four decades after its Broadway premiere, The Rocky Horror Show is back with delicious, gender-bending abandon! With Joel Ferrell at the helm (remember Cabaret, anyone?) this all-new production promises a wickedly wayward evening that demands you check your old-fashioned assumptions about how we can shape ourselves at the door. Complete with sweet alien transvestites, killer rock music and outrageous humor, don’t miss this night at the Annual Transylvanian Convention, where boys will be girls, and girls will be boys… we dare you to figure out which is which.
DRIVING MISS DAISY Oct. 16 – Nov. 16
By ALFRED UHRY Press Opening Oct. 24
Directed by JOEL FERRELL
Kalita Humphreys Theater
Told through vignettes detailing the shift in Southern racial attitudes between 1948 and 1973, Driving Miss Daisy chronicles the decades-long relationship between a stubborn, Southern matriarch and her proud, African-American chauffeur who journey from suspicion and mistrust to respect and affection in this Pulitzer Prize®-winning play. DTC welcomes back 2014 Academy Award®-nominee June Squibb (last seen in Dividing the Estate) as the indomitable Miss Daisy in this iconic tale of the transformative power of friendship that will warm your heart.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL (HOLIDAY EXTRA) Nov. 25 – Dec. 27
By CHARLES DICKENS Press Opening Dec. 3
Adapted by KEVIN MORIARTY
Directed by LEE TRULL
Choreographed by JEREMY DUMONT
Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre
‘Tis the season to be jolly, when last season’s sold-out, family-favorite, holiday production of A Christmas Carol returns to the Wyly Theatre. In this delightfully re-imagined take on Dickens’ enduring classic, featuring Chamblee Ferguson as Ebenezer Scrooge, the audience is surrounded by the actors, with magical ghosts flying above, scary ghosts bursting out of the floor, and snow falling on everyone. Full of traditional Christmas hymns and songs in fresh, toe-tapping musical arrangements, joyful bursts of choreography, and eye-popping special effects, A Christmas Carol is Dallas’ newest “must-see” holiday tradition. (Last year 26 performances were sold-out! But subscribers can buy tickets BEFORE they go on sale to general public—guaranteeing the best seats at the best prices—and avoiding being shut out of sold-out performances.)
THE BOOK CLUB PLAY Jan. 1 – Feb. 1
By KAREN ZACARÍAS Press Opening Jan. 9
Directed by MEREDITH MCDONOUGH
Kalita Humphreys Theater
Loads of laughter and literature collide in this smart comedy about books and the people who love them. Ana lives in a letter-perfect world with an adoring husband, the perfect job, and her greatest passion: book club. But when her book club becomes the subject of a film documentary their discussions about life and literature take a hilarious turn. Add a club-crashing newcomer along with some provocative book titles and the club’s long-intertwined group dynamics begin to unravel as the friends start to read between the lines.
STAGGER LEE Jan. 21 – Feb. 15
Book and Lyrics by WILL POWER Press Opening Jan. 30
Music by WILL POWER and JUSTIN ELLINGTON
Directed by PATRICIA MCGREGOR
Music Supervision by DARYL WATERS
Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre
A highlight this season is the world premiere of Stagger Lee, a musical that takes its title from the century-old folk song that became a Number One R&B hit for Lloyd Price in 1959. The story spans the 20th Century, tracing mythical characters in their quest to achieve the American Dream. The deep-seated themes of racism and the raw power of human will are sure to give you chills. And the music—from Joplin-inspired tunes to R&B and hip-hop—will definitely get your feet moving.
Stagger Lee was partially developed in workshops in collaboration with The Meadows School of the Arts, Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas as a part of Will Power’s Meadows Prize residency.
THE SCHOOL FOR WIVES Feb. 20 – March 29
By MOLIÉRE Press Opening March 1
Directed by KEVIN MORIARTY
Kalita Humphreys Theater
DTC launches a new multi-year Classical Theater initiative with this sublime comedy, in a high-energy production directed by Kevin Moriarty. Combining Moliére’s razor-sharp observations about love, marriage and desire with hilarious physical comedy and joyful contemporary music, The School For Wives tells the story of Arnolphe, who believes he has shrewdly concocted the perfect plan to woo a much younger woman to be his wife. (SPOILER ALERT: Arnolphe isn’t all that shrewd). As his plan goes horribly wrong and the complications add up, this fast-paced French farce will keep you on the edge of your seat, wondering what you may have missed while you were rolling in the aisle laughing.
MEDEA (LIMITED ENGAGEMENT) Feb. 19 – March 29
By EURIPIDES Press Opening March 1
Directed by KEVIN MORIARTY
Kalita Humphreys Theater – Down Center Stage
The second production in DTC’s Classical Theater initiative, Medea is a 2500-year-old classic that still resonates today with its modern–day complexities of power, marriage, families and politics. Produced in Down Center Stage, the intimate basement theater space carved out of the Kalita Humphreys Theater, Medea will plunge the audience into the midst of an intense domestic dispute that quickly accelerates to its horrifying climax of violence, revenge and mutual destruction. With emotionally honest acting and a starkly beautiful, poetic text, Medea will be an unforgettable theatrical experience.
COLOSSAL April 2 – May 3
By ANDREW HINDERAKER Press Opening April 10
Directed by KEVIN MORIARTY
Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre
Winner of the Kennedy Center’s Jean Kennedy Smith Playwriting Award, Colossal is an epic theatrical event. With the flexible Wyly Theatre transformed into a football field, director Kevin Moriarty and acclaimed choreographer Bruce Wood will create an intensely physical production of this spectacular and deeply moving new play. Featuring full contact choreography and a drumline, the play centers on a University of Texas football player, struggling to move forward in the wake of a catastrophic spinal injury. A play about love, ability, and extraordinary feats of strength, Colossal is both a celebration and critical examination of our nation’s most popular form of theater.
Colossal is being produced as a rolling world premiere by Olney Theatre Center (Maryland), Mixed Blood Theatre (Minneapolis), Dallas Theater Center (Texas) and Southern Rep (Louisiana) as part of the National New Play Network’s Continued Life Program.
SENSE AND SENSIBILITY April 23 – May 24
Adapted by JON JORY Press Opening May 1
Based on the novel by JANE AUSTEN
Directed by SARAH RASMUSSEN
Kalita Humphreys Theater
Scandalous secrets, shocking betrayals, dashing suitors and devious rivals are brought to glorious life in a period-perfect adaptation of Jane Austen’s beloved novel. At the emotional heart of this classic romantic comedy are the marital hopes, unpredictable misadventures and sincere, sisterly bonds of Elinor and Marianne Dashwood. Will Elinor’s common sense or Marianne’s impulsive passion be the key to marriage and happiness? Come experience the production that is certain to become an instant treasure for Austen aficionados of all ages.