I had a chat with Matt Gray during rehearsals for Henry IV at Dallas Theater Center in the fall of 2010. I said, "Second Thought Theatre is looking for a leader. Do you know anyone interested in the job?" His answer was, "Do you know Chris LaBove?"
After bringing me and Chris together, Matt told The Dallas Morning News that he was the "Dolly Levi of Second Thought Theatre." And he was. And thank God for it. After a few conversations with Drew Wall and the Second Thought Theatre Board of Directors, Chris had the job, and we were off to the races.
This year has been a big one for Second Thought.
Artist salaries grew substantially, we decided to "go green" by switching to viral marketing and digital playbills in lieu of the traditional models, and for the first time, Second Thought Theatre shifted from being a completely volunteer-run organization to hiring two part-time, paid arts administrators. Chris and I are confident these traditions will continue and we're very excited about the future of Second Thought Theatre.
Although I readily admit I'm biased, I truly believe something exciting is happening in Dallas. Kevin Moriarty and Dallas Theater Center are paving the way for our community to be a national leader in the arts. Liz Mikel and Cedric Neal are on Broadway. Kitchen Dog Theater, Undermain Theatre and a slew of other independent theater companies in DFW are doing incredible work. Hell, even our TV show is back.
This year I joined the acting company at DTC. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to help Chris lead Second Thought into the next chapter of our history. I was lucky enough to work with Joel Ferrell again. I bonded with my two-year-old nephew, met a great girl and affirmed something I've always known about myself: I am a Texan, through and through.
I feel blessed.
◊ Editor's Note: This is the fourth in a series of year-end essays by members of the local arts community. The first was by actress Emily Scott Banks, the second by Artes de la Rosa artistic director Adam Adolfo, the third by Dallas Opera's Jennifer Schuder. Through the end of the year, look for reflections from others. If you're interested in contributing an essay, email Mark Lowry at firstname.lastname@example.org.