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Rhonda Boutte and Raphael Parry in \"The Chairs\" at Kitchen Dog Theater

Chair Leaders

Kitchen Dog Theater is the big winner in this year's Dallas-Fort Worth Theater Critics Forum; also, much love for Jeffrey Schmidt, Second Thought Theatre, On the Eve, two Shrews and more.



published Monday, September 9, 2013

Gather a dozen theater critics for a discussion of what we liked, loved (and, ahem, hated) in the season that just ended, and things are bound to get a little heated. There were no knock-down dragouts at this year's Dallas-Fort Worth Theater Critics Forum, but there may have been a few cases of taste-shaming.

Still, the 12 of us (11 actually, since one was out of town but voted by absentee ballot), found a concensus on the shows and performances we admired most in the local theater scene. (The list of participating critics is at the bottom of this report.)

Kitchen Dog Theater had an especially good year, taking eight awards for direction, acting and design for three of their shows in the 2012-'13 season: Gina Gionfriddo's Becky Shaw, Eugene Ionesco's The Chairs and Kate Fodor's RX. There were also numerous awards given to Theatre Three, Second Thought Theatre, Stage West, Undermain Theatre, Trinity Shakespeare Festival and others.

Of individual shows, the late 2012 hit On the Eve, an original rock musical, was a favorite (look for that show's remounting, at Theatre Three this time, in early 2014). And every critic who saw Jeff Swearingen's Daffodil Girls, Inspired by David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross, with child and teenage girls smartly riffing on that well-known Mamet work, couldn't stop spouting its praises. We liked it so much, and the other work that Swearingen and Bren Rapp have done at that theater, that we gave them a special citation.

Speaking of special mentions, there's no way we could ignore the recent death of a legendary theater figure: Jerry Russell of Stage West. We honored him for lifetime achievement, and although he didn't direct it, he would have been thrilled at his theater's mentions for a cleverly conceived four-actor version of The Taming of the Shrew.

Oddly enough, that was one of two Fort Worth productions of that Shakespeare title over which the critics couldn't rave enough, the other being at Trinity Shakespeare Festival.

Eligible shows opened between Sept. 1, 2012 and Aug. 31, 2013. Here's the breakdown of what and whom we adored. And to my colleagues who, like me, didn't see a favorite choice (or several) make the final tally, remember that there's always year-end lists.

Here's to an equally amazing 2013-2014 season.

(Cover photo of Kitchen Dog Theater's The Chairs, with Rhonda Boutté and Raphael Parry, by Matt Mzorek.)

 

OUTSTANDING DIRECTION 

Photo: Amy Peterson
"The Taming of the Shrew" at Trinity Shakespeare Festival, directed by T.J. Walsh

 

Regan Adair: In a Forest, Dark and Deep, Second Thought Theatre

Jim Covault: The Taming of the Shrew, Stage West

Cheryl Denson: The Most Happy Fella, Lyric Stage

Joel Ferrell: Gruesome Playground Injuries, Second Thought Theatre

Jonathan Fielding: The True Story of the Tragic Life and Triumphant Death of Julia Pastrana, The Ugliest Woman in the World, Amphibian Stage Productions

Tim Johnson: The Chairs, Kitchen Dog Theater

Matthew Posey: Dreams of Slaughtered Sheep, The Ochre House

Susan Sargeant: Children of a Lesser God at Contemporary Theatre of Dallas and Lydie Marland in the Afterlife, WingSpan Theatre Company at Festival of Independent Theatres

Jeffrey Schmidt: Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, Theatre Three; Enron, Theatre Three and On the Eve, Spacegrove Productions

Jeff Swearingen: Daffodil Girls, Inspired by David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross, Fun House Theatre and Film

T.J. Walsh: The Taming of the Shrew, Trinity Shakespeare Festival

 

NEW PLAY OR MUSICAL

Photo: Robert Hart
The creators of "On the Eve," from left: Michael Federico, Shawn Magill and Seth Magill

 

Daffodil Girls, Inspired by David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross by Jeff Swearingen, Fun House Theatre and Film

Dreams of Slaughtered Sheep by Matthew Posey, The Ochre House

Fly By Night by Will Connolly, Michael Mitnick and Kim Rosenstock, Dallas Theater Center

On the Eve by Seth and Shawn Magill and Michael Federico, Spacegrove Productions

 

OUTSTANDING TOURING PRODUCTIONS

Anything Goes, Lexus Broadway Series at AT&T Performing Arts Center

The Book of Mormon, Lexus Broadway Series at AT&T Performing Arts Center

Traces, Lexus Broadway Series at AT&T Performing Arts Center

Underneath the Lintel, Patrick O'Brien at WaterTower Theatre's Out of the Loop Fringe Festival (see video below)

 

 

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR

Photo: Jeffrey Schmidt
Jac Alder as Freud

Jac Alder: Freud's Last Session, Theatre Three

David Coffee: Fly By Night, Dallas Theater Center

Bruce DuBose: An Iliad, Undermain Theatre

Chris Hury: The Taming of the Shrew, Stage West

Max Hartman: RX, Kitchen Dog Theater

Gregory Lush: On the Eve, Spacegrove Productions and Penelope, Undermain Theatre

Alex Organ: The Most Happy Fella, Lyric Stage and Fly by Night, Dallas Theater Center

Raphael Parry: The Chairs, Kitchen Dog Theater

Montgomery Sutton: Gruesome Playground Injuries, Second Thought Theatre

Ashley Wood: Children of a Lesser God, Contemporary Theatre of Dallas

 

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS

Photo: George Wada
Marianne Galloway and Ashley Wood in "Children of a Lesser God" at Contemporary Theatre of Dallas

Rhonda Boutté: The Chairs, Kitchen Dog Theater

Marianne Galloway: Children of a Lesser God, Contemporary Theatre of Dallas

Amber Nicole Guest: The Most Happy Fella, Lyric Stage

Martha Harms: The Lucky Chance; or An Alderman's Bargain, Echo Theatre; On the Eve, Spacegrove Productions; and RX, Kitchen Dog Theater

Jenny Ledel: Becky Shaw, Kitchen Dog Theater and On the Eve, Spacegrove Productions

Tina Parker: RX, Kitchen Dog Theater

Allison Pistorius: The Taming of the Shrew, Stage West

Kennedy Waterman: Daffodil Girls, Inspired by David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross, Fun House Theatre and Film

Barbara Wood: Knock Me a Kiss, Jubilee Theatre

 

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ENSEMBLE CAST

Jailbait, Dallas Actors Lab

On the Eve, Spacegrove Productions

The Taming of the Shrew, Trinity Shakespeare Festival

 

OUTSTANDING DESIGN/CREATIVE CONTRIBUTION

Photo: Undermain Theatre
Paul Semrad and Bruce DuBose composed, and played, original musical for Undermain Theatre's "An Iliad"

 

Design Team: The Taming of the Shrew and Julius Caesar, Trinity Shakespeare Festival

Design Team: Dreams of Slaughtered Sheep, the Ochre House

Bruce DuBose and Paul Semrad: music and sound design, An Iliad, Undermain Theatre

John Flores: sound design, Gruesome Playground Injuries, Second Thought Theatre

Home by Hovercraft: original score, On the Eve, Spacegrove Productions

Bob Lavallee: set design, The Tale of the Allergist's Wife, Theatre Arlington and Gruesome Playground Injuries, Second Thought Theatre

Timothy R. Mackabee: set design, The Odd Couple, Dallas Theater Center

Scott Osborne: set design, The Chairs, Kitchen Dog Theater

Ryan Matthieu Smith: costume design, The Lucky Chance; or An Alderman's Bargain, Echo Theatre

 

SPECIAL CITATIONS

To the late Jerry Russell, founder of Stage West, for his lifetime contributions to the North Texas theater community as an actor, director, producer and advocate.

To Jeff Swearingen and Bren Rapp with Fun House Theater and Film, for their innovative youth theater and dedication to the future of the craft.

 

Photo: Robert Hart
Jeff Swearingen and Bren Rapp of Fun House Theatre and Film

 

PARTICIPATING CRITICS

Alexandra Bonifield | CriticalRant and TheaterJones

Martha Heimberg | Turtle Creek News and TheaterJones

Liz Johnstone | D Magazine/Front Row

Arnold Wayne Jones | Dallas Voice

Elaine Liner | Dallas Observer

Mark Lowry |TheaterJones and Fort Worth Star-Telegram

M. Lance Lusk | D Magazine/Front Row

Kris Noteboom | TheaterJones

Punch Shaw | Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Lauren Smart | Arts+Culture Texas, Culture Map and TheaterJones

Lawson Taitte | Dallas Morning News

Lindsey Wilson | Culture Map and D Magazine/Front Row Thanks For Reading





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Chair Leaders
Kitchen Dog Theater is the big winner in this year's Dallas-Fort Worth Theater Critics Forum; also, much love for Jeffrey Schmidt, Second Thought Theatre, On the Eve, two Shrews and more.
by Mark Lowry

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