Dallas — The Dallas Theater Center, Uptown Players and WaterTower Theatre had especially good years in the 2013-'14 season, as decided by the writers of the Dallas-Fort Worth Theater Critics Forum. Eligible shows opened between Sept. 1, 2013 and Aug. 31, 2014.
Of the 11 shows cited for Outstanding Direction (which doubles as "best production"), four of them happened at DTC: (A Raisin in the Sun, Oedipus el Rey, The Fortress of Solitude and Les Misérables). And two directors, Tre Garrett and Susan Sargeant, were singled out for two productions each.
The Dallas Theater Center took a total of nine awards; Uptown Players had seven and WaterTower six (seven if you include a touring show at Out of the Loop Fringe Festival). Kitchen Dog Theater had five and Jubilee Theatre three. A number of theaters had two awards each. And one actor, Garret Storms, was awarded for his performance in four shows at four different theaters.
Below is the list, for which there is no one "best" chosen, but rather several of the most outstanding in each category. Keep in mind that it's hard to get a consensus by a slam of critics—we decided years ago that "slam" would be the collective noun for critics—so you'll have to wait for the year's end to see individual writers' favorites of the year. Theaters that have done well in previous years but didn't get any mentions this year include Undermain Theatre, Theatre Three and Contemporary Theatre of Dallas.
It's cool to note that of this year's 12 participating critics—membership requires that you are paid to write criticism and that you have seen a wide range of theaters and work in the season—is that for the first time in the group's history there are more women than men (seven to five). The complete list of critics and their affiliations is at the bottom of this story. We also gave a special citation to a critic: Lawson Taitte, who retired from the Dallas Morning News last year, but has had a long career in arts criticism for several media organizations.
Here's to more great theater in the 2014-'15 season!
Daniel Aukin, The Fortress of Solitude, Dallas Theater Center
B.J. Cleveland, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Uptown Players
David Denson, Year of the Rooster, Upstart Productions
Tre Garrett, A Raisin in the Sun, Dallas Theater Center; and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Jubilee Theatre
Tim Johnson, Detroit, Kitchen Dog Theater
Terry Martin, Dogfight, WaterTower Theatre
Kevin Moriarty, Oedipus el Rey, Dallas Theater Center
Susan Sargeant, The Diaries of Adam and Eve and Happy Days, WingSpan Theatre Co.
Liesl Tommy, Les Misérables, Dallas Theater Center
OUTSTANDING NEW PLAY OR MUSICAL
Barbecue Apocalypse by Matt Lyle, Kitchen Dog Theater
Booth by Steven Walters, Second Thought Theatre
The Fortress of Solitude by Itamar Moses and Michael Friedman, Dallas Theater Center
mania/gift by Shelby-Allison Hibbs, Echo Theatre at the Festival of Independent Theatres
Stiff by Jeff Swearingen, Fun House Theatre and Film
OUTSTANDING TOURING PRODUCTION
Evita, Dallas Summer Musicals
The Gershwins’ Porgy & Bess, AT&T Performing Arts Center
Peter and the Starcatcher, AT&T Performing Arts Center
Trick Boxing, Sossy Mechanics, at WaterTower Theatre's Out of the Loop Fringe Festival
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR
Adam A. Anderson, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Jubilee Theatre
Jaxon Beeson, Stiff, Fun House Theatre and Film
Joey Folsom, Hank Williams: Lost Highway, WaterTower Theatre; and Year of the Rooster, Upstart Productions
Alex Ross, The Boy from Oz, Uptown Players
Garret Storms, for four performances:
- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, WaterTower Theatre
- Hunting and Gathering, Amphibian Stage Productions
- The Rivals, Stage West
- Tartuffe, Shakespeare Dallas
Drew Wall, Nocturne, Second Thought Theatre
Steven Michael Walters, Les Misérables, Dallas Theater Center
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS
Tiffany Hobbs, A Raisin in the Sun, Dallas Theater Center; and Spunk, WaterTower Theatre
Janelle Lutz, The Boy from Oz, Uptown Players
Liz Mikel, A Raisin in the Sun, Dallas Theater Center
Tina Parker, Detroit, Kitchen Dog Theater
Allison Pistorius, Clybourne Park, Dallas Theater Center; and Venus in Fur, Circle Theatre
Sarah Elizabeth Smith, The Boy from Oz, Uptown Players
Juliette Talley, Dogfight, WaterTower Theatre
Ashley Wilkerson, The Mountaintop, Jubilee Theatre
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ENSEMBLE CAST
Barbecue Apocalypse, Kitchen Dog Theater
Heroes, Stage West
The Echo Room Presents: Her Song, Echo Theatre
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Uptown Players
OUTSTANDING DESIGN/CREATIVE CONTRIBUTION
Jeffrey Colangelo and Katy Tye, movement, Galatea, Prism Co.
Coy Covington, wig and make-up design for The Boy from Oz, Uptown Players; and wig design for Pageant: The Musical
Design Team, The Tempest and The Comedy of Errors, Trinity Shakespeare Festival
Clare Floyd DeVries, set design, Detroit, Kitchen Dog Theater
Jay Dias, music direction, Nine and Titanic, Lyric Stage
Gary James, wig design, Dogfight, WaterTower Theatre
To Matt Tomlanovich for reviving the Margo Jones Theatre as a busy performance space, opening it to fledgling companies at a reasonable price, and making it available to small festivals, poetry slams, readings and dance groups.
To Lawson Taitte, for his distinguished career in arts criticism.
Alexandra Bonifield | CriticalRant.com
Nancy Churnin | The Dallas Morning News
Jan Farrington | TheaterJones.com
Arnold Wayne Jones | Dallas Voice
Elaine Liner | Dallas Observer
M. Lance Lusk | TheaterJones.com
David Novinski | TheaterJones.com
Lauren Smart | Dallas Observer
Lindsey Wilson | D Magazine/Front Row