<em>Motown the Musical</em>&nbsp;is at AT&amp;T Performing Arts Center

Places! July 23-29

It's our weekly list of performing arts events opening on local stages. Plus, the rundown of last-chance shows.

published Thursday, July 23, 2015

Welcome to our weekly mega-list of performing arts happenings on TheaterJones! It covers a Thursday-to-Wednesday cycle and rounds up our picks for the best theater, classical music, opera, dance, comedy, spoken word/poetry and performing arts on film that are opening on North Texas stages and in movie theaters. Of all the local print and/or digital publications out there, it's the only weekly list of best bets that covers the range of performing arts—and only performing arts.

This week: Groove to the sounds of Motown at ATTPAC; much-loved musical theater composer Jason Robert Brown is in town; there's a lot of dance, from modern to hip-hop, which usually doesn't happen in the dog days of summer; and the scene is lousy with musicals, including Sweet Charity, Catch Me If You Can, Curtains, Into the Woods and previews of The Color Purple. And Denise Lee might just sing songs from some of those in her fabulously titled cabaret Too Old, Too Fat, Too Black: Songs I'll Never Sing on Broadway.

Also, note there's a lot of TCU mentions this week. Good stuff happening over there.

This list doesn't have everything happening in this week's cycle, but we've hit the highlights. For more listings, click the red calendar button at the top right of the page, and then you'll see a search function where you can search for events by presenting company, venue, title, description, date range and more options.

Note: Theater productions that have opened in a previous cycle and are in the middle of the run are not in the list below, but you can find them in the listings (see paragraph above). When a show is in its final weekend, we'll mention it in the "Last Chance" section of Places!

Get out and support the arts!



Thursday, July 23 through Wednesday, July 29 

Photo: Joan Marcus
Motown the Musical is at AT&T Performing Arts Center


1. Motown the Musical

AT&T Performing Arts Center Broadway Series | Winspear Opera House, Dallas

It's the national tour of Motown the Musical, the award-winning tribute to Berry Gordy and the groundbreaking sounds and musicians he fostered, including Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson and Marvin Gaye. If this one doesn't get you moving, we feel sorry for ya. | July 28-Aug. 16

» Our listing, with times, ticket info, map and more

Photo: Courtesy
Jason Robert Brown


2. Festival of American Song featuring Jason Robert Brown

Texas Christian University | TCU's PepsiCo Recital Hall

Opera singer and TCU voice faculty member Angela Turner Wilson founded this festival in 2014, with the mission to focus on a living American songwriter/composer. Last year's event focused on Ricky Ian Gordon, who was in attendance. This year it's Tony-winning composer, arranger and orchestrator Jason Robert Brown, known for musicals Parade, The Last Five Years and The Bridges of Madison County. Oh, and it's impossible for you to call yourself a musical theater nerd if you haven't obsessed over his early song cycle Songs for a New World. "Stars and the Moon," "Surabaya-Santa" and "Just One Step" are just three songs from that work that must be in every female singer's audition notebook. Brown will give a free master class (open to the public) at 1 p.m. Saturday, and then will perform some of his own songs, with pianist Shields-Collins Bray, at 7 p.m. Saturday. Then at 2 p.m. Sunday, TCU voice students and Brown will perform more songs. The latter two events are $10 each. | 1 and 7 p.m. July 25, 2 p.m. July 26

» Read Mark Lowry's story about the festival in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram

» Our 2012 interview with Jason Robert Brown, when he performed with Shosanna Bean at Casa Mañana

» Our listing, with times, ticket info, map and more


3. Sweet Charity

WaterTower Theatre, Addison

Of the musicals based on a Fellini film, well, Sweet Charity is our second favorite (after Nine, based on ). But Sweet Charity is still a gem, an oft-underrated show with terrific songs and lyrics (music by Cy Coleman and lyrics by Dorothy Fields) and a book by Neil Simon. Sometimes it takes you to strange places, such as "The Rhythm of Life" number, but it's such a sweet single-gal story. Oh, and the Bob Fosse choreography for "Big Spender." Boom. Other songs include "If My Friends Could See Me Now" and "I Love to Cry at Weddings," which is appropriate for star Whitney Hennen, who along with her partner Sara Bollinger was the first couple in Denton County to receive their marriage license after the landmark Supreme Court ruling on June 26. | Previews July 24-26, opens July 27 and runs Aug. 16

» Our interview with Whitney Hennen, who plays the title role. At the bottom of the story there is a ticket giveaway for the July 31 performance

» Our listing, with times, ticket info, map and more


4. Catch Me If You Can

Uptown Players | Kalita Humphreys Theater, Dallas

Uptown Players follows up its astonishing production of The Nance with the musical Catch Me If You Can, based on the true story of Frank Abagnale, Jr., which was retold in the 2002 Spielberg movie, starring Leonard DiCaprio. The musical features book by Texas native Terrence McNally and a score by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman of Hairspray fame. Antony Fortino, a TCU student who is definitely the area's newest young leading man musical star (he recently played Cable in South Pacific at Lyric Stage), plays Frank. Cheryl Denson directs. | July 24-Aug. 9

» Read our 2013 interview with the real Abagnale, when the tour of Catch Me came to Dallas

» Our listing, with times, ticket info, map and more

Photo: Mike Morgan
Catch Me If You Can at Uptown Players


5. CD/FW Dance Exchange: A Choreographers Showcase

Contemporary Dance/Fort Worth | The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

Contemporary Dance/Fort Worth closes its 12th Modern Dance Festival at the Modern with this two-day event, featuring choreographers and dancers from North Texas, Austin, Louisiana and elsewhere. Below is the list of dances and companies. | July 23-24

  • Claret Tango by Loris Anthony Beckles/Beckles Dancing Company (Dallas)
  • Wind On Mountain by Sue Collins (Denton)
  • Vernacular Architecture by Amy L. Sleigh (Fort Worth)
  • Inside Out by choreographer Sarah Newton (Dallas) in collaboration with composer John Hopkins (Fort Worth)
  • In Convenience by M2 (Monroe, LA) - Premiere of new performance art work by choreographer/dancer Tina Mullone and composer/musician Mel Mobley
  • Heima by Jessica Thomas (The Colony)
  • New Wine in Old Bottles by Shelley Cushman (Denton) [Thursday only]
  • Under Her Skin by DGDG (Danielle Georgiou Dance Group - Dallas)
  • That Obscure Subject of Desire (excerpts) by Randee Pauvfe (CA) performed by M2DT (Dallas)
  • A History of Modern Dance (abridged) by Contemporary Dance/Fort Worth

» Read Mark Lowry's preview of this performance in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram

» Our listing, with times, ticket info, map and more


6. Too Old, Too Fat, Too Black: Songs I'll Never Sing on Broadway

Cabaret in Fair Park | The Women's Museum, Fair Park

With that title, how could you possibly not want to go to this? It's from the great Denise Lee, and you can guess what kind of songs she'll be singing. The poster has her in the red Annie dress. Hysterical. And you know she'll kill these songs. And it's FREE! | 7:30 p.m. July 28

» Our listing, with times, ticket info, map and more


Photo: Krist Hundt/TheaterJones
Ken Orman stars in I'm Always on My Mind, the debut from Uppermost Entertainment


7. I'm Always On My Mind

Uppermost Entertainment | Theatre 166, Carrollton

Uppermost Entertainment debuts with the one-man show I'm Always On My Mind, written by Scott Rolfe Josephson and performed by Ken Orman. Linda Leonard directs. This company is a new venture from Leslie O'Hare and Lisa Bills, and they've put a lot of thought into it. Can't wait. | July 24-Aug. 22

» Our feature on Uppermost Entertainment

» Our listing, with times, ticket info, map and more


8. The Four Seasons: Recomposed

imPULSE dance project | Studio Theatre at the Addison Theatre Centre

imPULSE is under the Artistic Direction of Anastasia Waters, and this show features Max Richter's recomposition of Antonio Vivaldi's famous musical score, choreographed by company member Krista Langford. There'll also be a performance of Waters’ Words on Paper and Laura Barbee's Pale Moon, choreographed by Susan Douglas Roberts, a dance professor at TCU and Artistic Director of Wild Goose Chase | 8 p.m. July 25 and 26

» Our listing, with times, ticket info, map and more

Photo: DiAnn L�Roy
Junior Players presents A Midsummer Night's Dream


9. Curtains

Mainstage Irving-Las Colinas | Irving Arts Center, Dupree Theater

Mainstage Irving-Las Colinas closes its season with Curtains, one of the final works by Kander and Ebb, a murder mystery spoof (book by Rupert Holmes) and directed by B.J. Cleveland. If you saw what he can do onstage (again, in the astonishing The Nance), wait till you see his behind-the-scenes magic. | July 24-Aug. 8

» Our listing, with times, ticket info, map and more


10. A Midsummer Night's Dream

Junior Players | Samuell-Grand Amphitheatre at Tenison Park, Dallas

Junior Players's annual Shakespeare production, to follow up Shakespeare Dallas' summer season, is a Bollywood take on A Midsummer Night's Dream. | July 28-Aug. 2

» Our listing, with times, ticket info, map and more


11. The Maestro Remembered

Casa Mañana, Fort Worth

The late Joe Stecko, the longtime music director of Casa Mañana, will be tributed in this musical celebration. There will be tributes by Bobbie Wygant, Casa Mañana Board Chairman Rob Hood, Buff Shurr, Charles Ballinger, Betty Bob Buckley, Fran Franks, Kim Dacus, Debbie Brown, Rosemary Rumbley and Zak Reynolds, along with video messages expected from Tony Award winner Betty Buckley, Kevin Ligon and Kristin Chenoweth. And Ruta Lee will be there. You never know what she'll say, and we love that.

» Our obituary of Stecko, who died in 2014

» Read Mark Lowry's obituary in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram

» Our listing, with times, ticket info, map and more


12. Dallas Hip-Hop Dance Fest

Hip-Hop Dance Festival | Majestic Theatre, Dallas

The Dallas Hip-Hop Dance Fest Competition and Showcase, a two-day event featuring workshops, seminars and a showcase performance. The showcase on Saturday night features performances by Evolution 2.0, Cool Kids, Charlie Backstair, Legacy Dance Crew, Movement Crew, Patchwork Dance Co., Riso, Dallas Airheadz and more. | July 24-25

» More info

Photo: Courtesy
Dallas Hip Hop Dance Fest







Arnez J

Arlington Improv | July 23-26

» More info


Into the Woods

Garland Civic Theatre's season opens with Into the Woods at the Granville Arts Center | July 23-Aug. 2

» Our listing, with times, ticket info, map and more


Junie B. Jones the Musical

Presented by Plano Children's Theatre | July 23-26

» Our listing, with times, ticket info, map and more


April Macie

Hyena's Comedy Night Club Fort Worth | July 23-25

» More info


Chris Porter

Hyena's Comedy Night Club Dallas | July 23-25

» More info


Paul Varghese

Addison Improv | July 23

» More info





The Color Purple

Jubilee Theatre's season closes with the musical The Color Purple, based on the Alice Walker novel. The show previews Friday, July 24, through Thursday, July 30; opens July 30 and runs through Aug. 23. Look for more on it in next week's Places! | July 24-Aug. 23

» Our listing, with times, ticket info, map and more


A Piece of My Heart

Luckenbooth Theatre Collective presents Shirley Lauro's play A Piece of My Heart, about the wives of American soldiers in the Vietnam War, at Arts Fifth Avenue, Fort Worth | July 24-26

» Our listing, with times, ticket info, map and more


Ruthless! The Musical

Ennis Public Theatre presents the terrific musical spoof of Gypsy, Mame, All About Eve and The Bad Seed | July 24-Aug. 8

» Our listing, with times, ticket info, map and more


Shawn Wayans

At the Addison Improv | July 24-26

» More info





Vitruvian Salsa Festival

The Dance Council of North Texas presents this music/dance festival every Saturday at 6pm at Vitruvian Park in Addison. The event closes July 25 with musical guest Havana NRG | Through July 25

» Our listing, with times, ticket info, map and more





Basically Beethoven Festival

Fine Arts Chamber Players closes out its annual festival at Dallas City Performance Hall. This week features classical favorites presented by Alex and Rachel McDonald, Grace and Scott Wollett plus Joseph Kuipers. Selected movements by Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner, Bloch and Brahms feature music for violin, viola, oboe, cello and piano. | 3 p.m. July 26

» Our listing, with times, ticket info, map and more


The Billy Goats Gruff

The Dallas Opera presents a children's opera, using music from Mozart, Rossini and Donizetti, and performed at Dallas Children's Theater, directed by DCT's Nancy Schaeffer | 2 p.m. July 26

» Our listing, with times, ticket info, map and more


Simply Etta

Sheran Goodspeed Keyton reprises her one-woman celebration of the great Etta James at Buttons Restaurant in Fort Worth | 7 p.m. Sunday, July 26

» Read our review of Simply Etta from 2012

» More info here





An Experimental Cabaret

SMU students, alum and their friends offer up a late-night variety show at the Balcony Club, by the Lakewood Theatre in Dallas. Performers include Katherine Bourne, Jeffrey Colanelo, Trigg Watson (who hosts), Zac Hammer, Alia Tavakolian, Alice Werle, Abigail Birkett, Isaac Young, Brigham Mosley, Alexandra Hernandez, Adam A. Anderson, Samantha Rios and members of House Party Theatre | 11 p.m. Tuesday, July 28

» Our listing, with times, ticket info, map and more


Guillaume Tell

The Royal Opera House's production of the Rossini opera can be seen at the Angelika Film Centers in Dallas and Plano (see video trailer above) | 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 28 and 2 p.m. Wednesday, July 29

» More info here 



Photo: Chuck Marcelo
Chris Rodenbaugh, center, is the playwright of The Wraith at Fun House Theatre and Film



Soprano Liudmyla Monastyrska and tenor Roberto Alagna star in the Verdi opera, screened in the Live at the Met HD Summer Encore series at area movie theaters | 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 29

» Find a location near you here


The Wraith

Fun House Theatre and Film presents 17-year-old Chris Rodenbaugh's play The Wraith, which deals with the Irish Republican Army and borrows from Irish folklore and Nietzsche, at Plano Children's Theatre | July 29-Aug. 2

» Our listing, with times, ticket info, map and more





The Open Stage

Circus Freaks does a weekly open showcase of circus feats and other category-defying acts, from stand-up in costume to hula hooping opera singers to stripping poets at Celebration Event Center and Ballroom in Plano | 7 p.m. Mondays 

» Our listing, with times, ticket info, map and more


Open Classical

Bring an instrument (including your voice) and participate in this weekly classical music open mic, in locations in Dallas, Frisco and Fort Worth | See schedule below:

  • 8 p.m. every Tuesday at Buzzbrews Kitchen on Lemmon Avenue in Dallas
  • 8 p.m. first Monday of the month at Cedars Woodfire Grill, Frisco
  • 8 p.m. second and fourth Thursday at Live Oak Music Hall & Lounge, Fort Worth 

» Our listing, with times, ticket info, map and more



Each week we'll highlight at least one performance in a city outside of Dallas-Fort Worth that's still reasonably drivable. Because this is Texas, that means five hours or less, one way. So, look for recommendations in Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, etc.


Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Ladies

Jennifer Holliday stars in this production at Austin's Zach Theatre | Through Aug. 23

» More info here



These productions will close this weekend

Photo: Linda Blase
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) [Revised] at Shakespeare Dallas


American Idiot

Presented by Ohlook Performing Arts Center, Grapevine | Closes Sunday

» Our listing, with times, ticket info, map and more


Crazy for You

Presented by Garland Summer Musicals at the Granville Arts Center | Closes Sunday

» Our review


Don't Dress for Dinner

Presented by Richardson Theatre Centre | Closes Sunday

» Our listing, with times, ticket info, map and more


Mary Poppins

Presented by Repertory Company Theatre, Richardson | Closes Sunday

» Our listing, with times, ticket info, map and more


Menopause the Musical: The Survivor Tour

Presented by GFour Productions at the Music Hall at Fair Park | Closes Sunday

» Our listing, with times, ticket info, map and more



Presented by Stolen Shakespeare Guild at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center's Sanders Theatre | Closes Sunday

» Our review



The tour of the recent Tony-winning, circus-themed revival, presented by Performing Arts Fort Worth at Bass Performance Hall | July 21-26

» Our review of the tour stop at Dallas Summer Musicals

» Our interview with John Rubinstein, who played Pippin in the original Broadway production and now plays Charlemagne on the tour


Shakespeare Dallas Summer Season

The annual Shakespeare in the Park season has its final performance of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) [Revised] on Friday; and Romeo and Juliet on Sunday, at the Samuell-Grand Amphitheatre at Tenison Park

» Our review of Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) [Revised]

» Our review of Romeo and Juliet



Here are some must-see upcoming performances and events



  1. Theatre Three's new season opens with The Glass Menagerie | July 30-Aug. 23
  2. Kids Who Care presents the original musical Look Up at the Scott Theatre, Fort Worth | July 30-Aug. 2
  3. Denton Community Theatre presents Take Ten: Ten-Minute Play Festival at the PointBank Black Box Theatre, Denton | July 31-Aug. 2
  4. Lakeside Community Theatre in The Colony presents Avenue Q | July 31-Aug. 29
  5. Overtake Productions presents One Day in a Love War at the Addison Theatre Centre's Studio Theatre | July 31-Aug. 2
  6. SceneShop celebrates 20 years with a showcase at Arts Fifth Avenue, Fort Worth | Aug. 1-8
  7. Stage West does the play Mr. Burns, a post-electric play | Aug. 6-Sept. 13
  8. Photo: Buddy Myers
    Mr. Burns, a post-electric play at Stage West
    Casa Mañana's Apprentice Program presents Big Fish | Aug. 7-9
  9. Plano Children's Theatre presents The Producers | Aug. 7-15
  10. Theatre Arlington's season closes with Mama Won't Fly | Aug. 7-22
  11. Ohlook Performing Arts in Grapevine presents Silence! The Musical | Aug. 7-23
  12. Kitchen Dog Theater presents the second Dallas One-Minute Play Festival at Southern Methodist University's Greer Garson Theatre | Aug. 8-10
  13. Our Productions Theatre Co. Dallas presents God of Carnage at the Addison Theatre Centre's Studio Theatre | Aug. 13-29
  14. L.I.P. Service opens David Rabe's Streamers at the Firehouse Theatre in Farmer's Branch | Aug. 13-29
  15. Stolen Shakespeare Guild presents Dirty Rotten Scoundrels at the Sanders Theatre at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center | Aug. 14-30
  16. Onstage in Bedford does The House of Blues Leaves | Aug. 14-30
  17. Hip Pocket Theatre presents James Maynard's Lili | Aug. 14-Sept. 6
  18. Fun House Theatre & Film does Jeff Swearingen's A School Bus Named Desire at Plano Children's Theatre | Aug 14-22
  19. Circle Theatre presents John Strand's Lovers and Executioners | Aug. 20-Sept. 19
  20. unMasqued brings its show Wasteland to the Studio Theatre at Stage West | Aug. 20-23



  1. Justin Giles' SoulEscape Collaboration features Bruce Wood Dance Project, Pedestrian Dance Movement, Rhythmic Souls and Dark Circles Contemporary Dance at the Majestic Theatre | Aug. 1
  2. The Indian Cultural Heritage Foundation presents Arathi Dance Fest 2015 at Dallas City Performance Hall | Aug. 7-8
  3. The Second Annual Dallas DanceFest is at Dallas City Performance Hall | Sept. 4-6
  4. Texas Ballet Theater's season opens with Ben Stevenson's Dracula at the AT&T Performing Arts Center's Winspear Opera House, featuring Dallas Symphony Orchestra | Sept. 4-6
  5. Ballet Folklórico de México de Amalia Hernandez comes to Verizon Theatre, Grand Prairie | Sept. 16
  6. Twyla Tharp's 50th Anniversary Tour opens TITAS' season at Winspear Opera House | Sept. 18-19
  7. The Russian Grand Ballet presents Swan Lake at the Eisemann Center for the Performing Arts, Richardson | Sept 24
  8. The Dark Circles Contemporary Dance season opens with Fall Series at TCU's Erma Lowe Hall Studio | Oct. 9-11
  9. Texas Ballet Theater does Ben Stevenson's Dracula at Bass Performance Hall, featuring the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra | Oct. 16-18
  10. TITAS presents Kyle Abraham at Dallas City Performance Hall | Oct. 29-30



  1. Orchestra of New Spain presents "Music for Portrait of Infanta Margarita in Blue Dress" at the Meadows Museum at SMU | July 30
  2. The documentary Virtuosity, about the 2013 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, airs on PBS | July 31
  3. The Fort Worth Symphony season opens with the Classical Masters Festival at Bass Performance Hall | Aug. 28-30
  4. The Dallas Symphony's Pops season opens with The Sinatra Century at the Meyerson Symphony Center | Sept. 4-6
  5. The Dallas Symphony Orchestra does Debussy's Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun and other works at Dallas City Performance Hall | Sept. 11-12



  1. Bryan Callen comes to the Addison Improv | July 31-Aug. 2
  2. Serial's Sarah Koenig appears in the AT&T Performing Arts Center's #Thinkspeak Series at the Winspear Opera House | Aug. 2
  3. Wendy Williams comes to Verizon Theatre, Grand Prairie | Aug. 7
  4. Pegasus Theatre presents the improv event The Naughty Bits at the Bath House Cultural Center | Aug. 13-29
  5. Arden Myrin comes to Hyena's Comedy Night Club Dallas | Aug. 13-15
  6. Kevin Hart is at American Airlines Center | Aug. 14
  7. Sheryl Underwood is at the Arlington Improv | Aug. 14-15
  8. "Weird" Al Yankovic: The Mandatory World Tour visits Verizon Theatre in Grand Prairie | Aug. 21
  9. Comic Patton Oswalt comes to Majestic Theatre, Dallas | Sept. 12
  10. Nerdist guru Chris Hardwick comes to Majestic Theatre, Dallas | Sept. 18 


» For complete listings of what's happening on North Texas stages, click on the calendar icon at the top right of the page. Once there, you can click the red "Search the Calendar" box, and search for listings by dates, performance type, the presenting company, titles or descriptions. For instance, type "Shakespeare" into the description field, click SEARCH and you'll find a host of performances (theater, dance, music, etc.) by, adapted from or about the Bard. Thanks For Reading

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Places! July 23-29
It's our weekly list of performing arts events opening on local stages. Plus, the rundown of last-chance shows.
by Mark Lowry

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