Dallas — The voices of 11 members of the Dallas-Fort Worth Theater Critics Forum could be heard arguing—occasionally loudly and over one another—about the work that just ended the 2014-15 theater season. (Eligible productions opened between Sept. 1, 2014 and Aug. 31, 2015.) Many of us probably walked away from the annual meeting, graciously hosted by Martha Heimberg in her beautiful Lakewood home, sad that some of our choices narrowly missed the cut, but also glad that we thwarted others' picks that we vehemently opposed.
For me personally, I'm still astounded that the world premiere of Gordon Dahlquist's Tomorrow Come Today at Undermain Theatre didn't make the Outstanding New Play category (it just won a major award, after all), and don't understand why no one else could get behind a vote for the terrific costume and georgeous mask designs of Mr. Burns, a post-electric play at Stage West.
That's the way it goes. Logrolling is the name of the game...and besides, we each have our year-end lists to look forward to.
New this year was the choice to merge the categories of the best acting performances for both men and women, erasing gender lines. Note that 17 actors were listed this year, and five of them for more than one show. Jenny Ledel was listed for four outstanding turns.
Among the big winners: Undermain Theatre and Uptown Players, each of which had three productions listed for outstanding direction. Jubilee Theatre had a pretty good year, too. Local playwright Jonathan Norton, who has grown tremendously as a writer, received several mentions for his February play Mississippi Goddamn at the South Dallas Cultural Center. Some favorites of the past, such as Theatre Three, WaterTower Theatre, Kitchen Dog Theater and Dallas Theater Center, only received a few mentions.
And where national tours were concerned, we were less interested in the big shows presented by the major touring presenters, and more into smaller-scale tours at the Eisemann Center and in the AT&T Performing Arts Center's Off-Broadway on Flora Series.
For special citations, we gave out three: To Lyric Stage, the Dallas Solo Fest and the folks behind the always-exciting Shakespeare in the Bar.
Below is the complete list. Let us know how we did. What were your favorite performances, productions and creative contribution?
Akín Babatundé, Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope and The Color Purple, Jubilee Theatre
Bruce R. Coleman, The Nance, Uptown Players
Cheryl Denson, Catch Me If You Can, Uptown Players
Jeremy Dumont, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Uptown Players
Blake Hackler, The Flick, Undermain Theatre
Katherine Owens, Tomorrow Come Today and The Testament of Mary, Undermain Theatre
Matthew Posey, The Egg Salesman, The Ochre House
vickie washington, Mississippi Goddamn, South Dallas Cultural Center
OUTSTANDING NEW PLAY OR MUSICAL
Mississippi Goddamn by Jonathan Norton, South Dallas Cultural Center
The Show About Men by Danielle Georgiou, Justin Locklear and Trey Pendergrass, DGDG, Festival of Independent Theatres
Standing Eight Count by Van Quattro, Rite of Passage Theatre Company, WaterTower Theatre's Out of the Loop Fringe Festival and Dallas Solo Fest
Stephanie Cleghorn Jasso, Lydia, Cara Mía Theatre Company
B.J. Cleveland, The Nance, Uptown Players
David Coffee, King Lear, Trinity Shakespeare Festival
Hassan El-Amin, Radio Golf and A Soldier's Play, African American Repertory Theater
Anthony Fortino, Catch Me If You Can, Uptown Players
Kyle Igneczi, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Uptown Players
Shannon Kearns, The Testament of Mary, Undermain Theatre
- The Arsonists, Kitchen Dog Theater
- Belleville, Second Thought Theatre
- Othello, Second Thought Theatre
- Wilde/Earnest, Kitchen Dog Theater
David Lugo, Catch Me If You Can, Uptown Players
Janelle Lutz, Lady in the Dark and South Pacific, Lyric Stage
Ebony Marshall Oliver, In Real Life and The Color Purple, Jubilee Theatre
Sally Nystuen Vahle, Medea, Dallas Theater Center
Allison Pistorius, The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence, Stage West
Paul Taylor, Mr. Burns, a post-electric play, Stage West; and The Hot Mikado, Theatre
Lulu Ward, The Two-Character Play, WingSpan Theatre Company
Sherry Jo Ward, Precious Little, Echo Theatre
Pat Watson, Streamers, L.I.P. Service
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ENSEMBLE CAST
The Brothers Size, Jubilee Theatre
The Egg Salesman, The Ochre House
The Flick, Undermain Theatre
Hands on a Hardbody, Theatre Three
Mississippi Goddamn, South Dallas Cultural Center
Mr. Burns, a post-electric play, Stage West
The Nance, Uptown Players
OUTSTANDING DESIGN OR CREATIVE CONTRIBUTION
Robin Armstrong, fight choreography, Lovers and Executioners, Circle Theatre
Clare Floyd DeVries, set design, The Explorers Club, Stage West and WaterTower Theatre
Danielle Georgiou, choreography, NICE and The Show About Men, DGDG
Bob Lavallee, set design, The Rocky Horror Show, Dallas Theater Center
Joshua L. Peugh, choreography/movement, Colossal, Dallas Theater Center
Adam C. Wright, original composition, The Nance, Uptown Players
OUTSTANDING TOURING PRODUCTION
Buyer & Cellar, AT&T Performing Arts Center
Endurance, Split Knuckle Theatre, The Eisemann Center for the Performing Arts
The Last Two People on Earth: An Apocalyptic Vaudeville, The Eisemann Center for the Performing Arts
Once, AT&T Performing Arts Center and Performing Arts Fort Worth
Pippin, Dallas Summer Musicals and Performing Arts Fort Worth
To Lyric Stage and musical director Jay Dias for their contributions to the musical restoration of The Golden Apple and Lady in the Dark, and for the first cast recording of the complete score of The Golden Apple.
To Audacity Theatre Lab and Brad McEntire for bringing quality local and national performances to the second annual Dallas Solo Fest at the Margo Jones Theatre, and for advancing the art of solo performance in North Texas.
To the producers of Shakespeare in the Bar for attracting new and large audiences to non-traditional spaces and reminding us that Shakespeare can be unexpected and fun.
Alexandra Bonifield, CriticalRant.com
Nancy Churnin, The Dallas Morning News
Jan Farrington, TheaterJones.com
Martha Heimberg, The Dallas Weekly and TheaterJones.com
Arnold Wayne Jones, Dallas Voice
Elaine Liner, The Dallas Observer
Mark Lowry, TheaterJones.com and Fort Worth Star-Telegram
David Novinski, TheaterJones.com
Punch Shaw, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Lauren Smart, The Dallas Observer
Lindsey Wilson, Culture Map