<em>Billy Elliot the Musical</em> at Firehouse Theatre

Places! July 28-Aug. 3, 2016

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

published Thursday, July 28, 2016

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: It's another great week for dance, with the continuing Modern Dance Festival at the Modern in Fort Worth, a performance from Evolution Tango at the Latino Cultural Center, and three dance events—the Dallas Hip-Hop Dance Festival, SoulEscape and Big Rig Dance Co-op—that feature public performances. Dance is also a big part of the plot in the area premiere of Billy Elliot the Musical, presented by the Firehouse Theatre in Farmer's Branch. And if you don't get up and dance at Denise Lee's first Dallas Cabaret Festival, people will think there's something wrong with you. Also this week: world premiere plays and musicals from The Tribe, Kids Who Care and DVA Productions.

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!



 THU JULY 28  thru  WED AUG. 3 


Photo: Courtesy
Billy Stritch and Jim Caruso headline the first Dallas Cabaret Festival


 1  Dallas Cabaret Festival

Denise Lee Onstage | The Women's Building, Fair Park

 FREE  Denise Lee has been a big part of this city's cabaret scene for years, and with her cabaret series at Fair Park and this first Dallas Cabaret Festival, the art form is getting a very bright spotlight. The festival kicks off Thursday with former Dallasite Jim Caruso, who runs NYC's famous Cast Party, along with his collaborator Billy Stritch. On Friday, catch individual cabaret shows from Linda Petty, Julie Johnson and Marisa Diotalevi; and on Saturday there's an all-star tribute to the Hideaway, the former Dallas club where lots of local singers did their thang. | July 28-30

» More info in our listing

» Our interview with Jim Caruso


Photo: UPCB
Upright Citizens Brigade


 2  Upright Citizens Brigade

AT&T Performing Arts Center Off-Broadway on Flora | Dallas City Performance Hall

This Chicago-based improv and sketch troupe emerged in the 1990s, with founders that included Amy Poehler and Horatio Sanz, so they're kind of a big deal in the comedy world. They've had several TV shows and films, and now the touring company is taking a trip around the country, with a stop in Dallas Saturday night, presented in AT&T Performing Arts Center's Off-Broadway on Flora series. | 8 p.m. Saturday, July 30

» More info in our listing


 3  Billy Elliot: The Musical

The Firehouse Theatre, Farmer's Branch

The Firehouse Theatre in Farmer's Branch has the area premiere of this Tony Award-winning musical, based on the 2000 film about an Irish boy who wants to dance, and takes lessons in secret from his macho father. It won the 2009 Tony for Best Musical (beating Next to Normal), and this production is directed by Derek Whitener and has a team of eight choreographers to capture the ballet and Broadway styles. Westin Brown stars as Billy, Ben Phillips is his dad, and Andi Allen is the dance teacher. | Previews Thursday, July 28; opens Friday, July 29 and runs through Aug. 14

» More info in our listing


Photo: Evolution Tango
Evolution Tango


 4  Shades of Tango

Evolution Tango Company | Latino Cultural Center, Dallas

Evolution Tango Company brings in some of the best tango dancers and musicians from Argentina and the world for this event. Look for performances from Hugo Patyn and Celina Rotundo; George and Jairelbhi Furlong; Carlos Mario Urrego and Maureen Munoz, among others. | 8 p.m. Friday, July 29; 4 and 8 p.m. Saturday, July 30

» More info in our listing


Photo: Courtesy Claire Carson
Hypochondria from The Tribe


 5  Hypochondria

The Tribe | The Margo Jones Theatre, Fair Park

The Tribe is a group of twentysomething theatermakers who started experimenting with devised theater and warehouse shows in 2015, and this year has emerged as a theater company ready to play in the big leagues. Its two full productions this year, Janielle Kastner's Ophelia Underwater and Ruben Carrazana's Stacy Has a Thing for Black Guys, have been standouts, and we're looking forward to more with the world premiere of Claire Carson's Hypochondria, which runs just one weekend at the Margo Jones Theatre. To learn more about the company and the play, click on the link below for our recent feature. | July 28-31

» More info in our listing

» Our feature on The Tribe


 6  Fifth Annual Dallas Hip-Hop Dance Fest

Dallas Hip-Hop Dance Festival | The Majestic Theatre, Dallas

The fifth annual Dallas Hip-Hop Dance Fest is a gathering with classes and workshops and competitions, with a culminating performance by professional teams on Saturday night. See more about the event in the video below. | 7 p.m. Saturday, July 30

» More info in our listing




 7  The King's Door

Kids Who Care | Scott Theatre, Fort Worth Community Arts Center

For many summers, Fort Worth's Kids Who Care has brought in international students to work on an original production created by the staff, kids and community members. The resulting production uses hundreds of youth performers, which sounds like it could be a big ol' mess. But trust us, they also pull off something magical and emotional. Last year it was the amazing Look Up, about the dangers of staying glued to electronic devices. This year it's called The King's Door, a musical about compassion, and it's written in collaboration with families served at Cook Children's Hospital. The international youth come from Australia, Germany, Italy and Mexico. Deborah Jung directs. | July 28-31

» More info in our listing

» Read our 2015 story about Kids Who Care and the group's process


 8  The Campaign Trail

DVA Productions | Fort Worth Community Arts Center, Sanders Theatre

DVA Productions presents a new musical comedy about the zaniness of campaigning, staring Tarrant County Commissioner (Precinct 1) Roy Brooks, with music by Joe Rogers and a book by Sheran Goodspeed. The production is a collaboration with Trimble Tech High School Theatre Department and the T.T.H.S.Theatre Arts Production School (TAPS). A portion of the proceeds will be donated to The Windell D. Middlebrooks Scholarship Fund, the Trimble Tech High School Theater Department and the DVA Young Artist Mentor Program. | July 29-Aug. 7

» More info in our listing


Photo: Buddy Myers

DVA Productions presents The Campaign Trail


 9  A Voyage Through Bedlam

SoulEscape | The Majestic Theatre, Dallas

SoulEscape presents its second annual event of dance workshops and classes, which culminates in a performance featuring Rhythmic Souls tap group, Pedestrian Dance Movement, Wanderlust Dance Project, Jeremy Hudson and Tyne Stecklein. | 7 p.m. Sunday, July 31

» More info in our listing


 10  Dance Co-Op

Big Rig Dance Collective | Texas Woman's University, Denton

Denton-based Big Rig Dance Collective is presenting its fifth annual weekend of workshops and classes, and features a public performance on Friday night with local choreographers and dancers. Expect to see work from folks who collaborate with such local groups as Dark Circles Contemporary Dance and Avant Chamber Ballet, among others. | 8 pm. Friday, July 29

» More info in our listing


 11  Nunsense

Brick Road Theatre | Courtyard Theatre, Plano

Since Brick Road Theatre debuted in 2015, it has been giving us musicals we don't see as much, such as Company and, later this year, The Light in the Piazza. But it's summer, so why not have some fun with this silly Dan Goggins hit about a group of sisters doing a fundraiser. It stars Janelle Lutz, Jodi C. Wright, Ivy Opdyke, Sky Williams and Shannon Ryan, with direction by Doug Miller and musical direction by James McQuillen. | July 29-Aug. 7

» More info in our listing


 12  Texas Queerlesque Festival

Texas Queerlesque Festival | Sue Ellen's in Oak Lawn and Viva's Lounge in the Design District

What is queerlesque? Burlesque with the entire spectrum of LGBT performers. This first event, co-produced by Chloe McDowell, who produces a queerlesque event at Mable Peabody's in Denton, happens at two locations. It's time to be fabulous—for your life. | July 28-31

» More info in our listing







DFW Stand-Up Superstars

Local stand-up greats take the stage at the Arlington Improv.  | July 28

» More info


Steve "Mudflap" McGrew

The comedian is at Hyena's Comedy Night Club Plano. | July 28-30

» More info

Eric "Smooth-E" Schwartz

The comedian is at Hyena's Comedy Night Club Dallas. | July 28-30

» More info


Jay Whitecotton

The comedian is at the Addison Improv. | July 28

» More info


Todd Yohn

The comedian is at Hyena's Comedy Night Club Fort Worth. | July 28-30

» More info





Bruce Bruce

The comedian is at the Addison Improv. | July 29-31

» More info

Photo: Yi-Chun Wu
Gus Solomons, Jr.



The actress/comedian comes to the Arlington Improv | July 29-30

» More info


Smokey Joe's Cafe

Jubilee Theatre closes its season with the musical revue of Lieber and Stoller songs, directed by Robert Michael James. Because it previews in this cycle and opens next week, we'll have more in next week's Places! | Previews July 29-31 and Aug. 4; opens Aug. 5 and runs through Aug. 21

» More info in our listing





Modern Dance Festival at the Modern

 FREE  Contemporary Dance/Fort Worth's 13th Annual Modern Dance Festival at the Modern continues (we featured it in the Big 12 last week), with a big dance card of local and regional groups performing work inspired by the Modern's current exhibition "Frank Stella: A Retrospective"; with the highlight being legendary New York dancer Gus Solomons, Jr., performing his I Used to be Taller. CD/FW will also tribute Merce Cunningham's Scramble, which featured Solomons and had a set designed by Stella. | 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

» More info in our listing

» Our interview with Gus Solomons, Jr., which also has a schedule of events




Basically Beethoven Festival

 FREE  The final concert in Fine Arts Chamber Players' annual Basically Beethoven Festival at Dallas City Performance Hall. A string quintet (Shu Lee, violin; Kaori Yoshida, violin; Valerie Dimond, viola; Nan Zhang, cello; Shuyi Wang, cello) closes the Festival with Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, and Schubert’s Cello Quintet.| 2 p.m. Sunday, July 31

» More info in our listing

» Our review of the July 17 Basically Beethoven performance





Hopped Up on Goofballs Cabaret

The NY Goofs return for their fifth show of circus, variety and other shenanigans at Pocket Sandwich Theatre, Dallas. | 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 2

» More info in our listing




New to Places! Because Mark Lowry doesn't review a number of shows for either TheaterJones or the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, each week he'll mention something that he has seen (and possibly reviewed) that he highly recommends to you.


Photo: Lowell Sargeant
Samuel Beckett's Play, performed by WingSpan Theatre Company, is this year's FIT highlight


Festival of Independent Theatres

In case you haven't see any of the shows in this year's 18th annual event, you've got this weekend, when you can fit all eight shows in. Our top recommendations are Samuel Beckett's Play from WingSpan Theatre Company, Naomi Iizuka's Good Kids from Cry Havoc Theatre, Charlie Varon's Rush Limbaugh in Night School from Fun House Theatre and Film, and Conor McPherson's The Good Thief from L.I.P. Service. Overall it's a better group of shows than we've seen in the last few years. | Closes Saturday

» Our special FIT section, which has interviews and reviews for all shows, plus schedules and more.





Backdoor Comedy Open Mike

The Backdoor Comedy Club at the Doubletree Hotel in Dallas has weekly open mike stand-up. | 8:30 p.m. Thursdays

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


Fort Worth Poetry Slams Open Mike

Host Michael Guinn leads this weekly open mike; participants earn points to see who makes it to Cowtown's award-winning national slam team. You can also just go to watch and listen. | 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Dec. 22

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


Glitterbomb Denton

A weekly queer variety show that offers the "very best drag, burlesque, queerlesque, sideshow, magic and musical talent Denton has to offer," at Mable Peabody's Beauty Parlor and Chainsaw Repair, Denton | 9:30 p.m. Thursdays

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


Mama's Party

Amy Stevenson hosts a musical theater open mike event at the Uptown Theater in Grand Prairie. | 7:30 p.m. on select Mondays

» More info


Liz Mikel's Entertainer's Showcase

Dallas Theater Center company member Liz Mikel leads a jazz, R&B and show tune open mike every Monday at the Balcony Club, above the Lakewood Theater in East Dallas. | 9:30 p.m. Mondays

» More info


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. | 8 p.m. every Tuesday at Buzzbrews Kitchen on Lemmon Avenue, Dallas.

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


Open Mic Nite at Central

The Dallas Public Library Central Branch presents an open mic for musicians, poets and other performers. At the J. Erik Jonsson Library in downtown Dallas. | 5:30-7:30 p.m. on the first and third Thursdays of the month.

» More info






Photo: Mike Morgan
It's Only a Play at Uptown Players


Bonnie and Clyde

Presented by Theatre Coppell. | Closes Sunday

» More info in our listing


The Book of Moron

Robert Dubac's one-man show presented by Performing Arts Fort Worth at McDavid Studio, next to Bass Hall. | Closes Sunday

» More info in our listing for Book of Moron

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


Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Presented by Artisan Center Theater, Hurst. | Closes Saturday

» More info in our listing


The Distant Echo of Ancient Youth

Presented by Hip Pocket Theatre, Fort Worth. | Closes Sunday

» Mark Lowry's review in the Star-Telegram

» More info in our listing



Presented by Repertory Company Theatre at University of Texas at Dallas. | Closes Sunday

» More info in our listing


Festival of Independent Theatres

Featuring eight short/one-act plays from local companies. | Closes Sunday

» More info in our listing


It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Murder

A Living Black and White comedy, presented by Pegasus Theatre at the Eisemann Center for the Performing Arts, Richardson. This is the last time to see Kurt Kleinmann in the role he created of Harry Hunsacker. | Closes Sunday

» Our review (which includes an added report about Scott Nixon as Harry Hunsacker)


It's Only a Play

Uptown Players presents Terrence McNally's reworked backstage comedy, with an ace cast that includes Chamblee Ferguson and B.J. Cleveland. | Closes Sunday

» Our interview with director Cheryl Denson

» Our review


Jekyll & Hyde

Presented by Onstage in Bedford. | Closes Sunday

» More info in our listing


Nice Work If You Can Get It

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

» More info in our listing


Regrets Only

Presented by Runway Theatre in Grapevine. | Closes Sunday

» More info in our listing


The Secret Garden

Presented by Plaza Theatre Company, Cleburne. | Closes Saturday

» More info in our listing


The Taming of the Shrew

Presented by Junior Players at Samuell-Grand Amphitheatre at Tenison Park, Dallas. | Closes Sunday

» Our review



Presented by Greater Lewisville Community Theatre. | Closes Sunday

» More info in our listing







  1. Our Productions Theatre presents I Love You Because at MCL Grand Theater, Lewisville (Aug. 4-7) and at the Studio Theatre at the Addison Theatre Center (Aug. 11-Sept. 3) | Aug. 4-Sept. 3
  2. Theatre Three presents The Novelist | Aug. 4-28
  3. L.I.P. Service presents Trainspotting at the Rudy Seppy Rehearsal Studio, Irving | Aug. 4-20
  4. Soul Rep Theatre Company presents The Colored Museum at South Dallas Cultural Center | Aug. 5-14
  5. WaterTower Theatre presents One Man, Two Guvnors | Aug. 5-28
  6. Ohlook Performing Arts in Grapevine presents Citizen Drumpf Aug. 5-14
  7. Theatre Arlington presents Calendar Girls | Aug. 5-21
  8. Casa Mañana's Apprentice Program presents Children of Eden | Aug 5-7
  9. SceneShop presents Turn and Face the Strange at Arts Fifth Avenue in Fort Worth | Aug. 6-12
  10. Stage West presents Bootycandy | Aug. 11-Sept. 11
  11. Pegasus Theatre presents The Coarse Actor Rises! at the Bath House Cultural Center | Aug. 11-27
  12. Hip Pocket Theatre presents Lake Simons' Don Quixote | Aug. 12-Sept. 4
  13. Stolen Shakespeare Guild presents Singin' in the Rain at the Sanders Theatre in the Fort Worth Community Arts Center | Aug. 12-28
  14. Artisan Center Theater in Hurst presents Starlight Express | Aug. 12-Sept. 3
  15. Denton Community Theatre presents West Side Story at the Campus Theatre | Aug. 12-21
  16. Kitchen Dog Theater presents the third Dallas One-Minute Play Festival at the Trinity River Arts Center | Aug. 13-15
  17. AT&T Performing Arts Center's 2016-17 Broadway Series opens with A Gentlemen's Guide to Love and Murder at Winspear Opera House | Aug. 16-28
  18. The national tour of The Sound of Music comes to Bass Performance Hall | Aug. 17-21
  19. Circle Theatre presents The Taming | Aug. 18-Sept. 17
  20. The Ochre House presents Dreamless | Aug. 20-Sept. 10
  21. Dallas Theater Center presents Constellations at the Wyly Theatre Studio Theatre | Aug. 24-Oct. 9
  22. Stage West presents An Iliad in the Studio Theatre | Aug. 25-Sept. 18
  23. Robert Dubac's The Male Intellect: An Oxymoron? comes to the Eisemann Center in Richardson | Aug. 26-27
  24. Uptown Players presents The Toxic Avenger at Kalita Humphreys Theater | Aug. 26-Sept. 11
  25. Theatre Britain presents The Hollow at Cox Building Playhouse | Sept. 2-25
  26. Onstage in Bedford presents Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? | Sept. 2-18
  27. The Firehouse Theatre in Farmer's Branch presents To Kill a Mockingbird | Sept. 8-25
  28. Contemporary Theatre of Dallas presents Dancing at Lughnasa | Sept. 9-Oct. 2
  29. Casa Mañana's season opens with Jesus Christ Superstar | Sept. 10-18
  30. Undermain Theatre presents so go the ghosts of méxico | Sept. 14-Oct. 18



  1. The Dance Council of North Texas presents the third annual Dallas DanceFest at Dallas City Performance Hall | Sept 2-3
  2. TITAS presents Aspen Santa Fe Ballet at Dallas City Performance Hall | Sept. 16-17
  3. Texas Ballet Theater presents Carmen and Danse à Grande Vitesse at Winspear Opera House, Dallas | Sept 16-18
  4. The Russian Grand Ballet presents The Sleeping Beauty at the Eisemann Center in Richardson | Oct. 6
  5. Texas Ballet Theater presents Carmen and Danse à Grande Vitesse at Bass Performance Hall, Fort Worth | Oct. 7-9
  6. TITAS presents Estampas Porteñas Tango at Dallas City Performance Hall | Oct. 28-29
  7. Dark Circles Contemporary Dance presents its Fall Series at Southern Methodist University, Bob Hope Theatre | Nov. 18-20



  1. The Fort Worth Symphony's Classical Masters concert features the music of Beethoven, Haydn and Mozart at Bass Performance Hall | Aug. 26-28
  2. The Dallas Symphony presents Music from Final Fantasy at the Meyerson Symphony Center | Sept. 2-3
  3. The Fort Worth Symphony presents E.T. The Extra Terrestrial with live accompaniment at Bass Performance Hall | Sept. 2-4
  4. The Dallas Symphony presents An Evening with Megan Hilty at the Meyerson Symphony Center | Sept. 9-11
  5. The Dallas Symphony presents its annual Gala with Lang Lang at the Meyerson Symphony Center | Sept. 16



  1. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey presents Circus Xtreme at American Airlines Center | Aug. 3-14
  2. Roman vs. Fousey comes to Majestic Theatre | Aug. 11
  3. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey presents Circus Xtreme at Fort Worth Convention Center | Aug. 18-21
  4. Baron Vaughn performs at Amphibian Stage Productions | Aug. 29-Sept. 3
  5. Jerry Seinfeld comes to the Winspear Opera House | Sept. 10
  6. Chingo Bling comes to Arlington Improv | Sept. 16-19
  7. The Funny or Die Presents Oddball Comedy & Curiosity Festival, with Dane Cook, Sebastian Maniscalco, Tom Segura, Iliza Shlesinger, Bobby Lee, Ali Wong, Jermaine Fowler, Big Jay Oakerson is at Gexa Energy Pavilion | Sept. 23


» 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 28-Aug. 3, 2016
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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