Dallas — In light of our recent story about reponsible casting and representation in North Texas theater, which was developed in collaboration with the Dallas Voice (and you can read here), here are ten productions in the coming season theater in which responsible and/or nontraditional casting and representation will be important to watch.
Dallas playwright Michael Federico adapted Bram Stoker’s novel, and Christie Vela directs, in a commissioned work from Theatre 3. This female-forward version features Allison Pistorius as the title vampire, and queer Latina actress Gloria Benavides as Van Helsing. Oct. 3–27.
Flexible Grey presents Alexandrew Recore’s “sitcom-romcom variety show” featuring a variety of queer, transgender and non-binary performers, including something that rarely happens — a transgender actor in a cisgender role. Produced in association with Uptown Players, and in repertory with Uptown’s production of the one-man play Bright Colors and Bold Patterns, starring Paul J. Williams. Both are performed in Bryant Hall on the Kalita Humphreys Theater campus. Oct. 19–27.
The Thanksgiving Play
Undermain Theatre presents Native American playwright Larissa Fasthorse’s satire about a troupe of terminally “woke” teaching artists scrambles to create a pageant that somehow manages to celebrate both Turkey Day and Native American Heritage Month. Nov. 6–Dec. 1.
Loving and Loving
Bishop Arts Theatre Center does Beto O’Byrne and Meropi Peponides’ play that explores the landmark case Loving vs. Virginia, about interracial marriage in the U.S. Feb. 6-23, 2020.
Funny, You Don’t Act Like A Negro
Theatre 3 commissioned this play by Denise Lee, with direction by Christie Vela. It explores “the prejudgments we make on our neighbors, the biases we inadvertently pass on to our children and how the simple act of talking to one another is being subverted by social media.” Feb. 20-March 15.
I Am My Own Wife
WaterTower Theatre has been a big topic of discussion in recent years, after short-lived artistic director Joanie Schultz — who was committed to diversity on all levels and programmed seasons filled with works by playwrights who were not white men and had all women directors — resigned. In the coming season, under new AD Shane Peterman, WaterTower will do only the second local production of Dallas native Doug Wright’s one-person, Pulitzer Prize-winning play about Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, a 65-year old German transgender woman who survived both the Nazi onslaught and the repressive East German Communist regime. The performer plays more than 30 characters. It has traditionally been cast with a cisgender white man (Jefferson Mays won a Tony for his performance) but considering that there are multiple characters and the lead character is trans, the options for casting are endless. WaterTower’s official casting notice reads “seeking one extremely versatile actor.” April 16–May 3.
My Red Hand, My Black Hand
Cara Mía Theatre Company and Soul Rep Theatre Company collaborate on Dael Orlandersmith’s play that intertwines African American and Native American histories at the Latino Cultural Center. May 15–31.
The Supreme Leader
The Dallas Theater Center's coming season, which opens in September with Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes' musical In the Heights, respresents a first in the theater's history: It's the first DTC line-up in which all of the titles programmed in the subscription season (so not including A Christmas Carol) were written by women and/or people of color. These include the plays American Mariachi, Dominique Morrisseau's Pipeline, and The Supreme Leader by Don X. Nguyen. It is a satire dealing with North Korea's leadership. The won't be a question that the Asian roles will be responsbily cast, because as a LORT organization, DTC has access to the national talent pool. The BIG question will be how many North Texas Asian Pacific Islander actors will be cast. June 3-July 3
Imprint Theatreworks presents Julianne Wick Davis and Dan Collins’ musical (based on the 2001 documentary) about a group of transgender friends in rural Georgia. Imprint’s announcement for this show, presented in Pride Month, states that “We are committed to casting this show responsibly and will be working with local organizations to seek out opportunities for awareness and proper representation, as well as access for transgender youth.” June 5–20.
Head Over Heels
As one of the largest-budget LGBT theaters in the company, Uptown Players is an important barometer of LGBT theater and casting. In this musical, conceived by Jeff Whitty and James Magruder and using music of The Go-Go’s, has a “trans-positive” 17th century storyline, and we’ll be looking for transgender and non-binary performers to be included. At the Kalita. July 10–26.