Hello August. We have now survived nearly five months of shutdowns and quarantine. By "survive," I mean that we're still here. It's not any easier, though.
The Coronavirus devastation of performing arts institutions will continue this fall. While it has made them innovators in producing work in online formats, but they won't be able to continue like that, from a financial standpoint. Some groups, including the Dallas and Fort Worth symphonies, will return to their venues in September, but with an abundance of caution.
Among the arts organizations we won't see live in a theater or music hall until November or December, at the earliest, are Dallas Theater Center, Texas Ballet Theater, Turtle Creek Chorale, Circle Theatre, and the Women's Chorus of Dallas. Some organizations won't have full productions again until 2021, including The Dallas Opera, The Cliburn, Second Thought Theater, Kitchen Dog Theater, Hip Pocket Theatre, Chamber Music Society of Fort Worth, Undermain Theatre, and Artisan Center Theater. Expect that list to grow as more organizations weigh the options and replan their seasons.
In DFW, July brought a number of terrific online experiences (some are still available) from Amphibian Stage, WaterTower Theatre, and Cry Havoc Theater Company. There doesn't look to be anything on that level in August, which is typically the slimmest performing arts month. This year is no exception. There are still some nontraditional performances to look forward to: online and streaming shows, Zoom events, and socially distanced outdoor and drive-in events, from groups like Dallas Children's Theater, Cara Mía Theatre, The Cliburn, Imprint Theatreworks, Echo Theatre, SceneShop, Dallas Summer Musicals, and others. There are some indoor happenings, too, with pandemic guidelines, from Casa Mañana, Garland Civic Theatre, and The Core Theatre.
In September, we can expect online productions from Soul Rep Theatre, Uptown Players, Undermain Theatre, and others, but for now, let's get through August.
The local options are listed in sections, starting with events beginning in August, and then events continuing from July, and then ongoing happenings. We've also included some national events available to stream online or via television.
Note that the types of performance presentations are color-coated, and they all come with Covid-19 protocols for audiences and/or the performers:
- RED for live/indoors
- BLUE for online
- GREEN for live/outdoors
- ORANGE for drive-in arts experiences
If we missed your group/performance, email Mark Lowry at firstname.lastname@example.org and he'll add it. There might also be some changes to the existing list, and we'll note those as needed.
EVENTS BEGINNING IN AUGUST
(Events held over from July, as well as ongoing events, are in the subsequent sections)
a farm for meme
Cara Mía Theatre Company | Dallas | 6 & 6:45 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 1; and 2 & 2:45 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 2
The first happening for Virginia Grise as Cara Mía's newly announced playwright-in-residence is a Zoom performance of this play about a 114-acre farm built after the 1994 L.A. Rebellion. The performance is co-presented with Allgo, a Texas-wide organization for queer people of color, and Innovations in Socially Distant Performance at Princeton University. If you missed the performances, you can watch it in English, Spanish or with ASL interpretation, here. It is followed by a talk-back with the artists.
A Kids Play About Racism
Dallas Children's Theater in collaboration with 36 TYA organizations | Through 11:59 p.m. Friday, Aug. 7
Thirty-seven Theatre for Young Audiences organizations around the country are involved in this online production, led by Bay Area Children's Theatre, Seattle Children's Theatre, and Alliance Theatre of Atlanta. The play is based on Jelani Memory's A Kids Book About Racism, and is directed by Khalia Davis and performed and put together by a BIPOC team of actors and crew/designers. It's streamed via Broadway on Demand, and it's free, but you have to register with Broadway on Demand first.
Garland Civic Theatre | Granville Arts Center | Garland | Aug. 6-20
Garland Civic Theatre will close its season with a live performance of the A.R. Gurney play, which features two people reading from their letters to each other, seated, so it's easy to social distance. Safety protocols will be in effect for the audience. Patty Granville and Hamp Holcomb star.
Here I Am
SceneShop | 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 8
Fort Worth's SceneShop will perform its annual showcase of new short scenes and monologues, but via its YouTube channel this year. Playwrights include Christopher Bradley, Rob Bosquez, Straton Rushing, Natalie Gaupp, Chris E. Gepp, Stephen Ellis, Lynda Rodriguez, Joshua Eguia and Steven Alan McGaw. Actors include Susan van Belkum, Winston Daniels, Cody Jackson, Mark Makin, Sid Polezcek, Adam Whittington, Steven Cashion, Debbie Dacus, Peggy Bott Kirby and Jeffrey Watson.
Da Kink in My Hair
Jubilee Theatre | Fort Worth | Aug. 14-30
This musical by Trey Anthony celebrates black women's hair. Was performed and filmed at the theater, without an audience, and is available via streaming production.
The Core Theatre | Richardson | Aug. 14-Sept. 13
The sequel to last season’s First Date. The WW2 story picks up where it left of Caleb Keener is on the Battleship Arizona on December 7, 1942. The Core Theatre has limited its seating capacity and has added air purifiers and will require masks. The production will also be live-streamed, details of which are to come.
Christopher Jackson: Live from the West Side
Dallas Summer Musicals | 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 15
Dallas Summer Musicals, in association with other national organizations, presents a live streaming concert featuring Jackson, known for originating the role of George Washington in the musical Hamilton.
It's My Party!
Echo Theatre | Aug. 16-22
A streamed reading: Just in time for Election 2020, take in this online reading of next year’s regional premiere of It’s My Party by Ann Timmons. The Suffragist’s battle to win women the right to vote is presented in this energetic and compelling new script. A full production is slated for the stage in February 2021.
A Tribute to the King: Taylor Rodriguez
Casa Mañana Theatre | Fort Worth | Aug. 18-22
Casa's first live performances since the shutdowns will be of rescheduled cabaret shows, moved from the small Reid Cabaret Theatre onto the stage of the main theater, with socially distant seating and CDC-recommended guidelines. First up is Taylor Rodriguez in his tribute to Elvis Presley.
Outcry Theatre | MCL Grand Theatre | Lewisville | Aug. 20-23
Outcry's youth theater arm will produce this musical with musical by Chris Miller, lyrics by Nathan Tysen, and a book by Claudia Shear and Tim Federle. Coronavirus protocols will be in place.
Cork and Brush Parties
Stage West | 7 p.m. Saturdays, Aug. 22 & 29; and 1 p.m. Sundays, Aug. 23 & 30
While Stage West prepares for online fall events, the Cork and Brush Parties begin. The concept: For $50, you pick up a box with everything you need for the party (brushes, paint, canvas, and a table easel crafted by the theater's sceneshop) and at these online events, SW marketing director Jen Schultes will lead a painting class. If you want wine in the box, it's an extra $20. The boxes will be at Stage West for pick up (or for an extra $10, they'll deliver it if you're in a 10-mile radius of the theater), and an extra box is $5 off. USPS delivery is also available for packages without wine.
Improv for Caregivers
Stomping Ground Comedy Theater provides several online classes and events during the pandemic, including this new program designed for caregivers and produced in collaboration with the Dallas Foundation. | 7 p.m. Aug. 28 and every Fourth Thursday
Twilight at the Tin Star
The Tin Star Theater is a new drive-in performing arts space in Trinity Groves, with plans for theater, dance, classical music and film. It opens with an event featuring the chamber music trio MAKE, Bruce Wood Dance, and the percussion trio Austin Allen & Friends. $20 per car. The video above is a brief snippet of Bruce Wood Dance rehearsing the night before opening.
Raise You Up
Imprint Theatreworks | 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 29
IMPRINT at Home presents an online revue and variety show celebrating Dallas theater artists, featuring appearances from more than 25 local performers. Directed by Ashley H. White and Music Directed by Vonda K. Bowling.
CONTINUING IN AUGUST
Smile, Smile Again
Ochre House Theater | Dallas | Streaming Indefinitely
The Ochre House, which only produces original work written by their in-house playwrights, is streaming several of its productions on its YouTube channel. The most recently added is the 2017 production of Smile, Smile Again. You can also catch the 2019 collaboration with the Dallas Flamenco Festival, La Muerte de Don Quioxte, and the 2015 production of The Egg Salesman. Newly added is a conversation with the artists about Smile, Smile Again.
Summer Chamber Music
Dallas Symphony Orchestra | Through Aug. 15
The Dallas Symphony has been doing chamber concerts with the musicians socially distanced (they also rehearsed that way) at the Meyerson Symphony Center, with no audiences permitted. You can watch the performances for free on the DSO website. The current one features Vivaldi’s Concerto in E major for Violin & Orchestra, the Spring and Winter sections; plus Elgar’s Serenade in E minor, Op. 20 for Strings; Mozart’s Divertimento in D major K. 136. Featuring Alexander Kerr as violinist and director.
Cliburn at Home
The Cliburn | Fort Worth | Through Aug. 13
The Cliburn has several free online events that will continue throughout 2020. In July, look for Cliburn Kids happenings on Tuesdays (July 7, 14, 21 & 28); and Cliburn Watch Parties on Thursdays featuring pianists who have performed for the organization, or competed in its various piano competitions. Below is a list of upcoming shows, streamable on the Cliburn website.
- All day Tuesday, August 4: CLIBURN KIDS — “Counting Game,” featuring Cowell’s “A Blarneying Bit” with Mehrdad Gholami, flute
- 8 p.m. Thursday, August 6: CLIBURN WATCH PARTY — Shuan Hern Lee, 2019 Cliburn Junior first-prize winner with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and conductor Ruth Reinhardt
- All day Tuesday, August 4: CLIBURN KIDS — “Lime Jello,” featuring Bolcom’s “Lime Jello” with Corrie Donovan, soprano
- 1 p.m. Thursday, August 13: CLIBURN WATCH PARTY — Leonardo Pierdomenico, 2017 Cliburn Competition jury discretionary award
Caftan + Open Classical DFW
Undermain Theatre | Dallas | Through Aug. 19
Undermain offers several streaming concerts this summer. Caftan features Cory Kosel, Jake Nice, and Braden Socia. The musicians of Open Classical DFW will take over beginning Aug. 20. The Undermain will have a fall season of online performances, to be announced.
Miss Nelson Has a Field Day + Andi Boi
Dallas Children's Theater | Through Aug. 15
DCT filmed its 2019-2020 touring show Miss Nelson Has a Field Day, and you can view currently view it. It's another entry in the Miss Nelson series. In this one, the Horace B. Smedley Tornadoes try for a win because they've never even scored a single point! DCT has also made its January 2020 production of Bruce R. Coleman's Andi Boi, about a transgender teen, available, especially for educators, churches and community organizations.
The True History of the Tragic Life & Triumphant Death of Julia Pastrana, the Ugliest Woman in the World
Amphibian Stage | Fort Worth | Through Aug. 6
Amphibian Stage has produced this Shaun Prendergast play twice, in 2003 and in 2012 as the first play to open its current home. The latter move was genius because — why not show of your new black box theater space with a play performed in complete darkness? That also makes it perfect for an online audio experience, which is what they're doing as the theater has had to cancel productions in its 2020 season. Ticket buyers will have 48 hours to view/hear the show after ticket purchase. The play concerns the title character, a real-life Mexican woman born with hair covering her entire body who was exhibited as a circus sideshow act across Europe in the 19th century. ASP artistic director Kathleen Anderson's sister, New York-based artist Laura Anderson Barbata, fought to have Pastrana's remains repatriated from Oslo, Norway, to her home in Sinaloa, Mexico, which happened in 2013. Barbata later performed a one-woman show about that process, and you can read our review here. This online experience, which in 2012 TheaterJones called "must-feel theater," is one of our most anticipated arts experiences since the pandemic began. The cast, which recorded the play using socially distant booths in the theater, features Hannah Martinez, JR Bradford, Jovane Caamaño, Felicia Bertch and Mitchell Stephens. Phibs co-founder Jonathan Fielding, now based in Cape Cod and with several Broadway credits (The Play That Goes Wrong), directs.
LIVE INDOORS PERFORMANCE
The four major stand-up clubs in DFW are open with COVID-19 protocols in place and reduced seating. Some of the acts coming to these venues this month. View the calendars at the links below:
OUTDOORS DRIVE-IN FILM & PERFORMANCE
Brizo Bar | Richardson | 7:30 p.m. Saturday nights
Reid and Julie Robinson's Brizo Bar is temporarily closed, but their CarBaret Drive-In continues in the parking lot behind the bar. They show retro films each weekend, often with a live parking-lot performance before the film. Best part is you stay in your car with your radio tuned to an FM station for the broadcast, and the waiters come to your window for service (they're masked, and you should too for that interaction). Past performances have included Very Good Dance Theatre and burlesque queen Vivienne Vermouth.
TBAAL Shelter-In-Place Concert Series
The Black Academy of Arts and Letters | Dallas | 5 p.m. Sundays, Aug. 2, 9, 16, 23 & 30
The Black Academy streams concerts from its archives on its Facebook page, at 5 p.m. Sundays.
The Dallas Opera Sunday Recitals & TDO Network
The Dallas Opera | Dallas | Sundays
All of the Dallas Opera's YouTube Sunday Recitals are available via its website and on the organization's YouTube page.
Amy Stevenson | Irving | Monday nights
Stevenson, known as "Mama," has taken her weekly cabaret online, via Facebook Live on her page.
Open Classical at Home
Open Classical DFW | Dallas | 8 p.m. Tuesdays
North Texas classical music open mike series is still going, albeit online for now. You can sign up to play an instrument or sing a song from the classical music, opera, or musical theater canons.
Texas Ballet Theater + Lyle Lovett
The Texas singer-songwriter has collaborated with Fort Worth-based Texas Ballet Theater before, and now he has used the dancers in his video for "Don't Touch My Hat." Watch the video above.
Online, streaming and other performances, and a few podcast recommentations from national and international organizations. Have a suggestion? Email Mark Lowry at email@example.com.
PERFORMING ARTS ON TV
Performing Arts Streaming Apps
There's much more than Hamilton on Disney+. These apps are dedicated to the performing arts:
- BroadwayHD: Offers more than Broadway productions, and is focused on theater (with some other performing arts): $8.99/month or $99.99/year, after free seven-day trial
- Broadway on Demand: Offers theater and dance performances.
- MarqueeTV: Opera, music, dance and theater productions from around the world, including Royal Shakespeare Company, Bolshoi Ballet and the Royal Opera: $8.99/month or $99.99/year after free 14-day trial
- Metrpolitan Opera On Demand: Productions from the Met's archives: $14.99/month or $149.99/year after free seven-day trial
- Medici.TV: An app for classical music, with streaming concerts from around the world daily.
- Great Performances on PBS: The PBS app is free to download, but keep in mind that to access some of the Great Performances archival shows, you might have to become a member through your local PBS TV station. WHICH YOU SHOULD BE DOING ANYWAY. In the current season of GP you can watch Anna Deavere Smith's original performance in Twilight: Los Angeles, about the Rodney King riots; Holland Taylor as Ann Richards in Ann; and Gloria: A Life, about feminist icon Gloria Steinem starring Christine Lahti.
Notes from the Field
Anna Deavere Smith's 2018 work, Notes from the Field, examines how the school-to-prison pipeline has played a big part in systemic racism. Her her patented style, she interview lots of people and plays 18 of them in this work, available on HBO.
Spike Lee filmed this stage production of Antoinette Nwandu’s play, directed by Danya Taymor. It's a riff on Waiting for Godot in which two young black men await on the street corner as two other characters appear, a white man in a suit, and a white police officer. It's streaming on Amazon Prime.
PERFORMING ARTS ONLINE
Shows streaming on websites, YouTube, and social media
Antigone in Ferguson
Theater of War Productions | New York | 7:30 p.m. (CST) Sunday, Aug. 9
Oscar Isaac plays Creon and Tracie Thoms plays the title character in a Zoom performance of this updated Greek classic that puts the action in Ferguson, Missouri, after the Michael Brown killing. It's free, but donations are requested for the Michael Brown Foundation's Chosen for Change Fund.
Songs from an Unmade Bed
Broadway Cares | 6 p.m. (CST) Monday, Aug. 10
This 2005 song cycle is written for one performer and features songs with lyrics by Mark Campbell, but each song was composed by a different person. Dallas theaters might remember it from Theatre Three's 2010 production. For this benefit performance, actor B.D. Wong and his husband, videographer Richert Schnoor, have created videos for each song using a cast of New York actors. Wong performs the songs. Donations are accepted to help the theater community during the COVID-19 pandemic. The composers are Debra Barsha, Mark Bennett, Peter Foley, Jenny Giering, Peter Golub, Jake Heggie, Stephen Hoffman, Lance Horne, Gihieh Lee, Steven Lutvak, Steve Marzullo, Brendan Milburn, Chris Miller, Greg Pliska, Duncan Sheik, Kim D. Sherman, Jeffrey Stock and Joseph Thalken. Special guest hosts for the stream are Awkwafina, John Lithgow, John Cameron Mitchell, Billy Porter and Keala Settle, with featured appearances by Maulik Pancholy and Bowen Yang. The stream also will include Aaron Albano, Mike Bulatao, Grant Chang, Marc delaCruz, Daniel K. Isaac, Kennedy Kanagawa, Darren Lee, Raymond J. Lee, Telly Leung, Jose Llana, Orville Mendoza, Jeffrey Omura, Matt Rogers, James Seol, Hansel Tan and Alex Wong. Renowned cellist Dave Eggar also appears.
Play-Per-View | New York
This collective does readings via ZOOM of new or classic works, and sometimes streams productions. Ticket prices vary. Coming up in August:
- Amiri Baraka's Dutchman, featuring Dulé Hill, Jennifer Mudge, and Chris Myers, directed by Robert Barry Fleming of the Actor's Theatre of Louisville. 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 8 (CST)
- Kristoffer Diaz's The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, featuring Usman Ally, Terence Archie, Desmin Borges, and Christian Litke. 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 15 (CST)
BOLD 2020: Six New Works Written and Directed by Black Womxn
BOLD | New York | Fridays, Aug. 14-28
BOLD, an organization that works to build up Black womxn in the performing arts for the restoration of culture, has announced BOLD 2020, the return of their short play festival featuring works written and directed by Black Womxn premiering August 14, 21, and 28, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. (CST). BOLD 2020 is in response to the systemic silencing of Black womxn’s voices. The returning short play festival features new work written by Agyeiwaa Asante,Brittani Samuel, Chanel Carroll, Jazmine Stewart, Kristen Adele Calhoun, and Lakhiyia Hicks. Directed by Kristolyn Lloyd, Tavia Jefferson, and Bianca LaVerne Jones. Each night, made possible by over 40 black womxn, will consist of two ten minute plays and be followed by a talkback with the director and playwrights. “Black womxn will change the world! The restoration of our culture is dependent on the amplification of the Black womxn’s voices” said BOLD Co-Founder Destinee Rea, (Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, The Book of Mormon). “In this year alone we have seen the ways Black womxn are using their voices to inspire, empower, and shift culture. We are in desperate need of their stories being contributed creatively; grafted into the American canon.”
Black Voices: Six Plays by African-American Playwrights
LA Theatreworks | Through Aug. 30
LA Theatreworks specializes in audio drama, and is currently offering, for free, performances of six plays by Black playwrights: Roger Guenveur Smith's A Huey P. Newton Story, Lonnie Elder III's Ceremonies in Dark Old Men, Lynn Nottage's Fabulation, Katori Hall's The Mountaintop, Charlayne Woodard's The Night Watcher (in which she also performs), and Lydia Diamond's Stick Fly.
Transport Theatre Group, New York | Through Aug. 16
Starring Justin Cunningham and Danyel Fulton with a libretto by Ellen Fitzhugh and Harrison David Rivers and music and additional lyrics by Ted Shen, a Black family grapples with decades of inequality, violence, and suppression in the South. Benny, an orderly at a nursing home, delicately balances his role as a caregiver to an ornery white resident who shares a contentious past with his white boss while at the same time caring for his own family as the fight for equality grips the nation in the midst of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. Thirty years later, his daughter, Ruby, struggles to understand an incident of police brutality against her 15-year-old son. This unique musical, spanning nearly half a century and three generations, asks us to contemplate the cycle of violence in this country and how we will find hope and create change against the backdrop of hate that plagues America.
good dog: the film
Tiata Fahodzi | London, U.K.
This organization is a London-based company dedicated to work by BIPOC artists in the U.K., and focusing on works from the African diaspora. THe 20-minute good dog is a film adaptation of a play by Arinzé Kene, which follows a grown-up Boy revisiting and observing events in his life, narrating the past from the present. Boy — performed by Anton Cross — speaks to camera as our guide and narrator, looking on his younger self and the community he lives in. Watch it above, or on YouTube.
Ailey All Access
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater | New York City | Through July
The acclaimed dance company's new Ailey All Access channel has weekly broadcasts. In August, look for archival works by Rennie Harris, Robert Battle, Alvin Ailey and others. Learn more at the Ailey website.
The Public Theater | New York City | Through Sept. 1
This might be the first play about the Coronavirus in the U.S., written by Jessical Blan and Erik Jensen (of The Exonerated), using interviews with New York healthcare workers as the cases of COVID-19 were overwhelming New York City hopsitals. This free performance features Santino Fonatana, Arjun Gupta, John Ortiz, Alison Pill, Nicholas Pinnock, Jamey Sheridan, and Lorraine Toussaint, and is directed by Blank.
The Public Theater | New York
In four one-hour audio installments, this radio-play version of Shakespeare's Richard II features André Holland (of the film Moonlight) in the title role. You can listen wherever you get your podcasts.
And So We Come Forth: The Apple Family: A Dinner on Zoom
The Public Theater | New York City | Through Aug. 26
Beginning in 2010, Richard Nelson wrote and directed four plays about the fictional Apple family for New York's Public Theater (and his since added new families, The Gabriels and The Michaels, to his repertoire). His pandemic-inspired latest edition to the Apple series is a one-hour work performed as a Zoom meeting with the family members. Available on The Apply Family YouTube channel.
Moses und Aron
Komische Oper Berlin | Berlin, Germany | Through Sept. 11
A production of Schönberg's opera as performed by Komische Oper Berlin is available to stream, for free, on the company's YouTube channel. Performed in German; no supertitles.
The Sleeping Beauty
Royal Opera House | London | Through August 31
The Royal Opera House is streaming some of its archival productions for free. Currently, Marius Petipa's ballet The Sleeping Beauty is available YouTube channel.
La Mama Online
La Mama Experimental Theatre Club | New York City
The invaluable downtown New York space, a haven for independent arts-makers and small national and international companies for many decades, has some free online offerings. The month of August brings children's events, a talk with Renayung, and a Coffeehouse Chronicles archive screening of the 50th anniversary of the musical Hair, with a live Q&A by book writer James Rado, at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 15 (CST time).
To My Distant Love
OnSite Opera | New York City | Through Aug. 9
This gets the award for most innovative outside-the-space production. This group specializes in site-specific opera, and To My Distant Love can be experienced anywhere, provided you have telephone reception. You buy a ticket and sign up for a specific time, and one of the performers calls you at the time. There is obviously some involvement on your part.
Description: This new immersive opera experience invites you to be “the distant love” for a one-on-one performance featuring a live singer (you choose soprano or baritone) and pianist over the phone — no need to download any additional app or platform. The “site” for this performance will be yours to decide as your beloved calls you by phone to express their longing and joy to you, their distant love. Where will you take such an intimate phone call? A walk through the park? A cozy chair by a window? The immersive experience will begin even before your phone call, as your beloved will send you e-mail love letters in anticipation of finally re-connecting.
The music is from Beethoven's song cycle An die ferne Geliebte (To the Distant Beloved), which has song text by Alois Isidor Jeitteles, and is sung in German. Additional English dialogue is by playwright Monet Hurst-Mendoza. It's $40.
PERFORMING ARTS PODCASTS
Arts District the Podcast
This one is Dallas-based, and features weekly interviews with North Texas artists and creatives. Recent interviews are with Ryan Matthieu Smith, Morgana Wilborn, Lauren LeBlanc and Bren Rapp.
Token Theatre Friends
New York critics Diep Tran and José Solis have created their own independent website in which they review, discuss, write essays, and have a weekly podcast. (They previously did TTF for American Theatre Magazine.) The artists they interview in the podcasts are women and/or from the BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and Differently Abled communities. Disclosure: Several of the events listed above I learned about from their site. Support them if you can.
Broadway Podcast Network
Find a slew of theater podcasts, not just about Broadway or produced in New York, but from around the country and world on a variety of topics, from musicals to stagecraft to auditioning to fitness to BIPOC topics.