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NORTH TEXAS PERFORMING ARTS NEWS

NEWS & NOTES

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Intermission for Equity Theaters
Video: 18 DFW Actor's Equity Association theaters have formed an alliance to promote awareness about COVID-19 safety standards for artists and patrons.

published Tuesday, May 5, 2020

 

Last month, 18 professional Equity DFW theatres formed an alliance in an effort to support each other, come together to manage the crisis facing all arts organizations as a result of COVID-19, and to lead our industry in setting safety standards for patrons and artists alike.  We are much stronger together than we are as individual theaters. This video was a joint effort and will be communicated simultaneously by all 18 organizations on Tuesday, May 5th at 10am as part of North Texas Giving Day Now.  It illustrates the economic and community impact our combined 18 organizations have and signals to artists and audiences alike that we are working together to safely get our stage lights on as quickly as possible. This is just an intermission.

The theaters, in alphabetical order, are as follows, listed with the person(s) who are featured in the video: Amphibian Stage (Kathleen Culebro), Bishop Arts Theatre Center (Teresa Coleman Wash), Cara Mía Theatre Co. (David Lozano), Casa Mañana (B.J. Cleveland), Circle Theatre (Matthew Gray), Dallas Children's Theater (Robyn Flatt and Sandra Robertson), Dallas Theater Center (Kevin Moriarty), The Firehouse Theatre (Derek Whitener), Jubilee Theatre (Wambui Richardson and Christie Howard), Kitchen Dog Theater (Tina Parker), Lyric Stage (Christopher Deaton), Second Thought Theatre (Carson McCain and Alex Organ), Shakespeare Dallas (Raphael Parry), Stage West (Dana Schultes), Theatre Three (Christie Vela and Jeffrey Schmidt), Undermain Theatre (Bruce DuBose), Uptown Players (Jeff Rane), and WaterTower Theatre (Shane Peterman).

 

Blake Hackler Wins a Fulbright
The Dallas-based director, playwright and educator has been awarded a Fulbright Scholars grant to teach and research in Romania for four months in 2021.

published Thursday, April 30, 2020
Photo: Jordan Fraker
Blake Hackler

This just in from Southern Methodist University Meadows School of the Arts:

 

Dallas — Actor, director and playwright Blake Hackler, associate professor of theatre at SMU Meadows School of the Arts, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholars grant to conduct teaching and research for four months in Romania. Hackler will work with the University of Craiova and the National Theatre-Marin Sorescu in the city of Craiova. The residency will tentatively begin in the spring of 2021, depending on the continued impact of COVID-19. His project, “Embodying Shakespeare: A 21st Century Approach to Classical Acting,” will include teaching Shakespeare at the university and observing and working with actors at the National Theatre.

The two institutions have a close relationship, Hackler said, and the theatre is known for its bold, physical productions. “The Sorescu is also the producing institution for the acclaimed International Shakespeare Festival, which provides unparalleled access to work by many of the world’s most acclaimed interpreters of Shakespeare,” said Hackler. “The National Theatre actors, immersed in Russian physical theatre methodologies and exposed over the past decade to a variety of international Shakespearean performances, provide me with an indispensable laboratory to explore alternate theories about classical actor training outside of the American model.” He is also exploring opportunities to conduct masterclasses at institutions in Bucharest and other cities in the country.

This is the second Fulbright award Hackler has received. In 2015, he was named a Fulbright Scholar to Bulgaria, where he conducted teaching and research in the capital city, Sofia. He was also awarded a prestigious MacDowell Fellowship in 2018. Hackler joined the Meadows School faculty in fall 2011 and serves as head of acting. He also holds a teaching appointment at Yale University, where he earned an M.F.A. in acting.

As an actor, Hackler has appeared in productions on Broadway, Off-Broadway and in regional theatres throughout the country, working with such acclaimed directors as Michael Mayer, Scott Ellis, Alex Timbers and Mike Alfreds. In New York, he worked with theatres including Playwrights Horizons, York Theatre, The Ohio, and Roundabout. In Dallas, he was just named a Brierley Resident Acting Company member of the Tony-winning Dallas Theater Center. He is also a company member at the nationally recognized Undermain Theatre, and he has appeared at the Trinity Shakespeare Festival, Dallas Theater Center, Second Thought Theatre and Theatre Three. 

He is a member of the esteemed BMI/Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Writing Program and is an award-winning playwright whose works have been seen across the U.S. His recent play What We Were was a winner of the Ashland New Play Festival and a finalist for the O’Neill Playwriting Conference in 2018, and received its world premiere in 2019. His adaptation of Ibsen’s Enemy of the People was named Best Play of 2018 by the Dallas Observer.

Hackler has directed for Theatre Three, Trinity Shakespeare, Second Thought Theatre and the Undermain, as well as numerous productions at SMU.

 

About the Fulbright Program

Established in 1946, the Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Under its umbrella, the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program offers opportunities for American scholars, artists and professionals to conduct research, lecture and/or consult with other scholars and institutions abroad. The U.S. Scholar Program offers approximately 470 teaching, research or combination teaching/research awards in over 125 countries worldwide. For more information, visit eca.state.gov/fulbright.

Blake Hackler and Molly Searcy Join DTC Company
The Southern Methodist University professor and student are the latest additions to the Brierley Resident Acting Company at Dallas Theater Center.

published Wednesday, April 22, 2020
Photo: Courtesy DTC
Blake Hackler and Molly Searcy

 

This just in from Dallas Theater Center:

Dallas — 2017 Regional Theatre Tony Award® Recipient Dallas Theater Center announces two new actors, Blake Hackler and Molly Searcy, to join the Diane and Hal Brierley Resident Acting Company, for its 2020-21 season. Dallas Theater Center audiences will see Blake Hackler in Tiny Beautiful Things, The Sound of Music and as Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. Molly Searcy has signed on to appear in High School Play: A Nostalgia Fest, A Christmas Carol and The Sound of Music.

“Blake and Molly have each given brilliant performances as guest artists on our stage in the past, and we are looking forward to welcoming them to our professional company of resident actors to create high impact, award-winning theater for our community next season,” said Kevin Moriarty, Enloe/Rose Artistic Director, Dallas Theater Center. “As the appointment of these two actors demonstrates, Dallas Theater Center’s partnership with SMU is a source of artistic strength and inspiration for both of our institutions and for Dallas audiences.”

Hackler and Searcy have deep connections to SMU Meadows School of the Arts, where Hackler is the Head of Acting and Searcy is a 2020 graduate of its MFA acting program.

“We are proud of our long partnership with Dallas Theater Center,” said Samuel S. Holland, dean of the Meadows School of the Arts. “We are grateful for the opportunities Dallas Theater Center has provided over several decades to our students, alumni and faculty and for the chance to give back to the Dallas arts community through this special relationship.”

Blake Hackler has appeared in productions on Broadway, Off-Broadway and in regional theatres throughout the country. Hackler currently serves as the Head of Acting at Southern Methodist University. He is a member of the esteemed BMI/Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Writing Program and is an award-winning playwright. He has twice been named a Fulbright Scholar, to Bulgaria and Romania, and was a 2018 MacDowell Fellow. Hackler holds an MFA from Yale School of Drama.

Hackler’s previous work at DTC has included the role of Andrew Aguecheek in Moriarty’s 2019 production of Twelfth Night, as well as featured performances in Frankenstein and A Christmas Carol. “Blake is widely respected as one of the leading theater artists in Dallas,” said Moriarty. “He’s a great collaborator and an inspired man of the theater whose artistry will strengthen our company and thrill our audiences. I can’t wait to collaborate with him.”

“It's a great honor to be invited to join the Dallas Theater Center family and this group of esteemed artists - some who are long-time friends, some who are former students, all who are extraordinary,” said Blake Hackler. “It's my hope that I can continue to contribute to the mission of Dallas Theater Center to create theater that tells a multitude of stories and honors a diversity of voices in our vibrant community.”

Molly Searcy will graduate next month from Southern Methodist University (SMU) with an MFA in acting. Searcy has appeared on stage in Theresa Rebeck’s world premiere of Enlightened at the Alley Theatre All-New Festival, and in Gordon Dahlquist’s world premiere of Red Chariot at Undermain Theatre. While at SMU, she portrayed lead roles in Macbeth, The Cherry Orchard, and Eurydice. Searcy is also a voice actor for Sentai Filmworks, FUNimation, and Sound Cadence Studios. She is best known as the voice of Akame in Akame ga Kill! on Cartoon Network and Netflix, Isuzu Sento in Amagi Brilliant Park, Mako Reizei in Girls und Panzer (Netflix), and Hilda in Saint Seiya (Netflix). Molly is a native Houstonian, with a background in ballet.

“We are thrilled to welcome Molly Searcy to our company as the Linda and Bill Custard SMU Meadows actor for our 2020-21 season,” says Moriarty. “For the past decade, our company has been enriched by the presence of a graduating student from SMU’s MFA acting program, providing the emerging artist with professional artistic opportunities and inspiring our veteran actors with fresh approaches to collaboration and artistry.” Searcy’s most recent performance at DTC was in last season’s acclaimed production of The Wolves. “Molly is a talented actor, accomplished in her craft and a positive collaborator in the rehearsal process. We are very pleased that she’ll be joining us next season.”

"I am so excited to be a part of the Brierley Resident Acting Company and for this opportunity to give to my community through performance. As artists, I believe our job is to evoke, reflect, challenge, and create a space for embodying life's complex, exhilarating, terrifying moments,” said Molly Searcy. “My hope is that by participating in work that offers catharsis or comfort or a challenge, I am making a contribution. This hope is what drew me to Dallas Theater Center and its mission.”

In addition to Hackler and Searcy, the 2020-21 Brierley Acting Company will include returning members Ace Anderson, Tiana Kaye Blair, Tiffany Solano DeSena, Liz Mikel, Alex Organ, Christopher Llywyn Ramirez, and Sally Nystuen Vahle. (Ana Hagedorn rotates out as the previous SMU Meadows actor; and so does Kieran Connolly, who was an SMU professor.)

 

ABOUT DALLAS THEATER CENTER:

One of the leading regional theaters in the country and the 2017 Regional Theatre Tony Award® Recipient, Dallas Theater Center (DTC) performs to an audience of more than 100,000 North Texas residents annually. Founded in 1959, DTC is now a resident company of the AT&T Performing Arts Center and presents its Mainstage season at the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre, designed by REX/OMA, Joshua Prince-Ramus and Rem Koolhaas and at its original home, the Kalita Humphreys Theater, the only freestanding theater designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright. DTC is one of only two theaters in Texas that is a member of the League of Resident Theatres, the largest and most prestigious non-profit professional theater association in the country. Under the leadership of Enloe/Rose Artistic Director Kevin Moriarty and Managing Director Jeffrey Woodward, DTC produces a seven-play subscription series of classics, musicals, and new plays and an annual production of A Christmas Carol; extensive education programs, including the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award-winning Project Discovery, SummerStage and partnerships with Southern Methodist University’s Meadows School of the Arts and Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts; and many community collaborations. In 2017, in collaboration with SMU Meadows, DTC launched Public Works Dallas, a groundbreaking

community engagement and participatory theater project designed to deliberately blur the line between professional artists and community members, culminating in an annual production featuring more than 200 Dallas citizens performing a Shakespeare play. Throughout its history, DTC has produced many new works, including The Texas Trilogy by Preston Jones in 1978; Robert Penn Warren’s All the King’s Men, adapted by Adrian Hall, in 1986; and recent premieres of Miller, Mississippi by Boo Killebrew; Hood: The Robin Hood Musical Adventure by Douglas Carter Beane and Lewis Flinn; Bella: An American Tall Tale by Kirsten Childs; Clarkston by Samuel D. Hunter and Moonshine: That Hee Haw Musical by Robert Horn, Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally. Dallas Theater Center gratefully acknowledges the support of our season sponsors: Texas Instruments, American Airlines, Lexus and NBC 5.

Get Lit at the Shakes Pub Crawl
Here's info on the annual Shakespeare Dallas Pub Crawl, March 7 in Deep Ellum. Join us!

published Thursday, March 5, 2020
Photo: Courtesy Shakespeare Dallas
From the 2019 Shakespeare Dallas Pub Crawl

 

Dallas — The annual Shakespeare Dallas Pub Crawl is from 2 to 7 p.m. Saturday, March 7 in Deep Ellum, and once again, TheaterJones is thrilled to be part of the festivities. The event is broken into four rounds at the bars Twilite Lounge (2-3 p.m. and the check-in spot), Trinity Cider (3-4 p.m.), Ruins (4-5 p.m.), and Westlake Brewing Company (6-7 p.m.), and there will also be a "shop hop" event at retail locations, trivia and costume contest, and more. Prizes include tickets to Dallas Symphony Orchestra, which is performing Berlioz's Romeo and Juliet in May, plus tickets to other area arts groups, including to Shakespeare Dallas.

There will also be performances by Altered Shakespeare (scenes from Two Gentlemen of Verona) and Shakespeare Everywhere (scenes from The Tempest). The trivia contest will be hosted by Shakespeare Dallas' Jenni Stewart and TheaterJones' Mark Lowry and Lance Lusk.

You can learn more about the event on its Facebook page, here, and you can buy tickets in advance here or get them at the check-in on the day of the crawl.

 

Below is the complete info, with locations and ticketing information:

To drink, or not to drink? Is that really a question? We’re back for our 9th annual Shakespeare Dallas Pub Crawl, so come celebrate by drinking with us in Deep Ellum on Saturday, March 7! Don your best Elizabethan garb or Shakespeare Dallas tee shirt and come raise a glass or two or five to the bard!

 

Check-In/First Round (2-3pm)

Twilite Lounge Dallas

2640 Elm Street

 

Second Round (3-4pm)

Trinity Cider

2656 Main Street

Performance by Altered Shakespeare at 3:20

 

Third Round (4-5pm)

Ruins

2653 Commerce St.

Performance by Shakespeare Everywhere at 4:20

 

Final Round and Trivia (5-7pm)

Westlake Brewing Company

2816 Commerce Street

 

Pub crawlers will receive drink specials, join-in Shakespeare Trivia, and participate in a Deep Ellum "shop hop" for a Shakespeare in the Park ticket giveaway. You can also purchase raffle tickets to enter to win some great prizes and support Shakespeare Dallas! Visit our website at shakespearedallas.org/special-events for more details!

 

WHEN: Saturday, March 7 from 2 to 7 p.m.

AGES 21+

 

PURCHASE PUB CRAWL TICKETS

$12 Members; $15 Public

-- Advanced Registration:

-- Walk-up Registration: We will have limited number on event day

 

TICKET INCLUDES (Items received at check-in)

- Wristband

- Shakespeare Dallas souvenir cup

- Drink specials at participating bars

- Spot in our infamous Shakespeare Trivia for a grand prize giveaway

- "Pub Crawl" map

-  Chance to participate in a "Shop Hop" at Deep Ellum retail shops. A pair of Shakespeare in the Park tickets will be given to those who receive their sticker at each stop of the Scavenger Hunt map. A limited supply of free wine samplings for our pub crawlers will be served at select participating stores.

 

ACTIVITIES

- Performances at various bars

- Shakespeare Trivia

- Shakespeare Costume Contest: Shakespeare Dallas gift basket given to the best dressed in their Shakespeare or Elizabethan inspired costume.

-Raffle Drawing

 

2-5 PM Shop Hop: In addition to visiting the participating bars, receive a sticker between 2-5 PM from each of the Deep Ellum retail shops on our “Shop Hop” scavenger hunt map, and turn it in at the Shakespeare Dallas table (Location TBA) from 5:30-7 PM to claim your free pair of Shakespeare in the Park tickets. Select retail stores will be offering complimentary wine samplings to Shakespeare Dallas pub crawlers while supplies last.

 

Julie Andrews Coming to Winspear
The legendary actress appears in An Evening of Conversation with Julie Andrews at AT&T Performing Arts Center on June 26; tickets on sale Feb. 14.

published Monday, February 10, 2020
Photo: Elite Entertainment
Julie Andrews

DallasJulie Andrews, who is beloved for her stage and/or movie roles in such musicals as The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, My Fair Lady, Camelot, and Victor/Victoria, will appear in a conversation format in An Evening of Conversation with Julie Andrews, happening June 26, 2020 at the Winspear Opera House.

It's important to note that she will not be singing. But you'll hear stories about her famous roles and the people she worked with. She'll be joined by her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton, who co-wrote the new book, Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years, with her mother.

 

Here's the news release about the event.

Elite Entertainment Inc. announced that ‘An Evening of Conversation with Julie Andrews’ comes to AT&T Performing Arts Center Winspear Opera House on Friday, June 26, 2020 at 7:30 pm. Public tickets go on sale Friday, February 14 at 10 a.m.

Ticket prices for ‘An Evening of Conversation with Julie Andrews’ range from $69 to $254 and can be purchased, beginning February 14 at 10 a.m., online at www.attpac.org, by telephone at 214-880-0202 or in person at the AT&T Performing Arts Center Winspear Opera House Box Office at 2403 Flora Street. The Box Office is open 10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and before performances – closed Saturdays and Sundays. For groups of 10 or more please call 214-978-2879.

A true legend in every sense of the word, Julie Andrews has entertained millions for more than half a century.  Ms. Andrews shares her extraordinary experiences from her early days of vaudeville in England to the popular projects and work she continues to create today.  Opening with a beautiful video montage of her work, ‘An Evening of Conversation with Julie Andrews’ is a unique and unforgettable visit with one of the world's most beloved icons. 

From the nanny we’d always wished for in Mary Poppins to mountain-top twirling nun-no-more Maria in The Sound of Music to a fabulous cross-dressing club crooner in Victor/Victoria, Julie Andrews has towered upon the big screen.  On Broadway, she won hearts with her iconic portrayals in My Fair Lady and Camelot. What stories she has to share! And share them she will during this special evening!  Julie will also be discussing her new book, "Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years”.  Joining Ms. Andrews is her daughter and co-author, Emma Walton Hamilton, who will facilitate questions from the audience.  Julie Andrews will not be singing in this performance.

TITAS Postpones Beijing Dance
The February visit by Beijing Dance/LDTX is postponed because of the Coronavirus outbreak in China.

published Tuesday, February 4, 2020
Photo: Ying Peng
Beijing Dance/LDTX

 

 

DallasTITAS/Dance Unbound has postponed the Feb. 28-29 performance of Beijing Dance/LDTX because of the Coronavirus outbreak in China. A replacement will be announced soon, but we can tell you that it will consist of three local companies in a preview of a to-be-announced festival of local talent that TITAS will present in late summer 2020, says TITAS Executive Director Charles Santos.

Dallas was to be the third U.S. stop on the Beijing Dance/LDTX tour, and because of the spreading virus, the group has canceled its international dates. "It's the responsibie thing to do," says Santos.

Santos says he expects the outbreak to be resolved by the time of the TITAS gala, in which the group is bringing in two artists from China.

Look for more info on the Feb. 28-29 performances coming on TheaterJones.

Read more about this announcement in the news release below:

 

 

TITAS/DANCE UNBOUND today announced that its upcoming presentation of BeijingDance/LDTX is being postponed due to travel restrictions caused by the Coronavirus outbreak in Asia. The entire North American tour has been postponed.

“While we are disappointed in the postponement, we are encouraged to learn that everyone in BeijingDance/LDTX is healthy,“ says Charles Santos, TITAS/DANCE UNBOUND

 executive director/artistic director. “This global health issue is changing every day, it was necessary and responsible for them to postpone the entire tour.”

BeijingDance/LDTX was scheduled to appear at Moody Performance Hall on February 28 & 29. TITAS/DANCE UNBOUND, its presenting partner the AT&T Performing Arts Center and other dance presenters in the United States have been monitoring the situation overseas and working to ensure they were following the recommendation of the World Health Organization, Center for Disease Control and City of Dallas protocols. They want to ensure the safety of the dancers, staff and patrons attending performances.

“We are certainly saddened that, this year, our Dallas audiences will not experience this amazing company from across the globe,” said Debbie Storey, president and CEO of the AT&T Performing Arts Center. “TITAS and the Center are committed to bringing them back in a future season. This is a reminder of how connected we are to the global community and we send our best wishes to LDTX, the people of China, and to everyone affected by this health crisis.”

TITAS/DANCE UNBOUND also announced that it will be presenting three top local dance companies on those same dates, February 28 & 29, in the Moody Performance Hall. The three dance companies will be announced shortly. This presentation will replace the BeijingDance/LDTX engagement and will be a “preview” of a bigger new festival being developed by TITAS/DANCE UNBOUND. In the coming days, more details on the three companies and the new festival will be shared.

With the change of performing artists for the February 28 & 29 dates, all ticket holders for BeijingDance/LDTX will be directly contacted by the AT&T Performing Arts Center box office staff to explain the options regarding their performance tickets. If patrons have any questions, they are welcome to call the box office at 214.880.0202 or TITAS at 214-978-2855.

Hiltunen Leaves Fort Worth Opera
Tuomas Hiltunen, who was appointed General Manager of Fort Worth Opera in 2017, has resigned.

published Saturday, January 25, 2020
Photo: Courtesy Fort Worth Opera
Tuomas Hiltunen

Fort WorthTuomas Hiltunen, the Finn with a background in theater and opera who was appointed General Director of the Fort Worth Opera in 2017, resigned on Tuesday, Jan. 21. In an email to TheaterJones, Hiltunen only says that he stepped down "because of different visions of the direction and goals of the company."

A statement by the Fort Worth Opera was released late Friday night. The organization's 2020 festival begins in 2020, and includes the world premiere of the opera Zorro. Until a successor is appointed, board president Nelson E. Claytor, Ph.D. will take over the General Director duties.

The news release from FWO is below:

 

Fort Worth Opera’s Board of Trustees announced today that they have accepted the submitted resignation of General Director Tuomas Hiltunen. Mr. Hiltunen joined Fort Worth Opera in July of 2017. During his tenure, he established security and growth by streamlining expenditures, reducing administrative costs and overhead, and maintaining a balanced operating budget.

“Fort Worth Opera is grateful for Tuomas’ leadership over the past two seasons and we wish him well in his future endeavors,” said Nelson E. Claytor, Ph.D.Chair of the Board of Trustees. “As we move forward, our top priority is, and always has been, ensuring that the financial health of the company is secure for decades to come.”

Building upon his prior experience in the world of theater, Mr. Hiltunen was instrumental in establishing Fort Worth Opera’s Relaxed Performances program, which created a welcoming opera environment for audience members with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and learning disabilities. Presented in tandem with Fort Worth Opera’s Children’s Opera Theatre program, these modified performances offered a friendly, calming, and supportive environment for children with sensory differences to enjoy opera with their families. The company will continue to work with the Fort Worth ISD and local organizations throughout Tarrant County as this inspiring program evolves.  

Preparations for Fort Worth Opera’s thrilling 2020 Festival (April 17 - May 3) are well underway. This season features star-studded performances of Puccini’s romantic masterpiece La Bohème, a riotous Roaring Twenties comedy, Revenge of the Bat (Die Fledermaus), and the world premiere of swashbuckling adventure Zorro. The company is eager to announce the 2021 line-up for its exhilarating 75th anniversary season in the months ahead. Fort Worth Opera looks towards a bright future as it proudly forges ahead as the oldest continually operating opera company in the state of Texas.  

Until a successor is appointed, Nelson E. Claytor, Ph.D., has assumed the role and duties of Acting General Director. www.fwopera.org.

Join Chris Laker and MAM
New York-based comedian Chris Laker opens Amphibian Stage's 2020 comedy series, and Thursday, Jan. 9 is a benefit for us.

published Monday, January 6, 2020

 

 

Fort Worth — This week, Amphibian Stage has its first comedy residency of the season, with New York-based stand-up Chris Laker. The comic, who just made his television debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in 2017 (see video above), performs Wednesday through Saturday, Jan. 8 through Jan. 11, trying out new material.

On Thursday, Jan. 9 at 8 p.m., the show is a benefit for Metropolitan Arts Media, which runs TheaterJones.com and is dedicated to preserving and expanding performing arts journalism in Dallas-Fort Worth. Tickets are $15, and you can make your reservations here. (If you go on Friday or Saturday, tickets go up to $20 and it will not benefit MAM.)

Chris was named a New Face at the Montreal Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in 2011, Chris’s sharp and edgy comedy has earned him a loyal following in New York’s alternative scene, where he’s hosted a variety of shows (The Show at The Creek and the Cave, The Laker Awards) and podcasts: This Week in Jackin’, Heteronormative, and Overslept. This past year Chris has been opening for Mike Birbiglia on his Working It Out and The New One tours. Chris’s debut stand-up album, Moments of Greatness (Comedy Dynamics), is available everywhere that sells music. Chris writes and acts too.

Look for an interview and more to come on TheaterJones.

Terry Loftis to Lead TACA
The philanthropist and Booker T. grad is the new executive director of The Arts Community Alliance.

published Thursday, October 10, 2019
Photo: Courtesy
Terry D. Loftis

DallasTerry D. Loftis has been named the new executive director of TACA, the philanthropic organization that funds arts initiatives in the Dallas area. Loftis will take over the position from Wolford McCue, who leaves the position at the end of 2019. Loftis, an accomplished singer in his right, has been a producer of Broadway musicals, is a longtime philanthropist, and is a graduate of Booker T. Washington High School of the Performing and Visual Arts.

 

Read the complete news release below:

The Board of Directors of TACA (The Arts Community Alliance) announced today that community arts advocate, philanthropist and Tony-nominated Broadway producer Terry D. Loftis has been selected as the organization’s next Carlson President and Executive Director. Loftis will take the helm of TACA immediately and succeed Wolford McCue, who will continue in a consulting role through the end of the year.

“We are thrilled to announce that Terry Loftis has been chosen as our next Carlson President and Executive Director,” said Tara Lewis, TACA’s board chair-elect. “Terry embodies the character, arts experience, and vision that’s vital to our organization and our stakeholders. With Terry’s thoughtful leadership, TACA will continue its important transformative work in the Dallas arts community and provide critical resources for the arts and artists to thrive here.”

After a 25-year career in the advertising and marketing industry, Loftis served most recently as vice president of the Broadway Strategic Return Fund in New York, which co-produced two Tony Award-winning productions, Once on This Island and Hadestown. In addition, he was a co-producer of two acclaimed shows, Bandstand and the The Visit. The Dallas native is a graduate of the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and has been actively engaged in the Dallas arts and nonprofit community for many years. He currently serves on the board of Black Tie Dinner and Resource Center. In addition, he sits on the President’s Council of the Advisory Board of Booker T. Washington. His past board service includes Friends of the Katy Trail, USA Film Festival, TITAS/Dance Unbound, and The Dallas Way. 

“I am honored and grateful to be selected by TACA’s Board of Directors as the organization’s next Carlson President and Executive Director,” Loftis said. “From dance to stage productions, music and the visual arts, we are experiencing a new era in programming and diversity across all art forms in Dallas. It’s an exciting time to be part of our city’s artistic growth, and I look forward to leading TACA at this time in our city. TACA will continue to be the gold standard in its support and advocacy for the arts, and we look forward to continuing to lead the way with critical funding to support the arts and artists through grant-making, capacity building and thought leadership.”

TACA Board of Directors Chair Michelle Thomas added, “We are fortunate to have an extraordinarily talented team in place at TACA as we transition to a new leader. Together, they are essential in ensuring that our operation is focused on developing new donors and supporters, elevating our brand to new audiences, and continuing our mission to serve the arts community. Please join me and our Board of Directors in welcoming Terry to TACA. He comes to TACA with a deep passion and commitment for the arts, and will be an amazing leader.”

TACA – The Arts Community Alliance – supports excellence and impact in the arts through grant-making, capacity building, and thought leadership. TACA envisions an innovative, inclusive, sustainable cultural sector recognized for its essential contribution to a vibrant, prosperous community. Since its founding in 1967, TACA has worked to establish North Texas’ cultural community as one of the strongest in the nation. TACA’s growing investment in the arts translates to new premieres and productions, impactful residencies and community initiatives, and more opportunities for artists and audiences to connect – all striving to make Dallas a dynamic city and a great place to live and work. 

Stage West Names Mainstage for Jerry Russell
The Fort Worth group's mainstage becomes the Jerry Russell Theatre, honoring the founder and longtime artistic director. Studio Theatre naming rights are available.

published Wednesday, October 9, 2019
Photo: Buddy Myers
Jerry Russell as Clarence Darrow

Fort Worth — Jerry Russell, the man who founded Stage West 40 years ago and is considered one of North Texas' great theatrical innovators, will have his name on the mainstage at the Fort Worth institution. The group's main performance space will be called the Jerry Russell Theatre.

Russell, a producer, director, and actor, died in 2013 at age 77. For years, the theater had been transitioning the organization's leadership; Dana Schultes, who was mentored by Russell, is now Executive Producer.

The group is also offering naming rights for its Studio Theatre, which is about to undergo renovation.

You can read more about it in the official news release from Stage West below:

 

Stage West is pleased to announce the theatre’s main stage space is being renamed the Jerry Russell Theatre, in honor of the organization’s beloved founder and long-time leader, Jerry Russell.

Stage West was founded on October 18, 1979 by Jerry Russell, on Houston Street in downtown Fort Worth. The first space was a 65-seat storefront theatre next to Russell’s European Sandwich Shoppe. The success of the first production necessitated the merging of the two spaces into a modest dinner theatre seating around 100. Before the end of the second season, Stage West had formed a Board of Directors, and moved to a new 9,000 square foot space at 821 W Vickery, converting the former warehouse into a theatre with a spacious front area. The theatre would remain at this location for ten more seasons, growing its subscription base and professional status.

Investigating the possibility of owing its own space, Stage West eventually found its way to the old TCU movie theatre at the corner of University Drive and Berry Street. After ten exciting years, the theatre sold that building and moved to the Fort Worth Community Arts Center.  In time, the group discovered that its former space on Vickery was still available, and following a four-month renovation, Stage West opened its doors again at the Vickery location. And now, as of January 2018, Stage West officially owns its own building.

The spirit of Jerry’s original model is still in place.  And the group is now expanding and renovating its home to more fully reflect the legacy started by Jerry - a professional theatre destination serving Fort Worth, Dallas, and beyond with innovative and entertaining stories that entertain, inspire, and challenge us, and creating an indelible imprint on the cultural landscape of Fort Worth.

Temporary signage will be put into place near the entrance to the main stage space, and once the renovations for the current Setting the Stage for the Future are complete, a more permanent treatment will installed. With the naming of the Jerry Russell Theatre, Stage West would also like to announce that naming rights are currently available for the second space (currently known as The Studio) for $400,000.00. This space will undergo extensive renovations in the coming year, complete with state of the art equipment and a flexible seating area with up to 200 seats.

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