Dallas — There is much to be excited about in the 2014-15 season at Dallas Theater Center—including that it expands from seven to nine productions (five of which are in the Kalita Humphreys Theater), has a show that features recent Oscar nominee June Squibb, and finally gives us the world premiere musical Stagger Lee by DTC playwright-in-residence Will Power.
But if you lament the lack of non-Shakespeare classical plays from the world canon produced by professional theaters, or at least a regular commitment to them, then the most thrilling news is the beginning of a five-year commitment to those works, with two each season that predate the 20th century.
"I think Shakespeare has crowded out the rest of these writers," says DTC Artistic Director Kevin Moriarty, an interesting statement from the director known for his love of the Bard. "If you think of the second or third greatest playwright of all time, we should do them...I’m also really excited for what it will do for our actors, it will build muscles for them that they don’t get to work out all the time."
To kick off the series, in 2015 there will be repertory productions of Molière's The School for Wives and Euripides' Medea, performed in the Kalita Humphreys Theater. The Moliere will be performed on the mainstage, and Medea in the basement space in the building, which hasn't been used for theater since the Paul Baker days of DTC. Both will be directed by Moriarty.
Moriarty says that in the subsequent four seasons, we can probably expect to see works by Aeschylus, Shaw, Ibsen and Chekhov, with the possibilities of Calederon de la Barca, Carlo Goldoni and Plautus. And, yes, Shakespeare might make a return, but not more than once or twice, Moriarty says, considering the Wyly Theatre opened with a four-year commitment to him. That cycle ended in 2012-13 with King Lear.
He adds that although it will be up to the director as to how they'll perform the work, they will be faithful translations of the originals, not contemporary updates. So this season's Oedipus el Rey, for instance, doesn't count, because it was a contemporary work inspired by Sophocles.
The 2014-15 season kicks off with the cult musical The Rocky Horror Show, directed by Joel Ferrell (who last directed that work locally at Casa Mañana in the 2000s) at the Wyly Theatre, and the productions will alternate between the Wyly and the Kalita after that.
Shows in the Wyly will be Rocky Horror, the return of last year's new production of A Christmas Carol, Will Power's Stagger Lee, and the regional premiere of a work by University of Texas at Austin graduate Andrew Hinderaker, a college football play called Colossal that uses extensive modern dance that will be choreographed by local dance great Bruce Wood, of Bruce Wood Dance Project. The latter show is a Rolling World Premiere with National New Play Network theaters Olney Theatre Center (Maryland), Mixed Blood theatre (Minneapolis) and Southern Rep (Louisiana).
The Kalita shows are Driving Miss Daisy, featuring June Squibb (nominated for a Supporting Actress Oscar this year for Nebraska; and last seen locally in DTC's Dividing the Estate and, a few years before that, Steel Magnolias at Casa Mañana), alongside DTC Resident Acting Company member Hassan El-Amin; Karen Zacarías' The Book Club Play, starring acting company member Christie Vela; School for Wives/Medea; and Jon Jory's adaptation of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility.
Moriarty says the reason for the move back into the Kalita, after this current season in which all of the works have been in the Wyly, is mostly about scheduling. They have to consider rehearsal and load-in times for a bigger season; and the use of the space by other groups, such as Dallas Black Dance Theatre and the occasional rental.
"For more than 30 years we’ve been a two-theater organization," he says of the Kalita Humphreys and the Arts District Theater, which was bulldozed to make room for the AT&T Performing Arts Center. "We’ve said with consistency and without exception that they are both our homes. How could we not use a building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright? Both of our buildings were built for us and by us; the architecture has our DNA in it."
The season budget will be at about 9 million, the general area at which it has hovered since the organization moved into the Wyly. Although finances could be a reason for fewer shows in the Wyly, Moriarty notes that it's not much less expensive to produce in the Kalita, considering there they have to hire front-of-house and other staff. That staff comes included in their rent at the Wyly.
A few other things to look forward to in future seasons: The collaboration with Cara Mía Theatre Company on The Dreamers Part 2, which will be workshopped extensively in the 2014-15 season; and the announcement of a new-playwright-in-residence to follow Will Power. Originally with this program, funded in part by the Andrew Mellon Foundation, DTC was to have overlapped these playwrights every three years, with a new one beginning a year-and-a-half into Power's residency. Moriarty says that due to scheduling logistics, they won't announce a new one for another year or so.
Below is the news release about the season, followed by the line-up of plays with dates, locations, directors and descriptions:
DALLAS (April 8,2014) – Dallas Theater Center Artistic Director Kevin Moriarty announced today the theater’s 2014- 2015 season, which will take place at the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre at the AT&T Performing Arts Center and the Kalita Humphreys Theater on Turtle Creek. DTC’s 2014-2015 season will expand from its current seven productions to nine total productions next season. In addition to popular musicals, comedies and dramas, DTC is producing two world premieres and launching a new multi-year classical theater initiative.
“Our 2014-2015 season will make use of DTC’s two incredible theatrical homes, both designed by award-winning architects – the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre at the AT&T Performing Arts Center and our historic home, the Kalita Humphreys Theater. These spaces will be filled with our most expansive season yet,” says Moriarty. “Audiences will see nationally recognized actors, such as 2014 Academy Award®-nominee June Squibb, on stage alongside DTC’s own Brierley Resident Acting Company, and our artistic collaborations will range from. DTC Playwright-in-Residence and SMU Meadows Prize recipient Will Power to the masterful choreographer, Bruce Wood. It is truly a season designed to awe and inspire.”
DTC’s seven-play subscription series includes an immersive production of the gender-bending rock and roll classic, The Rocky Horror Show; Driving Miss Daisy, featuring master actress June Squibb; Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen’s classic romantic novel brought to life on stage; the world premiere musical Stagger Lee, written by DTC Playwright-in-Residence Will Power and Justin Ellington; Colossal, a new play by Andrew Hinderaker that will see the Wyly Theatre transformed into a football field; The Book Club Play, a regional premiere of a romantic comedy about books and the people who love them; and Moliere’s sparkling comedy The School for Wives, which launches DTC’s multi-year Classical Theater initiative.
As the second production in its Classical Theater Initiative, DTC will also offer a limited engagement run of Euripides’ classic Greek tragedy, Medea, in rep with TheSchoolforWives. Plus, the Holiday Extra A Christmas Carol is back after last-year’s sold-out run at the Wyly.
The full season will be presented as follows: in the Potter Rose Performance Hall at the Wyly Theatre The Rocky Horror Show (Sept. 11 – Oct. 19); at the Kalita Driving Miss Daisy (Oct. 16 – Nov. 16); at the Wyly A Christmas Carol (Nov. 25 – Dec. 27); at the Kalita The Book Club Play (Jan. 1 – Feb. 1); at the Wyly Stagger Lee (Jan. 21 – Feb. 15); at the Kalita The School for Wives (Feb. 20 – March 29) in rotating repertory with Medea (Feb. 19 – March 29) in Down Center Stage at the Kalita; at the Wyly Colossal (April 2 – May 3); and at the Kalita Sense and Sensibility (April 23 – May 24).
The Rocky Horror Show, with book, music and lyrics by Richard O’Brien, kicks off DTC’s 2014-2015 season in cult classic style, directed and choreographed by Joel Ferrell (director of DTC’s Cabaret). This outrageous rock musical, complete with transvestites, mad scientists and monsters, premiered on Broadway more than 40 years ago and now Dallas audiences can see it live on stage at the Wyly Theatre. Grab your popcorn and get ready to do the Time Warp!
Recent Academy Award®-nominee June Squibb returns to the DTC stage for the first time since her critically-acclaimed role in Dividing the Estate in Driving Miss Daisy, directed by Joel Ferrell. This Pulitzer Prize®-winning play by Alfred Uhry follows the relationship of an elderly Southern Jewish woman and her African-American chauffer from one of suspicion and mistrust to friendship and respect.
Jane Austen’s romantic Sense and Sensibilitybrings the Dashwood sisters to the Kalita in a play about the delicate dance between love and heartbreak. Adapted by Jon Jory and directed by Sarah Rasmussen, the production will appeal to Austen aficionados of all ages.
Dallas audiences will be the first to see the world premiere musical Stagger Lee, by DTC’s Playwright in residence Will Power and Justin Ellington, directed by Patricia McGregor, with music supervision by Daryl Waters. It reboots thelegendary tales of Stagger Lee, Frankie and Johnny, and Long Lost John with an original score that celebrates the history of African-American music throughout the 20th century. Stagger Lee was developed in collaboration with The Meadows School of the Arts, Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas as a part of Will Power’s Meadows Prize residency.
Colossalwill put audiences on the fifty yard line in the Wyly in this new play by University of Texas graduate Andrew Hinderaker, directed by Kevin Moriarty. Colossal, an intimate and epic story about the nation’s most popular sport, will feature a bold and never-before-seen new configuration in the Wyly Theatre’s Potter Rose Performance Hall, a drum line and full-contact choreography by Bruce Wood. Colossal is being produced as a rolling world premiere by Olney Theatre Center (Maryland), Mixed Blood theatre (Minneapolis), Dallas Theater Center (Texas) and Southern Rep (Louisiana) as part of the National New Play Network’s Continued Life Program.
Next season, DTC launches a Classical Theater initiative, featuring masterpieces of theatrical literature from around the world, with The School for Wives. Molière’s hilarious 18th century play is directed by Kevin Moriarty. Filled with scheming and young love, it tells the story of Arnolphe and his attempt to woo a much younger perfect bride and keep her admirer out of the picture. The School for Wives is performed in rotating rep with Medea, also directed by Moriarty and featuring DTC Company Member Sally Nystuen Vahle in the title role. Euripides’ tale of betrayal and vengeance, written in the 5th century BCE, will take audiences into the Kaltia’s Down Center Stage basement performance space for the first time in more than 30 years.
In The Book Club Play by Karen Zacarías, directed by Meredith McDonough, Ana has the perfect life with an adoring husband and regular meetings with her book club. But add to the mix a documentary film crew, a problem-causing new member and a few provocative titles, and Ana’s perfect-life-scenario gets thrown for a loop. The Book Club Playis about life, love, literature and the crazy things we do when we’re being filmed.
After last year’s sold-out run, the Holiday Extra A Christmas Carol returns to the Wyly Theatre. Chamblee Ferguson plays everybody’s favorite humbug, Ebenezer Scrooge, in this brand new adaptation by Kevin Moriarty, directed by Lee Trull and choreographed by Jeremy Dumont. A Christmas Carol is a magical story filled with holiday cheer, magical ghosts and lots of snow!
Full season subscriptions are on sale now for as little as $126. Subscriptions can be purchased online at DallasTheaterCenter.org or by calling the AT&T Performing Arts Center Box Office at (214) 880-0202. Single tickets to A Christmas Carol and Medea will be available later in the season, after a subscriber-only early access pre-sale.
For those who want to take their theater-going experience to the next level, DTC’s program, Friends@DTC, offers patrons a variety of exclusive benefits, including premium seats, a VIP intermission lounge, special invitations, complimentary drinks, free parking and much more. Visit DallasTheaterCenter.org/Friends or email Friends@DallasTheaterCenter.org for more information.
DTC will continue the ComeEarly, sponsored by Wells Fargo, and the Dr.Pepper Snapple Group Stay Late Come early Stay Late is a free, brief, post-show conversation with a member of the cast about the show. Patrons will engage with the artists, learn about the production and be able to share their insights about the play in a lively discussion.
Here's the line-up, with dates and more information:
THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW
Book, Music and Lyrics by RICHARD O’BRIEN
Directed and Choreographed by JOEL FERRELL Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre
Sept. 11 – Oct. 19
Let’s do the Time Warp again! Four decades after its Broadway premiere, The Rocky Horror Show is back with delicious, gender bending abandon! With Joel Ferrell at the helm (remember Cabaret, anyone?) this all-new production promises a wickedly wayward evening that demands you check your old-fashioned assumptions about how we can shape ourselves at the door. Complete with sweet alien transvestites, killer rock music and outrageous humor, don’t miss this night at the Annual Transylvanian Convention, where boys will be girls, and girls will be boys… we dare you to figure out which is which.
DRIVING MISS DAISY
By ALFRED UHRY
Directed by JOEL FERRELL
Kalita Humphreys Theater
Oct. 16 – Nov. 16
Told through vignettes detailing the shift in Southern racial attitudes between 1948 and 1973, Driving Miss Daisy chronicles the decades-long relationship between a stubborn, Southern matriarch and her proud, African-American chauffeur who journey from suspicion and mistrust to respect and affection in this Pulitzer Prize®-winning play. DTC welcomes back 2014 Academy Award®-nominee June Squibb (last seen in Dividing the Estate) as the indomitable Miss Daisy in this iconic tale of the transformative power of friendship that will warm your heart.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL (HOLIDAY EXTRA)
By CHARLES DICKENS
Adapted by KEVIN MORIARTY
Directed by LEE TRULL Choreographed by JEREMY DUMONT
Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre
Nov. 25 – Dec. 27
‘Tis the season to be jolly, when last season’s sold-out, family-favorite, holiday production of A Christmas Carol returns to the Wyly Theatre. In this delightfully re-imagined take on Dickens’ enduring classic, featuring Chamblee Ferguson as Ebenezer Scrooge, the audience is surrounded by the actors, with magical ghosts flying above, scary ghosts bursting out of the floor, and snow falling on everyone. Full of traditional Christmas hymns and songs in fresh, toe-tapping musical arrangements, joyful bursts of choreography, and eye-popping special effects, A Christmas Carol is Dallas’ newest “mus - see” holiday tradition. (Last year 26 performances were sold-out! But subscribers can buy tickets BEFORE they go on sale to general public—guaranteeing the best seats at the best prices—and avoiding being shut out of sold-out performances.)
THE BOOK CLUB PLAY
By KAREN ZACARÍAS
Directed by MEREDITH MCDONOUGH
Kalita Humphreys Theater
Jan. 1 – Feb. 1
Loads of laughter and literature collide in this smart comedy about books and the people who love them. Ana lives in a letter-perfect world with an adoring husband, the perfect job, and her greatest passion: book club. But when her book club becomes the subject of a film documentary their discussions about life and literature take a hilarious turn. Add a club- crashing newcomer along with some provocative book titles and the club’s long-intertwined group dynamics begin to unravel as the friends start to read between the lines.
Book and Lyrics by WILL POWER
Music by WILL POWER and JUSTIN ELLINGTON
Music Supervision by DARYL WATERS Directed by PATRICIA MCGREGOR
Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre
JAN. 21-FEB. 15
A highlight this season is the world premiere of StaggerLee, a musical that takes its title from the century-old folk song that became a Number One R&B hit for Lloyd Price in 1959. The story spans the 20th Century, tracing mythical characters in their quest to achieve the American Dream. The deep-seated themes of racism and the raw power of human will are sure to give you chills. And the music—from Joplin-inspired tunes to R&B and hip-hop—will definitely get your feet moving.
Stagger Lee was partially developed in workshops in collaboration with The Meadows School of the Arts, Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas as a part of Will Power’s Meadows Prize residency.
THE SCHOOL FOR WIVES
By MOLIÉRE, translation by Richard Wilbur
Directed by KEVIN MORIARTY
Kalita Humphreys Theater
Feb. 20 – March 29
DTC launches a new multi-year Classical Theater initiative with this sublime comedy, in a high-energy production directed by Kevin Moriarty. Combining Moliére’s razor-sharp observations about love, marriage and desire with hilarious physical comedy and joyful contemporary music, The School For Wives tells the story of Arnolphe, who believes he has shrewdly concocted the perfect plan to woo a much younger woman to be his wife. (SPOILER ALERT: Arnolphe isn’t all that shrewd). As his plan goes horribly wrong and the complications add up, this fast-paced French farce will keep you on the edge of your seat, wondering what you may have missed while you were rolling in the aisle laughing.
Directed by KEVIN MORIARTY
Kalita Humphreys Theater – Down Center Stage
Feb. 19 – March 29
The second production in DTC’s Classical Theater initiative, Medeais a 2500-year-old classic that still resonates today with its modern–day complexities of power, marriage, families and politics. Produced in Down Center Stage, the intimate basement theater space carved out of the Kalita Humphreys Theater, Medea will plunge the audience into the midst of an intense domestic dispute that quickly accelerates to its horrifying climax of violence, revenge and mutual destruction. With emotionally honest acting and a starkly beautiful, poetic text, Medea will be an unforgettable theatrical experience.
By ANDREW HINDERAKER
Directed by KEVIN MORIARTY
Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre
April 2 – May 3
Winner of the Kennedy Center’s Jean Kennedy Smith Playwriting Award, Colossalis an epic theatrical event. With the flexible Wyly Theatre transformed into a football field, director Kevin Moriarty and acclaimed choreographer Bruce Wood will create an intensely physical production of this spectacular and deeply moving new play. Featuring full contact choreography and a drumline, the play centers on a University of Texas football player, struggling to move forward in the wake of a catastrophic spinal injury. A play about love, ability, and extraordinary feats of strength, Colossalis both a celebration and critical examination of our nation’s most popular form of theater.
Colossal is being produced as a rolling world premiere by Olney Theatre Center (Maryland), Mixed Blood Theatre (Minneapolis), Dallas Theater Center (Texas) and Southern Rep (Louisiana) as part of the National New Play Network’s Continued Life Program.
SENSE AND SENSIBILITY
Adapted by JON JORY
Based on the novel by JANE AUSTEN
Directed by SARAH RASMUSSEN
Kalita Humphreys Theater
April 23 – May 24
Scandalous secrets, shocking betrayals, dashing suitors and devious rivals are brought to glorious life in a period-perfect adaptation of Jane Austen’s beloved novel. At the emotional heart of this classic romantic comedy are the marital hopes, unpredictable misadventures and sincere, sisterly bonds of Elinor and Marianne Dashwood. Will Elinor’s common sense or Marianne’s impulsive passion be the key to marriage and happiness? Come experience the production that is certain to become an instant treasure for Austen aficionados of all ages.
Here's a video produced by DTC about the season: