Sammy \"Rat\" Rios in&nbsp;<em>We\'re Gonna Die</em>, directed by Jake Nice

2017-2018 for the Elevator Project

The AT&T Performing Arts Center's third season is its biggest and most stylistically diverse yet, with dance, opera, music and theater.

published Friday, August 18, 2017

Photo: Rob Martinez
Sammy "Rat" Rios in We're Gonna Die, directed by Jake Nice


Dallas — The third Elevator Project at the AT&T Performing Arts Center has been announced, and the lineup of performances from eight organizations and individuals is the most diverse, stylistically, the series has seen. The performers are American Baroque Opera Company, Dark Circles Contemporary Dance, Jake Nice, Bandan Koro African Drum & Dance Ensemble, Adam Adolfo, Soul Rep Theatre Company, Therefore Art & Performance Group, and Cry Havoc Theater Company. They will perform in various spaces at ATTPAC, including the sixth floor studio theatre at the Wyly Theatre, Hamon Hall in the Winspear Opera House, and in Sammons Park.


The complete news release is below, including descriptions, dates and subscription and ticket information.

Photo: Sergio Garcia
Joshua Peugh of Dark Circles Contemporary Dance

The nonprofit AT&T Performing Arts Center is pleased to announce the 2017/2018 ELEVATOR PROJECT season, featuring the work of small and emerging arts groups performing on the Center’s campus in the Dallas Arts District. The Elevator Project’s new season will feature productions from eight Dallas-based performing arts companies.

“This is a substantial sampling that arts audiences can really get excited about,” said Doug Curtis, president and CEO of the AT&T Performing Arts Center. “The new season includes a wide range of genres, giving audiences a unique chance to see some of the most innovative work from the freshest talent in Dallas.”

2017/2018 Elevator Project will feature weekend and multi-week engagements from eight of Dallas’ smaller and emerging companies beginning in September 2017 with “Masquerade: Opera Cabaret” presented by American Baroque Opera Company. The Elevator Project continues with Big Bad Wolf and Les Fairies presented by Dark Circles Contemporary Dance in October. February 2018 begins with We’re Gonna Die produced and directed by Jake Nice. March and April bring Guinea Fare: Her Story, Her Ipseity presented by Bandan Koro African Drum & Dance Ensemble and ELEMENTAL: Nature’s Rhapsody, a multi-genre work directed by Adam Adolfo. May presentations include The Freedmans from Soul Rep Theatre Company and The Alexa Dialogues presented by Therefore Art & Performance Group.  The final production, Babel from Cry Havoc Theater Company, is presented in July 2018.

Three of the productions will be staged in the Studio Theatre located on the 6th floor of the Wyly Theatre, four productions in Hamon Hall at the Winspear Opera House and one production staged on the donor reflecting pool in Sammons Park on the campus of the AT&T Performing Arts Center. All shows are $25 general admission.

“It’s important that there’s a place in the Arts District where artists can take risks, premier work and find new audiences,” said David Denson, the Center’s director of programming and the creator of Elevator Project. “There’s also a hunger from Dallas audiences to discover these groups and test drive their work. We think the Center can help provide that platform.”

This is the third season of the Elevator Project, which started in 2014 to provide much-needed performance space in the Arts District for small and emerging Dallas-based performing arts groups. The Center presents this innovative series with support from the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs. 

The 2017/2018 Elevator Project is the first time a season has been curated by a five-person panel of arts professionals and advocates. From an April call-for-entries from Dallas-based artists and arts groups, 41 proposals were submitted. Some of the guiding criteria included placing an emphasis on new works; diverse genres, artists and subject matter; unusual use of performance space; supporting groups without a home; and more.


2017/2018 Elevator Project Advisory Review Panel

Becki Howard: Violinist, recording artist, head of booking and events at Brethren + Sistren, former director of programming at AT&T Performing Arts Center

Terry Martin: Head of Fine Arts at Greenhill School, former producing artistic director at WaterTower Theatre

Vicki Meek: Sculptor, writer, former director at South Dallas Cultural Center

Judy Pollock: Arts patron, former chair of the Cultural Affairs Commission

Lily Weiss: Executive director at Dallas Arts District, former artistic director at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, former dancer and choreographer


Once the panelists curated the season, it was reviewed and approved by:

John Paul Batiste, Chair, Cultural Affairs Commission

Mike Richman, Executive Vice President, AT&T Performing Arts Center

Jennifer Scripps, Director, Office of Cultural Affairs


Individual tickets for each production will be available beginning today, Friday, August 18 at 3:30 p.m.  General admission tickets for each show are $25 each. With the purchase of five or more shows, the ticket price is $20 for each show. With the purchase of seven shows, for $140, the eighth show is FREE, representing a total savings of $60. Handling fees are additional. 

Purchasers of five or more shows may also purchase a discounted parking option for only $5 per show. 

Tickets will be available online at, 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 will open 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and before performances – closed Saturdays and Sundays.





Photo: Courtesy
Eric Smith, co-founder of American Baroque Opera Company

American Baroque Opera Company

Masquerade: Opera Cabaret (three performances)

Hamon Hall


Synopsis: ABOC’s Masquerade: Opera Cabaret will harken back to the popular eighteenth century cabaret with music and masks taken from the most popular operas of the baroque. These performances will feature dazzling arias by Handel, Vivaldi, and their contemporaries, sung by popular Dallas sopranos Anna Fredericka Popova, and Jendi Tarde, mezzo soprano Laura Warriner Bray, and countertenor Nicholas Garza, and accompanied by a full baroque orchestra on period instruments. Audience members are encouraged to sport their best Venetian mask for a chance to win prizes!


Performance Schedule:

Thursday, September 14, 2017; 7:30 p.m.

Friday, September 15; 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, September 16; 8:00 p.m.



Dark Circles Contemporary Dance

Big Bad Wolf and Les Fairies (three performances)

Wyly Theatre – Studio Theatre Level 6


Synopsis: Dark Circles Contemporary Dance celebrates the opening of its fifth anniversary season with two new creations by Founder and Artistic Director Joshua L. Peugh.

Peugh will create a world premiere modern reimagining of the classic ballets blancs 'Les Sylphides' titled 'Les Fairies'. With music by Frédéric Chopin arranged and performed live by Meadows School of the Arts Staff Musician Richard Abrahamson, the new creation will feature the brilliant dancers of Dark Circles in a romantic style ballet with a twist.

The second work titled 'Big Bad Wolf' is inspired by cautionary tales people worldwide use to frighten naughty children. Influenced by characters described in stories by Heinrich Hoffmann, the Grimm Brothers, and Charles Perrault (among others), the work will be grandly theatrical and will also draw from vaudeville. The work will have an international premiere at Seoul Performing Arts Center (South Korea’s foremost art and culture venue) in conjunction with Korea National Contemporary Dance Company.


Performance Schedule:

Thursday, October 19, 2017; 7:30 p.m.

Friday, October 20; 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, October 21; 8 p.m.



Jake Nice

We’re Gonna Die by Young Jean Lee (three performances)

Wyly Theatre – Studio Theatre Level 6


Synopsis: We’re Gonna Die is a cabaret-style musical written by experimental NYC playwright Young Jean Lee that celebrates the unifying nature of human mortality. Equal parts stage musical and rock concert, We’re Gonna Die juxtaposes tales of everyday suffering with uplifting indie pop songs. In this 60 minute one-act, the Singer (the only speaking character in the play) directly addresses the audience to share her experiences of tragedy and encourage us that nobody needs to suffer alone. On the contrary: we’re all suffering all the time, albeit in our own personalized ways. The Singer wants to assure you that your pain is totally normal, that life is inevitably tragic at times, and that, yes, we’re all going to die.

We’re Gonna Die premiered in 2011 at Joe’s Pub in New York City as the 11th play in the hallowed 13P playwriting coalition. Young Jean Lee performed the role of Singer in that production backed by her band Future Wife (who helped write the six songs in the show). Since then, notable productions include the 2015 production at London’s Southbank Centre – for which David Byrne of Talking Heads sang the songs while Lee performed the monologues – and Company One Theatre’s touring co-production with American Repertory Theatre in 2016. Jake

Nice produced the North Texas regional premiere of We’re Gonna Die in 2017 starring Sammy “Rat” Rios as the Singer.


Photo: Bandan Koro
Bandan Koro: An African Drum and Dance Ensemble

Performance Schedule:

Thursday, February 8, 2018; 7:30 p.m.

Friday, February 9; 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, February 10; 8 p.m.



Bandan Koro African Drum & Dance Ensemble

Guinea Fare: Her Story, Her Ipseity (three performances)

Hamon Hall


Synopsis: Experience the joys, sorrows and the beauty of becoming a woman while identifying with one’s absolute self. Guinea Fare meaning “women’s dance” in the Maninka language, explores the journey of four women as they travel to their ancestral homelands through contemporary dance, spoken word and traditional African music and dance. Set to the tone of modern day women’s issues, this explosive production is set to debut in Bandan Koro’s inaugural theater season, Ipseity: The Disturbance of Self. This experience is intended for the entire family.

Performance Schedule:

Thursday, March 22, 2018; 7:30 p.m.

Friday, March 23; 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, March 24; 8:00 p.m.



Adam Adolfo (Director)

ELEMENTAL: Nature’s Rhapsody (three performances)

Sammons Park – Reflecting Pool


Synopsis: William Shakespeare wrote “there is not anything which returns to nothing, but all things return dissolved into their elements.” Conceived by Producer / Director Adam Adolfo, ELEMENTAL explores the five classical elements of the world around us through song, dance, spoken word, and theatre. Created specifically for the Elevator Project, with staging in Sammons Park’s Reflecting Pool, this evening salon takes its audience on an expressive journey from our humble beginnings as ‘star stuff’, to the first drop of water needed to sustain life, through earth as we cultivate our own bones so that we may fly through air only to see our spark of creation and our own internal fire doused by time. Featuring music, dance, and poetry, ranging from opera to pop, modern dance and ballroom, and Shakespeare to hip-hop, this is a night to celebrate our lives in the world around us for Shakespeare asked “Does not our lives consist of the elements?”


Performance Schedule: 

Friday, April 20, 2018; 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, April 21; 8:00 p.m.

Sunday, April 22; 7:30 p.m.


Photo: Anyika McMillan-Herod
The Freedmans from Soul Rep Theatre Company

Soul Rep Theatre Company

The Freedmans (12 performances)

Wyly Theatre – Studio Theatre Level 6


Synopsis: Written by members of Soul Rep’s writing consortium, The Freedmans is a  signature production created to commemorate the opening of Dallas' Freedman's Memorial 20 years ago and to pay homage to our city's black pioneers and early Freedman's community of the late 19th and early 20th Century. The acclaimed production is comprised of compelling and colorful true and imagined stories told through poetry, monologue, song and dance. It is appropriate for ALL audiences, ages, ethnicities.


Performance Schedule:

Wednesday, May 2, 2018: 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, May 3: 7:30 p.m.

Friday, May 4: 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, May 5; 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

Sunday, May 6; 1:30 p.m.

Wednesday, May 9: 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, May 10: 7:30 p.m.

Friday, May 11: 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, May 12; 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

Sunday, May 13; 1:30 p.m.



Therefore Art & Performance Group

The Alexa Dialogues (three performances)

Hamon Hall


Synopsis: The Alexa Dialogues explores the outer edges of our interactions with artificial intelligence, anticipating near future emotional entanglements and the complexities of human – AI relationships. Therefore performers Hilly Holsonback, Abel Flores, and Hannah Weir will interact live with Amazon’s voice driven Alexa AI agent as well as create large scale video art works and improvisational performance segments. Words, performance, and music written and directed by Dean Terry in collaboration with therefore.


Performance Schedule:

Thursday, May 24, 2018; 7:30 p.m.

Friday, May 25; 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, May 26; 8:00 p.m.



Cry Havoc Theater Company

Babel (10 performances)

Hamon Hall


Synopsis: In our highly politicized environment, conversations about gun ownership and gun control go nowhere. In fact, the very words used to discuss guns in America shut down the conversation between people on opposite sides of the debate. It is as if we are living in Babel, in a state of confusion, unable to get anywhere or to understand one another. What would happen if we sat down and listened to each other?

Following the success of Shots Fired, the acclaimed documentary theatre piece about the 2016 Dallas Police shootings, Cry Havoc Theater Company is creating a new documentary work that examines the second amendment right to keep and bear arms. For Babel, the company will travel locally and nationally collecting interviews from voices on multiple sides of the gun ownership debate. Those interviews, along with the teens' reflections on them, will offer a glimpse into the emotionally charged, national conversation. 


Performance Schedule:

Thursday, July 5, 2018; 7:30 p.m.

Friday, July 6; 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, July 7; 2:00 p.m. & 8:00 p.m.

Sunday, July 8; 1:30 p.m.

Thursday, July 12; 7:30 p.m.

Friday, July 13; 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, July 14; 2:00 p.m. & 8:00 p.m.

Sunday, July 15; 1:30 p.m.



About American Baroque Opera Company

Established in 2017, by founders Artistic Director Eric Smith, General Manager Miguel Cantu IV, and Executive Director Hillary Coyle, the American Baroque Opera Co. presents to Dallas audiences intimate staged productions of operas from the Baroque era. In addition to presenting works of well known composers including Handel, Vivaldi, and Purcell, our mission is to resurrect the operas of lesser known baroque composers, famous in their day, whose operas have fallen into obscurity. We present our productions on period instruments with authentic historical performance practice, and are excited to educate and entertain new audiences with these masterpieces of the baroque. In the spring of 2018, ABOC will stage performances of Handel’s Alcina featuring an all-star cast accompanied by a baroque orchestra.


About Dark Circles Contemporary Dance

Dark Circles Contemporary Dance was founded in 2010 in Seoul, South Korea. The company's Dallas-based branch—led by internationally award-winning choreographer and Dance Magazine “25 to Watch” breakout star of 2015, Joshua L. Peugh—has continually crafted and curated inspiring, innovative, and accessible dance works. The company has performed nationally and internationally at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, Theater am Aegi (Germany), and at the Ailey Citigroup Theater (New York), among others. Repertory includes works by Joshua L. Peugh, Gregory Dolbashian, Mike Esperanza, James Gregg, Fabio Liberti and MADBOOTS.

Hailed as “the area’s most exciting dance company” (Star-Telegram) and as "Best Dance Company" by D Magazine (2015 & 2016) and Dallas Observer (2016), Dark Circles has established itself as a valuable member of the DFW arts community. Founded in Dallas

in 2013, Dark Circles has quickly become a company of national caliber and international recognition. In just four seasons, Dark Circles has commissioned and produced 21 world premieres by some of today’s top choreographers.

Dark Circles is generating pride within local dance audiences and providing the area with original and excellent contemporary dance. It strives to educate the public on the power of movement in communicating ideas. We want audiences to get lost in the fantasy on stage, but leave the theatre with questions about the depths of our humanness: how we connect, interact, and react with one another.


About Jake Nice

Jake Nice and Sammy Rios met while studying theatre at SMU. Since graduating, Jake has worked at myriad of local theatres while Sammy has focused more on producing her music. In early 2017, Jake approached Sammy about partnering to independently produce Young Jean Lee’s We’re Gonna Die. She agreed, and the two engaged their respective musical and theatrical networks to plot a tour for their production. With Sammy performing the role of Singer and Jake in the director’s chair, they toured the show across Dallas, Denton and Fort Worth that spring performing at a different, unique venue with a site-specific lineup of local musicians each night.


About Bandan Koro African Drum & Dance Ensemble

Bandan Koro African Drum and Dance Ensemble was created in Winter 2009 as an outlet to study and share experiences associated with African culture and history to the community through the medium of dance, music and specialized presentations. Bandan Koro is a Malinke term meaning “under the tree” and traditionally, the large trees of Africa were not only sources of food and other necessities but were central meeting places for the community. In this tradition, Bandan Koro African Drum and Dance Ensemble travels throughout Texas, and beyond bringing audiences “under the tree” to celebrate life through African Arts. Bandan Koro has been featured in Dance Africa Dallas, Atlanta and Denver and has performed at various celebrations and festivals, such as the 2017 Dallas Arts Month Press Conference through the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs. This 22 member ensemble of musicians, singers and dancers teach multiple classes throughout the week, present specialized educational programs and entertains various audiences throughout the year. Bandan Koro continues to foster values of love, pride, cultural engagement and excellence within the community.


Photo: Courtesy
Adam Adolfo

About Adam Adolfo

Adam Adolfo is a stage director, choreographer, and producer having directed Shakespeare, musicals, opera, and staging several world premier plays. Recently honored with a Fort Worth Weekly VISIONARY AWARD, for his outstanding contributions to the Artistic Community in Tarrant County, Mr. Adolfo is the first performing arts professional to receive this distinction. Formerly the Artistic Director for Artes de la Rosa and mind behind its 5 Year American Classic’s Initiative, previously the Artistic Director of The Living Opera, he directed the regional premiere of the Pulitzer Prize nominated opera, Henry Faust. Recently he served as the General Manager for the Award-Winning Weathervane Playhouse and as a Production Associate at the Arizona Theatre Company. A graduate of Stephen F. Austin University,Adam has studied with the Texas Shakespeare Festival. Amongst his favorite credits are Into the Woods, Standing On Ceremony, Sweet Eros, Much Ado About Nothing, A Streetcar Named Desire, Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol, Dora the Explorer Live! Baltimore Waltz, She Loves Me, Howie Takes a Trip, Brigadoon, Hamlet, Romeo & Juliet, Women on the Verge… and In the Heights.


About Soul Rep Theatre Company

Soul Rep Theatre Company was founded in 1996 by Dallas/Fort Worth natives Guinea Bennett-Price (Artistic Director), Tonya Holloway (Co-Artistic Director) and Anyika McMillan-Herod (Ex. Director). From '95-'03, Soul Rep blossomed from a small community theater into Dallas' celebrated professional theater company dedicated to the African-American experience. During this time, Soul Rep produced three mainstage productions, in addition to an annual New Play Festival and the Cafe/Negro Arts Series, a collaboration with Cara Mía Theatre Company. Many productions were critically acclaimed. After a ten year hiatus, Soul Rep marked its comeback in 2013 and is currently the resident theater company at the South Dallas Cultural Center. Soul Rep recently wrapped up its 10/20 Anniversary season.


About Therefore Art & Performance Group

Therefore is a transmedia art, sound, and performance group founded by Dean Terry in 2016. Therefore is currently developing its third major project. Our first two performances were in 2016. The debut performance was held at Acoustic Nerves and was supported by an Office of Cultural Affairs Grant from the City of Dallas. It featured artists from across the city from several genres including video art, installation, dance, performance, and music and was organized and co-curated by Dean Terry. This highly innovative and experimental group works in a highly collaborative and iterative manner and has been invited twice in as many years to discuss its creative process at international conferences such as ISEA. Therefore is one of the very few transmedia performance groups in Texas and is directed by the founding faculty member of Arts and Technology and EMAC at UT Dallas.


About Cry Havoc Theater Company

Founded in the fall of 2014 by Mara Richards Bim, Cry Havoc Theater Company seeks to fill a gap in the Dallas theater community. Too often, the material young people are given to work with is simplistic, condescending and uninspiring. And, while numerous “pay to play” performance options exist, there is a scarcity of opportunity for students to be cast in rofessionally produced shows purely on their talent, rather than on their ability to pay.

At Cry Havoc we challenge audience expectations of what youth theatre is. We are uncompromising in our belief that young people have the intellectual appetite and emotional maturity to tackle complex, provocative material. And we are dedicated to providing serious (and seriously talented) young people the opportunity to create artistically viable theater under the direction of professional artists, regardless of their financial means. Whether it’s the subject of gangs in The (out)Siders Project, teenage rebellion in Shut Up and Listen!, rape in Good Kids, politics in The Great American Sideshow, or most recently, the deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and the Dallas police officers in Shots Fired, hearing young people from all corners of Dallas tell stories about these difficult and “grown-up” issues, leaves a lasting impact on audiences. Thanks For Reading

View the Article Slideshow
Click or Swipe to close
2017-2018 for the Elevator Project
The AT&T Performing Arts Center's third season is its biggest and most stylistically diverse yet, with dance, opera, music and theater.
by Mark Lowry

Share this article on Facebook
Tweet this article
Share this article on Google+
Share this article via email
Click or Swipe to close
Click or Swipe to close
views on theater, dance, classical music, opera and comedy performances
news & notes
reports from the local performing arts scene
features & interviews
who and what are moving and shaking in the performing arts scene
season announcements
keep up with the arts groups' upcoming seasons
listen to interviews with people in the local performing arts scene
media reviews
reviews and stories on performing arts-related film, TV, recordings and books
arts organizations
learn more about the local producing and presenting arts groups
performance venues
learn more about the theaters and spaces where the arts happen
keep up with fabulous ticket giveaways and other promotions
connect to local arts crowdfunding campaigns
post or view auditions and performing arts-related classes, services, jobs and more
about us
info on TheaterJones, our staff, what we do and how to contact us
Click or Swipe to close
First Name:
Last Name:
Date of Birth:
ZIP Code:
Your Email Address:
Click or Swipe to close
Join TheaterJones Around the Web

Follow Us on Twitter

Subscribe to our Youtube Channel

Click or Swipe to close
Search the TheaterJones Archives
Use any or all of the options below to search through all of reviews, interviews, features and special sections. If you are looking for a an event, use the calendar section of this website. This search will not search through the calendar.
Article Title Search:

Description Search:
TheaterJones Contributor:

TheaterJones Section:

Showing on or after:      Showing on or before:  
Click or Swipe to close
We welcome your comments

I am discussing:  

Your Name:
Your Email Adress:

please enter the text below and then click or tap SUBMIT :