Theater Critic Picks
It's still festival time in both Fort Worth and Dallas, along with a few familiar titles from a certain ALW (that's Andrew Lloyd Webber to most). Some recent Broadway hits are also making their way to local stages in regional productions, as are one or two brand-new works showcasing native talent.
Here are the 11 shows to see in order by start date:
The Firehouse Theatre, September 5-22
Set among a larger-than-life junkyard playground, Cats is alive with purr-fect felines, including Rum Tum Tugger, Mr. Mistoffelees, Macavity, Jennyanydots, Old Deuteronomy, Skimbleshanks, and Grizabella. The all-singing, all-dancing Tony-winning musical spectacular has music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and additional material written by Trevor Nunn and Richard Stilgoe, and is based on Old Possum's Book Of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot.
Fort Worth Fringe Festival
Fort Worth Community Arts Center, September 6-8
Fourteen different shows over three days on two stages. Bump from Buckle Up Theatre is the headliner, supported by performances from Proper Hijinx, The Maverick Theatre Company, Drag Strip Courage, and others.
Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story
Casa Mañana, September 7-15
Don your black-rimmed glasses and celebrate Buddy Holly's meteoric rise to fame and the top of the record charts with the "World's Most Successful Rock Musical." Set during the golden days of rock 'n' roll, Buddy Holly will have audiences dancing in the aisles to rousing hits such as "Peggy Sue," "That'll be the Day," and "Rave On." The last half of the show re-enacts his last night 60 years ago: the concert at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, complete with performances from Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper.
Pete: A New Dance Musical
Dark Circles Contemporary Dance, September 12-15
Conceived and choreographed by internationally award-winning choreographer and founder of DCCDUSA Joshua L. Peugh, this original 90-minute dance musical is inspired by J. M. Barrie's iconic novel Peter Pan. Responding to the narrative of the classic story, Pete: A New Dance Musical takes an adventurous, playful, and creative approach to not only explore the intersecting themes of childhood, freedom, and mortality, but to reflect on issues of race, gender, sexuality, and privilege.
Stage West and Theatre TCU, September 12-October 13
When tightly-wound Aaron (Seth Womack) is set up with laid-back Casey (Amber Marie Flores) on a blind date, a casual drink turns into an uproarious high-stakes dinner. As the date unfolds, this mismatched pair's inner critics take on a life of their own, as other patrons transform into supportive best friends, manipulative exes, and protective parents.
First Impressions Mainstage Showcase
Imprint Theatreworks, September 13-29
Three local plays from the 2018 and 2019 First Impressions Festivals were chosen to be mounted as full productions, led by three new directors from the Director Development Program.
Undermain Theatre, September 18-October 13
What if tarot cards could actually affect your future? And you could use that tarot deck to control other's destinies as well? And what if the Internet created that tarot deck? This world premiere science fiction thriller is set amid the downfall of civilization after the Internet has created a mysterious tarot deck that, when read, can actually affect the past, present, and future. Gordon Dahlquist takes us on a journey though time as we explore the chaotic effects of new technological advancements and the role humans have, or haven't, played in stopping that chaos.
In the Heights
Dallas Theater Center, September 21-October 20
Conceived and with music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, In the Heights is the universal story of a vibrant community in New York's Washington Heights neighborhood. A place where the coffee from the corner bodega is light and sweet, the windows are always open, and the breeze carries the rhythm of three generations of music, it's a community on the brink of change, full of hopes, dreams, and pressures, where the biggest struggles can be deciding which traditions you take with you and which ones you leave behind.
Lyric Stage, September 20-22
This seven-time Tony Award-winning musical tells the passionate and unforgettable story of Eva Duarte de Perón, and her meteoric climb from the slums of Argentina to one of the most powerful women in the world as the first lady of Argentina. The international hit musical is by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.
The Phantom of the Opera
Bass Performance Hall, September 24-October 5
Cameron Mackintosh's spectacular new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical makes its triumphant return to Fort Worth, boasting new scenic and lighting designs, new staging, new choreography, and the legendary chandelier.
What We Were
Circle Theatre, September 26-October 19
This world premiere from acclaimed local playwright Blake Hackler is done in collaboration with Dallas' Second Thought Theatre. It tells the story of Carlin, Nell, and Tessa, three sisters who suffered a childhood of abuse. Now adults, each lives in some degree of denial, but the lies are starting to become more unbearable than the truth.