Theater Critic Picks
These are the 10 can't-miss shows in Dallas-Fort Worth theater for January
UPDATE: Due to COVID-19, Circle Theatre's production of Denise Lee's Pressure Makes Diamonds has been postponed to April 21-30, 2022. Theatre Three's production of Maytag Virgin has changed its dates to February 5-20, 2022.
It's the New Year, and coronavirus still insists on being in the spotlight. Several productions have already announced cancellations or postponements (including Shakespeare Dallas' Twelfth Night and Junior Players' Be More Chill), but there are quite a few still going ahead.
In order of start date, here are 10 local shows to watch this month:
Dear Evan Hansen
Broadway at the Bass, January 4-9
A letter that was never meant to be seen, a lie that was never meant to be told, a life he never dreamed he could have. Evan Hansen is about to get the one thing he’s always wanted: a chance to finally fit in. Dear Evan Hansen is the deeply personal and profoundly contemporary musical about life and the way we live it.
What the Constitution Means to Me
AT&T Performing Arts Center, January 4-9
Playwright Heidi Schreck’s boundary-breaking play breathes new life into the Constitution and imagines how it will shape the next generation of Americans. Fifteen-year-old Heidi earned her college tuition by winning Constitutional debate competitions across the United States. In this hilarious, hopeful, and achingly human new play, she resurrects her teenage self in order to trace the profound relationship between four generations of women and the founding document that shaped their lives.
The Forever Quest
Cry Havoc Theater Company, January 7-15
Cry Havoc begins its eighth season with a new devised work directed by Ashley H. White, artistic director of Imprint Theatreworks, and the teens of Cry Havoc. In a chaotic, unpredictable word, the greatest gift we can bestow on children is resiliency. The Forever Quest will explore the importance of friends, one’s chosen family, and trust in one’s own abilities.
Denise Lee's Pressure Makes Diamonds
Circle Theatre, January 13-29
This original production will shine a bright light on a diamond’s similarities to life. Denise Lee, recently seen at Circle Theatre in The Glass Menagerie, with the help of her band, will touch audiences' souls with a collection of songs from many classic artists. This new production is both a collaboration with and directed by Monique Midgette.
Broadway at the Bass, January 18-February 6
This is the story of America's Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from the West Indies who became George Washington's right-hand man during the Revolutionary War and was the new nation’s first Treasury Secretary. Featuring a score that blends hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B, and Broadway, Hamilton is the story of America then, as told by America now.
Dallas Summer Musicals, January 18-30
Hadestown intertwines two mythic tales — that of young dreamers Orpheus and Eurydice, and that of King Hades and his wife Persephone — as it invites the audience on a hell-raising journey to the underworld and back. Singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell’s beguiling melodies and director Rachel Chavkin’s poetic imagination pit industry against nature, doubt against faith, and fear against love. This show is performed at the Winspear Opera House.
Anna in the Tropics
MainStage Irving-Las Colinas, January 21-February 5
Winner of the 2003 Pulitzer Prize, this poetic play by Nilo Cruz is set in 1929 in a Floridian Cuban American cigar factory, a place where cigars are still rolled by hand and "lectors" are employed to read newspapers, poetry, and novels to the workers. The new lector reads Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, unaware that the passions it inflames will spin the listeners’ relationships out of control.
Church & State
Stage West, January 27-February 20
Three days before his bid for re-election — in the wake of another school shooting — a U.S. senator has a life-altering crisis of faith, triggering an off-the-cuff comment which sends the entire campaign into a tailspin. His wife and campaign manager try to contain the damage, but in a country where religion influences politics and politics have become a religion, how do you reach the people and stay true to yourself?
Theatre Three, January 27-February 20
The regional premiere of Audrey Cefaly’s play follows Alabama schoolteacher Lizzy Nash and her new neighbor, Jack Key, over the year following the tragic death of Lizzy’s husband. The play explores the ideas of inertia and self-enlightenment, and the bridge between the two. Directed by Whitney Latrice Coulter, this new play is packed with wit, passion, and the weight of moving forward through loss.
Lil & Satchmo: A Play with Music
Jubilee Theatre, January 28-February 27
This musical love story showcases the works of both the well-known great Louis Armstrong and Lil Hardin Armstrong, Louis’s second wife (of four), who herself loomed as a highly renowned jazz musician and pianist. Despite their marriage having ended years before, Lil Hardin Armstrong, at 73, plays a lively, boogie-woogie version of “St. Louis Blues” during a televised outdoor concert in Chicago’s Civic Center Plaza on August 27, 1971, as a deep, heartfelt, loving tribute to the recently deceased legendary “Satchmo.” Expressing her still-strong love for Louis while performing one of his all-time favorite songs, an ethereal Louis suddenly appears — but only for her eyes to see.