Theater Critic Picks
By May, most theater seasons are winding down and it's the company's chance to give their audiences one last jolt before heading in the fresh direction of a new season. Right now, that means timely topics that speak to our nation's current state, along with a little escapism.
Here are the 10 shows to see, in order by start date:
Kitchen Dog Theater, May 4-14
With the area premiere of Nick Jones' play, KDT is on the move once again (the company is hoping to move into its new permanent home in 2018). This time, the Dogs are performing on the ninth floor of the Wyly Theatre, and it may be the first time that venue has had a "chimpanzee" in residence. Max Hartman plays the title character, a former child-star chimp, with Lisa Hassler as his owner, who swears he would never do anyone harm on purpose. An impressive cast rounds out the production, which is directed by Tina Parker.
Stage West, May 4-June 4
Annie Baker's Obie-winning play had a wave of popularity in Dallas in 2013, but it'll be nice to see Joey Folsom return to the guitar-strumming role of Jasper four years later here in Fort Worth. Even nicer will be seeing how he handles the role of slacker KJ — beginning the second weekend of the run, Folsom and Jake Buchanan will trade off roles. Parker Gray will continue to play the straight-laced coffee shop employee Evan.
Dead White Zombies, May 4-27
After eight months of development, DWZ is ready to present its "multi-venue performance initiation." You might recall that in fall 2016, characters and situations written by Thomas Riccio began popping up at more than 40 public spaces across Dallas (think NorthPark Center, Trader Joe's, Starbucks, and the like). Now, with each Holy Bone performance, 56 people — six departing from Tacos Mariachi every 10 minutes — will experience the culmination of this immersive and ever-changing artistic experiment, guided and "mis-guided" by Holy Bone operatives along the streets.
Uptown Players, May 5-7
Each year, Uptown Players partners with the Turtle Creek Chorale for a musical in concert, and this year it's Maury Yeston and Peter Stone's take on the infamous tragedy of the Titanic. The massive cast of singers performs at Dallas City Performance Hall for one weekend only, so if this show is your jam, you'd better get your tickets.
A Man of No Importance
Brick Road Theatre, May 5-13
B.J. Cleveland stars as bus driver Alfie Byrne, who, in 1964 Dublin, attempts to find an artistic and emotional outlet for the secrets he's been keeping by staging a production of Oscar Wilde's Salome in the local church hall. With a score by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, and a script by Terrence McNally, this under-the-radar musical is bolstered by a cast of local luminaries.
Into The Woods
AT&T Performing Arts Center, May 16-28
Fiasco Theater wowed New York with its stripped-down version of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's musical, which puts familiar fairytale figures together on a dark journey. The cast uses basic props and costume pieces to assume their roles, and the labyrinthine woods are represented by a forest of ropes that appear to be exploding out of an onstage piano.
Inherit the Wind
Dallas Theater Center, May 16-June 18
DTC and director Kevin Moriarty put a further timely twist on this play about the "Scopes Monkey Trial" by utilizing gender-neutral casting and modern dress. For example, Akin Babatunde plays the role of Mrs. Sarah Brady, while Liz Mikel is Matthew Harrison Brady. Though it premiered in the 1950s, the play and its exploration about what happens when facts and beliefs collide feels as if it could have been written yesterday.
Circus 1903 — The Golden Age of Circus
Dallas Summer Musicals, May 23-June 4
The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced it would shut down for good in May, but this theatrical event humanely fills the circus void. Puppetry brings elephants back into the ring (or in this case, Music Hall at Fair Park), along with a huge cast from all around the world performing traditional circus acts: strong men, contortionists, acrobats, musicians, high wire, and more.
Theatre Three, May 25-June 18
The last show of Theatre Too's season is Conor McPherson's adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's short story about two people trapped in an isolated house while masses of birds relentlessly attack the outside. You're probably more familiar with Alfred Hitchcock's film version, but the tiny underground space of Theatre Too is sure to bring the story's claustrophobia and fear to life.
Proper Hijinx Productions, May 25-June 4
Jeff Talbott's play deals with cultural division, race perceptions, and affirmative action — again, timely. But there's a twist here: A young, white, male playwright submits his work to a festival under the pen name of an African American woman, then hires a black actress to pose as his alter ego during the festival. This regional premiere will be performed in the studio space at Addison Theatre Center.