Theater Critic Picks
Grab your beach blankets, grab your lawn chairs, charge your phone, fire up the TV, or just get ready to sit in an air-conditioned theater space, because summer theater has started to arrive.
And it comes in so many forms this month: live and outdoors, pre-recorded, and even on TikTok. And, of course, there's plenty of Shakespeare.
In order of start date, here are 10 local shows to watch this month:
Undermain Theatre, streaming through June 13
Blake Hackler adapted and directed this version of Ibsen's masterpiece, which tells the story of an extraordinary woman trapped in a conventional life of secrets and lies that fuel her own personal explosion. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased here.
Dear Donald/Dear Hillary (Their Secret Correspondence)
Elaine Liner, streaming through June 27
Dallas playwright (and former theater critic) Liner penned this two-actor play as a reaction to the 2016 election, imagining if the two presidential candidates had been secret pen pals. Local luminaries Bob Hess and Sally Vahle star with direction by Noah Sargent. It was filmed at a Dallas theater as part of the lineup for the UK's Brighton Fringe (but can be viewed from anywhere). Tickets are £12 and can be purchased here.
Shakespeare Dallas, June 3-13
This one-person interpretation of Hamlet features two different actors every night, who will show you what's so rotten in Denmark in about 90 minutes using two different scripts written by Migdalia Cruz and Erik Ehn, that the actors won't see until showtime (a la White Rabbit Red Rabbit).
The Music Man
Theatre Three, June 3-July 4
Director Joel Ferrell and music director Vonda K. Bowling have reimagined Meredith Willson's classic musical about a con man who turns one town upside down into a boutique, outdoor, touring production. Kyle Igneczi leads a 10-person cast across three venues: outside the Coppell Senior Center, Union Coffee Shop, and the Texas Discovery Gardens.
Hammer Toe and The Adventures of Ability-Lad and Genius-Lass
Pegasus Theatre, streaming June 4-20
As part of its Fresh Reads program, Pegasus is streaming two new superhero-themed comedies for $10 each. The first, written by Tammy Green and directed by Ben Shroth, follows an incapacitated Thor's cousin Freya as she goes on an epic adventure. The second, written by Eric Palmer and directed by Joey Dietz, is set in Cityopolis, where the police commissioner and mayor have made all crime illegal — and put its two superheroes out of the job. Buy on-demand streaming access to The Adventures of... here, and Hammer Toe here.
23rd Annual New Works Festival
Kitchen Dog Theater, online June 4-26
To celebrate its 30th anniversary season, Kitchen Dog Theater has transformed its NWF Staged Reading Series into the New Works Festival Commission Series – In the Works. This year’s four commissioned BIPOC playwrights include Ruben Carrazana (Dallas), Tara Moses (Seminole Nation, Oklahoma), Erin Malone Tuner (Dallas), and Haygen-Brice Walker (Philadelphia). A full lineup for the festival, which includes the 20th year of PUP Fest, can be found here.
Much Ado About Nothing
The Classics Theatre Project, June 9-27
A rad 1990s nostalgia-filled adaptation of William Shakespeare's comedy is coming to the lawn at Addison Conference and Theatre Center, so bring your sand chairs and picnic blankets. When the AA baseball team the Aragon Soldiers arrives in town, its aces — the dashing Claudio and fast-talking Benedick — take their at-bats with the lovely Hero and fierce Beatrice. Claudio and Hero quickly fall in love, but Benedick and Beatrice (both sworn singles) match only wits. Meanwhile, the dastardly Don John threatens to destroy both couples in this fresh take on William Shakespeare's crowd-pleasing tale of outrageous characters, pranks, mistaken identities, and new love.
A Midsummer Night's Dream
Shakespeare Everywhere, June 14 & 21
Some of DFW theater's finest are assembling to put on this magical tale from the Bard, which includes fairies, love spells, and even some shape-shifting. The first performance is at Klyde Warren Park and the second is at Deep Ellum Art Co.
A Solitary Man: The Music of Neil Diamond
Casa Mañana, June 15-26
Hamilton's Darnell Abraham and American Idol winner Nick Fradiani star in this concert at the Reid Cabaret Theatre, which spans everything from "Sweet Caroline" to "America" while intertwining stories about one of the best-selling musicians of all time.
Turkey and Bones and Eating and We Liked It
Leos Ensemble Theatre, online June 24-onward
Devising with actors in Texas and New Jersey, director Kelli J. Howard has reimagined Gertrude Stein’s 1916 text for the newest social media app: TikTok. Leos Ensemble is the first theater group in the U.S., if not the world, to conceive a theater show specifically for this platform, where the interaction with TikTok content is part of the show itself. You can view it online here, or watch a recorded version on YouTube and Instagram.