Theater Critic Picks
Have you caught your breath yet from June? That was a lot of theater. This month is a little more manageable, but the lineup does include the Festival of Independent Theatres, which pairs up one-act plays from eight indie theater companies over three weeks. There's also a historic collaboration between two big organizations and a timely original work developed by a group of socially conscious teens.
Here are the 9 shows to see, in order by start date:
Cry Havoc Theater Company, July 5-15
Following the success of Shots Fired, the documentary theater piece about the 2016 Dallas Police shootings, this youth theater's new work examines gun violence in America and the emotionally charged conversations around it. Inspired by and filled with first-person interviews from people on all sides of the gun violence and gun safety debate, the Elevator Project production in Hamon Hall includes survivors of recent shootings, experts on gun violence, gun owners, politicians, and more. A large-scale public art installation called The Cenotaph will display 8,000 shoes, each representing a person who has lost his or her life to gun violence.
Dallas Theater Center and AT&T Performing Arts Center, July 7-15
The new collaboration between the Tony-winning local company and AT&T's Broadway Series brings Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman's musical (which is based on John Waters' iconic film) to the Winspear stage. 1960s Baltimore teen Tracy Turnblad just wants to dance on The Corny Collins Show, but in pursuing her dream the curvy teen sparks a social revolution.
Don't Dress for Dinner
Stage West, July 12-August 12
The playwright behind Boeing-Boeing, Marc Camoletti, also penned this madcap farce (Robing Hawdon did this translation) where wild lies pile up, identities and bedrooms are swapped, and romantic plans are thwarted. Though this play was written in the 1960s, director Christie Vela has set it in the '80s, so expect lots of teased hair, legwarmers, and blue eyeshadow.
Priscilla Queen of the Desert
Uptown Players, July 13-29
Speaking of teased hair and blue eyeshadow... "girls just wanna have fun" in this stage adaptation of the1994 Academy Award-winning film, which finds three friends (two drag queens and a transexual) on a road trip in the middle of the Australian Outback. The score is a hit parade of dancefloor favorites, including "It's Raining Men," "I Will Survive," and "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun."
Festival of Independent Theatres
July 13-August 4
FIT's 20th anniversary features eight companies with one-act plays, paired in two-show blocks. In the lineup this year are shows from Camp Death Productions, DGDG (Danielle Georgiou Dance Group), Eccentric Bear Productions, Echo Theatre, Imprint Theatreworks, Laughter League, Prism Movement Theater, and WingSpan Theatre Co. The art exhibitions Revived with Light: An Exploration of Expired Photographic Media and Road Trip – Photographic Journeys of the Dead Photographers Society are also on display at the Bath House Cultural Center, along with live music on weekend evenings in the Bath House's shore-level performance space, FIT Underground.
Amphibian Stage Productions, July 13-August 5
Kenneisha Thompson stars in Fernanda Coppel's play about the making and breaking of basketball superstars and the power brokers behind them. The story — about sports agent Liz Rico and her new client, a high school basketball superstar with a troubled past — was sold to Showtime and is being developed into a half hour comedy-drama.
Imprint Theatreworks, July 20-August 4
Lauren Gunderson's play is a comedic quartet about four real women who lived boldly during the French Revolution: playwright Olympe De Gouges, assassin Charlotte Corday, Haitian rebel Marianne Angelle, and former queen Marie Antoinette. Sometimes a revolution needs a woman's touch.
Love Never Dies
Dallas Summer Musicals, July 24-August 5
Did you know The Phantom of the Opera has a sequel? Andrew Lloyd Webber's follow-up to his smash musical hit premiered in London in 2010, but then mostly faded into obscurity (except for a 2012 DVD recording of the West End production). But now it's on tour! Check in with the Phantom and Christine, who are now in Coney Island 10 years after the big showdown at the Paris Opera House.
Blues in the Night
Jubilee Theatre, July 27-August 26
Set in a rundown Chicago hotel in 1938, this musical revue focuses on three women's relationships with the same "snake of a man" and their interweaving stories told through the torch songs and blues of Duke Ellington, Bessie Smith, Johnny Mercer, Harold Arlen, and Alberta Hunter, among others. Jubilee last performed this one in 2010, and now it's back by popular demand.