Theater Critic Picks
Your calendar may say November, but 'tis already the holiday season. Don't believe it? Take a gander at all the Christmas-themed shows below that populate this month's list of must-see theater.
Here are the 13 shows to see, in order by start date:
Of Thee I Sing
Lyric Stage, November 3-6
It couldn't be better timing for Lyric Stage to mount this political satire, which was the first musical to win the Pulitzer Prize for drama. Though it was penned in 1931, George and Ira Gershwin's send-up of a presidential campaign still points out the absurdity and ridiculousness of politics. And if you can believe it, this also will be Lyric's first-ever Gershwin show — a shocker for a company known for its full orchestra and music-forward philosophy.
ICT Mainstage, November 4-19
Running right next door in the Irving Arts Center is another early-20th century musical that's oddly appropriate for today's celebrity-obsessed climate: Chicago. It's the 20th anniversary of the Broadway revival (which is still going strong), so ICT is doing it up big with B.J. Cleveland at the helm and North Texas' most lithe and limber dancer-singers.
Angels in America Millennium Approaches
Uptown Players, November 4-20
Tony Kushner's two-part examination of the 1980s AIDS epidemic is arguably one of the most important pieces of American art — ever. It's also an intimidating production for any theater company to tackle because of its metaphorical and symbolic storytelling. But it's a natural fit for Uptown Players, which has made it its mission for the last 16 years to present theater that explores acceptance, prejudice, diversity, and relationships.
Million Dollar Quartet
Casa Mañana, November 5-13
It might feel like Johnny Cash just jumped over to Fort Worth for a spell after singing in Addison, but in this behind-the-scenes jukebox musical, the Man in Black is an actual character, and he's joined by Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins for a dramatized re-creation of an actual recording session in 1956.
Shakespeare in the Bar, November 7 & 14
Tickets for the two performances of this barely rehearsed, immersive Shakespeare play where everybody drinks when an actor forgets a line sold out in an hour an a half. They must be good or something. You can still try your luck at 5 pm the day of each show (the first is at the Wild Detectives, the second at the Ginger Man) for one of the 50 walk-up tickets.
10 Out of 12
Undermain Theatre, November 9-December 3
The audience usually only gets to see the end result, but in this immersive play by Anne Washburn, you'll be right in the middle of the most intense, exhilarating, frustrating, and frantic part of each show: tech. Director Blake Hackler is putting you literally in the action, so hopefully this doesn't align with any fears about audience participation.
Theatre Three, November 17-December 11
Acting artistic director Bruce R. Coleman is also a playwright, and this is the professional world premiere of his new work about familial secrets and confrontations. In 1867. The play also won the grand prize at Stage West's ninth annual Southwest Playwriting Competition.
Murder for Two
Stage West, November 17-December 18
Mark Schenfisch and Teddy Warren are about to be two of the hardest-working performers in DFW — or at least the most tired. They play all the characters in this "killer" musical comedy, about the murder of a celebrated novelist and the small-town policeman who's eager to question all the suspects and solve the case.
Feathers and Teeth
Kitchen Dog Theater, November 18-December 17
The plays KDT chooses are usually anything but straightforward, and this regional premiere by Charise Castro Smith sounds right up the Dogs' alley. In the horror comedy starring Matt Lyle, Morgan Lauré, Parker Gray, and Dakota Ratliff, the monster living in a teenage girl's home isn't what — or whom — you'd expect.
Cara Mía Theatre Co., November 19-December 11
Cara Mia is bringing back its zany take on the Mexican shepherd's tale, with slapstick comedy and clowning putting a light spin on the journey to Bethlehem. The holiday tale was penned by artistic director David Lozano and Jeffry Farrell, and it's directed by movement and physicality guru Jeffrey Colangelo.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical
Performing Arts Fort Worth, November 22-23
Dallas Summer Musicals, November 25-27
The family-friendly tour returns, making quick stops in DFW both before and after Thanksgiving. Puppets help bring the beloved stop-motion film to life onstage, but it's the human performances (especially Kyle Montgomery as the wannabe dentist Hermie the Elf) that make this musical so darn delightful.
A Christmas Carol
Dallas Theater Center, November 23-December 28
Part of the fun of DTC's yearly tradition is seeing how they shuffle the actors, putting resident company members into roles you may not initially predict. This year, Sally Vahle is donning Scrooge's nightshirt and going on the ghostly journey through Christmases past, present, and future, and it's about time we had a female in this part.
A Christmas Carol: The Radio Show
Theatre Too, November 25-December 11
Those who might have missed B.J. Cleveland play every single role in this vocal and physically demanding one-man rendition of Dickens' classic will get another chance, as he's reprising it downstairs at Theatre Three. And don't say Santa never brought you anything nice.