Against All Odds

2003's theater winners gambled on edgy themes, took risks on new talent, new material

Two theaters did the stalker drama Boy Gets Girl in '03, but Quad C Theatre at Collin County Community College had the better production starring the waifish but intense Sarah Saunders. Quad C also accomplished something this fall that Broadway has yet to, that is stage a full-fledged, nearly flawless Assassins, Stephen Sondheim's controversial and politically charged musical.

Seems like actress-singer Denise Lee never stopped working in 2003, turning in her first major dramatic performance in WaterTower's fine black drama The Old Settlerand returning to that theater to wail her lungs out for the holiday musical Rockin' Christmas Party. See her next in Uptown Players' Broadway Our Wayshow-tune extravaganza January 8 through January 11, then she stars in Uptown's production of the gritty musical The Life, opening at the Trinity River Arts Center on February 6 (with musical direction by the aforementioned Scott Eckert).

Other highlights worth a nod from last year: Kitchen Dog's bold and beautiful Hedwig and the Angry Inch; the phenomenal Elaine Stritch at Liberty at the Majestic, as close as Dallas will ever get to something like Judy at Carnegie Hall; the lovely and tuneful Flower Drum Song at the Dallas Summer Musicals; Lyric Stage's spectacular Titanic, a musical with 45 singing roles and an invisible iceberg; the impressive star turn by the vocally gifted Robert Brewer in the title role in Theatre Three's Bat Boy: The Musical; Coy Covington swanning hilariously all over the Uptown Players' stage in a series of figure-hugging evening gowns as the drag-lead in Ruthless!; designer Randel Wright's magical, painterly sets for CTD's A Girl's Guide to Chaos and Life and Times of Tulsa Lovechild and Plano Rep's Forever Plaid; Douglass Burkes breaking hearts as the monster in Frankenstein at Dallas Children's Theater; four actors in four chairs spewing a fugue of dialogue in WingSpan's Crave; Jack Birdwell's Petruchio in Shakespeare Festival of Dallas' Taming of the Shrew; N. Brian Normoyle in SMU's A Doll's House and Our Country's Good; the regal Beverly May in Theatre Three's Copenhagen.

Aces, all.

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