On Dallas Stages, It's the Season of the Song

Billy Elliot, Next to Normal, Oliver! and Pippin are all big musicals blooming on Dallas stages.

Diana, played with one angry facial expression by Patty Breckenridge, is a bipolar housewife and mother who undergoes electroshock therapy and attempts suicide. Left in her choppy wake are her unfeeling husband (Gary Floyd) and emotionally overwrought teenage son (impressive newcomer Anthony Carillo) and daughter (Erica Harte). On the sidelines of angst are the daughter's pothead boyfriend (Jonathan W. Gilland) and Diana's therapists (both played by Jonathan Bragg).

Directed by Michael Serrecchia, Uptown's production, the first regional N2N, looks gorgeous, with a three-story set by Andy Redmon and sharp lighting by Jason Foster. Musical director Scott A. Eckert's small backstage ensemble rips along nicely behind the over-miked cast. But it all feels like a small chamber musical spread out on too large a stage. The ending is slightly more upbeat than the two and a half hours before it, but not enough to prohibit pharmaceutical assistance to get through the rest of the night. Take 'em if you got 'em.

Gotta Dance: Rich Hebert as a coal-mining dad and Giuseppe Bausilio as his son in Billy Elliot the Musical at the Winspear.
Michael Brosilow
Gotta Dance: Rich Hebert as a coal-mining dad and Giuseppe Bausilio as his son in Billy Elliot the Musical at the Winspear.

Location Info


The Winspear Opera House

2403 Flora St.
Dallas, TX 75201-2415

Category: Performing Arts Venues

Region: Downtown & Deep Ellum


Billy Elliot the Musical continues through June 19 at the Winspear Opera House. Call 214-880-0202.
Oliver! continues through June 19 at Lyric Stage, Irving. Call 972-252-2787 or lyricstage.org.
Next to Normal continues through July 3 at Kalita Humphreys Theater. Call 214-219-2718 or uptownplayers.org.
Pippin continues through July 2 at Theatre Three. Call 214-871-3300.

Last and least is Pippin, running at Theatre Three. "We've got magic to do/just for you," the cast promises in the opening number of the 1972 Stephen Schwartz rock musical, based loosely on the life of medieval King Charlemagne. They never deliver magic, nothing close to it, in a messy, sluggish staging by director-designer Bruce R. Coleman. On the tiny in-the-round stage, the lumpy chorus, wearing what appear to be odd pieces of clothing filched from recycling bins, including a Nazi helmet, a yachting cap, jog bras, bloomers and molting boas, dry-hump each other in combinations of bad Fosse and '80s Jazzercise. It goes on for ages. Magic? David Blaine in a block of ice was more entertaining.

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Wow - Not to mention that Next To Normal has broke all attenance records and was reviewed as Excelent by everyone but you. Go Figure.