Sometime this weekend, in between your rush to catch up on the Oscar nominations, we'd like you to take a minute to notice how much live theater is happening in Dallas. And most of it is worth your time and attention.
Stagger Lee, a brand new musical at the Dallas Theater Center, about the eponymous folk legend.
The Flick at the Undermain Theatre is a contemporary tale that captures both the language and the zeitgeist of young America, a generation who lives their lives through movies.
Tru, a one-man show starring Jaston Williams about Truman Capote that theater critic Elaine Liner called a delight.
The Book Club Play at Dallas Theater Center, a comedy about a book club that explores friendships and supposed intellectual values.
The Explorer's Club, a comedy at WaterTower Theatre that revisits 19th century England where a scientific gentleman's society finds itself interrupted by a woman and her discoveries.
Why Things Burn at Margo Jones Theatre, which takes place in the early 20th century when a group of circus "freaks" attempt to start a new life.
Here are Mixmaster's other recommendations for this weekend:
Thursday, Jan. 22
Dialogues on RacePoint in any direction and there's an art talk happening tonight. Our pick would be the one with Make Art with Purpose at Central Trak. At 7 p.m. artists and curator, Janeil Engelstad will discuss the Dialogues on Race billboard and mural campaign, a series of collaborative projects for which artists constructed topical billboards. Free entry.
In the Mood In the mood for a little nostalgia? Hide your cellphone and put in your pin curls or dust off those wingtips: "In the Mood" will help you escape to a time when text was a noun and necking was a thing. This Thursday, you and your main squeeze can dance to upbeat and jazzy sounds from the 1940s, with nary a calendar reminder or message notification to be heard. The 13-piece String of Pearls Big Band Orchestra will roll through tunes by the likes of Sinatra, Tommy Dorsey, Artie Shaw, Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Harry James, Erskine Hawkins, and The Andrews Sisters, while dancers roll through some seriously swinging choreography. It's a jazzy, red-lipstick revue, full of patriotic numbers that will have toes tapping and spirits high throughout the Eisemann Center (2351 Performance Drive, Richardson). Get your throwback on at 2 and 7:30 p.m. on Thursday; tickets are $34 to $59 at eisemanncenter.com. -- Jennifer Davis-Lamm
Annie Get Your Gun Something that is awesome about Annie Get Your Gun: the music. Irving Berlin's original songs are some of the most enduring in Broadway. Even if you've never seen the show, you know most of the songs: "Anything You Can Do," "They Say It's Wonderful" and "There's No Business Like Show Business" are still massive pop-culture players close to 70 years out from the original production. Something that is not awesome about Annie Get Your Gun: Well, in the interest of not spoiling the ending for first timers, we'll just say that it's not exactly brimming with feminist life lessons. But that's ok, consider it a teachable moment: "Honey, I know that in the show Annie dumbed herself down for a dude, but in real life she was a total lady-rebel." Then buy the soundtrack. Lyric Stage puts on its production of Annie Get Your Gun at the Irving Arts Center (3333 North MacArthur Boulevard, Irving) at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $25 to $53 at irvingartscenter.com.. JDL
John Mulaney Comedian John Mulaney's single life goal is to make everyone laugh -- and not just the people in the audience. Mulaney worked on Saturday Night Live for a few seasons, and he helped create Stefon, the deranged nightclub reviewer played by Bill Hader. He worked on scripts with Hader before rehearsal and just before he took the stage to command "Weekend Update," Mulaney would sneak references to Taylor Negron and a shaved lion that looks like Mario Batali onto the cue cards, in an effort to crack Hader during the live show. Once, he handed Hader an autographed picture of Taylor Negron right before the cameras started rolling, to give him an idea of what he had coming. If he's willing to go to such lengths uninvited, just imagine what he can do when he's payed to amuse you. The standup comedian, SNL writer and star of Fox's Mulaney will perform at the Majestic Theatre (1925 Elm St.) at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Tickets are $39 at ticketmaster.com. -Danny Gallagher
Dallas Symphony Orchestra The Dallas Symphony Orchestra settles into form with a program stacked with beloved classics. The evening begins with Bach's legendary Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 and closes with Beethoven's relatively conventional Symphony No. 1, which grants a subtle glimpse into the composer's radical and ambitious middle-period, while revealing his many debts to Haydn and Mozart. Britten's song cycle, Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings, is the program's centerpiece. Featuring settings from English poets -- including Keats, Blake, Anon, Tennyson, Ben Jonson and Charles Cotton -- concerning the theme of night, Serenade contains one of the most memorable prologues in the repertoire, an unusual solo-horn intro defined by Britten's unconventional use of the horn's natural harmonics, without valves. The effect, like the bulk of Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings, is emotionally engaging and alluringly cerebral. Performances take place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday; McGegan conducts at 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets start at $39. More information at mydso.com. -Jonathan Patrick
Friday, Jan. 23
The Fall at Texas Theatre, plus charity auction This Oak Cliff den of entertainment hosts its third annual art auction/ animal charity fundraiser and film screening at 9 p.m. tomorrow. Silent auction starts in the lobby/bar at 8 p.m. for The Fall -themed artwork; screening at 9 p.m., followed by a part in the lobby/bar. More at thetexastheatre.com.
Jesse Morgan Barnett & Jeff Gibbons It's a rare opportunity to see two of the smartest artists working in Dallas in the same venue. Which is why you'll want to head to the Goss Michael Foundation's exhibition openings from 6-8 p.m. Friday. Jesse Morgan Barnett mines his own life to create abstract sculptural installations. He fills the room with unassuming objects that relate meaningfully. Barnett's exhibition Personal Life will run concurrently with Auto Relativity Kinetotron by Jeff Gibbons -- an artist who works in numerous media and creates thoughtful, absorbing work. See both for free at Goss Michael Foundation (1405 Turtle Creek Blvd.) through March 6. Regular gallery hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Saturday. More information at g-mf.org.
Tierra Firme Analise Minjarez and Sarita Westrup, two artists from the borderlands of Texas and Mexico, take over the Oak Cliff Cultural Center this weekend with their elaborate fiber art. They explore "concepts of cultural identity and relationship to place." See the work during normal gallery hours beginning 1 p.m. Friday.
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Useless Susan Cheal and Paula Whelan are two artists who incorporate found objects into their paintings and sculptures to create three-dimensional pieces that function to embrace or reject both the art form and the found object. The Cliff Gallery at Mountain View College kicks off this dual exhibition with an opening reception from 7-9 p.m. Friday.
Saturday, Jan. 24 Odysseo by Cavalia Cirque du Soleil is an amazing spectacle, to be sure, but it could use way more horses. Cirque co-founder Normand Latourelle thought that adding an equine element to the mystical acrobatic artistry would really take things up a notch -- and he was right. The product of that vision is a theatrical stunner that combines more than 60 horses of different breeds with 46 dancers, riders and acrobats. Odysseo by Cavalia will park a massive big top on the grounds of Dr Pepper Ballpark (7300 Rough Riders Trail, Frisco) and fill it with a breathtaking 3D forest, a giant carousel, swelling music and blue mist that will give way to a team of horses, their human collaborators and an all-around magical experience. It's a one-of-a-kind event, and you can see it at 7 p.m. Saturday, with additional performances through February 8. Tickets are $29.50 to $149.50; visit cavalia.net for tickets and full schedule. JDL
The Shooting When I think of westerns, I think of sitting in front of my grandpa's oversized television, chowing down on delivery pizza and watching John Wayne, or Poppa's favorite, Bonanza. He had an unparralled love for the drawn-out fights between cowboys and Indians, and the melodramatic love stories of a handsome loner who falls for the tough-as-nails, pistol-wielding barmaid. We never ventured into the more sophisticated flicks like High Noon or The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, so we never got around to watching The Shooting, a Jack Nicholson western directed by Monte Hellman. It's the next screening in Arthouse FW's film series, which is focusing on films influenced by Roger Corman. See The Shooting for $7 at 2 p.m. Saturday at The Modern (3200 Darnell St., Fort Worth). Tickets available at prekindle.com.
Sunday. Jan. 25 Henry IV, Part 1 There's an ever-shrinking number of us in the world who genuinely love Shakespeare. We love to read the Bard and will see almost any play or adaptation. And though I'd never refer to myself as a purist, I can certainly respect the undertaking of Shakespeare Dallas to stage every single word Shakespeare ever wrote. They're more than halfway through The Complete Works of William Shakespeare series, which presents unedited staged readings of every poem, play and sonnet written by Billy Shakes. At 3 p.m. Sunday -- and again at 7 p.m. Monday -- they will read Henry IV, part 1 at the Wyly Theatre (2400 Flora St.). Tickets are $10; free for students. More information at attpac.org