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Best Local Actress Dallas 2002 - Tina Parker

Readers' Choice: Angie Harmon, TV star

Is there anything this woman can't do? When she's not producing, directing or designing some wild and woolly experimental thing for Kitchen Dog Theater, her home company down at McKinney Avenue Contemporary, this Texas native and SMU theater grad can take center stage and act up a storm. As "Sister Woman" in WaterTower Theatre's spring production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, she waddled around looking 14 months' pregnant (thanks to heavy padding) and drenched her pit-viper dialogue with Southern Comfort, outright heisting the show from Maggie the Cat. In the summer's Henry IV at Shakespeare in the Park, Parker bounded onstage in punk gear as Poins, a role traditionally cast as a man. Parker possesses that elusive element of stardom, the "It Factor." Her eyes sparkle, her smile beckons. Her technique is awesome, too. Great voice, unbridled energy. She may never play the ingenue, but who cares? She's a talent of consequence, best compared to fellow SMU alum Kathy Bates. Parker's also just a real nice down-home gal. Witness her funny preshow speeches to the audiences at Kitchen Dog, where she greets the crowd with a hearty "Howdeeeee!" and then warns theatergoers to switch off their cell phones and pagers...and deactivate any house-arrest prison ankle bracelets.

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