It can seem a bit quiet around this city during the summer, because in case you just moved here, it's about to get really freaking hot. Sure, these summer storms have kept the temperatures in the refreshingly high 80's, but beware the "searing pain" our weather blogger predicts in regard to the impending triple digits. So, as you might imagine, much of our art scene escapes to much friendlier climates in the summer. The only outlier is the local theater scene, where the summer is a time for festivals, musicals, and -god forbid - outdoor theater. Here are our picks this month.
Festival of Independent Theaters FIT turns sweet 16 this year and the line-up looks more promising... and well, adult... than in recent years. Our top picks are Echo Theatre's mania/gift, Prism, Co.'s Playtime, and Wingspan Theatre's new adaptation of Mark Twain's The Diaries of Adam & Eve. The four-week fest opens at the Bath House Cultural Center July 11. Tickets to individual shows are $18 and
Les Miserables How do you make Les Miserables fresh and exciting? Dallas Theater Center's answer is to bring in the talent of Boston director Liesel Tommy, who's electrified the popular musical with modern sensibilities and a more racially diverse cast. We've been promised that both skeptics and lovers of the musical will find something to like in this production. Les Miserables is currently onstage and runs through August 17, with tickets starting at $15.
Christhelmet If you were looking for Matthew Posey when he lived in Los Angeles, you'd need look no further than the local watering hole. Every night, he'd sit around with "a bunch of drunks making their own religion." Those experiences, drinking with the likes of Amanda Plummer or Jeff Goldblum, were the launching pad for his newest play, Christhelmet, which opens at the Ochre House Theater (825 Exposition Ave.) at 8:15 p.m. Wednesday. The show explores the mind of an alcoholic, as he whiles away the hours at a bar where he can create his own realities, if only for the evenings. If previous shows at the Ochre House are an indicator, this show will be filled with zany music, magic and maybe a puppet or two. Try on Christhelmet for just $15 through July 26. More information at ochrehousetheater.com.
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The Boy From OzThe Boy From Oz might be most well known as the sexy Hugh Jackman musical that overtook Broadway a few years ago. Beyond that it's just a fun jukebox musical about an Australian performer named Peter Allen. Local talent Alex Ross takes to the stage for the Uptown Players production and he made not have Wolverine's clout, but he's got six-pack abs and a better singing voice. It opens on the Kalita Humphreys stage July 25 and runs through August 10. Tickets start at $30.
The Nosemaker's Apprentice: Chronicles of a Medieval Plastic Surgeon If the title sounds a little bit like a children's bedtime story about the evils of vanity, that's because it's the premise the of the show.... well, sort of. This magical story that's part parody, part adult bedtime story about the origins of cosmetic surgery promises to be the comedy of the summer. It runs at Fort Worth theater, Amphibian Stage Productions, July 10 - August 10.
Heroes There are a lot of plays that are just white men, standing around talking. A LOT of plays. And more often than not, they won't make the list. But if the play is written by Tom Stoppard (personal bias) and the actors are Jim Covault, Cliff Stephens, and David Coffee -- reserve my seat! The regional premiere of Stoppard's translation of Gérald Sibleyras's Heroes opens at Stage West in Fort Worth July 10, starring three men you'll wish you shared a bloodline with. The script is about three men at an old soldiers' home during World War I, as they plot their escape into the real world. It's funny, touching story. See it through August 10, with tickets that start at $28.