Arts & Culture News

New Dallas Theater Center Season Addresses Past Criticisms About Lack of Diversity

DTC will produce a sequel to last year's All the Way, but it remains to be seen whether Brandon Potter will reprise the role of LBJ.
DTC will produce a sequel to last year's All the Way, but it remains to be seen whether Brandon Potter will reprise the role of LBJ. Karen Almond
Today the Dallas Theater Center announced the full lineup for their 2017-2018 season. The season includes two world premieres, a sequel to 2016’s All the Way, and another round of the Public Works initiative. Seeming to respond to prior criticism regarding lack of diversity, DTC will produce works by two female playwrights, one of whom is Mexican; and Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour’s bizarre mystery play (don’t Google it).

Miller, Mississippi
by Boo Killebrew
Lee Sunday Evans will direct this world premiere play by Boo Killebrew. Evans recently directed an all-woman Macbeth for the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival. Killebrew is a native of Mississippi, the setting of this Southern gothic story. The play is the story of a family that faces a tragic undoing in the face of the civil rights movement. Killebrew is a founding member of the Brooklyn based Collaborationtown, a group committed to new theater.

click to enlarge
Miller, Mississippi playwright Boo Killebrew
courtesy Dallas Theater Center
book and lyrics by Gerome Ragni and James Rado; music by Galt MacDermot

This rock-musical about a tribe of hippies has spawned hits like “The Dawning of the Age of Aquarius,” and “Let the Sun Shine In.” Hair has seen countless productions, a feature film, and most recently, a Broadway revival in 2009 following a wildly successful concert version to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the play. DTC Artistic Director Kevin Moriarty directed Hair at Booker T. Washington High School in 2015 and returns to the production again. The musical caused major controversy upon its premiere in 1968 when it featured nude actors. Will there be nudity this go-around?

A Christmas Carol
by Charles Dickens; adapted by Kevin Moriarty

Lee Trull, director of new play development, directs the perennial favorite for the second time. This past December, DTC changed things up by casting a Sally Nystuen Vahle, a woman, to play Scrooge. Kevin Moriarty’s dark adaptation takes place in a fiery factory and Scrooge takes the shape of cruel overseer. Who will play Scrooge in the 2017 version remains to be seen, but the company does a good job of keeping audiences on its toes for the Christmas classic.

by Tanya Saracho

Mexican-born playwright Tanya Saracho split time between Mexico and Texas growing up. She settled in Chicago where her work has been featured all over town, most notably at Steppenwolf Theatre and the Goodman. She has written for the television shows Girls, Looking and How to Get Away With Murder. This two-hander about a young, Mexican novelist who lands her dream job as a TV writer will be directed by former company member Christie Vela.

by Nick Dear; adapted from the novel by Mary Shelley

You know the story. Maniacal Dr. Frankenstein (remember,  Frankenstein is the doctor, not the creature!) plays god by reanimating a corpse. This adaptation by Nick Dear had its world premiere at the Royal National Theatre in 2011. That production was directed by Danny Boyle starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller, who alternated playing the roles of Victor Frankenstein and the Creature. The DTC production will be directed by Associate Artistic Director Joel Ferrell and will feature a collaboration with SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts.

The Great Society
click to enlarge
Dallas Theater Center Artistic Director Kevin Moriarty
Karen Almond

by Robert Schenkkan

The Great Society is a follow up/sequel to Robert Schenkkan’s All the Way, which DTC produced in collaboration with Houston’s Alley Theatre in 2016. The Great Society continues the story of LBJ’s presidency into the throes of the U.S. involvement in Vietnam. DTC will again join forces with the Alley. Casting has not been announced yet, so it remains to be seen if the same cast will come together, including accidental president, former DTC company member Brandon Potter, who notably took the reins after the lead actor had to bow out following a medical emergency.

The Trials of Sam Houston
by Aaron Loeb
Another world premiere, which has had readings throughout its development at DTC. San Francisco-based writer Aaron Loeb made a splash with Abraham Lincoln’s Big Gay Dance Party. This play takes place on the eve of Texas’ secession in 1861, when Governor Sam Houston is torn between loyalty to Texas and loyalty to the United States.

White Rabbit Red Rabbit
by Nassim Soleimanpour

This mysterious play is something of a performance experience and has been called “the play no one knows anything about.” The premise is this: An actor is handed a previously unseen script on the evening of the performance, with no prior rehearsals, director or set. Neither the audience, nor the performer, knows what it is about. Audiences are actively discouraged from Googling the show beforehand to keep the surprise of the show. Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour — unable to leave his country – was inspired to write the piece from his experience of isolation, but reveals little else. It premiered in 2011 at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the roles are often played by celebrities, a new actor for every performance. Amphibian Stage Productions will produce the play in March in Fort Worth. Whether DTC will snag celebrity actors for the production is not yet known.

Public Works Dallas: The Winter’s Tale
by William Shakespeare

Public Works Dallas returns for the second year with William Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale. Public Works Dallas is a community engagement and participatory theater project designed to deliberately blur the line between professional artists and Dallas community members, currently debuting its inaugural production of The Tempest. The Winter’s Tale will, again, feature 200 cast members, only five being professional actors, in one of Shakespeare’s weirder, psychological pseudo-comedies. The Winter’s Tale is not a part of season subscriptions and tickets will be offered to the public free of charge at a later date.
KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Katy Lemieux is a Dallas-based writer covering theater and the arts. She is a mother to two beautiful human children and three beautiful animal children. She has been published in Esquire Magazine, Texas Monthly, D Magazine, TheaterJones, American Theatre Magazine and most notably The Senior Voice.

Latest Stories