Spring is here. Fittingly, the weekend's weather forecast calls for highs of 90 degrees and lows of 45. This means that at theaters across the city, you'll be battling strange combinations of air conditioning and heat. But that's no excuse to miss any of the shows on this list. If we know anything about theater, these shows are the best plays you can see in Dallas during this dramatic season.
The Passing Show at Ochre House Theater If you've not yet made it to Ochre House Theater to see a show, shame on you. When you step into the tiny storefront in Exposition Park, you enter the crazy mind of Matthew Posey. It's a strange and beautiful place. The shows are dark, zany adventures and this one tells the story of vaudevillian performer, philosopher, musician and 1950's icon, Lord R.M. Buckley. During his heyday, Buckley updated Shakespeare with modern "Jive" talk. We're predicting speedy dialogue, an overload of jokes and a two-piece jazz band (well the jazz band is more fact than prediction). Performances take place at 8:15 p.m. Wednesday-Saturdays, April 5-26 at 825 Exposition Ave.
Galatea Most theater produced in this town is straightforward drama or comedy. A main character is in a situation that leads to a conflict of some kind that resolves in a funny or tragic ending. The dialogue reveals personal traits of said character, the other characters contribute to the story and we all walk away with a firm grasp on what just happened. A couple of young theater artists, Jeffrey Colangelo and Katy Tye, are eliminating dialogue and adding expressive movement. Their new show, Galatea, premieres at a warehouse near Trinity Groves, 425 Bedford St., with performances April 10-27. More info.
Gidion's Knot at Kitchen Dog Theater Since I'm the black sheep of my family, with a propensity for rebellion, the idea of a parent-teacher conference makes me shudder. Of course, being the black sheep in my Southern Baptist family meant I wore miniskirts and developed a mildly foul mouth earlier than my sisters. Certainly, I was the never the subject of a conversation like the one in Johanna Adam's play, Gidion's Knot. This heart-wrenching play between a mother and her son's teacher is filled with surprises. Opens April 3 with performances through April 26. More info at kitchendogtheater.org.
Hunting and Gathering at Amphibian Stage Productions Of any show this season, this is by far one of the best ensembles. Lydia Mackay, Sam Swanson and Garret Storms are incredible to watch onstage. We imagine Kelsey Summers is just as good. This razor sharp comedy by Brooke Berman is story about finding and building your home. Amphibian Stage Productions, 120 S. Main St., Fort Worth, has proven time and time again that its shows are worth the drive west. It opens Thursday, April 10 with performances at 8 p.m. Thursdays-Sundays with tickets starting at $18.
Seminar at Theatre Three On Broadway, it relied on the star power and curling vocal inflections of the inimitable Alan Rickman. There was something wonderful about seeing the slimy Severus Snape step into an equally icky role as the washed-up writer who teaches writing seminars for yuppies on the Upper West Side. Recreating it without him may prove to be an insurmountable goal for Theatre Three, but goshdernit they very well may pull it off. Theresa Rebeck's comedy takes treacherous turns, as the young writers discover the harsh truths about the class they've signed up for, each other, and real life. Runs April 24-May 18 at Theatre Three, 2800 Routh St, with tickets starting at $20.
Beauty & the Beast Sure, this is one of those shows that parents will attach leashes to their babies and drag them along to "expose" them to art. Sure, the toddlers might hum along through their snot noses to "Be our Guest." And sure, I may find myself sitting next to someone's else kid who certainly won't be as cute as my little nieces. But this is one of those kid-friendly, family shows that's worth a bit of additional patience. The music Alan Menken wrote specifically for the stage show is just as stunning as the original soundtrack, and the story of Belle and her crazy inventor father grows more poignant the older I become. So I'll be there, cocktails in hand, humming through my sentimental tears. It's possible my nose will be a little snotty as well. Beauty & The Beast runs April 15-27. Tickets are available at attpac.org.