Theater News

Dallas Theater Center just couldn't pass up these plays for 2016-17 season

Dallas Theater Center couldn't pass up these plays for 2016-17 season

Constellations play on Broadway
Jake Gyllenhaal and Ruth Wilson in the Broadway production of Constellations. Photo by Joan Marcus

Dallas Theater Center has released its upcoming 2016-17 season, and in true DTC form, it's a mix of classics and contemporary choices — with a twist (one play requires earbuds).

First up is Nick Payne's Constellations, which ran for a handful of months on Broadway early last year. Though the New York Times named the science-heavy show to its 10 best plays of 2015, most are only familiar with the fact it starred movie and TV actors Jake Gyllenhaal and Ruth Wilson.

They played the theoretical physicist and a beekeeper who go on a "spellbinding, romantic journey [that] breaks the boundaries of the space/time continuum." The regional premiere will be in the studio space at the Wyly Theatre from August 24 through October 9.

Kirsten Childs' last musical that DTC produced, Fly, may not have soared to a life after the Wyly. But that's not stopping her from trying again with Bella: An American Tall Tale.

Produced in partnership with Off-Broadway's esteemed Playwrights Horizons, the world premiere musical comedy is set in the late 19th century and follows a young black woman on her train journey west to meet her Buffalo soldier sweetheart. Bella will play in the Wyly Theatre's main performance hall from September 22 through October 23.

Breathe easy, because A Christmas Carol is back again this year. It'll be directed by Steven Walters, who is a member of the resident acting company and one of the three playwrights from whom DTC commissioned new works. Mark your holiday calendars now for November 23 through December 28.

A new play will run almost concurrently in the studio space from December 7 through January 22, but we have to wait until next month for the official announcement. The tension builds.

A play about a mega-church? How very Dallas. The Christians was the talk of this year's Humana Festival, so Moriarty is giving it a regional premiere at the Kalita Humphreys Theater, with Joel Ferrell at the helm. Moriarty also hinted that the live church choir the play requires will be assembled from real choristers from in and around Dallas. It runs January 26 through February 19, 2017.

When announcing the next show, Moriarty was blunt about his talked-about experimental tendencies. "I think by now our audiences are used to us being unexpected in space," he said, and his production of Electra will be no exception.

Much like last season's excellent Medea, which was staged in the basement scene shop under the Kalita Humphreys, this Electra will challenge its audience by performing outside in Annette Strauss Square. Not only that, but theatergoers will be provided with earbuds/headphones, through which the Greek chorus will communicate directly with the audience while the principle characters perform live.

"How does space impact the acting? The play's style? Its audience?" Moriarty wondered. We shall find out April 4 through May 28.

It's not often that you hear Inherit the Wind compared to Les Miserables, but Moriarty has done it. He promises that this classic yet timely play, about the courtroom showdown of evolution versus creationism and which originally premiered in Dallas in 1954, will see changes in gender, race, and time period.

It will not, he promises, be a bunch of men in old-timey clothes arguing. Jump into the conversation May 16 through June 18.

Finally, the songwriting team of Douglas Carter Beane and Lewis Flinn are returning to Dallas for their first collaboration since 2010's Give It Up! (which went on to play Broadway as Lysistrata Jones). This time they're casting a fresh eye on the tales of Robin Hood, promising sword fights, an archery contest, and lots of Beane's smart humor in the new musical Hood. It will run from June 29 through August 6.

After the staggering time and resources required to develop recent musicals like Stagger Lee and Fly By Night, Moriarty promised himself "no more musicals." But Hood and Bella, he says, "were just too good to pass up."