Make An Impression

New Dallas theater company debuts with provocative first season

New Dallas theater company debuts with provocative first season

"The Revolutionists" at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park
Lauren Gunderson's The Revolutionists is part of Imprint Theatreworks' inaugural season. Photo courtesy of Mikki Schaffner, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park

Dallas is getting a new theater company, and its first season is an ambitious mix of regional premieres, new works, and unfamiliar (to the general population) musicals. 

Co-artistic directors Ashley H. White and Joe Messina first announced Imprint Theatreworks via video in June, and on August 28 they revealed the company's inaugural season. Titled "Built For Longing," the season was introduced by a large company of local performers at a bash held at the lake level of the Bath House Cultural Center. That "underground" and open-air setting overlooking White Rock Lake, which saw some use during the recent Festival of Independent Theatres but hasn't been used often otherwise, also will be the setting for two of Imprint's shows.

“We all think about lives that are not our own," says Messina in a release. "That fundamental human trait is what we are exploring in our first season. We will begin and end with two modern masterpieces focusing on the hopes of those who feel the world is ignoring them and passing them by. Then, in the middle, are two area premieres that deal with the unbridled passion and drive that forces us to do both good and evil."

It starts with David Mamet's American classic Glengarry Glen Ross, running January 12-27, 2018. The unrelenting examination of high-pressure sales culture and those who get lost in it will be re-imagined by director White, and staged at the Bath House Cultural Center.

Next is the First Impressions Festival for Local Playwrights, happening February 21-24, 2018, at the Bath House's lake level. Not just a performance showcase for local playwrights, the festival also promises to offer panels, talk-back sessions, cocktail hours, and networking opportunities for writers, actors, directors, producers, and audiences. Submissions will be accepted beginning in September.

The DFW-area premiere of Murder Ballad is next on the bill, playing April 27-May 12, 2018. Conceived and with book by Julia Jordan and music and lyrics by Juliana Nash, the sexy and violent rock opera, about a tragic love triangle set in modern-day New York City, will transform the lake level into a fully immersive experience. White again directs.

Hot, hot playwright Lauren Gunderson makes an appearance with her play The Revolutionists, running July 20-August 5, 2018, at a location yet to be announced. The historical comedy — co-directed by White and Messina — is about four women who made the ultimate sacrifice in their fight for art, feminism, and freedom, and is another regional premiere.

Closing out the season is one of the West End's longest-running musicals: Willy Russell's Blood Brothers. The show explores class divide and nature-versus-nurture with the tale of twins separated at birth who meet later in life. Messina directs solo here, at a location that has yet to be announced, from October 26-November 11, 2018.

“We chose to focus on four shows that are not only extremely relevant to today’s audiences but tell very real, powerful, and intense stories," says White. "These ensemble-driven pieces are powerful, truthful, and fresh, and we can’t wait for our audiences to see them."

Imprint has already attained nonprofit status, and operates with a four-person board of directors. Joining White and Messina on the administrative side are business manager Benjamin Bratcher, strategic development manager Billy Betsill, and company manager Jessie Wallace.

Tickets start at $25 and season passes are $80. Both are on sale now.