Theater Critics' Picks

DFW Theater Critics Forum bestows honors for 2012-13 season

DFW Theater Critics Forum bestows honors for 2012-13 season

The musical "On the Eve" played sold-out shows last year in Dallas.
On the Eve emerged as a favorite of the 2012-13 season. Photo by Jeffrey Schmidt
The Odd Couple at Dallas Theater Center
Dallas Theater Center's The Odd Couple was recognized for set design. Photo courtesy of Dallas Theater Center
Gruesome Playground Injuries at Second Thought Theatre in Dallas
Second Thought Theatre's Gruesome Playground Injuries was recognized in multiple categories. Photo by Karen Almond
Dallas actor and director Regan Adair
Regan Adair received a nod for direction. Photo courtesy of WaterTower Theatre
Mark Evans and Christopher John O'Neill in The Book of Mormon
The Book of Mormon was one of four touring production award winners. Photo by Joan Marcus
Jerry Russell as Clarence Darrow at Stage West
The late Jerry Russell was honored for his contributions to the North Texas theater community. Photo courtesy of Stage West
Dallas Actor's Lab presents Jailbait
Dallas Actors Lab's Jailbait received an award for ensemble. Photo courtesy of Dallas Actor's Lab
Bruce DuBose in An Iliad at Undermain Theatre in Dallas
Bruce DuBose was honored for his work in An Iliad at Undermain Theatre. Photo courtesy of Undermain Theatre
The musical "On the Eve" played sold-out shows last year in Dallas.
The Odd Couple at Dallas Theater Center
Gruesome Playground Injuries at Second Thought Theatre in Dallas
Dallas actor and director Regan Adair
Mark Evans and Christopher John O'Neill in The Book of Mormon
Jerry Russell as Clarence Darrow at Stage West
Dallas Actor's Lab presents Jailbait
Bruce DuBose in An Iliad at Undermain Theatre in Dallas

Every year, the Dallas-Fort Worth Theater Critics Forum dishes out awards for best new play, best actor, best direction and myriad other theater categories. The group does not crown a winner in each category, nor does it declare a show of the year. Rather, the group gathers for a conversation about work that deserves special recognition.

On Saturday, September 7, the forum gathered to reflect on the 2012-13 season. This year, there were some clear favorites. On the Eve, the brand-new post-modern musical extravaganza, with songs and lyrics by the local band Home by Hovercraft, earned accolades for its writing, cast, music and director. (Theatre Three will remount this show in January 2014).  

Kitchen Dog Theater had a standout season, with nearly every show receiving nominations for a design element or performance. There was also a unanimous desire to recognize the late Jerry Russell for his lifetime contributions to local theater and praise Fun House Theatre and Film for emerging as a stomping ground for young actors. In fact, Kennedy Waterman, an 11-year-old actress from Fun House, gave one of the best performances of the year for her role in Daffodil Girls.

During the lunch meeting, critics dug through playbills to double check spellings and debated the merit of an actor's performance in one show versus another to nominate shows or performers in each category. They pared down several hundred shows into lists of up to 10. Here are this year's picks:

New Play or Musical

  • On the Eve by Michael Federico and Shawn and Seth Magill
  • Dreams of Slaughtered Sheep by Matthew Posey
  • Daffodil Girls, inspired by David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross by Jeff Swearingen
  • Fly by Night by Kim Rosenstock, Bill Connolly and Michael Mitnick

Direction

  • Jeffrey Schmidt, On the Eve (Nouveau 47 Theatre) and Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo (Theatre Three) and Enron (Theatre Three)
  • Regan Adair, In a Forest, Dark and Deep (Second Thought Theatre)
  • Tim Johnson, The Chairs (Kitchen Dog Theater)
  • Cheryl Denson, The Most Happy Fella (Lyric Stage)
  • T.J. Walsh, The Taming of the Shrew (Trinity Shakespeare Festival)
  • Jim Covault, The Taming of the Shrew (Stage West)
  • Susan Sargeant, Children of a Lesser God (Contemporary Theatre of Dallas) and Lydie Marland in the Afterlife (Wingspan Theater Co)
  • Jeff Swearingen, Daffodil Girls, inspired by David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross (Fun House Theatre and Film)
  • Matthew Posey, Dreams of Slaughtered Sheep (Ochre House Theater)
  • Joel Ferrell, Gruesome Playground Injuries (Second Thought Theatre)
  • Jonathan Fielding, The True Story of the Tragic Life and Triumphant Death of Julia Pastrana, the Ugliest Woman in the World (Amphibian Stage Productions)

Actor

  • Bruce DuBose, An Iliad (Undermain Theatre)
  • Raphael Parry, The Chairs (Kitchen Dog Theater)
  • Gregory Lush, On the Eve (Nouveau 47 Theatre) and Penelope (Undermain Theatre)
  • David Coffee, Fly by Night (Dallas Theater Center)
  • Jac Alder, Freud’s Last Session (Theatre Three)
  • Chris Hury, The Taming of the Shrew (Stage West)
  • Montgomery Sutton, Gruesome Playground Injuries (Second Thought Theatre)
  • Max Hartman, RX (Kitchen Dog Theater)
  • Ashley Wood, Children of a Lesser God(Contemporary Theatre of Dallas)
  • Alex Organ, The Most Happy Fella (Lyric Stage)

Actress

  • Tina Parker, RX (Kitchen Dog Theater)
  • Jenny Ledel, Becky Shaw (Kitchen Dog Theater) and On the Eve (Nouveau 47 Theatre)
  • Martha Harms, On the Eve (Nouveau 47 Theatre), RX (Kitchen Dog Theater), The Lucky Chance; or, The Alderman’s Bargain (Echo Theatre)
  • Marianne Galloway, Children of a Lesser God (Contemporary Theatre of Dallas)
  • Amber Nicole Guest, The Most Happy Fella (Lyric Stage)
  • Barbara Wood, Knock Me a Kiss (Jubillee Theatre)
  • Allison Pistorius, The Taming of the Shrew (Stage West)
  • Kennedy Waterman, Daffodil Girls (FunHouse Theatre and Film)

Ensemble

  • On the Eve (Nouveau 47 Theatre)
  • The Taming of the Shrew (Trinity Shakespeare Festival)
  • Jailbait (Dallas Actor’s Lab)

Creative Contribution

  • Score, Home by Hovercraft, On the Eve (Nouveau 47 Theatre)
  • Music and sound design, Bruce DuBose and Paul Semrad, An Iliad (Undermain Theatre)
  • Sound design, John Flores, Gruesome Playground Injuries (Second Thought Theatre)
  • Set design, Timothy R. Mackabee, The Odd Couple (Dallas Theater Center)
  • Set design, Bob Lavallee, The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife (Theatre Arlington) and Gruesome Playground Injuries (Second Thought Theatre)
  • Design team, The Taming of the Shrew and Julius Caesar (Trinity Shakespeare Festival)
  • Design team, Dreams of Slaughtered Sheep (Ochre House Theater)
  • Costume design, Ryan Matthieu Smith, The Lucky Chance; or, the Alderman’s Bargain (Echo Theatre)

Touring Production

  • Anything Goes (Lexus Broadway Series)
  • The Book of Mormon (Lexus Broadways Series)
  • Traces (Lexus Broadway Series)
  • Underneath the Lentil (Patrick O’Brien at the Out of the Loop Fringe Festival)

Special citations

  • The late Jerry Russell, founder of Stage West, for his lifetime contributions to the North Texas theater community as an actor, director, producer and advocate
  • Jeff Swearingen and Bren Rapp with Fun House Theater and Film, for their innovative youth theater and dedication to the future of the craft

Participating critics

  • CultureMap DallasLauren Smart
  • Dallas Morning News: Lawson Taitte
  • D Magazine: Lindsey Wilson, Liz Johnstone, M. Lance Lusk
  • Dallas Observer: Elaine Liner
  • TheaterJones.com: Mark Lowry, Kris Noteboom
  • Dallas Voice: Arnold Wayne Jones
  • Turtle Creek News: Martha Heimberg
  • CriticalRant.com: Alexandra Bonifield
  • Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Punch Shaw