Theater Critics' Picks

Dallas-Fort Worth theater critics declare standouts from 2014-15 season

DFW theater critics declare standouts from 2014-15 season

Hedwig and the Angry Inch in Dallas
Kyle Igneczi was rewarded for his star-making turn in Hedwig and the Angry Inch at Uptown Players, directed by winner Jeremy Dumont. Photo by Mike Morgan
The Nance at Uptown Players in Dallas
Both lead actor B.J. Cleveland and the talented ensemble of The Nance at Uptown Players were favorites. Photo by Mike Morgan
Tomorrow Come Today at Undermain Theatre
Tomorrow Come Today at Undermain Theatre has been recognized both locally and now internationally. Photo by Christi Nielsen
The Flick at Undermain Theatre
The ensemble of the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Flick at Undermain Theatre, along with Blake Hackler's direction, scored big. Photo courtesy of Undermain Theatre
"Mr. Burns" at Stage West
The ensemble of Mr. Burns, a post-electric play at Stage West got props, as did Paul Taylor for his specific roles. Photo by Buddy Myers
South Dallas Cultural Center presents Mississippi Goddamn
Dallas playwright Jonathan Norton's new play Mississippi Goddamn resonated with the critics. Photo by Classi Nance Jimoh
DGDG present The Show About Men
Danielle Georgiou Dance Group scored special recognition for her choreography in NICE and The Show About Men, which also got a nod for best new play/musical. Photo by Trenton Ryan Stephenson
Hedwig and the Angry Inch in Dallas
The Nance at Uptown Players in Dallas
Tomorrow Come Today at Undermain Theatre
The Flick at Undermain Theatre
"Mr. Burns" at Stage West
South Dallas Cultural Center presents Mississippi Goddamn
DGDG present The Show About Men

The members of the Dallas-Fort Worth Critics Forum gathered on September 12 to nominate and debate their picks for the most outstanding performances, productions, designs, and new plays of the past season.

Eleven critics duked it out (myself and Jan Farrington of TheaterJones.com were absent due to prior commitments, but sent our lists in early) before finally deciding on the winners. There are several for each category — rather than only one — that are listed alphabetically, and this year for the first time we demolished the gender separation in best performance. Shows that opened between September 1, 2014 and August 31, 2015 were eligible.

This list is the consensus of the group. There are several honorees that I did not vote for, and several more I submitted that did not garner enough votes to make it to the final round. Look for my own list of this year's best as we close out 2015.

Without further ado, these are the critics’ picks for 2014-15:

Outstanding Direction:

  • Akín Babatundé, Don't Bother Me I Can't Cope and The Color Purple, Jubilee Theatre
  • Bruce R. Coleman, The Nance, Uptown Players
  • Cheryl Denson, Catch Me If You Can, Uptown Players
  • Jeremy Dumont, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Uptown Players
  • Blake Hackler, The Flick, Undermain Theatre
  • Katherine Owens, Tomorrow Come Today and The Testament of Mary, Undermain Theatre
  • Matthew Posey, The Egg Salesman, The Ochre House
  • vickie washington, Mississippi Goddamn, South Dallas Cultural Center

Outstanding New Play/Musical:

  • Mississippi Goddamn by Jonathan Norton, South Dallas Cultural Center
  • The Show About Men by Danielle Georgiou, Justin Locklear and Trey Pendergrass, DGDG, Festival of Independent Theatres
  • Standing Eight Count by Van Quattro, Rite of Passage Theatre Company, Out of the Loop Fringe Festival and Dallas Solo Fest

Outstanding Acting Performance:

  • Stephanie Cleghorn Jasso, Lydia, Cara Mía Theatre Company
  • B.J. Cleveland, The Nance, Uptown Players
  • David Coffee, King Lear, Trinity Shakespeare Festival
  • Hassan El-Amin, Radio Golf and A Soldier's Play, African American Repertory Theater
  • Anthony Fortino, Catch Me If You Can, Uptown Players
  • Kyle Igneczi, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Uptown Players
  • Shannon Kearns, The Testament of Mary, Undermain Theatre
  • Jenny Ledel for:
    • The Arsonists, Kitchen Dog Theater
    • Belleville, Second Thought Theatre
    • Othello, Second Thought Theatre
    • Wilde/Earnest, Kitchen Dog Theater
  • David Lugo, Catch Me If You Can, Uptown Players
  • Janelle Lutz, Lady in the Dark and South Pacific, Lyric Stage
  • Ebony Marshall Oliver, In Real Life and The Color Purple, Jubilee Theatre
  • Sally Nystuen Vahle, Medea, Dallas Theater Center
  • Allison Pistorius, The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence, Stage West
  • Paul Taylor, Mr. Burns, a post-electric play, Stage West; and The Hot Mikado, Theatre Three
  • Lulu Ward, The Two-Character Play, WingSpan Theatre Company
  • Sherry Jo Ward, Precious Little, Echo Theatre
  • Pat Watson, Streamers, L.I.P. Service

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble:

  • The Brothers Size, Jubilee Theatre
  • The Egg Salesman, The Ochre House
  • The Flick, Undermain Theatre
  • Hands on a Hardbody, Theatre Three
  • Mississippi Goddamn, South Dallas Cultural Center
  • Mr. Burns, a post-electric play, Stage West
  • The Nance, Uptown Players

Outstanding Achievement in Design or Creative Contribution:

  • Robin Armstrong, fight choreography, Lovers and Executioners, Circle Theatre
  • Clare Floyd DeVries, set design, The Explorers Club, Stage West and WaterTower Theatre
  • Danielle Georgiou, choreography, NICE and The Show About Men, DGDG
  • Bob Lavallee, set design, The Rocky Horror Show, Dallas Theater Center
  • Joshua L. Peugh, choreography/movement, Colossal, Dallas Theater Center
  • Adam C. Wright, original composition, The Nance, Uptown Players

Outstanding touring production:

  • Buyer & Cellar, AT&T Performing Arts Center
  • Endurance, Split Knuckle Theatre, The Eisemann Center for the Performing Arts
  • The Last Two People on Earth: An Apocalyptic Vaudeville, The Eisemann Center for the Performing Arts
  • Once, AT&T Performing Arts Center and Performing Arts Fort Worth
  • Pippin, Dallas Summer Musicals and Performing Arts Fort Worth

Special Citations:

  • To Lyric Stage and musical director Jay Dias for their contributions to the musical restoration of The Golden Apple and Lady in the Dark, and for the first cast recording of the complete score of The Golden Apple.
  • To Audacity Theatre Lab and Brad McEntire for bringing quality local and national performances to the second annual Dallas Solo Fest at the Margo Jones Theatre, and for advancing the art of solo performance in North Texas.
  • To the producers of Shakespeare in the Bar for attracting new and large audiences to non-traditional spaces and reminding us that Shakespeare can be unexpected and fun.

Participating Critics:

  • Lindsey Wilson, CultureMap Dallas
  • Alexandra Bonifield, CriticalRant.com
  • Nancy Churnin, The Dallas Morning News
  • Jan Farrington, TheaterJones.com
  • Martha Heimberg, The Dallas Weekly and TheaterJones.com
  • Arnold Wayne Jones, Dallas Voice
  • Elaine Liner, The Dallas Observer
  • Mark Lowry, TheaterJones.com and Fort Worth Star-Telegram
  • David Novinski, TheaterJones.com
  • Punch Shaw, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
  • Lauren Smart, The Dallas Observer