It may be the month of pumpkin spice and ghastly ghouls, but you'd never know it from the theater lineup.
Instead of spooky offerings, Dallas-Fort Worth theater companies are concentrating on a wide range of dramas, comedies, musicals, and solo shows. Everyone is saving the scary for November, it seems.
Here are the 12 shows to see, in order by start date:
Stage West, October 6-November 6
It's no coincidence that Stage West is presenting Holland Taylor's one-woman play about Ann Richards, the second female governor of Texas, right before this historic presidential election. Richards was known for being outspoken, witty, and fiercely passionate about causes she believed in, right up until her death in 2006. Stage West is actually the first theater to be granted production rights since the Broadway and touring production, and Linda Kay Leonard stars.
WingSpan Theatre Company, October 6-22
Fairy tales were often born out of real-life fears, and this play by Jennifer Haley is no exception. Hansel and Gretel getting lost in the woods is here translated to Alida (Stephanie Dunnam) and Beth (Catherine D. DuBord) trying to find their way out of the tangled branches of Alida's mind. The regional premiere plays at the Bath House Cultural Center.
A Stain Upon the Silence: Beckett's Bequest
Kitchen Dog Theater, October 7-29
This will be KDT's last production in a temporary space, as the good news just broke that an anonymous donor has made it possible for the company to purchase its own building in the Design District. Before they begin work on that, however, they are presenting a series of rarely performed short plays by Samuel Beckett, Joseph Chaikin, Will Eno, Abe Koogler, Suzan-Lori Parks, and Sam Shepard, all celebrating Beckett's lasting influence.
PrismCo, October 7-23
The movement company is back at it, exploring another well-known tale through unconventional means. This time it's Midas, whose touch turns everything to gold. At the Oak Cliff Cultural Center, audiences walk through Midas' house in a tour of grief, viewing the family and friends he's lost due to uncontrollable greed.
Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash
WaterTower Theatre, October 7-30
It was only a matter of time before the Man in Black's song catalog was stitched together into a musical — and in the mid-2000s, it was. But don't go into this jukebox show expecting to see Cash's life story. Rather, just get ready for some strumming and singing, and a whole lot of fiddle playing.
The Drama Club, October 10-29
DFW Critics Forum Award-winner Terry Vandivort gets a one-man showcase with a script of his own making. And it sounds like a doozy: "A hot, drug-fueled, one-night stand became a collision course with a deadly stranger." It also sounds like a mystery, with Vandivort the detective at the heart of it all.
Wild, Wicked, Wyrd: Fairytale Time
The Drama Club, October 15-29
Running in repertory with The Incident is a new work from the team that brought about last year's wonderfully creepy Faust. This is actually four short plays by Michael Federico, Maryam Obaidullah Baig, and John Flores adapted from fairy tales and folklore around the world, accompanied by Dallas band JimJohn Make Noise.
Smart, Pretty, Funny
Amphibian Stage Productions, October 20-November 13
A world premiere comedy by artistic director Kathleen Culebro, the premise is that everyone in the world receives a letter identifying their soul mate — except one girl, played by Vanessa DiSilvio.
Bishop Arts Theatre Center, October 20-30
Lynne Nottage's Pulitzer Prize-winning play is tough to swallow at times, but that's partially why it's so important. During the Democratic Republic of Congo's civil war, one businesswoman gives three young women refuge through an unsavory means of survival.
The Phantom of the Opera
Performing Arts Fort Worth, October 20-30
Reimagined and redesigned — but still with that famous falling chandelier — this Phantom is new to even the most devoted audience member. It's also mammoth, with a cast and orchestra totaling 52 (the musicians' strike is not affecting this tour), and new set pieces to go along with the original Tony-winning costumes.
Circle Theatre, October 20-November 19
Circle's 35th season has been the "year of the playwright," so it's only fitting that it closes out with a script from Bruce Graham. This is the seventh play of Graham's that Circle has produced, and it centers around a fading vaudeville comic in 1950s Los Angeles who's trying to stage a comeback.
The Light in the Piazza
Brick Road Theatre, October 21-30
This is only the second time this musical has been presented in DFW, which is surprising given its Tony Award cred and cult status among musical theater fans. Its score, by Richard Rogers' grandson Adam Guettel, is operatic and offers lovely songs for its two female leads, Margaret Johnson (here played by Noelle Chesney) and her daughter, Clara (Janelle Lutz), who are spending the summer in Italy when love intervenes.