Stages across Dallas-Fort Worth are feeling a little twitterpated. From saucy sex comedies to epic romances to unions that might, um, raise a few eyebrows, the plays and musicals onstage during Valentine's Day are showing us that love, actually, is all around.
Ghost the Musical
Dallas Summer Musicals, through February 9
Performing Arts Fort Worth, February 11-16
A love so great it can't die, but instead finds a sassy medium to serve as a conduit for all the things left unsaid. The beloved film, starring Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg, receives the stage treatment, using special effects by Paul Kieve that are scary good. (The man has received the magic world's version of the Oscar, for goodness' sake.)
Don't worry, "Unchained Melody" is in there, as is the pottery scene. We can all breathe easy now.
I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change
Theatre Too, through February 16
The only thing that's been changing about Theatre Three's annual hit is the cast, which year after year gives some of the most talented local performers a fun exhibition for their skills. This year we're presented with Max Swarner, Sonny Franks, Kim Borge and Amy Mills. The musical revue touches on all the different stages of love, from new infatuation to comfortable married life to death do us part (literally).
On the Eve
Theatre Three, through February 16
Huzzah! It extended! This critically acclaimed original musical can do no wrong as far as the critics are concerned, and audiences should take advantage of this fortuitous extension to see what all the fuss is about. Go for the toe-tapping tunes, the electric performances, the wholly original story and the feeling of euphoria. Space and time can't stop Chase Spacegrove, and they can't stop true love, either.
Second Thought Theatre, through February 22
John is dating a man before he breaks up with him and then finds himself attracted to a woman. Now John is confused. Dating suddenly gets a lot more difficult when you're note even sure which gender you want to pursue.
Mike Bartlett's provocative play received the Second Thought treatment with a remarkably insightful staged reading during the last Uptown Players Pride Festival. Now it's exploring a full-length production under the direction of Alex Organ.
Echo Theatre, through February 22
The Bath House Cultural Center gets transformed into a 1930s-style supper club for Her Song, a collection of tunes by female composers and songwriters from the first part of the 20th century. Danielle Georgiou Dance Group and members of Matt Tolentino’s Big Band help create this immersive (truly, there's a dance floor just waiting for you to cut a rug on it) and multidisciplinary bit of nostalgia.
Oedipus el Rey
Dallas Theater Center, through March 2
One of drama's greatest tragedies is built around a surprisingly tender — albeit gross — love story. Luis Alfaro updates Sophocles' Greek myth to modern-day LA, turning gangs and prison into the fate the characters cannot escape.
Sabina Zuniga Varela and Philippe Bowgen impress as the doomed lovers, exhibiting a commendable amount of vulnerability in addition to flesh. In case you find their connection just a little too icky, wait a bit and things will turn violent and bloody. This is Greek tragedy, after all.
Venus in Fur
Circle Theatre, through March 8
Thank Fifty Shades of Grey for making domination acceptable dinner conversation. In David Ives' dark sex comedy, a writer-director laments the lack of actresses suitable to play the lead in his new play, based on an Austrian novel from the late 1800s.
Enter Vanda, a desperate, crude actress who exhibits an almost preternatural understanding of the role. As the action gathers steam, things get steamy. Top-notch actors Chris Hury and Allison Pistorius portray the pair, who engage in a mysterious dance of control and power that quickly veers into erotic territory.
The Little Mermaid
Dallas Summer Musicals, February 13-March 2
The girl. Gives up. Her fins. I mean, really, that's about as sacrificial as one can get for love, no? Some might argue that the message — a girl should change to win her man — is antiquated and a bit dangerous, but then the Academy Award-winning songs start up and the crab is singing and I dare you not to love it at least a little bit.
Rumor has it that this national tour will include flying effects instead of the Heelys (wheeled shoes) used in the original Broadway production.
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Uptown Players, February 14-March 9
Off-kilter playwright Christopher Durang mashes together Chekhov's tragi-comic characters and themes of existential loss and longing. The result is this winner of the 2013 Tony Award for best play.
Although the plot mainly centers on three siblings and their damaged relationships with each other, there is the introduction of a vapid boy toy named Spike, who's been towed along to Bucks Country, Pennsylvania, by the glamorous if slightly fading movie star Masha. Because it's Uptown Players, expect bawdy hilarity without the slightest hint of self-consciousness.
The Motherfucker With the Hat
Kitchen Dog Theater, February 14-March 15
Jealousy is often an unfortunate side effect of love. In Stephen Adly Guirgis' 2011 play, it's the driving force that convinces Jackie, a former drug dealer recently sprung from prison, to suspect his girlfriend is cheating on him.
His proof? He finds an unrecognizable hat in her apartment. KDT company members Christopher Carlos, Christie Vela, Michael Federico and Liza Marie Gonzalez are directed by Jaime Castañeda.