Theater Critic Picks
We've got two world premieres and several established favorites this month, which include a few from movies-turned-musicals and shows that later inspired movies. Singing newsboys, meddling matchmakers, scheming villains, and plays that tackle important issues both current and historical are all waiting in the wings.
Here are the 12 shows to see, in order by start date:
Fort Worth Fringe Festival
Texas Nonprofit Theatres, Inc. and the Fort Worth Community Arts Center, September 7-8
Featuring 17 different acts ranging from lesser-produced theater, dance, burlesque, puppetry, poetry, and more, the festival welcomes performers from all over the state of Texas and beyond.
Echo Theatre, September 7-22
Greek god Dionysus comes back to Earth disguised as a permaculture specialist named Diane, and she's pretty upset to find how we have been treating Mother Nature. So she plants seeds of seduction in a quiet little cul-de-sac to launch her ultimate plan: destroy our cookie-cutter, HGTV-obsessed America. Cindee Mayfield, Angela Davis, Whitney Holotik, Stephanie Butler, and Octavia Y. Thomas star in this play by Madeleine George, the scribe behind Echo's hit Precious Little.
Casa Mañana, September 8-16
Beloved local actor David Coffee celebrates his 50th year performing at Casa, this time taking on the role of the curmudgeonly businessman who's the focus of matchmaker Mrs. Dolly Gallagher Levi. Broadway performer Jacquelyn Piro Donovan stars as Dolly in Jerry Herman and Michael Stewart's 1964 hit.
The Cuban and the Redhead
Pegasus Theatre, September 13-30
This new musical by Robert Bartley and Danny Whitman is about cultural icons Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball. Escaping bloodshed in Cuba, a young man sets sail on a turbulent journey that leads him all the way to Hollywood and into the arms of a fiery, redheaded movie star named Lucille Ball. They put their egos and dreams of stardom on the line in a gamble to save one thing — their marriage — and risk it all on an untested and floundering new medium called television.
Theatre Three, September 13-October 7
Based on the popular film, Once centers around a Dublin street musician who's about to give up on his dream when a beautiful young woman takes an interest in his haunting love songs. The 2012 Tony-winning musical by Glen Hansard, Markéta Irglová, and Enda Walsh features an ensemble of actor/musicians who play their own instruments onstage, with direction by Marianne Galloway and music direction by Scott A. Eckert.
How is it That We Live or Shakey Jake + Alice
Undermain Theatre, September 13-October 7
The world premiere from longtime Undermain collaborator Len Jenkin traces the lives of two lovers through the years, from the first kiss to the last goodbye and everything in between.
Shakespeare Dallas, September 19-29
The Bard's classic drama about a noble general whose life and marriage are sabotaged by theater's most infamous villain stars Jamal Sterling and Caitlin Glass. Shakespeare Dallas' rendition is set amid war and palace intrigue in the early 20th-century Mediterranean region.
WET: A DACAmented Journey
Cara Mía Theatre Co., September 20-30
Written and performed by L.A.'s Alex Alpharaoh, this one-man show explores what it means to be an American in every sense of the word except one: on paper. Based on a true story, WET chronicles one DACA recipient's ongoing battle of living all but his first three months of life in the United States as an undocumented citizen. The production is performed in the Theatre Too space at Theatre Three.
Lyric Stage, September 21-23
Based on the 1992 motion picture and inspired by a true story, Newsies features a Tony Award-winning score by Alan Menken and Jack Feldman and a book by Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein. Set in turn-of-the century New York City, it's the rousing tale of Jack Kelly, a charismatic newsboy who rallies newsies from across the city to strike against the unfair conditions of publishing titans Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst.
Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika
Uptown Players, September 28-October 7
The entire original cast from Uptown's production of Millennium Approaches reunites for the conclusion of one of the greatest plays of the 20th century. The award-winning play explores gay culture, race, political injustice, inequality, and the future of America through the lens of the AIDS crisis of the 1980s. This "Gay Fantasia on National Themes" raises the stakes, with characters confronting the real, the ethereal, and themselves, with the conclusion taking place five years after our introduction to these memorable characters.
Dallas Theater Center, September 28-October 21
Every Southern woman knows there are few institutions on earth more important than the town beauty parlor. At Truvy Jones' salon in Chinquapin, Louisiana, neighborhood women gather to swap stories, share gossip, and, of course, style their hair. But when tragedy strikes, the community comes together in a bond more powerful than 10 coats of hairspray in Robert Harling's play, which was the basis for the popular movie.
Nina Simone: Four Women
Jubilee Theatre, September 28-October 28
September 16, 1963: The day after the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, which led Nina Simone to shift her career from artist to artist-activist. Christina Ham's play with music uses the framework of one of her most blistering songs, "Four Women," to give voice to a group of women who suffered from self-hatred due to the different hues of their skin.