Take a bow: Dallas theater experiences you won't soon forget
Pegasus Theatre: Living Black & White Map It
Pegasus Theatre

The trademarked design secrets that turn Pegasus Theatre’s yearly murder mystery comedy into a black-and-white marvel are so closely guarded that the cast and crew are required to sign nondisclosure agreements. Costumes, makeup, hair and scenery for the series of plays about hapless detective Harry Hunsacker are entirely leeched of color, presenting a 1930s-esque tableau in shades of black, white and grey. The overall effect is so astonishing that founder, playwright and star Kurt Kleinmann is regularly besieged by requests from theaters around the world to share his techniques — something he swears he’ll never do.

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Lyric Stage at Irving Arts Center

While most regional theaters are forced to make do with a small band or multitasking synthesizer, Lyric Stage is known for its full orchestras — “full” as in “sometimes even larger than what the original Broadway production enjoyed.” Under the expert baton of music director Jay Dias, gloriously lush scores and rediscovered original orchestrations get the aural appreciation they deserve, whether the overture is for a Golden Age classic or an experimental world premiere.

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Cicerone at Ochre House Theater in Dallas

Matthew Posey wears many hats at The Ochre House: writer, director, producer, set and lighting designer, resident boundary-pusher. Since founding Deep Ellum Theatre Garage in the 1980s and later Balanced Almond (parent company of Ochre House) in 2008, he has tinkered with the very ideas of theater and performance in ways that suit him and his collaborators. That might mean a deconstruction of Long Day’s Journey Into Night that features a man-eating puppet or a musicalization of Charles Manson’s horrific deeds — whatever feels interesting and experimental, and conventions be damned. You may not always like what you see at The Ochre House, but you’ll never see it anywhere else.

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The retractable chandelier at the Winspear Opera House in Dallas.

From the curvy crimson and glass façade to the traditional horseshoe-shaped configuration of the main performance hall, the Winspear Opera House is an undeniably beautiful building and the jewel of the AT&T Performing Arts Center. But witnessing a show there is about more than just good looks. The flawless acoustics, expertly designed stage and backstage space, and even the applause-worthy sightlines make every musical, opera, play and concert feel like a grand opening-night event. If you arrive early enough, you can witness the retraction of the ethereal chandelier, 318 LED-illuminated rods that float silently up into the ceiling, twinkling briefly like a constellation before extinguishing themselves at curtain.

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Twelfth Night by Shakespeare Dallas

You may not clamor to spend time outdoors in the summertime, but it’s amazing how a picnic blanket, bottle of wine and some of the Bard’s greatest works can make tolerating the heat a little easier. Inspired by the famed New York Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare Dallas has been presenting accessible and acclaimed productions al fresco since 1971. The atmosphere is less stuffy English class and more relaxed evening party; BYO coolers adds to the celebratory vibe. With the sunset coloring the sky over Samuell-Grand Amphitheatre and precious breezes kissing your skin, it’s easy to see all the world as a stage.