Theater Critic Picks

These are the 14 can't-miss shows in Dallas-Fort Worth theater for February

The 14 can't-miss shows in Dallas-Fort Worth theater for February

Dallas Theater Center presents Little Women
Little Women gets the Kate Hamill treatment at Dallas Theater Center. Photo by Karen Almond
The Band's Visit on Broadway
Tony winner The Band's Visit comes to the Winspear. Photo by Evan Zimmerman
Lyric Stage celebrates Black History Month with Abyssinia. Photo courtesy of Lyric Stage
Undermain Theatre presents Madame Bovary
Undermain Theatre tells Madame Bovary's story from the perspective of her daughter. Photo by Stephen Webster
Kitchen Dog Theater presents Alabaster
Got goats? Kitchen Dog Theater does for Alabaster. Photo by Jordan Fraker
WaterTower Theatre presents Harvey
Harvey plays at WaterTower Theatre. Photo by Jason Anderson
National tour of The Spongebob Musical
Fort Worth becomes Bikini Bottom for a few nights when The SpongeBob Musical comes to town. Photo by Jeremy Daniel
Dallas Theater Center presents Little Women
The Band's Visit on Broadway
Undermain Theatre presents Madame Bovary
Kitchen Dog Theater presents Alabaster
WaterTower Theatre presents Harvey
National tour of The Spongebob Musical

This is a valentine to the DFW theater community, which seems to have chosen February as the month to debut all sorts of world premieres, reimagined classics, big national tours, and provocative new works.

Here are the 14 shows to see in order by start date:

The Band's Visit
Dallas Summer Musicals, February 4-16
AT&T Performing Arts Center, February 18-23

In an Israeli desert town where every day feels the same, something different is suddenly in the air. Dina, the local cafe owner, had long resigned her desires for romance to daydreaming about exotic films and music from her youth. When a band of Egyptian musicians shows up lost at her cafe, she and her fellow locals take them in for the night. Under the spell of the night sky, their lives intertwine in unexpected ways, and this once sleepy town begins to wake up.

WaterTower Theatre, February 6-23
This Pulitzer Prize-winning play follows Elwood P. Dowd, a polite man with a very strange best friend. Elwood's sister, Veta, is concerned her brother's friend will interfere with her life as a socialite. And who can blame her? Elwood's friend is a six-foot, three-and-one-half-inch invisible rabbit named Harvey.

Loving and Loving
Bishop Arts Theatre Center, February 6-23
Inspired by the true love story between Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple from Virginia who were arrested in 1958 for being married, this play examines the landmark Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia. Beginning in the present day and flashing back to the 1950s and '60s, this historical story is told from a 21st-century perspective and puts a human face on this famous court case and the ongoing legacy in a multiracial America.

Hans & Sophie
Amphibian Stage Productions, February 7-March 1

A printing press, spray paint, and quick wit were all that siblings Hans and Sophie Scholl needed to build an underground resistance movement in Nazi Germany. Drawing on inspiration from letters, diaries, and coded correspondences in the book At The Heart of the White Rose, this intimate two-character portrait of resistance and conviction in the darkest of times immerses audiences in the students' metamorphosis from loyal Hitler Youth into one of the Nazi regime's most feared oppositions.

Little Women
Dallas Theater Center, February 7-March 1
Written by Kate Hamill and based on the beloved novel by Louisa May Alcott, this version still follows Jo March, who doesn't want to be like other girls; in fact, she's not even sure that she wants to be a girl. Jo is ambitious, rough around the edges, headstrong, and yearns for a future she can't yet articulate. As the nation is torn apart by civil war, Jo and her sisters struggle with what it means to grow up.

Mrs. Haggardly
Ochre House Theatre, February 8-29
Written and directed by artistic director Matthew Posey, this world premiere takes place at Mrs. Haggardly's Home For Wayward Children, an orphanage that sits on the outskirts of the Great Brutal War, and each day the drums of war draw closer. Mrs. Haggardly and her two companions, Madame Pigslips and Mrs. Busybottom, are the matrons of the orphanage who cunningly use their wiles to resist the pillaging fascists who have come to recruit the orphans for soldiers.

Madame Bovary
Undermain Theatre, February 12-March 15

Adrienne Kennedy's innovative transformation for the stage tells Emma Bovary's story through the eyes of her own daughter and brings a fresh and exciting approach to this classic novel about a woman who longed for a life she could never fully achieve.

Kitchen Dog Theater, February 13-March 8
A noted photographer sets out to explore the topography of "scars," and her journey lands her in the mysterious realm of an undiscovered folk artist hiding away in North Alabama. Three years after losing her entire family in a tornado, June has isolated herself, along with her goats Weezy and Bib, on what remains of her family farm. But photographer Alice is carrying scars of her own and is desperately trying to outrun her own pain.

Lyric Stage, February 14-16
Based on the novel Marked by Fire by Joyce Carol Thomas, this musical is part of Lyric Stage's celebration of Black History Month. Set in Stillwater, Oklahoma, at the turn of the 20th century, Abyssinia "Abby" Jackson is blessed with the gift of song and a voice that delights the entire community. Like Job, Abby is fated to undergo a series of trials, and consequently, her faith in both man and God is destroyed, so she vows to never sing again. Abyssinia’s withdrawal affects the devastated community like a long drought, but when Mother Vera takes the girl under her wing to teach her the ways of a healer, Abby begins to heal herself, her voice, and her community as she learns to relieve pain in others.

Mlima's Tale
Second Thought Theatre, February 19-March 14

Ancient and legendary African elephant Mlima is struck down and his massive tusks stolen as trophies. His ghost is ever-present as the tusks change hands many times and travel the world from Kenya to Vietnam to Beijing. Set against the backdrop of the black market ivory trade, and written by two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Lynn Nottage, Mlima's Tale explores complex questions of global consumerism, ancestral history, and human greed.

The SpongeBob Musical
Broadway at the Bass, February 20-23

Be there when SpongeBob and all of Bikini Bottom face catastrophe — until a most unexpected hero rises to take center stage. The entire family will celebrate friendship and cooperation, and learn the power of unity and inclusion.

Funny, You Don't Act Like a Negro
Theatre Three, February 20-March 15
Denise Lee's world-premiere play explores the prejudgments we make on our neighbors, the biases we inadvertently pass on to our children, and how the simple act of talking to one another is being subverted by social media. The audience is invited to share their experience and opinions throughout the course of the play.

The House on Mango Street
Cara Mía Theatre Co., February 21-March 8
Esperanza's story is the experience of so many Mexican-American girls during the stage of life between childhood and adolescence. We see her rush into the innocent games, fantasies, and friendships of childhood, yet she begins to become conscious of the dangers and contradictions of being a young women living in the barrio. Esperanza tries to make sense of her place in the world while observing the lives of the women around her and decides her life is going to be different.

Tuna Does Vegas
Casa Mañana, February 29-March 8

Portrayed by only two actors, the lovable and eccentric characters from the "third smallest town in Texas" take a rambling romp in Sin City. The hilarity begins when oddball-conservative radio host Arles Struvie announces on air that he and his wife Bertha Bumiller are heading to Vegas to renew their wedding vows ... but everyone in Tuna, Texas, goes along for the ride.