Hot Summer Theater
These are the 10 can't-miss shows in Dallas-Fort Worth theater for June
UPDATE: Cara Mia Theatre Co. has made its staged reading of The Dreamers: Deferred Action invite-only, so we replaced it with another show. Don't worry, there were oh-so-many to choose from this month.
The year is almost half over, but for a lot of theater companies, June is either the time to wrap up one season or start another. That explains why there are so many shows opening this month. This list is not definitive, but it does represent the plays and musicals we're especially looking forward to checking out.
Dallas Solo Fest, June 4-14
Audacity Theatre Lab
Back for its second year after a strong debut last summer, this annual festival of short plays showcasing solo performers takes over the Margo Jones Theatre in Fair Park for the month's first two weekends.
From Van Quattro's emotionally and physically brutal real-life account of his year as a semi-pro boxer, Standing Eight Count (which was well-received at the most recent Out of the Loop fringe festival in Addison), to local funnyman Jeff Swearingen's An American Asshole in France, to SMU grad Brigham Mosely's Mo[u]rnin' After, there's a strong contingent of local talent joining the visiting playwrights and performers.
Each show runs only about an hour, and the Margo Jones has a BYOB policy. You know, just in case that helps sway your decision to purchase tickets (which are $12 each, or $60 for a pass to all eight shows).
Precious Little, June 4-20
Echo Theatre is reserving the final slot of its 17th season for Pride Month, with Madeleine George's 90-minute play about a linguist working through some tough decisions. When Brodie finds out unsettling news about the artificially inseminated child she's carrying, she doesn't turn to her girlfriend for solace, but to a gorilla.
The three-person cast performing at the Bath House Cultural Center includes Sherry Jo Ward, Molly Welch and Lisa Fairchild, and they are led by on-the-rise director Kelsey Leigh Ervi. For tickets, call 214-904-0500 or visit the company's website.
Manicures & Monuments, June 5-28
Do you know the name Vicki Caroline Cheatwood? You should, because she's one of Dallas' most prolific local playwrights and dramaturgs. Her latest show, about a young manicurist-in-training who volunteers at an Oklahoma nursing home, promises laughs and maybe even a little lesson in understanding others. Mikaela Krantz, Pam Dougherty and Elly Lindsay lead the cast, with Susan Sargeant directing.
Cinderella, June 9-21
Dallas Summer Musicals
This princess is having a moment, is she not? In addition to the recent film, the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical has been around since 1957 (it was originally written for TV!), and the Broadway revival only closed earlier this year.
Even if you think princesses and fairy tales aren't for you, check out those Tony-winning costumes by William Ivey Long — and just wait for that magical moment when Cinderella transforms onstage into her ball gown. It's a jaw-dropper.
South Pacific, June 12-21
Janelle Lutz wowed audiences in Lyric's last show, the little-produced Lady in the Dark. Now she's back as the cockeyed optimist Nellie Forbush in South Pacific. Because Lyric is known for its lush orchestra, think of what a treat it will be to hear "Some Enchanted Evening" and "This Nearly Was Mine" played by 38 musicians under the baton of music director Jay Dias.
This is the last of the "big five" Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals that Lyric will have produced with full orchestra and original orchestrations, and as executive producer Steven Jones says, "With South Pacific we will complete a major chapter in Lyric Stage's mission of preserving the American musical."
West Side Story, June 12-21
Garland Summer Musicals
Speaking of classics, GSM is opening this season with what many consider one of the most perfect musicals ever written. The 1950s version of Romeo & Juliet, set in gritty New York City with rival gangs keeping the star-crossed lovers apart, features a lush score by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim.
This version will also have choreographer Jeremy Dumont re-creating Jerome Robbins' iconic — and notoriously difficult — dances. Can't wait for that dance at the gym.
Love's Labour's Lost and King Lear, June 11-28
Trinity Shakespeare Festival
While Shakespeare Dallas' Romeo & Juliet and The Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged) are going on outside at Samuell Grand Amphitheater, two more of the Bard's works are being staged on the TCU campus in Fort Worth with impressive sets, stunning costumes and glorious, glorious air conditioning.
This year, David Coffee is taking on the daunting role of the aging king, while Joel Ferrell is directing the lighthearted romp that is Love's. Worth the drive.
The Nance, June 19-July 5
After his many years directing and acting on Dallas-Fort Worth stages, it seems like there's nothing B.J. Cleveland can't do, and that includes following in Nathan Lane's footsteps in this Tony-winning comedy. Headlining as a "nance" (a parody of a gay man) in the twilight era of burlesque, Chauncey Miles navigates the often dangerous world of 1930s New York as a man both hiding and showcasing his sexuality.
The Kountry Girls, June 25-July 19
Sonny Franks has established his presence onstage as both a performer and musician, and now — with Ken Murchison and Andy Clendenen — he's adding composer to the list. Their world premiere musical about two small-town girls with big-city dreams will close out T3's 53rd season.
A Midsummer Night's Dream, June 29
Shakespeare in the Bar
More Shakespeare, you ask? Yes, but this time it's staged behind the Wild Detectives bookstore in Oak Cliff. Actress Katherine Bourne instigated this "under-rehearsed" series that's quickly gaining in popularity and cult status.
As of now, more than 3,000 people have RSVP'd on Facebook to this production. Even taking into account no-shows, you might want to get there well before the 9 pm start time (or try for the second showing at Community Beer Co. on July 6). Follow the group on Facebook for updates and info.