Even though it doesn't feel like it, autumn is coming. And along with the falling leaves and pumpkin-spice everything there's a veritable avalanche of theater. A lot of good stuff is opening this month, so get your calendar sorted now.
Moonshine: That Hee Haw Musical, September 2-October 11
Dallas Theater Center
I'm going to throw some words out, and you put them together, ok? Justin Guarini. Hee Haw. Bloodhounds. Grammy-winning country songwriters. Kornfield Kounty.
Somehow, all these things fit together in the new musical Moonshine, which has also drawn in some Broadway talent to strum the story of Misty Mae, a small-town girl with big-city dreams. Or something like that. Whatever Moonshine ends up being — besides yet another "K"-themed country musical — we're promised "a love story so deep it's fried."
Into The Woods, September 4-13
Saw the movie? Cool, cool. But now you can see this twisted fairytale mash-up live and onstage, with a 30-piece orchestra and all sorts of theater magic happening right before your eyes, instead of in a film editing room.
A host of DFW theater favorites are cast as storybook characters Jack (of beanstalk fame), Cinderella's nasty stepsisters, the handsome princes, and Little Red Riding Hood's grandmother. If you're not familiar at all with Stephen Sondheim's darkly beautiful masterpiece, this is the way to see it.
The Dumbwaiter, September 11-October 10
Kitchen Dog Theater
Kitchen Dog's first production in its temporary home is a killer — literally. Harold Pinter's The Dumbwaiter focuses on two hit men waiting in a basement for their next assignment.
Putting Pinter's famous long pauses to good use are KDT co-artistic director Christopher Carlos and Michael Federico, making this two-hander a can't-miss.
The Mountaintop, September 16-November 15
Dallas Theater Center
What if, on the night before he was assassinated, Martin Luther King Jr. was relaxing in the Lorraine Motel when a mysterious woman showed up with room service? Katori Hall's 2011 drama uses Dr. King's "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech as a springboard for a fictional meeting, one which may or may not influence history.
DTC company member Hassan El-Amin stars as Dr. King, with SMU graduate Tiana Johnson portraying Camae, in this 90-minute exploration of justice, history, and legacy that's staged in the intimate Studio Theatre.
Matilda the Musical, September 23-October 4
AT&T Performing Arts Center
Kids in theater can sometimes be unpredictable, but the ones who perform in the stage adaptation of the Roald Dahl book are very special indeed. The buoyant musical about a stubborn, magical little girl who loves to read got the big, splashy Broadway treatment (and West End before that) a few years ago, and now it's set to charm audiences across the country.
Also worth mentioning? The outrageously fun adult characters, including Matilda's crass parents and her intimidating schoolmistress, Miss Trunchbull.
The Droll, September 23-October 17
With The Droll, it might feel as though Undermain is taking some of its most successful aspects from the previous season: a play by Meg Miroshnik (her The Fairy Tale Lives of Russian Girls ran last November), a world premiere (Tomorrow Come Today flourished after bowing here), and direction by Blake Hackler (his steering of The Flick made the three-hour play one of last year's best).
But the subtitle of this one is Or, a Stage Play About the END of Theatre, which should clue you in that even though it might seem familiar, it will be an entirely new experience.
Murder For Two, September 24-26
Off Broadway on Flora
Two men, 90 minutes, dozens of characters, and one murdered novelist. The Off Broadway hit is a little bit vaudeville, a little bit Agatha Christie, and a whole lot intriguing.
Following in the footsteps of quick-change thrillers The Mystery of Irma Vep and The 39 Steps, Murder For Two
Falsettos, September 25-October 18
The hashtag for this production is #FamilyHappens. It's fitting, since the dysfunctional clan, for all their problems, manage to show they care by meddling. If this sounds like a downer, it's not.
James Lapine (who also wrote the book for Into The Woods) and William Finn have imbued the musical with witty lyrics and lines, making the characters as neurotic as they are natural — and entertaining.