Eight small and emerging performing arts groups are once again getting a leg up, thanks to the AT&T Performing Arts Center's Elevator Project.
Now in its fifth year, the Elevator Project provides a stage at either the Studio Theatre (on the sixth floor of the Wyly Theatre) or Hamon Hall at the Winspear Opera House, as well as access to ATTPAC's operations teams, marketing, ticketing, and mentoring support.
"The Elevator Project is a tremendous passion for us here at the AT&T Performing Arts Center," says Debbie Storey, ATTPAC president and CEO. "We spotlight some of the best new and emerging arts organizations on our stages here in the Dallas Arts District. And our audiences get to meet some of the city's freshest and brightest talent performing in a range of exciting art forms. It is a powerful collaboration on all levels."
All shows are $29 general admission, and are presented in both weekend and multi-week engagements. This season is produced by Dallas theater veteran and the project's creator, David Denson.
Elevator Project veteran Jake Nice is producing the first show of the season, a new play written by former local playwright Thomas Ward. Called Slide By, it takes place the week after the Columbine shootings and follows Chad Squier, a substitute teacher who's working at his former high school amid threats of a copycat attack. Once the state wrestling champ and big man on campus, Chad is now adrift in his twenties, living at home, and carrying the guilt of a suicide that happened his senior year. After learning that most of the teachers have stayed home and the rest of them might be armed (the result of a "hush-hush" district meeting), Chad tries to make it through the day unscathed. It has 10 performances in the Studio Theatre, January 16-26.
Three performances of The Elements is next, presented by American Baroque Opera Company in Hamon Hall, February 13-15. Done in partnership with Ballet Dallas, the new work will combine rarely heard instrumental and vocal music of the baroque with modern ballet.
Verdigris Ensemble's previously announced Dust Bowl will also have three performances at Hamon Hall, February 27-29. Setting texts exclusively from newspaper articles, diaries, and first-hand oral accounts of survivors, the new work pieces together nearly a decade of human struggle, hopefulness, and perseverance in the face of constant catastrophe (libretto is by Ron Witzke and Sam Brukhman). In collaboration with a bluegrass band (music by Anthony J. Maglione), video projection by Ariana Zhang, and choreographed movement, Verdigris Ensemble premieres stories of that time period through previously unexplored mediums and asks the question: how did this happen, and have we learned from our mistakes?
Janielle Kastner and Brigham Mosley spent dozens of hours shadowing Dallas Morning News journalists to produce Playwrights in the Newsroom. The frequent collaborators have invented such Dallas cult-classics as Movies That Should be Musicals and co-founded arts incubation group The Tribe. Kastner has a new play commission from Dallas Theater Center and Mosley was a semifinalist for the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center's National Playwrights Conference in 2016 and 2017. The 10 performances in the Studio Theatre run March 5-15.
Flamenco Fever from Memorias Flamencas is next, with three performances at the Wyly Theatre. Since 2016, Julia Alcantara has been co-producing with various companies in an effort to expand and educate the flamenco fan base in DFW. Now she is introducing us to the father of flamenco jazz, Jorge Pardo, as part of Ida y Vuelta's Flamenco Fusion Series. There are three performances, April 23-25.
Das Blümelein Project is producing a musical production that highlights and celebrates the universality of women finding solidarity and strength by taking back their narrative. Titled Try Me, each musical cycle portrays how females throughout history have and are currently being marginalized. DB Project will collaborate with a variety of local artists to combine music, poetry, dance, and spoken monologue in three performances at Hamon Hall, from May 21-23.
Satyam | Bias is an exploration of the progression of biases in each of us, in our relationships, and in society as a whole from Indique Dance Company. It will have three performances in Hamon Hall, June 25-27.
The season closes with a "soulquarian dance concert" that reviews the music and songs of legendary recording star Donny Hathaway. Called The Neglected Heart of Soul: An Ode to Donny Hathaway and produced by B. Moore Dance, in collaboration with Kevin Hamilton of SW Soul Circuit and dramaturg Rod Ambrose, the show is styled in the format of a symphony with four movements. Audiences will be taken on a journey of dance accompanied by live, riveting gospel, blues, jazz, and R&B that depict and reflect identity, growing up, evolving, and ceremonial practices, all rooted in black oral traditions. It plays three performances at Hamon Hall, July 16-18.
Individual tickets for each Elevator Project production are currently available online at www.attpac.org, by telephone at 214-880-0202, or in person at the AT&T Performing Arts Center Winspear Opera House box office at 2403 Flora St.
If you purchase four or more shows, the ticket price drops to $22.75 each, and you can buy discounted parking for $5 each show.
The 2020 Elevator Project advisory review panel included Albert Drake (former Bruce Wood Dance dancer and professor, artist-in-residence at Southern Methodist University), Richard McKay, (artistic director and conductor at Dallas Chamber Symphony), Anyika McMillan-Herod (co-founder and managing director of Soul Rep Theatre Company), Mara Richards Bim (founder and artistic director of Cry Havoc Theatre Co.), and Estela Tejeda (dancer, choreographer, and teacher at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts).
The recommendations of the advisory review panel were reviewed and approved by John Paul Batiste (chair of the Cultural Affairs Commission), Jennifer Scripps (director of the Office of Cultural Affairs), and Debbie Storey (president and CEO of AT&T Performing Arts Center).