We may be heading into the final stretch of 2012, but there are still plenty of plays packed into the remaining months to satisfy our theater cravings. Mark your calendar for these six can’t-miss shows, which represent the best of local theater through December.
Side Show, Pfamily Arts
September 27-October 6
There have been stranger concepts for a musical than conjoined twins, but few have managed to reach the emotional depth of this 1997 cult show. Based on the true story of Violet and Daisy Hilton, sisters joined at the hip who went from traveling circus freaks to Depression-era superstars, the show offers an appealing mix of exoticism and grounded sentiment. Director William Park was a member of the original Broadway workshop, so his deep understanding of the show should translate well with this production. Lyricist/librettist Bill Russell is also expected to drop by, perhaps to gather ideas before his revised version of the musical debuts in California and Washington, D.C., in 2014.
An Iliad, Undermain Theatre
September 29-October 27
You might know Denis O’Hare as True Blood’s vampire king Russell or as disfigured murderer Larry Harvey from the first season of American Horror Story, but did you also know he’s a writer? He co-authored with Lisa Peterson this one-man retelling of Homer’s famous poem, which gets its regional premiere under the direction of Katherine Owens. The press release promises a “radical new vision,” but I’m most curious about seeing the Trojan War wind its way around Undermain’s pillared basement performance space.
The Addams Family, Dallas Summer Musicals
Hearing Lurch sing may not be on your bucket list, but seeing Douglas Sills as Gomez and Sara Gettelfinger as Morticia should be. The role of the mustachioed, macabre Casanova is right in Sills’ wheelhouse: He’s a Broadway vet known for expertly tiptoeing the line between ridiculous farce and suave leading man. Gettelfinger, hysterical as a kooky Okie in Broadway’s Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and heartbreaking as mad socialite Little Edie in the world premiere production of Grey Gardens, should bring a sexy authority to Morticia’s skin-tight gown. And I bet Thing does a fabulous jazz hand.
The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, Dallas Theater Center
October 19-November 25
A Pulitzer Prize finalist, rave reviews from practically every major media outlet, and it’s a play about … professional wrestling? The WWE lampoon seems to be the hot new property in regional theater, and playwright Kristoffer Diaz has been commissioned by DTC artistic director Kevin Moriarty to write two more plays for the company. The Wyly will also be transformed into a wrestling area, and if the inventive staging from previous shows (The Wiz, Cabaret) is any indication, this means something incredible.
The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Kitchen Dog Theater
November 9-December 8
Dallas is no stranger to the works of Martin McDonagh. His dark plays The Pillowman and The Lieutenant of Inishmore each have been staged locally within the past five years, and this isn’t the first Beauty Queen to come our way either. But the claustrophobic, tense, sometimes horrifying black comedy about a seriously unhealthy mother-daughter relationship set in the mountains of Galway, Ireland, is one that I’m ready to revisit. And I’m excited to see the stamp director and KDT member Cameron Cobb puts on this version.
A Christmas Carol, Dallas Theater Center
November 25-December 24
The yearly tradition is about to undergo a major shakeup. After this season, the Christmas classic will bid adieu to the Kalita Humphreys Theater and take up residence in the Wyly; it’s also the last year the company will use the current production adapted by Richard Hellesen and directed by Joel Ferrell. If you’re yearning for one last festive hit of nostalgia, catch this show before DTC reinvents it all over again next year.