Love is on the stage
Whatever the status of your relationship come Valentine's Day, there is a Dallas play just for you
Whether it’s sweet candy hearts or vengeful little fat men brandishing arrows that better mirror your feelings toward Valentine’s Day, chances are a playwright has channeled those emotions into a play at some point. No matter if you’ve planned for roses and a fancy meal or bought your bottle(s) of vodka in Singleton protest, theaters across Dallas-Fort Worth are offering something to appeal to every camp.
Below is a handy guide for what to see, depending on your situation come February 14.
You are: a classic romantic
Go see: Triumph of Love at MBS Productions, February 7-23
This flirty comedic romp includes a cross-dressing princess and multiple mistaken and false identities. Léonid, the princess of Sparta, falls in love with a man she sees bathing in the forest (fair enough), only to learn that he is the rightful heir to the kingdom and that his protectors — the philosopher Hermocrates and his spinster sister Léontine — are planning to assassinate her and restore him to the throne.
A couple of aliases later and all three are in love with Léonid, making this woman-pretending-to-be-a-man-while-pretending-to-be-another-woman setup more than a little Victor/Victoria. It was this kind of premise and the implied same-sex seduction that outraged critics when the play premiered in the 1730s, but MBS moves the action up 200 years with its world premiere translation/adaptation. Were the 1930s way more accepting of all kinds of romance?
You are: one of those new couples that make everyone else sick
Go see:I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change at Theatre Three, now through February 24
Year after year, Theatre Three has been staging this crowd-pleaser about relationships that’s part sketch comedy, part cabaret in its basement space, Theatre Too. A cast of four (which this time includes talented local cutie-pie Max Swarner) plays a wide array of characters as they go from the awkwardness of dating through the challenges of marriage and child-rearing to life’s twilight years. The jokes are broad, the tunes pretty catchy and the scenarios paper-thin, but what do you care? You’re so enamored you’re probably not even paying attention anyway.
You are: trying to impress your date with your smarts
Go see:King Lear at Dallas Theater Center, now through February 17
King Lear may not immediately leap to mind when you think “Shakespeare” and “romantic,” but even though it’s not Romeo and Juliet or even A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the tragedy about a king’s descent into madness is still bound to make you look pretty cultured. DTC’s co-production of King Lear with Rhode Island’s Trinity Repertory Company scored rave reviews when it played Providence last fall, and now Dallas gets to experience this blending of new and familiar talent. Watching the exploits of Lear’s daughters Regan and Goneril might make you seriously reconsider having children, but that’s a topic probably best left for a night that doesn’t include an onstage eye gouging.
You are: ready for a night with the girls. Screw this holiday!
Go see:The Full Monty at Runway Theatre, now through February 17
Magic Mike it’s definitely not, but part of the fun of this film-turned-musical is that it’s about regular Joes taking it all off — live and right in front of you. Before that climatic final scene, however, we get to see how this motley crew decided stripping was the way to go and their various hilarious attempts at practicing for the big reveal.
Whereas Channing Tatum’s dream was to make furniture out of scuba tanks, these guys want the cash in order to keep supporting their kids and families while confronting their own demons about body image and confidence. Heartwarming, no? Bring dollar bills, even if you only use them to purchase a beer from the lobby.
You are: on again/off again/on again/off again
Go see: Gruesome Playground Injuries at Sundown Collaborative Theatre, February 7-17
Whatever tears some people apart can also pull them back together, as is demonstrated in Rajiv Joseph’s 2009 play. (You recognize that name from Theatre Three’s searing production of his Pulitzer-nominated Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo last month.) Spanning ages eight to 38, the two main characters continuously find themselves wounded, both physically and emotionally, while being drawn to each other again and again. Though maybe not a love story in the traditional sense — it’s unclear whether the couple is romantically involved or just shares a very deep friendship — their bond might be familiar to those who just can’t let go.
You are: involved with someone who can’t commit. Or maybe you’re the flight risk?
Go see:Catch Me If You Can at Dallas Summer Musicals, February 12-24
Frank Abagnale Jr. is perhaps one of the most famous and accomplished con artists of the 20th century, and his exploits — from impersonating pilots, doctors and lawyers to committing bank fraud — were the subject of a 2002 movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Almost 10 years later, Abagnale’s globetrotting life story debuted as a Broadway musical set in the stylish ’60s. A glamorous reminder that it never hurts to do a basic background check.
You are: a believer that love conquers all
Go see: Memphis at Bass Performance Hall, February 12-17
In 1950s Tennessee, interracial marriage was not only dangerous, it was illegal. But if musical theater has taught us anything, it’s that love — with the help of a power ballad — knows no boundaries. Bon Jovi keyboardist David Bryan provided the bluesy, pop-tinged score to this 2010 Tony Award-winning musical about a white DJ and his black songbird muse, who together start a social shift when he starts playing her Beale Street music on a “white” radio station. The national tour played the Music Hall at Fair Park back in May, so if you missed the well-reviewed show — which stars local favorite Julie Johnson — the first time around, here’s your second chance.