Dallas Theater Center has co-pros and familiar favorites on tap for 2023-24 season
Hot on the heels of the news that Dallas Theater Center is suffering mightily from financial issues, the company has released its 2023-24 season.
Interestingly, artistic director Kevin Moriarty has this to say about the season in a press release:
“Our 2023-24 season is the biggest, most exciting season we’ve produced since 2019. It’s a season filled with music, laughter, and great performances from DTC’s Diane & Hal Brierley Resident Acting Company, who will be joined by outstanding artists from Dallas and across the country.”
In April 2023, American Theatre magazine reported that DTC laid off 37 staff members, including the entire Brierley Resident Acting Company.
An article in the Los Angeles Times also has Moriarty reporting that "subscriptions dwindled by 60 percent and [DTC's] operating budget of close to $11 million shrank to about $8 million."
Repeated requests for comment from Dallas Theater Center have not been returned. On June 22, a media representative for DTC clarified that in 2020, because of the pandemic, acting company members were added to full-time staff. In May 2023, "as part of our budget changes, we returned to the pre-pandemic employment model, in which we contract and pay the Acting Company members for all the work they do for DTC, but they are not on our full-time, year-round staff."
But biggest and most exciting yet, sure! Let's get on with it:
The season begins with a crowd favorite, especially if you were part of the crowd in 2014 when DTC last produced it. The Rocky Horror Show, staged this time at the Kalita Humphreys Theater instead of the Wyly Theatre, will once again be directed and choreographed by Joel Ferrell, with music direction by Kwinton Gray.
In this cult classic, sweethearts Brad and Janet, stuck with a flat tire during a storm, discover the eerie mansion of Dr. Frank-N-Furter. As their innocence is lost, Brad and Janet meet a houseful of wild characters, including a rocking biker and a creepy butler. Through elaborate dances and rock songs, Frank-N-Furter unveils his latest creation: a muscular man named "Rocky."
“I can’t wait to kick off our season with the perfect musical for Halloween,” says Moriarty. “At The Rocky Horror Show, audience members will be welcome to attend in drag, interact with the show, and dance the Time Warp in the aisles of the Kalita Humphreys Theater. There will even be late-night performances for those of us who remember sneaking out of the house to watch midnight showings of the movie when we were young.”
Another interesting note: On June 18, Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law Senate Bill 12, which prohibits businesses from hosting “sexually oriented” performances in which someone is nude or appeals to the “prurient interest in sex” in the presence of minors. It expected to go into effect on September 1, 2023.
The Rocky Horror Show runs September 23-October 29, 2023.
Next is a season add-on, the return of Moriarty's adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.
Alex Organ directs, with choreography by Ferrell and music direction by Cody Dry. Three spirits have come to visit the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge, and to take him on a fantastic journey through Christmases past, present, and future.
It runs November 30-December 30, 2023, at the Wyly Theatre.
The world premiere of Dallas playwright Jonathan Norton's newest work kicks off the new year, in association with Actors Theatre of Louisville in Kentucky.
I Am Delivered't takes place on Good Friday, when The New Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church's Seven Last Words service is in full swing. But outside — on the church parking lot — another resurrection story is taking shape. Sis, the Vice President of Usher Board Number One, and her protégé Pickles find themselves in a battle royale of romantic quagmires.
“I’m also eagerly anticipating the open-hearted comedy of Jonathan Norton’s world premiere play exploring faith and sexuality,” says Moriarty.
“I Am Delivered't is especially close to my heart,” says Dallas Theater Center’s playwright in residence, Jonathan Norton. “I've always wanted to write a play that explores the experiences of the Black LGBTQ+ community, but centers on joy, and one that celebrates the Black church experience in all of its richness and complexity."
It runs February 2-18, 2024, at the Kalita Humphreys Theater.
Billed as a "subscriber exclusive," Every Brilliant Thing will take over the Rehearsal Hall of the Wyly Theatre under the direction of Sally Nystuen Vahle.
This "surprising and immersive theatrical experience" speaks openly about depression, mental illness, and suicide, and was written by Duncan Macmillan with Jonny Donahoe, the comedian who originally performed the one-character stage show. You might also be familiar with it from the HBO Documentary Films recording from 2016.
It runs March 12-24, 2024.
The regional premiere of Dial M for Murder is a co-production with Geva Theatre in Rochester, New York, and promises to be "a new version of the celebrated murder mystery that inspired Hitchcock's masterpiece."
Tony is convinced that his wife Margot has been cheating on him. Now it seems that the affair is over, but in his jealousy Tony spins a web of suspicion and deception that will tighten around them and ensnare them both in danger, recrimination, and murder.
It runs April 5-28, 2024, at the Wyly Theatre with direction by Rachel Alderman, Long Wharf Theatre's associate artistic director.
Another regional premiere is next, though this time it's technically produced by Bishop Arts Theatre Center in collaboration with Dallas Theater Center. Fannie: The Music and Life of Fannie Lou Hamer welcomes Brierley Resident Acting Company member Liz Mikel back to Dallas, after a year on Broadway in 1776, to play the legendary civil rights activist.
From her humble origins as the daughter of a Mississippi sharecropper to co-founding the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and demanding recognition at the National Democratic Convention, Hamer's is a story of justice that will not be denied.
“I have long admired the work of Bishop Arts Theatre Center and their visionary leader, Teresa Coleman Wash,” says Moriarty. “I’m excited to introduce DTC’s subscribers to their wonderful theater in Oak Cliff.”
“For years, I’ve marveled at DTC’s transformation and watched how the theater has made conscious artistic choices to elevate humanity,” says Wash. “The opportunity to collaborate on Fannie: The Music and Life of Fannie Lou Hamer is such a gift to our theater; indeed it is a tour de force. One thing the pandemic taught our industry is we are wired for interdependence. We need each other, and we are so grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with Dallas Theater Center to bring this play to Dallas-Fort Worth audiences.”
It runs May 2-19, 2024, at Bishop Arts Theatre Center.
In one of its largest productions ever, Dallas Theater Center will bring together 200 community members of all ages, acting alongside professional artists, in a fresh new interpretation of Disney’s The Little Mermaid.
Moriarty directs this Public Works production that celebrates the artistry of the entire city. It runs July 12-August 4, 2024, at the Wyly Theatre.
Full season tickets for the 2023-24 season are on sale now at www.dallastheatercenter.org and by phone at 214-522- 8499. Single tickets will be available for purchase beginning in July.