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Theater Critic Picks
These are the 18 must-see shows in Dallas-Fort Worth theater for June
It's a joke in the news industry that things more or less slow down in the summer, but theater apparently never got that note.
This summery month sees 18 — one more than last month! — shows opening in Dallas-Fort Worth, plus the return of Shakespeare in the Park, a special role reprisal, and concerts by two absolute Broadway legends.
In order of start date, here are 18 local shows to watch this month:
Cruel Intentions: The '90s Musical
Uptown Players, through June 11
In an epic game of cat and mouse, two diabolically charming step-siblings place a bet and vow to destroy anyone who gets in their way. Seduced by passion and revenge, this devious duo spins a web of dangerous liaisons and find themselves entangled in the cruelest game of all: love. Based on the cult classic film and featuring favorite '90s hits, this new jukebox musical is utterly intoxicating. This is a co-production with Fort Worth's Stage West.
The Last Flapper
Belle Sauvage, through June 11
Is she mad… or just angry? Alone in a mental hospital, Zelda Fitzgerald, icon of the Jazz age, asks the questions her doctor should have. Did F. Scott steal her words? Did he claim she was insane just to gain his freedom? Can a woman decide her own fate? In this poignant, playful, and truthful one-woman show, Zelda finally gets to tell her side of the story. Adapted and performed by award-winning Dallas actress Catherine D. DuBord and directed by award-winning Texan Lydia Mackay, the historical play wrestles with issues that are not at all a thing of the past.
Amphibian Stage, through June 14
SparkFest features a variety of events, workshops, performances, staged readings, and parties over a two-week period. See the link for full schedule.
Tiny Beautiful Things
Circle Theatre, through June 17
The play is based on Cheryl Strayed’s journey as the beloved anonymous advice columnist for “Dear Sugar.” Over the years, thousands of people turned to “Sugar” for words of wisdom, compassion, and hope. Reluctant to claim that she has all the answers, Sugar looks to her own past and draws on her life experiences to bring light, laughter, and humanity to others.
The Way She Spoke
Undermain Theatre, through June 18
This haunting and theatrical one-woman play travels from the stage to the treacherous streets of Juárez, Mexico, where thousands of women have been murdered in an epidemic of violence that has yet to stop. Written by Isaac Gómez based on his intimate interviews, the play is a raw and riveting exploration of responsibility: one playwright's journey to give voice to a city of women silenced by violence, fear, and a world that has turned a deaf ear to their stories.
Next to Normal
Theatre Three, through July 2
The Goodman family is just a “normal” family: Dad's an architect, mom packs lunches and makes birthday cakes, and their daughter and son are bright, wise-cracking teens. Under the surface, their family is anything but. Next to Normal is an emotionally charged, Tony Award-winning musical that explores a family’s raw and emotional journey with a mother struggling with chronic bipolar disorder as they navigate a world of therapists and medication.
Praise the Lord and Raise the Roof
Jubilee Theatre, June 2-18
Written by Celeste B. Walker, this light-hearted comedy is set in the fictional town of Rule Hill County, Virginia, where an African American church takes in a friendly white drifter amidst fear and suspicion about a rash of local church burnings. When tragedy strikes, they must reconcile their own prejudice with their Christianity.
Casa Mañana, June 3-11
In the turmoil of the Vietnam War, Chris, an American soldier, and Kim, a Vietnamese girl, fall in love and marry but are distressingly separated when Saigon falls. As years pass, Chris, remarries and attempts to move on with his life. Kim, however, gives birth to Chris’ son and waits faithfully for Chris’ return. When circumstances bring Chris back to Vietnam, he learns the truth. Legendary actor Lou Diamond Phillips stars as The Engineer.
Much Ado About Nothing
Shakespeare Dallas, June 7-July 16
For some in Much Ado About Nothing, love begins at first sight. For others, love has been forsworn. The war is over. Pedro Prince of Aragon, with his followers Benedick and Claudio, visits Leonato, Duke of Messina, father of Hero and uncle of Beatrice. Claudio fights for his love for Hero, and Benedick has forsworn women until his friends make him believe that he has caught the eye of Lady Beatrice. It plays in repertory with Two Gentlemen of Verona.
The Last Truck Stop
Kitchen Dog Theater, June 8-25
The Mainstage production of the 25th annual New Works Festival, The Last Truck Stop is a world-premiere production that centers on a tenacious trucker-turned-truck-stop-owner and her poetic, gun-toting postal carrier, who debate staying or going when their desert town becomes a no-go zone. Should they trust the colorful stranger who arrives with a story they desperately want to believe? A journey into a not-so-distant dystopian future; with blistering heat, resilient heart, and dreams of the open road.
New Works Festival
Kitchen Dog Theater, June 10-24
The 25th annual edition includes a Staged Reading Series and the 22nd year of Playwrights Under Progress (PUP) Fest, co-produced with D-PAC (Dallas - Playwriting Arts Collective), an alliance between KDT, Dallas ISD, and local youth organization Junior Players. See link for the full schedule.
Two Gentlemen of Verona
Shakespeare Dallas, June 14-July 14
Two Gentlemen of Verona is one of Shakespeare's earliest plays and also one of the most rarely performed. It's about betrayal, love, and disguise. When two best friends fall in love with the same woman, chaos ensues. Proteus is determined to destroy the betrothal of his friend, Valentine, and the lovely Silvia, but he also forgets his own beloved Julia in the midst. Resolved to win back his love, Julia travels to Milan to find Proteus. It runs in repertory with Much Ado About Nothing.
I Wanna F*cking Tear You Apart
Stage West, June 15-July 9
Best friends and roommates Sam and Leo are an unbreakable team. United by their cozy co-dependent diet of mutual self-loathing and Grey’s Anatomy marathons, this "us-against-the-world" pair loves each other to absolute death. But when a new friend enters the scene, doubt creeps in and a shattering secret is about to be dragged kicking and screaming into the light.
Fly By Night
Theatre Arlington, June 16-July 2
In this darkly comic rock-fable, a melancholy sandwich maker’s humdrum life is intersected by two entrancing sisters. A sweeping ode to young love set against the backdrop of the Northeast blackout of 1965, Fly By Night is a tale about making your way and discovering hope in a world beset by darkness. David Coffee reprises his role as Mr. McClam, which he originated in the world premiere at Dallas Theater Center.
Lea Salonga In Concert
AT&T Performing Arts Center, June 17
Multiple award-winning actress and singer Lea Salonga is best known for her Tony Award-winning role in Miss Saigon. She was also the first Asian to play Eponine in the musical Les Misérables on Broadway and returned to the beloved show as Fantine in the 2006 revival. Many fans of all ages recognize Lea as the singing voice of Princess Jasmine from Aladdin and Fa Mulan for Mulan and Mulan II.
Chita Rivera In Concert
The Eisemann Center, June 23
A theatrical icon and one of Broadway's greatest triple-threat talents, Rivera is one of the most nominated performers in Tony Award history, having earned 10 nominations, two wins, and the 2018 Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre. She will recreate signature moments from her legendary Broadway career, from West Side Story, Sweet Charity, and Bye Bye Birdie to Chicago, Kiss of the Spider Woman, The Visit, and more.
The Butterfly's Evil Spell (El Maleficio De La Mariposa)
Hip Pocket Theatre, June 23-July 16
Written by Federico Garcia Lorca and last produced at Hip Pocket in 2011, Lorca's poetic world of beetles, fireflies, and other magical creatures is disrupted when a hypnotic, wounded butterfly enters their dewdrop paradise. Boy beetle is cast under the spell of love, and Scorpy is sure to shake things up in this timeless tale of longing and beauty.
Broadway at the Bass, June 27-July 2
Winner of eight 2019 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Hadestown intertwines two mythic tales — that of young dreamers Orpheus and Eurydice, and King Hades and his wife, Persephone — as it invites the audience on a hell-raising journey to the underworld and back. Singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell’s beguiling melodies and director Rachel Chavkin’s poetic imagination pit industry against nature, doubt against faith, and fear against love.