Stage Notes: ‘The Cake’ review; DTC’s managing director announces retirement

dfwnewsa | October 7, 2022 | 0 | Dallas News

Stage Notes: ‘The Cake’ review; DTC’s managing director announces retirement 2

‘The Cake’ at Theatre Arlington (Courtesy photos by Jacob Oderberg)

Stage Notes is a weekly aggregate post about theater, classical music and stage news, events, reviews and other pertinent information.

Dallas Theater Center’s Managing Director Jeffrey Woodward to retire

Dallas Theater Center (DTC) announced Thursday that Jeffrey Woodward will retire from his position as managing director in April 2023 after almost eight years of leadership.

Woodward has worked in American regional theater for more than 40 years at Syracuse Stage, the McCarter Theater Center, Hartford Stage,  and the Mark Taper Forum.  He currently is on the planning committee for the Nonprofit Professional Theater Alliance and a member of the executive committee for the Dallas Arts District. Two of the theaters he has managed have won the Regional Theater Tony Award: Dallas Theater Center in 2017 and the McCarter Theater Center in 1994.

“While I am retiring as a managing director,” Woodward says “I plan to remain active in the national and local nonprofit community with consulting projects.”

In his time at DTC, he has spearheaded several initatives.

“Jeff Woodward has been an incredible advocate for Dallas Theater Center and we are deeply grateful for his sincere commitment and vast contribution to the organization during his tenure,” DTC Board of Directors Chair, Jennifer Altabef said in a press release. “With his leadership, Dallas Theater Center was able to continue producing inspirational work that touched our community during the most challenging days of the pandemic; Jeff encouraged the development of our Brierley Resident Acting Company, increased our efforts to highlight local talent, and expanded our efforts for Dallas Theater Center to be at the forefront of initiatives for equity, diversity and inclusion. Jeff’s management brought clarity to our budgeting and financial results, and the improvements Jeff made helped DTC win the Regional Theatre Tony Award in 2017. It has been my privilege to partner with Jeff over the years and Dallas Theater Center is better because of his passion and leadership.”

DTC artistic director Kevin Moriarty commented on Woodward’s commitment to the theater during his tenure.

“I have been blessed to have a front-row seat to experience Jeff’s immense dedication to DTC, the art of theater, and most importantly, to our staff,”  Moriarty stated in the release. “His level of dedication to DTC and willingness to work through and overcome challenges we have faced as an institution speaks directly to his commitment to all of us at the theater. He has many reasons to be proud of all that he has accomplished throughout his career, and we are grateful for his leadership.”

The Board of Directors at Dallas Theater Center is preparing a strategic search process to consider qualified candidates to fill the Managing Director position once Woodward has officially departed. In the interim, he has agreed to participate in the proper transition of a selected candidate to the role.

Tickets sales open Friday for Pretty Woman

Stage Notes: ‘The Cake’ review; DTC’s managing director announces retirement 3

Broadway Dallas announced Thursday that single tickets for the upcoming tour engagement in Dallas go on sale Friday.  Tickets will be available at or by calling 800-982-2787. Pretty Woman: The Musical will play the Music Hall at Fair Park Jan. 24 – Feb. 5.

Based on the film, Pretty Woman: The Musical  stars Tony Award-nominee Adam Pascal as Edward Lewis and newcomer Jessie Davidson as Vivian Ward. The creative team is led by two-time Tony Award-winning director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell and brought to the stage by lead producer Paula Wagner. Pretty Woman: The Musical features an original score by Grammy winner Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance (“Summer of ’69”, “Heaven”), and a book by the movie’s director Garry Marshall and screenwriter J. F. Lawton.

Review: A slice of Theatre Arlington’s The Cake was more than delicious

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Director Steven D. Morris stated in his program notes that he had fears about presenting this show at Theatre Arlington. For a suburban theater, how would a story about a baker refusing to make a wedding cake for lesbian wedding go over? By the end of Sunday’s matinee, he had nothing to worry about. Morris helmed a charming show that offered cake for thought but also received quite an ovation by the audience.

The story centers on Della (Shannon J. McGrann) a North Carolina baker preparing to compete on a baking reality show. She meets Macy (Sasha Maya Ada), a resolute young woman in her shop/cafe where they have a lovely chat but clearly on different pages about a lot of things. Soon after walks in Jen (Olivia Cinquepalmi), Della’s “goddaughter” who surprises the baker and then asks for a wedding cake for hers and Macy’s wedding. Conflicted, Della confers with her very conservative husband Tim (Rodney Honeycutt) only to realize things at home could also use a little work. To get her through her conflicts of interest, Della envisions the reality show’s host (Thomas Magee) almost as her conscience to help figure out all that’s going on.

McGrann’s performance was certainly a sensation. What could easily be a caricature, McGrann packed so much more into Della and watching her unpack all the character’s flaws and convictions was remarkable to witness. She could deliver a punchline with perfect timing and then be heartbreaking right after.

Cinquepalmi continued a strong streak in local theater productions. She gave Jen a lovely eagerness that treaded on both keeping her fiancee and Della happy. When that came crashing down, Cinquepalmi stripped away any of Jen’s facade to reveal her own conflict while preparing for a wedding. Ada gave Macy a stalwart demeanor who could stand up for herself and Jen, but in her own tender moments, it was jarring to see Macy breakdown. Both kept speed with McGrann’s showier role and all three succeeded in giving both lovely and emotional performances.

Honeycutt was stellar as Della’s “get off my lawn” husband who saw life with blinders on but became a whole new man complete with mashed potatoes that Della needed.

Morris directed the show with nice balance leaving room for both the humor and the heartbreak. Kevin Brown’s set featured both the storefront which was perfectly quaint which then rotated into both couples’ bedrooms for more intimate moments. Bryan Stevenson’s lighting was consistent but the stark spotlight in Della’s imaginary moments almost felt like the eye of her maker which gave an intensely funny touch to those moments.

The Cake is both comedy and drama and the laughs are many. Bekah Bruntstetter’s show was clever and even. Both points of view are given a fair shake and she wrote it with such ease that you somehow root for everyone.

The Cake runs through Oct. 16. Theatre Arlington’s Pride Night is Friday.

Stage West presents Rajiv Joseph’s Guards at the Taj

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Rahul Joshi and Dhruv Ravi in ‘Guards at the Taj’ by Stage West. (Courtesy photo by Evan Michael Woods)

Stage West will kick off its 44th season on Oct. 20. The company opens with the regional premiere of Rajiv Joseph’s Guards at the Taj, winner of both Obie and Lucille Lortel Awards. The show will run for five weeks.

From Stage West:

Humayan and Babur are two lowly Imperial guards, keeping watch over the walls around the newly completed Taj Mahal on the last night before it is revealed to the public in all its glory. Despite their differences (Humayan is a believer in discipline and rule-following, while Babur is a dreamer who questions pretty much everything), these two have forged a deep friendship, and they banter to pass the time. Unfortunately, they eventually come to the realization that, due to their lowly status, they will be responsible for carrying out a horrific task decreed by the Emperor. Come morning, they have no choice but to comply, and so they do, but it changes them irrevocably. Can their friendship survive? Can they? And is a creation of such astounding beauty worth such a terrible price?

Guards at the Taj will be directed by Shyama Nithiananda. The cast features Dhruv Ravi as Babur and Rahul Joshi as Humayun, both making their
Stage West debuts. The creative teams features set design by Brian Clinnin, lighting design by Bryan Stevenson, costume design by Amy
Poe, sound design by Ryan Simón and props and set décor by Lynn Lovett.

The opening night reception will be held on Oct. 22. Nov. 3 will be a signed performance and the theater will host Conversations with the Director after the show on Nov. 6 and 11.

The play does have strong language and violene. Tickets are on sale here.

Season announcements

Onstage in Bedford announces 2023 season

OIB has announced its newest slate of shows for its upcoming season. The eclectic season includes five shows beginning in February and closing in October. Season subsciptions and individual tickets are already on sale now. The season includes the following (from OIB):

Feb. 3-19: Eat Your Heart Out. An out of work actor currently working as a waiter in Manhattan encounters a varietyof characters including the girl desperately trying to eat snails and oysters to please her fiancé, the middle aged lovers so intent on each other that they cannot order dinner; the rich, embittered astrologer; the timid man who never gets a waiter and more. 

March 31-April 16: The Lifespan of a Fact. Jim Fingal is a fresh-out-of-Harvard fact checker for a prominent but sinking New York magazine. John D’Agata is a talented writer with a transcendent essay about the suicide of a teenage boy—an essay that could save the magazine from collapse. When Jim is assigned to fact check D’Agata’s essay, the two come head to head in a comedic yet gripping battle over facts versus truth. 

June 9-25: Catfish Moon. The old fishing pier out on the end of Cypress Lake has just fallen under the magic of another Catfish Moon. It was the favorite hangout for three best friends when they were kids—skipping school, skinny dipping and even experiencing the mysteries of kissing girls. Now Curley, Gordon and Frog are older, and they have tasted the bitterness of life as well as the sweetness, and the pressures and problems that come with middle age have eroded the closeness between Frog and Gordon. 

Aug. 11-27: Ann. This intimate, no-holds-barred portrait of Ann Richards (MELANIE MASON), the legendary late Governor of Texas brings us face to face with a complex, colorful, and captivating character bigger than the state from which she hailed. Written and originally performed by Emmy Award-winner Holland Taylor, Ann takes a revealing look at the impassioned woman who enriched the lives of her followers, friends, and family.

Sept. 29-Oct. 15: A Doll’s House Part 2. In the final scene of A Doll’s House, Ibsen’s 1879 groundbreaking masterwork, Nora Helmer makes the shocking decision to leave her husband and children, and begin a life on her own. In this show, many years have passed since Nora’s exit. Now, there’s a knock on that same door. Nora has returned.

Opening this week:

Cara Mia Theatre: ¡Estar Guars!, Friday-Sunday at the Latino Cultural Center. 

Dallas Symphony Orchestra: Helene Grimaud plays Braums, Friday-Sunday at the Meyerson. 

Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra: Rachmaninoff’s Thirds, Oct. 7-9 at Bass Hall.

Art Centre Theatre: Bride of Frankenstein Goes Malibu, Oct. 7-16

Stolen Shakespeare Guild: The Producers, Oct. 7-30 at Arts Fort Worth.

Upright Theatre: Wait Until Dark, Oct. 7-30.

Artisan Center Theatre: Little Shop of Horrors, Oct. 7-Nov. 5.

6 o’Clock Dance Theatre: Dance Africa Festival, 10 a.m., Oct. 8. at Klyde Warren Park

Irving Symphony Orchestra: James Bond Meet Rachmaninoff, Oct. 8 at the Irving Arts Center.

Turtle Creek Chorale: That ‘’70s Show: A Sing-Along Sensation, Oct. 8 and 9 at McFarlin Auditorium.

Casa Manana: Madagascar: A Musical Adventure, Oct. 8-23.

Theatre Arlington: Comedy Club, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 9.

The Dallas Opera: Rigoletto, Oct. 8-16.

Rover Dramawerks: Stone Cold Murder, Oct. 13-29 at the Cox Playhouse.

Dallas Theater Center: Trouble in Mind, Oct. 13-30 at the Kalita Humphreys.

Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra: Meet the Composer with Douglas J. Cuomo, 6 p.m. Oct. 13 at the Kimbell

Onstage now:

Echo Theater: Founders, Keepers, through Saturday at the Bath House Cultural Center.

Shakespeare Dallas: Hamlet, tbrough Oct. 15.

Art Center Theatre: Bride of Frankenstein Goes Malibu, through Oct. 16.

Onstage in Bedford: Almost, Maine, through Oct. 16.

Runway Theatre: To Die For, through Oct. 16.

Theatre Arlington: The Cake, through Oct. 16.

Theatre Coppell: The Miracle Worker, through Oct. 16.

Auriga Productions: King Lear, through Oct. 22 at the Bath House Cultural Center.

Firehouse Theatre: Catch Me If You Can, through Oct. 23.

Hip Pocket Theatre: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, through Oct. 30.

Jubilee Theatre: Plenty of Time, through Oct. 30.


–Rich Lopez

The post Stage Notes: ‘The Cake’ review; DTC’s managing director announces retirement appeared first on Dallas Voice.

Stage Notes: ‘The Cake’ review; DTC’s managing director announces retirement was first posted on October 6, 2022 at 5:22 pm.
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