Whether you want to cackle with the kings (and queens) of comedy or weep with wunderkind actors, here’s how to take summertime in Cowtown play-by-play.
Running for one final weekend at Amphibian Stage Productions is Cry Havoc! (thru May 27), a one-man act performed by the author, Army veteran Stephan Wolfert. Six years in the military followed by post-traumatic suffering sent Wolfert in search of creative purpose, which he found in a Montana theater’s production of Richard III. Wolfert’s script gives voice to the Shakespearean soldiers that society hasn’t shown much interest in — until now. Then on Fri., July 13, we’ll meet the more feminine though no less ballsy queen of basketball in King Liz (thru Aug 5). That is, sports agent Liz Rico, who dribbles in the drama as she wagers big on one challenging prospect.
Two more playwrights will be seen onstage at Circle Theatre, where Every Brilliant Thing (Jun 14-Jul 14) will sparkle with humor and wit via Duncan Macmillan and Jonny Donahoe. The dramatic duo surrenders itself to childlike wondering for the sake of adult amusement. Pucker up for a big, juicy Stage Kiss (Aug 16-Sep 15), which explores the intimacy between lip-locking thespians. Having had the opportunity to sit next to several spouses of local actors involved in romantic scenes, color me intrigued.
For unconventionally uproarious amusement, Hip Pocket Theatre hosts a triptych of world premieres this season, beginning with a befuddled ol’ Samuel Clemens impersonation in The Great Mark Twain Shenanigan & Bewhiskered Ballet (Jun 1-17). Here, Hip Pocket cofounder and Artistic Director Johnny Simons shares his “mustachioed ode in music, dance, and pantomimic Tom Foolery,” in which he aims to please historians and literati alike. Simons debuts a second new script at the end of June. A Fragile Dance of Elders into the Deep Beyond (Jun 29-Jul 22) sashays onto the open outdoor stage, as a “poetic peek into the souls of ancient ones traveling towards their journey’s end.” In the third premiere, theatergoers may be thrown for a Loop the Loop (Aug 3-26) of emotions, bringing into focus the scene of a carnival as a metaphor for the mind.
Stick Fly (May 25-Jun 24) is a meeting-the-parents tale rife with racial tension and set in Martha’s Vineyard. Opening weekend tickets are available for a discount (starting at $20) and well worth every penny for those interested in tracing the intersections of race, gender, and class as they collide on the progressive platform that Jubilee Theatre continues to provide. At the end of July, the long-awaited return of Blues in the Night (Jul 27-Aug 26) brings together the iconic sounds of Duke Ellington, Bessie Smith, Johnny Mercer, and more, all set to the plot of three women burned by one man.
Fancy yourself a feminist? Set your patriarchy-smashing sights on Hir (thru Jun 17) at Stage West Theatre. With a title inspired by a gender-neutral pronoun, this Taylor Mac script is likely to rip open the metaphorical envelope cocooning misogyny and gender norms. For more on the irony of traditional marriages, Don’t Dress for Dinner (Jul 12-Aug 12) invites viewers to peek in on an affair about to backfire directly into the home of two betrothed cheaters.
Pop your collar for Stolen Shakespeare Guild’s production of The Wedding Singer (Jul 13-29), a Broadway adaptation sure to entertain the ’80s-music obsessed or just fans of a good yarn with a happy ending. If you’re feeling more Happy, Sleepy, Grumpy, or Sneezy, then Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs (Jul 14-28) may be more to your liking. Children are welcome, and youth admission is only $5.
Another well-loved musical, Footloose, is moving and shaking at Theatre Arlington until June 3, just before the littlest of thespians swarm in for showings of Stellaluna (Jul 13-23), ideally suited for children 4-12 — although adult hosts may still take advantage of the $13 admission rate. The Sweetest Swing in Baseball (Aug 10-26) brings audiences to bat in a mental ward, of all places, where a troubled artist feigns mental illness to remain in asylum as she claims she’s a famous baseball player. Little does this female protagonist know that her pretending may, in fact, be ending her own life. Curse words have been forecasted. Keep the little sluggers at home for this one.
Fort Worth’s summer of theater lies not only in the modern but also in the familiar pentameter of Billy Shakes — soon to be heard onstage at TCU. The Trinity Shakespeare Festival’s 10th season commences with offenses from the Montagues and Capulets in Romeo and Juliet (Jun 19-Jul 8), followed by the comedy considered to be Shakespeare’s greatest work, Twelfth Night, or What You Will (Jun 20-Jul 8). Better to attend a double showing of each two-star tryst than to show oneself to be doubly devoid of either.