Dallas / Fort Worth Area Theater
All About DFW Theater
An insider's view of the theaters and theater companies in the Metroplex - with lots of links. The Dallas / Fort Worth area is rich in theater - rivaling Chicago in the depth and strength of talent and ambition. Honest. See for yourself.
Vibrant arts scenes have variety: here there are long-established large theaters - like the Dallas Theater Center - many well-respected middle-sized groups doing varied types of work - like Kitchen Dog Theater or Stage West - as well as exciting new small groups - changing minute by minute! You can find the classics, the edgy, the commercial, and the esoteric... and, of course, the touring Broadway show. And there are a number of good local playwrights whose work pops up on area stages too.
Every theater group listed here is performing good (to great!) quality work.
The Word is starting to Get Out about DFW theaters: Dallas recently hosted national conventions for both NNPN, the National New Play Network, and TCG, the Theater Communications Group.
(This Lens is an on-going effort - so please visit again.)
Dallas is a theater town.
It's downtown Arts District is getting to be internationally known - especially now that the Nasher Sculpture Center is well established - but it also boasts plenty of stages... for symphony, opera, traveling shows like Broadway tours and local theater too. Dallas boasts far more theater companies of all kinds than do comparable cities like Houston. (More like Chicago.) Below are a few of the professional companies working in Dallas, large and small.
(On the right, the new Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre in Dallas' downtown Arts District.)
Dallas Theater Companies
- Contemporary Theatre of Dallas
What was once a small brick church is now a performance space with a bar at the back of the audience - a good place for a night out.
- Dallas Children's Theatre
Theater for children and teens at the Rosewood Center.
- The Dallas Opera
Theater, yes? The original "musical" theater.
- Dallas Summer Musicals
Dallas Summer Musicals started in 1941 with Opera Under the Stars in Fair Park's Band Shell. DSM both produces musicals and brings touring Broadway musicals to Dallas.
- The Dallas Theater Center
The BIG theater in Dallas. Founded in 1959, DTC is now a resident company of the AT&T Performing Arts Center and presents its mainstage season at the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre. DTC also presents at its original home, the Kalita Humphreys Theat
- Echo Theatre
Works by women at the Bath House. Recently produced a season by and about Aphra Behn, the first women to work under her own name as a playwright in the English language.
- Kitchen Dog Theater
Resident company at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary, know for classic, edgy, and new works.
- Pocket Sandwich Theatre
Dinner-ish theater - an institution!
- Second Thought Theatre
Founded in 2003 - mostly by Baylor grads. They now perform next-door to Frank Lloyd Wright's original Theater Center theater.
- Shakespeare Dallas
Dallas' summer Shakespeare festival, making their home at Samuel Grand Park and touring their fall show to Addison.
- SMU Meadows School of the Arts
The respected theater program at Southern Methodist University puts on student theater and dance performances... ----- And this might be a good time to shout out to Brookhaven College, TCU, UT Dallas, University of Dallas, UNT, Collin County Communit
- Teatro Dallas
Latino theater of many backgrounds.
- Theatre Three
Founded in 1961 in Uptown, just north of downtown Dallas. They perform in two spaces: the Theatre Three main space upstairs and the smaller Theatre Too downstairs.
- Undermain Theatre
Literally underground at Main St. in Deep Ellum and occasionally at the new City Performance Hall in the Arts District. Highly artistic work.
- Uptown Players
Uptown Players was founded in 2001 to provide quality theatre to the Uptown and Oak Lawn communities. In 2010 they moved to the historic Kalita Humphreys theater.
- Wingspan Theatre Company
A small company with a bigger reputation. Women's and intellectual plays like Edward Albee's at the Bath House.
Fort Worth is just across the creek - the Trinity River, that is, both branches, East and West. Fort Worth and Dallas share talent: actors, directors, designers, and audiences make the drive often - and they try not to do it at rush hour.
Fort Worth Theater Companies - (Incomplete list - more coming)
- Amphibian Productions
Amphibian Stage Productions strives for innovative and engaging works of theatre that challenge the way we see the world around us.
- Casa Manana
Housed in a large silver geodesic dome, this theater stages or imports musicals and other shows, and has a large children's program.
- Circle Theatre
An intimate theater that does excellent work actually under downtown's Sundance Square.
- Fort Worth Opera
- Jubilee Theatre
A downtown theater that creates and presents theatrical works which reflect the African-American experience.
- Hip Pocket Theatre
An outdoor theater famous for creating one-of-a-kind productions mixing live theater and puppets and all sorts of wonderful things.
- Kids Who Care
- Stage West
31 years of professional theater.
- Texas Christian University - Department of Theater
Noted Fort Worth university theater program. Home stage of Trinity Shakespeare Festival.
- Trinity Shakespeare Festival
Excellent summer Shakespeare... in air conditioning!
Mid-Cities and Suburbs
Sure Dallas and Fort Worth have their share of theater, but there is lots going on all around them. Below are a few of the professional companies.
Mid-Cities and Suburban Companies
- Creative Arts Theatre & School (CATS)
Arlington, TX theater and (mostly) a school.
- Fun House Theater and Film
This is a TERRIFIC children's stage and video program, run by really talented folks. Their recent all-kid version of Hamlet was a smash hit - winning amazing reviews from serious grown-up theater critics. The recent Mamet-inspired play called The Da
- Lyric Stage
Irving, TX. Lyric Stage is Dallas County's only locally produced, professional musical theater company - well known (even outside the region) for staging new and reviving worthy historic musicals. Its reputation just keeps growing...
- WaterTower Theatre
Addison, TX. Largest and most accomplished of the suburban theaters (rivaling the DTC), in an innovative theater designed by architect Corky Cunningham at the Addison Theatre Centre complex.
Everyman's (and Woman's) Theater
Why should the pros have all the fun?
There's sometimes a snooty tendency to discount amateurs, but there's a lot of fun to be had at DIY theater - for audience, performers, and the folks backstage. A lot of comradery. Of experience. Good work gets done. Community theater is an important breeding ground for talent that will someday go on to better-paid professional gigs.
The pros aren't the only ones creating theater - some very good work comes from community groups too. Here are just a few of them.
- Denton Community Theatre
- Flowermound Performing Arts Center
- Garland Civic Theatre
GARLAND - My hometown community theater group.
- Irving Community Theatre
IRVING - Great facility and wins lots of awards.
- Mesquite Community Theatre
Mesquite, TX - in the Black Box Theater in the Mesquite Arts Center (MAC).
- Onstage in Bedford
- Rockwall Community Playhouse
- Runway Theatre
DFW Area Performance Spaces
- Addison Theatre Centre
ADDISON - The City art complex includes a theater building designed by architect Corky Cunningham with a main stage and a small black box venue, plus the Stone Cottage, as well as convention facilities, all across the street from a park developed to
- The Bath House Cultural Center
DALLAS - This Art Deco bath house for White Rock Lake park has been converted into an art gallery, a small museum, and a performance space.
- City Performance Hall
DALLAS - This Arts District facility is scheduled to open in 2012. Designed by the iconic American architectural firm SOM (Skidmore Owings Merrill), it will include a 750-seat hall suitable for music, dance, and theater.
- Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs - Facilities
DALLAS - A listing of city-owned performance (and other arts) facilities.
- Dallas Arts District Venues
All of the performance venues in the Dallas Arts District... almost. The brand new Third Venue - a 700+ seat multi-use performance center - seems to be missing.
- The Dee and Charles Wyly Theater
DALLAS - Part of the AT&T Performing Arts Center, the Wyly is the new home of the Dallas Theater Center and one of the newest additions to Dallas's Arts District. It was designed by Joshua Prince-Ramus and Rem Koolhaas, replacing an earlier tempo
- Fair Park Music Hall
DALLAS - The 3,420 seat Music Hall is the largest enclosed performing arts venue in Dallas (not counting the American Airlines ). It was designed by Dallas architects Lang & Witchell in 1925, then expanded by Jarvis Putty Jarvis in 1972. Home o
- The Kalita Humphreys Theater
DALLAS - Built in 1959 - designed by Frank Lloyd Wright as home for the Dallas Theater Center, this space is still used by that group, although their primary home is now the Wylie Theater. The resident company at the Kalita Humphreys is now Uptown Pl
- The Majestic Theatre
DALLAS - This 1920 film theater was refurbished and reopened in 1983. It is owned by the City of Dallas and is presently managed by Dallas Summer Musicals.
- Samuel Grand Park
DALLAS - The outdoor stage is home to Dallas Shakespeare.
- Irving Arts Center
The Irving Arts Center has the 710 seat Carpenter Performance Hall (home of Lyric Stage) and the 250 seat Dupree Theater (home of Irving Community Theatre) and a Rehearsal Hall.
- KD Studios Theater
DALLAS - 120 seat theater at KD Studio Actors Conservatory. (Former home of Uptown Players.)
- The Rosewood Center
DALLAS - Home of the Dallas Children's Theatre
- Bass Hall
FORT WORTH - a grand opera-style house in downtown, with largely traveling productions.
Tour the Dallas Theater Center
Take a video tour!
Now Find It! - Got Map?
You can't possibly navigate Dallas and Fort Worth without a good map. This one's laminated so you can plan out your whole theatrical campaign. Got markers?
A few of the places to look for reviews of shows.
- The Dallas News
The leading Dallas newspaper.
- The Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Fort Worth's leading paper.
- Theater Jones
DFW's internet theater "magazine"
- The Column
On-line theater community with reviews (including non-Equity shows), annual awards, and a virtual newsletter full of audition listings and jobs, Broadway buzz, and local theatrical news. The site is here, but it's the Column e-newsletter you NEED - s
- criticalrant.com Alexandra Bonifield
An independent web based reviewer
- The Dallas Voice
Reviews from Dallas' GLBT community.
- The Dallas Observer
Reviews from the paper with the naughty ads.
Other DFW Theater Links
Theater people like to hang out together - maybe because we know we'll understand each others' jokes?
For anyone interested in keeping up with DFW auditions and theater jobs, shows, news, or gossip or in Broadway news and gossip (plus TV and misc. theater tidbits), you REALLY need to sign up for John Garcia's Column, the free e-newsletter. (Not a blog, sadly) Send an email to: email@example.com and be sure to put "Subscribe" in the title of your request. It has about 20,000 subscribers!
Looking for a Traveling Show?
What's on tour and coming through Dallas and Fort Worth?
- Dallas Theater.com
More information on touring shows and concerts, as well as on DFW's largest venues.
More Guides to DFW
I haven't checked this one lately, but the Insiders' Guide series is very useful.
Parents need a guide. My advice? Hie thee to The Dallas Childrens' Theater and to Fun House Theatre and Film. Terrific!
I also like the Moon series.
Books on the area, the buildings, the architects
An excellent book on this group of historic Art Deco buildings, written by a real expert.
Yeah! Art activities!
Must-have guidebook for the FLW fan.
Fort Worth has beautiful Art Deco buildings.
Evening Out Wrap - What every woman needs...
An elegant - and warm! - accessory for an evening at the theater.
This sophisticated looking version of the classic Pashmina will not only enhance an evening outfit by draping tastefully around your neck and over your arms - it can turn daytime business wear into evening wear. Most importantly, it will keep you from freezing when the theater's air conditioning is set too low. If you're going to the Kalita Humphreys theater this is BASIC SURVIVAL GEAR.
And if the play is a Tragedy?
When the weepy part arrives - - -
Be ready! Blot those tears
A charming theatrical necklace.
Dramatic cuff links.
Obviously this is just a start - I know there's a lot more info to add. Please let me know what I've left out or messed up! What other information would be useful.