Sometimes in the theater, actors astound you or moments leave you breathless. This weekend only, if you're willing to make the drive to Plano, there are two shows at two different theaters with particularly beautiful moments.
RAGTIME at Collin Theatre Center
Performed in concert, this production focuses on the music and rightfully so. The actors concentrate on the songs, and with the faintly familiar melodies at the forefront, the skilled musical direction by Jake Nelson, Christopher Jones and Mark Stamper shines.
And Basit Shittu and Destinee Rea McGinnis will make your jaw drop in their performances of Coalhouse Walker Jr. and Sarah, two African-American adults taken in by a white family in the early 20th century. Their voices, powerful apart, weave into nuanced harmonies and sincere emotion as they sing about love, their child and the unjust world they live in.
This musical's message of freedom and acceptance proves just as timely today as was the 1975 E.L. Doctorow book of the same name. In a world constantly battling prejudice, songs like RAGTIME's "New Music" and "Back to Before" speak as loudly as ever.
Tickets to RAGTIME are free. Shows take place through July 1 on Collin College's Spring Creek Campus (2800 E. Spring Creek Pwky. Plano) in the John Anthony Theatre.
LAUGHTER IN THE STARS presented by Funhouse Theatre and Film
This stage adaptation of Antoine De Saint-Exupery's The Little Prince captures the essence of the book, telling the story of the young boy's travels with a minimalism that reflects on one of the fox's lines, "One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye."
Simple projections set the scene at each planet and Jaxon Beeson astounds as the traversing young man. He delivers his lines with a practiced maturity and never stumbles over his words. Beeson finds an equally skilled 11-year-old actor in Kennedy Waterman who plays his beloved rose.
The brainchild of Jeff Swearingen, LAUGHTER IN THE STARS, although imperfect, beautifully retells the children's novel proving its reach into adulthood.
Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 at the door. LAUGHTER IN THE STARS runs through July 1, with weekend matinees and evening performances. At Plano Children's Theatre (1301 Custer Road, Plano).