Dallas Theater Center launches its 2011-2012 season with Shakespeare's beloved final play, The Tempest, at the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre at the AT&T Performing Arts Center Sept. 9 - Oct. 9. Dallas Theater Center Artistic Director Kevin Moriarty will direct The Tempest, which is DTC's third production in three years to receive the National Endowment for the Arts' Shakespeare for a New Generation grant. The grant underwrites ticket costs to The Tempest for students participating in the Project Discovery program, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this season.
"Shakespeare's scope and vision as a writer and his ability to capture the human experience, from the personal to the political, in a relatable way are unparalleled," says Moriarty. "The theatricality of The Tempest, provides DTC the opportunity continue exploring the unique capabilities of the Wyly Theatre to create a provocative start to the season and a truly vivid theater experience. This production won't introduce DTC patrons to a new seating arrangement in the Wyly Theatre, but there are several exciting elements for them to look forward to."
Shakespeare's magical masterpiece follows the great wizard Prospero and his daughter Miranda who have been banished to an isolated island. Prospero uses his sorcery to cause a shipwreck and lure the survivors to the heart of the island, where they are drawn into a web of magical spells, love at first sight and old revenges that only Prospero's forgiveness - and some otherworldly assistance - can remedy.
Brierley Resident Acting Company member Chamblee Ferguson leads the cast as Prospero in his 31st production with DTC. Other Company members include Abbey Siegworth, who is reprising her first-ever professional role as Miranda; DTC Associate Artist Lee Trull as Stephano; and Steven Michael Walters, who was recently named D Magazine's Best Actor in 2011, as Ferdinand.
DTC alums include J. Brent Alford (Arsenic and Old Lace, A Christmas Carol) as Antonio; Christopher Carlos (A Christmas Carol, Romeo and Juliet) as Sebastian; Southern Methodist University MFA student Cliff Miller (Henry IV, Death of a Salesman) as Trinculo; Joe Nemmers (A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Good Negro) as Caliban; and Jerry Russell (Of Mice and Men) as Gonzalo. Making their DTC debut are Matthew Tomlanovich as Alonso and Hunter Ryan Herdlicka as Ariel. Born and raised in Dallas, Herdilcka recently starred on Broadway for two years in A Little Night Music. Also making their DTC debuts are SMU undergraduate students John Paul Green as Adrian; John Dana Kenning as Francisco; and David Price as Boatswain/Master of the King's ship.
The scenic and costume designs are by Beowulf Boritt, who was nominated for a Tony Award this year for The Scottsboro Boys and whose previous DTC designs include The Who's Tommy, A Midsummer Night's Dream and It's a Bird... It's a Plane... It's Superman. Original music and sound design for The Tempest is by Broken Chord Collective, who also designed the sound for DTC's Henry IV in the 2010-2011 season. The artistic team also includes Clifton Taylor for lighting design and Thom Jones as speech/vocal Coach.
In addition to being the first production of DTC's 2011-2012 season, The Tempest kicks off the 25th anniversary of the Project Discovery program. More than 5,500 students from 33 North Texas schools will attend select performances of DTC's mainstage productions and A Christmas Carol. Prior to attending the performance, students discuss the plays in their classroom and attend an hour-long work shop about the play. In the workshop for The Tempest, students will breakdown Shakespearean dialogue and learn unique stage techniques while engaging in "on your feet" activities with a member from the cast. Almost 1,000 students will participate in the Tempest portion of this season's Project Discovery, which is funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts' Shakespeare for a New Generation grant. This grant aims to encourage the next generation of audiences in the U.S. to attend and appreciate live theater. In honor of the 25th anniversary of the Project Discovery program, all single tickets to The Tempest are priced at $25 each (tickets in Area 4 and Youth tickets are $15). Single tickets go on sale Thursday, August 18 at 10 a.m.
"Normally, when teenagers think about Shakespeare, they moan and groan and expect the show to be the most boring show they've ever seen," says Athens High School student Channing Horton. "When Shakespeare's plays are brought to life at Dallas Theater Center, they turn into the most magical performance I have ever seen."
"DTC believes in creating quality theater that is accessible to every member of our North Texas community. Shakespeare's funny and moving play provides a solid foundation for this goal and Project Discovery and the Shakespeare for a New Generation grant allow us to reach as many schools and teachers as possible," says Moriarty.
The Tempest is the third play in a four-year cycle of Shakespeare's works. Under the direction of Moriarty, DTC presented the first in the cycle, the comedy A Midsummer Night's Dream, as the company's inaugural production at the Wyly Theatre. Shakespeare's history play, Henry IV followed in the 2010-2011 season. After the romance The Tempest, DTC will end the cycle with a tragedy in the 2012-2013 season.
All performances of The Tempest will be held in the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre at the AT&T Performing Arts Center located at 2400 Flora St., where it runs Sept. 9 - Oct. 9. Preview performances are Sept. 9 - Sept. 15. Opening night is Friday, Sept. 16 at 8:00 p.m. Performance times are Tuesday through Thursday evenings at 7:30 p.m. (except for Sept. 20); Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.; and select Sunday evenings at 7:30 p.m. In honor of the 25th anniversary of Project Discovery, ticket prices for all performances are $25. Youth tickets and tickets in Area 4 are $15. Single tickets will be on sale beginning Thursday, August 18 at 10 a.m. and are available by calling the box office at 214-880-0202 or by visiting www.DallasTheaterCenter.org. The Pay-What-You-Can performance of The Tempest will be Friday, September 9 at 8 p.m. PWYC tickets will be available online the week of the performance at www.DallasTheaterCenter.org and at the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre Box Office beginning Friday, Sept. 16 at 5 p.m. Pay-What-You-Can allows patrons to purchase ANY seat in the house for ANY amount they choose. For as little as a penny, theatergoers can see world-class live theater created by Dallas Theater Center for North Texas residents.
J. Brent Alford (Antonio) DTC: Arsenic and Old Lace; A Christmas Carol. Brent most recently appeared as Teddy Brewster in DTC's hit production of Arsenic and Old Lace and as Henry Higgins in Lyric Stage's acclaimed production of My Fair Lady. Brent's work has been seen in the DFW area at Theatre Three, WaterTower Theatre, Stage West, Trinity Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare in the Park (FW), and Casa Mañana. Brent is a former company member of Houston's Tony Award-winning Alley Theatre and has performed Off-Broadway and at regional theatres across the country. Brent is the recipient of numerous awards and currently chairs the department of performing arts at Tarrant County College - NW Campus.
Christopher Carlos (Sebastian) A long-time member of the Dallas theater community, Mr. Carlos made his professional debut in DTC's 1983 production of Amadeus. Other DTC credits: A Christmas Carol (1997; 1999; 2000); Romeo and Juliet; The Tempest (1987-88 season). Chris is Co-Artistic Director of Kitchen Dog Theater where he was most recently seen in the title role of Macbeth. An award-winning actor/director, he also serves as a faculty member at The Winston School and is active in the broadcast industry with several television, film, and
commercial credits. Chris is represented by The Horne Agency.
Chamblee Ferguson (Prospero) is a long-time performer at DTC and a member of the Brierley Resident Acting Company. DTC roles include: Scrooge and Bob Cratchit in A Christmas Carol (but not at the same time); Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream; Andrew Aguecheek in Twelfth Night; and Professor in South Pacific to name a few. He's performed at Florida Stage, Stage West, WaterTower Theatre, Casa Mañana, Circle Theater, and Lyric Stage, among others. Film/TV credits include: Friday Night Lights; Chase; Prison Break; A Scanner Darkly; The Newton Boys; Walker-Texas Ranger; Wishbone. Mr. Ferguson was thrilled to be recently named a 2011 Lunt-Fontanne Fellow, and has also received Leon Rabin, Dallas/Ft. Worth Theater Critic's, and Austin Circle of Theater awards.