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Critics Name Meadows Performances and Initiatives on “Best of 2013” Lists

Meadows School of the Arts mentioned in local and national year-end lists

From Rite of Spring, by Sharen Bradford

Meadows School performances have been named among the best regional performances of 2013 by local media critics, and the launch of the new National Center for Arts Research (NCAR) received local and national recognition as well.

Ian David Moss, publisher of arts think tank website Createquity, cited NCAR in his “Top 10 Arts Policy Stories of 2013”. In the story ranked number six, “The arts research field makes halting progress toward field-building,” he recognized the launch of “big data” projects and NCAR, and noted “the progress we saw in 2013 toward a smarter, more tech-savvy, and more collaborative knowledge management infrastructure in the arts is highly encouraging.”

The Meadows Spring Dance Concert’s stunning new version of The Rite of Spring, created especially for SMU students by award-winning Dutch choreographer Joost Vrouenraets, was named one of the top five dance performances of the year by Dallas Morning News critic Manny Mendoza. TheaterJones critic Margaret Putnam also named the Spring Dance Concert #5 on her list of the year’s top 10 dance performances, praising both The Rite and Danny Buraczeski’s In the City, an energetic tribute to the Dallas Arts District set to music from Leonard Bernstein. In addition, Dallas Observer critic Jamie Laughlin praised The Rite performance as one of 2013’s overall best moments of Dallas culture, calling it “unexpected, powerful and terrifying.”

The Meadows Symphony Orchestra’s November 1 concert featuring both the Sibelius Violin Concerto, with Meadows faculty artist Chee-Yun Kim, and Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony was one of Dallas Morning News critic Scott Cantrell’s top 10 classical music performances of 2013.

Other area professional performances that included Meadows faculty and alumni were also included on the lists. The American debut last spring of Korea-based Dark Circles Contemporary Dance, led by artistic director Joshua Peugh (’06), was #9 on TheaterJones’ list of top dance performances. Peugh was also among the group of North Texas choreographers collectively named as #5 on the Morning News top five list. The Bruce Wood Dance Project performance of My Brother’s Keeper also made both the Morning News and TheaterJones lists; it featured Meadows alums Albert Drake (’12) and Joshua Peugh, then-seniors Harry Feril and Aaron Kozak, and then-freshman Alex Druzbanski.

Theatre alum Alia Tavakolian (’12) and her new theatre company, Davis Street Collective, were named in Arts + Culture magazine’s list of the year’s top eight theatre performances for their production of Sarah Kane’s profound 4.48 Psychosis, written shortly before Kane’s suicide. Number three on the list was the Undermain Theatre production of Enda Walsh’s play Penelope, directed by SMU theatre chair Stan Wojewodski, with scenic design by Russell Parkman, costume design by Claudia Stephens and lighting by Steve Woods, all Meadows faculty members.

TheaterJones critic Mark Lowry, who saw 204 plays in 2013, named Penelope #8 on his Top 15 list. His next 10 favorite plays included SMU’s production of Slavs! Thinking About the Longstanding Problems of Virtue and Happiness – the only university student production in the group. Lowry also named Tina Parker (’91) actress of the year, and Lydia Mackay (M.F.A. ’08) as runner-up. And, he named two recent alums as young theatre artists to watch in 2014 and beyond: Alia Tavakolian, whom he said helped produce “the most unique piece of theater I saw this year, White Rabbit, Red Rabbit, a one-weekend show from SMU-affiliated artists at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary,” and Jeff Colangelo (’13), “an SMU grad, actor and fight director who created the 30-minute wordless performance piece playtime, seen at the Margo Jones Theatre in Fair Park in November.”

The Fort Worth Star Telegram’s list of the top 10 plays in Tarrant County included Death Tax, directed by alum Rene Moreno (M.F.A. ’01) for Amphibian Stage Productions. Though it took place in Dallas, the newspaper also gave a shout-out to SMU theatre’s “terrific” production of The Seven by Will Power, directed by Fort Worth guest artist Tre Garrett.

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