Critics Cite Notable 2018 Performances by Meadows Faculty, Students and Alumni
Meadows talent represented in multiple “best-of” lists
Scene from Joshua Peugh’s Aladdin, which critic Katie Dravenstott’s list of favorite dance works of 2018.
Works and performances by faculty, students and alumni were recognized by 12 TheaterJones critics in their “Best of 2018” year-end lists.
Chief dance critic Cheryl Callon’s list of top works of 2018 included Aladdin by alum Joshua Peugh (’06),created for his Dark Circles Contemporary Dance company, with music by alum Brandon Carson (’16). Callon said, “With its elaborate, thoughtfully designed narrative and stunning original music by Brandon Carson, the evening-length show provided an intimate, almost immersive experience for Joshua Peugh’s take on the tale and concept of the well-known character.”
Critic Katie Dravenstott’s list of favorite dance works of 2018 included SMU professor Brandi Coleman’s And One More Thing, presented at the SMU Fall Dance Concert; she wrote, “Coleman wowed the audiences…it was fun and rambunctious and definitely worth seeing again.” She also cited Joshua Peugh’s Aladdin, noting the choreographer “stretched his artistic boundaries with his first evening-length work.” Dravenstott additionally loved a work presented by alum Emily Bernet’s (’16) Bombshell Dance Project titled LUNA, in which Bernet and partner Taylor Rodman “tapped into their inner beasts.”
Dance writer Emily Sese’s best of 2018 roundup included professor Brandi Coleman’s What We Do With Time, presented by Brandi Coleman Dance at the Dallas Dances festival. Sese wrote that the work “stood out in both the maturity and expertise of the movers and Coleman’s clever, profound choreography. Capitalizing on relatable themes and quirky gestures, the piece was one of the weekend’s best.”
Choreographer Danielle Georgiou’s highlights of 2018 included working with SMU professor/director Blake Hackler at Theatre Three on Adding Machine: A Musical; alum/director Jake Nice (’15) on the regional premiere of Everybody at Stage West; and alum Ruben Carrazana (’13) in writing the original musical comedy Just Girly Thingsfor the Festival of Independent Theatres.
Critic Gregory Isaacs’ review of favorite classical music concerts of 2018 included Joel Estes Tate Chair Joaquín Achúcarro’s piano performance with the Fort Worth Symphony on an all-Spanish program; Isaacs wrote, “Achúcarro’s performance will always stick in my memory.” Isaacs also cited the “rare treat” of hearing the Diaz Trio, including cello professor Andres Diaz, in a concert presented by the Chamber Music Society of Fort Worth.
Critic Martha Heimberg named alum and Kitchen Dog Theater co-director Tina Parker (’91) one of nine outstanding local female directors she would like to host at a dinner party, saying, “I can’t even imagine a party of theater women in this town, or anywhere, without Tina.”
Arts writer and UNT professor Teresa Marrero reviewed the Year in Latinx Theater and the importance of collaborations, citing Cara Mía Theatre Co. and Ignite/Arts Dallas’s sponsorship of the first national tour of WET: A DACAmented Journey, Los Angeles-based artist Alex Alpharaoh’s award-winning solo show, performed at Theatre Three’s Theatre Too! Marrero also cited the collaborative production Gog and Magog: Two Clowns Trapped in Hell, by Cara Mia Theatre and SMU alumni-founded Prism Movement Theater; the play was written by theatre alum Jeff Colangelo (’13) and dance alum Hope Endrenyi (’16) and directed by Colangelo.
Theatre critic Jan Farrington noted her favorite performances by female actors in 2018, including Stormi Demerson, who played the lead in Bread, written by theatre alum Regina Taylor (’81) at WaterTower Theatre.
Theatre critic Janice Franklin cited recent Theatre Artist-in-Residence Will Power’s play Fetch Clay, Make Man as her favorite of 2018.
Theatre critic Frank Garrett named alum Brigham Mosley’s (’10) “defiantly smart, funny, and emotionally raw” Critical, Darling! as the Best Solo Performance of 2018, saying Mosley “makes critical thinking sexy and deserves high praise for sharing his anti-moment with us.” Garrett also named BruNO and lOUIe, written by Prism Movement Theater founder and alum Jeff Colangelo and performed at the Festival of Independent Theatres, as the Best Physical Theater of 2018.
Theatre writer Jill Sweeney said Kitchen Dog Theater’s original musical Pompeii!! was “a hoot”; the play was co-written by alum Michael Federico (’98).
In his extensive review of area theatre in 2018, TheaterJones editor Mark Lowry wrote that two themes stood out: representation for voices from diverse and underrepresented communities, and the growth of women’s voices. An example of women telling their personal stories, or the biographical stories of women, was alum Ana Hagedorn (’18)writing and starring in a play about theatre pioneer Margo Jones, Let Me Talk My Dreams,performed at the Margo Jones Theatre in Fair Park. He also noted the number of women running or co-running notable organizations, including alums Tina Parker and Janielle Kastner (’12).
Lowry praised “the celebration of cultures and performance styles” in the shows by Public Works Dallas, which are presented by Dallas Theater Center in collaboration with SMU Meadows and Ignite/Arts Dallas. His “unforgettable moments on stage” included the visual metaphors of alum Regina Taylor’s play Bread at WaterTower Theatre. He also praised the clown work in two plays written by alum Jeff Colangelo: Gog and Magog: Two Clowns Trapped in Hell and BruNO and lOUIe.
Two of Lowry’s favorite three solo shows were WET: A DACAmented Journey, co-produced by Cara Mía Theatre Company and Ignite/Arts Dallas, and Let Me Talk My Dreams, Ana Hagedorn’s piece about Margo Jones. His top 10 shows of the year included Hand to God at WaterTower Theatre, which featured alum Parker Gray (’16); Kitchen Dog’s The Royale, starring M.F.A. alum Jamal Sterling (’02), who he said “gave one of the year’s great performances as Jack Johnson in this poetic look at race and society in Jim Crow America”; and Will Power’s Fetch Clay, Make Man at Dallas Theater Center. His 20 other favorite shows included alum Regina Taylor’s play Bread; Empathitrax, directed by alum Carson McCain (’14); Pompeii!!, co-written by alum Michael Federico; and WET: A DACAmented Journey.