Public Works Dallas Presents The Winter’s Tale

15 Meadows students and alumni serving as Public Works Dallas Fellows

The Winter’s Tale

This weekend, Dallas Theater Center (DTC), in collaboration with SMU Meadows School of the Arts and the AT&T Performing Arts Center, will present the second annual Public Works Dallas production, Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale.

Public Works Dallas is a groundbreaking community engagement and participatory theater project designed to deliberately blur the line between professional artists and Dallas community members, and launched last year with the help of the Meadows School’s Ignite/Arts Dallas and Meadows Prize. Directed by Kent Gash, The Winter’s Tale will run for five performances from Friday, Aug. 31 to Sunday, Sept. 2 at the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre. Performances are at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets to The Winter’s Tale are free to the public, two per person.

The production is almost sold out; patrons can check availability online or by phone at 214-880-0202.

Written by William Shakespeare, The Winter’s Tale features adaptation, music, and new lyrics by Todd Almond. Shakespeare’s tale of mystery and magic is brought to life as never before and will explode with authentic performances that come together to tell the beloved fable of hard-won joy and the promise of renewal.

The musical adaptation of The Winter’s Tale will feature 200 actors and community members, only five of whom are professional actors. Starring as Leontes/Autolycus is J.D. Mollison, who has performed in theaters across the country in productions on Broadway, off-Broadway, and regionally. Joining him are Diane and Hal Brierley Resident Acting Company members and Meadows theatre alumni Tiana Kaye Johnson as Hermione and Sally Nystuen Vahle as Paulina; Brierley member Liz Mikel as Antigonus; and Cara Mía Theatre Artistic Ensemble member Ivan Jasso as Polixenes. Making up the majority of the cast are community actors from Public Works Dallas’ five community partner organizations: Bachman Lake Together, City of Dallas Park and Recreation Department, Jubilee Park and Community Center, Literacy Achieves and Literacy Instruction for Texas.

The Winter’s Tale will feature cameo performances by Dark Circles Contemporary Dance Company, founded by Meadows dance alumnus Joshua Peugh; Michelle Gibson and her Unfaded Brass Band; the Bandan Koro African Drum/Dance Ensemble; the Dallas Mavericks Dancers; American Airlines Drag Queen Danny Cabrera “Liquor Mini”; the Indian Cultural Heritage Foundation; and Mariachi Estampas de México. Also featured will be choir members from St. Luke United Methodist Church, St. Paul United Methodist Church and Joy Tabernacle A.M.E. Church.

Some 15 Meadows undergraduates, graduate students and recent alumni are helping bring the show to fruition as Public Works Dallas Fellows. Art M.F.A. student Xxavier Carter is serving as producing fellow. Theatre M.F.A. students working on the show include costume design assistants Yvonne Johnson and Amy Poe, lighting design assistant Rose Cobey, and scenic design assistant Sarah Harris. Theatre alum Caroline Hamilton (’18) is the volunteer coordinator, and Meagan Harris (’18), who worked on last year’s Public Works Dallas production of The Tempest, has returned to serve as a production assistant. Also returning from The Tempest are Sam Weber (’18) as dance captain and Maria Zavala (’20) as community liaison. Joining them are current undergraduate theatre students Sam Black and Keely Kritz as production assistants, Jeffrey Pope as ensemble captain, and Coda Boyce, Andrew Horn and Lauren Steele as run crew.

Public Works Dallas is affiliated with Public Works, an ongoing initiative of The Public Theater in New York that seeks to engage the people of New York by making them creators and not just spectators. Public Works presented The Tempest in 2013 in New York, directed by Public Works Director Lear deBessonet, who was awarded the SMU Meadows Prize in 2015 to bring the program to Dallas, and is a collaborator on the Public Works Dallas project. DTC, SMU Meadows and deBessonet began to develop Public Works Dallas during her Meadows Prize residency. A key initiative of Ignite/Arts Dallas, led by Clyde Valentín, the Meadows Prize is an award and residency given to pioneering artists and creative professionals that allows students to interact with artists at the top of their fields and integrates the Meadows School more deeply into the community. Public Works Dallas launched in 2017 with the production of The Tempest at the Wyly Theatre.

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