The truth is the Dallas and Fort Worth community theatre is a tough market. But with it being so competitive, DFW brings the best talent from all around the region — and I’ve been through it. As a local actress, I’ve had the pleasure of being involved in several well known and not so well known theatres.
You may know of larger theatres like Casa Manana and AT&T Performing Arts Center, but DFW’s local theatre scene is not to be overlooked. Next time you’re in town, take a seat at one of these community theatres and get ready for a great performance. Who knows, you might even see me on stage!
The basement-like theatre in Dallas gave me my first gig after college. I was in one of their beloved melo-drama’s Blood of the Werewolf. You read that right! Pocket is famous for their fun, popcorn-tossing melo-dramas and if you haven’t seen one, you’re missing out on a fun and inexpensive night out. I wouldn’t recommend taking the kiddos 13 and below as most have adult humor. Also for the adults, they have late night comedy and music shows.
Pocket also does have an annual production of Ebenezer Scrooge, written by the late founder, Joe Dickinson. I had the pleasure of playing Belle, Ebenezer’s love interest, immediately after Werewolf. That one is good, clean fun for the whole family with amazing original music and script. Previews begin the weekend after Thanksgiving, and it runs through Christmas Eve.
Shows on my watch list: Werewolf of London, September 27 – November 16
This wonderful theatre is located just south of the Frisco Square in the Frisco Discovery Center. They do a lot of family friendly shows, as well as shows that contain adult content. Theatre Frisco brings back memories of my first stage kiss and my chance to play a woman that went from suicidal to comic to scared and all around again. Crimes of the Heart was a different kind of show from anything I had ever done. My character was out of her mind and I loved her for everything she was. Oh! As for my first stage kiss, it was just a peck (but he made me blush every time).
Shows on my watch list: A Little Night Music, July 26 – August 11
3. STAGE WEST
Being raised in Dallas, I stay mostly close to home when I’m in a show, but I’ll hop in the car and take a drive when I have the opportunity to support friends or catch a show that I may not be able to in the Big D. Stage West is located in Fort Worth on the south side of I-30, and it’s known for unique shows that not all theatres have the courage to produce. They hit hard topics from our past and make it present day relevant through their set design and blocking. While the script language and costumes are true to the works, Stage West puts an original spin on things, making every performance worth the drive for this Dallasite.
Shows on my watch list: The Lifespan of a Fact, November 7 – December 8
I had my first taste of community theatre here — I begged my parents to enroll me in their summer camp. Lucky for me, I got to spend two weeks of my sophomore/junior year of high school as Ursula Merkle, Kim’s best friend, in Bye, Bye Birdie. WaterTower has some of the coolest set designs as they have the ability to modulate their stage. The audience is transported to anywhere WaterTower can take you. I’ve seen multiple shows there including The Last Five Years and most recently The Ballad of Little Jo. While they succeed in straight plays, their magic is in the musicals they put on with a live orchestra. Insider tip: there’s a ‘pay-what-you-can’ show that’s usually the first Sunday of the run.
Shows on my watch list: Sister Act, October 24 – November 10
I first came across FireHouse Theatre when auditions for Aida came about. It’s a bucket list show for me, but alas, the talent was too great and I didn’t make the cut. But that’s never stopped me from seeing the shows here and supporting local theatre. I’ve always been impressed with FireHouse’s set design and the fact that, like WaterTower, they have a live orchestra. And the talent is incredible! Every theatre boasts diversity but FireHouse screams it. They truly welcome all, including those that don’t identify with a gender. Their inclusion is an example to all businesses, not just the theatre community. Fun fact: the theatre used to be an old fire station, hence the name of the theatre.
Shows on my watch list: Cats, September 5 – September 22
Pulling into the parking lot of a run down shopping center, you wouldn’t think that there would be quality theatre here…but if you saw what I saw, you’d know that some of the most talented people from DFW are cast at Artisan Community Theatre. I was lucky enough to join the ranks in The Little Mermaid (pictured above, I’m on the right) and Cats just last year. During the Column Awards (the Tony’s of DFW) Cats won best musical, best costume, best set design and best actress (not me, but that’s okay). Because they brought me into their circle, I was thrust from my acting haitus and back into doing what I love. Moral of the story: don’t let the parking lot fool you. They have amazing performances, some of the best children’s summer camps and make you feel like part of the family.
Shows on my watch list: It’s a Wonderful Life, November 22 – December 21
Not all theatres have a seperate ‘theatre’ as a home, and this company is one of them. Rover Dramawerks calls a churches its home for rehearsals and performances, and its founder does it all for the love of theatre. Carol Rice makes the costumes, her family helps build the sets and the actors are all volunteering their time. Carol is a true community contributor, giving her time and attention to putting on family-friendly productions as well as hosting an annual 10-minute playwright festival that introduces new, aspiring work to the scene.
Shows on my watch list: A Comedy of Tenors, November 7 – November 23
Here’s somewhere I’ve been dying to do a show! Theatre Three is in the Quadrangle in Uptown Dallas. It’s one of the most fun stages in the Dallas area with new works each season, as well as classic shows and new musicals. The theatre is larger with stadium-style seating in the crescent round, so there aren’t any bad seats. Parking is limited, so you’ll want to get there early and have a cocktail or dinner at one of the many restaurants that are within steps of the theatre. I remember taking my boyfriend to see Avenue Q as a surprise, and we had a blast laughing and holding hands while puppets learned about loving themselves for who they are, as well as one another.
Shows on my watch list: Jekyll and Hyde, September 14 – October 26
GLCT is one of the most historical theatres in suburban DFW. Founded in 1983, it’s a little gem in Lewisville. In 1997, the theatre purchased it’s current home and has restored the building into a beautiful landmark complete with a canopy and marquee. They are truly committed to equality and it’s a safe space for all to express their genuine selves. GLCT’s board of directors meets regularly to discuss their #NotInOurHouse initiative to deter any bullying or unsafe situations. For productions, they focus on every genre from light hearted comedy to sassy musicals to dramatic topics good for life’s lessons. They’re a very welcoming community and are definitely worth visiting!
Shows on my watch list: The Fantasticks, September 27 – October 20, 2019
Don’t let their website fool you. This little theatre off of East Main Street in Grand Prairie packs a lot into their mid-sized footprint. GPAC not only puts on quality theatre productions at Uptown Theatre; they also have art shows for local artists, enhance the city with live music and offer artistic programs for children that have completed 1st grade through 15 years of age. Programs include painting, theatre workshops and music. I have not seen a show at here yet, but I’m currently tempted to audition for Grand Prairie Arts Council’s upcoming production of Legally Blonde. Fingers crossed!
Shows on my watch list: Peter Pan, December 6 – 15