3 is a magic number: Without Stephen, anarchy reigns. Jerome beat me to the punch yesterday with the Theatre 3 season announcement. But Jerome wasn’t able to attend the Theatre 3 birthday party Wednesday evening. Which means he did not sit next to the actress Ada Lynn (photo below), a veteran of Theatre 3 performances. We only spoke briefly, but I dig Ada. Not just because she tells me she joined SAG in 1937, appeared with Shirley Temple, claimed to kill Vaudeville. Or because, like me, she enjoys an adult beverage and once lived in Rogers Park (Chicago). It’s because she loves acting. Present tense. When the announcement ended, I asked her what she thought. “I already know what role I want.” Here’s hoping she gets it.
More birthdays: Speaking of birthdays, the pump station that houses Sammons Center is turning 100 this year and a pair of concerts – dance this weekend and drums next weekend are part of the celebration.
Dead Man Walking: Keeping the theme going – what birthday present for the opera director who has everything? Consider tie dye! “I’m like a Deadhead,” confesses Darren Woods, Ft. Worth Opera’s general director, who says he travels to see productions of Dead Man Walking. Woods was one of a stage-full of panelists discussing art and social change at SMU last night.
No big surprise that Sr. Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking, stole the show. She’s funny and she’s straight up. “Do you write that atonal stuff or are we going to be able to hum a tune,” composer Jake Heggie says she once asked him. (And I’m pretty sure she called him Jakie at least once.)
This panel was thoughtful, entertaining, right down to sneak performances we’ll hear on stage in Fort Worth starting May 2. (Ft. Worth’s season opens Saturday.) It’s unusual to see a composer (Heggie) on stage with the inspiration for his successful opera (Prejean). Truly rare: two local opera directors, one about to stage a known work (Woods is feeling confident about Dead Man in Fort Worth, especially after last year’s success with Angels in America) and another who has yet to see a finished product (Jonathan Pell, artistic director of Dallas Opera, which commissioned Heggie to compose Moby Dick.)
Operas, especially new operas, are all about risk, agreed Pell, Heggie and Woods. Moby Dick wasn’t the evening’s topic and no one dwelled on it, but I imagine waiting for a new piece to be completed has to be at least as nail-gnawing a moment as opening night. Pell says he’s confident that Heggie’s Moby Dick will equal or surpass Dead Man. No pressure on Heggie. Everyone on stage laughed. Right.