REVIEW: Nice Show and You Should See It

by Joy Donovan on September 9, 2014

The star of Nice Work if You Can Get It, the current production of Dallas Summer Musicals at the Fair Park Music Hall, isn’t one of its leads. The star of this show actually is its chorus.

Yes, the chorus is what keeps you waiting for the next musical number and the next, because this production is filled with talented dancers, great singers and some old-school hoofing In the show packed with timeless tunes penned by George and Ira Gershwin, the music shines and David Eggers’ upbeat choreography sparkles. Whether it’s a pinstripe-wearing vice squad or pink-bubbled bathers, the musical numbers are ridiculously fun.

The plot is thin, but musical theater lovers won’t care. Set in the Roaring Twenties, the comedy follows a wealthy playboy on the verge of his wedding who meets a blonde bootlegger. Plenty of funny lines are thrown in along the predictable story that features a charming and boyish Alex Enterline as the male lead and petite Mariah MacFarlane as the female lead. If there’s a weak link, it’s MacFarlane whose voice is strong but whose transitions from rough-talking bootlegger to songstress can be startlingly abrupt.

But enjoying the old-fashioned musical farce and forgiving its flaws is easy.  Nice Work if You Can Get It will leave audiences singing “ ‘S Wonderful.”

The show (dallassummermusicals.org)  continues through Sunday at Fair Park Music Hall in Dallas, then moves to Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth for a run Sept. 16 through 21.

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Eating and Shopping to Highlight November Event

by Joy Donovan on September 3, 2014

Specialties from Cupcake Bliss were offered at the 2013 Taste of Northeast. Food from area restaurants will be available again this year.

Specialties from Cupcake Bliss were offered at the 2013 Taste of Northeast. Food from area restaurants will be available again this year.

HURST _ Eating and shopping, a favorite hobby of many, will combine for the Taste of Northeast, a fundraiser for the Arts Council Northeast, Nov. 13 at the Hurst Conference Center, 1601 Campus Dr.

The annual charity event is scheduled from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Planned will be food from area restaurants, gift vendors, live entertainment and a silent auction.

Tickets may be ordered online at www.tasteofnortheast.com. Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door. Arts Council Northeast members and Press Pass holders get a $5 discount off advance tickets. 

For more information, visit www.tasteofnortheast.com or call 817-283-3406. To learn about Arts Council Northeast’s mission and programs to promote the arts, go to www.artscouncilnortheast.org.

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Restaurant Week Set for August Kick-off

by Joy Donovan on July 20, 2014

NORTH TEXAS –  The countdown is on for the 17th annual DFW Restaurant Week presented by Central Market, and this year the event features a new twist.

For the first time, diners can get a first taste of featured food and cocktails at the festive DFW Restaurant Week First Course Kick-Off Party, set for August 7.  Information is available at  FirstCourseDFW.com.

DFW Restaurant Week’s goal is to serve-up a combined $800,000 for the charity beneficiaries, Lena Pope and the North Texas Food Bank, to help children and families in need. DFW Restaurant Week, formerly known as KRLD Restaurant Week, was founded by NewsRadio 1080 KRLD in 1997.

“DFW Restaurant Week is our largest single fundraiser, offering supporters the opportunity to dine out for a cause and place food on the table for hungry families,” said Jan Pruitt, president and CEO, North Texas Food Bank.  “The donation we receive from each meal purchased during the campaign will provide between 15 and 27 meals for hungry North Texans.”

North Texas diners can enjoy a different scene and cuisine every day as they select from more than 125 top restaurants offering three-course prix fixe dinners for either $35 or $45.  The Cadillac Lunch Experience. sponsored by Oak Farms Dairy, is another option, and it features three-course lunches for $25, at select locations.  Twenty percent from each meal purchased will be donated to one of the charity partners. The list of participating restaurants and menus is available at DFWRestaurantWeek.com.


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Chefs Cook Up Charity Benefit

by Joy Donovan on July 2, 2014

FORT WORTH _  Cuisine for Healing, a non-profit organization dedicated to making nutritious food available to cancer patients and others combating disease, announced the fourth annual Dinner Party for Life benefit dinner will be held at 6:30 p.m. July 20 at the YWCA, 512 W. 4 St.

The seated, six-course dinner will be prepared by noted chefs Jon Bonnell, Karon Constance, Jason Harper, Jerrett Joslin, Kevin Martinez and Charles Youts.  Each chef will create a course following Cuisine for Healing’s guidelines, and each course will be paired with a selected wine.

Tickets for the event cost $125 each or $875 per table and are available atwww.cuisineforhealing.org/dinnerparty.

Cuisine for Healing was founded by Wendy Wilkie in 2006. 


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REVIEW: Take a Chance on This Fun Show

by Joy Donovan on June 12, 2014

The music of ABBA is showcased in the current musical at Fair Park.

DALLAS _ It doesn’t matter if you were a fan of the musical group ABBA back in the day, today or tomorrow. The show, “Mamma Mia!,” based on its songs is fun.

Now playing at the Music Hall at Fair Park through June 15, the high-energy show slams through such ditties as “Dancing Queen,” “Does Your Mother Know” and “Take a Chance on Me” for two-and-a-half hours. It’s a throw-back to the ’70s and ’80s, platform shoes and all, taking place on a Greek island just before a inn keeper’s daughter’s wedding. The plot is thin, but if the expectation is for a fun night of singing and dancing, the expectation will be met and easily exceeded. This show, after all, is entertaining enough that it’s been a Broadway fixture since 2001 and inspired a hit movie, too.

Even when the lead is replaced by her understudy, the Dallas Summer Musicals presentation (www.dallassummermusicals.com)  doesn’t suffer even one false step of a platform shoe. Opening night understudy Rebecca Mason-Wygall took over the role of Donna, and didn’t miss a pop music beat. She plays the mother and owner of a small Greek inn whose only daughter is about to marry. The question is which of three possible fathers should walk her down the aisle. 

Don’t overthink it because the production numbers are big and bold, and the comedy is cute. The jokes, the language and the overall story make this a show clearly not aimed at children but adults of a certain age will get a kick out of the costumes and the music.

Biggest mistake you can make at this show is to duck out before you’ve seen the entire curtain call. Don’t be in such a hurry to get back in Dallas traffic or you might miss something you haven’t seen in a decade or two.


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REVIEW: ‘Little Mermaid’ See-Worthy Musical

by Joy Donovan on February 27, 2014

Ariel finds Prince Eric, just what this mermaid was searching for.

Ariel finds Prince Eric, just what this mermaid was searching for.

Borrowing a six-year-old girl isn’t necessary to enjoy “Disney’s The Little Mermaid,” the current Dallas Summer Musicals (dallassummermusicals.org) in Dallas. Even a jaded, seen-it-all adult will enjoy this family-friendly show, staged through Sunday at the Music Hall at Fair Park. The costumes are so lavish, the sets so imaginative, the lighting so dramatic that adults and their children will delight in this sea fantasy featuring Alan Menken’s music. The popular Disney animated film is transported to stage in an undulating incarnation of bubbles, fish, sea gulls, sailors and, of course, mermaids. Those who loved the movie won’t be disappointed. Chelsea Morgan Stock handles the title role well, combining girlish wonder with a beautiful voice and rendering a sweet, near perfect version of ”Part of Your World.” Tap dancing sea gull, Scuttle, played by Matt Allen, highlights Act II with his comical malapropisms, and Liz McCartney steals the spotlight with her rendition of Ursula the sea witch and the movie’s well-remembered song “Poor Unfortunate Souls.” The true stars of the show are the lovely costumes designed by Amy Clark and Mark Koss, the amazing sets by Kenneth Foy and the innovative lighting. All together it makes the production numbers entertaining and fun. “Disney’s The Little Mermaid,” a version of a Broadway show now revised by Dallas Summer Musicals, is a bubble of a musical. Only a poor, unfortunate soul would miss it.

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Sorority Rush to be Panhellenic Forum Topic

by Joy Donovan on February 6, 2014



COLLEYVILLE _ Mid-Cities Alumnae Panhellenic will host its annual Forum at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 9 at First Baptist Church of Colleyville, 5300 Colleyville Blvd.

The free, informational session is open to all high school senior girls and their mothers who want to know more about sorority rush, also known as recruitment. The event is intended for residents of northeast Tarrant County and southern Denton County. Last year, Mid-Cities Alumnae Panhellenic handled sorority information for almost 400 students from this area who entered four-year universities.

Chairing this year’s Forum is Panhellenic member Cheryl Crow of Keller, and serving as president is Melinda Bankus of Grapevine. The event will include an information session, a chance to register with Mid-Cities Alumnae Panhellenic and college students modeling appropriate rush attire.

 The forum will focus on the 26 sororities that comprise The National Panhellenic Conference. Founded in 1902, NPC is one of the oldest and largest women’s membership organizations representing more than 4 million women at 655 college campuses and 4,500 local alumnae chapters in the U.S. and Canada. NPC-affiliated collegians and alumnae annually donate more than $5 million to worthy causes, provide $2.8 million in scholarships to women and volunteer 500,000 hours in their communities. 

For more information, contact Crow at Cherylcrow813@gmail.com.    

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REVIEW: ‘Ghost’ Makes a Loud Appearance

by Joy Donovan on February 4, 2014

For those thinking of taking in “Ghost the Musical” during its north Texas tour, here’s some advice:

Bring ear plugs.

“Ghost the Musical,” presented by Dallas Summer Musicals (www.dallassummermusicals.com), will run through Feb. 9 at the Musical Hall at Fair Park before it jumps to Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth. The show, adapted from the Academy Award-winning movie,

It is loud, loud, loud, ringing much beyond rock-concert decibel-level. The female lead, Katie Postotnik, hits most of her notes, which is difficult to do when you’re screaming the lyrics. Add to that a slow-moving plot and only one memorable song, and the result is a long evening.

The show, adapted from the Academy Award-winning movie, is set in modern day New York, and the musical reflects a contemporary edge. Focused on the couple Sam and Molly, the fantasy follows what happens after Sam is murdered, just as in the movie featuring Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore.

In this stage version, the musical numbers’ multi-media special effects are the most interesting part of this production, but it can’t rescue the entire show.  The best performance comes from comic Carla R. Stewart, who plays the part made famous by Whoopi Goldberg in the film, but her comedy is not enough to save the production.

The Righteous Brothers’ song “Unchained Melody” and the pottery scene, both so much a part of the film version of “Ghost,” are a part of the musical, but without nearly the swoony impact of the movie. In fact, what director Matthew Warchus has done with “Ghost the Musical” is really pretty scary.

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REVIEW: 'White Christmas' a Holiday Card for Texas

by Joy Donovan on December 27, 2013


The current offering at the Music Hall at Fair Park extends Christmas until Dec. 29.

The current offering at the Music Hall at Fair Park extends Christmas until Dec. 29.

If you dream of living inside a Christmas card, then dream your way over to The Music Hall at Fair Park for the musical “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas.”

The classic holiday movie transitions beautifully to the stage in this national touring production complete with Bing Crosby’s title song and my personal favorite, “Sisters,” with pale blue dresses and fans which will not disappoint.

For the uninitiated, the show-within-a-show focuses on two Army buddies, two singing sisters and a Vermont inn missing a little snow and a lot of guests. This production, presented by Dallas Summer Musicals (www.dallassummermusicals.org) in time for the holiday season is a nostalgic showcase for Irving Berlin’s music such as “Happy Holiday,” Blue Skies” and “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep.” In this show, also deserving star billing are the fabulous costumes by Carrie Robbins and the big-musical-style choreography by Randy Skinner.

Standout performances come from light-on-his-feet David Elder as Phil Davis, and tap-dancing wonder Meredith Patterson as blonde bombshell Judy Haynes. The two all but stop the show with “I Love a Piano,” which opens Act II and give the entire show a retro look into the happy musicals of another era.

“Irving Berlin’s White Christmas” continues through Dec. 29, giving theater lovers a chance to extend their Christmas cheer, a lot like shaking that snow globe one more time. Take your sister; she’ll love it, along with the rest of the family.

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Dinosaur Zoo Live to Roar into Dallas

by Joy Donovan on November 25, 2013

DALLAS _ The Australian theatrical creation, Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live (DinosaurLiveZoo.us), will play The Majestic Theatre in Dallas for 5 shows only, January 18-19.

Performances will be at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Jan. 18 and at 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. Jan. 19.  Tickets will going on sale at 10 a.m. Friday at Ticketmaster.com, by phone at 800-745-3000 or at any Ticketmaster outlet.

Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live takes audiences on a prehistoric journey into a new dimension where they get to meet a menagerie of insects, mammals and dinosaurs that once roamed the planet millions of years ago.  Featuring a large-scale cast of dinosaur puppets, the life-like dinosaur recreations connect children to science with 16 large-scale puppets on stage

The Dallas engagement will be co-presented by the Dallas Zoo, the Dallas POPS, and TCG Entertainment.  A portion of the shows’ proceeds will go to the Dallas Zoo.


Dinosaur Zoo Live will come to Dallas for five performances in January.

Dinosaur Zoo Live will come to Dallas for five performances in January.

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