The Reviews are in for HAND TO GOD at WaterTower Theatre!

"Hand to God is a cautionary tale about the raw reality of big feelings that can't be papered over by sunny signs and a poster of a kitten that says "Blessed are the Purrr in heart." It's also an acting challenge as all the characters are trying to repress what's roiling inside, with words that are often at odd with their feelings. Under the direction of WaterTower Theatre's artistic director, Joanie Schultz, this ensemble hits every target.

Those targets feel all the more close to home because of the immersive setting, executed by Richard Ouelette, which riffs on the concept of the set for the production Schultz directed for Studio Theatre in Washington, D.C., in 2016. The Broadway show, which I saw in 2015, worked on a proscenium stage but is far more emotionally intense and moving in a space where patrons can arrive early and make sock puppets as if they are in the church basement with the actors, who move through the entire room as their stage."

-Nancy Churnin, Dallas Morning News

"Directors don’t always love every play they direct; sometimes the job is to make it appear as if they love the work. Schultz, whose vision is reshaping one of DFW’s best-known professional theaters, clearly loves this play. Her Hand to God is riotous and grab-the-person-next-to-you scary, sometimes at once. The testament to Askins’ writing is that it’s also challenging and unexpectedly moving."

 

Other Press Links:

-Dallas Voice

-Dallas Observer

-Culture Map

-Broadway World

 

WaterTower Theatre's 2018-19 Season Announced!

My second season as Artistic Director!

From theaterjones.com:

"Addison — If Joanie Schultz's first season at Artistic Director of WaterTower Theatre didn't signify changes coming to the Addison theater — one of the top five professional theaters in DFW, in terms of budget size — then the just-announced second season should do the trick. It's the boldest season the theater has ever managed, mainly because aside from Ibsen's A Doll's House, adapted by Schultz, it's filled with titles that even a somewhat savvy theater-goer familiar with recent off-Broadway titles and playwriting awardees wouldn't have heard of.

That, folks, is how you do it.

The mainstage season opens with A Doll's House, and follows with three regional premieres of the plays Guadalupe in the Guest Room and Everything is Wonderful and the musical The Ballad of Little Jo, and closes with the world premiere of Nathan Alan Davis' Origin Story, which was seen in a reading at WaterTower's first Detour Festival this year. Noteworthy: Not only are these plays women-driven in terms of character and story, they're all directed by women. Schultz takes on Doll's House and Little Jo, Kelsey Leigh Ervi has Everything is Wonderful, Christie Vela helms Guadalupe, and Tiffany Nichole Green does Origin Story, which she also directed at Detour. Also important to note: two of those women are women of color (Vela and Green).

Season extras include the second Detour festival (moved to January), the return of the devised holiday work The Great Distance Home, and a special presentation of Unveiled: A One Woman Play, written and performed by Chicago-based Rohina Malik, who tells the stories of five Muslim women.

To boot, WaterTower is the 2018-19 home for Dark Circles Contemporary Dance, which will have three productions in the season at WTT, each featuring new works by local and national choreographers. Dark Circles was one of the highlights of the first Detour festival, and the space must have worked out for the group.

I also want to note something Schultz has done with both season announcements that you typically don't see from arts organizations here, aside from the Dallas Opera: A unified photo story themed to the season. Just look at the pics in the slideshow (click the button on the floating menu at the bottom left of your screen). Fantastic work from rising local photog Evan Michael Wood, who's also a photography regular with Stage West and Second Thought Theatre."