News and Features

Friday Roundup

NOVEMBER 22, 19 — YOU KNOW — With all the various panels, exhibitions and commissioned works that will be devoted to the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination this year, is anyone considering a series on films or novels? Hollywood’s image of the sniper-assassin has changed wildly over the decades (from Targets to Parallax View to Executive Action to The Dead Zone to, of course, Oliver Stone’s JFK) while the fictional treatment of that day has also evolved — from Dallas’ own Bryan Woolley’s November 22 to Adam Braver’s November 22, 1963 to Stephen King’s 11/22/63. Reason I ask? Don DeLillo just won the first Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction. His assassination novel, Libra, remains the landmark literary treatment of  Dallas’ worst day.

IT’S ALL JAKE — Composer Jake Heggie has become a familiar figure in these parts, having made North Texas almost a second home after San Francisco, including being an artist-in-residence at UNT. And that’s where Heggie premiered his Ahab Symphony Wednesday. Written for the UNT Symphony Orchestra (conducted by David Itkin), the UNT Grand Chorus and Richard Croft, tenor soloist and UNT professor of vocal studies, the work represented second thoughts on Heggie’s Moby-Dick opera, which, of course, the Dallas Opera premiered at the Winspear in 2010. But if Heggie has become familiar, he can still pleasantly surprise: ‘Heggie’s score is enthusiastic and cinematic’ (Observer). ‘All told, it’s a piece of immediate appeal” (Morning News). “Heggie shows a spectacular grasp of both the orchestral and choral idiom in his blending of the two groups” (TheaterJones).

PLAYBILL BITS – Angels Fall, the Lanford Wilson drama, has gotten nothing but huzzahs for Contemporary Theatre of Dallas . . . The ‘Home Theater Festival’ is part-performance art,  part-domestic-pop-up-art gallery, part-’pretty weird but a good time.’ The idea of bypassing the traditional rented venue for a kind of artful home-tour experience started in California, says Jamie Laughlin, but this Sunday there’s an HTF in Denton . . . Texas’ own Horton Foote has had his most popular (most sentimental) play, The Trip to Bountiful, revived on Broadway this week yet again, but this time with a mostly African-American cast, led by the great Cicely Tyson. Former UPI-Dallas reporter Wilborn Hampton raves about it for HuffPo.