Donna Park's passion for performance preceded the bulk of her vocabulary: at 4 years old, she got into the habit of correcting the dance steps of the other children in her recitals. Her unquenchable thirst for performance led her through a theater minor in college to the discovery of film, then onto a career as a director, writer, and producer of television specials and commercials. Now, calling upon contacts developed during her 20-year career, she brings working professionals to Texas Creative Arts Academy to share their hard-earned wisdom with the young.
The Academy's year-round programs gather students aged 4 to 18 to celebrate their interest in dance, art, film, and melodrama. Aspiring artisans learn the basics of canvas and garment craftsmanship in Hi Ho! Van Gogh! and Design Fashion Diva! camps. Teachers unlock high notes in students' vocal ranges with voice lessons and train the eyes of future cameramen in video-production classes. Piano and guitar instruction empowers kids to realize a future where spontaneous public musical numbers don’t just happen on stage.
A quarter-century after its 1987 rebirth, the Grapevine Opry brings the honky-tonk atmosphere to North Texas with weekly performances by touring performers. On Saturday nights, Rocky Gribble, the venue’s master of ceremonies, introduces country performers, big bands, bluegrass musicians, and ‘50’s-style rockers, and on the fourth Friday of the month, gospel singers descend upon the art deco theater to praise from the stage. Past performers have included the likes of Willie Nelson, LeAnn Rimes, and Miranda Lambert, but one of the biggest thrills at the Opry is seeing the country stars of tomorrow before they hit it big and start hiring robots to perform for them.
LifeStage Studio opened in 2006 and has provided a variety of stage plays and workshops for aspiring spotlight-stealers. Pavlov's Dogs is a team of improvisational experts who salivate hilarity during their adult crash courses, teaching students how to think on their feet when all eyes are upon them and all noses are seeking minty-fresh smells. The hands-on session includes instruction, a variety of exercises, and games to help apply the sage teachings. The improv troupe prides itself on creating a supportive, encouraging environment where wallflowers and sacks of flour alike can cut loose.
A nonprofit corporation, Texas Family Musicals helps launch the careers of talented young stars to the benefit of local family audiences. America the Beautiful is an uplifting spectacle that celebrates the excitement and wonders that make contemporary America great. This musical journey is a positive reinforcement of all things patriotic set to the sounds of catchy tunes and choreographed dancing. Cats holds the record for longest-running Broadway show with 7,485 shows in over 18 years. Enjoy the local adaptation of T. S. Eliot's classic collection of poems where eclectic cat costumes blend with sincere storytelling to entertain the human audience. The final performance option is The Sunshine Boys, which explores the 40-plus-year dichotic relationship between Al Lewis and Willy Clark, a vaudevillian team who enjoy professional success on stage but loathe each other off stage.
“It all starts with an idea and block of wood,” John Hopkins, founder of Le Theatre de Marionette, marvels on his website. While that may be true for marionette-theater productions ranging from Hansel and Gretel to The Wizard of Oz, it took a little more for Le Theatre itself. John began the operation in a defunct bus station in Arlington, drawing in families with the just skill of his hands and voice, before achieving enough success to move to Dallas and expand from one theatre to three. He also brought on a skilled team of puppeteers and voice actors. Yet despite the company's growth, John remains hands on, helping to shape those ideas and blocks of wood into puppets, sets, and smaller blocks of wood.
• For $20, you get one general-admission seat at the quarterfinals on Thursday, August 25, at 5:30 p.m. (a $40 value before fees, or up to a $47.04 value online, including all Ticketmaster fees). • For $24, you get one stadium-reserved seat at the quarterfinals on Thursday, August 25, at 5:30 p.m. (a $48 value before fees, or up to a $55.04 value online, including all Ticketmaster fees). • For $22, you get one general-admission seat at the semifinals on Friday, August 26, at 5:30 p.m. (a $45 value before fees, or up to a $52.04 value online, including all Ticketmaster fees). • For $27, you get one stadium-reserved seat at the semifinals on Friday, August 26, at 5:30 p.m. (a $55 value before fees, or up to a $62.58 value online, including all Ticketmaster fees). • For $25, you get one general-admission seat at the finals on Saturday, August 27, at a to-be-determined time (a $50 value before fees, or up to a $57.58 value online, including all Ticketmaster fees). • For $30, you get one stadium-reserved seat at the finals Saturday, August 27, at a to-be-determined time (a $60 value before fees, or up to a $67.58 value online, including all Ticketmaster fees).