Nancy Churnin – The Dallas Morning News
After 24 years, Lyric Stage has a new producer and new venue — the Majestic Theatre — for its new season.
Shane Peterman, the company’s associate producer, steps up to the role of producer in the 25th year, while founding producer Steven Jones moves into a consulting role that will allow him to focus on developing new works and education initiatives.
The decision to leave the company’s longtime home at Irving Arts Center for Dallas was a mix of business and serendipity, Peterman says.The Majestic became available and interested in presenting the company’s shows, and while he says he’s grateful to the city of Irving for providing “a great home” for 24 years, ”the majority of our patrons come from Dallas and we feel that it’s going to be a much easier commute and better experience being in downtown Dallas.”
The first show, Dallas Divas and the Dallas Winds, marks the return, after 10 years, of what had been the company’s annual celebration of female singers. It will be performed at the Meyerson Symphony Center.
The rest of the four-show season will be at the Majestic, with the regional premieres of Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Daddy Long Legs, plus the Frank Loesser classic Guys and Dolls. The company, known for its dedication to the development and preservation of musicals, marks a departure with the family-friendly Hunchback and the intimate two-person Daddy Long Legs, a 2015 off-Broadway musical about an orphan and her mysterious benefactor.
“Lyric Stage’s brand will not change,” Peterman says. Instead it will “ merely widen to include programming that is both thought- provoking and engaging while remaining entertaining for our patrons,” he adds.
Jones says patrons can expect more recent works such as Hunchback and that he’s looking forward to the growth of the company under Peterman’s leadership.
“Shane has done a wonderful job here for the last three years,” Jones says .”He will bring a contemporary theater vision to Lyric Stage. And while I don’t have any interest in repeating shows that I’ve done from the classical canon, they deserve to be seen by a new generation, and Shane will be here to produce them. Stepping aside is going to enable me to focus on my first love, which is new works, and concentrate on special projects and education initiatives.”
The Schmidt & Jones Awards, which recognize excellence in high school musical theater, will continue. Peterman, a Dallas native, and longtime actor and director, will continue to run The Acting Studio, an independently owned children’s theater program that he co-founded with his wife, Erica, and Kellie Carroll.