Second Thought to Close 2017 Season with World Premiere of THE NECESSITIES

Second Thought Theatre closes its 2017 season of change with the world premiere of The Necessities by Dallas-based playwright and artist Blake Hackler. Joel Ferrell, Associate Artistic Director for the Dallas Theater Center, returns to direct after previously directing Othello and Gruesome Playground Injuries for the company.

The Necessities begins with previews on Wednesday, July 5 and runs through Saturday, July 29. All performances of The Necessities will take place at Bryant Hall on the Kalita Humphreys Campus, 3636 Turtle Creek Blvd. Tickets to The Necessities can be purchased online at

"I had been thinking about the relationship between sex and love, and loneliness and belonging," said playwright Blake Hackler when asked what inspired him to write the play. "I had an image or two that really stuck in my head - of a man alone at night on a hill, and of a woman, alone, in front of a mirror." Hackler added, "And then I heard a song - and it seemed like the all the pieces of the play came alive in the four minutes I was listening to it. So I put the song on repeat and started to write."

The Necessities centers around four new inhabitants of a very small east Texas town. Peter (Matthew Gray) is a former minister yearning to escape his past. Debbie (Christie Vela) is a disgruntled Wal-Mart employee hoping to do the same. Carly (Allison Pistorius) is an eccentric Reiki therapist looking for love, and her estranged son Ward (STT newcomer Tex Patrello) has a penchant for night-sky-gazing and Battlestar Galactica. Though they begin as strangers, their lives quickly intersect as they each desperately search for intimacy and connection. But the center can't hold, and each of them will have to decide how much they are willing to give to get what they need.

"Second Thought Theater has become a second artistic home for me," said direct Joel Ferrell. "I'm overjoyed to be back with the company for the world premiere of The Necessities. Dallas is quickly becoming a breeding ground for new work and local writers who need to be seen and heard across the nation." Ferrell continued, "This intimate and remarkable play speaks to the resilience of the human spirit, no matter how broken or scarred, to reach for hope." Second Thought Artistic Director Alex Organ added, "We are proud to close our 13th season with the world premiere of such an extraordinary new play. That it was written by someone whose artistic merits I deeply respect - and is being directed by one of the most talented and well-respected directors I've ever worked with - make this one of the most exciting projects Second Thought has ever produced."

Matthew Gray makes his Second Thought acting debut as Peter, having previously directed A Kid Like Jake, Pluck the Day, and Thom Pain. Straight White Men director Christie Vela returns to play Debbie, and Allison Pistorius (Martyr) plays Carly. A new face for Second Thought audiences, Tex Patrello makes his debut as Ward.

Second Thought alum Aaron Johansen (Straight White Men; Grounded; A Kid Like Jake; The Great God Pan) returns to design lights, and Off-Broadway designer Diggle (Martyr) will serve as scenic designer. Liz Sokolak and Melissa Panzarello, both making their Second Thought design debuts, will design sound and costumes respectively.

The Necessities opens with previews on Wednesday, July 5 and Thursday, July 6 at 7:30pm. Opening and press night is Friday, July 7 at 8:00pm. The PWYC performances of The Necessities will take place on Wednesday, July 5; Thursday, July 6; Monday, July 10; Monday, July 17; and Monday, July 24 at 7:30p. PWYC tickets are available at the box office one hour prior to the start of the performance and are subject to availability. The Necessities runs through July 29. Tickets to The Necessities are on sale now at and can be purchased for $25.

Second Thought Theatre (STT) provides an intimate and unique theatrical experience by empowering top local theater artists to take risks, and by showcasing writers who boldly tackle the difficult and demanding questions of our rapidly changing world.


Matthew Gray (Peter) is thrilled to make his Second Thought acting debut, having previously directed A Kid Like Jake, Humpty Dumpty, Snake Eyes at the Mardi Gras Hotel, and Pluck the Day. As a former member of the Brierley Resident Acting Company at Dallas Theater Center Matthew's shows included: To Kill A Mockingbird; Cat on a Hot Tin Roof; The Taming of the Shrew; A Christmas Carol (Actor and Director); The Misanthrope; Glengarry Glen Ross; Death of a Salesman; Henry IV; Dividing the Estate; and The Shape of Things (Director). He has acted and directed for many companies in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and regionally, including: Kitchen Dog Theater; Dallas Children's Theater; Circle Theatre; Tide Water Rep, and Oklahoma City Repertory. With his wife Emily, Matthew founded and served as the Co-Artistic Director for Classical Acting Company for four seasons. For the last six years he has been producing and directing live events as well as video and digital media of all kinds. He is currently a producer for Abernethy Media Professionals.

Tex Patrello (Ward) Tex is happy to be making his Second Thought Theatre debut and have the opportunity to contribute to this great new play. He was last on stage in This is Our Youth at The Basement and in Stage West's reading of Like a Billion Likes. Other recent credits include The Tempest at Shakespeare Dallas, She Stoops to Conquer at Shakespeare Dallas, Sticks and Bones, Death of a Salesman, Jeff Swearingen's A School Bus Named Desire and Stiff, each for at Fun House Theatre and Film, as well as providing some Dada to the AACT Fest this year. He is Resident Artist of The Basement Theatre Company.

Allison Pistorius (Carly) returns to the Second Thought stage having previously been seen in Martyr. Regional acting credits include:

Constellations, Sense and Sensibility, Clybourne Park (Dallas Theater Center); A Midsummer Night's Dream (Westword's "Best Actress in a Shakespeare Production"), Othello, The House of the Spirits, When We Are Married (Denver Center Theatre Company).

Local credits include: The Winter's Tale, A Midsummer Night's Dream (Trinity Shakespeare Festival); The Taming of the Shrew, The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence, The Nether, Bedroom Farce (Stage West); Venus in Fur (Circle Theatre/WaterTower Theatre); The Glass Menagerie (Theatre Three); Twelfth Night (Shakespeare Dallas); Macbeth, As You Like It, The Merchant of Venice, All's Well That Ends Well (Shakespeare Dallas Complete Works Series). Allison has been a recipient of the D/FW Critics' Forum Award for Best Performance/Best Actress every year from 2013 - 2016. Education: MFA, The National Theatre Conservatory; BA, The University of Texas at Austin.

Christie Vela (Debbie) is a former member of the Brierley Resident Acting Company at Dallas Theater Center. DTC acting credits include Inherit The Wind; Deferred Action; Romeo & Juliet; Sense & Sensibility; Medea; The Book Club Play; A Christmas Carol; Les Misérables; Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure; King Lear; God of Carnage; Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor® Dreamcoat; and The Beauty Plays. Most recently, she directed DTC's Gloria and 2015 A Christmas Carol. Christie is also a company member of Kitchen Dog Theater where she was last seen in Paper Flowers and where she has directed Se Llama Cristina; The Turn of the Screw; Boom; and The Pillowman. You've also seen her work as director/actor in the Metroplex at Echo Theatre, Amphibian Stage, The Undermain Theatre, Dallas Children's Theater, Shakespeare Dallas, and Teatro Dallas. Christie was in A Kid Like Jake at STT where she also directed Bull and Straight White Men. Next, she'll be making her Shakespeare Dallas directorial debut with Titus Andronicus this autumn.

Joel Ferrell (Director) is the Associate Artistic Director at Dallas Theater Center, where his directing/choreography credits include: The Rocky Horror Show; Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor® Dreamcoat; Cabaret; A Christmas Carol (2005-2009, 2011, 2012). DTC directing credits include: Romeo and Juliet, Driving Miss Daisy; Clybourne Park; Red; God of Carnage; Dividing the Estate; reasons to be pretty; The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later; and Cotton Patch Gospel (starring its creator Tom Key). Recent DTC acting: Colossal. DTC choreography credits include: It's a Bird... It's a Plane... It's Superman; A Midsummer Night's Dream; The Who's Tommy; and My Fair Lady. DFW Credits: Othello; Gruesome Playground Injuries (Second Thought Theatre); Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Baltimore Waltz (Stage West); the premiere of Huck Finn by Lee Trull (Classical Acting Company). Mr. Ferrell has worked extensively around the country for Portland Center Stage, Papermill Playhouse, Ford's Theatre, Lyric Theater of Oklahoma, and North Shore Music Theatre, among others.

Blake Hackler (Playwright) has appeared in productions on Broadway, Off-Broadway and in regional theatres throughout the country as well as in TV and film. In Dallas, Blake has appeared with the Dallas Theater Center, Dallas Opera, Dallas Symphony, Trinity Shakespeare Festival, Second Thought Theatre, and the Undermain Theatre. Blake currently holds faculty positions SMU and Yale University. He is a member of the esteemed BMI/Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Writing Program, and is the recipient of the Harrington Award for Excellence in Musical Theatre. He is a company member of the Undermain Theatre and a Fulbright Senior Scholar. Education: MFA, Yale School of Drama.

Mandy Rausch (Assistant Director) spent two years on the executive committee of Sundown Collaborative Theatre in Denton, where she directed two full-length regional premieres (Jacob Monroe Hates Clowns, Said and Done) and several short pieces (A Game, Duet, Sleepwalkers). She has also directed A Feminine Ending and several staged readings for the Method and Madness New Play festival at Denton Community Theatre. Assistant directing credits include The Elephant Man (L.I.P. Service) and Dog Sees God (Denton Community Theatre). She loves cold brew and bold choices (in art and in lipstick) and finds joy daily in creation, connection, tweeting about theatre, feminism and Jesus, and spending time with her husband, son, and Pit Bull. The Necessities is her Second Thought debut.

Diggle (Scenic Designer) Off-Broadway: Red Emma & The Mad Monk (Dir. Katie Lindsay), Across The Park, Molly Murphy and Neil DeGrasse Tyson On Our Last Day On Earth (Dir. Andrew Scoville). Other works include: Electra (DTC); Hair (Dir. Kevin Moriarty); 10 Out Of 12 (Undermain Theatre); Why Do You Stand There In The Rain? (World & American Premiere, Edinburgh Fringe, Scotland Tour); Martyr (Second Thought Theatre); Bye Bye Birdie and Once Upon A Mattress (St. Jean Theatre, NYC). SMU: The Sparrow (Dir. Molly Beach Murphy), Aunt Dan and Lemon, Black Snow. Current Projects: Fade (DTC); The Galveston Island Fat Man's Convention of 1903 (Working Title) - Drama League First Stage Residency 2017. Education: MFA Stage Design (SMU); BA Theatre Arts (Pepperdine University).

Aaron Johansen (Lighting Designer) Second Thought Theatre: Straight White Men; Grounded; Kid Like Jake; Great God Pan; Martyr; Othello; Bellville; Bull; Booth (World Premier); Nocturne; Cock; In a Forest, Dark and Deep; Pluck The Day. Other selected collaborations include: Dallas Theater Center: Electra; Gloria; Driving Miss Daisy; Oedipus El Rey; The Second City Does Dallas; Red; A Christmas Carol (Associate Lighting Designer, 2010-2016); Centerstage Gala (2010-2011, 2013-2016). Kitchen Dog Theater (Company Member): Paper Flowers; I'm Gonna Pray for You So Hard; Totalitarians; Wilde/Earnest (World Premier); The Arsonists; Gidion's Knot; The Motherf**ker with the Hat; Detroit; Macbeth; Turn of the Screw; Ruth (World Premier); The Beauty Queen of Leenane; Se Llama Cristina. Dallas Children's Theater: Tomás and the Library Lady; Seussical the Musical; Fancy Nancy; Rapunzel: A Very Hairy Musical; Pinkalicious (2012 & 2016); Ghouls and Graveyards. Stage West Theater: Ann; Murder for two. Cry Havoc Theater: Shots Fired; Shut up and Listen. Dallas Baptist University: Opera Buffet: A Night of Opera; Camelot; Godspell. Trinity Shakespeare Festival: Love's Labor's Lost. Cara Mia Theater: Blood Wedding; Teatro En Fuga: A Festival of New Works.

Liz Sokolak (Sound Designer) is a sound designer, composer, and musician hailing from Pittsburgh, PA. She attendEd Pennsylvania State University where she earned a B.F.A. in Theatre Sound Design and a minor in Music Technology. Liz was recently nominated for a 2016 AUDELCO Award for her sound design of Blood at the Root with the National Black Theatre in Harlem. She currently works as the Production Audio Technician at Dallas Theater Center.

Melissa Panzarello (Costume Designer) has designed costumes around Dallas, regionally, and in NYC. Selected career highlights include: Constellations (DTC); Trevor, Feathers and Teeth, Wilde/Earnest, (Kitchen Dog Theater); Ears on a Beatle (world premiere directed by Mark St. Germain) (Barrington Stage Company); Signals of Distress (Soho Rep.); I Do! I Do! (New Harmony Theatre); Forever Plaid, The Wizard of Oz, Hello, Dolly!, Annie, Get Your Gun!, 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The Marvelous Wondrettes, Pumpboys and Dinettes, Hank Williams: Lost Highway (Post Playhouse); The Visit (Randolph College); The Rocky Horror Show, Godspell, The Threepenny Opera, The Underpants, Our Town , Eurydice, Little Shop of Horrors, Othello, The Grapes of Wrath, Dracula, The Adding Machine, Closer (Various venues in Virginia).

Juliana Dellasanta (Stage Manager) returns to Second Though after stage-managing Straight White Men. She recently graduated from Southern Methodist University with a BFA in Theatre Studies and an emphasis in Stage Management. She has previously stage managed for The Tribe (Stacy Has a Thing For Black Guys and Hypochondria), as well as several SMU productions (Top Girls, The Sparrow, Bachelorette, A Flea in Her Ear, St. Joan of the Stockyards, Mary Stuart). She was most recently seen in Undermain Theatre's production of 10 out of 12. In her spare time she enjoys being with her cat and trying not to kill all her plants. She is privileged to be straight-passing, white-passing, cisgender and college educated.

Drew Wall (Producer / Production Designer) is currently the Director of Operations for Second Thought Theatre and has been working with the company since 2007. During that time, he has served as an actor, designer, producer, production manager, and resident artist. Second Thought acting credits include Belleville, Nocturne, The Great God Pan, Booth, Red Light Winter, A Behanding in Spokane, The Bombitty of Errors, A Skull in Connemara, The Country Wife, and Lobby Hero. Other (select) credits include Gloria (Dallas Theater Center); Long Way Go Down, Beauty Queen of Leenane, Totalitarians (Kitchen Dog Theater); On The Eve, Defiance (Theater Three); The Dog Problem (Undermain Theater). He is also a freelance carpenter, welder, and designer working for many local theater and TV/film companies in the DFW area. Drew holds a BFA in Theatre Performance from Baylor University and is represented by the Kim Dawson Agency. He is also a company member of Kitchen Dog Theater and proud member of Actors Equity. He would like to thank Abbey Magill, his friends, and family for their constant love and support.

Related Articles View More Dallas Stories   Shows

More Hot Stories For You