Dezart Performs Looks Back At Record Breaking And Highly Acclaimed Eleventh Season
Dezart Performs 11th Season was a record-breaking and critically-acclaimed combination of "laughter, drama, poignancy and social commentary" at Palm Springs' Pearl McManus Theater, located at the historic Palm Springs Woman's Club. Add to that Dezart's new designation as a Small Professional Theatre, and it was an historic season indeed. "It doesn't get much more gratifying than that," said Michael Shaw, founding artistic director for Dezart Performs, noting that attendance was up over 60 % from the previous season and 126% from three years ago.
"Now fully into our second decade, we've staked a claim here in the Valley for theatre that is innovative, entertaining and inspiring. All I can say is 'thank you' to all our loyal supporters, volunteers, patrons and sponsors."
Opening the season was the "very, very powerful" (BroadwayWorld.com) politically-timely comedy/drama Church & State by Jason Odell Williams "intelligently and sensitively directed by Michael Shaw" (Desert Local News) and "beyond special- spectacular" (CV Independent). Next, the poignantly painful look back at hidden gay lives in the 1950s Perfect Arrangementby Topher Payne sold out its entire run from opening night: audiences delighted by its McCarthy Era meets I Love Lucy casserole of "lies, shame, suspicion, security risks, fear, irony, hate, stereotypes, furniture polish, girl talk and sex" (CV Independent), a "pretty production that is pretty near perfect (Palm Springs Life). Timed to coincide with the similarly-themed play, the acclaimed documentary Lavender Scare was presented by Dezart Performs at the Palm Springs Cultural Center for one night: an almost sold-out screening followed by a panel discussion benefiting The LGBTQ Center of the Desert, Cinema Diverse.
After two plays that combined hilarity with headlines, the third offering was a decidedly "raw and powerful play that addresses America's racial divide" (Desert Local News), White Guy On The Bus by Bruce Graham. It's "a powerhouse of a play...and a production so good it will you keep you thinking long after the curtain call" (BroadwayWorld.com). Like its two season predecessors, the play sold out its run almost from the get-go.
"The success of White Guy On The Buswas, to me, proof that people will pay for hard-hitting, thought-provoking theatre," said Shaw, who directed the first three shows of the season, "even if sometimes they're made to squirm a bit in their seats. This season, and this play, cemented my deeply held conviction that Desert audiences are among the most curious and intelligent anywhere."
Ending the season was the loving and lovable two-person romantic comedy Maytag Virgin by Audrey Cefaly and directed by Valley veteran Deborah Harmon. "Asdelightful as a spring day. It's a wonderful, feel-good play...superb acting and well-crafted, intelligent characters with a great deal of heart" (BroadwayWorld.com), "an impressive and entertaining evening in the theatre" (Desert Local News). Dezart Performs ended its11th season "on a perfect note...a magical time at the theater" (CV Independent).
"My greatest joy and my greatest challenge is picking the plays for our next season," said Shaw, currently deep in negotiations and planning for the new season. "In the next few weeks, we'll be announcing our 12th season. I can only hope its up to the expectations we set with this last year!"
The 12th Season for Dezart Performs will be announced next month, with subscriptions going on sale July 1.
Dezart Performs, one of the Coachella Valley's preeminent theatre companies, recognizes that the performing arts enrich the life and culture of a community, promote greater understanding and provoke insightful discussion. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit theatre company, its mission is to provide an artistic home for bold and cutting-edge plays, creating an atmosphere of artistic growth for actors, writers, and directors who uniquely contribute to the diverse theatrical environment in the Coachella Valley.
Sponsors of Dezart Performs' 2018/19 Season included The Riviera Palm Springs, Desert Care Network, Eight4Nine Restaurant & Lounge, Acqua California Bistro at the River, Lulu California Bistro, TRIO Restaurant, Hotel Zoso and the Desert Sun.
For more information visit www.dezartperforms.org.