he Dallas Summer Musicals celebrates its 75th anniversary this
year, and has come a long way since its start in the Band Shell
at Fair Park. The same can be said for the Musicals’ President
and Managing Director Michael Jenkins, who began his career as
an usher at 14. He was promoted and worked in the office at 17,
and became interested in stage design. Of the anniversary season,
he says, “I work on these shows sometimes three to four years in
advance, so I’m really glad this season has come together. We’ve
become over the years part of the cultural fabric of the city of Dallas,
and it’s been very rewarding. We’re really excited about this season.”
Upcoming shows for the celebratory run include the revival of
Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I and Cinderella; Pippen;
the Tony Award-winning Kinky Boots; The Illusionists; and the stage
production of Dirty Dancing.
Though not part of the anniversary season, Nice Work if You
Can Get It will run Sept. 2–14, featuring some of George and
Ira Gershwin’s most beloved tunes set in a song-and-dance
show with a book by Tony winner Joe DiPietro (Memphis) and
direction and choreography by three-time Tony winner Kathleen
Marshall (Anything Goes).
Kinky Boots is a story about a man in London that had a shoe
factory, and people started sending the shoes back. He wanted his
son to come into business with him, and the son tried to revive
the shoe business. Says Jenkins, “It’s a true story, with music by
Cyndi Lauper. Our shows this year cumulatively have won 15 Tony
awards. The Illusionists is a very unusual show from Australia. Pippin
is a show that’s been a huge success on Broadway. And with The
King and I there’s a little bit of something for everyone.” For that
show, he notes that the leads will likely be from New York, but they
will cast as much as possible locally, including the children.
Kicking off the 2015 anniversary season, A Christmas Story is
one for the whole family, as is Cinderella. “We bought the rights to A
Christmas Story and this will be its first time in Texas,” Jenkins adds.
DSM is also collaborating with Performing Arts Fort Worth
to stage shows at Bass Hall. “It helps them get the shows sooner,
and we’re not competitive, so it’s been a great relationship,” remarks
As for a show he’s been partial to over the years, Jenkins says,
“The one we’re working on at the moment is always my favorite. I
love Aida, The Lion King, Miss Saigon, The Little Mermaid.”
Of his role, he notes, “It’s never dull, that’s for sure.”
A scene from Nice Work If You Can Get It.
BY NANCY MYERS
Bringing the best of Broadway to North Texas audiences since 1941,
Dallas Summer Musicals hits a high note for its 75th Anniversary.