WALTER DALLAS

5 – 11

IN PRODUCTION 

{On the Boards}

“At the Negro Ensemble Company with my cast and playwright of Eyes of the American, Samm-Art Williams. Left to right, Glynn Turman, Graham Brown, Seret Scott, Samm-Art, and me.”

THE AMEN CORNER

The University of Maryland

Walter Dallas has won recognition and several awards for his work on and Off-Broadway and regionally at such theaters as the Negro Ensemble Company, American Place, Yale Repertory, Crossroads, Alliance and Baltimore’s Center Stage where he was a Director Fellow for the National Endowment for the Arts. At Chicago’s Goodman Theatre he directed the critically acclaimed world premiere of August Wilson’s Seven Guitars, named one of the Top Ten Best Theatre Events of 1995 by Time Magazine and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

 

PURLIE  – Freedom Theatre Philadelphia, PA, (1996)  

Grover Washington, Jr. and Beverly Stewart in Black Nativity, Freedom Theatre (1998) Philadelphia, PA

Awards include an Honorary Doctorate from the University of the Arts (May 2002), a local Emmy Award (San Francisco), New York’s prestigious AUDELCO National Achievement Award for Excellence in Black Theatre, and several Bronze Jubilee Awards for Outstanding Direction. He received a Proclamation, “Walter Dallas Day” from Atlanta’s Mayor Maynard Jackson, and two Creative Genius Awards from the Atlanta Circle of Drama Critics. For his production of Having Our Say at Los Angeles’ Mark Taper Forum, he received a 1997 NAACP Theatre Award nomination for Best Director.

Lynne Thigpen and Frances Foster in ‘Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years’, at the Mark Taper Forum in 1996. Photo by Robert Gauthier

 

In 1996, I directed Emily Mann’s “Having Our Say” at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. The production featured transcendent performances by Frances Foster and Lynn Thigpen and received special recognition from the NAACP Image Awards that year. Impresario and founder/producer of the Forum, Gordon Davidson and I share a special moment at the Opening Night Party.  – May Frances, Lynn, and David rest in heavenly bliss.

Lynn Thigpen

His off-Broadway production of Moms garnered an Obie Award for its star, Clarice Taylor, and resulted in two successful national tours. His production of Desire Under the Elms at Chicago’s Court Theatre received two 2000 Black Theatre Alliance Award nominations. World premieres include works by James Baldwin, Leslie Lee, Sam Kelley, Kia Corthron, Ntozake Shange, Samm-Art Williams, Clarice Taylor, Thulani Davis, and others.

 

2016-17 YSD Annual Magazine
Published on Apr 11, 2017
Annual Magazine of the Yale School of Drama.

His own adaptations of the films Cooley High and Sparkle premiered at Freedom. He also premiered John Henry Redwood’s The Old Settler at the McCarter Theatre.

The Old Settler

University of Maryland, College Park

With my cast, understudies, designers, crews, vocal coach, assistant director, and production team on the set of John Redwood’s The Old Settler, Kogod Theatre, University of Maryland, College Park, February 2011. – Photo by Stan Barouh. — with Will Beckstrom, Matt Soper, Anu Yadav, Yedeedya Mellman, Tẹmídayọ Moriamo Akibu, Erica Philpot, Jake K. Ewonus, Sisi Reid, Chris Lane, Camilla Elaine, Will Voorhies, Adriyah Young, Josie Felt, Kathryn Lillian, Scott Kincaid, Cheryl Robinson, and Jonathan JB Berenson.

His world-premiere production of Charles Smith’s Pudd’nhead Wilson, produced by New York’s Acting Company, enjoyed a national tour, a critically acclaimed Off-Broadway run, and earned him a 2002 AUDELCO nomination for Best Director.

Puddn’head Wilson

The Acting Company, Puddn’head Wilson Directed by Walter Dallas. — with Roslyn Ruff, Christen Simon, Michael Lluberes, and Jimonn Cole.

Back in the 80s, as AD of Freedom Theatre and training program of 700 students in Philly, I got permission from Orion Pictures to do a stage version of Cooley High. It was an experiment to combine traditional, Black theatre, (my audience) and Tyler Perry style theatre (of the 80s) to bring those two diff audiences together and hope that both would be pleased. August Wilson and Woodie King came to bear witness to my audience Dev experiment. It was a smash! The theatre won a National award from Audelco in NYC. Next, I did Sparkle: The Musical with Warner Brothers’ blessings. Again, another smash hit combining the two worlds. My 3rd experiment was going to be Claudine, but I left for the theatre for a University residency before it could happen. PS: The original cast of Cooley High saw the show and wanted to support a national tour. 

SPARKLE

Freedom Theatre

Nikiya Mathis, Lizz Fields, and Amina Robinson were Effie’s girls in Sparkle, The Musical, at Freedom Theatre, Philadelphia, PA.

COOLEY HIGH 

 

Cooley High
The Arts Bank, Philadelphia, PA, (1997) — with Faruq Tauheed Jenkins, Eric Carter, Shawn Patrick Thomas, Kevin Wong, and Joilet F. Harris. 

Cooley High adapted from the film and directed by Walter Dallas

“Back in the 80s, as AD of Freedom Theatre and training program of 700 students in Philly, I got permission from Orion Pictures to do a stage version of Cooley High. It was an experiment to combine traditional, Black theatre, (my audience) and Tyler Perry style theatre (of the 80s) to bring those two diff audiences together and hope that both would be pleased. August Wilson and Woodie King came to bear witness to my audience Dev experiment. It was a smash! The theatre won a National award from Audelco in NYC. Next, I did Sparkle: The Musical with Warner Brothers’ blessings. Again, another smash hit combining the two worlds. My 3rd experiment was going to be Claudine, but I left for the theatre for a University residency before it could happen. PS: The original cast of Cooley saw the show and wanted to support a national tour.

Thanks. Both studios responded much as you did, Dale. They wished me well and charged me nothing! I got permission by making one phone call. I wanted to capture more of the women’s POV in Sparkle, so I asked my friend Ntozake Shange to help me with tweaks to the script. We had fun.”

[ Major props to cast members Glynn Turman and Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs who attended the premiere of my stage adaption of ‘Cooley High” at Freedom Theatre, Philadelphia,1996. And thanks to screenwriter Eric Monte for helping me get movie studio’s permission to do it.  ]

 

August Wilson visits my Cooley High at Freedom Theatre, Philadelphia, PA
Photo by Walter Dallas.

Paul Carter Harrison, August Wilson, and Walter Dallas (Crossroads Theatre)

Also, an award-winning playwright, his latest play, Lazarus, Unstoned, had its world premiere, to popular and critical acclaim, at Freedom Theatre in April of 2002. Of his Lazarus, Unstoned, the Philadelphia Weekly theatre critic wrote: “It’s often said that the role of the director coincided with the birth of vernacular religious drama, and in Philadelphia, nobody is more adept at this style of theatre than Walter Dallas.”  

Lazarus, Unstoned

Freedom Theatre

Lazarus, Unstoned, Gospel-Rap opera, at Freedom Theatre (2004) Philadelphia, PA

Additional work with new play development has included experiences at Sundance, the O’Neill, the Public Theatre, New Dramatists, and in Africa, England, France, and Russia.

A graduate of Morehouse College and the Yale School of Drama, he also studied music and theology at Harvard University, and dance and theater in traditional African societies at the University of Ghana at Legon. He taught theatre at Antioch College and the University of California, Berkeley. He created the School of Theatre for Philadelphia’s University of the Arts in 1983. In 1992 he left to become artistic director at Freedom Theatre.

 

Walter Dallas and Jerome Preston Bates

Walter Dallas: I met Walter during an audition at Meg Simon/Kumin Casting in the winter of 1989. I was a young actor in NYC and had never heard of him. I auditioned for Pill Hill by Sam Kelly for Yale’s Winter Fest and was cast.I’ve had the honor of working with Walter on at least six other productions since that time. Spunk at Philadelphia Drama Guild in 1991, Two Trains Running by August Wilson In 1994, the world premiere of Seven Guitars by August Wilson In 1995, Jitney by August Wilson In 1997, Stick fly at the Arden Theatre in 2013 and Autumn for the Billie Holiday Theatre in 2016.

Walter, I’d call the quiet storm of directing, quite and precise but roaring and direct when need be. Knowing him mostly as a director and not nearly as social as I’d like I’ve discovered we attended the same high school in Atlanta, Georgia, Henry McNeil Turner High.An incredible photographer as well as having traveled extensively throughout the world with residency in Ghana, Africa. I can still see August and Walter sitting at the work table working on the play, talking to the actors, writing, and listening. I look forward to his next work his brilliance has a prominent place in the work we love. Theatre, Film, and Television. Walter Dallas wrote the script for the Motown musicians documentary Standing in the Shadows of Motown. Brilliant.    

Jerome Preston Bates (Actor)

 

Two Trains Running

Philadelphia Drama Guild

August Wilson’s “Two Trains Running” featuring Vincent Yates (Hambone) and Jerome Preston Bates (Sterling) for the Philadelphia Drama Guild. circa 1994. Also in the cast were Johnnie Hobbs, Jr., Kim Sullivan, Cortez Nance, Roslyn Coleman, and Lex Monson. Photo courtesy of Barbara Silzle.

Two Trains Running by August Wilson directed by Walter Dallas for Philadelphia Drama Guild,92…with JPB as Sterling, Lex Monson as Holloway., Johnny Hobbs as Memphis and Kim Sullivan as Wolf.

*~*

“The delicacy and audacity of ensemble acting”

The Piano Lesson 

Arden Theatre

The Piano Lesson, Arden Theatre, Philadelphia. 2008. — with Alison Roberts, Brian A Wilson, Chioma Ngozi Sheri, Courtney Riggar, Julian Rozzell Jr., Harum Ulmer Jr, and Yaegel T. Welch.

SPUNK 

Philadelphia Drama Guild

My cast, designers and production team, Spunk, Philadelphia Drama Guild — with Felix Cochran, Johnnie Hobbs, Jr., Barbara Silzle, Roy Backes, Jerome Preston Bates, Cedric Turner, Millicent Sparks, Lisa White, and Saundra McClain. (2009)

 

Blue Door

 

Arden Theatre Company

BLUE DOOR
By Tanya Barfield
Directed by Walter Dallas
Featuring Johnnie Hobbs, Jr. and Kes Khemnu

Lighting by Thom Weaver
Scenery by Daniel Conway
Costumes by Alison Roberts
Sound by Robert Kaplowitz

2010

Photos courtesy of

Thom Weaver

JITNEY

by August Wilson

JITNEY by August Wilson directed by Walter Dallas with Steve McKinley Henderson, Anthony Chisholm, Jerome Preston Bates, Yvette Ganier, Cortez Nance, Karen Martin, Willis Burks, Ray Aranha, Curtis McClarin and Peggy Johnson. (2010)

THE AMEN CORNER

Philadelphia

THE AMEN CORNER  – [PROJECT1voice]

By James Baldwin

To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the death of James Baldwin, THE AMEN CORNER was produced at the Gerald Lynch Theater.

Directed by Walter Dallas (August Wilson’s SEVEN GUITARS), it starred Chuck Cooper, Adriane Lenox, and Lillias White

Adriane Lenox, Kimberly JaJuan, Lillias White, Leonard Joseph, Chuck Cooper, Jeffery V. Thompson, Elain Graham, and Erich McMillan-McCall

THE AMEN CORNER — with Marcia Pendelton, Walter Dallas, Gwen Gilliam, Cheryl Wills, La Dida (Harriett D Foy), and Chuck Cooper at the Gerald W. Lynch Theatre.

Tony Award winner, Lillias White (Sister Margaret) reads a scene from The Amen Corner with Christopher Lane (David), sophomore performance major at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Elain Graham. Lillias White, Harriett D. Foy, Christopher Lane, Directorial Observer Andre Gardner, and recent University of Maryland grad Camilla Nichols (Sister Sally) during the NYC Project 1 Voice reading of The Amen Corner, June 18, 2012. — with Project1voice.

The Amen Corner – (rehearsal) – Project1voice,  Femi Sarah Heggie, Walter Dallas, Erich McMillan-McCall, and Gwen Gilliam.

THE AMEN CORNER – With Flo Wiley, Adriane Lenox, Walter Dallas, Lilias White, Leonard Joseph, Chuck Cooper, La Dida, Virginia Woodruff, Jeffery V. Thompson, Elain Graham, Elaine Graham, and Erich McMillan-McCall.

A RAISIN IN THE SUN

By Lorraine Hansberry

L-R: Jaleesa Capri as Beneatha Younger, U.R. as Walter Lee Younger, Joilet F. Harris as Lena Younger, Nikki E. Walker as Ruth Younger, Yannick Haynes as Travis Younger in Arden Theatre Company’s production of A Raisin in the Sun. Photo: Mark Garvin

L-R: Yannick Haynes as Travis Younger, Joilet F. Harris as Lena Younger, and Nikki E. Walker as Ruth Younger in Arden Theatre Company’s production of A Raisin in the Sun. Photo: Mark Garvin

U.R. as Walter Lee Younger and Nikki E. Walker as Ruth Photo: Mark Garvin

L-R: Joilet F. Harris as Lena Younger, Yannick Haynes as Travis Younger, Leonard C. Haas as Karl Lindner, Nikki E. Walker as Ruth Younger, U.R. as Walter Lee Younger, and Jaleesa Capri as Beneatha Younger in Arden Theatre Company’s production of A Raisin in the Sun. Phtoto: Mark Garvin

A Raisin in the Sun
The Arden Theatre.
2013

Raisin’ gives a folksy twist to a classic tale of hope, despair…
(MARK GARVIN – Photo)
“Joilet F. Harris is matriarch amid director Walter Dallas’ message: These characters are us.”
Read more: http://www.philly.com/philly/entertainment/20130315__Raisin__gives_folksy_twist_to_classic_tale_of_hope__despair.html#ixzz2NcqgY39F

EXTENDED BY DEMAND!

In Chicago’s South Side in the early 1950s, a life insurance check sent to the Younger’s home arrives with the promise of change. This African American family then considers buying a house in the all-white Clybourne Park, but conflicting aspirations and a neighborhood’s intolerance threaten the dream’s reality.

Walter Dallas (The Piano Lesson, Blue Door) directs this classic drama that paved the way for the African American voice to be heard on stage. 

Arden Theatre Company
presents
A RAISIN IN THE SUN

By Lorraine Hansberry
Directed by Walter Dallas

That time Walter Dallas told me that people always play Bobo’s moment of bringing Walter Lee the bad news as if it’s only bad news for Walter. That, in fact, Bobo’s lost everything that HE had! That HE just got finished having his own Walter/Mama moment and it’s still fresh when he has to muster up the courage to now, come tell Walter. And he said (direct quote) ‘I want to see Bobo’s snot all over the floor’.”

Kash Gokash Goins (Actor)

https://www.facebook.com/jaleesa.capri/videos/10158243756823620/ 

 

BOESMAN and LENA  

February 7-16, 2014

By Athol Fugard

Directed by Walter Dallas

It is the late 1960’s in South Africa as the stranglehold of apartheid tightly grips the country.

In this historical play, we meet an African couple, Boesman and Lena who has been wandering through the bleak mudflats looking for a safe place to pitch their tent. Their universal and powerful story continues to speak to audiences long after the collapse of one the century’s most vicious regimes of oppression.

Produced in association with the Black Theatre Troupe

Boesman and Lena from ASU Sch of Film, Dance & Theatre on Vimeo.

 

THE BLUEST EYE

By Lydia R. Diamond

Lorraine Hansberry Theatre (2007)

A novel by Toni Morrison
adapted for the stage by Lydia R. Diamond

She’s delighted to learn that Walter Dallas will be directing “Bluest Eye” at the Hansberry, noting that he staged one of the play’s first productions for a general audience (at Detroit’s Plowshares Theatre) after it premiered in the Steppenwolf’s Young Adults series for high school and junior high students.

“Walter is an amazing director,” Diamond says. Dallas returns the compliment.
“She’s very cool and very talented,” he says by phone from Philadelphia’s New Freedom Theatre, one of the nation’s oldest African American theaters, where he’s been artistic director since 1992. “I’ve adapted some films for the stage,” he says, “so I know the challenges of adapting from one medium to another. Lydia just nails it.”

Director Walter Dallas (right) works with the cast members Tamiyka White (left) and KD (no last name)during rehearsal. The season opener at Lorraine Hansberry Theatre in San Francisco is Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye” – adapted for the stage. The company under the direction of Walter Dallas was in the early stages of rehearsal. The photo was taken on 9/18/07 near San Francisco, CA. Photo by Michael Maloney / San Francisco Chronicle ***Walter Dallas, Tamiyka White, KD MANDATORY CREDIT FOR PHOTOG AND SF CHRONICLE/NO SALES-MAGS OUT Photo: Michael Maloney

From left, Carla Punch, Shanique Scott, and Nicole Harley in rehearsal. The season opener at Lorraine Hansberry Theatre in San Francisco is Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye” – adapted for the stage. The company under the direction of Walter Dallas was in the early stages of rehearsal. The photo was taken on 9/18/07 near San Francisco, CA. Photo by Michael Maloney / San Francisco Chronicle ***Walter Dallas, Carla Punch, Shanique Scott, Nicole Harley MANDATORY CREDIT FOR PHOTOG AND SF CHRONICLE/NO SALES-MAGS OUT Photo: Michael Maloney

Lydia Diamond’s “The Bluest Eye” (2007) Freedom Theatre – Philadelphia
Photo by Walter Dallas.

 

The Bluest Eye, cast/crew/designers, UMD, 2010

Delta Secret 

Alabama Shakespeare Festival

“Delta Secret” by Prince Duren (plaid shirt) at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival’s Southern Writers’ Project. Montgomery, May 3-8, 2016.

PHIL HILL

Cast and Production Staff of “Pill Hill” by Samuel Kelley, directed by Walter Dallas. Winterfest 10, Yale Repertory Theater at the University Theater. (1990).— with Robert Beatty, Christi Karvonides, Lisa A. Wilde, Byron Keith Minns, Maggie Morgan, Nephelie Andonyadis, Jerome Preston Bates, Benard Cummings, Shawn Hamilton-Brown, Walter Dallas, Andrew Mudd, Andy Mudd, Samuel Kelley, Christopher Sibilia, Chris Sibilia, Matthew Everett, Ashley York Kennedy, Joshua Kovar, Rich Gold, Jamie Anderson, Kadina De Ejalde, Kadina De Elejalde, and James Triner.

Pill Hill by Samuel Kelly at YALE Repertory Company

SEVEN GUITARS

 

The world premiere of Seven Guitars by August Wilson.. – Albert Hall, Viola Davis, Michelle Shay, Rosalyn Coleman, Tommy Hollis, Ruben Santiago Hudson, and Jerome Preston Bates at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre. Directed by Walter Dallas

Vera (Viola Davis) and Floyd (Jerome Preston Bates)
World premiere, Seven Guitars by August Wilson Goodman Theatre, Chicago, IL.
Directed by Walter Dallas, 1995.

Michele Shay and Viola Davis in the Goodman Theatre’s production of August Wilson’s “Seven Guitars,” directed by Walter Dallas. (Eric Y. Exit/Courtesy The Goodman Theatre)

Seven Guitars with Albert Hall, Jerome Preston Bates., Ruben Santiago Hudson, and Tommy Hollis.

 

By the Way, Meet Vera Stark

By the Way, Meet Vera Stark
Dawn Ursula.
Everyman Theatre. (2014)
Photo Credit: ClintonBPhotography

By the Way, Meet Vera Stark
Beth Hylton.
Everyman Theatre. (2014) Photo Credit: ClintonBPhotography

By the Way, Meet Vera Stark
Kathryn Tkel, Beth Hylton, and Robert Lyons.
Everyman Theatre. (2014) Photo Credit: ClintonBPhotography

By the Way, Meet Vera Stark
Dawn Ursula and Kelli Blackwell.
Everyman Theatre. (2014)
Photo Credit: ClintonBPhotography

By the Way, Meet Vera Stark
Dawn Ursula and Yaegel T. Welch.
Everyman Theatre. (2014)
Photo Credit: ClintonBPhotography

Vera Stark is actually a play about Black film actresses in 1933 who were trying desperately to get parts in a movie, The Belle of New Orleans, a southern epic set in 1855. Fast forward: in 2003, some professors at a university hold a public debate about the important role the star Vera Stark played in that film and American cinematic history. During that meeting, they show a section of the film. It’s that section that we filmed.

Everyman Theatre in Baltimore.

Photos by Walter Dallas, Director, “Vera Stark” film shoot

On March 20, 2014, Everyman embarked on filming The Belle of New Orleans, the fictitious film seen within our production of By the Way, Meet Vera Stark. The Everyman rehearsal hall was transformed into a sound stage of a professional scale. The following is footage from that special day. — Everyman Theatre presents “By the Way, Meet Vera Stark” by Lynn Nottage, directed by Walter Dallas.

 

STICK FLY 

 

Arden Theatre Company presents
STICK FLY
By Lydia R. Diamond
Directed by Walter Dallas 

October 24 – December 22, 2013

One summer weekend in Martha’s Vineyard, the LeVay brothers bring their girlfriends home to meet the parents. Between breakfast and board games, rivalries ignite, opinions flare, and secrets unravel. Join us for this of-the-moment portrait of an affluent African-American family. 

 

Biko Eisen-Martin (Spoon) and Jessica Frances Dukes (Taylor) rehearse a scene from Lydia Diamond’s “Stick Fly” opening on October 30, 2013, at Arden Theatre, Philadelphia. Photos by Walter Dallas

 

Stick Fly — with Donald James Smith Jr., Jessica Frances Dukes, Biko Eisen-Martin, Julianna Zinkel Disbrow, Jerome Preston Bates, Walter Dallas, Joniece Abbott-Pratt and Kes Khemnu. (2013)

“Stick Fly” at Arden Theatre, at the Opening Night reception, Philadelphia, 2013. — with Biko Eisen-Martin, Jessica Frances Dukes, Julianna Zinkel Disbrow, Joniece Abbott-Pratt, Walter Dallas (Director), and Jerome Preston Bates.

At Kennedy Center in DC where we did a staged reading before a packed house of Caroline Clay’s new play, “SEPIA SCULPTRESS: The Life & Trials of Edmonia Lewis“. 2016

THE MOUNTAIN TOP

by Katori Hall Directed by Walter Dallas September 14 – October 8, 2017,

Featuring Hassan El-Amin as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Antoinette Robinson as Camae.

Scenic design: Stefanie Hansen Costume design: Andrea Barrier Lighting design: Eileen Smitheimer

Sound design: Kristian Derek Ball

Projection design: Clint Allen

“Dallas directs this deceptively simple two-hander so artfully that it appears artless, deeply mining the relationship of these two.” – Gail Obenreder / Delaware Online

Antoinette Robinson’s Camae and Hassan El-Amin’s Martin Luther King Jr. share a final evening. (Photo by N.Howatt.)

Antoinett Robinson as Camae and Hassan El-Amin as Martin Luther King, Jr.

Antoinette Robinson left, plays Camae and Hassan El-Amin is Martin Luther King Jr. in the UD Resident Ensemble Players production of “The Mountaintop.” (Photo: Courtesy of N. Howatt/REP)

THURGOOD

Olney Theatre Center (2017)

Brian Anthony Wilson as Thurgood Marshall. Photo by Stan Barouh.

https://www.baltimoresun.com/entertainment/arts/bs-wk-arts-story-0728-story.html 

THURGOOD, a one-man show about the life of Thurgood Marshall, at Olney Theatre Center. Written by George Stevens, Jr., directed by Walter Dallas, and starring Brian Anthony Wilson as Thurgood Marshall

Olney Theatre Center
May 4, 2020
We’re heartbroken to learn that Walter Dallas has died. He was a writer, director, and mentor to many. We were fortunate to host him at Olney Theatre when he directed actor Brian Anthony Williams in the one-man show “Thurgood” in 2017. Rest in power.

 

 

AUTUMN

 

https://www.broadwayworld.com/off-broadway/article/Billie-Holiday-Theatres-AUTUMN-Sweeps-2017-Audelco-Awards-20171121  

Autumn Family. Brooklyn. — with Jerome Preston Bates, Count Stovall, Indira Etwaroo, LeKethia Dalcoe, Richard Wesley, Brent Langdon, Terria Joseph, and Michael Chenevert.

AUTUMN with Brent Langdon, LeKethia Dalcoe, Jerome Preston Bates, Pauletta Washington, Walter Dallas, Indira Etwaroo, Count Stovall, and Terria Joseph.

Richard Wesley (Playwright) and Walter Dallas (Director)

AUTUMN

Richard Wesley and Walter Dallas

Walter Dallas and I certainly knew of each other, professionally, and had met occasionally across many years, but we’d never worked together until producer Indira Etwaroo, of the Billie Holiday Theater, brought Walter in to direct the New York premiere of my play, I found myself drawn to his directorial style, which emphasized lean, minimalist acting, brisk and precise movement or blocking, and meticulous attention to the text; all of which made for a fast-paced but never rushed performance. The result was the kind of presentation He was affable, incredibly easy for a playwright to converse with, particularly when discussing the theme and the subtext. As a man, there is not much I can tell you. We never really had the opportunity to socialize much. But, I always remember his warm smile and jovial nature. I remember quite a steady leadership. These are the qualities every writer looks for in his or her director, but are not often found.      

That is why there are only a relative handful of directors all the playwright’s clamor to work with. Walter is one who exists within that rarified circle. I was blessed to have had my opportunity to have him helm my play. I wish such good fortune for every writer.

{“Dale, Walter was a jewel in the crown of Black Theater.”}

Richard Wesley  – Associate professor at New York University

http://thebillieholiday.org/walter-dallas/ 

 

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