Dallas Theater Center Presents World Premiere Of “penny candy”

penny candy playwright Jonathan Norton
Playwright Jonathan Norton with Josefina Lopez

Dallas Theater Center’s world premiere of “penny candy” by Playwright in Residence Jonathan Norton runs through July 14 in the Studio Theatre at the Wyly Theatre. Directed by Derrick Sanders, producing director of the August Wilson Monologue Competition and a University of Illinois at Chicago professor.

Norton said, “Dallas Theater Center is responsible for many game-changing experiences in my creative and professional life. I saw my first play at Dallas Theater Center and it changed my life. I got my first commission from a [League of Resident Theatre] house thanks to Dallas Theater Center and my first residency, so penny candy making its world premiere at DTC is so perfect and full circle. It’s a love letter to my parents and Pleasant Grove, and having the opportunity to share this confection with my hometown means everything to me. And like any candied treat, penny candy is sweet, tart, nutty, sour, tangy, salty and sometimes bitter. I’m excited for folks to come out and enjoy what we have in store. Two words: Frito Pie.”

Pleasant Grove Provides Setting For Norton’s Play

Set in Pleasant Grove, “penny candy” follows a family seeking to balance their responsibilities to the community and each other. While growing up in a candy house sounds like any kid’s dream, 12-year-old Jon-Jon found that helping his father run Paw Paw’s Candy Tree out of their run-down one-bedroom apartment isn’t his dream come true. Their neighborhood undergoes a surge of violence due to epidemic drug use and racial tensions.

The cast includes Ace Anderson as Kingston; Tiana Kaye Blair as Nicole; Liz Mikel as Laura Mae; Jamal Sterling as Donnie; Claudia Logan as Rose; Leon Addison Brown as Dubba J; and Esau Price as Jon-Jon.

Set designer is Courtney O’Neill, with costume design by Samantha C. Jones, sound and original music by Elisheba Ittoop, lighting design by Alan C. Edwards, hair and make-up design by Cherelle Guyton and video design by Sarah Harris.

DTC’s Come Early

Come Early takes place before every performance. Come Early is a free, 30-minute informative talk that enhances a patron’s play-going experience. One hour before every performance, a member of the cast or artistic staff shares details about the play’s origins and context, plus insight into the creative process behind the production.

Stay Late takes place after each performance, and is a free, brief, post-show conversation with a member of the cast about the show. Patrons engage with the artists, learn about the production, and share their insights about the play in a lively discussion. Stay Late is presented by Wells Fargo.

Support for penny candy is provided by Presenting Sponsors Hersh Foundation and TACA – New Works Fund and Executive Producing Partners Jackson Walker and National Endowment for the Arts.

Tickets are priced from $20. A Pay-What-You-Can performance is July 5 at 8 p.m. For tickets or more information visit DallasTheaterCenter.org or call 214-522-8499.



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Jo Ann Holt
Jo Ann Holt is an award-winning journalist with 40+ years of experience as a writer and editor. She loves live performances, from country music concerts to Broadway musicals to community theatre productions. Holt also enjoys art and cultural festivals, and good food and wine. She’s toured Amsterdam, London, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, and various cities in Mexico but looks forward to visiting even more countries. She has traveled by boat, plane, and train, but especially likes taking long road trips across the U.S. with her husband, retired history professor Durhl Caussey. They enjoy meeting friendly people, learning about different cultures, and visiting historic sites wherever they go.