When asked to recall his favorite New York theater moment of 2011, David Rooney New York Times Arts Beat writer offered, “The lascivious growl that Liz Mikel packed into the name “Dirty Nasty Shelly” made us both fascinated and terrified to meet this unseen staffer at the Eros Motor Lodge in Lysistrata Jones” And Ben Brantley, then chief theatre critic of the Times singled out Liz’s performance as “commanding.” Lysistrata Jones marked Liz’s Broadway debut, and New York theatergoers discovered what we in Dallas have known for many decades. Liz Mikel is an iconic force of nature.
Liz’s journey to the stage began when her mother, Dr. Versia Lindsay Lacy, enrolled her six-year-old aspiring ballerina in dance classes at the Dallas Black Dance Theatre. Under the tutelage of Mrs. Ann M. Williams, Liz’s natural talent was nurtured and strengthened. Her time at Dallas Black Dance Theater paid off, and young Liz often stood out amongst her peers. Her talent, confidence and stage presence ultimately earned her recognition as Carter High School’s Most Talented and Miss El Centro 1983.
The next phase in Liz’s artistic evolution came through her work with Dallas Drama Company and its founder, Dallas theater legend diannetucker. Mrs. tucker’s influence was pivotal in Liz’s creative and professional growth as an actress. And it was Mrs. tucker who introduced Liz to then Dallas Theater Center acting company member Akin Babatunde. With Mr. Babatunde’s guidance Liz found her way to DTC in 1991, making her mainstage debut in David Petrarca’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Not long after, another longtime DTC favorite, Randy Moore invited Liz to play The Ghost of Christmas Present in A Christmas Carol. She would go on to appear for more than 20 years in this annual holiday classic. Liz became a founding member of the Diane and Hal Brierley Resident Acting Company in 2009. In 2015, Liz proudly represented DTC as a Ten Chimney’s Lunt Fontanne Fellow. And in 2018, the Dallas Historical Society Award honored Liz for Excellence in Community Service in The Arts. The following year, DTC presented Liz with the Linda and Bill Custard Award for her distinguished career.
Over the last 30 years, DTC audiences have been fortunate to witness Liz transform herself in a broad range of plays that include Twelfth Night; Inherit the Wind; Steel Magnolias; A Raisin in the Sun; Miller, Mississippi; The Rocky Horror Show; Ain’t Misbehavin; Crowns; Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat; The Wiz; Avenue X; Romeo and Juliet; Bella: An American Tall Tale; Medea; School For Wives; The Who’s Tommy; Streetcar Named Desire; Public Works Dallas’ The Tempest; Penny Candy; and Cake Ladies. Liz has also shared her artistry on many stages across Dallas including Casa Mañana Theatre; Dallas Children’s Theater; Jubilee Theater; Theatre Three; WaterTower Theatre and The Black Academy of Arts and Letters where she studied under another valued mentor, Curtis King.
In addition to Dallas and Broadway, Liz has also appeared Off Broadway and on regional stages including The MUNY; The Cape Playhouse; American Repertory Theater; A Contemporary Theater; and Arkansas Repertory Theater. And in 2004, she accompanied Akin Babatunde and co-playwright and producer, Alan Govenar to Geneva, Switzerland; Paris, France and New York to perform the musical Blind Lemon Blues. Liz’s brilliance has also graced film and television. She’s appeared in Get On Up; Dallas; The Secret Life of Walter Mitty; Straight A’s; Past Life; Sordid Lives: The Series; and Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins. Her most recent screen appearance was in Miss Juneteenth, which featured a cameo by history maker Miss Opal Lee. But Liz is perhaps best known both locally and nationally for her standout work as Corinna Williams on Friday Night Lights.
Liz is also a beloved DFW cabaret artist and for the last seven years she’s served as host of the Monday Night Open Mic at the Balcony Club. With over thirty years spent onstage, Liz has developed a devoted fan base. One such fan, playwright Eve Ensler, asked Liz to step in for Oprah Winfrey in a special 2008 performance of her play The Vagina Monologues. But Liz is most proud of her greatest productions – three beautiful daughters – Lindsay, Corienne, and Vershea; and four amazing grandchildren.
We are so very proud to acknowledge the excellence, artistry and passion that Liz Mikel has brought to our DTC stages and seasons for the past 30 years. As she plays the Stage Manager in our current production of OUR TOWN, we cannot fail to recognize the role she performs not only as the glue of this play but as the glue to our Dallas community for the past three decades. While we will miss her local presence as she makes her return to Broadway next season in 1776 directed by Jeffrey L. Page and Diane Paulus, we so look forward to her return home in 2023 for her 31st season at Dallas Theater Center.