“The Frequency of Death!”, January 2012

The year was 1979. Kurt Kleinmann was an actor in New York and Pegasus Theatre was not yet even a gleam in his eye. In the midst of auditioning and attending the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, he caught a nasty bug and was apartment-bound for a couple weeks. What to do.

As Kurt watched reruns of the old Sherlock Holmes movies (the ones with Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce), inspiration struck. Here was the most brilliant man in the world (Sherlock) stuck with a doofus (Watson) for a partner. What if the tables were turned? And so Harry Hunsacker (the inept but endearing detective) and his sidekick Nigel (the smart one) were born.

Kurt was no stranger to writing, having written other scripts already, so he set to the task. Two weeks later, A Trifle Dead! was finished. (When inspired, Kurt writes FAST.) But as he wrote, Kurt had another idea. What if the play could actually mimic an old black and white movie, just like the Sherlock Holmes series? Let’s see, the costumes, set, and props would all have to be black, white, or shades of gray. What about the actors’ skin? And would lighting need to be different? All interesting problems to solve!

These ideas swirled in Kurt’s head for a few years as he tackled other projects. But the concept of a “living” black and white movie was never far from his mind. So it remained until October 1985 when Pegasus Theatre opened its doors in Deep Ellum with Kurt as Artistic Director. Given Kurt’s love of comedy, it’s no surprise that the mission of the theatre was (and remains) “to present new and original comedies in a forum that showcases the talents of North Texas theatre artists.”

Six months later, in April 1986, the first Harry Hunsacker adventure, A Trifle Dead!, appeared on stage in trademarked Living Black & White. Audiences for this unknown show were small at first. Then the reviews hit, word of mouth spread, and audiences packed the small Deep Ellum theatre.

Twenty-eight years and sixteen scripts later, the audiences are still packing the houses. Many are people who can proudly say they’ve been to every B&W show. We love the stories people tell us of their first date at a Pegasus B&W play that led to marriage, a family, and a chance to introduce their children to the stage magic of Living Black & White™ theatre.

So the cycle continues, as it will for years to come! Come join us every January at the beautiful Eisemann Center in Richardson! You can tell your own children about it some day.


North Texas Giving Day (NTGD) falls on September 18 this year. At the end of the day, the Communities Foundation totals up how much was given and computes a percentage by which they match each donation. Please consider making an annual gift of any amount to Pegasus Theatre this and every September. It’s an investment in the arts and in a unique annual tradition!