Kitchen Dog Theater spins an immersive tale of “Love and Vinyl” at Dallas’ Good Records

Kitchen Dog Theater’s production of “Love and Vinyl” runs through June 23.

Kitchen Dog Theater "Love and Vinyl"
The cast of Kitchen Dog Theater’s production of “Love and Vinyl” (From Left to Right: Max Hartman, Jamal Sterling and Karen Parrish) – Photos by Jordan Fraker

When Max Hartman and Jamal Sterling last performed in a Kitchen Dog Theater production, it was inside a baseball stadium. “Safe at Home” brought audiences into Riders Field, home to the Frisco Roughriders, to open the company’s 33rd season back in December with an immersive play inviting theatergoers to move throughout the stadium to see different scenes.

Now, after having helped Kitchen Dog Theater take audiences out to the ballgame, Hartman and Sterling find themselves closing out the 33rd season inside a record store for “Love and Vinyl” by Bob Bartlett. The production, which runs through June 23, takes place entirely within Dallas’ Good Records.

Hartman explained that the show tackles midlife love and dating as it follows best friends Zane and Bogie. Zane, played by Hartman, arrives at their weekly record browsing session “except the difference this day is I’ve just broken up with my longtime girlfriend.” That’s not all that’s different either. The friends soon meet new record store owner Sage, played by Karen Parrish. When Zane notices Sage and Bogie, played by Sterling, have a natural chemistry even amidst his own heartache, the romantic comedy really starts to spin.

The entire plot takes place during the night audiences spend at Good Records. “You’re here when they come in, and then you’re here when they leave the store, so it’s the whole evening,” Parrish said of the immersive production.

Arts and Music Guild Ad - June 7 and 8
Advertisement – Step into The Cove surrounded by the raw energy of Sam Rogers’ action paintings. A prolific painter, Sam has continued his experiments in abstract expressionist painting, producing several new canvases in various styles

The unique approach to crafting a 33rd season full of productions like “Love and Vinyl” came from Kitchen Dog Theater Co-Artistic Directors Christopher Carlos and Tina Parker. Carlos recalled how he and Parker decided to “go out of the box” for the season as they awaited the transformation of a newly purchased warehouse into Kitchen Dog Theater’s next performing space.

Parker, the show’s costume and prop designer, and Good Records Co-Owner Chris Penn are friends, helping make the decision to produce “Love and Vinyl” inside the store easy. “A fully immersive play seems like a logical extension in line with our band performances and past history of thinking outside the box,” Penn said of hosting the play in an email interview.

Carlos, the play’s director, remembered visiting the store during the planning stages for “Love and Vinyl” to ensure that it could accommodate enough seating. “The store itself was perfect for the play,” Carlos said, noting how he immediately saw a disco ball needed for one of the play’s scenes.

Audiences will sit around the shop’s perimeter during the show, which can hold about 35 seats. The actors then use the middle of the shop for what it’s actually intended to be: a record store. “Sometimes an audience member is sitting directly in front of the scene,” Hartman said, comparing it to the experience of being on a film set. “(Good Records) is kind of perfectly centered for the show,” Sterling added of the store’s layout.

Kitchen Dog Theater "Love and Vinyl"
The cast utilizes the full Good Records space in their performances

The cast and creative team have also been able to use the apartment space above the store, a helpful coincidence considering Sage has an apartment above her shop within the play. The team uses the upstairs apartment for rehearsals until they can use the actual store space once Good Records closes for the night. “I think the audience is in for a treat,” Penn said when discussing Kitchen Dog Theater’s work in the record store.

Of course, beyond simply using Good Records’ space, no play that truly captures the record store experience would be complete without a soundtrack. Carlos said Bartlett, the show’s playwright, only had one particular song he wanted in “Love and Vinyl.” The rest of the song choices were up to the show’s cast and creatives.

The “Love and Vinyl” cast mentioned everything from disco to Van Morrison, Marvin Gaye and Prince as artists and genres heard throughout the production, along with some original surprise musical moments. “We’re using all the record store, every single bit that we can,” Carlos said as the cast mentioned playing records and cassettes while utilizing Good Records’ sound system and lighting.

Carlos said that Kitchen Dog Theater is excited to see “Love and Vinyl” come to life, especially considering how different this season has been for the company. “I’m really excited to see how it all comes through. I know these guys are going to do a great job,” Carlos said. “I believe we have a great script, and I think that people will really love it, enjoy it and have fun.”

The Kitchen Dog Theater production of “Love and Vinyl” runs through June 23 at Good Records in Dallas. For more information, including how to purchase tickets, visit

These interviews have been edited for clarity.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.