WAITING FOR LEFTY by Clifford Odets, Street Corner Arts at the Hyde Park Theatre, December 5 - 20, 2014
- Published on Wednesday, 22 October 2014 12:40
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NOTHING AND EVERYTHING, improvising Chekhov at the Hideout Theatre, Saturdays, November 8 - December 20, 2014
- Published on Wednesday, 22 October 2014 11:13
November 8 – Dece,ber 20, 2014
Saturdays at 8 p.m.
directed by Jon Bolden
Anton Chekhov is arguably the most celebrated playwright since Shakespeare. Also known for his hundreds of short stories, this giant of Russian literature cemented his reputation with four major plays written in his final decade: The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters, and The Cherry Orchard. Chekhov is highly regarded for launching theater into the 20th century by writing characters so rich they spark hours of conversation and debate among both scholars and enthusiasts. Yet in spite of these accomplishments, readers and playgoers commonly utter the complaint that “nothing happens.”
The Hideout Theatre presents Nothing and Everything, an improvised show whose title is inspired by the common reaction to these plays. A cast of eleven of some of Austin’s most experienced improvisational actors will make up original tales of idle, turn-of-the-century Russian provincial lives.
They’ll explore new Chekhovian worlds, in which nothing seems to happen except the timeless things normal people struggle with and make light of every day: love, death, happiness, suffering, God, fear, and longing. Starting with details provided by each evening’s audience, a small community of real people with hopes and fears will emerge into a full night of comedy and tragedy. Comedy? Yes, that’s right! Much like our own lives, the unhappiness of Chekhov’s subjects are surrounded by unexpected humor in unexpected places.
Don’t be afraid to laugh!
The cast features several award–winning performers & crew:
Kareem Badr (Parallelogramophonograph, B.Iden Payne nominated director)
Kaci Beeler (Parallelogramophonograph, Austin Chronicle Best of: 2012 Best Actress)
Andrew Buck (I Love You So Much, Mandinka, YesAndrew.com)
Cat Drago (Kenjutsu, A Bedtime Gorey)
Courtney Hopkin (Your Terrific Neighbors, Austin Secrets)
Marc Majcher (Hurly Burly, B.Iden Payne nominated director, Breaking Beckett)
Troy Miller (2013 Austin Film Festival Writing Award, )
Peter Rogers (Fakespeare, Live Nude Improv, Dickens Unleashed!)
Jordan T. Maxwell (From Hulu’s Battleground, Austin Critics Circle award for Live Nude Improv)
Megan Sherrod (Austin Lyric Opera Chorus, H.M.S Pinafore, The Marriage of Figaro)
Valerie Ward (Parallelogramophonograph, B.Iden Payne nominated director)
Directed by: Jon Bolden (B.Iden Payne nominated director)
Production Assistant: David Yakubik
Production Assistant: Rachel Austin
Technical Improvisers: Michael Yew, Lindsey McGowen, and Cortney DeAngelo
Graphic and Scenic Design: Kaci Beeler
Photography: Jon Bolden
Runtime: 4 Acts, 70 – 95 minutes w/ intermissionWrite comment (0 Comments)
- Published on Tuesday, 21 October 2014 20:19
with Diane Benham Malone, Rick Malone, Andrew Thornton, Julya Jara, Linda Ford, Allan Ross, Sam Gilliam, Henrik Ibsen, Christie Beckham, Florence Bunten, Trevor Chauvin, Joseph Travis Urick and Omar Anthony at Classic Theatre of San Antonio.
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CTXLT review: BLITHE SPIRIT by Noël Coward, Fredericksburg Theater Company, October 17 - November 3, 2014
- Published on Tuesday, 21 October 2014 07:45
by Michael Meigs
The very first sight of the set for the Fredericksburg Theater Company production of Noël Coward's Blithe Spirit illustrates a familiar and gratifying aspect of many a community theatre, including the Wimberley Players, the Gaslight Baker Theatre in Lockhart and the Sam Bass Theatre in Round Rock. Perhaps this care comes from an awareness of being away from the usual metropolitan art centers; perhaps it's a determination to show the world that 'community' doesn't mean 'common' or 'shabby.'
Kerry Goff's set for Noël Coward's archly humorous comedy is detailed, polished and exquisitely lit. Although essentially a conventional box set, it's designed and executed with loving craft, with a taste and finish that situate us firmly in a 1930's country house, right down to the detail of the marbling of the floors. You'll have the time to drink it in while waiting for the show to begin in Fredericksburg's spacious 250-seat theatre and listening to Executive Director Steve Reily and Artistic/Technical Director Goff tell you about the season and upcoming events.
That sort of pre-show spiel is part of the community building, and their cheerful calibration of the message is part of the pleasure. So is the custom of the actors exiting after curtain calls to greet the emerging audience in the lobby.
The sound design uses big band numbers from the 1930s, principally from the United States, before the play and during intermission. They do set a nostalgic mood of carefree elegance, but they seem a bit out of place in the English countryside.
Blithe Spirit is a favorite of mine. I've searched it out in the Chicago suburbs and enjoyed it in Austin. I discovered it again with Ashleigh Goff's direction of the Fredericksburg production. Coward provides a cheerful ghost story that suggests that the dear departed take all their faults with them when they leave this earth and can be just as annoying if summoned back. He pokes fun at spiritualism, but more than that, he enjoys deflating pretensions and revealing the hypocrisies past and revenant of characters who are comfortably genteel.
Writer Charles Condamine invites neighbors to dinner and to a séance by local spiritualist and eccentric Madame Arcati. He conceals from everyone except his wife Ruth the fact that he's really looking for background material for a novel he's writing. Spooky coincidence and an unfortunate choice of gramophone music play a part. Madame Arcadi goes into a dramatic, flopping trance but initially nothing seems to have occured. Then a gust of wind and a disruption in the spirit world bring back Charles' deceased first wife Elvira. No one else can see her, a circumstance that provides a lengthy (and almost over-long) series of opportunities for comic confusion when Charles addresses her in increasingly annoyed terms.
In exuberant contrast to the relatively stuffy Condamines and their neighbors Dr. and Mrs. Bradman, the medium Mme Arcati is always the star of this piece. Frank, talkative, confiding and thoroughly batty, she's the fuse to the comic explosion. Dawn Hahn as Mme Arcati has got the energy and unpredictable direction so essential to this key character. Sher Bottjer's costumes for her capture her gypsy-like flair. Hahn's comic pauses, exclamations and stream of commentary paint for us the thoughts spinning about in her head like caged hamsters on an exercise wheel. Entertaining every second that she's on stage, Mme Arcati surprises us with her sincerity and utter lack of humbug. She's enormously pleased when learns that Elvira's haunting the house. When she reluctantly agrees to try to put the spirit back into the metaphorical bottle, she works at it sincerely. Mme Arcati, unlike the others, is incapable of hiding her own past, keeping a secret or telling a fib. Hahn's performance is a delight.
J.D. Cole in the role of Charles Condamine, the much buffeted protagonist, offers the picture of an English gentleman at ease in the country. He's onstage pretty much throughout. With some of the wittiest of Coward's lines, Cole moves Condamine through a succession of restrained emotional sea-changes: a husband of economical expression, a host, a disturbed and then alarmed participant in spiritualism, a man intimidated by a ghost and then someone increasingly comfortable and amused by the prospect of dealing with two demanding wives who can't even see one another.
English accents are vital in establishing these characters in their milieu. The cast captures most of the required vowel shifts, and we accept the creation of their world. I'd have enjoyed more speech couched in the posh ever-so-upper-class sing-song that Coward himself used (YouTube can take you there with a fine 41-minute video of Sir Noël discussing his own acting career).
Joined by this turn of fate, wives Ruth (Priscilla Castañeda) and Elvira (Heidi Eubanks) contrast in all ways -- temperament, physique, sincerity/duplicity and vitality (i.e., alive vs. dead, at least initially). Castañeda's delivery is emphatic, at times without nuance, while Eubanks maintains a mischievous attitude and coquettish lilt. Who knew that life could be so much fun after death? Coward doesn't explore the theology of all this, drawing a veil of unknowing and unremembering over the seven earth-years that have intervened since Elvira's abrupt departure.
And as sometimes happens, the least shall be first -- Julia Dickens in the apparently utilitarian role as Edith the bustling little maid provides agreeable background with her pert 'Yes, Mum,' 'Yes, Sir,' and quick mincing steps; in the concluding scenes she blossoms into a quickly sketched but credible character central to the plot.
Poltergeist effects in the final act are cleverly convincing.
Blithe Spirit is performed as a play in two acts, but it's surprisingly long, running from 8 p.m. until well past 10:30. The program listing is truncated, doing the supportive audience something of a disservice by failing to list the final two scenes (Acts II and III are played without intermission). I was particularly aware of that omission; I faced a long drive back to Austin because the hotels and motels in this popular destination town were full.
The title, in case you wondered -- and I'm sure you did not! -- is taken from the first line of Shelley's ode To A Skylark:
Hail to thee, blithe Spirit!
Bird thou never wert,
That from Heaven, or near it,
Pourest thy full heart
In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.
His 1820 composition, a standard of English literature, would have been instantly recognized by British audiences attending the 1941 original production, properly educated gentlefolk like Charles and Ruth Condamine. English lit majors, ever more rare in today's university, are probably among the few who would recognize it today. Coward was playing on the notions of 'spirit' and 'spiritualism,' of course, but the twenty-one stanzas offer much more. I particularly like the concluding lines. For the fanciful, and those who believe in a touch of the supernatural, it might seem that Shelley was foreseeing the sparkling spirit who eventually became Sir Noël:
Teach me half the gladness
That thy brain must know,
Such harmonious madness
From my lips would flow
The world should listen then, as I am listening now.
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- Published on Tuesday, 21 October 2014 12:24
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THE STRANGE CASE OF EDWARD HYDE AND DR. JEKYLL adapted from Robert Louis Stevenson by Trouble Puppet Company, Salvage Vanguard Theatre, October 30 - November 23, 2014
- Published on Tuesday, 14 October 2014 19:08
The Strange Case of Edward Hyde and Dr. Jekyll
October 30 - November 23, 2014
Thursdays - Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 6 p.m.
Tickets $12 - $50 via
Salvage Vanguard Theatre, 2803 Manor Rd. - click for map
Join Trouble Puppet for our show and costume party on Halloween!
Tickets for the show and party are $25 and include food, drink, and live music by the Invincible Czars. Our last Halloween party sold out; we strongly recommend buying in advance. Tickets for just the party are $12.
An amazing spectacle and imaginative retelling of a classic tale, The Strange Case of Edward Hyde & Dr. Jekyll is an original adaptation by the company that brought Austin award-winning productions of The Jungle, Frankenstein, Riddley Walker, Toil and Trouble, The Cruel Circus, The Head, and The Crapstall Street Boys.
Artistic Director: Connor Hopkins
Composer: Justin Sherburn
lighting by Stephen Pruitt
sound design by K. Eliot Haynes
graphic design by Chris Owen
Performers: Jose Villarreal, Noel Gaulin, Travis Bedard, Caroline Reck, Gricelda Silva, Parker Dority, Zac Crofford, Katy Taylor, Rob Jacques, and Dallas Tate
ASL interpretation offered on selected nights. Group sales welcome. Director/cast talkbacks available for groups of five or more.
**Not suitable for children because of language and content.**
Trouble Puppet Theater Company: Founded in 2004, Trouble Puppet is dedicated to the creation of exceptional works of puppet theater, to the promotion of the art of puppetry, and to the support of its practitioners. Trouble Puppet is a sponsored project of Salvage Vanguard Theater. This project is funded and supported in part by the City of Austin through the Economic Development Department/Cultural Arts Division.What does Dr. Jekyll really have to hide?
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Shut Down by High School Administration after Church Pressure, North Carolina HS Students Mount $1000 Kickstarter to Take ALMOST, MAINE Off Campus
- Published on Tuesday, 21 October 2014 11:35
With a tip of the hat to Howard Sherman for his October 21 article 'How to Fail at Canceling the Most Popular Play in High School Theatre' with the full story about art censorship in Maiden, North Carolina:
Earlier this month, the administration at Maiden High School in Maiden, North Carolina tried to put a stop to the student production of John Cariani’s Almost, Maine. With permission slips in hand, the cast chosen and rehearsals just underway, the school announced the show was off. But it’s only off school grounds. The play will go on.
* * *
As first reported last week by WSOC TV in two reports [here and here], with additional reporting from Think Progress, Almost, Maine was shuttered because of a single scene, entitled “They Fell,” in which two buddies reach the startling discovery that they love one another – by actually falling down. Repeatedly. There’s no sexual innuendo, no physical contact, and the words “gay” and “homosexual” aren’t spoken. The scene takes up six pages of a 54 page text.
It’s not as if the school didn’t know the play was in the works. Maiden High School junior Conner Baker, who was to direct the production, said that when the administration was asked for permission, they gave it within a day.
“Our teacher advisor spoke to our principal,” said Baker, “who then spoke to the superintendent. We were told though our student advisor.”
Here's the Kickstarter video promo for 'Almost, Maiden,' the effort to raise $1000 to stage the play independently in January:
Kickstarter progress:Write comment (0 Comments)
- Published on Monday, 20 October 2014 21:49
Fame The Musical
Conceived and Developed by David De Silva
Book by Jose Fernandez; Lyrics by Jacques Levy
Music by Steve Margoshes; Directed by Jerry Ruiz
November 21, 22, December 3-6 at 7:30 p.m.
November 22, 23, December 6 at 2 p.m.
Based on the Academy Award-winning film and hit television series, Fame The Musical is the unforgettable journey of a group of dedicated students with stars in their eyes. Be captivated as the story unfolds for these talented hopefuls studying at New York Cityʼs legendary High School for Performing Arts. Through their triumphs and tragedies, the ultimate goal remains – fame.
About the director Jerry Ruiz recently directed Basilica by Mando Alvarado for Rattlestick Playwright’s Theater, Philip Goes Forth for the Mint Theater Company and In the Heights for The University of Texas at Austin Department of Theatre and Dance. Prior New York City credits include: Enfrascada by Tanya Saracho (Clubbed Thumb), The King is Dead by Caroline V. Mc-Graw and Rattlers by Johnna Adams. Regional credits include: Waiting for the Hearse (Mixed Blood) and Twelfth Night (Chalk Rep). Ruiz has developed work at Second Stage, Playwrights Horizons, Soho Rep, The Public, The Atlantic and, among others, Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Recipient of 2009-2011 NEA/TCG Career Development Grant. Member of SDC. M.F.A.: UCSD. B.A.: Harvard. jerryruizdirector.com
Title Song “FAME” written by Dean Pitchford and Michael Gore
Fame The Musical is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are supplied by MTI.
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NOISES OFF by Michael Frayne, a comedy about theatre, Vandegrift High School, Austin, November 6 - 8, 2014
- Published on Monday, 20 October 2014 21:18
A Comedy about Theatre
November 6, 7 and 8, 2014
Vandegrift High School, 9500 McNeil Drive, Austin, Texas
Vandegrift Theatre is proud to announce the production of “Noises Off.” “Noises Off” is a critically acclaimed comedy by playwright Michael Frayn. It was introduced to theatre-goers in London in 1982 and its five year run at the Savoy Theatre earned the Evening Standard Award for Best Comedy. The playwright has periodically updated the play and it remains a popular production for professional and community theatre. England’s Daily Telegraph described the 2008 touring production as “the funniest comedy ever written.”
Noises Off is whimsically designed to be a “play within a play” of three acts, combining subtle character contrasts with slapstick comedy. The play is a delight for the audience and also has deeper significance and entertainment value for the cast, crew and experienced patron.
Vandegrift High School Theatre is proud to offer show times on November 6, 7 and 8 at 7 p.m., with an additional matinee showing at 2 p.m. on November 8th. Tickets $10 WWW.VHSTHEATRE.US phone number - 512-348-8805
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THE UNINVITED by Tim Kelly and Dorothy Macardle, Way Off Broadway Community Players, November 7 - 29, 2014
- Published on Monday, 20 October 2014 20:41
Trina Sherman as Pamela Fitzgerald
Bill Craig as Roddy Fitzgerald
John Milford as Commander Brooke
Elizabeth Thomas as Lizzie Flynn
Nikki Gee as Mrs. Jessup
Caitlin Sullivan as Wendy Carey
Keegan Kelly as Max Hilliard
Russ Jernigan as Dr. Scott
Barb Jernigan as Miss Holloway
Lisa Wenning as Mary Meredith
Melinda Szabo-Assistant Director
Susan Rainville-Stage Manager
Fabian Duran-Lights & Sound
Christopher Szabo-Stage Crew
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- Published on Monday, 20 October 2014 20:29
Nov 14-16 and Nov 21-23, 2014
Theatre for Young Audiences
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
by William Shakespeare (specially adapted for young audiences)
directed by Rick Roemer
7:30pm | Fridays
3pm | Saturdays & Sundays
Southwestern University, Jesse H. and Mary Gibbs Jones Theater, Georgetown
Tickets $10 - $14
A magical tale of fairies, fools, falling in love, and comical mix-ups. The adventure takes place in mythical Athens, Greece and its enchanted forest. There are young lovers, amateur actors, a duke, a duchess, woodland fairies, a handsome fairy king, a misguided parent, star-crossed lovers, wood sprites, elves, and a weaver who's transformed into a half-donkey! But what about love, will it win in the end? (Suitable for all ages.)
One of Shakespeare’s most popular and beloved comedies!
The Sarofim School of Fine Arts has been producing Theatre for Young Audiences since 2007. We have entertained over 9,000 youths on the Southwestern University campus. Previous productions include A Year with Frog and Toad, The Trial of Goldilocks, Suessical the Musical, The Yellow Boat, and Pinocchio.
Local schools are invited to attend a free performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream from November 17 through 21. Contact Desi Roybal at (512) 863-1359 to inquire about school performances.Write comment (0 Comments)
- (*) THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO, musical based on Alexandre Dumas's novel, Performing Arts San Antonio, October 17 - November 3, 2014
- Funding Appeal: Ground Floor Theatre, Austin, opening December, 2014
- CTXLT review: THE TEMPEST by William Shakespeare, Present Company at Rain Lily Farm, October 9 - November 1, 2014
- Opportunity: Assistant Stage Manager for WAIL, Gale Theatre Company at the Vortex, October 31 - November 15, 2014
- FIXING TIMON OF ATHENS by Shakespeare and Kirk Lynn, staged readings, Rude Mechanicals at the Off-Center, November 2 and 9, 2014
- CTXLT review: A BRIGHT NEW BOISE by Samuel D. Hunter, Hyde Park Theatre, September 25 - October 25, 2014
- Video Announcement: 2015 Season, Agape Actors Co-op, Georgetown
- Auditions and Announcement: LA PASTORELA 2014: '"Císcalo, císcalo, diablo panzón," ALTA Teatro, Emma S. Barrientos Mexican-American Cultural Center, December 4 - 20, 2014
- Seeking Male Actor and Fiddle Player for A CHRISTMAS CAROL, Hill Country Community Theatre, near Marble Falls
- (*) Classic Theatre San Antonio Offers SHAKES ALIVE Experiences to High School Classes