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Tri-State Theater

Let's discuss upcoming shows, secrets behind the scenes, things you never knew about the theater and why live theater is so darn entertaining.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

On Stage This Weekend: Full Monty, Aladdin and Elvis!

    There are three great shows on stage this weekend - one for adults, one for fans of the king, and one for the young at heart!

   Here's the list:

- The Full Monty - Arts Resources for the Tri State presents the musical comedy on Aug. 25, 26 and 27 at 8 p.m. at the Renaissance Main Stage Theatre at 900 8th Street in Huntington. Tickets are $15 each for the show only, $30 each for dinner and the show - reservations are required for the dinner. Call 304-733-2787.

- Elvis Has Left The Building - Kanawha Players presents the play on Aug. 26 and 27 at 8 p.m. at the LaBelle Theatre at 311 D Street in South Charleston. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and senior citizens -  or get four tickets for $40.

- Disney’s Aladdin Jr. - Alban Arts Center presents the musical based on the beloved animated film on Aug. 26, 27 and Sept. 2 and 3 at 8 p.m., and Aug. 28 and Sept. 4 at 2 p.m. at the Alban Arts Center at 65 Olde Main Plaza in St. Albans. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and senior citizens.

   So get out there and support your community theatre!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

“Adventures of Tom Sawyer" Auditions on Aug. 28

   First Stage Theatre Company will hold auditions for the play The Adventures of Tom Sawyer on Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016, from 2 to 5 p.m. at Pea Ridge United Methodist Church at 5747 East Pea Ridge Road (across from the Route 60 K-Mart).

   The non-musical is based on the beloved novel by Mark Twain. It follows the humor, action and excitement of life in Missouri in the late 1840s, including a life or death battle with a dangerous fugitive in a cave.  

   But the setting will be unique to the production, as the set and costumes have a Steampunk style - so expect a new twist on the classic tale.
  
   Auditions are open to young people from First Graders through High School Seniors.  

   The audition doesn't require dancing or singing - those trying out will just read from provided scripts.

   The play is being directed by Zach Davis with assistant director Courtney Parsley and producer Debbie Jackson.

   Shows will be presented on Oct. 14, 15 and 16 at Huntington Middle School.
   The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is the first show in the 27th season for Huntington’s long-running children’s theatre.  Shows coming up include School of Rock the Musical: Youth Production in November 2016, and Honk! and Showcase 2017 in Spring 2017.
   The mission of First Stage Theatre Company is to provide opportunities for children to develop social and communication skills by participating in the performing arts and to promote fine arts education through the presentation of theatrical productions to children and families in our community. There is no charge for children to be part of a First Stage production.
   For more information, call 304-416-KIDS (304-416-5437) or go to www.FirstStageTheatre.org.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Three More Chances to See "The Full Monty"


   My friends have been giving rave reviews all week - "Have you seen it yet?" "We saw it Saturday and we laughed and laughed!' "I love the songs!" 

   Of course, they're talking about the musical comedy The Full Monty (which I'll be seeing next weekend). 

   It the story of some workers who lose their jobs - but come up with an original way to make money to support their families - they decide to become strippers!

   The next show is this Thursday at 8 p.m., and Arts Resources for the Tri-State has a special offer - it's Ladies Night! 

   Women, bring a friend or a date and get two tickets for $20! It's Thursday night only, so make a date!

   The Full Monty will be presented on Thursday, Aug. 25,  Friday, Aug. 26 and Saturday, Aug. 27 at 8 p.m. at the Renaissance Main Stage Theatre at 900 8th Street in Huntington. Tickets are $15 each for the show only, $30 each for dinner and the show - reservations are required for the dinner. Call 304-733-2787.

   Oh, and my favorite comment about the show was made by a sweet lady at church last Sunday. She said, "We saw The Full Monty all right - I think we saw more than we were supposed to. It was a great show!" Then she laughed gleefully.

   Don't miss it!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Celebrating a Huntington Theatre Icon - Helga Thorn


   My pal Dave Lavender filed a terrific story in today's Herald-Dispatch about the Huntington theatre icon Helga Thorn, who will be at the center of an upcoming celebration. (The photo above is by Lori Wolfe.)

   You can read the full story at this link (and you really should)! 

   Here's an excerpt:

-------------

A resident of Huntington since the 1950s, Thorn, who spent 1960 to 1997 as an elementary school teacher, has spent the past 50 years here as one of the go-to behind-the-scenes volunteers with arguably more theater credits than anyone in Huntington's theater history.
For Thorn's lifetime of tirelessly working for nearly every theater group in the city she is being honored Sunday, Aug. 21, at a special event called Helga Our Hero, presented by the City of Huntington Foundation, Inc., and the Fifth Avenue Theatre Company.
Free and open to the public, the events begin with Batman and his Batmobile outside City Hall at 3 p.m., a reception on the second floor mezzanine at 4 p.m., and an appreciation performance inside the Jean Carlo Stephenson Auditorium at City Hall at 4 p.m. directed by Helen Freeman and with C.E. Wilson and Linda Reynolds as emcees. Performers include Ryan Hardiman, Laura and Caleb Donahoe, Jane Modlin, Mary Olson and many more. Speakers include George Snider, Mark Smith and Eddie Harbert.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

"Full Monty" Interview with James Holley

   Let’s continue our interviews with the cast of the musical The Full Monty, which starts next weekend at the Renaissance Theatre in Huntington.

   Today let’s hear from talented veteran performer James Holley:

Q: Tell us about The Full Monty.

James: The Full Monty is a show about people "seeing" the folks around them as we all really are; raw and self-conscious. It's about coming together by baring your soul... and in this case some flesh and working together so we all feel a little less vulnerable. 

Q: Why did you want to tackle this show?

James: I loved the movie. It's just a really smart comedy. I was hoping the musical would be just as much fun and it absolutely is. 

Q: Tell us about the character you play.

James: I play Harold. Harold was a company supervisor at a union steel mill. His character feels that with the loss of his job he's sorta lost his identity and worries his wife and everyone else will see him as a failure. 

Q: The show requires the leads to strip off their clothes - any concerns / fears / trepidation / sheer terror about that?

James: Mortification best describes it. I don't even work outside shirtless so this is a stretch! 

Q: Do you have a favorite song or scene in the show?

James: My favorite song is the first one; "Scrap." Basically it's a bunch of guys singing about a need to feel needed. 

Q: What's your background in theatre?

James: I've done 15 shows now between Pittsburgh, Charleston, Huntington and Ashland but this is only the fourth musical. I've done a lot of comedy though. 

Q: Talk about the cast - brag on one (or more) of your fellow actors.

James: No clue where to begin. They are all amazing. Mike Murdock is my personal theater mentor (although he may not be aware) and watching everyone else in the cast is quite humbling. I'm still amazed they let me play their reindeer games! 

Q: Why would you recommend this show to our readers?

James: The show is funny, sweet, and illustrates some great life lessons; be who you are, don't be ashamed, help one another and finally life is short... HAVE FUN! 

   Thanks, James!


   The Full Monty - Arts Resources for the Tri State presents the musical comedy on Aug. 19, 20, 25, 26 and 27 at 8 p.m. at the Renaissance Main Stage Theatre at 900 8th Street in Huntington. Tickets are $15 each for the show only, $30 each for dinner and the show - reservations are required for the dinner. Call 304-733-2787.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

"Full Monty" Interview with Becky McClelland

   Next up in our interviews with the cast of The Full Monty, which starts next weekend at the Renaissance Theatre in Huntington, let’s hear from one of the few women in the cast.
   Here’s the lovely and talented Becky McClelland:
Q: Tell us about The Full Monty.
Becky: The Full Monty is a musical about a group of men who bare it all. Not just physically, but emotionally. These former steelworkers have been out of work for nearly a year and a half. They are questioning their manhood. They are feeling like 'scrap.’ They are desperate, so they are willing to 'let it go' to make some much needed cash and to try to mend their wounded egos.
Q: Why did you want to tackle this show?
Becky: When this show was originally announced I was excited about it, but knew I could not be involved. It's The Full Monty after all! I felt I couldn't be in this show on Saturday night and then greet people as they walk into church on Sunday morning. But then, I read the script. Twice. After the second read I realized that the men actually going The Full Monty was an incredibly minor part of the show. It is so relevant to our area. Besides, it is incredibly funny!
Q: Tell us about the character you play.
Becky: My character's name is Joanie. She is a minor player in this show. All the women are. This show is about the men. The women are mostly there to remind the men that 'it's a women's world.’ We are the ones with jobs. We are the ones making money. And we are spending it any way we want!
Q: The show requires the leads to strip off their clothes - any concerns / fears / trepidation / sheer terror about that?
Becky: Uh. Yes. Let's just all pray that the lights work properly!
Q: Do you have a favorite song or scene in the show?
Becky: The music for this show is amazing. It has such a rock feel that you can't help but want to sing along. I'm expecting we'll get some audience participation for the final scenes and song “Let it Go.” I can promise you the song “Let it Go” that your kids have been singing for so long will disappear from your head and be replaced with this version!
Q: What's your background in theatre?
Becky: I directed children's musicals for about 10 years but had very little acting experience before joining ARTS for Crazy for You almost two years ago. Since then I've acted, costumed (A LOT), built sets, and rounded up props for about 10 shows. It's such a great experience this time being able to act in a show without worrying about everyone else's costumes. I just get to act in this one - and I'm having a blast doing it!
Q: Talk about the cast - brag on one (or more) of your fellow actors.
Becky: If you've ever been to an ARTS show you know that I could brag on my fellow actors for this entire interview. The talent in this company is amazing. This show also features four newcomers to ARTS - Teddy Maddox, Mark Radford, Rick Payne, and Melanie Porter who fit right in and make us even better!
Q: Why would you recommend this show to our readers?
Becky: It's relevant. It's real. It's The Full Monty for goodness sake! 

   Thanks, Becky!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

"Full Monty" Interview with Mike Naglee

    We're just a week away from the brash, funny and (perhaps) shocking premiere of the musical The Full Monty!

   It's the story of some working men who come up with an inventive scheme to earn money, as they are forced to drastic measures.

   We have several interviews with the cast to share, starting with the incredibly talented Mike Naglee

Q: Tell us about The Full Monty (including, what is a “Full Monty?”).

Mike: The Full Monty is a hilarious and heartfelt look at love, masculinity, and gender stereotypes. A group of steelworkers, feeling emasculated by their unemployment, discover that male strippers make good money. In a desperate bid for cash, and to recover some damaged part of their individual self-worth, the men decide to strip for a "one-night, limited engagement." Each man confronts and reconciles their fears, prejudices, and inner demons on the way to the show's revealing conclusion.

Q: Why did you want to tackle this show?

Mike: This show has been a favorite ever since I heard "Big Ass Rock" in college, 12 years ago.  I'm still flabbergasted and thankful that a company has the cajones to mount the production HERE, in Huntington (pun probably intended).

Q: Tell us about the character you play.

Mike: I play Jerry Lukowski, a man so behind on child support that he's about to lose joint custody of his 12-year-old son. A jerk and a bigot, Jerry's (redeeming?) love for his kid drives him to come up with a crazy, desperate money-making scheme.

Q: The show requires the leads to strip off their clothes - any concerns / fears / trepidation / sheer terror about that?

Mike: Absolutely. :)  Fortunately, I've spent a surprising and unsettling amount of time scantily-clad onstage in the past so it's not nearly as harrowing as it could be. The first line I uttered on Marshall's stage long ago was in my boxer shorts; it's kinda par for the course at this point. 

Q: Do you have a favorite song or scene in the show?

Mike: "Big Ass Rock" is probably my favorite, though "The Goods" is a close second.

Q: What's your background in theatre?

Mike: I graduated from Marshall with my BFA in theatre in '04, and have been a member of ARTS Resident Company since its inception.  

Q: Tell us about the cast.

Mike: I love these people. It's a pleasure to work with a group so dedicated and inclusive, and each person is bringing their "A" game.

Q: Why would you recommend this show to our readers?

Mike: It's bold, brash, and crass with a pop-rock score, and it pulls no punches. It will pull on your heartstrings one minute and have you rolling the next. What other show are you going to see that advertises a Ladies Night? You'll laugh your socks off... and maybe more. ;)

   Thanks, Mike!

   The Full Monty - Arts Resources for the Tri State presents the musical comedy on Aug. 19, 20, 25, 26 and 27 at 8 p.m. at the Renaissance Main Stage Theatre at 900 8th Street in Huntington. Tickets are $15 each for the show only, $30 each for dinner and the show - reservations are required for the dinner. Call 304-733-2787.