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, July 30, 2015

On Stage This Weekend

   There are lots of great shows to choose from this weekend - here's the rundown:

- Collis P! A New Musical - HART in the Park presents a special encore presentation of the original musical at Huntington’s City Hall Auditorium on Friday, July 31 at 8:00 p.m. Admittance is free, but Donations will be accepted outside the auditorium.

- Legally Blonde, Jr. -  The ARTS Summer Teen Theatre Camp presents the musical on July 30 and 31 at 7 p.m. at the ARTS Renaissance Main Stage at 900 8th Street in Huntington. Tickets are $5 each.

- Cabaret – The Charleston Light Opera Guild presents the Broadway hit musical on July 31, Aug 1, 7 and 8 at 7:30 p.m.  and Aug. 2 and 9 at 3 p.m. at the Charleston Light Opera Guild Theatre at 411 Tennessee Avenue in Charleston. Tickets are $20 each.

- Fame - The Paramount Players present the musical on July 31 and Aug 1 at 7:30 p.m. and Aug. 1 at 3 p.m. at the Paramount Arts Center at 1300 Winchester Avenue in Ashland. Tickets are $18 for adults / $14 for students.

- The Addams Family - The Aracoma Story, Inc. presents the musical based on the TV show on July 30, 31 and Aug 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 at 8:30 p.m. at the Chief Logan State Park Amphitheater at 376 Little Buffalo Creek Road in Logan. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, and $8 for kids ages 3-12.

- Little Shop of Horrors - Jenny Wiley presents the musical on July 30 at 8 p.m. at the Jenny Wiley Amphitheatre. Tickets are $25 for adults, $21 for seniors, and $14 for youth under the age of 17.

- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - The Actors Guild of Parkersburg presents the musical on July 31, Aug. 1, 7 and 8 at 8 p.m., and Aug. 2 at 2:30 p.m. at 724 Market Street in Parkersburg. Tickets are $18 for adults / $15 for seniors/students / $8 for children under 10. Opening night is buy one get one free.

   Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

An Encore for "Collis P!"

   If you missed the premiere of the musical about the founder of Huntington - or just want another chance to see Collis P! - you're in luck!

   An encore presentation of the musical will be presented at the City Hall auditorium at 8 p.m. this Friday, July 31. You can read all about it in this story in the Herald-Dispatch.

   Here's an excerpt:

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   The HART in the Park theater group will give an encore performance of the original musical Collis P: A New Musical on Friday at the Jean Carlo Stephenson Auditorium in Huntington City Hall.

   The performance is being put on to help fund the city's efforts in the America's Best Communities competition, in which Huntington is a quarterfinalist along with 50 other communities across the country.

   The show, which starts at 8 p.m., is free, though donation boxes will be set up at the theater entrance.

   Collis P was written and directed by Clint McElroy, with music composed by Danny Craig. McElroy had worked for decades to bring the project to life.

   The play, which tells the story of city founder and railroad mogul Collis P. Huntington, just ended a three-week run at the Ritter Park Amphitheater.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Marshall Artists Series Announces its New Season

   The Marshall Artists Series always brings a great lineup of touring shows, comedians and musicians to Huntington, and this year is no different.

   The organization announced its new lineup this week, and it includes some terrific shows, including the touring musicals Mamma Mia, Once and Annie!

   You can read the complete lineup right here - and here's an excerpt from the story:

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   Like last year's timely back-to-back show start to the season, this season's two-big-show wave creates a great buzz and momentum that organizers hope will propel a deep-and-wide 79th season that features a world-class symphony, ballet and touring Broadway musicals, legends such as rocker Boz Scaggs, and unique presentations such as a live scoring of Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas, a first-time collaboration between the Artists Series and the Huntington Symphony Orchestra.

   "We have that one-two punch again like we did last year with Jay Leno and Frankie Valli," said Angela Jones, MAS marketing director, about the season. "So we are kicking off with Jeselnik and Musgraves. They are two totally different audiences and it is nice to have that momentum of having two big shows that people are talking about, and it is exciting for students to come back for the new semester and have two really cool things back to back on a Thursday and Friday night."

   Toss two film festivals and a 30th anniversary screening of the classic coming-of-age flick "The Breakfast Club," with an appearance by film star Molly Ringwald, and you have a season that Jones says provides the Artists Series' wide range of audiences -from college students to long-time patrons - plenty to be excited about.

Friday, July 24, 2015

On Stage This Weekend

   You have several great shows to choose from this weekend - here's the list:

 - Collis P! A New Musical - HART in the Park presents the original musical at Huntington’s Ritter Park Amphitheater on July 24, 25 and 26 at 8:30 p.m. Gates open for at 7 p.m., children's pre-show Wonderland at 7:30 p.m., HART's All Star Community Preshow at 8 p.m., and "Collis P!" at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 adults / $10 children / $20 reserved seats.

- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - The Actors Guild of Parkersburg presents the musical on July 24, 25, 31, Aug. 1, 7 and 8 at 8 p.m., and Aug. 2 at 2:30 p.m. at 724 Market Street in Parkersburg. Tickets are $18 for adults / $15 for seniors/students / $8 for children under 10. Opening night is buy one get one free.
 
- Little Shop of Horrors - Jenny Wiley presents the musical on July 25 and 30 at 8 p.m. at the Jenny Wiley Amphitheatre. Tickets are $25 for adults, $21 for seniors, and $14 for youth under the age of 17.
 
- Shrek the Musical - Jenny Wiley presents the musical on July 24, 28 and 31 at 8 p.m. at the Jenny Wiley Amphitheatre. Tickets are $25 for adults, $21 for seniors, and $14 for youth under the age of 17.
 


- Disney’s Aladdin, Jr. - Jenny Wiley presents the musical on July 24 and 25 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $14 for adults and $9 for youth under the age of 17.

   So get out there and support your community theatre - and enjoy the show!




 



 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Getting Ready for "The Lion King, Jr!"

   Sorry for the lack of posts lately, gentle readers! It's been a busy time for an assortment of reasons - the main one being that I've been gearing up with my directing team for a big show this fall!

   First Stage is going to be the first theatre company in West Virginia to present Disney's The Lion King, Jr. - and I'm the lucky guy who gets to direct the show!

   We've assembled a great team, including music director Mark Smith, choreographer Melissa Marcum, assistant directors Robyn Welch, Zach Davis and Ashleigh Bailey-Bannon, producers Leslie Comer-Porter and Becky Craig, and set construction directors Jack Welch, Hunt Bryan and Mike Barbour! (And we have other talented people volunteering their help, too!)

   It promises to be a big show with a large cast - and it's going to be a lot of fun! We plan to announce the details about when auditions will be held very soon (And in the days to come we'll talk more about what to expect at auditions and rehearsals).

   Stay tuned!

Monday, July 20, 2015

"Brigadoon" Auditions This Weekend


   It's a show that often gets mentioned when you ask theatre fans what musical they'd like to see staged locally - and now Brigadoon is here!

   Arts Resources for the Tri-State (ARTS) will present the show in October on the main stage at the Renaissance Theatre. 

   The show will be directed by my pal Gene Anthony, and that means the cast is in for a lot of fun!

   Auditions will be held July 25 and 26 promptly at 4 p.m.


   They'll be held at the ARTS Renaissance Main Stage at 900 8th Street in Huntington.


   Open roles include: Tommy, Bonnie Jean (heavy dance role), male and female ensemble members, and dancers. They're also looking for a Stage Manager for this production.


   So if you're looking to get involved with community theatre, here's your chance!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

A Long Road for "Collis P!"


    It's wonderful to see Collis P: A New Musical taking the stage in Huntington, because it's been in the works for a long time.

   I've been friends with the writer and creator of the musical, Clint McElroy, since we were students at Marshall University, and I've watched his skill as a writer, performer and director grow over the years.

   It was quite a few years ago that he first unveiled his proposed musical based on the life of Huntington's founder, Collis P. Huntington.

   Some 10 years ago (give or take a few years), Clint gathered about a dozen friends at a local church to present the first reading for his show. He was pitching it to Huntington Outdoor Theatre, and I was one of the group reading the different roles. There were no stage motions or costuming - just a group of actors sitting in chairs, reading the script.

   It was still in its earliest stages - he had a few songs on a CD, and when the script reached a song, we'd stop and he'd play the music as performed by a professional musician. It was a lot of fun, and we often broke up laughing at jokes and stories.

   Nothing came of that pitch - the show needed more work to get it ready for the stage. But it was a start!

   About five years ago (give or take), Collis P. returned for another reading - this time with an audience, as part of Marshall University's summer project, the New Works Festival. Once again, the actors sat in chairs and read the lines - but this time, Clint had feedback from the audience, thanks to a Q&A session after the reading. But the show needed more work - for example, several songs were waiting for a songwriter.

   A couple of years later - about two years ago - the show returned to Marshall's New Works Festival, this time with the songs completed, and some staging added. I was tapped again to read and (believe it or not) sing as one of the "Big Four." Again, the audience offered suggestions after the show - and the musical was almost done.

   So this summer, Clint's vision has finally made it to the stage, with a cast of talented performers, costuming, sets and an orchestra!

   I'm proud of my friend, as he brings this labor of love to life for local audiences "for real" - and a terrific show it is!

   You have two more weekends to catch it! HART in the Park presents the original musical at Huntington’s Ritter Park Amphitheater on July 17, 18, 19, 24, 25 and 26 at 8:30 p.m. Gates open for at 7 p.m., children's pre-show Wonderland at 7:30 p.m., HART's All Star Community Preshow at 8 p.m., and "Collis P!" at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 adults / $10 children / $20 reserved seats.   

   Highly recommended!