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.

Friday, October 24, 2014

On Stage This Weekend

   Here's the rundown of shows taking the stage this weekend, courtesy of my pal Ryan Hardiman:

- Crazy for You (Musical)
Music by George Gershwin, Lyrics by Ira Gershwin, Book by Ken Ludwig
Arts Resources for the Tri State (ARTS)
Fri. - Sat., Oct. 24, 25, 31 and Nov. 1 at 8 p.m.

Sun., Oct. 26 and Nov. 2 at 2 p.m.
ARTS MainStage at 900 8th Street in Huntington
General Admission
$15 Show Only / $30 Dinner (reservations required) and show - call 304-733-2787

- Venus in Fur (Play)
by David Ives
Alban Arts and Conference Center
Fri. - Sat., Oct. 24 and 25 at 8 p.m. and 
Sun., Oct. 26 at 2 p.m.
Alban Arts and Conference Center at 65 Olde Main Plaza in St. Albans
Tickets are $15 Adults / $10 Students and Seniors

- Evil Dead: The Musical
Book & Lyrics By George Reinblatt
Music By Frank Cipolla/Christopher Bond/Melissa Morris/George Reinblatt
Kanawha Players
Fri. - Sat., Oct. 24, 25, 31 and Nov. 1 at 8 p.m.
Kanawha Players Theater
309 Beauregard Street in Charleston
Tickets are $16 Adults / $10 Kids 17 and under / $10 Students with ID
Tickets: (304)343-PLAY (7529)
or at the door while tickets last.
*Parental discretion is advised & children under 16 will not be permitted without an adult*

- Hamlet (Play)
by William Shakespeare
American Shakespeare Center
A FestivALL Fall event
Fri., Oct. 24 at 7:30 p.m.
Scottish Rite Temple
406 Capitol Street in Charleston
Tickets are $20 Adults, $15 Seniors 65 and older and $10 for students and children, available at the door or in advance at Taylor Books (fee added)
Preshow begins at 7 p.m. - the actors entertain 30 minutes before the performance and during intermission, so plan to come early.

- One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (Play)
by Dale Wasserman, with music by Teiji Ito. Based on the novel by Ken Kesey
Portsmouth Little Theatre
Fri. - Sat., Oct. 24, 25, 31 and Nov. 1 at 7:30 p.m.
Portsmouth Little Theatre
1117 Lawson Street in Portsmouth, Ohio
Tickets are $12 Adults / $10 Senior/Student

- Your Swash is Unbuckled (Stage combat plays)
by Jeff Goode
Lincoln County High School Theatre
Fri. - Sat., Oct 24 and 25 at 7 p.m.
81 Lincoln Panther Way in Hamlin
$10 Adults / $5 Students

- War of the Worlds (Live action radio show)
Jackson County Players
Fri. - Sat., Oct. 24 and 25 at 7 p.m.
Matinee Sun., Oct. 26 at 2 p.m.
The Alpine Theatre
107 Main St West in Ripley
All tickets $10

- A Murderous Match Game (Interactive Murder Dinner Party)
Murder and Merriment
Fri. - Sat., Oct. 24 - 25 at 7 p.m.
The Greenhouse of Teays Valley in Hurricane
Tickets $40
Reservations Required: 304-397-6316

   So get out there and support your community theatre!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Interview #2 with the Cast of "Crazy for You"

   Here’s the second in our series of interviews with the cast of Crazy for You, the Gershwin musical that opens this weekend at the Renaissance Theatre (the old Huntington High School).

   Today let’s hear from the lovely and talented Jocelyn Clark-Knapp, who plays an All-American Girl:

Q: For those not familiar with the show, tell us about Crazy for You.

Jocelyn: Between Ira and George Gershwin’s lyrics/music and Ken Ludwig’s writing, this musical offers something for everyone. While Bobby Child chases his dream to be a Broadway star, his mother is determined to keep him in banking. During a work assignment to foreclose on a theater in a rundown town in Deadrock, Nevada, Bobby meets and falls for Polly Baker. Instead of foreclosing on the theater he decides he could try to help save the theater and town. Saving a rundown theater and winning the girl of his dreams is not a one man job.  With the help of his Showgirl friends from New York City, two worlds collide to make some of the most memorable and exciting show stopping numbers in musical theater.

Q: Tell us about the character you play.

Jocelyn: I am honored to play Polly Baker, the “All American Girl” from Deadrock, Nevada. Polly is a headstrong cowgirl who makes a living delivering mail and keeping the lazy town of Deadrock awake. She lost her mother and is now the only female within miles of town. Polly secretly longs to find her special someone but wouldn’t ever admit to it, until she meets Bella Zangler. Before New York City and Bobby’s visit to Deadrock, I don’t think she even realizes what love could be. 

Q: I understand this show required a lot of rehearsal.

Jocelyn: I am a member of ARTS Resident Acting Company. Last year when I received the offer to play Polly Baker I couldn’t wait to get started. I have been humming along to these songs since January and will probably be singing them long after the final curtain drops. Coni Anthony, our choreographer, challenged me from day one with dance steps and now I can proudly say I can do a triple time step (fancy tapper talk for “lots of noise at one time with my taps”). Along with singing and dancing, this role has pushed me to think beyond a traditional character role and into the life of Polly Baker. I couldn’t be more honored to be part of this production.

Q: What's your favorite song (or scene or dance) in the show?

Jocelyn: This is such a hard question because each song/dance has such a special place for me within the show. But my favorite song/dance in the show is the first full number with Bobby and Polly, “Could You Use Me/Shall We Dance.” It is one of the first numbers we choreographed and has been a great experience from day one. Not only do you get to see both characters and their beginning feelings for each other but you also hear the fun upbeat carefree spirit of Gershwin’s music.

Q: What's your background in theatre?

Jocelyn: I am a current ARTS Resident Member. I played Mazy this past spring in “The Boyfriend” and was a Showgirl in our “Much Ado About Nothing” production. I have played Rosemary in “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” and The Favorite in “Will Rogers Follies.” In high school I was bitten by the theater bug and have participated in several community theater productions over the last 10 years.

Q: If one of our readers is thinking about trying out for a show, what advice would you give them?

Jocelyn: Go for it! Your audition pieces don’t have to be overly technical, but show your best efforts. Directors holding auditions for a show want you to be successful and want participants, so show them what you got! Being nervous to sing, act, or dance for someone is normal, but they aren’t there to tear you down. The more auditions you do, the better you become.
Q: Why would you recommend this show?

Jocelyn: It seems to me this show has it all: classic music, amusing dialogue, and fantastic dance numbers. One of the most important things this show – and most shows from ARTS have – is the cast.  As an audience member you will be able to see the love for theater from every person on stage. We are a close knit group who genuinely cares for each other and you will be able to see that too. It is a family friendly show for all ages and guaranteed to keep you at the edge of your seat the entire performance. There hasn’t EVER been a better time to be at ARTS – Won’t You Join Us?
   Thanks, Jocelyn!

The musical Crazy for You will be staged at the Renaissance Theatre at 900 8th Street on Oct. 24, 25, 31 and Nov. 1 at 8 p.m., and Oct. 26 and Nov. 2 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 for the show, and $30 for dinner and the show - to make dinner reservations, call 304-733-2787.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Interview #1 with the Cast of "Crazy for You"

   The musical Crazy for You takes the stage this weekend in Huntington, so it's time for some interviews and comments from the cast!

   First up is the lovely and talented Cyndi Fuller!

Q: For those not familiar with the show, tell us about Crazy for You.

Cyndi:  Crazy for You is about a banker named Bobby Child. All he wants to do is dance, but his money hungry mother sends him to Nevada to foreclose on a poor, rundown theater. Of course he immediately falls in love with the only girl in Deadrock. What ensues is a series of lies delightfully covered up by singing cowboys and dancing showgirls. It seems like your typical Broadway love story, but I promise you: it's not.

Q: Tell us about the character you play.

Cyndi:  I'm part of the Zangler Follies. I thought this would be an "easy chorus" role where I was a blip on the stage for a short time here and there. I was so mistaken! Each character in the show must bring everything they have to the table for the story line to work. We're all onstage as a unit. Without the "background" characters like me Crazy for You is just a bunch of bango-bingo.

Q: I understand this show required a lot of rehearsal.

Cyndi:  You. Have. No. Idea. From the first rehearsal, we have been charging at this show full force. Singing. Dancing. Acting. Not only have we been working our triple threat skills, we've been giving our all to help make the show happen. Set builds. Painting. Sewing. When we aren't rehearsing, we're working as a team to make the show the best it can possibly be in all aspects.

Q: What's your favorite song in the show?

Cyndi:  "Slap That Bass" is the most fun I've had on stage in years. It's so upbeat, and you can feel the energy radiating from the cast. Thinking about it makes me so happy and excited, I can't think straight!

Q: What's your background in theater?

Cyndi:  Tons of children's theatre. I took a break to pursue competitive dancing but came out of retirement for ARTs last show (Much Ado About Nothing). Let me tell you: I sure did pick a great time to come back. Crazy for You is going to be a show that the theater community remembers for a long time, and I'm so thankful I get to be part of it.

Q: If one of our readers is thinking about trying out for a show, what advice would you give them?

Cyndi: Just go for it! The last two shows I've done have had first time actors, and they did amazing. You have so many resources available in the Tri-State it would be silly to not try! Go to a workshop. See a show. Talk to directors and actors. Put on your dancing shoes. Watch your spirits climb.

Q: Why would you recommend this show?

Cyndi: I'm jealous I don't get to see it! Everyone has worked so hard. The set is amazing. The costumes are fabulous. The choreography is out of this world. The vocals will blow you away. This is one of the biggest productions to come across the ARTs stage. If you don't see it, you're K-RA-ZY! 

   Thanks, Cyndi!

   The musical Crazy for You will be staged at the Renaissance Theatre at 900 8th Street on Oct. 24, 25, 31 and Nov. 1 at 8 p.m., and Oct. 26 and Nov. 2 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 for the show, and $30 for dinner and the show - to make dinner reservations, call 304-733-2787.

Monday, October 20, 2014

On Stage This Weekend: "Crazy for You"

   ARTS has a terrific musical taking the stage this weekend - the Gershwin musical Crazy for You!

  Here's everything you need to know:

   Arts Resources for the Tri-State presents Crazy for You, the New Gershwin Musical Comedy, by Ken Ludwig. The show runs October 24, 25, 26, 31, November 1, 2. 

   Songs from the show include: I Got Rhythm, Shall We Dance, Nice Work If You Can Get It, Someone to Watch Over Me, and more classic Gershwin Tunes. 

   The show features comedy, tap-dancing, and wonderful music - all of which make Crazy for You a must see show this Fall!

   Online Tickets now available! Click here to purchase:!current-production/cb3i

   Tickets for the show only are $15. Dinner and Show: $30 - for dinner reservation you must call 304-733-2787.

   Directed by Stephen Vance
   Choreographed by Constance Anthony
   Musical Direction by John W. Campbell

Michael Naglee - Bobby Child
Jocelyn Clark Knapp - Polly Baker
Amy Knell Carlson - Tess
Tiffany Caldwell Trent - Patsy
Sheila Meade - Sheila
Nora Joseph Ankrom - Betsy
Jenn Naglee - Mitzi
Cyndi Mac Fuller - Louise
Marcus Albert - Sam
Luke Matlock - Mingo
Bill Stambaugh - Moose
Jason D. Roach - Jimmy
Tristan Reynolds - Custus
Andrew Surber - Junior
Dylan M. Clark - Lank Hawkins
Joanna Berner - Irene
Mike Murdock - Bela Zangler
Todd L Green - Everett Baker
Karen Kelly Pruitt - Lottie Child
Bil Neal - Eugene Fodor
Becky Tippett McClelland - Patricia Fodor

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Huntington is Named "Certified Arts Community"

   Hey, they made a major announcement this week about Huntington - here's the press release from the city's website:

   Mayor Steve Williams announced Tuesday that the City of Huntington has been named as a Certified Arts Community by the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.

   In receiving the designation, Huntington joins a select few communities across the state that have been recognized for capitalizing on the impact that the arts have on economic development, education, civic involvement and quality of life.

   “The WVCA recognizes the importance of cooperation between arts and humanities groups, business leaders and jurisdictional agencies,” Renee Margocee, director of arts for the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, wrote in her letter notifying Huntington officials of the designation. “Your efforts to encourage a full and vibrant artistic community in Huntington were clearly evident in your very strong application.”

   Williams said Huntington has always been a flourishing arts community as evidenced by its long-established arts institutions and their cultural offerings which Tri-State residents continue to support. The next decade will see unprecedented growth in the arts with additions such as Marshall University’s Visual Arts Center and Cabell County Schools’ expeditionary learning school.

   Being recognized as a Certified Arts Community adds to ongoing local efforts to unify resources and promotes more collaboration, Williams said. He cited the recent establishment of the Mayor’s Council for the Arts as a prime example of these efforts.

   “The arts have sustained us all in days of peril and have enabled us to soar to unexpected heights during days of jubilance,” Williams said. “The fact that our city is now a certified Arts Community validates the artistic endeavors of all our citizens. The Mayor’s Council for the Arts will seek to advocate and celebrate our artistic passions in such a fashion that will enable our entire community to mutually prosper.”

   Margaret Mary Layne, executive director of the Huntington Museum of Art, said the decision to apply for the designation led to the formation of the Huntington Arts Summit. The Summit was the first initiative that brought together various arts organizations as a cohesive group, she said.

   “While Huntington has long been an arts community, there is a flourishing creativity that has occurred here in the past several years that has enhanced the long-standing contributions of the Marshall Artists Series, the Huntington Symphony Orchestra and the Huntington Museum of Art,” Layne said. “Creativity is the buzz word for the future in every aspect of our lives. Huntington has creativity in spades.”

   Tyson Compton, executive director of the Cabell-Huntington Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the application process brought to light the full scope of arts resources that Huntington has to offer. The CVB will use this designation as another tool in promoting the arts and culture scene to visitors, he said.

   “One of the next steps that I see is to have an ‘Experience the Arts’ page on the CVB website that will highlight each venue, performance and exhibit that will serve to entice visitors and reinforce locally that the arts are a vibrant part of our mix,” Compton said. “I’m very excited about where this will lead us next.”

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

On Stage This Weekend - "Venus in Fur"

   Taking the stage this weekend in St. Albans is a play that's edgy and adult - Venus in Fur.

   Power shifts back and forth between a man and a woman - a director and an actress, a dominant and a submissive, perhaps even a mortal and an otherworldly force - in David Ives' Venus in Fur

   Playwright Thomas Novachek is at a loss. There are simply no actresses talented enough to play his leading lady. Then in walks Vanda, a mysterious siren with the uncanny ability to inhabit his character. 
She's sexy and full of surprises. 

   He's not as much in control as he thinks he is. All bets are off when the audition quickly escalates into a seductive power play. With loads of cheek and a hint of the erotic, Venus in Fur keeps you on the edge of your seat as you question "who is really in charge here?"

   Packed with smart, intense and edgily comic interchanges about sex roles, sexual politics and, well, sex, there’s little doubt about why Ives' compact 2011 Broadway hit has become the most-produced play of the current season.

   Starring Rob Boone and Marlette Carter.
 Directed by Greg Morris.

   Shows will be presented on Oct. 17, 18, 24 and 25 at 8 p.m., and 
Oct. 19 and 26 at 2 p.m.

   Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for seniors and students. For more information, 
visit this website.

   The play contains mature language and themes - parental discretion is advised. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tri-State Youth Orchestra's Fall Concerts

   The Tri-State Youth Orchestra String section will present their annual Fall Concert on October 19 at 7 p.m. in the Ballroom at ARTS Renaissance Center. This is the kickoff concert for the 18th season for the orchestra. This season you'll hear selections form Beethoven and Dvorak. Doors open at 6:30. Admission is $5 for adults, students 12 and under are free. For more information contact Ron Caviani
   The Tri-State Youth Orchestra will host auditions for vacancies in the wind brass and percussion section on Oct. 23 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the basement of ARTS Renaissance Center at 900 8th Street in Huntington. Students should know their scales, have a prepared piece and be ready to sight read. The orchestra reheases Thursdays from 6:30 to 9 p.m. and performs four to five concerts during each season. For more information contact Ron Caviani at
   The Cabell County String Orchestra will present their annual Halloween Concert on Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. in the Cabell Midland High School auditorium. This concert features music from the holiday season and combines both Huntington High School and Cabell Midland High School orchestras. Area middle school orchestra students will also perform with the orchestra for a combined performance. This year the high school theme is "Evil Eye and Hideous Heart" from Edgar Allan Poe's Tell-Tale Heart.  For more information contact Ron Caviani at or 304-743-7425.