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.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

On Stage in July

   Here’s the rundown of shows taking the stage in July:
Collis P! A New Musical - HART in the Park presents the original musical at Huntington’s Ritter Park Amphitheater on July 10, 11, 12, 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. 

- 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.

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. 

- Mamie - The Aracoma Story, Inc. presents the play on July 2 and 3 at 8:30 p.m. at Chief Logan State Park Amphitheater, 376 Little Buffalo Creek Road in Logan. Tickets are $12 for Adults, $10 for Seniors $8 for Kids ages 3-12.

- The Addams Family - The Aracoma Story, Inc. presents the musical based on the TV show on July 28, 29, 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 2, 3, 9, 10, 14, 18, 21, 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 4, 7, 11, 16, 17, 23, 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 23, 24 and 25 at 7:30 p.m.  Tickets are $14 for adults and $9 for youth under the age of 17. 

- Avenue M! - Murder and Merriment present an Interactive Murder Dinner Party on July 25 at 7 p.m. at The Greenhouse of Teays Valley, Hurricane. Tickets are $45 - 

reservations are required. Call 304-397-6316.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Cast List for "Medea"


   ARTS Resources for the Tri-State announced the cast list for its next production coming in August - Medea, directed by Leah Turley. 
   Medea - Joanna Berner
   Nurse - Sheila Meade
   Tutor- Cyndi Mac Fuller
   Glauce - Nora Ankrom
   Women of Corinth- Rachel Sanford, Becky McClelland, Kate Jackson, Kristina Richins,   Kate Morris, Jamie Mathis
   Jason- Eric Wilson
   Creon - Mike Murdock 
   Aegeus - John Campbell
   Messenger - Jonathan Maynard 
  Make plans to see this classic piece of theatre August 21,22,28 and 29 at 8 p.m. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Coming Soon: Junior Theatre Festival Auditions


   First Stage Theatre Company in Huntington, W.Va., has been accepted to the Junior Theatre Festival (JTF) in Atlanta again this coming winter to perform and learn from professionals in the field of musical theatre. 

   But, this year they’re going to try something new! The traveling cast attending JTF 2016 will not be tied to a full-length play. 

   JTF 2016 is an awesome weekend long experience for kids to learn and perform with over 3,000 peers from across the country. Sponsored by iTheatrics, MTI, Disney, and Playbill. The event allows for showcasing a 15-minute show selection, workshop classes, guest speakers and performances. It is an awesome event!

   To audition, actors must be 10 years old by Sept. 1, 2015, and have performed or worked tech for at least one First Stage production previously.  

   An informational Parents Meeting will be held to answer questions (parents are not required to attend for their child to audition, although it is encouraged).

   Parents Meeting: Tuesday, July 14 at 6:30 p.m. They will discuss deadlines, financial commitment, fundraising, rehearsal days/times, and other trip/travel information.

   Audition Date: Saturday, July 18 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

   Location for the Meeting and Auditions: Pea Ridge United Methodist Church at 5747 East Pea Ridge Road in Huntington.

   Auditioners should prepare 32 - 64 bars or 1-2 minutes of a musical theater song (NOT a pop song). An accompanist and CD player will be available. Bring sheet music or a karaoke track - please, no a cappella auditions. Actors should be prepared to learn a short dance. 

   Rehearsals will begin in the fall. The Junior Theatre Festival will be one long weekend in January in Atlanta. Festival Dates: January 15-17, 2016

   For more information and questions email fstcjtf@gmail.com.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

On Stage This Weekend

   Lots of terrific shows lighting up local stages this weekend, including the final weekend for Into the Woods, Mary Poppins,  La Cage Aux Folles and The Stock Car Musical!

   Here's the list:

- Into the Woods Arts Resources for the Tri State (ARTS) presents the classic musical June 26, 27 and 28 at 8 p.m. at the ARTS Renaissance Main Stage at 900 8th Street in Huntington. Tickets are $15 for the show only, $30 for dinner and the show. Reservations are required for dinner - call 304-733-2787.

Mary Poppins - HART in the Park presents the classic Disney musical on June 26, 27 and 28 at 8:30 p.m. The gates open at 7 p.m., the Children's Pre-show Wonderland starts at 7:30 p.m., followed by HART's All Star Community Pre-show. The shows will be presented at the Ritter Park Amphitheater at 1310 8th Avenue in Huntington. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for children, $20 for reserved seats. Group rates are available. For more information call 304-696-5954.

La Cage Aux Folles - The Charleston Light Opera Guild presents the musical on June 26 and 27 at 7:30 p.m. and June 28 at 3 p.m. at the Charleston Civic Center Little Theatre at One Civic Center Drive. Tickets are $25 each. For more information, go to charlestonlightoperaguild.org.

- The Legend of Ginger and Bobby Joe: The Stock Car Musical - The Contemporary Youth Arts Company (CYAC) presents the original musical on June 26 and 27 at 8 p.m. at the WVSU Capitol Center Theater at 123 Summers Street in Charleston. Tickets for adults are $15, students and seniors are $8. Call 304-342-6522 for more information.

- Mamie - The Aracoma Story presents the play on June 26, 27, 28, 30 and July 1, 2, 3 at 8:30 p.m. at the Chief Logan State Park Amphitheater at 376 Little Buffalo Creek Road in Logan, W.Va. Tickets are available at the gate: adults are $12, seniors are $10, kids (3-12) are $8. Call 304-752-0253 for more information.

- Jenny Wiley Theatre presents Shrek the Musical on June 26 and 27 at 8:15 p.m. at the Jenny Wiley amphitheater in Prestonsburg, Ky.
 
- The Fisherman and the Fly - The Limelight Theatre Company offers performances on June 28 at 11:45 a.m., 12:45 p.m., 2:45 p.m. and 3:45 p.m. in the Green Space at Davis Park stage. This is a free FestivAll event in Charleston.
 
   Whew! So get out there and enjoy some community theatre!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Chris Sizemore Returns as Bert in "Mary Poppins"


   Chris Sizemore is an amazingly talented performer who grew up on local stages - and now he has returned to Huntington for the summer to take part in the HART summer theatre production Mary Poppins: the Musical, which wraps up this weekend at the Ritter Park Amphitheatre.

   The Herald-Dispatch ran an excellent story about Chris and his work as a professional actor in Washington, DC - you can read it right here. Here's an excerpt:

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   On the opening night of "Mary Poppins," fun-loving chimney sweep Bert, played by Chris Sizemore, stands on a stage-built rooftop at Ritter Park Amphitheater as the Big Dipper emerges directly overhead in a hazy night sky slowly fading to black.
   As if on cue Sizemore delivers his line - "If you reach for the heavens, you get the stars thrown in too."
   That has definitely been the case for the 1997 Cabell Midland High School grad and 2001 Marshall University grad who has been plying the stages of the Washington, D.C., as a professional actor the past dozen years, playing its best theaters from the Kennedy Center to the historic Ford's Theatre where he regularly does shows and working national tours such as "Willy Wonka," which came to the Marshall Artists Series several years ago.
   Sizemore, who just released his first CD "Only Imagine," has also kept a strong connection with home as he's rolled back to join such fellow actors/singers as Tamara Meadows, Lara Donahoe, Lee Dean, Debbie Wolfe and Jane Modlin in Mary Poppins The Musical, being presented by Huntington Area Regional Theater (HART in the Park) in conjunction with The Greater Huntington Park and Recreation District at the Ritter Park Amphitheater.
   The delightful, family-fueled musical opened last weekend and rolls for one more weekend with showtimes at 8:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday, June 26-28.
   Gates open at 7 p.m., "Wonderland," the children's pre-show, begins at 7:30 p.m., there's an adult or community pre-show at 8 p.m., and the main show begins at 8:30 p.m.
   Tickets are $10 for children, $15 adults, $20 for reserved seating. Group rates available. Call 304-696-5954 for tickets or more info, or visit www.GHPRD.org.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

“Into the Woods” - Cast Interview (#5)


    The first weekend is a wrap, but you have three more chances to see the ARTS production of the musical Into the Woods this weekend in Huntington!

   Let’s continue our interviews with the stars of the show! Here’s the lovely and talented Rachel Sanford, who plays the part of a Princess (to be) who has trouble hanging on to her shoes.  

Q: For those who haven't seen it, tell us the story behind Into the Woods.

Rachel: Into the Woods is a musical that combines several classic fairy tales, including Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Cinderella, to name a few. There is also an original tale that helps marry all the others. After Rapunzel is taken from her parents as a baby, the Witch who kidnaps her also places a spell on the baby's family so that the men are barren. Thus brings the now grown brother of Rapunzel into the plot as he and his wife now desperately desire a baby of their own. The Witch informs them the curse may be lifted if they can acquire several items in three days. In their mission to get these items, they meet all sorts of fairy tale characters, who have problems and desires of their own.

Q: So it's more than just children's fairy tales?

Rachel: What is so great about this musical is how we see the characters grow as they learn the difference between getting what they want and getting what they asked for. It is a very poignant musical that touches on many of life's hardest dilemmas. But it is also extremely witty, like all Sondheim musicals. You will find yourself crying in one moment, and then laughing the next.

Q: Tell us about the character you play.

Rachel: I play Cinderella, but she is a little more complex than many garden-variety tales of her. As expected, she longs to go to the ball, but once she is there she discovers that she is not ready for the Prince's advancements. And so she runs. What I love most about playing her is that she is a little quirky in her own way, and the songs are so lovely to sing.

Q: What's your background in theatre?

Rachel: I did a lot of theatre as a teenager at Pikeville High School under my favorite teacher Dan Houston. One summer, I was an intern at the Pioneer Playhouse in Danville, Ky, and the summer after that I attended the Firespark! Summer Drama Camp in Gainesville, Ga. After I graduated, I attended the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City, but I did not finish the program. I still performed a little though at Kentucky Christian University under Dr. Fawn Knight, and in December 2014 I was generously cast as Betty Haynes in White Christmas at the Paramount Arts Center in Ashland, Ky. Since then I have been a company member at ARTS for their 2015 season.

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

Rachel: There are so many wonderful songs, it's hard to pick just one, but a long time favorite has always been “Agony,” which is a duet between Cinderella's Prince and Rapunzel's Prince, who are played by Mike Murdock and Luke Matlock. It is a hilarious song bemoaning unrequited love and sibling rivalry. Many other great songs include "I Guess This is Goodbye," "Children Will Listen" and "No One is Alone."

Q: What's been the most challenging thing about the show?

Rachel: What is so inspiring about any community theatre group is knowing that everyone involved is doing this in their free time. Everyone in the cast and crew have careers outside of theatre and families to care for, and yet we all put on a show that is (almost) as good as a professional troupe!

Q: Tell us about the talented cast.

Rachel: It would take more room than you'd care to read to brag about everyone in the cast and crew, but I would like to highlight a few. Tiffany Trent does a fantastic job as the Witch, wickedly funny and very touching in her pain. She is so breathtaking to watch, and she really knows how to command a scene. Andrew Serber plays Jack, and he has so much energy on stage! I think everyone would agree though that Mike Murdock is the best at taking a harmless line and turning it into comedy gold. And of course, we all have Bil Neal to thank for his wonderful work as director. He is so encouraging to each of us to find what makes our character unique to us, and I have never worked with a director that trusts his actors' intuitions as much as he.

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

Rachel: It is a great show, both in how it is written and how it is performed. I am so proud to say I am a part of this and I hope everyone takes the time to watch this version of Into the Woods.

   Thanks, Rachel!

   Into the Woods is presented by Arts Resources for the Tri State (ARTS). The classic musical takes the stage June 26, 27 and 28 at 8 p.m. at the ARTS Renaissance Main Stage at 900 8th Street in Huntington. Tickets are $15 for the show only, $30 for dinner and the show. Reservations are required for dinner - call 304-733-2787.

Friday, June 19, 2015

"Into the Woods" - Meet the Cast (#4)

   Today’s the day! This evening is the premiere of the ARTS production of the musical Into the Woods - so let’s hear from the cast!

   Here’s the lovely and talented Kristina Richins, who plays the part of a wicked stepsister!

Q: Tell us the story behind Into the Woods.

Kristina: It's a handful of beloved fairy tale characters doing whatever it takes to get their wishes, in Act 1. Then during Act 2, we see them dealing with the aftermath.  Lessons are learned, lives are changed, and some of our characters have some growing up to do.
  
Q: So it's more than just children's fairy tales?

Kristina: It really is!  While still appropriate for children, the show has gone a little deeper, to further humanize the characters and make them less one-dimensional. Most of the wishes are things that I think a lot of people can relate to - more money, beauty, to live a different life, etc.

Q: Tell us about the character you play.

Kristina: I'm playing Florinda, one of Cinderella's wicked step-sisters.  It's been a lot of fun, and I'm really enjoying the comical aspect of the character. I love making people laugh! Honestly, though, I love this show so much, director Bil Neal could have asked me to just stand on stage and play a tree, and I probably would have done it.

Q: What's your background in theatre?

Kristina: My background is fairly limited.  My first show was in 2012, and since then I've been completely hooked.  This is my first (and hopefully not the last) show with ARTS, and it's been a terrific experience!

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

Kristina: It's so hard to choose!  I really have two favorites.  The first is "Your Fault" which leads right into the second, "Last Midnight." It's such a great build up, with characters throwing blame all around. Then our witch, Tiffany Trent comes along with her amazing voice and this super dramatic melody.  I just love it!

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

Kristina: It's a good story, with wonderful music, and it's family-friendly entertainment. On top of that, you'll be supporting the arts and local talent, which is always a good thing. Personally, I don't know a better way to spend my time.

   Thanks Kristina!


    Into the Woods is presented by Arts Resources for the Tri State (ARTS). The classic musical takes the stage June 19, 20, 21, 26, 27 and 28 at 8 p.m. at the ARTS Renaissance Main Stage at 900 8th Street in Huntington. Tickets are $15 for the show only, $30 for dinner and the show. Reservations are required for dinner - call 304-733-2787.

On Stage This Weekend

   There's an amazing number of terrific shows lighting up local stages this weekend, from the premiere of Into the Woods and La Cage Aux Folles to the second weekend for Mary Poppins, and the return of The Stock Car Musical!

   Here's the list:

- Into the Woods - Arts Resources for the Tri State (ARTS) presents the classic musical June 19, 20, 21, 26, 27 and 28 at 8 p.m. at the ARTS Renaissance Main Stage at 900 8th Street in Huntington. Tickets are $15 for the show only, $30 for dinner and the show. Reservations are required for dinner - call 304-733-2787.

- Mary Poppins - HART in the Park presents the classic Disney musical on June 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, 26, 27 and 28 at 8:30 p.m. The gates open at 7 p.m., the Children's Pre-show Wonderland starts at 7:30 p.m., followed by HART's All Star Community Pre-show. The shows will be presented at the Ritter Park Amphitheater at 1310 8th Avenue in Huntington. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for children, $20 for reserved seats. Group rates are available. For more information call 304-696-5954.

- La Cage Aux Folles - The Charleston Light Opera Guild presents the musical June 19, 20, 26 and 27 at 7:30 p.m. and June 21 and 28 at 3 p.m. at the Charleston Civic Center Little Theatre at One Civic Center Drive. Tickets are $25 each. For more information, go to charlestonlightoperaguild.org.

- The Legend of Ginger and Bobby Joe: The Stock Car Musical - The Contemporary Youth Arts Company (CYAC) presents the original musical on June 18, 19, 20, 21, 25, 26 and 27 at 8 p.m. at the WVSU Capitol Center Theater at 123 Summers Street in Charleston. Tickets for adults are $15, students and seniors are $8. Call 304-342-6522 for more information.

- Mamie - The Aracoma Story presents the play on June 19, 20, 21, 22, 25, 26, 27, 28, 30 and July 1, 2, 3 at 8:30 p.m. at the Chief Logan State Park Amphitheater at 376 Little Buffalo Creek Road in Logan, W.Va. Tickets are available at the gate: adults are $12, seniors are $10, kids (3-12) are $8. Call 304-752-0253 for more information.

- Jenny Wiley Theatre presents Shrek the Musical on June 18, 19, 20, 23, 25, 26 and 27 at 8:15 p.m. at the Jenny Wiley amphitheater in Prestonsburg, Ky.

- Summertree - Company of Dreams presents the play (which features adult language) on June 19 and 20 at 8 p.m. at Fairview Elementary School at 258 McKnight Street in Ashland. Tickets are $5.

- Play in a Day - The Frog Prince and the Fisherman and His Wife - The Alban Arts and Conference Center and Appalachian Artists Collective present a show where the cast auditions, rehearses and performs within just over 24 hours. The event is open to ages 12 and up. Auditions will be June 20 at 6 p.m., the performance will be June 21 at 7 p.m. at the Children's Theatre of Charleston at 1007 Bigley Avenue in Charleston. Rehearsal will start at 10 a.m. Sunday morning and will last until the house opens at 6:30 p.m. Breaks for meals will be provided but time will not allow you to leave, so pack a lunch.
 
- The Fisherman and the Fly - The Limelight Theatre Company offers performances on June 20 at 11 a.m. after the Art Parade at Capitol Market, June 25 at 5:15 p.m. and 6 p.m.at the Lee Street Triangle during ArtWalk; and June 28 at 11:45 a.m., 12:45 p.m., 2:45 p.m. and 3:45 p.m. in the Green Space at Davis Park stage. This is a free FestivAll event in Charleston.
 
- A Broadway History with Jon Cavendish and Friends - The concert will be presented on June 22 at 7 p.m. at the Kanawha Presbyterian Church at 1009 Virginia Street East in Charleston. This is a free FestivAll event.
 
   Whew! So get out there and enjoy some community theatre!