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, December 09, 2016

Hairspray Live!

   Social media has been burning up today with comments and reviews about Hairspray Live, the latest live musical presentation on network television.

   I'm seeing lots of raves and a lot of nit-picking - but I don't know how anyone could watch it and not have a big smile on his or her face.

   The show is just loaded with positive energy and great messages - not to mention some wonderful songs!

   And the cast was terrific, from newcomer Maddie Baillio as Tracy, to stars like Kristin Chenoweth, Harvey Fierstein, Jennifer Hudson, Martin Short, Ariana Grande and Derek Hough. They all had their moments to shine (or often, to steal scenes altogether).

   Chenoweth is always amazing, even playing the heel, and Jennifer Hudson blew the roof off the joint with her incredible voice. And thank goodness we got to see Fierstein in this signature role - he was an absolute scream!

   The show carries a great message (several of them, actually), and it's just pure fun from start to finish.

   Which is not to say that I liked everything about it. There were a few technical problems (mostly minor lighting issues), I didn't care for the "live" commercial breaks or the remote shots from the crowd or different locations around the country - all that just diverted attention from the performance. I'm not sure why the tinkered with the staging of "You Can't Stop the Beat" (although nothing can keep that song from being fun). And I'm shocked that they missed Kristin's "curtain call" at the end of the show (the curtain call was a bit of a train wreck anyway - maybe they needed one more rehearsal).

   But all those things are just minor irritants - it was a joyful, powerful show with ingenious staging and amazing performances - I'll be keeping that one on my DVR for a long time!


Tuesday, December 06, 2016

On Stage in the Spring: "Kid Superheroes on the Rise"

   ACT has annunced its new show, and it’s written by a local playwright! 

   Here’s the info:

    Actors for Children Theatre - ACT is pleased to announce the upcoming premiere of the new play by Jonathan Joy! 

   ACT will debut Kid Superheroes on the Rise in Spring 2017! Kid superheroes take center stage in this imaginative play about a boy learning to use his newfound superpowers. 

   Buck is a shy kid with a big gift. He's a kid superhero and so is the new girl in school, Tracy. Together they form a friendship and battle dastardly villains like The Great Chili Monster, The Monkey Bar Brute, Kid Popsicle and more.

   Jonathan Joy adapted the play from the Bedtime Series column he writes for the The Greater Ashland Beacon. 

   Kid Superheroes on the Rise focuses on the importance of creativity, working together, stopping bullying and more!

Monday, December 05, 2016

Harry Potter on Broadway in 2018

   To the surprise of no one, the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will be appearing on Broadway - but you'll have to be patient.

   According to Broadway.com 

   The inevitable transfer of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will begin performances on Broadway in spring 2018. The play, which runs in repertory in two parts, has proven a critical and commercial smash hit in London's West End, and Great White Way theater owners were involved in an intense competition to land the show. The Ambassador Theatre Group won out and the production is set for an undoubtedly long-running engagement at the Lyric Theatre.

   The theater is to undergo extensive renovations to accommodate Cursed Child, and 400 seats will be removed from the vast, 1900 seat auditorium. 

Thursday, December 01, 2016

On Stage in December

   The holiday spirit takes the stage this month with lots of great shows to see. Here’s the rundown:

New Works 2016 - ARTS presents its second annual New Works Festival, featuring 21 new plays writing by playwrights from around the world. The performances will be presented at the ARTS Renaissance Center at 900 8th Street in Huntington. Readings will be offered at 7 p.m. on Dec. 1 with the reading of a horror screenplay, "Butcher Holler," by Dan Shea, a Kansas resident and Ohio University graduate. At 7 p.m. on Dec. 2 there will be a reading of six short plays with local actors reading plays from writers all over the world. Friday night's headline act is four brand new plays by locally-based, nationally-known playwright Jon Joy. At 4 p.m. on Dec. 3, there will be nine more short plays from talented playwrights all over the world with the night ending with a reading of Mike Murdock's new scary thriller, "Sarah's Fire."

Mary - Scarpelli and Kehde's rock opera follows the life of Mary, mother of Jesus, during the final nine months before the birth of Christ. A driving score and vibrant young talent brings the story to life on the stage of the WVSU Capitol Center at 123 Summers Street in Charleston on Dec. 1, 2 and 3 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $8 for students and $15 for adults.

A Christmas Story - The Charleston Light Opera Guild presents the musical version of the popular film classic with performances on Dec. 16, 17, 18, 21, 22 and 23 and matinee shows on December 17 and 18 at the Norman L. Fagan State Theater at the Culture Center.

The Magic Tree House Collections: A Ghost Tale for Mr. Dickens Jr. - The Children’s Theatre of Charleston present the play, which adapts Mary Pope Osborne’s book, as Jack and Annie’s tree house takes them to Victorian London in this holiday-themed story, where they learn the importance of charity and kindness through their friendship with legendary author, Charles Dickens . The play will be presented at the Charleston Civic Center Little Theater on Dec. 9 and 10 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 10 and 11 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 for students and $12 for adults.

A Christmas Carol - ACTC presents its annual production of the Charles Dickens classic on Dec. 2, 2016 at 11 a.m., Dec. 2 and 3 at 7 p.m., and Dec. 4 at 2:30 p.m.

A Charlie Brown Christmas - Jenny Wiley Theatre presents the classic story on Dec. 6, 8, 9, 10, 13, 15, 16, 17 and 18 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 17 at 2 p.m.

A Christmas Carol...More or Less - Kanawha Players presents the play on Dec. 2 and 3 at 7:30 p.m. at the LaBelle Theater at 311 D Street in South Charleston. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and senior citizens $10.

Joytacular! - No Pants Players present an “all ages” Improv Comedy show on Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. at the Alban Arts and Conference Center at 65 Olde Main Street in St. Albans. Admission with the donation of a toy for Toys for Tots.

- The Laramie Project - George Washington High School Theater of the Nevertheless is performing the play on Dec. 9 and 10 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 11 at 1 p.m. at the school's auditorium. 

    So go see a show!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

New Works, Holiday Homes Tour and a Film Challenge

   It's a busy holiday season for ur friends in ARTS! Here's a note they sent out:

   There's a lot coming up at ARTS this week and next, and you don't want to miss a minute of it!


   This weekend, starting Thursday, Dec. 1, at 7 p.m., we'll be kicking off our 2nd Annual New Works Festival with a reading of a horror screenplay, Butcher Holler, by last year's audience award winner Dan Shea! Tickets are $5 each.

   Then, on Friday,  Dec. 2 at 7 p.m., we'll be reading six short plays from writers all over the world - plays never read in front of an audience before! And then we'll be wrapping up the evening with four brand new plays by local favorite Jon Joy.  It's a night you don't want to miss!  Tickets are $5.

   And finally, on Saturday, Dec. 3 at 4 p.m., we'll start again, with 9 more short plays from talented playwrights all over the world and then finish the evening with a reading of our own Mike Murdock's scary thriller Sarah's Fire. Tickets are $5.


   And just as that wraps up the reading portion of New Works 2016, Sunday, Dec. 4, from 1 to 6 p.m., brings on the 10th Annual ARTS Holiday Candlelight House Tour - our biggest single-day fundraiser for Arts Resources for the Tri-State!

   Pick up your tickets ahead of time for $15 at MUG & PIA, Justice Glass, Avant-Garde, Spurlock Flowers, Girlfriends & Sister Chics or Red Door Home, or from any ARTS Board Member!  Tickets are $20 on the day of the tour.

   This year's Festival of Wreaths will be a little different this year - instead of just selling the wreaths, we'll be raffling them off!  Two chances for $5, available at First Sentry Bank on the day of the tour (where you can also see all the wreaths) or from any Board Member!  We have beautiful wreaths kindly donated from Spurlock Floral, Girlfriend & Sister Chics & Red Door Home!  You're bound to find something you'll love to take home!

   Join us at First Sentry bank between 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 4 to get started on the tour!  You won't regret it!

   Then you think - "Well, surely they must be finished giving us great entertainment, right?" NO! Have you always wanted to try to make a movie? Do you know people that do?  As the second week of the New Works 2016 festival continues, we're bringing back our annual 72-Hour Film Challenge!  Meet us at noon on Thursday, Dec. 8 in the lobby of ARTS, bring us $35 as your entry fee, and we'll give you a word or a phrase and idea and set you loose to make a movie in 72 hours!  The finished project needs to be in our hands by noon on Sunday, Dec.11, and at 4 p.m. that day we'll have an awards ceremony for the festival, including cash prizes for the top 3 films, and we'll screen the films as well!

   And finally...


   Because our 2017 season is going to be two half-seasons as ARTS grows and expands, instead of offering a full season ticket, we're taking the advice of our "two for Thursday" audiences and offering something new!

   ARTS 2 Half-Season Tickets for $75! That's right - It's a 2 for one deal for season tickets, just in time for the holidays!  For $75 you'll get (2) tickets to each of the three shows in our first half of the season:  The Pulitzer-Prize, Tony & Olivier Award winning drama Glengarry Glen Ross by David Mamet and directed by Mike Murdock in February, the beautiful story of love and family Steel Magnolias, for its 30th Anniversary, directed by Dr. Amy Carlson in March, and An Evening With Gilbert & Sullivan, filling you up with some of the best music ever written, directed by Dr. John Campbell in May! A little something for everyone! A show for adults, a show to bring your friends to, and a family-friendly musical - and that's just the FIRST HALF of the season!  We have so much more in store for you as 2017 continues!

   And don't worry - if you're still looking for a single half-season ticket, we're offering one for $40, too. But it's cheaper to find a friend, in the long run!

   Thank you, everyone, for your constant support!  We'll see you at New Works and the Holiday House Tour!  Here's a link to some pictures in the Huntington Herald-Dispatch to get you in the spirit!

   There's never been a better time to be at ARTS!  Be a part of it!

Monday, November 28, 2016

"Yuletide Keys! 8 Hands on 4 Grands"

  There's a unique holiday concert coming up this week, as John McAlister Productions presents its latest show starring four sensational concert pianists. 
   The concert premiers Friday, Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m. for a one-night only engagement at the Marshall University Foundation Hall. 

   "As we kick off our first holiday production, we are thrilled that world-class pianists Robert Holm, Jeff Bennett, Stephen Nielson and Jerry Anderson will continue our tradition of bringing artistically compelling performances to the Tri- State,” said John McAlister, President of John McAlister Productions. "We look forward to welcoming families to the Marshall University Foundation Hall for a heartwarming, holiday gift they will long remember.”

   The piano foursome promises a musical extravaganza like you’ve never experienced before with  four dynamic grand pianos! 

   The piano symphony will play merry, festive favorites in addition to a few surprises along the way. 

   To top off all the fun, the show welcomes WSAZ Newscaster Tim Irr reading a heartwarming Christmas classic.

   John McAlister Productions may be best known and remembered for the memorable Broadway Showstoppers musical revue, and with this show, the entertainment organization once again brings its audience a captivating experience.

   Tickets for Yuletide Keys!—8 Hands on 4 Grands are on sale now. Visit johnmcalisterproductions.com or call 888.453.ARTS for more information. 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving! (And yes, there are shows this weekend!)

   Happy Thanksgiving, gentle readers! Here's wishing you a safe and happy holiday weekend!

   By the way, while most productions avoid holiday weekends, we have two that are braving the holiday to bring you two terrific shows - one in Charleston and the other in Parkersburg!

   They are:

- Mary: A Rock Opera - Contemporary Youth Arts Company (CYAC) presents the 20th Anniversary production of this original musical with music by Mark Scarpelli and lyrics by Dan Kehde on Nov. 25, 26, Dec. 1, 2 and 3 at 8 p.m. and Nov. 27 at 2 p.m. at the WVSU Capitol Center Theater at 123 Summers Street in Charleston. Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for students and seniors.

- Scrooge: The Musical - The Actors Guild of Parkersburg presents the holiday classic on Nov. 25 and 26 at 8 p.m. and Nov. 27 at 2:30 p.m. at 724 Market Street in Parkersburg. Tickets are $18 for adults and $16 for students and senior citizens.

   So get out there and enjoy a show!