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.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Concert for Kids

   The Cabell Midland High School orchestra will perform for elementary students at four schools on April 2, 2015.  

   The 34 member high school orchestra will perform a variety of musical styles ranging from Disney movie themes to a section from an orchestral suite.  

   The elementary students will get close-up demonstrations of the different string instruments and how they sound and relate to the orchestra.  

   The Cabell Midland orchestra has been performing at elementary schools for 20 years. The itinerary for the day is Milton Elementary School at 8:30 a.m.; On a Elementary at 10 a.m.; Davis Creek Elementary around noon and Nichols Elementary around 1 p.m.  

   The orchestra is directed by Ron Caviani. 

   For more information contact or 304-743-7425.

Friday, March 27, 2015

"Company" Interview with Nic Skaggs

    This weekend wraps up the ARTS production of the beloved musical Company - so before time runs out, here's one more interview with the cast!

   This time around, we hear from the incredibly talented Nic Skaggs, who plays the lead: 

Q: Tell us the basic story behind Company. 

Nic: The story is centered around Robert and his interactions with his friends and three VERY lovely ladies. At this particular time in Bobby's life he is searching for what marriage is (aren't we all?!) You get to see how his observations, encounters, and advice from his coupled friends play a role in his rationalization and realization of what love and marriage is.  

Q: Tell us about the character you play. 
Nic: Robert. Bobby. Bobbi bubi. Robbie. Sweetheart. Whatever you want to call me! He seems to answer to everything. And does so with a smile. It's an extremely pleasure to play this very intricate guy who is searching. 

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

Nic: With Sondheim as the composer/lyricist, can you just choose one?! I absolutely love the way we have staged "Marry Me A Little." Our director, Amy Carlson, has really put so much thought into every blocking and movement in the whole show, but in this song it just absolutely overtakes me. 

Q: Is the music challenging? 

Nic: It's Sondheim! Haha. Of course it is. If you ever meet someone who says they have perfected a Sondheim song within a month's time, turn to them and call them a liar. I could sing this music for years and still never fully discover every ounce of meat he has saturated it with. He's Sondheim. 

Q: Why did you want to be a part of this show? 

Nic: The role of Bobby has always been on the "Dream List." It's right up at the top with only two others. There's a part of me that got extremely excited when I heard that ARTS (my resident acting home) was going to tackle it. But there was also this gnawing at the back of my mind: "Can you pull this off?" I told myself that I had to take the challenge. The opportunity may never come again. So... in short. I did it for the challenge. I did it because as an actor we look for these roles that will stretch us and hopefully make an impact on someone who sees it. 

Q: What's your background in theater? 
Nic: I have been at ARTS for coming up on two years. In that time, I have played the Pirate King in Gilbert and Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance, a boyfriend in The Boyfriend and Balthazar in Much Ado About Nothing

Q: Performing in the Renaissance Ballroom puts you very close to the audience - does that make it easier or more difficult to perform?

Nic: With the show being in the ballroom, it creates a very intimate space. It almost feels like you are sitting in the living room, bedroom, club, or subway with the characters. It allows the audience to completely get sucked into the world. There's nothing quite like black box style theater. It's amazing. 

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

Nic: Come see the show for a laugh. For great music. For introspection. Come and watch an amazing story told by an incredible cast. 

   Thanks, Nic!

   Arts Resources for the Tri-State presents the hit musical Company by Stephen Sondheim on March 27 and 28 at 8 p.m. at the ARTS Ballroom at 900 8th Street in Huntington. Tickets are$15 for the show only, $30 for dinner and show. Call for dinner reservations at  304-733-2787 (but hurry - the dinners have been selling out).

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

"Company" Interview with Director Amy Carlson

    This weekend you have two chances to catch the musical Company - you’ll see why everyone is raving about it!

    The show also features a couple of “firsts” - it’s the first ARTS show directed by a woman, and it’s the first show Amy Knell Carlson has ever directed!

   She’s starred in quite a few shows, but we talked with her about her turn as director:

Q: Tell us the basic story of Company.

Amy: Company
is a musical comedy that follows Robert on his 35th birthday. It's a story that does not follow a linear plot, but instead shows us moments in Robert's life through a series of vignettes. He is wondering about his life and what marriage means. Robert is surrounded by married friends and girlfriends, but in spite of these relationships, he is a lonely man. 

Q: You've been onstage many times as an actor, but this is your first show as director. What's your reaction to that challenge?

Amy: Directing has been a mix of both expected and unexpected experiences. I've learned along the way. I simply tried to follow the rule of "do as you would have others do unto you." That may sound silly but I know what I like in a director and I tried to give that to my cast and crew. The people at ARTS have supported me and have believed in me from the beginning. I am a speech-language pathologist who loves theatre. That's all. I don't pretend to have a degree or be an authority on any of this. I just want to put up a product that means something to me, to the cast, to ARTS, and to the people who see it.  I don't see myself going into another project as a director right away. I think I wouldn't be much good to anyone after this. My battery needs a recharge. But, I would do it again in the future if ARTS asks me. 

Q: Tell us about the cast you're working with - a talented crew!

Amy: I know everyone says this but this cast is everything to me. First off, they trusted me when they had no reason to. I've never done this, it's blind faith on their parts. Secondly, I have asked a lot of them and they have continued to deliver no matter what came their way. One thing directing has given me is a greater appreciation for the time and energy actors and crew put into getting a show on its feet. When it's "your" show and you see people volunteering their time and talents to bring something to life it is a remarkable feeling. I've been incredibly humbled by the kindness of my cast and my crew.  There really are no people like theatre people. 
Q: Why would you recommend Company to our readers?

Amy: Here is what I've been telling people who don't know the show. I recommend Company because it is a musical for adults about adult subject matter. It has an amazing score written by Stephen Sondheim, and for my money there is no one better. This musical is an actor's musical. Sondheim writes for actors and that gives his work a different feel from other musicals. You have two chances to see this show and I urge you to take one of those. I can't guarantee you'll think it's a great show or even a good show. But I can guarantee you'll see brave actors taking chances and putting themselves out there for you to see.  These actors and techs deserve an audience. I hope you can make it. 

   Thanks, Amy!

   Arts Resources for the Tri-State presents the hit musical Company by Stephen Sondheim on March 27 and 28 at 8 p.m. at the ARTS Ballroom at 900 8th Street in Huntington. Tickets are$15 for the show only, $30 for dinner and show. Call for dinner reservations at  304-733-2787 (but hurry - the dinners have been selling out).

On Stage Tonight - "Voices of the Mountain"


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

ARTS Holding Auditions

   As if ARTS wasn't busy enough hosting the musical Company (more on that tomorrow), they also have auditions coming up for some key roles in upcoming shows!

   Here's the info: 

MONDAY, MARCH 30 & TUESDAY, MARCH 31 at 7 p.m.

Arts Resources for the Tri-State presents open auditions for various roles in two of their upcoming shows - one outrageous comedy and one musical!

ARTS is having open, public auditions for the following roles in their next two upcoming productions:


Gertie: a 50+ female, ok with profanity and willing to speak in "stroke talk." The play describes her as "Gertie – sixties, a clear-headed lady who's had a stroke and can't speak properly."


Narrator/Mysterious: Male 40+ baritone. Physical role.

Cinderella's Step-Mother: Female 40+ mezzo

FUDDY MEERS is an American play by David Lindsay-Abaire. It tells the story of an amnesiac, Claire, who awakens each morning as a blank slate on which her husband and teenage son must imprint the facts of her life. One morning Claire is abducted by a limping, lisping man who claims her husband wants to kill her. The audience views the ensuing mayhem through the kaleidoscope of Claire's world. The play culminates in a cacophony of revelations, proving that everything is not what it appears to be.

The show runs May 8, 9, 15 & 16, 2015 all at 8 p.m. No matinees. It is directed by Mike Murdock.

INTO THE WOODS is a musical with music & lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine. The show intertwines the plots of several Brothers Grimm fairy tales and follows them to explore the consequences of the characters' wishes and quests. The main characters are taken from "Little Red Riding Hood," "Jack and the Beanstalk," "Rapunzel," and "Cinderella," as well as several others. The musical is tied together by an original story involving a childless baker and his wife and their quest to begin a family, their interaction with a witch who has placed a curse on them, and their interaction with other storybook characters during their journey.

The show runs June 19, 20, 21 & 26, 27, 28 (four 8 p.m. shows and two 2 p.m. matinees). It is directed by Bil Neal with choreography by Coni Anthony.

Be prepared to cold read, sing and move.

In preparation for this audition, ARTS is holding a free audition workshop on Saturday, March 28, 2015 at 11 a.m., open to the public. We'll be talking about these shows, what's available, what's coming up, and what you can do to be prepared for auditions in the future.

Monday, March 23, 2015

ARTS to Host Free Audition Workshop

   ARTS is having an audition workshop on Saturday, March 28 from 11 a.m. to noon in the   ARTS Renaissance Ballroom! If you've never auditioned with us before (or even if you have and just want to brush up), stop by and join us!

   They'll break down their audition process with a segment on cold reading / acting, singing and movement, all to get you ready for the upcoming auditions on Monday, March 30 and Tuesday, March 31, 2015 at 7 p.m. in the ARTS Ballroom.

   They'll be auditioning for roles and gauging interest in their upcoming shows Fuddy Meers, Into the Woods, Medea and Brigadoon. Get ahead of the game and the competition!

   The workshop will last about an hour.

   This workshop is free and open to the public!

Friday, March 20, 2015

On Stage This Weekend: "Company," "Cinderella" and "Promises, Promises"

    There are three great shows taking the stage this weekend - one in Huntington, one in Ashland and one in Charleston, and all musicals!

   Here's the list, courtesy of my pal Ryan Hardiman:

- Company (Musical)
Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim / Book by George Furth
Arts Resources for the Tri State (ARTS)
Fri. - Sat., March 20 - 21/ 27 - 28 at 8 p.m.
Matinee Sun., March 22 at 2 p.m.
ARTS Ballroom
900 8th St. Huntington, WV
General Admission
$15 Show Only / $30 Dinner and show
Dinner menu: Garden salad with raspberry vinaigrette dressing, chicken Marsala, baked sweet potato, broccoli , spiced apple ring, rolls, New York Cheese Cake. Alcohol cannot be sold at this venue, However, you are more than welcome to bring a bottle of wine to enjoy.
Seating extremely limited. Call for reservation 304-733-2787

 - Cinderella (Musical)
by Rodgers and Hammerstein
Paramount Players
Fri. - Sat., March 20 and 21 at 7:30 p.m.
Matinee Sat., March 21 at 3 p.m.
Paramount Arts Center
1300 Winchester Ave, Ashland, KY
$14 Adults / $10 Students (Advance)
$16 Adults / $12 Students (Day of show)
(Extra charges: Phone orders- $5 for entire order / Online purchases- 10% additional charge per order. All tickets will be charged an additional .50 restoration fee)
***Least expensive option is to by tickets before the day of show, in person, at the box office***

 - Promises, Promises (Musical)
Music by Burt Bacharach / Book by Neil Simon
GWHS Theatre of the Nevertheless
Fri. - Sat., March 20 and 21 at 7 p.m.
Sun., March 22 at 1 p.m.
George Washington High School Auditorium
1522 Tennis Club Rd, Charleston, WV
Adults $15 / Students $10

   So get out there and support your community theatre!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Auditions for ACTC New Play Festival!

"Company" Cast Interview #4 - Tiffany Trent

Just two days until the premiere of the musical Company!

A few days ago we heard from Len Trent, so now let's hear from his lovely and talented wife (both on and off-stage), Tiffany Trent!

Q: Tell us the basic story of Company.

Tiffany: Company is about a single guy named Robert who is living in NYC trying to figure out what he really wants out of life. He has married couples who are his friends and they give him advice on getting married. All of the wives try to take care of Robert and most of the husbands envy his single life. What will he decide? Come to the show to find out!
Q: Tell us about the character you play.
Tiffany: I play Sarah, who is married to Harry. Sarah is an interesting character who is trying to find excitement in her own life. My character is the mother hen to Robert, always wanting to take care of him. Sarah likes to try new and different things, like karate.
Q: What’s your favorite song in the show?
Tiffany: I love "Sorry - Grateful" and "Being Alive." I’m a sucker for emotional ballads.
Q: Is the music challenging?
Tiffany: It’s Stephen Sondheim, so YES! Special thank you to Lara Donahoe for teaching us this challenging music!
Q: Why did you want to be part of the show?
Tiffany: I love Sondheim, so I was very excited when ARTS announced it was part of the 2015 season. Company is a great ensemble piece and I knew it would be full of fun and great music. I also really wanted to work with Amy Knell Carlson as the director. Amy knows what she wants and how to pull it out of you.
Q: What’s your background in theatre?
Tiffany: I grew up taking dance classes and singing in school choirs. I didn’t start participating in theatre until college at ACTC, then majored in theatre at Morehead State University. I participated in regional shows in Richmond, Va., while living there. I lived in NYC for three years were I took classes at HB studios. I moved back to the area about 12 years ago and got back into theatre, then ended up making a home at ARTS.
Q: This is being performed in the Renaissance ballroom, an intimate setting, with the audience right in front of you. Does that make the show easier or more difficult to perform?
Tiffany: The first show I did in the ballroom was intimidating, but once you get used to it, you're fine. I actually like it better now because you can hear and see the reactions from the audience, even whispers. The intimacy makes me feel like I have a better connection with the audience. In Company the cast is on stage the entire show, so feeling comfortable is very important.
Q: Why would you recommend Company to our readers?
Tiffany: This show is full of great music, great laughter, intimate moments, emotional moments, dancing, and it makes you feel and think. Plus it’s all live, happening right in front of you. What could be better than that?
Thanks, Tiffany!
   Arts Resources for the Tri-State presents the hit musical Company by Stephen Sondheim on March 20, 21, 27 and 28 at 8 p.m. and March 22 at 2 p.m. at the ARTS Ballroom at 900 8th Street in Huntington. Tickets are$15 for the show only, $30 for dinner and show. Call for dinner reservations at  304-733-2787.