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 19, 2014

"White Christmas"


   On stage this weekend in Ashland is the classic musical White Christmas!

   You can read more about it in this story in the Herald-Dispatch. Here's an excerpt:

Based on the wonderful and now iconic songs written by the legendary Irvin Berlin, the 1954 film starred Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Vera-Ellen and Rosemary Clooney, George Clooney's aunt who grew up not far from the Tri-State in the Ohio River town of Maysville, Kentucky.
While a lot of classic movies back in the day started out as plays or Broadway musicals, White Christmas began as a film and was not translated into a stage production until 2004. The Paramount Players will perform the musical Irving Berlin's White Christmas at the historic Paramount Arts Center in Ashland.
Irving Berlin's White Christmas will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 19 and Saturday, Dec. 20, and a 3 p.m. matinee performance on Dec. 20. Tickets are $14.50.
The Paramount Arts Center is located at 1300 Winchester Ave., in Ashland. More information can be found at www.paramountartscenter.com and 606-324-3175.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

On Stage This Weekend

   December's usually a busy month for community theaters, but as we get close to Christmas, you usually see a sharp drop-off in shows.

   That's because most groups try to get the shows done before the holiday becomes too overwhelming. But this year, even though we're just a week away from the holiday, we still have several shows running - and one even runs the weekend after Christmas!

   Here's the lineup for the next two weekends: 

- A Christmas Carol - Alban Arts and Conference Center presents the classic Dickens play Dec. 19 and 20 at 8 p.m., and Dec. 21 at 2 p.m. at the Alban Arts and Conference Center at 65 Olde Main Plaza in St. Albans. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. 

- An Old Fashioned Christmas and a Movie - The Nutcracker Story - Limelight Theatre Company presents a video of the group’s 2012 and 2013 performances of "The Nutcracker Story." the show also features a pre-show performance by live singers and dancers. It’ll be presented Dec. 19 and 20 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 20 and 21 at 2 p.m. at the WVSC Capitol Center Theatre at 123 Summers Street in Charleston. All tickets are $8.

- Miracle on 34th Street - The Charleston Light Opera Guild presents the musical based on the classic 1947 film on Dec. 19, 20, 26 and 27 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 21 and 28 at 2 p.m. at the Culture Center Theater at the West Virginia Capitol Complex. Tickets are $20 each. 

- Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol - Kanawha Players preents the play based on the Dickens classic on Dec. 18 and 19 at 7 p.m. at the LaBelle Theater at 311 D Street in South Charleston. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students, seniors and children under 18.

- Irving Berlin's White Christmas: The Musical - The Paramount Players presents the Irving Berlin classic on Dec. 18, 19 and 20 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 20 at 3 p.m. at the Paramount Arts Center on 1300 Winchester Avenue in Ashland. There will be a Pre-show Chorus 30 minutes before showtime. Tickets are $14 for adults and $10 for students (if purchased in advance) and $16 for adults and $12 for students (purchased the day of the show). 

   So get out there and dive into the holiday spirit!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Disney on Broadway: "Proud of Your Boy"

    If you caught the Disney on Broadway special this weekend, you saw a clip of Glee's Darren Criss singing "Proud of Your Boy," a song written especially for the Broadway version of Disney's Aladdin.

   To catch the whole song, you have to visit YouTube - or you can watch it here:

Saturday, December 13, 2014

This Weekend - "Best Christmas Pageant Ever"

   Here we go - Sunday is your last chance to catch the last show taking the stage in Huntington for 2014!

   The Best Christmas Pageant Ever is being presented by Curtains Up Players (CUP) on Sunday, Dec. 14 (Dinner at 2:30 p.m. and the show at 3 p.m.). 

   The show tells the story of an attempt to stage a Christmas pageant - but when the toughest kids in town get involved, will it be the best pageant ever - or the worst?

   The play will be presented at St Paul Lutheran Church at 721 12th Avenue in Huntington. Tickets are $15 for adults and students and includes a Spaghetti Dinner complete with salad, bread and dessert.

Friday, December 12, 2014

This Weekend - "Rabbit Hole"


   This weekend is your last chance to catch the drama Rabbit Hole! (You can read my review right here).

   The play tells the story of parents Howie and Becca after their young child is killed in a tragic accident. The play examines how we cope with loss as a family and as individuals. Filled with love, laughter, anger, sorrow, and soul-searching, the play shows how we can allow hope to grow even while mourning. 

   ARTS presents the Pulitzer Prize-winning play at the Renaissance Ballroom at 900 8th Street in Huntington on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 12 and 13 at 8 p.m. 

   Tickets for dinner and the show are $30 (reservations required - call 304-733-2787) - show only is $15. 

   This play contains adult language and adult subject matter.

 


Thursday, December 11, 2014

On Stage This Weekend - Lots of Holiday Shows and "Rabbit Hole"

    Lots and lots of great shows on stage for the holiday weekend - here's the rundown:

- Rabbit Hole - Arts Resources for the Tri-State (ARTS) presents the Pulitzer Prize-winning play at the Renaissance Ballroom at 900 8th Street in Huntington on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 12 and 13 at 8 p.m. Tickets for dinner and the show are $30 (reservations required) - show only is $15. The drama tells the story of parents Howie and Becca after their young child is killed by a teenage driver. The play examines how we cope with loss as a family and as individuals. Filled with love, laughter, anger, sorrow, and soul-searching, the play shows how we can allow hope to grow even while mourning. This play contains adult language and adult subject matter.

- The Best Christmas Pageant Ever - Curtains Up Players (CUP) presents the holiday play on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 12 and 13 (Dinner is served at 7 p.m., the show starts at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee on Sunday, Dec. 14 (Dinner at 2:30 p.m. and the show at 3 p.m.). It will be presented at St Paul Lutheran Church at 721 12th Avenue in Huntington. Tickets are $15 for adults and students and includes a Spaghetti Dinner complete with salad, bread and dessert.

- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - Children’s Theatre of Charleston presents the C.S. Lewis classic story that was adapted into the Narnia movies. The play will be presented Friday and Saturday, Dec. 12 and 13 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 13 and 14 at 2 p.m. at the Charleston Civic Center Little Theatre.

- An O. Henry Christmas - Portsmouth Little Theatre presents the play Friday and Saturday, Dec. 12 and 13 at 7:30 p.m. at the theatre at 1117 Lawson Street in Portsmouth. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for seniors and students. 

- A Christmas Carol - Alban Arts and Conference Center presents the classic Dickens play Friday and Saturday, Dec. 12, 13, 19 and 20 at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 14 and 21 at 2 p.m. at the Alban Arts and Conference Center at 65 Olde Main Plaza in St. Albans. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. 

- An Old Fashioned Christmas and a Movie - The Nutcracker Story - Limelight Theatre Company presents a video of the group’s 2012 and 2013 performances of "The Nutcracker Story." the show also features a pre-show performance by live singers and dancers. It’ll be presented Dec. 12, 13, 19 and 20 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 13, 14, 20 and 21 at 2 p.m. at the WVSC Capitol Center Theatre at 123 Summers Street in Charleston. All tickets are $8.

   So get out there and support your local theatre!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

"Peter Pan Live"


   I'm running late, but I finally got a chance to see Peter Pan Live, the NBC production that adapted the Broadway show for a live TV production (thanks, DVR).

   And I have to admit, I enjoyed it - mostly. (There's apparently a cottage industry of haters out there who spring up to pick these shows apart, having started with last season's Sound of Music. That's fine, it's a free country, but I for one love seeing the networks tackle these live productions.)

   I thought the show was impressive, with some terrific talent on display. Allison Williams did an excellent job in the title role - she has an excellent singing voice and the physicality to manage the high-flying effects.  

   Christopher Walken took some chances in the role of Captain Hook, playing it in a more subdued, comic style (as opposed to the usual manic approach). Still, he's a heck of a hoofer and he earned quite a few laughs along the way.

   The rest of the cast was excellent, with strong performances across the board.

   The production values were terrific, with absolutely stunning sets, costumes and camera work on display - I was especially impressed to see the cast fly from their bedroom to the skies over London and then to Neverland, all in one musical sequence.

   The choreography was excellent, the re-worked numbers (especially Tiger Lilly's song) we very good, and I even liked the edits and additions.

   So what didn't I like? Well, I don't understand why Michael and John were played by kids, but the Lost Boys were played by grown men (though at least they cast men with boyish features - and certainly they're all talented performers). I can understand using adults for a long-running show, but for a one-off like this, surely they could round up enough talented young performers.

   I'm not sure why the father of the kids was doubled in as Smee, instead of Captain Hook - was it too difficult to manage the makeup change in time? Seems like a shame to miss Walken in both roles.

   The final swordfight sequence between Hook and Pan was pretty tame - surely they could make it a little more convincing (and here I admit I'm getting picky).

   But my biggest gripe is the one I've had with this show since I saw the Mary Martin version as a kid - namely, why do they always cast a woman in the title role? (Even as a child, I never believed for a second that Martin was a boy.) Again, I understand the reason behind casting a woman in a (potentially) long-running Broadway or touring show - and there's no denying the talent of the women who have tackled the role, including Martin, Sandy Duncan, Cathy Rigsby and now Williams - but just once I'd like to see a production with the courage to cast an actual boy (or teen or young man) as Pan - it would be interesting to see a different take, and again, for a one-time production, it could be managed.

   Still, none of that is to take away from this excellent production. Hopefully the networks will continue to adapt stage shows for Broadcast - especially if it helps spark interest in live theatre!