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, May 27, 2015

"Big Fish" Interview #3

   Just two more days until the premiere of the musical Big Fish in Logan - so here’s our third interview with the cast!
   Today let’s hear from the talented Joshua Butcher, who plays circus owner Amos Calloway.
Q: Tell us the story of Big Fish.
Joshua: Big Fish is the story of a Edward, a traveling salesman who told exaggerated stories of his own experiences to make his mundane life appear grandiose. The plot focuses on the tension this created between Edward and his son Will who feels that has never known seen his “real” father through all the stories. Throughout the show, Will is attempting to know the facts about his father’s past as he prepares to bring a son of his own into the world while watching his own father battle a terminal illness. 
Q: Tell us about the character you play.
Joshua: I play Amos, the leader of the Calloway Circus where Edward worked for three years in his youth. In Edward’s version of events, Amos turns into a werewolf and forced him to work for free until finally revealing to Edward the name of a girl with whom Edward fell in love at first sight. I enjoy playing the “mean” guy. There is something fun about being a circus ring master.  He is such an interesting character with one of the most energetic songs. I was able to discover an area of my voice, I didn’t know I could use. Plus, I love the costume. 
Q: Why did you want to be in this musical?
Joshua: I want to be in whatever show Southern Coalition for the ARTS brings to the stage because I strongly support them in creating high quality live theatre to the culturally deprived coalfields of southern West Virginia. Theatre is important and has the ability to expand your horizons – it changed me as a teenager. It helped me overcome my anxieties and helped build confidence. It needs to exist – especially in areas like ours.
Q: What's your background in theatre? 
Joshua: I have no professional training and cannot even read music. At 19, in between college semesters, I began doing community theatre because I liked a girl. I would not even dance at auditions. I suppose the need for men was so desperate that the director cast me in the chorus of Grease. Needless to say, I was bit by the theatre bug and discovered a deep passion that will last a lifetime. I also met my future wife that summer. Ironically, it was not the girl who talked me into auditioning. Years later, we fell in love and I now have two beautiful daughters – both who love theatre. They are only 3 and 1 (years old), but they know every dance and every song. 
Q: What's your favorite song? 
Joshua: My favorite song from the show is “I Don’t Need a Roof” sung by Edward’s wife, Sandra Bloom (played by Rachel Noe). The song is so touching and beautifully sung by Rachel.  If you can’t feel the raw emotion of this song - sung from wife to husband, as he lies in her arms slowly dying from a tumor, about how she does not need material provisions after his death to know she was loved – then you have no soul.  
Q: Tell us about the cast - there's a lot of talent on display there. 
Joshua: The cast is amazing and made up of over 35 people that all love theatre.  We are pleased to welcome several actors from the Huntington area who have joined us traveling all that way for so many rehearsals. The cast is very close having worked together on so many shows in the past. I am actually not shocked at the talent from the cast, as I have worked with them over the years – but it is time that world see the talent that is down here in Logan. Believe me, you will be more than pleasantly surprised. 
Q: Why would you recommend this show to our readers?
Joshua: This show presents patrons with an opportunity to see a new musical, with fantastic music, and one of the best stories to ever be told. The rights to Big Fish were just recently released for amateur theatres as the show just left Broadway last year. In addition to being new, it is rather obscure in that it is based on a novel/movie that have a small dedicated following, but not well known to the masses. It is an emotionally moving show with beautiful music – I really think people are in for a treat. But more than that, come see what is going on in Logan, W.Va.  We have fantastic restaurants and even better live theatre. You will never see a show if this caliber for just $12  - it is worth the drive.
   Thanks, Joshua!

  Big Fish: The Musical will be presented by the Southern Coalition for the Arts on Fri. and Sat., May 29, 30 and June 5 and 6 at 7 p.m., and on Sun., June 7 at 2 p.m. at the Coalfield Jamboree Theatre at 308 Main Street in Logan, W.Va.  Tickets are $12. For more information, call 304-785-0547.

Auditions for "Fame the Musical"

   Auditions will take place for Fame The Musical in Ashland at the Paramount Arts Center Wednesday, May 27 at 6 p.m.

   Please prepare 16 measures of a musical theatre or '80s song - a pianist will be provided. There will also be a dance audition and we will read from the script (which will be provided).

   The performance dates for the show are July 31 and August 1.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

"Big Fish" Interview #2

   Here’s another interview with the cast of Big Fish, the musical based on the beloved movie.

   Today let’s hear from the amazingly talented Shayne Gue, who plays Will Bloom, a son who’s looking for answers. 

   This may be Shane’s last performance locally - he grew up on local stages, but he’s moving soon to start his new career as a Doctor, having just graduated from Med School!

   So let’s see why he wanted to tackle this show: 

Q: Tell us the story of Big Fish

Shayne: Big Fish is a musical based on the Daniel Wallace novel of the same name.  The story centers on the relationship between Edward Bloom, a traveling salesman from rural Alabama, and his adult son, Will, who seeks to learn more about the man behind the tall tales.

Q: Tell us about the character you play.

Shayne: I would describe Will as an uptight, no nonsense kinda guy, grounded in facts and reality - a stark contrast to his father, who lives in fantasy and shares his life and wisdom through tall tales and metaphors. During the show, Will faces many changes within his father and himself. As he faces these new obstacles, he copes by seeking to learn more about his father's life to better understand what has made him become the man he is today.

Q: Why did you want to be in this musical?

Shayne: When Danny Ray (the Director) asked me to take on the role of Will Bloom, he said "the character is a lot like the real you," - which is, at least, partially true (the uptight, no nonsense part). But I was more excited about the challenge of taking on the role of a character who experiences several life-altering obstacles and sees so much personal growth throughout the show. But more than the role itself, I was most excited about the opportunity to work with Southern Coalition for the ARTS for the first time. Rachel Noe-Maynard and Jamie Butcher Dempsey lead a top-notch organization, that is not only the best community theatre organization in the Logan area, but among the best in the entire state. I have been fortunate to be a small part of what I believe will become one of the premier theatre company's in West Virginia.

Q: What's your background in theatre? 

Shayne: I took part in my first musical in 1999, and since have served as either an actor, singer/dancer, stage manager, director, assistant director, producer, or choreographer for over 60 different productions within the region. After completing my undergraduate degree and before beginning medical school, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to perform professionally as an entertainer for the Mayan Adventure in Salt Lake City. Upon returning to Huntington, I served as a founding member and President of the Board of Directors for Huntington's newest theatre and arts education organization, Curtains Up Players.

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

Shayne: My favorite song in the entire show is "The Witch" towards the beginning of the show - it's a fun song that lays the groundwork for the story ahead. And as an added bonus, Holly Maynard (the Witch) completely kills it. My favorite song for my character would be "What's Next," which occurs at the end of the show. It's a major turning point for Will - but I can't give away anything more than that without giving away the ending!! Come see for yourself  :)

Q: Tell us about the cast - there's a lot of talent on display there.

Shayne: In all honesty, I was completely blown away by the level of talent in this production. I expected it to be a good show simply because Danny Ray was serving as the director and Rachel Noe-Maynard, Holly Maynard, and Michael Gore were playing key roles. What I didn't expect was the level of raw talent of everyone else in the ensemble and those playing other minor roles. Most of these kids are still in high school, but are mature beyond their years. Kennedy Miller plays a loving and inquisitive Josephine. Adam Terry is flawless as Karl, the Giant. Bob Fields is perfect as Don Price (and a huge help behind the scenes, as well). I was also thrilled to meet and work with Josh Butcher, playing the role of Amos Calloway, who showed up to the first rehearsal performance-ready. Not only do they behave professionally in rehearsals, but they are professionals on stage as well, committed to their roles in telling this story and working hard to give the audience an experience they will not soon forget.

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

Shayne: This show has something for everyone. It's a beautiful story that we can all relate to on some level - there are challenges, disagreements, anger, love, sadness, happiness, birth, marriage, death, and relationships of all types. It has big production numbers. It has power ballads. It has amazing sets and costumes. It has some of the best acting I've ever seen in my entire life - Rachel Noe-Maynard (as Sandra) is good enough to be on Broadway. Further, by coming to see the show -- not only will you personally benefit from the experience with your friends and loved ones -- but you will further the mission of Southern Coalition for the ARTS to produce professional quality theatre and to serve as a community workshop to create jobs and promote physical and mental health through artistic exposure and creative expression. The Logan area is very fortunate to have this gem of an organization, and I would highly recommend getting involved and supporting them in any way you can.

   Thanks, Shayne!

  Big Fish: The Musical will be presented by the Southern Coalition for the Arts on Fri. and Sat., May 29, 30 and June 5 and 6 at 7 p.m., and on Sun., June 7 at 2 p.m. at the Coalfield Jamboree Theatre at 308 Main Street in Logan, W.Va.  Tickets are $12. For more information, call 304-785-0547.

Monday, May 25, 2015

"Big Fish" Interview #1

   Coming up this weekend is the first (I believe) local production of the musical Big Fish, which is based on the excellent film about the wild, imaginative life of one man - and the attempts by his son to sort out fact from fiction.

   We have some interviews with the cast, starting with the talented Michael Gore, who plays the part of the man who never runs out of tall tales: Edward Bloom.

Q: Tell us the story of Big Fish.

Michael: It's a wonderful tale about an over-the-top dad who tells "Big Fish" stories to his son, who he loves more than life. During the tales the audience discovers a true love story of epic proportions. However, it's an emotional ride as the son tries to uncover the real story and events behind the tales before his dad loses his battle with cancer.

Q: Tell us about the character you play.

Michael: I have the pleasure of playing the role of Edward Bloom, the dad. From the first moment I heard the Broadway soundtrack, I wanted to play this character. His love of life and his love for his family is like no other character I know.  

Q: Why did you want to be in this musical?

Michael: This is one of my favorite new musicals. The music and the story are both fantastic. It's Broadway at its best with numerous show stopping moments.

Q: What's your background in theatre?

Michael: I have been in shows since I was a teenager. In recent years, I have had the opportunity to play some great characters like Billy Flynn in Chicago and Frank Abagnale, Sr. in Catch Me If You Can.

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

Michael: I love my last scene and song in the show. “How It Ends” is my character's swan song and is a beautifully written.  The first few times I sang it, I caught myself crying, imagining people at the end of their lives saying goodbye. Every character in the show is part of the number and you just feel the love coming from that stage. 

Q: Tell us about the cast - there's a lot of talent on display there.

Michael: The cast is amazing. I am so excited to be doing a show in my hometown for the first time in nearly 15 years. I love that I get to work alongside Huntington theatre friends like Shayne Gue and Danny Ray and life-long friends I grew up with in Logan like Rachel Noe, Holly Maynard, Rebecca Adams and Josh Butcher. I am working with many new faces, the average age of the cast is much lower than most shows I've done but these "kids" are amazing. I love their eagerness to learn and try new stuff. 

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

Michael: Obviously because the show is fabulous but also to see theatre in a town that has not always been known as a theatre town. The ARTS company has worked very hard in a very short time to build a wonderful program and their shows are top notch. This show is Big and Wonderful, it fits right into the company. Come join us for a journey that you will not soon forget. 

   Thanks, Michael!

   Big Fish: The Musical will be presented by the Southern Coalition for the Arts on Fri. and Sat., May 29, 30 and June 5 and 6 at 7 p.m., and on Sun., June 7 at 2 p.m. at the Coalfield Jamboree Theatre at 308 Main Street in Logan, W.Va.  Tickets are $12. For more information, call 304-785-0547.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

On Stage This Weekend

    There are only two performances this weekend - and they're both on Friday night!
    Here's the list, courtesy of my pal Ryan Hardiman:

- Friday Night Live!
(Sketch Comedy)
Capital High Theatre Dept.
Fri., May 22 at 7:30 p.m.
Capital HIgh School Performing Arts Centre
1500 Greenbrier St, Charleston, W.Va.
$10 Adults / $8 Students and Seniors
Available at the door

- Once Upon a Murder! (Interactive Murder Dinner Party)\
Murder and Merriment
Fri., May 22 at 7 p.m.
The Greenhouse of Teays Valley, Hurricane, W.Va.
Tickets $45
Reservations Required: 304-397-6316

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

17th Annual Spring Concert on May 25

   The Tri-State Youth Orchestra will present its 17th annual Spring Concert.  

   The concert will be on Monday, May 25, 2015 at 8 p.m. in the ARTS Renaissance Center's Auditorium.  The doors open at 7:30 and admission is $5, with no charge for anyone 12 and under.  

   This concert will include an Aria sung by Kristin Caviani and feature the Haydn Piano Concerto in D performed by Megan Bailey.  

   For more information contact Ron Caviani at or 304-743-7425.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Paramount Announces Its Upcoming Season

    This week the Paramount Players at Ashland's Paramount Arts Center announced its 2015-16 Season - and it's an impressive lineup

   They're going to present:

- Fame: The Musical

- Rent

- A Midsummer Night's Dream

- Frosty The Snowman And Friends

- The Belle of Amherst

- Peter Pan

    Watch this space for more news about the dates and auditions for those shows!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Coming Soon: "Big Fish"

   I'm a big fan of the fantastic and fanciful movie Big Fish, but I haven't had a chance to see the musical based on it - but that will change soon!

   That's because it'll be presented at the end of the month in Logan, courtesy of the Southern Coalition for the ARTS.

   They'll present the larger-than-life musical at the Coalfield Jamboree Theatre in downtown Logan, W.Va.

    The show will be presented: Friday, May 29 at 7 p.m., Saturday, May 30 at 7 p.m., Friday, June 5 at 7 p.m., Saturday, June 6 at 7 p.m., and Sunday, June 7 at 2 p.m.

   Tickets are $12 - you can order them during the day at 304-785-0547.

   So what is the show about? How's this: “A rollicking fantasy set in the American South, Big Fish centers on the charismatic Edward Bloom, whose impossible stories of his epic adventures frustrate his son Will. As Edward’s final chapter approaches, Will embarks on his own journey to find out who his father really is, revealing the man behind the myth, the truth from the tall tales.”

   The show is directed by Danny Ray and features an all-star cast. Don't miss it!