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, April 24, 2015

On Stage This Weekend: "New Play Festival"


   It's a busy weekend for theatre, but make time to catch the New Play Festival running Friday - Sunday, April 24, 25 and 26, on the stage of the Sowards Theatre at Ashland Community and Technical College at 1400 College Drive in Ashland, Ky.

   The festival will include 13 short scenes, one-acts and monologues that were written by student playwrights of Jonathan Joy.

   The event also features an Art Showcase by students of Wendy Fosterwelch.

   The program will include performances of:

 - Alone by Della Preston

 - Beyond Sight written by Trena Penney

 - Exercise the Cat by Alicia Tish Maynard

 - Father by Natalie Martin

 - It’s Just a Box by Sarah Diamond Burroway

 - Meeting for the First Time by Lindsey Blankenship

 - Pirate Treasure by Geanina McGlone

 - Silver Sleuths by Alicia Tish Maynard

 - Sober by Miranda Parsons

 - To the Woman at Food Fair Who Screamed at Her Child by Sarah Diamond Burroway

 - Toy Fight written by Kristen Carroll

 - Untitled Monologue by Rachel Asher

 - Zombie Love by Jennifer Johnson

   Showtimes are: Friday, April 24 and Saturday, April 25 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, April 26 at 2:30 p.m.

   Admission is $5.00.

   Non-perishable food donations will be collected Sunday for Safe Harbor of Northeast Kentucky, Inc.

 

"Catch and Release" Interview with the Cast #2

   You have three more chances this weekend to see the play Catch and Release, which is being presented at the Alban Theatre in St. Albans.

   To wrap up our series of interviews with the cast, here’s one of the stars of the show: James Holley.

Q: What’s the premise of Catch and Release?

James: Honestly, this answer is a bit subjective.  On the surface, it’s the story of four friends and how their relationships change over about 20 years. Moreover, to me, it’s about recognizing and being mindful of the people we are with and have in our lives right now. How we affecting one another’s future, be it short term or long term, every time we interact?
Q: Tell us about the part you play.

James:  I play Ben. Ben is a bit of a neurotic all the way from the age of 11 to 30. His nervous disposition is catalyst for a lot of overreaction.  Sometimes his knee jerk reactions make for funny situations and sometimes he comes off as selfish and self centered.     

Q: What's your background in theatre?

James: I’m actually sort of new to acting. When a couple of the male actors backed out a production of Titanic the Musical in Huntington a few years ago, I took on a role. Six months later I was cast as one of the leads in the comedy Noises Off.  In 2012, I was played George Bailey in the holiday classic It’s A Wonderful Life for the Paramount Arts in Ashland, KY.  Last year I was back with 5th Ave Theater Troop cast as The Leading Player in the musical Pippin. Additionally, I have performed more than 25 shows with the improvisational theater troop Murder and Merriment.

Q: How challenging is it for the actors to play the same character at such different ages?

James: I’m 45 years old so playing Ben at any of these ages is a bit of a stretch. It’s a blast though. I have a two kids, 12 and 17… so I’ve been watching their faces when they talk to friends, listening to their tone of voice and most important, noticing the body language. Generally, an 11-year-old boy has no fear and that’s how he presents himself. A teen is a little more reserved and a tad awkward. At 30, you are more comfortable in your skin. Biggest challenge has been flipping those switches so many times in just over an hour.          

Q: The play is written by a local playwright - how has that affected the show?

James: I like the fact Jeremy is tied to us locally. More than that I like that he is a solid writer. I wanted to do this role because I wanted a change from the big musicals and huge sets and just have a chance to act. Jeremy is an actor/writer whose project offered exactly what I wanted. I auditioned because I wanted a chance to work with Tara Pauley, our director. I had heard great things and knew I could trust her to create a fun show and teach me things. I didn’t find out that Jeremy was homegrown until our first rehearsal. That was icing on the cake.

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

James:  I recommend Catch and Release because it’s a fun show that has a message but isn’t preachy. You get to watch four adults play like children, fight like teens and recall as adults. I guarantee you’re going to laugh and enjoy the show. My hope is that after you see it you go home, pull out an old yearbook, and contact someone you haven’t thought about in years just to say hello.

   Thanks, James!


   Catch and Release, a play by Jeremy Richter, will be presented at the Alban Arts Center on April 24 and 25 at 8 p.m. and April 26 at 2 p.m. The Alban Arts Center is located at 65 Olde Main Street in St. Albans, W.Va. Tickets are $15 for Adults and $10 for Seniors and Students with valid ID.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

"Shiver Me Timbers!"


   This weekend marks the final performance of Shiver Me Timbers: A Pirate Play, the spring 2015 touring production of Actors for Children Theatre.  
   ACT will present a free performance of the show for families at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 25 at the Main Branch of the Boyd County Public Library.  
   Shiver Me Timbers features a band of pirates who spin tales of the sea, drawing audiences in with their antics, based on themes of working together and doing the right thing. 
   The play, by playwright Gay Hammond, is presented by special arrangement with New Classics Plays of Gainesville, Georgia.
   "Our pirates struggle with the solitude of ocean life and entertain themselves through these tale tales," said Sarah Diamond Burroway, ACT director and co-founder.  
   "In their own way, they bring to the forefront lessons about choice, consequence and cooperation," she said.
   Of course, any good pirate play has to involve buried treasure, sword play, squabbling townspeople and mermaids.  The play is structured around five pirates who transform into other characters in stories like 'Treasure Beach,' 'The Pirate and The Mermaid' and "Pet for a Pirate.'  
   For this production, Diamond Burroway brought together a cast of seasoned community theatre actors, all of whom are interested in bringing the best in theatre for youth to ACT's child audiences.  
   "These actors make up an awesome cast with great balance and chemistry.  For me, that's what helps bring this particular story to life," Diamond Burroway continued.  
   "From the first time I read Shiver Me Timbers, I visualized each of these actors in the various roles," she concluded.
   Founding cast members Bill Burroway and Tish Maynard were joined by ACT newcomers Mary Baughman, Jason Kretzer and Kate Morris to round out the Shiver Me Timbers cast.
   Diamond Burroway had always wanted to work with Baughman, Kretzer and Morris in an ACT production, having developed friendships with each after working with them on other projects.
   "I so appreciate the work of this entire cast and their high regard for children, in general."
   The award-winning troupe based in Flatwoods, KY has already brought its whimsical style of theatre to more than 2,500 children and adults this program year.  And, while the spring production has one more show before the final curtain, ACT is already taking booking inquiries for the fall 2015 production tour.
   To learn more about Actors for Children Theatre, visit their webpage at http://actorsforchildrentheatre.weebly.com/ or follow ACT on Twitter @Actors4Children.  And on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ActorsForChildrenTheatre

On Stage This Weekend

   Lots of great shows to choose from this weekend - here's the list, courtesy of my pal Ryan Hardiman:

- Clybourne Park (Play)
by Bruce Norris
Marshall Theatre Alliance
*Warning: Contains adult language and situations*
 Thur. - Sat., April 23 - 25 at 7:30 p.m.
Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center's
Joan C. Edwards Playhouse
1600 block of 5th Avenue, Huntington, WV
$20 Adults / $15 Faculty and seniors / Free to full time MU students with valid ID.
304-696-2787

 - Barnum (Musical)
5th Avenue Theatre Company
Fri. and Sat., April 24 and 25 at 8 p.m.
Matinee Sun., April 26 at 2:30 p.m.
JCS Auditorium at Huntington City Hall
800 5th Ave., Huntington, WV
$15 Adults / $10 Children under 12
(304) 696-5522
https://www.facebook.com/events/859272057478828/

- New Play Festival (Student-written plays)
Ashland Community and Technical College (ACTC)
Fri. and Sat., April 24 and 25 at 8 p.m.
Matinee Sun., April 26 at 2:30 p.m.
JB Sowards Theatre
1400 College Drive, Ashland, KY
Tickets $5
https://www.facebook.com/events/1403783703275049/

- Shiver Me Timbers (Theatre for Children)
by Gay Hammond
Sat., April 25 at 2 p.m.
Actors for Children Theatre (ACT)
Boyd County Public Library
1740 Central Ave, Ashland, KY
FREE
https://www.facebook.com/events/743078649138685/

 - Catch and Release (Play)
by Jeremy Richter, Wheeling native and MU theatre alum
Contains adult themes and language, audience discretion is strongly advised.
Alban Arts Center
Fri. and Sat., April 24 and 25 at 8 p.m.
Matinees Sun., April 26 at 2 p.m.
Alban Arts Center
65 Olde Main St., Saint Albans, WV
$15 Adults / $10 Seniors and Students with valid HS or College ID
Tickets at the door or at www.albanartscenter.com
https://www.facebook.com/events/614310952002198/

 - Greater Tuna (Comedy)
All 20 characters played by Alex Bannerman and Chris Terpening
The LimeLight Theatre Company
Fri., April 24 at 8 p.m.
Sat., April 25 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Fri., May 1 at 8 p.m.
Sat., May 2 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
WVSU Capitol Center Theatre
123 Summers Street, Charleston WV
$16 General Admission and Seating
304-342-6522
www.thelimelighttheatre.com
https://www.facebook.com/TheLimeLightTheatreCompany

 - Young Frankenstein (Musical)
Actors Guild of Parkersburg
Fri. - Sat., April 24, 25 and May 1 and 2 at 8 p.m.
Matinee Sun., April 26 at 2:30 p.m.
724 Market St., Parkersburg, WV
Adults - $18 / Seniors/Students - $15
Call 304-485-1300 or get your tickets ONLINE at http://www.actorsguildonline.org/
https://www.facebook.com/events/1585612988349208/

   So get out there and support your commuity theatre!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Interview with the Cast of "Catch and Release" #1

   Last week we interviewed the playwright and the director of the play Catch and Release, which is being presented this weekend at the Alban Theatre in St. Albans - now let’s hear from one of the stars of the show: Kenneth Morrison.

Q: Tell us about the part you play.

Kenneth: I’m playing Jason, who is Ben’s childhood best friend. We are that inseparable duo you often see typical of young people. Jason learns to love the ladies early and doesn’t let up. Think awkward prepubescent “Fonz.” In a span of six years (from age 11-17) Jason grows up fast and becomes quite independent. He’s a social butterfly in high school and life of the party. There’s also quite a hardening of my character from 11 to 17. It’s funny because in a lot of ways I was able to relate personally. Thank God my Mom and Dad endured my adolescence. They are saints in my book for that!      

Q: What's your background in theatre?

Kenneth: I had my first taste of theatre toward the end of college.  I was studying music at West Virginia State University and my applied piano teacher urged me to audition for Hairspray. I got cast as Corny Collins - my FIRST role ever. It was a wonderful experience and I learned a lot about the art. Through that I met a lot of great people in the theatre community and got bit by the “theatre bug” as I call it. I now operate a private voice /piano studio through Limelight Theatre Company and teach at the Alban Arts Academy. I’ve also acted, accompanied, or music directed in several area productions as well. I’m a latecomer to the art of theatre but I’m also committed to a lifetime of learning. I still love and perform as a classical pianist. My work in theatre could not happen without the classical piano training I’ve had. It taught me discipline and nuance - especially in preparation. Our musical predecessors set the bar high for artistic and creative value - all the way back to Beethoven and then Brahms (just one example). I learned through the study of their music to expand and push artistic limits - to break rules or find solace in them.
   
Q: How challenging is it for the actors to play the same character at such different ages?

Kenneth: It’s HARD! I love it though and nothing worth doing is easy. I get comfortable with my “11 year old self” and then I abruptly have to switch gear and be my “17 year old self.” It’s mentally and physically difficult. I played on a playground one day with friend and cast mate, Mandy Petry. It was a good exercise - it made me realize how different the world is through the eyes of an 11-year-old versus a 17-year-old (and realize that I’m not as flexible as I once was). A lot happens in six years - we had to figure out what it was that shaped us, our relationships, our attitudes, etc.  There was special difficulty in establishing why Ben and Jason go from best buds at 11 to being on the verge of a friendship-ending heated argument at 17 with only a 15-second pause in between the scenes. We created detailed stories of what might have happened between 11 and 17 leading us to the physical and social changes displayed. It is one of the wildest artistic endeavors I’ve had the pleasure of working on.           

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

Kenneth:  It’s an endearing story of life, loss and everything in between.  It will remind of you of the innocence and fragility of life and relationships.  It’s raw and real. It’s beautiful.

Thanks, Kenneth!


   Catch and Release, a play by Jeremy Richter, will be presented at the Alban Arts Center on April 24 and 25 at 8 p.m. and April 26 at 2 p.m. The Alban Arts Center is located at 65 Olde Main Street in St. Albans, W.Va. Tickets are $15 for Adults and $10 for Seniors and Students with valid ID.

Monday, April 20, 2015

On Stage This Week: "Clybourne Park"

   Taking the stage this week at Marshall University is the play Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris.
   The play explodes in two outrageous acts set 50 years apart.  
   Act One takes place in 1959, as nervous community leaders anxiously try to stop the sale of a home to a black family.  
   Act Two is set in the same house in the present day, as the now predominantly African-American neighborhood battles to hold its ground in the face of gentrification. 
   Clybourne Park was the winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize and the 2012 Tony Award for Best Play.
   It will be presented at The Joan C. Edwards Playhouse  Wednesday, April 22 through Saturday, April 25 - all shows are at 7:30 p.m.
   Tickets are $20 each.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Interview #6 With the Cast of "A Midsummer Night's Dream"

   You’re almost out of chances to catch the First Stage production of William Shakespeare’s comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream!

   It wraps up on Sunday - and we’re also down to our final interviews with the cast! Let’s hear from two of the Fairies who serve Titania, the Queen of the Fairies. Here’s Alexandra Biddle and Ellaina Hess

Q: What’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream about?

Alexandra: It is a story about children in the fight for love with a little magical twist on it.

Ellaina: A Midsummer's Night Dream is about two boys and two girls and they like each other but it's all mixed up and then the fairies come along and try to help, but it gets even more mixed up thanks to Puck. 

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

Ellaina: I love Shakespeare and really wanted to get to perform in one of his plays. This has been a really fun opportunity for a kid my age! 

Alexandra: I love acting and I've never done a Shakespeare show before, so I wanted to come see what it was like and experience it!

Q: Was it difficult to learn the dialogue?

Alexandra: It was at first but once you kind of see it a couple times you really start understanding it.

Ellaina: It was a little bit difficult to learn the dialogue at first, but when you start acting out what it means, it really starts to make sense. It's a lot easier to understand when you actually do the play, not just try to read it! 

Q: What’s your favorite part of the show?               

Ellaina: My favorite part of the show is when Lysander is mixed up because Puck enchanted him and he thinks he's in love with Helena and Hermia slaps him! I also like the part where Hermia yells at Demetrius because she thinks he killed Lysander in his sleep, and she pushes Demetrius backwards. 

Alexandra: My favorite part is probably when Puck makes Bottom into a donkey using magic.

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

Alexandra: It is a great show and, you really start to see the funny side of Shakespeare in it! 

Ellaina: I would recommend this show because it is both funny and dramatic, and it's fun to hear the way people talk in Shakespeare's time and cool when you actually start to understand what it is they are saying! I hope lots of people will come and enjoy the show! 

   Thanks, Alexandra and Ellaina!

  A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be presented at the Cabell County Public Library at 455 9th Street (3rd Floor) on Sunday, April 19 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 each. To reserve tickets call 304-416-KIDS.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Interview #5 With the Cast of "Midsummer Night's Dream"

   Tonight (Friday) is the premiere of the First Stage production of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night's Dream!

   The Shakespeare play is a comedy that revolves around several characters, including a magical king and queen who are having a lover's spat, four young lovers who fall in love with the wrong person (thanks to a misguided magic spell), a group of hapless actors who hope for a royal performance, and a man who is stuck with the head of a donkey.

   Let's continue our interviews with the cast! Today we're on the mortal side of the equation, as we hear from one of the two members of royalty represented in the show. 

   Here's Madalein Jackson:

Q: What character do you play?  

Madalein: I play Hippolyta. Hippolyta is the queen and married to Thesus. She's authoritative and doesn't really agree much with her husband. She's quiet but voices her opinions.

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

Madalein: I wanted to be a part of the show because I've always found Shakespeare interesting. It's how theatre first began. It's like going all the way back to the beginning.

Q: Was it difficult to learn the dialogue?

Madalein: Yes! Some of the words look like modern day words but are said differently just in that time period. 

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

Madalein: I would recommend this show to the readers because it's just different! They're probably used to seeing a show they've heard of more often, or something not Shakespeare. It's not everyday one sees or listens to it. 

   Thanks, Madeline!


   A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be presented at the Cabell County Public Library at 455 9th Street (3rd Floor) on April 17 and 18 at 7:30 p.m. and April 18 and 19 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 each. To reserve tickets call 304-416-KIDS.

On Stage This Weekend

   There are quite a few shows to choose from this weekend! Here's the list, courtesy of my pal Ryan Hardiman:

- A Midsummer Night's Dream (Play)
by William Shakespeare
First Stage Theatre Company
Fri. and Sat., April 17 and 18 at 7:30 p.m.
Matinees Sat, and Sun., April 18 and 19 at 2:30 p.m.
Cabell County Public Library (3rd Floor) 
455 9th Street in Huntington
Tickets $5 
304-416-KIDS firststagetheatre.org

- Barnum (Musical)
5th Avenue Theatre Company
Fri. - Sat., April 17-18 / 24-25 at 8 p.m.
Matinees Sun., April 19 and 26 at 2:30 p.m.
JCS Auditorium at Huntington City Hall
800 5th Ave, Huntington, WV
$15 Adults / $10 Children under 12
(304) 696-5522
https://www.facebook.com/events/859272057478828/

- Catch and Release (Play)
by Jeremy Richter, Wheeling native and MU theatre alum
Contains adult themes and language, audience discretion is strongly advised.
Alban Arts Center
Fri. - Sat., April 17-18 / 24-25 at 8 p.m.
Matinees Sun., April 19 and 26 at 2 p.m.
Alban Arts Center
65 Olde Main St., Saint Albans, WV
$15 Adults / $10 Seniors and Students with valid HS or College ID
Tickets at the door or at www.albanartscenter.com
https://www.facebook.com/events/614310952002198/

- Young Frankenstein (Musical)
Actors Guild of Parkersburg
Fri. - Sat., April 17-18 / 24-25 and May 1-2 at 8 p.m.
Matinee Sun., April 26 at 2:30 p.m.
724 Market St, Parkersburg, WV
Adults - $18 / Seniors/Students - $15
Call (304) 485-1300 or get your tickets ONLINE at http://www.actorsguildonline.org/
https://www.facebook.com/events/1585612988349208/

- Trial by Murder! (Interactive Murder Dinner Party)
Murder and Merriment
Fri., April 17 at 7 p.m.
The Greenhouse of Teays Valley, Hurricane, WV
Tickets $45
Reservations Required: 304-397-6316

    So get out there and support your community theatre!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Interview with the Director of "Catch and Release"

   Last week we interviewed the playwright of Catch and Release, which is being presented next week at the Alban Theatre in St. Albans - now let’s hear from Tara Phares Pauley, the director of the play:

Q: For those who haven't seen it, tell us the basic story behind Catch and Release.

Tara: It’s a story of relationships,  life and how we change. It takes us on a journey of four characters whose lives entwine in childhood. They each experience life in different ways and  change as they grow as individuals. It's a story about people more than the exact situation. It's easy to draw parallels to your own life stories. It's about not being defined by one moment but by life as a whole is what makes us who we are. 

Q: Tell us why you wanted to direct this show.

Tara: I proposed this show to The Alban after talking to Jeremy (the playwright). I'm familiar with other plays and musicals he has written and always felt his writing developed wonderfully full characters and put them into life experiences that rang true. They speak and react in very natural ways. So, I asked him what of his plays he would like to see. After he gave me a couple of ideas and I looked thru them, this one caught my attention because it offered some unique challenges and opportunities. It also had me caught up in the lives so completely that I wanted more than the version in my mind. 

Q: What's your background in theatre? 

Tara: I have been around theater a good bit. I had a performance scholarship to Brigham Young University but after a year transferred to Marshall University to finish my BFA. Since then I've acted with, directed and done technical work for many local theaters.  I also continue the journey of working on my own non-profit theater visiting schools - Everyman Players.

Q: How challenging is it for the actors to play the same character at such different ages? 

Tara: Through challenge we grow. One of the big draws was the fact that this would be a challenging task. Especially given how quickly these changes have to take place. I have a terrific group of actors who have willingly embraced the challenge. It's not a role that you can rely on what you already know, it takes thought and real work. 

Q: The playwright is Jeremy Richter, who has a local connection - does that have an effect on the production? 

Tara: It has served to be a wonderful experience. Jeremy had made himself very open to to the cast and myself. I've been able to discuss everything from wording of a line to interpretation of a character to his feelings concerning the style of staging. We have a Facebook group for the cast, stage manager and director that we also have Jeremy included in. The cast has been welcome to directly correspond and the shared information has brought a special enthusiasm to the production. 

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

Tara: It's entertaining while easy to invest in emotionally. The story is simple to connect too. It also offers the chance to see a show that employs a rarely used format. 

Thanks, Tara!

   Catch and Release, a play by Jeremy Richter, will be presented at the Alban Arts Center on April 17, 18, 24 and 25 at 8 p.m. and April 19 and 26 at 2 p.m. The Alban Arts Center is located at 65 Olde Main Street in St. Albans, W.Va. Tickets are $15 for Adults and $10 for Seniors and Students with valid ID.