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.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Now On Stage: "Titanic"

A reminder that you have five more chances to catch Fifth Avenue Theatre Company's production of Titanic The Musical with a massive two-story ship set and featuring a cast of 43 people under the direction of Eddie Harbert.

It's playing at the Jean Carlo Stephenson Auditorium at Huntington City Hall 8 p.m. tonight and May 6-7, and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, May 1 and May 8.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for children. For more information, call 304-696-5522.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

"Titanic" Takes the Stage

My pal Dave Lavender provides a great story about the musical Titanic, which takes the stage this weekend in Huntington.

Here, take a look:
When the 43-member cast of Titanic The Musical takes to the stage in Act 1 to bring the vocal thunder on such songs as "I Must Get On That Ship" and "Godspeed Titanic," there's not an extra inch of space on the historic Jean Carlo Stephenson auditorium stage.

Nor should there be, as it is essential to show that everyone is on board and that everyone -- regardless of class and where they were on the ship -- has a story to tell.

Filled with equal parts joy, drama and sadness, the immense musical, Titanic, which won a Tony for Best Musical in 1997, steams into opening weekend as Fifth Avenue Theatre Company presents the musical with superb timing -- just a year before folks mark the 100-year anniversary of its sinking on April 15, 1912.

Under the direction of Eddie Harbert, the epic historically-accurate musical, Titanic sets sail at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, April 29-30 and May 6-7, and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, May 1 and May 8, at the Jean Carlo Stephenson Auditorium in Huntington City Hall.

Folks should arrive at least 45 minutes before the show to see the historical exhibit downstairs in the lobby and featuring authentic props (such as blueprints and dishes) and costumes from the blockbuster movie, "Titanic," and local newspaper accounts of the tragedy.

There will also be a children's pre-show called, "The Titanic Comes to Town."

Tickets are now on sale (304-696-5522) for $15 and $12 for children.

Director Eddie Harbert said he always thought "Titanic," the most expensive show of all time when it first came to Broadway, would be too difficult.

"I just wanted to do something different, and we were looking at scripts and nothing really rang true," Harbert said. "I had never seriously thought about 'Titanic' because I thought it would be too hard. But I was going through some stuff on the Internet and I just fell in love with the music. It was so stirring and it made me want to do it."

And if Harbert was going to do it, he was going to do it right.

Once Fifth Avenue cast the production, they took a weekend trip to the world's largest Titanic museum in Pigeon, Forge, Tenn., home to more than 400 personal and private artifacts from the sinking of the ship, which sank with 2,223 passengers on board.

Of those passengers, 1,517 died within minutes.

It was at the museum that they learned of so many of the touching stories like the love story of U.S. House of Representatives member, Isidor and Ida Strauss (played by Bill Hannah and Sharon Whitehead). Although she could have boarded a lifeboat without her husband, she refused and they died together sitting in deck chairs as the boat sank.

Hearing those stories and putting their hands into 31-degree water (the temperature of the Atlantic Ocean where the Titanic sank just south of Newfoundland), hammered home the humanity of the show said assistant director Zach Davis, who also has a role in the musical.

"I think initially you focus just on the tragedy but I think going there our focus shifted to the fact that these were real everyday people and I think getting to know them it really puts your own lives in perspective," said Davis, who is the father of an 8-month-old son. "I think it makes you appreciate what you have."

To make that human connection to the 99-year-old tragedy, Fifth Avenue is handing out with each program information about one of the passengers boarding the Titanic and the audience members will not know (unless they really know their Titanic history), whether or not the person makes it to a lifeboat or perishes in the chilly sea.

"I think a defining moment at the museum was when you are in third class and you go to the gate that was locked and you go and look through the gate and see the water coming down the steps," Harbert said. "We have water coming down the steps in the production and it so motivated us and there are lots of moments like that in the show. I think it became the mission of all of us to bring the stories of these people here. It is a celebration of their life."

To further cement that bond and to build some suspense in getting to see the massive two-story ship set, the production also begins in a unique way and different from the Broadway production. The crew and passengers walk in from the back of the theater up the middle aisle, onto the gangplank and onto the stage with the curtain drawn like they are on the dock ready to set sail.

Actor Josh Janotta who plays Frederick Barrett, the poor man shoveling coal into the Titanic's boilers to get it going faster and faster during the show, sets the timbre of the show as he stops, takes the hands of audience members while passionately bellowing the number, "Fare-Thee-Well," which he sings with Ron Short, who plays telegraph operator, Harold Bride, and David Day who plays crewman Fredrick Fleet.

Choreographer Coni Anthony, who is doing her 18th show with Harbert since she moved to Huntington in 1993, said from the program to the unique opening choreography, "Titanic" draws the audience immediately into this widely varying cast of characters. Anthony said it has been a challenge working with so many cast members so they found ways to further the story within limited space.

"It's been a challenge but they sound fabulous, and it is an amazing and a touching story," Anthony said. "I think because you learn so much about them you have an affection for them."

Anthony also likes the fact that the musical, with music and lyrics by Maury Yeston and book by Peter Stone, so well splays out the string of errors that caused the ship, which struck a massive iceberg late on the night of April 14, 1912 to sink some three hours later at about 2:45 a.m. on the morning of April 15.

Though there is a deep cast and a wide range of song and scene focus among the ships' classes, certainly three of the most important parts lie in the men, the ship builder, Thomas Andrews, played by Mike Murdock; the White Star Line owner, J. Bruce Ismay, played by Greg Kiser and the ship's captain, E.J. Smith, played by Scott Black, with whom the Titanic's fate lies.

"There were so many things that could have gone wrong and did," Anthony said. "There was a ship only 10 miles away on that night but did not come to their rescue because they didn't have a radio. People say they tempted God when they called it unsinkable and maybe they did. It went down it 90 minutes and was lost, and was full of people who had hopes and dreams for what lie ahead in America."
The ship is sailing

WHAT: Fifth Avenue Theatre Company's production of "Titanic The Musical" with a massive two-story ship set and featuring a cast of 43 people under the direction of Eddie Harbert

WHERE: Jean Carlo Stephenson Auditorium at Huntington City Hall

WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, April 29-30 and May 6-7, and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, May 1 and May 8.

HOW MUCH: $15 and $12 for children

GET TIX: Call 304-696-5522 or at the door

THE PRE-SHOW: The pre-show will start 45 minutes before each show. Stacy Bond is directing the pre-show called "The Titanic Comes to Town." Kids performing in the pre-show include: Jenny Morrison, Elise Hager, Christian Morrison, Danielle Reber, Tabitha Miller, Joey Hager, Zoie Fornash, Dhania Bond, Lily Hager, Paige Griffith, Madyson Knipp, Todd Claypool, Nathaniel Fornash and Trista Esque.

THE EXHIBIT: In the lobby a one-of-a-kind display of Titanic items including costumes and movie props from the famous blockbuster 20th Century Fox film, "Titanic," including a life preserver and chair on loan from an anonymous theater patron in Huntington. And Central City Cafe has loaned its framed front page Huntington newspaper announcing the Titanic disaster.

ON DECK FOR FIFTH AVENUE: Noises Off on Sept. 9-11 and Sept. 16-18, and "White Christmas" Dec. 2-4- and Dec. 8-11.

ON THE WEB: www.cityofhuntingtonfoundation.org

Monday, April 25, 2011

On Stage Next Weekend - "Titanic the Musical"

The voyage of the Titanic has been immortalized in numerous books, several movies and one musical for the stage.

That production will be brought to life next weekend at the Huntington City Hall auditorium as 5th Avenue Theatre presents Titanic the Musical.

In case you've never heard of the show, here's a recap of what to expect courtesy of Wikipedia:
Titanic is a musical with music and lyrics by Maury Yeston and a book by Peter Stone that opened on Broadway in 1997.

It won five Tony Awards including the award for Best Musical.

Titanic is set on the ocean liner RMS Titanic which sank on its maiden voyage on April 15, 1912.
More on the show in the week ahead!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

On Stage This Weekend - "A Few Good Men"

There's only one show on stage this weekend - but it's a good one!

The final performance of A Few Good Men will be presented by the Kanawha Players Saturday, April 23 at 8 p.m. at the Charleston Civic Center Little Theatre. Tickets are $16 for adults and $10 for students.

For more information, call 304-343-PLAY.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

"Titanic" is Coming!

Hey, we're just a week away from Titanic taking the stage at Huntington's City Hall auditorium!

I'll have more about it as we count down the days - but first, here's the cast list, as provided by director Eddie Harbert (the actor's name is on the left, the character they play on the right):

Mike Murdock ……… Thomas Andrews
Greg Kiser …………… J. Bruce Ismay
Scott Black ………… Captain E. J. Smith
Kenny Duthie ……… First Officer Murdoch
Mathew Taylor …… Second Officer Lightoller
Clay Finnely ……… Hitchens
Allan Stern ………… The Major
Ron Short ……………… Harold Bride
Josh Janotta ……… Fredrick Barrett
David Day ……………… Fredrick Fleet
Josh Taylor ………… Henry Etches
Maggie Rawn ………… Bell-hop
Bill Hannah ………… Isidor Straus
Sharon Whitehead …… Ida Straus
Allison Davis …………… Madeleine Astor
D. B. Daugherty ……… John Astor
Marisa Miller……………… Marion Thayer
Jesse Riggs ………………… John Thayer
Lillian Ramsier ……… Jane (Jack) Thayer
Wendy Wilson ……………… Charlotte Cardoza
Leann Haines ……………… Alice Beane
James Holley ……………… Edgar Beane
Levi Kelly …………………… Charles Clark
Elizabeth Ganim ……… Caroline Neville
George Snider III … Jim Ferrell
Jane Modlin ………………… Kate McGowan
Jenn Fuller ………………… Kate Mullins
Peri Law ………………………… Kate Murphey
Tyler Bradley …………… Mr. Guggenheim
Shauntay Heylinger … Mme. Aubert
Kyle Fisher…………………… Edith Corse Evans
Betty Craddock…………… Eleanor Widener
Chris Byrd …………………… George Widener
Dave Benton…………………… Frank Carlson
Courtney Parsley……… Stewardess
Rachael Miller…………… Stewardess

Lillian Hines
Bethany Brumfield
Sharon Bellamy
Kiley Henderson
Peggy Walker
Christy Dailey
Linda LeMaster
Susan Rawn
Jeanne Davidson
Lindsay Holley
Ethan Darby
Michael Niday

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Auditions This Weekend for "The Wedding Singer"

Who said love isn't a laughing matter? This summer the Tri-State will be treated to the musical comedy The Wedding Singer.

The musical will run throughout the month of July as Huntington Outdoor Theatre enters its 18th season. But before the laughter begins H.O.T. is looking for individuals of all ages to perform.

Auditions for both The Wedding Singer and the children's preshow will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 23, and 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday, April 25, at Huntington High School. Enter through the doors at the first loop and an individual will be there to greet you.

Anyone age 6 and up is welcome to audition. Those auditioning should come prepared to sing with a 30-second piece of music.

For more information go online at www.hotwv.org or call 304-412-3393.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

On Stage Thursday Only - "Two Faces in the Shadows"

Here's a show you'll want to catch being presented by the First United Methodist Church on Maundy Thursday.

Jerry Morse sends along this information:
Two Faces in the Shadows by Paul D. Duke / Jeff Allee

Recall, with us, the events leading to the crucifixion, in this dramatic and emotional Tenebrae dialogue between Simon Peter and Judas.

For this service, you are invited to the sanctuary of First United Methodist Church at 1124 5th Avenue in Huntington at 7 p.m., Maundy Thursday, April 21, 2011.

Come a little early – you won’t want to miss a moment. Admission is free, and open to all.

For more information, call the Church office at 304-522-0357

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Last Chance to See "Working - the Musical"

Just back from a wonderful evening visiting friends I ran into at tonight's performance of Working - the Musical.

My lovely wife and I had a great time at the show, which is made up of vignettes and songs about people from all walks of life and their jobs.

It's great to see Marshall's Theatre Alliance tackling a musical, and this one features some terrific songs, including three by James Taylor ("Millworker" is a particular favorite of mine).

The cast is fantastic and very talented - there are scenes that will make you laugh, that will touch your heart, and many that will make you think.

You have one more chance to see the show - they're offering a (rare) Sunday matinee at 2:30 p.m. at the Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center on Marshall University's Campus.

For more information or to reserve tickets, call 304-696-ARTS (2787) or visit www.marshall.edu/cofa/theatre.

Highly recommended!

Friday, April 15, 2011

On Stage This Weekend: "Working"

You still have two more chances to catch Working as presented by the Marshall Theatre Alliance.

Working is a musical based on the 1974 book "Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do" by Studs Terkel. The performance was scored by a group of musicians including James Taylor.

The book includes interviews with people from different regions and occupations. The overall theme of the book and the performance is meant to be an exploration of what makes work meaningful for people from all walks of life.

Working will be presented at 8 p.m. Saturday night and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon at the Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center on Marshall University's Campus.

For more information, call 304-696-ARTS (2787) or visit www.marshall.edu/cofa/theatre.

You can also see a photo gallery of pictures from the show right here.

And let me add, I really like that photo since it includes three fine actors and singers who grew up performing in shows in Huntington with First Stage Theatre Company. From left, you see Maggie Saunders (who's actually a senior in High School, but she's appeared in several plays at Marshall already), Josh Meredith and Scott Burner. Below you see another First Stage alumni - the talented Nathan Mohebbi.

I've heard lots of raves about the show, so it's highly recommended!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Looking for Some Help With History

I'm hoping some of you long-time theatre fans out there can provide some historic help with a special project.

First Stage Theatre Company is trying to track down posters and / or show programs from some of its earliest shows for a history project.

You don't have to give away your prized items, but I'd love to borrow them long enough to scan - they're for a special commemorative art project I'm working on.

These are the shows we're looking for (at the time the Children's Theatre went by the name Musical Arts Guild - Children's Theatre, or MAG-CT):

- You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown (1990)
- Winnie the Pooh (1991)
- Tom Sawyer (1991)
- Alice in Wonderland (1992)
- Cinderella (1993)
- Huck Finn (1994)

If you have a copy of either the program or the poster for any of those shows, please drop me a note at TheMinskers@aol.com and I'll make arrangement to make a copy.


Monday, April 11, 2011

On Stage This Week - "Working"

Taking the stage this week is the final show for the season for the Marshall Theatre Alliance - and it's a musical!

Working runs April 13-16 at 8 p.m. and April 17 at 2:30 p.m. at the Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center.

The show is based on oral historian Studs Terkel’s bestselling book, Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do.

One worker’s story blends seamlessly into another’s as ordinary people reflect on their jobs and on the greater meaning of work. The songwriters who collaborated on Working find the soaring power and unique poetry of musical theatre in the spare, revealing and honest words originally spoken to Studs Terkel.

Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for MU Faculty and Seniors. The show is free to full-time Marshall students with a valid ID. For more information or to reserve tickets, call the Marshall Theatre Box Office at 304-696-2787.

Friday, April 08, 2011

One More Interview for "Barefoot in the Park"

Here's the last of our e-interviews with cast members of the ARTS production Barefoot in the Park.

This time around we hear from Sara Booth, who plays new bride Corie Bratter.

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

Sara: It has been about two years since I have been able to be on the stage and it was TIME! And I love (director) Bill Neal!

Q: Tell us about the character you play in the show.

Sara: Corie is a passionate, loving, eccentric girl who is madly in love with Paul and the new life that is ahead of her. She doesn't think, she LEAPS into life!

Q: How is performing as part of a dinner theatre different from "regular" theatre?

Sara: I love doing dinner theatre so far... this is the first one I have had the pleasure of being a part of but so far it's the same except you get to go out before and meet the people that are going to be watching you. It is great!

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

Sara: This show is one of the funniest shows I have had the pleasure of being a part of, it makes you laugh at a real life scenario. Just six people going on in there little lives and it makes you giggle and hopefully "Laugh out loud!!" You MUST COME!!!

Thanks, Sara! This is the final weekend for the show. You can see it Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Dinner is available on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. and requires reservations, available by calling 304-733-ARTS (2787). The theatre is located at 900 8th Street, Huntington, WV (the old Huntington High).

Thursday, April 07, 2011

More About "Barefoot in the Park"

Continuing our e-interviews with some of the cast members of the ARTS production of Barefoot in the Park - here's what three of them had to say:

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

Clint McElroy (who plays Victor Velasco): I really think this Neil Simon kid has a future in the theatre biz.

Derek Ross (the telephone repairman): Because (director) Bil Neal forced me under pain of death. Actually because I wanted to give it a shot.

Karen Pruitt (Ethel Banks): This is one of my favorite shows. I just knew it would be a lot of fun to play this character!

Q: Tell us about the character you play in the show.

Clint: Victor is party on two legs. Gourmet, bon vivant, ladies man... and full of it.

Derek: My character is a working class man that gets thrown into a couple of situations he's not sure how to handle, but he has a kind heart.

Karen: Ethel is a proper, well-to-do widow whose only child is Corie. She is conservative and set in her ways. Very loving, but can be overbearing, not to mention, a little sarcastic. Resigned to living alone for the rest of her life.

Q: How is performing as part of a dinner theatre different from "regular" theatre?

Clint: I much prefer smelling baked steak over smelling C.E. Wilson after a particularly demanding second act.

Karen: The majority of my experience has been with dinner theater, so it is difficult to have an opinion. I hope to get more experience in "regular" theater.

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

Karen: I highly recommend this show to everyone! It's great fun with a great cast - guaranteed laughs!

Derek: It is one heck of a show.. everyone is so funny. It is just good clean fun and I guarantee you will laugh.

Clint: Non-stop laughing... and a generous supply of knichi!

This is the final weekend for the show. You can see it Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. Dinner is available on Friday and Saturday at 6:30 p.m. and requires reservations, available by calling 304-733-ARTS (2787). The theatre is located at 900 8th Street, Huntington, WV (the old Huntington High).

Highly recommended!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

On Stage Thursday - "Spamalot"

I'm a longtime fan of Monty Python, so this is a show I'd love to see.

The touring version of Spamalot invades the Paramount Arts Center Thursday at 8 p.m., and it is - by all reports - hilarious!

Winner of the 2005 Tony Award for Best Musical, Monty Python’s Spamalot is the outrageous new musical comedy lovingly ripped off from the film classic Monty Python and The Holy Grail.

Based on the Tony Award-winning direction of Mike Nichols, with a book by Eric Idle and music and lyrics by the Grammy Award winning-team of Idle and John Du Prez, Spamalot tells the tale of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table as they embark on their quest for the Holy Grail.

Flying cows, killer rabbits, taunting Frenchmen and show-stopping musical numbers are just a few of the reasons audiences everywhere are eating up Spamalot.

Tickets are $35, $40, $45, $48 and $60. For more information, call 606-324-3175.

Highly recommended!


Tuesday, April 05, 2011

The Cast of "Barefoot" Speaks!

Hey, we have some e-interviews coming your way over the next few days with some of the members of the cast of Barefoot in the Park, which is Neil Simon's funny play about a couple of newlyweds trying to cope with life in an unusual apartment building.

That show is being presented by ARTS this weekend, and you can get a meal with the shows on Friday and Saturday night!

We start with one of the leads - my pal Stephen Vance, who plays the part of Paul Bratter.

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

Stephen: I wanted to be a part of this show ever since I first saw the movie. The film is very true to the play. The characters are real and the situations are both comical and relatable. When ARTS picked this show about six weeks ago, I jumped at the opportunity. I've had one great experience with this group after another. With this cast, and this director (Bil Neal), and this script how could you go wrong?

Q: Tell me about the part you play.

Stephen: Paul Bratter is a newlywed of six days. He is a rising young attorney, and he is trying to balance starting his career and his marriage. He is madly in love with his wife Corie, but they aren't exactly two peas in a pod. Their differences provide both the strength in their relationship and the problems. While Corie represents the passion in the marriage, Paul represents the stability.

Q: How is performing as part of a dinner theatre different from "regular" theatre?

Stephen: For us as actors, it is really not that much different. We are still performing on the main stage, however, the dinner guests do get a bit of a different experience. Instead of just seeing a great show, they are getting an entire evening of fun. They start with a great dinner in the ARTS ballroom and then head to reserved seating in the main stage theatre. I think for the guests it really gives them a sense of a complete night, since they don't have to leave the premises or worry about making curtain on time.

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

Stephen: I think the readers who love the movie will love it even more when they see the characters come to life in front of them. For those who don't know the show or the movie, I think you will fall in love with it just like I did. First of all, it is simply hilarious. The crowds so far have really enjoyed it. Secondly, this show has heart and a very pure sentiment. Finally, and the reason I'm so happy to be a part of this show, this cast. I couldn't be happier or more flattered to be a part of this group. Derek Ross is the new guy and is hilarious. Charlie Woolcock is a staple in this community and his cameo is perfect. Clint McElroy. What else can be said about his work that hasn't already been said? (And I finally get to be on stage with him). Karen Pruitt is a delight to watch every second she is on stage. Last but not least, Sara Booth is marvelous. She is the passion and life of this show and the story from start to finish. Come see them all, they are all brilliant.

Q: When and where is the show staged?

Stephen: The show has one more weekend. Friday the 8th at 8 p.m., Saturday the 9th at 8 p.m., and Sunday the 10th at 2 p.m. Dinner is also available on Friday and Saturday at 6:30 p.m. and requires reservations, available by calling 304-733-ARTS (2787). The theatre is located at 900 8th Street, Huntington, W.Va. (the old Huntington High School).

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Marina Jurica's Farewell Concert

She best known as a meteorologist for WSAZ-TV, but Marina Jurica has also been a force in community theatre, starring in numerous shows in Huntington and Charleston.

Sadly, this is her last week in the area - she and husband Todd Preston are moving to Minneapolis - but we have one last chance to catch her in concert.

She's going to perform in a Farewell Concert with The Tommy Money Orchestra April 11 at 7:30 p.m. at the Paramount Arts Center in Ashland.

The Tommy Money Orchestra is a fantastic big band orchestra and she'll be singing many favorites from that era. Other guest artists include Ryan Hardiman and Christopher Bowling.

Marina will sing favorites such as "Smile," "Orange Colored Sky," "For Once In My Life" and "Almost Like Being In Love," just to name a few!

Tickets are $20 for adults and $18 for students and seniors and can be purchased at this website or by calling the Paramount Arts Center directly at 606-324-3175.

For more info also log onto www.tommymoneyorchestra.com!

Saturday, April 02, 2011

"Barefoot in the Park"

You have one more chance to catch this great Neil Simon show this weekend - and then three more chances next weekend.

Here's the story from the Herald-Dispatch:
The story of a young couple struggling through the first days of marriage will take the stage in Huntington this weekend.

Arts Resources for the Tri-State will present Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park Sunday, April 3, and again April 8-10, at the Renaissance Theatre, 900 8th St. The show begins at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday with a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $15 and can be purchased in advance by calling 304-733-7287 or by visiting www.733arts.org. Dinner and show tickets are also available for $30. Dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. and is only available prior to the Friday and Saturday shows.

Bil Neal, the show’s director, said “Barefoot” is different from most of the comedies ARTS has done.

“This is completely character driven,” Neal said. “Some people are funny and not trying to be funny. It’s funny because of the people involved.”

Neal said the play, which is set in 1960s New York, revolves around a young bride who has been married for six days.

“Neil Simon is a very good comedic writer. These are very real characters. It’s a slice of her life in 24 hours,” he said. “There’s nothing vulgar. It’s good clean fun because of the people involved.”

Neal said the show has a way of growing on you.

“You’ll grow to love the people by the end of the first act,” he said. “They’re completely normal people that funny things happen to. I think that’s interesting to watch.”

The cast includes Sara Booth, Stephen Vance, Karen Pruitt, Derek Ross, Clint McElroy and Charlie Woolcock.

“It’s some of the best acting that I’ve seen in the Tri-State,” Neal said. “It’s been amazing.”

In addition to directing a variety of ARTS productions, Neal also serves on the board of ARTS, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.

“I think it’s important in the community to have a resource for the arts in general,” he said. “That’s why I’m on the board. I want to support it.”

Friday, April 01, 2011

On Stage in April

April brings with it a number of great shows!

If I’ve missed any, please let me know – you can comment at the link below or email me at TheMinskers@aol.com.

Here’s the list:

- Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park will be presented by Arts Resources for the Tri-State April 1, 2, 3, 8, 9 and 10, at the Renaissance Theatre, 900 8th St. The show begins at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday with a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m.

- Working will be presented by the Marshall Theatre Alliance at the Joan C. Edwards Playhouse April 13, 14, 15 and 16 at 8 p.m. with a matinee April 17 at 2:30 p.m.

- Titanic the Musical will be presented by 5th Avenue Theatre Company at the City Hall Auditorium April 29, 30 and May 1, 6, 7 and 8, 2011.

- Spamalot will be presented at the Paramount Arts Center April 7 at 8 p.m.

- Wuthering Heights, The Musical will be presented by Ashland Community and Technical College Theatre April 8, 9, 15 and 16 at 8:00 p.m. and April 10 and 17 at 2:30 p.m.

- Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You and The Actor's Nightmare will be presented by the Charleston Stage Company at 7:30 p.m. April 1, 2, 7, 8 and 9 at the Capitol Center Theatre at 123 Summers Street in Charleston.

- A Few Good Men will be presented by the Kanawha Players April 15, 16, 22 and 23 at the Charleston Civic Center Little Theatre.

- Rounding Third will be presented by the Kanawha Players April 29, 30, May 6 and 7.

So there you go - eight shows scattered over five weekends in April. Get out there and support your community theatre - they need you now more than ever!

On Stage Tonight - "Barefoot in the Park"

Wow, April slipped up on me suddenly! (I blame all the snow yesterday.)

At any rate, I neglected to mention a show that starts tonight, as Arts Resources for the Tri-State presents Neil Simon's Barefoot in the Park at 8 p.m.

The show continues its run Saturday at the same time, and it runs April 8-9 at 8 p.m. and at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 3 and 10 at the Renaissance Center (the olod Huntington High School).

It's a very funny show - highly recommended!