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, May 31, 2011

Finding the "Joy"

My pal Jonathan Joy is a busy guy these days. One of his short plays will be included in Marshall Unversity's New Works Project (more on that soon), and he's the cover story for the April issue of Insight for Playwrights magazine!

The story is titled "Finding the Joy," and it was written by Sandra Hosking. Here's an excerpt:
West Virginia playwright Jonathan Joy considers 2010 a breakout year for his writing. With productions of different plays last year in North Carolina, Iowa, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia, he now has had his work performed in 10 states over the past 10 years.

“Among these, I’ve had seven productions in NYC in the past five years. The most recent was a 2009 performance of one of my favorite works, The Princess of Rome, Ohio. What excites me most, however, is my first international show,” Joy says.

His play American Standard was produced in Dubai by Backstage Dubai last November. A Romanian theatre also recently contacted him.
Congratulations, John!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day!

When I was young, Memorial Day was a big holiday. A large gathering of my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins would form a caravan of vehicles and visit rural graveyards, placing flowers on the graves of relatives who died long ago. My Uncle Claude would place a small American flag on the graves of the veterans.

We'd have a picnic lunch at a roadside park (back when such things existed) and eventually make our way home. It really wasn't a somber event - it was more a celebration of those who had passed on.

I continue the tradition in a much more limited fashion these days. My Mom and I pay our respects at a few family plots and leave flowers. We also place flags by my Grandfather Hill's grave (he was a veteran of World War I) and my father's grave (he served in the Navy during World War II).

I hope, as a nation, we never forget the debt we owe to the untold thousands of men and women who served their country.

I urge you to observe the day by taking a few moments and remembering your loved ones - even the ancestors you never met. We wouldn't be here without them!

Happy Memorial Day, everyone!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

More Theatre News

Here's another update on local actors who are making their mark in the world of entertainment (and thanks to my pal Elaine Young for passing along this info):

- Congratulations to Nathan Mohebbi, who's on stage this summer at the Flat Rock Playhouse in Flat Rock, N.C. He will be playing the part of Armand in Once on this Island - June 15 - 19 and he'll be in Hairspray - July 20 - August 14.

- Congratulations to Mary Kate Young, who's on stage this summer at the Music Theatre Louisville in Louisville, Ky., where she will be playing the part of Susan Lawrence in BIG - the Musical August 5 - 14.

- And congratulations to John Wolfe, who is performing on stage right now on the Holland America Cruise Lines!

If you have news to add, send me a note at TheMinskers@aol.com and I'll post it here!

"Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" Postponed

My apologies to any readers (such as my pal Bil Neal) who made the trip to Charleston to see this show, only to discover it had been postponed.

Here's the explanation from the Charleston Stage Company's website:
Charleston Stage Company's production of Edward Albee's Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? has been postponed.

Shortly before the play was to open, a member of the cast has had to withdraw from the cast due to health related reasons. New performance dates are to be September 1-3 and 8-10, 2011, 7:30 p.m., at the WVSU Capitol Center Theatre, 123 Summers St. Charleston.

The company regrets any inconvenience caused by this delay. However, our longstanding commitment to providing high-quality, live theatre to the community would not be served by presenting a production that was hastily prepared. We believe that the cast members, and ultimately the audiences of the Kanawha Valley, will be better served by an integrated ensemble, performing at their best, in this complex, character -driven American stage classic.

While we are all disappointed by the circumstances surrounding this delay, it does mean that Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, the capstone play of CSC's 19th season, will be effectively jump-starting our exciting 20th season. We appreciate the support of our community and look forward to a great production.

Please note that all advance and season tickets will be honored at the box office for the new dates.

RESCHEDULED DATE: 7:30 PM, September 1-3 and 8-10, 2011
Capitol Center Theater
123 Summers St., Charleston, WV

Saturday, May 28, 2011

And Now, For Something Completely Different

This note arrived recently from my pal Zach Davis about a new comedy project he's working on that sounds like a lot of fun:
Hey Chuck! I have an exciting announcement to make.

I, along with my dear friend Jen Fuller, have been working on creating a new kind of theatre entertainment for the Tri-state area and after several months we can officially make it known to the public.

We are proud to introduce LAST LAUGH! A Comedy and Improv Troupe!

We are based out of Boyd County, Ky., and have lined up performances in the Frank's Building until June of next year. Our first performance will be in August and have a back-to-school theme. We are also working on setting dates for venues in Huntington as well.

Last Laugh! is comprised of six core members which include Josh Taylor, Greg Kiser, Susan Rawn, Peggy Walker, Jen Fuller and myself. Of course we have plenty of room to expand as well for those interested.

Our mission and purpose is not only to bring a new form of entertainment to the Tri-State but each show will benefit a charity as well. We will be donating most of the proceeds to a different charity - that way we can give back and spread the joy that theatre and entertainment can bring to others.

Last Laugh! members will be showcasing their own work and bringing an assortment of characters with them. Each member will mimic a celebrity and bring new characters to life as well.

Our goal is to blend the classic "Who's Line..." and Saturday Night Live into one unique showcase each performance. There will be plenty of audience participation games and skits.

We also are encouraging community playwrights to submit material to us as well. We are super excited to be offering this to our area. Last Laugh! is also available to be booked for private events and parties as well.

So get ready for a new and exciting year, Tri-State. Keep a sharp eye open for more show details and if anyone is interested in possibly joining our group or writing skits for us, please contact me via email, facebook or phone!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Theatre Notes

A few news items about young performers with roots in Huntington who are making their mark in the world of entertainment:

- Congratulations to Sarah Hayes, who recently danced as part of a special tour in New York (off Broadway) and in Washington, DC!

- Congratulations to Maggie Saunders, who was chosen as a finalist for the second West Virginia Symphony Idol competition in Charleston, and will sing with the symphony in February! The first Symphony Idol - my pal Ryan Hardiman - recently ended his reign.

- Congratulations to Josh Meredith, who has a busy summer at the Weathervane Playhouse in Newark, Ohio - he'll be Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors June 2-11, Huck Finn in Big River June 30-July 9, Rolf in The Sound of Music July 14-July 23, and a Principal dancer in Chicago July 28-August 6!

- Congratulations to Laura LaCara, who recently signed on to perform as part of the Greenbrier Entertainers. That group is staging the musical Blues in the Night at the world-class resort. The show is a dynamic collection of torchy blues classics.

And that just scratches the surface - if you have news to share, send it to me at TheMinskers@aol.com and I'll post it here!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

On Stage This Weekend

You have three great shows to choose from this weekend, including two musicals and a drama:

- Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat - Curtain Up Players presents the musical May 27 and 28 at 8 p.m. at the Jeslyn Performing Arts Center at 1030 4th Avenue in Huntington.

- Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? - Charleston Stage Company presents the drama by Edward Albee at 7:30 p.m., May 26-28, June 2-4, 2011, at the Capitol Center Theater at 123 Summers Street in Charleston.

- Godspell - Portsmouth Little Theatre presents the hit musical May 27 and 28 at 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

ARTS Celebrates Its First Decade

The group known as ARTS (Arts Resources for the Tri-State) is planning a gala 10th Anniversary Celebration.

It takes place Saturday, June 4 at 7:30 p.m. with a review of show tunes performed by some of the Tri-State's finest performers. The review will be in The Renaissance Theatre with Chris Bowling as Musical Director.

During the review ARTS will honor several outstanding individuals in the community.

Wine and hors d'oeuvers reception will follow the review. Tickets for the show only at $15, and tickets for the reception and the show are $25.

For more information call 304-733-2787.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

One Last "Joseph" Interview!

For the last of our e-interviews with some of the cast members of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (which wraps up this weekend in Huntington), let's hear from my pal Jonathan Lamp who plays two roles in the show - he's the Pharaoh and Gad, one of Joseph's brothers.

About eight years ago Jon did great work in the last production of "Joseph" staged in Huntington, and he must have had fun, because he's back for more:

Q: For those who haven't see it, what is "Joseph" about?

Jonathan: "Joseph" is based off a story from the Old Testament. It is about a young man who could interpret dreams. He gets sold away by his brothers, due to their jealousy towards him. Joseph later makes makes a name for himself. To find out more, come see the show!

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

Jonathan: This is my favorite musical. I have loved it since I was a child and am honored to have a second opportunity to do it.

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

Jonathan: My favorite part of the show is the Song of the King. Then again... it is my song so I am biased. :-)

Q: Have you had fun working on this with the rest of the cast?

Jonathan: I love this cast. We are more like a family at this point.

Q: When and where will the show be presented?

Jonathan: Friday May 27 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, May 28 at 8 p.m. All shows are performed at the Jeslyn Performing Arts Center also known as the former Camelot Theater.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Time for Another "Joseph" Interview!

You have two more chances to catch the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat this weekend in Huntington, and here's another e-interview with one of the stars of the show!

Let's talk with my pal Julie Hoss, who plays the wife of Jacob:

Q: For those who haven't see it, what is Joseph about?

Julie: This story is found in Genesis, and tells the story of the father (Jacob-Israel) of the twelve tribes of Israel, and how God used Jacob's favorite son, Joseph to save their family from starvation. Joseph's brothers were very jealous of him because Joseph was the favorite son of Jacob-Israel, so they sold him into slavery, but told Jacob that Joseph was dead. What the brothers intended for evil ended up being a part of God's plan to eventually save all of their lives.

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

Julie: I love musical theatre, and have wanted to return to it for years. So I am grateful and honored to be allowed to participate in this wonderful live entertainment.

Q: What's your favorite thing about the show?

Julie: The variety of mood settings in this musical help keep it interesting for both the cast members and the audience. And the lighthearted comedy parts help convey the historical tale in a way that can keep you laughing and also help you retain the story content in your memory.

Q: Have you had fun working on this with the rest of the cast?

Julie: Have had an absolute blast! Love the fact that there is a huge variety of age groups represented in a relatively small cast.

Q: When and where will the show be presented?

Julie: The shows are May 27 and 28 at the Jeslyn Performing Arts Center on 4th Ave in downtown Huntington. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for children. Church groups of 15 or more get discounts. Curtains Up Players can be followed on Facebook and Twitter.

Friday, May 20, 2011

"Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat"

My pal Dave Lavender filed an excellent story in today's Herald-Dispatch about "Joseph" - you can read it right here:
King James may have the lock-down on the Bible's definitive print version, but when it comes to juicing up the Bible's stories with a little pop-rocked razzle dazzle, nobody's kicked up that Middle Eastern historical sand like Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.

This weekend, Jeslyn Performing Arts Center, 1030 4th Ave., dials the time machine back a couple thousand years for Webber and Rice's gloriously rollicking musical, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

Put on by the new theater group Curtains Up Players (formerly known as the Pullman Plaza Players), "Joseph" runs 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 20-21 and May 27-28. Weekend matinee performances will be at 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, May 21-22.

Tickets are $15 and $12 for children.

Paul Neace, one of the founders of Curtains Up Players, said they scoured a long list of musical shows to do, but settled on Webber and Rice's first collaboration, the campy and musically diverse, "Joseph," which they debuted in 1967, a few years before they struck the big-time with Jesus Christ Superstar.

Armed with Bradley Leonard, who played the lead role of Seymour in their production of Little Shop of Horrors, last fall, Curtains Up has drawn in a wide array of regional talent put together by veteran director, Danny Ray, who is joined by musical director, Steve Burnett; assistant director, Clara Adkins; choreographer, Jessica Fox; and producers, Shayne Gue and Michael Gore.

Todd Preston, who helped start the Curtains Up Players, said the production benefits from a strong cast (that includes such actors as Angela Hunt (who will be going to the University of Colorado to purse a Ph.D. in acting), Shayne Gue and Nancy Jackson) as well as some folks like Charleston resident Alan Pennington, and theater veteran, Rhett Pennell, who just moved into the area.

"I think one of the interesting things about this cast is that there are a lot of people who've not been seen in this community theater scene," Preston said.

A new face to the scene is Pennell, who plays Simeon. He has added a personal touch to the show with a seasoned stage presence and he designed an array of colorful, movable animal props for the set from a serpent and a scorpion to a flock of sheep.

A professional toy designer who moved to the Tri-State from New Jersey last year, Pennell said while as a young adult he'd been an equity actor in New York and did national theater tours, he'd put his acting on hold for his art career, drawing and designing toys for large companies.

Pennell said he couldn't resist auditioning when he saw the Facebook post for "Joseph," the first effort by Webber and Rice, who went on to write Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita together.

"This is a great release and gets my butt from out in front of a computer all day," Pennell said. "You can't say no to 'Joseph.' I've loved doing this for 20 years."

Neace said the show that runs the gamut from Elvisy rock 'n' roll to hand-clapping, western swinging country music to sheer Broadway pop hadn't been done for a while and is just a great show for all ages since it only runs about an hour and 30 minutes.

Neace said they hope "Joseph" is just the first of many more Curtains Up Players' productions to come at Jeslyn Performing Arts Center, the former Camelot movie theater that was turned into a dance academy and arts venue by local dance teacher, Jessica Fox.

He credits two Curtains Up Players' board members, Danny Ray and Clara Adkins, for suggesting Jeslyn, which seats about 350 or so, as a possible theater home for the troupe.

"Our board and her board wanted to give this new-found relationship a try, and so we've decided to try this on a trial run for the first year or so to see if it will work for both parties," said Neace, whose theater group initially formed at Pullman Plaza Hotel in the fall of 2010. "The bottom line is that it seems to make sense for everybody. Jessica and her husband and staff couldn't be nicer and more supportive. We want it to work for them as much as we want it to work for us. I truly think this will be a fabulous relationship and the talents that we can bring to them and that they can add to us are going to create something unlike anything this town has seen."

If you go

WHAT: Curtains Up Players presents Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

WHERE: Jeslyn Performing Arts Center, 1030 4th Ave., Huntington

WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 20-21 and May 27-28. Weekend matinee performances will be at 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, May 21-22.

HOW MUCH: Tickets are $15 and $12 for children

GET TIX: For tickets, call 304-634-9605. You can also follow Curtains Up on Twitter at twitter@CUPofTheatreWV and the Facebook Page is Curtain's Up Players.

THE CAST: Nancy Jackson, Bradley Leonard, Alan Pennington, Michael Gore, Diane Slater, Rhett Pennell, Lindsay Calhoun, Christopher Sunderland, Kristen Pennington, Andrew Surber, Leslie Collins, Jacob Jarvis, Elaine Adkins, Shayne Gue, Angela Hunt, Jonathan Lamp, Holly Maynard, Ethan Terry, Rachel Geiger, Max Wilson, Alex O'Donnell, Luc Adkins, Maggie Donahoe, Julie Hoss. Children's Choir: Will Hunt, Ethan Hunt, Ben Hunt, Braedyn Clagg, Laura Clagg, Ella Wilburn, Hannah Tussy, Dylan Herrmann-Holt, Haylee Winters, Colby Winters, Sydney Winters, Samuel Collins and Leela Jackson

On Stage This Weekend - Four Musicals

It's a busy weekend for your community theatre groups, as the spring season nears the end. Here are the four musicals you have to choose from:

- Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat - Curtain Up Players presents the musical May 20, 21, 22, 27 and 28 at the Jeslyn Performing Arts Center at 1030 4th Avenue in Huntington.

- The Drowsy Chaperone - Charleston Light Opera Guild presents the hit Broadway musical at the Charleston Civic Center Little Theater on May 20 and 21.

- Disney's Beauty and the Beast
- Clay Center presents the musical based on the animated film Sunday, May 22 at 2 p.m.

- Godspell
- Portsmouth Little Theatre presents the hit musical May 20, 21, 27, 28 at 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Jennifer Garner to Host Benefit in Charleston

The mystery has been solved! One of Charleston's most famous daughters is giving back to her home town:
Actress Jennifer Garner plans to host a benefit for the Charleston Light Opera Guild next month during the city’s FestivALL.

Light Opera Guild and FestivALL officials on Thursday announced Garner’s appearance.

Garner, a former Light Opera Guild performer, will host the benefit June 18 at the Charleston Civic Center.

The Light Opera Guild will perform Thoroughly Modern Millie at the Civic Center’s Little Theatre and a reception will follow the show.

Tickets for the show and reception range from $120 to $200 and go on sale June 1 at the Little Theatre’s box office.

Garner, who’s married to actor Ben Affleck, grew up in Charleston.

Our Third "Joseph" Interview!

Time for another e-interview with one of the cast members of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, which takes the stage Friday night in Huntington!

This time we talk with Rhett Pennell who plays the part of Simeon, one of Joseph's 11 brothers.

Q: For those who haven't see it, what is Joseph about?

Rhett: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is a fun musical adaption of the story of the life of Joseph that finishes off the Book of Genesis in the Old Testament. When Joseph is given a coat of many colors by his father Jacob, it's the final straw for his 11 brothers who have always been jealous that he is their father's favorite. Joseph is sold into slavery, dragged into Egypt and winds up tossed in jail. Strange as it seems, it is there that Joseph will begin a journey that will take him from being a lowly prisoner to becoming the savior of Egypt - all accompanied by one of the bounciest scores in the history of musical theatre.

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

Rhett:: I used to be a professional actor living in New York (the bulk of my career was spent criss-crossing the country in a number of children's theatrical tours - I just found out this past week that I've performed here in Huntington at the Huntington High Renaissance)! These days I'm a toy designer for Fisher-Price and a few other companies, which means I usually spend all day sitting at my desk drawing on my computer. My family came to Huntington last year to help care for relatives and when I saw the audition notice for "Joseph" I couldn't refuse. I've loved the music for over 20 years and this seemed like a good opportunity to get off my rear and stretch some muscles (physical and theatrical) that I haven't had a chance to exercise in a while. More, in fact, than I ever have before: I've never had to remember so much choreography and harmony singing in my life!

Q: What's your favorite thing about the show?

Rhett:: The music. Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice wrote a version of this show when they were barely out of their teens - I still think it's one of the best things they've ever done.

Q: Have you had fun working on this with the rest of the cast?

Rhett:: Heck, yes. There's a lot of talent in this bunch.

Q: When and where will the show be presented?

Rhett:: May 20 through May 28, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. Matinee performances on Saturday, May 21 and Sunday, May 22 at 2:30 p.m. At the Jeslyn Performing Arts Center (formerly the Camelot Theatre) in downtown Huntington.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mystery Guest, Sign In Please!

Here's a mystery to be solved Thursday morning, as per this press release sent along by my pal Sallie Daugherty:
Charleston Light Opera Guild and FestivALL Charleston 2011 will hold a press conference on Thursday, May 19, 2011, at 10:30 a.m. at the Charleston Civic Center Little Theatre to announce that a major star will be returning to Charleston to host a Charleston Light Opera Guild/FestivALL Charleston featured event.

Mayor Danny Jones, FestivALL Charleston director Larry Groce, Charleston Light Opera Guild artistic director Nina Denton Pasinetti and Charleston Light Opera Guild Board President Tim Whitener will be on hand to announce the name.

For more information, call Sallie Daugherty at 304-419-5557.
I love a mystery! I'll share the announcement as soon as it arrives (sadly, I won't be able to attend the press conference).

(By the way, bonus geek points for those who know the origin of the headline at the top of this post.)

Another "Joseph" Interview

Let's continue our e-interviews with members of the cast of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, which takes the stage this weekend in Huntington!

Today, let's hear from the show's co-star - the Narrator, played by my pal Nancy Jackson.

Q: For those who haven't see it, what is Joseph about?

Nancy: Joseph is the story from Genesis in the Bible about Jacob and his 12 sons. Joseph is Jacob's favorite. Jacob buys Joseph a multicolored coat, which causes jealousy in the brothers. Joseph is also a dream interpreter, which makes the brothers angry when they don't like his dreams. They then decide to kill Joseph and hide the truth from their father. They end up selling Joseph into slavery. He ends up in Egypt and interprets Pharoah's dream, saving Egypt from seven years of famine. Pharoah makes Joseph his second in command. His brothers end up starving from the famine and come to Egypt to ask for food. They discover that it is Joseph who has saved them and he is reunited with his family. The Narrator guides the audience through the story.

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

Nancy: The Narrator is a role that has great appeal to most every female musical theater singer. It has an impressive range vocally and LOTS of lyrics to learn! She is the front and center teller of the story. She dances and flirts and plays along through the entire story, (hopefully!) engaging the audience and drawing them into her tale.

Q: What's your favorite thing about the show?

Nancy: It is fun and colorful and surprising and will have you tapping your toes and dancing in the aisles!

Q: Have you had fun working on this with the rest of the cast?

Nancy: We have an amazing group of talented people who are fun and and great to work with. It has been a total joy!

Q: When and where will the show be presented?

Nancy: The Jeslyn Performing Arts Center on 4th Ave in downtown Huntington. May 20, 21, 27, 28 at 8 p.m. and May 21 and 22 at 2:30 p.m.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

An Interview with "Joseph"

Starting this weekend is one of my favorite musicals - Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat - and to tell you more about it we have a series of e-interviews with assorted members of the cast.

Let's start off with the title character, Joseph, who is played by Bradley Leonard:

Q: For those who haven't seen it, what is Joseph about?

Bradley: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is a story taken from the Bible and is a story of a boy with the gift of explaining dreams. The show starts with a narrator telling a group of children of how their dreams can change the world and to explain this she tells the story of Joseph. So throughout the show the narrator is telling the tale and we see how Joseph’s dreams change the world around him for the better.

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

Bradley: One of the main reasons I really wanted to do this show came to me when I started researching it. I believe it was in the song "Close Every Door." During this song Joseph is in jail and he feels worthless. I found I really could relate to this because through the course of my life I fought medical problems and troubles with people who wanted to throw me away instead of helping me. Once I saw that song I knew that I wanted o portray that part because in many ways I was this character.

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

Bradley: I have so many favorite parts of this show I guess one that I can narrow down is the children. The children add a certain magic to the show. It’s weird but it seems that when we might be tired of maybe unsure about something all we have to do is look at the kids and their smiling faces give us a strong purpose for what we need to do. Because in a sense the show is a story for children and they are a constant reminder of how we need to embrace the child like mindset to be who we are.

Q: Have you had fun working on this with the rest of the cast?

Bradley: This cast has truly been fantastic. I’ve enjoyed every moment that I’ve spent with them, whether it be building a set or blocking a scene - they have all been wonderful and I will be very sad to have to say goodbye to them in the end.

Q: When and where will the show be presented?

Bradley: The show will be at the Jeslyn Performing Arts Academy located in downtown Huntington on May 20, 21, 27 and 28 at 8 p.m. and May 21 and 22 at 2:30 p.m.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Is Theatre Too Expensive? (Part III)

I've enjoyed this ongoing debate - it's one that's probably been around about as long as community theatre has been in existence.

I wanted to add a few points: few if any community theatre groups are in it to get rich. Almost all of them are non-profit organizations, with most of the people involved volunteering their time - and most are operating on slim margins. None of them will last long if they put on shows that lose money.

The problem is, no one knows how many people will turn out for any given show, so they have to use experience and educated guesses to determine what price to charge for a ticket. Some groups charges $10, $12, $15, $20 or more - all depending on how expensive the show is and how many people they guess will attend.

Each group hopes to make a profit on each show so they can fund the next show. More than one group has folded - or almost folded - because it ran out of funds.

Most theatre groups would be thrilled if they could present the show for free. (Lest you think I'm being silly, son Justin tells me that there are theatre groups in Austin, Texas, that are completely underwritten and charge nothing for their performances.)

But the reality is that most groups survive on ticket sales. And even at the $20 price, community theatre is quite a bargain. To see live performances on a stage is a wonderful experience - there's really nothing like it. No film can match the energy of a live performance, which can combine costumes, scenery, music, dancing, drama - the list goes on and on.

But these are tough economic times, and buying a ticket for a show or a movie is beyond some people - and that's a shame. The more people are exposed to live theatre, the more they enjoy it - but getting them in the theatre isn't easy, and there's a lot of competition out there for your entertainment dollar.

There are ways to see a show without buying a ticket. You can volunteer with a local theatre group - help build sets, make costumes, etc. - then you can see the show you helped create.

The easiest way is to volunteer to be an usher. As my pal Bil Neal said:
Most of the time when we're putting on a show we need ushers. It's about 30 minutes worth of work, and you see the show at no cost.
Do I wish tickets were cheaper? Absolutely. I know it's a lot of money for a family to pay for a show.

But you can see live theatre for about the cost of a movie ticket, some popcorn and a drink - and that's not too bad.

And believe me, every local theatre group is grateful to everyone who buys a ticket and supports their efforts. It's a tough time for theatre, and they need all the help they can get!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Is Theatre Too Expensive? (Part II)

We've had some interesting letters on the recent comment about the high cost of community theatre tickets - but a couple of them seem to have been lost during recent problems with Blogger... so let's print them here for all to see and discuss.

Stephen Vance wrote:
I've had this conversation several times with people I know. Our take ends up being almost the exact opposite.

Community theatre ticket prices in Huntington are not only reasonable but probably a little cheaper than they should be. I've had the opportunity to see shows both professionally produced and locally produced not just in Huntington but in other cities as well. On average, I've paid $20 to $25 for community produced shows nearly everywhere except for in Huntington.

I know we've intentionally kept the prices down in groups I've worked with, afraid that it would keep audiences away, even though there would be huge benefits to the quality and sanity of the productions with more revenue.

The point we arrive at is this. Seeing a community theatre show for $15 is equivalent to almost any form of entertainment we have otherwise in this area. Going to the movies are a little cheaper, but if you see one in 3D it's almost the same. Bowling a few games, going out to eat, spending a day at the mall or Walmart, etc. all have comparable entertainment costs, but its a matter of choice.

Even if theatre tickets are slightly more expensive, you are taking part of something you can't get anywhere else, live theatre.

As far as cutting ticket prices down further, I think everyone knows this is impossible. Over half of the budget for the last three shows I've worked on has been in fees paid to the rights holder. (That's before even the first costume was rented or the first box of screws was bought).

I understand the misconception that ticket prices are too high, but if you want to see live entertainment it has non-negotiable costs that the ticket sales sometimes actually cover. I think everyone involved in local theatre can agree that ticket sales aren't about making someone rich, it's simply about just getting the show actually paid for.

Linda Reynolds wrote:
As most folks know,very seldom does the ticket revenue pay for the cost of presenting a community threatre show, especially a musical. Program ads, T-shirt sales, fund raising events such as pancake breakfasts are used to help defray the substantial costs involved.

The desire to present theatre, involving children or not, runs very strong in this town. I mean, who WANTS to do those fund raising things. The rights and royalties of even a modest musical can easily run to $10,000. In addition, the cost of the venue has to be included in the budget and that can run another $8000 or more.

Rarely, if we are fortunate, a benefactor will act as an "angel" or sponsor and defray some of the cost involved. We who perform, crew and support in any other way, those on stage, are in the same boat as far as personal finances are concerned, as the writer. We work full time to "play" part-time, often supplying our costumes and sometimes props for our productions.

So don't think we are not honored by your presence and the financial sacrifice it represents. You could have gone to a MU Football game for a minimum ticket price of $16, you could have gone to Charleston where community theatre often costs $20 a ticket and is well worth it. But, you chose us. Thank you. We will give you more than your $15 worth.

Eddie Harbert wrote:
Ditto Stephen. Just to do Titanic, we had to pay the royalty company over $2000.00. Costumes were about $1000 and set was about $1500.

After that you have to add publicity costs, orchestra, staff, etc. I would love to cut ticket prices, but we simply can't do that if we are going to produce quality shows. We have had to raise ticket prices because it now costs us more money to produce the shows.

Lisa Williams wrote:

I think your response was so nicely worded. Those folks who are associated with the world of theatre (on stage or in the audience) do understand the cost, hard work, time, etc. to put on a show, but I like the idea that the cast and crew also understand it's a financial sacrifice for those sitting in the audience. That was a cool thing to say. :-)

And I've never been to a show in the Huntington area where the cast and crew haven't given 110%. The performers in Huntington have always given us more than our $15 worth. And as someone who LOVES live theatre, THANK YOU!

I don't have a problem with the ticket prices as much as I have a problem with the fact that all the plays are performed in the same month. I don't mind spending the money to see live theater; I just wish I didn't have to spend it all at the same time. :-)

It seems like there are so many wonderful shows all running at the same time (October and May) that I can't see them all... not for lack of funds but for lack of available days in my calendar. :-(

I do wish there was a way to "hook" more people in this area. I am always so disappointed in the low attendance rates of some of the shows I've seen. The shows are outstanding and should be playing to packed houses, but they are not. I don't understand people in Huntington for not coming out and seeing a show.

But it's not just local theatre. My husband and I were at the comedy club at Pullman last week-end... on a Saturday night... at the 10:30 show. It should have been packed, but it wasn't. And they were giving away tickets! So much for things being too expensive to come out and see!

We have a lot of good stuff in the way of live entertainment for the people of Huntington. I'm not sure why people aren't filling up the seats!
Thanks for the comments! I have a few things to add, which I'll pitch in tomorrow. As always, if you'd like to join the discussion, click on the comment link below or email me at TheMinskers@aol.com.

Friday, May 13, 2011

On Stage This Weekend

You have two great shows taking the stage this weekend, although you’ll have to drive to Charleston to see them.

They are:

- The Drowsy Chaperone - Charleston Light Opera Guild presents the hit Broadway musical at the Charleston Civic Center Little Theater on May 13, 14, 15, 20 and 21, 2011. It's a terrific show and highly recommended!

- Airwaves - Contemporary Youth Arts Company presents the drama written and directed by Dan Kehde at 8 p.m. May 12-14 at the WVSU Capitol Center at 123 Summers Street in Charleston. Tickets are $10 for Adults and $6 for Students and Seniors. I haven't seen this show but I hear wonderful things about it - check it out!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Benefit Concert Friday Night

My pal Levi Kelley sends in this note about an upcoming benefit concert Friday night at Spring Valley High School:
Streisand: A Tribute Concert to Barbra Streisand benefiting the Tsunami and Earthquake victims in Japan.

Admission is only $1, but we will be taking donations. All proceeds will go to the Red Cross and be sent to Japan.

The concert stars Levi Kelley with guests Kacey Blatt and T.J. Thompson. There will also be a very special performance by Desiree Sowards, the theatre teacher at Spring Valley.

The concert starts at 6 p.m. Friday and is in the Spring Valley High School auditorium!

This is for a great cause, and we really need a lot of people to join us.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Concerts To Watch For

I got a recent email from my pal Ron Caviani with information about four upcoming concerts.

Check 'em out:
The Cabell Midland High School Concert Band conducted by Ron Caviani and Wind Ensemble conducted by Rhonda Smalley, will present its annual Spring Concert in that school's auditorium on Thursday at 7 p.m. This will be a special concert for retiring Rhonda Smalley, who has been at the helm of this successful band program at Midland since that school's first day. The concert is free and open to the public. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

The Cabell County Orchestra, which combines Cabell Midland and Huntington High School orchestras, conducted by Ron Caviani, will present its annual Spring Concert on Tuesday, May 17 at the Huntington High auditorium. The concert begins 7 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

The Tri-State Youth Orchestra, conducted by Ron Caviani, will present its annual Spring Concert on Saturday, May 21 at 8 p.m. at the New Baptist Church. This year's featured piece is 1812 Overture. Admission is $5, 12 and under is free. The youth orchestra's members are from Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia.

The Tri-State Youth Orchestra will perform a concert on Sunday, May 15 at 8 p.m. in the ARTS Renaissance Auditorium with guest conductor Dr. Don Williams. The orchestra will spend the day with Williams in rehearsal, be served dinner at ARTS and then perform. Williams is a past department Chair at Marshall University's Music Department and past conductor of the Huntington Pops Orchestra. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., tickets are $5, children under 12 free.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Is Theatre Too Expensive?

We received an interesting comment recently from someone who didn't give their name, but I thought we should put the comment here on the main page for everyone to see.

It's all about the cost of going to a community theatre show. I have some things to say on the subject, but I'd like to hear what everyone out there has to say first. Feel free to comment by clicking on the link below, or you can email comments to TheMinskers@aol.com.

Here's what Anonymous said:
Okay, I am a HUGE theater fan, and I totally get how much it costs to put on a production, but with that being said, I think the ticket prices for our local theater are WAY too high.

If you have a family of four and the children are 13 years or older, you're talking $60 to see a local community theater production. That's a lot of money!

And the real problem I see with all of this is, local theater companies are making it impossible for the average local community member to come see the quality productions. Local community theater is supposed to allow the community access to quality theater going experiences... to introduce them to the arts.

But come on, folks, we live in Huntington, W.Va. $60 a pop for a family of four is unrealistic.

There is no way most of our local families could see Titanic one weekend and Joseph the next. And neither should be missed!

I realize it's a Catch-22. I truly do understand the cost and the need to cover that cost, but currently it feels like you're preaching to the choir... only the wealthy who are already theater patrons can afford to attend these quality shows.

If you are a teacher in this area, and you're trying to convince your high school students to see a show, there's no way you could convince them to put down $15 for a ticket.

If someone wants to take their children to theater, but she is a single mother with two children... one over and one under 13, you're asking her to pay $42. That's pretty steep.

I don't know what the solution is, but I know I have many, many, many friends who won't even consider coming out to see a show because it would cost too much for them and their family to attend. And that's really sad.

Just something to consider.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Coming Soon: "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat"

One of my all-time favorite shows will wrap up the spring theatre season in Huntington as the newest community theatre group in town, the Curtain's Up Players (formerly Pullman Plaza Playhouse) present Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

The musical was the first one with music and lyrics by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice - I believe it started as a student project, and was eventually fleshed out into an honest-to-goodness full-length musical.

It's loaded with great songs, a famous story and lots of funny moments.

The show will be staged at the Jeslyn Performing Arts Center (formerly the Camelot Theater) on May 20, 21, 27 and 28 at 8 p.m. and May 21 and 22 at 2:30 p.m.

Tickets are $15 each. For ticket information call 304-634-9605.

You can also follow the Curtain's Up Players on Twitter at twitter@CUPofTheatreWV, and the group's Facebook Page is Curtain's Up Players.

More on "Joseph" in the days ahead!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Whew, hectic weekend!

Hope you all got to see Titanic the Musical, which wrapped today - I took my lovely wife and my wonderful Mom-in-Law to see it Saturday night and we loved it!

Great performances, terrific singers, a fantastic orchestra - outstanding work by one and all!

Before the day slipped away, I wanted to wish a Happy Mother's Day to all the Moms out there, including the two listed in the second paragraph - and a special wish to my Mom, who continues her reign as the World's Greatest Mom!

Great to see my younger brother at her house today (along with his daughters). Hope it was a great one, Mom!

Saturday, May 07, 2011

One More "Titanic" Interview!

Tonight and tomorrow are your last chances to catch Titanic the Musical at Huntington's City Hall auditorium!

Here's our final e-interview - this one with the talented and lovely Jane Modlin, who plays the part of Kate McGowan, an Irish lass traveling in third-class on the Titanic.

Q: Tell us about Titanic.

Jane: Unlike the movie, which focused on the fictional Jack and Rose, the musical version tells the stories of the real people who were on the ship, from the captain, owner and designer, to the passengers in the various classes. It does a wonderful job of showing the differences between the classes, while at the same time allowing the audience to connect with the real people who were involved with this tragedy.

Q: This is a huge show - big set, big event. How does that make it challenging for the cast?

Jane: First of all, it's actually an opera, so it's extremely challenging vocally. In addition, the opening scene involving the entire cast as they board the boat is daunting to stage - that theatre axiom about 'finding your window' comes into play constantly. We have to be able to see the audience or they can't see us - plus, we have to be able to see Chris Bowling, the musical director, or we're not with the orchestra. So there are the usual musical theatre challenges that are found in every show.

But even more challenging than that is the idea that these are real people, real people we're representing in a way that is unusual in theatre. If you're doing, say, 1776, Benjamin Franklin can be almost a caricature. When you're playing a real live honest-to-goodness person about whom very little is known, it's important to do justice to them. They have to seem real to the audience or the audience won't care whether they survive the sinking or not.

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

Jane: I love my character. The three Irish Kates (Kate McGowan, Kate Murphy, Kate Mullins) provide some of the humor in the show, plus they are such a contrast to the stuffy, upper-crust first class. They sing a wonderful song about how their lives will be different in the new world. It's full of hope and life and optimism. They're going to take on the world! When they're trapped below deck with the flood waters rising, they're determined to climb out and survive, somehow. Their situation makes the sinking more tragic - no one is looking out for them. These ladies provide a poignant contrast to those above decks climbing into the lifeboats complaining about not having their diamonds or having to leave their furs behind.

And getting to work with this wonderful cast, especially Jen Fuller and Peri Law (Kate Mullins and Kate Murphy), has been fantastic.

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

Jane: The opening number is so energetic and happy - it just makes it so much fun. And the song set in third class, "Ladies Maid," is positive and uplifting - it's an anthem full of hope crossed with an Irish jig.

But for me, "We'll Meet Tomorrow," sung as the last lifeboat is lowered, is amazing. It starts with the mother (Marisa Miller in her debut role as Marion Thayer) putting her children on the lifeboat and saying goodbye to her husband, and if there's a dry eye in the house after that, I'm always amazed. It makes some of the cast cry every night!

Q: Why would you urge our readers to attend?

Jane: Titanic is a gorgeous musical, a tribute to the survivors and the brave souls who went down with the ship - the musicians who played right 'til the very end, the captain, the crew, and all the poor souls who couldn't escape.

The music is amazing, there are some unbelievably talented cast members, and it's an unforgettable experience.

Q: Tell us when and where the show is staged.

Jane: Titanic the Musical sets sail Saturday, May 7, at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, May 8, at 2:30 p.m., departing from the Jean Carlo Stephenson Auditorium at Huntington's City Hall

Bon Voyage!

Friday, May 06, 2011

Another "Titanic" Interview

Here's another e-interview with the cast of Titanic the Musical, which wraps up its run this weekend at Huntington's City Hall.

This time around, let's hear from my pal Ron Short, who plays the part of Harold Bride, the telegraph operator on the Titanic:

Q: For those who aren't familiar with the show, tell us about Titanic.

Ron: Titanic the Musical is based on the real people and events that took place on the sinking ship almost 100 years ago, NOT THE ROSE AND JACK fictional story!

Q: This is a huge show - big set, big event. How does that make it challenging for the cast?

Ron: The most challenging thing for the cast in this show is the music. The show is basically an opera. There is some dialog but much of the show is through written, music is happening almost all of the time, and much of it is difficult to perform.

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

Ron: I saw the National touring company performance several years ago when it was at the Keith-Albee and I really enjoyed it. I am a professional musician, teacher, and I was most attracted to the music in the show and the fact that I am also fascinated with history.

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

Ron: My favorite part of the show is the musical number I get to do with Edgar Barrett, played by Josh Jonatta. It's a wonderful song and very emotional.

Q: Why would you urge everyone out there to attend?

Ron: I think that anyone with an interest in history and particularly about the events surrounding the sinking of the Titanic would really enjoy the show.

An Interview with a "Titanic" Director

Continuing our series of e-interviews about Titanic the Musical (which has its final shows this weekend in Huntington), here's our Q & A with the show's director, my pal Eddie Harbert:

Q: For those who aren't familiar with the show, tell us about Titanic.

Eddie: Titanic tells the story of the people who were on the ship and gives us a glimpse into their lives. The story "humanizes" them. We are reminded that they are people and not just statistics.

Q: This is a huge show - big set, big event. How does that make it challenging for the cast?

Eddie: There are 43 people in the cast. It is challenging just to place all of them on the stage! The biggest challenge for me as a director was to have them board the ship at the beginning. The cast actually start the show by coming in from the back of the audience, coming up the center aisle and climbing the gangway into the ship. Even the Broadway cast did not attempt this feat! I felt that by doing this, it would make the audience feel like part of the show and bring them into the story. I have never started a show with the entire cast in the back of the theatre! They have to walk around from backstage and come up the steps through City Hall to the back. That was certainly different from anything I've done before.

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

Eddie: The music attracted me to the show first. I love the music! Then, as I began researching these people lives, I wanted to tell the story of these people and this event. The production team traveled to Pigeon Forge, Tenn., to see the Titanic museum there. It was amazing! We actually saw items from the Titanic. We looked at pictures and saw letters that the victims and survivors wrote. We even placed our hands in water that was the exact temperature as the water was the night the ship went down. That stirred each of us to the point that we really wanted to tell the story of these people and help remember them as the 100th anniversary approaches next year.

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

Eddie: My favorite part of the show is when the people board the ship. The passengers are all excited about traveling on the largest moving object in the world. The excitement, joy, and expectations each of them has generates a special kind of energy. It is exciting and stirs your heart to see the hope each of them has as they board this very special ship.

Q: Why would you urge our readers to attend?

Eddie: People should attend to learn the historical significance of the ship as well as remember the people who died. It is a cautionary tale to all of us to remember that there are flaws in everything and to embrace each moment of life that we have and cherish our loved ones. We should remember that there truly is no day like today and we should live life to the fullest.

Q: Tell us when and where the show is staged.

Eddie: The show will be staged at the Jean Carlo Stephenson auditorium in City Hall May 6-8. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for children. Tickets can be reserved by calling 304-696-5522.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

On Stage with Ryan Hardiman

There's a great article online at the Herald-Dispatch about my pal Ryan Hardiman, who's part of a big concert this weekend - don't miss it:
When theater veteran Ryan Hardiman auditioned for the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra's Symphony Idol contest back in the winter of 2008, he wanted to fulfill a long-time dream - to sing with the state's largest orchestra.

But Hardiman didn't just check that dream off the bucket list and move on. Since then, like Leonardo DiCaprio in Inception, Hardiman has fallen deeper and further into layers of his dream of working with the orchestra.

Hardiman, who has rocked the mic for Charleston Light Opera Guild's production of Rent and Huntington Outdoor Theatre's record-breaking production of Beauty and The Beast, takes to the stage at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 6-7, at the Maier Performance Hall at the Clay Center in Charleston.

He is joined by veteran professional and internationally-acclaimed tenor, Barboursville native Randall Reid-Smith, who also happens to be the Commissioner of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History.

Tickets start at $10 and $6 for students and children and are available through the Clay Center Box Office, 304-561-3570. Tickets may also be ordered online at www.wvsymphony.org.

Called "From Broadway to Broad Street," the concert is the WVSO's final concert in its 2010-2011 ZMM Pops Series.

Hardiman, whose day job is assistant promotion manager and art director for WCHS/FOX11, said he feels extremely lucky and blessed to now be performing his 8th, 9th and 10th (the symphony has a road concert in Parkersburg on Sunday) concerts with Maestro Grant Cooper and the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra.

"It kind of built up to this," Hardiman said. "The symphony never specified what you would be able to do with the Symphony when you won Idol. They said there was an opportunity for a paid performance."

Hardiman, whose been known to bring a powerful, contemporary rock edge to theater shows that have ranged from Jekyll and Hyde to Rocky Horror Picture Show, sang two songs from the musical, Jekyll and Hyde, including "This is the Moment," a well-known song from the show, as well as "I Need to Know," a song that was on the original concept album for the show but not on the original cast soundtrack.

And it looks like the Symphony got hooked.

"That could have been all that was involved but we've kept going from there," Hardiman said. "I'm not sure they had any intention of it getting to this point but I'm really glad the relationship has continued to grow to headlining a subscription series pop concert with them is a dream come true."

Adding to the richness of that dream is getting to share the stage and bill with Reid-Smith, who has performed in concert halls around the world including the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and who was an assistant professor of music at the University of Michigan before coming home to West Virginia to head the Division of Culture and History.

Hardiman and Reid-Smith will duet on "Lilly's Eyes" from "The Secret Garden," and will take the crowd home and away at the concert's end with "Amazing Grace," "West Virginia Hills" and "Country Roads."

"I'm really looking forward to performing with Randall Reid-Smith," Hardiman said. "He's a local hero and a big hero of mine. He really walks the walk as an arts administrator and still is heavily involved with the arts and has had quite a career."

Both singers will bring a wide range of Broadway tunes to the stage, Hardiman said, from "Music of the Night" to "Anthem" from "Chess," to classics such as "Someone To Watch Over Me" and "My Funny Valentine."

Hardiman, who has also sung with the Huntington Symphony Orchestra on four occasions, will sing 13 songs and gets to rock out a bit with The Beatles "Eleanor Rigby," "Live and Let Die" and perhaps his favorite song to sing with the symphony, "Knights in White Satin," the Moody Blues song.

"It is quite a rush and an exhilarating feeling when there is an 80-plus member orchestra behind you and you're able to sing these wonderful songs with such an amazing orchestra," Hardiman said.

If You Go

WHAT: Symphony Idol winner Ryan Hardiman and West Virginia Culture and History Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith join the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra at its "From Broadway to Broad Street" concert. Audiences will enjoy works from masters of the stage like Rogers and Hammerstein, Andrew Lloyd Webber and George and Ira Gershwin, as well as music from popular artists like Paul McCartney and Josh Groban.

WHERE: Maier Performance Hall at the Clay Center

WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 6-7

HOW MUCH: Tickets start at $10 for adults and $6 for students and children

GET TIX: Clay Center Box Office, 304-561-3570. Tickets may also be ordered online at www.wvsymphony.org.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

A "Titanic" Interview

This weekend is your last chance to catch Titanic the Musical at Huntington's City Hall auditorium.

We have a few e-interviews to share with you this week, starting off with my pal Mike Murdock, who plays the part of Thomas Andrews, who designed and built the Titanic.

Q: For those who aren't familiar with the show, tell us about Titanic.

Mike: It's a musical based on the maiden and tragic voyage of the ocean-liner Titanic. It fictionalizes many of the characters on board for dramatic effect, much like the movie did, but much of the musical is historically accurate, as far as who these people were, what happened to them, etc.

To be fair, the musical is nothing like the movie (i.e. there's no Jack and Rose), but the events that transpired on the voyage are latently dramatic, and it walks a fine line of excitement and tragedy.

The show leads up to the events of the sinking of the Titanic, as well as bit afterward with the survivors.

Q: This is a huge show - big set, big event. How does that make it challenging for the cast?

Mike: It was a challenge because it took a long time to come together. The cast is enormous, and the music is easily the hardest I've ever had the pleasure to work with. It's a musical written in the last quarter century, and, as such, it's almost an opera, inasmuch as Rent or Les Mis or anything by Andrew Lloyd Webber is an opera. The actual dialog is sparse, and there's just a metric ton of singing. The opening number is 25 pages long, weaving characters in and out and just a complete auditory spectacle of music. It'll blow you away.

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

Mike: It's a show I've never done, and a role that really spoke to me. Andrews goes mad by the end of the show. This incredible thing he created is literally crashing down around him. Over a thousand people died because of how the ship was built, and he is completely overcome with guilt, because he knows that it could have been prevented, and fairly easily. But it's too late.

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

Mike: There are several numbers that I really love - like I said earlier, the opening number is fantastic, along with "We'll Meet Tomorrow" toward the end of the show. The songs are beautiful and truly pull at your heartstrings. If people don't have a stir of emotions while watching this show, they're totally robots. (As a side note: this is also a show that robots would very much enjoy.)

Q: Why would you urge our readers to attend?

Mike: The show has never been done here, and I always encourage people to see theatre, in general, but especially shows they've never had the opportunity to see. There's a lot of talent in this show and everyone has worked really hard to bring something special to Huntington. We deserve packed houses, and you deserve not to miss this show.

Q: Tell us when and where the show is staged.

Mike: The show is May 6, 7 at 8 p.m. and May 8 at 2:30 p.m. All shows are at City Hall in Huntington at the Jean Carlo Stephenson Auditorium.

Come sink a ship with us!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

On Stage in May

Sorry to have fallen silent for a few days, gentle readers - my lovely wife and I just got back from vacation in Texas where we had a great time visiting with our kids!

Delayed by a day, here's the monthly rundown of the shows to look for - if I missed any, drop me a line at TheMinskers@aol.com and I’ll add them to the list!

- Titanic the Musical - 5th Avenue Theatre presents the final performances of the show at Huntington's City Hall Auditorium May 6 - 8, 2011 at 7 p.m. Ticket are $15 for adults and $12 for children.

- Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat - Curtain Up Players presents the musical May 20, 21, 22, 27 and 28 at the Jeslyn Performing Arts Center at 1030 4th Avenue in Huntington.

- The Drowsy Chaperone - Charleston Light Opera Guild presents the hit Broadway musical at the Charleston Civic Center Little Theater on May 6, 7, 13, 14, 15, 20 and 21, 2011.

- Disney's Beauty and the Beast - Clay Center presents the musical based on the animated film Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 2 p.m.

- Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? - Charleston Stage Company presents the drama by Edward Albee at 7:30 p.m., May 26-28, June 2-4, 2011, at the Capitol Center Theater at 123 Summers Street in Charleston.

- Rounding Third - Kanawha Players presents this play about baseball and laughter May 6 and 7 at 8 p.m. at the Kanawha Players Theatre at 309 Beauregard Street in Charleston.

- Airwaves - Contemporary Youth Arts Company presents the drama written and directed by Dan Kehde at 8 p.m. May 5-7, 12-14 at the WVSU Capitol Center at 123 Summers Street in Charleston. Tickets are $10 for Adults and $6 for Students and Seniors.

- Godspell
- Portsmouth Little Theatre presents the hit musical May 20, 21, 27, 28 at 7:30 p.m.