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, July 31, 2012

On Stage This Weekend: "Here Lies Alan Chase"

The play Here Lies Alan Chase takes the stage for one weekend only in Ashland at the Hillside Community Church.

The show will be presented Aug. 2, 3 and 4 at 8 p.m. Admission is $5.

Here Lies Alan Chase is an original play written by Ashland native Jason McAllister. The story centers around a small town newspaper and the people, events and secrets surrounding the sudden death of a well-noted reporter. Layer after layer, the lies are stripped away, but... we all have to decide how much truth we can live with.

The show runs this weekend only, so make time to support your community theatre!

Friday, July 27, 2012

A Double Dose of "Legally Blonde"

This weekend you can see two Elle Woods - and in two towns, too!

This is the final weekend for the show Legally Blonde: The Musical for the Huntington Outdoor Theatre, and the opening weekend for the same show by the Charleston Light Opera Guild!

As my pal Ryan Hardiman pointed out, you could actually watch both shows in one day - on Sunday, you could catch the matinee of CLOG's show, then drive to Huntington to catch the evening show from HOT.

I finally got to see Huntington's version Friday night, and had a great time (although the rain tried to interfere). The show succeeds for many reasons: a great cast, wonderful songs, fun dance numbers, lots of humor and a terrific orchestra.

But the show's best move was casting Kathryn Davis in the title role. She's beautiful, immediately likable as the resourceful Elle, has perfect comic timing, she has great star power - you can't take your eyes off her - and she has a powerful voice (if you don't get chills at the end of "So Much Better," there's no hope for you). A wonderful performance!

Kudos also to Chloe Donahoe, who's hilarious as the off-kilter beautician Paulette - and she's also a terrific singer, too!

You have two more chances to catch the Huntington version - it runs Saturday and Sunday, July 28 and 29. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. Preshows start at 7 p.m., and the main show starts at 8:30 p.m.

If you're in a Charleston state of mind, you can catch that show at the Charleston Civic Center Little Theater on July 28 at 7:30 p.m., July 29 at 3 p.m., and August 3 and 4 at 7:30 p.m. and Aug. 5 at 3 p.m.

The show is a lot of fun, and highly recommended!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Final Weekend for "Legally Blonde"

Huntington Outdoor Theatre presents the final weekend of Legally Blonde: The Musical with shows Friday through Sunday, July 27-29. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. Preshows start at 7 p.m., and the main show starts at 8:30 p.m.

The show stars Kathryn Davis, an attorney who works in legacy planning at Huddleston Bolen and who is portraying the determined and resourceful Elle Woods. (You can read a great story about her in Thursday's edition of the Herald-Dispatch.)

"Legally Blonde" tells the story of sorority girl who follows an ex-boyfriend to Harvard Law School for the cause of love, only to find out that she has surprising talent for the law, and that love brings some surprises as well.

It's a funny, high-energy show with great songs and terrific dance numbers - highly recommended!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Professional Theatre Classes

My pal Gene Anthony sends along this note about an upcoming class that's being offered at ARTS - a chance to learn acting and tap from a professional:
Sean Watkins, a Marshall graduate, will be back in West Virginia after he wraps up a run of Annie at the Northshore Playhouse and before he begins rehearsals at the end of August for the Broadway Company national tour of Anything Goes starring Rachael York.

He is scheduled to teach a tap workshop and a musical theatre dance workshop beginning Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2012, at the Renaissance Theatre (the old Huntington High School). There are six classes in each workshop and they will be taught on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings.

The cost of each workshop (six tap or six musical theatre dance classes) will be $100. Both workshops can be taken for $150. The classes will be limited in size and filled on a "first come, first served" basis. Those interested should call 304-733-ARTS.
Here's the bio information for Sean:
Sean Watkins was born and raised in West Virginia. He graduated from Marshall University in 2009 with a B.F.A. in Theatre and a B.A. in Spanish. While at Marshall he could be seen on stage in The Rainmaker, Hair, Little Shop of Horrors, The Diary of Anne Frank and George M! among many others.

Backstage he translated and directed the East Coast premiere of La Historia de una Escalera (The History of a Staircase) and directed Edward Albees’ hit play The Zoo Story.

After leaving Marshall, he has performed professionally all over the United States and New York in shows varying from Les Miserables, The Producers, Crazy for You, Footloose, Annie, The Drowsy Chaperone and many more.

He has been involved with numerous workshops focusing on developing new material and has originated roles in shows such as Bruce Lee: Journey to the West, Apathy, Big Man on Campus and All Hands On Deck. He worked closely with the Gershwin family on the new musical ‘S Wonderful where he played the iconic Gene Kelly.

He has worked with Tony award winning directors, actors and choreographers. He will be setting sail with the Broadway company of Anything Goes, which will be touring the United States over the next year.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Last Weekend for HOT's "Legally Blonde"

Sunday brought a beautiful evening to enjoy some music and comedy at Ritter Park Amphitheater.

Huntington Outdoor Theatre finished its third weekend of Legally Blonde: The Musical, which continues with the final three shows Friday through Sunday, July 27-29. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. Preshows start at 7 p.m.

This year's show stars Kathryn Davis, an actual attorney who works in legacy planning at Huddleston Bolen and who is portraying the charming Elle Woods, a character made famous by Reese Witherspoon in the 2001 Hollywood production. Broadway introduced Legally Blonde: The Musical in 2007.

"Legally Blonde" tells the story of sorority girl who follows an ex-boyfriend to Harvard Law School for the cause of love, only to find out that she has surprising talent for the law, and that love brings some surprises as well.

Also starring in this year's HOT production are WCHS 8/Fox 11 news reporter Kennie Bass as a Harvard law professor, as well as Jacob Jarvis as love interest Emmett Forrest, Chloe Donahoe as Elle's beautician friend Paulette, Caroline Hunter as fitness celebrity Brooke Wyndham and many others.

You can also check out a photo gallery from the show by photographer Mark Webb (like the photo above) right here.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The New Season for the Marshall Artists Series

My pal Dave Lavender writes this story in today's Herald-Dispatch, spelling out the upcoming season for the Marshall Artists Series:
Angela Jones isn’t sure they could have survived another super-sized season like the last one.

The Marshall Artists Series, which has a whopping three people in its office, put on a mammoth 75th anniversary season that featured 16 events, plus two week-long film festivals and not to mention three event fundraisers including the recent, Uncorked Wine Festival.

Thankfully for the Artists Series, which managed to produce six events in a little over a week last October, the 76th season of the Marshall Artists Series is down to its normal size. That includes nine events plus two international film festivals at the historic Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center.

Executive director Penny Watkins said the new season strives to provide the community with culturally significant and educationally-driven entertainment for Marshall University and the surrounding community.

“From the 100 year anniversary of the voyage of the Titanic, to the election of a new president, to discussions about social justice and solving poverty in America, the events offered this season are a sign of our times,” Watkins said.” The Occupy Wall Street movement had its roots from the protests of the ‘Hair’ generation, and the documentary ‘Skateistan’ shows how a seeming small effort in Kabul, Afghanistan, can have a big impact on the world we live in.

“We invite you to come along on our journey this season to hear some timeless Motown tunes sung by the man himself, Smokey Robinson, see the much-loved TV icon, Ed Asner, take on one of our country’s most beloved presidents and hear a current pop star use his music and influence to effect change in our world. Join us. It is sure to be an exciting journey.”

The deadline to purchase or renew season tickets is Friday, Aug. 3.

After that date, all orders will be processed in order of date and time received. Individual tickets go on sale at noon Thursday, Aug. 30. Season tickets may be ordered at 304-696-3326. Orders may also be mailed in to Marshall Artists Series, One John Marshall Drive, Huntington, WV 25755-2210, be faxed to 304-696-6658 or emailed to artistsseries@marshall.edu. The Marshall Artists Series office is located in the Jomie Jazz Center on Fifth Avenue across from Marshall’s Student Center.

Jones, the marketing director for the Artists Series, said having the regular amount of shows Watkins made sure every one was a knockout.

“We are coming back to a normal size season and getting back to what we normally do year in and year out, and so we’ve got some of the Broadway shows that are touring, and we’ve got some great music and film and we throw in some legends here and there,” Jones said.

She’s not kidding on the legends part.

Kicking off the 76th season is nine-time Grammy Award-winning R&B artist, John Legend, who will be in concert at 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20, with his “Show Me Campaign,” a non-profit organization fighting poverty around the world.

Jones said that Legend, the multi-platinum selling singer/songwriter and activist who was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People, will be playing and sharing his mission with students and the community.

“He will be doing some discussion and weave in some music to underscore his thoughts on how people can get involved and take charge, and we all need that.”

The Artists Series rachets up the legends quota in the 2013 portion of the season with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member and Songwriters’ Hall of Fame member, Smokey Robinson, who will be performing at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, at the Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center.

Jones said they’re super excited to get the Motown legend, who not only wrote such hits for the Miracles like “Shop Around” “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me,” “Ooo Baby Baby,” “The Tracks of My Tears,” “Tears of a Clown,” and “I Second That Emotion” but also wrote many of the other Motown greats including: “The Way You Do the Things You Do,” “My Girl,” “Get Ready,” and “My Guy.”

TV legend, Ed Asner will be here at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 30, in his one-man drama, “FDR,” based on the long-running Broadway hit, “Sunrise at Campobello.”

The TV Academy Hall of Fame member is, of course, known of late for being the voice of Carl Fredricksen in Pixar’s award-winning animated film, “Up.” Asner is best known for his Emmy Award-winning role as Lou Grant on both “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and its spin-off series, “Lou Grant.”

“What’s neat about this show is that it will be at the Playhouse, so it will be really small and intimate,” Jones said. “People of course know him from all of his TV work, and this is a historic year with the presidential election, so this performance will come right on the heels of the Inauguration.”

One of the backbones of the Artists Series has long been reeling in touring Broadway shows and this year, there will be three tours coming through including “Titanic: The Musical,” which plays on Oct. 1 in this, the 100th year anniversary of the Titanic sinking.

Also playing the historic Keith-Albee will be the Broadway revival of “Hair,” which won the Tony Award for Best Musical Revival with such sing-a-long songs as “Aquarius,” “Let the Sun Shine In,” and “Good Morning, Starshine.”

Created by the monster hit, “Jersey Boys,” (Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice) with Drama Desk-winning composer/lyricist Andrew Lippa, comes “The Addams Family,” a Broadway smash musical comedy based on the hit TV show that starred the campy world of Gomez, Morticia, Uncle Fester, Grandma, Wednesday, Pugsley and, of course, Lurch. “The Addams Family” plays April 28.

A couple of 2012/2013 shows are back by popular demand.

Mountain Stage, the Charleston-based National Public Radio show heard weekly around the world, drew a great crowd this spring to pay homage to the 75th anniversary season with such American music icons as Arlo Guthrie (who paid tribute to his late father Woody) at the Keith-Albee.

Hosted by Grammy Award-winning host, Larry Groce, Mountain Stage will be returning for a concert at 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 4, at the Keith-Albee with music acts to be announced later.

Mountain Stage is a two-hour music radio show produced by WV Public Broadcasting and distributed worldwide by National Public Radio (NPR) and the Voice of America’s satellite radio service.

Jones said one constant feedback they hear is on people’s love of Celtic shows, so they’ve reeled in the renowned Irish Tenors (Ronan Tynan, Finbar Wright, Anthony Kearns) who will be performing an Irish Holiday Celebration with a 30-piece orchestra at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 3.

Tucked into both the fall and the spring semesters is the Marshall Artists Series International Film Festivals.

The Fall Film fest will run Oct. 12-17, at the Keith-Albee with award-winning films from Iran, Belgium, Denmark, Israel, the United States and Norway. Headlining that will be “A Separation,” the Iranian film that won the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar in 2011.
Jones said they’re experimenting in the fall with a 10:30 a.m. showing on the Saturday and Sunday, and have punted the late show (9:45 p.m. on those nights).

The Spring International Film Festival runs Feb. 22 -28, and features films from Japan, Spain, France, Brazil, Lebanon and England. The fest features “The Deep Blue Sea,” starring Rachel Weiss in an English remake of the 1955 film that Vivien Leigh made famous.

Kicking off the Fall International Film Festival will be a special one-night-only showing at 7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 11, of “Skateistan,” a documentary that tells the story of the skateboard park in Kabul, Afghanistan, that has been transforming the lives of young people in Kabul.

“Skateistan” won the Cinema for Peace Award of Most Valuable Documentary, was an official selection of the Santa Barbara Film Festival and won a Jury Prize at the Woodstock Film Festival.

A post-film lecture will take place featuring Huntington native and skateboard industry veteran, Bryan Ridgeway, who is the global skateboarding advisor for the Skateistan project. Ridgeway will be speaking at the public screening as well as a special screening for high school students.

Jones said they are really proud to host “Skateistan,” which has only been screened in a handful of theaters and film festivals around the world.

Jones said Ridgeway has to Fed Ex the copy of the film the next day to Lithuania.

“I am really proud of the lineup for the festival,” Jones said. “It’s my baby, but I think it’s a really strong lineup, and I’m really excited about the diversity. And, I am really excited about ‘Skateistan,’ and I know Bryan couldn’t be more proud to be coming back.”

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Cast List for "MacBeth"

The director of the ARTS production of Shakespeare's MacBeth, my pal Mike Murdock, posted this notice today listing the cast for the production:
Thanks to all who auditioned!

If you do not see your name on the list below, thank you so very much for sharing some time with us over the weekend, and we hope to see you at future auditions at ARTS.

Macbeth – Greg Morris
Lady Macbeth – Kate Morris

Macduff – Len Trent
Lady Macduff, Nurse – Tish Maynard

Banquo – Herschel Jeffrey
Fleance – Damon Noel
King Duncan – Paul Neace
Malcolm – Eric Wilson
Donalbain – Gregory Picklesimer

Witch – Sarah Diamond Burroway
Witch – Sheila Meade
Witch – Jenn Naglee

Lennox – Jonathan Maynard
Ross – Brian Cook
Angus – Roger Hagley
Menteith – Marc Albert
Caithness – Todd Green
Old Siward – Mark Harrison Near
Seyton, Murderer – Erik Hamilton Woods
Bloody Sergeant, Young Siward, Murderer – Simon Woods
Porter / Old Man / *Fight Captain*– Michael Naglee
Doctor / Murderer – Stephen Vance

Servant, Apparition, etc. – Tiffini Yvonne Taylor

Once again, thank you all SO very much for auditioning and sharing your talents with me. Those that didn't get cast, I hope that you will get a chance to see the show, and not hesitate to audition for future shows at ARTS. As much as we would always love to cast every single person, sometimes we can't. That doesn't diminish your talent or ability, it just means that I went a different way with it. I still thank you very much coming to play with me on Friday and Saturday. I hope you had as much fun as I did.
What an amazing, talented cast! I can't wait to see this one!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Next Marshall Artists Series

The Marshall Artists Series has set its lineup for the 2012 - 2013 season, and as always, there are several great theatre shows in the mix.

This lineup includes the Broadway touring shows of The Addams Family (April 28, 2013), Hair (March 7, 2013), Ed Asner in a one-man show FDR (Jan. 30, 2013) and Titanic the Musical (Oct. 1, 2012).

We'll have the complete lineup soon!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Jon Joy's Newest Books Are Available!

Exciting news - my pal, local playwright, director and actor Jonathan Joy is now a published author!

His play, The Princess of Rome, Ohio, is now available in paperback, and so is Short Plays and Monologues - both are available on Amazon.com!

In case you haven't seen the play, here's the recap of "Princess:"
The dysfunctional tenants of a ramshackle house air their dirty laundry on the front porch while their young daughter dreams of getting away to start a better life. An outrageous front porch comedy featuring a wide variety of small town characters.
I've ordered my copies - shouldn't you?

Congratulations, Jon!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Auditions in August for "Disney’s Little Mermaid, Jr."

Here's a project near and dear to my heart - because I'm going to be directing it for First Stage Theatre Company.

Here's what you need to know about The Little Mermaid, Jr.:
First Stage Theatre Company will kick off its 23rd season with auditions for Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Jr. The musical is based on the beloved Disney animated film starring Ariel, the mermaid who dreams of exploring the world above the sea.

The auditions will be held at the Premiere Dance Studio at 716 6th Street in Huntington on Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday, Aug. 12 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Participants can sign up at any time during those two audition dates. There is no charge to audition or to take part in a First Stage production, and no theatre experience is required. Auditions are open to young people who will be entering grades Kindergarten through 12 this fall.

Auditioners should arrive ready to sing a 30-second section of the song of their choice - an accompanist will be provided. They will also be given a few lines from the script to read, and they’ll be taught a short dance step to demostrate during the audition (be sure to wear comfortable clothes and shoes).

The show will be presented Oct. 23 - 28 at the Renaissance Theatre (the old Huntington High School).

The directing team includes: Director Chuck Minsker, Music Director Mark Smith, Choreographer Melissa McGuffin, Assistant Director Robyn Welch and Set Construction Director Jack Welch.

Based in Huntington, W.Va., the First Stage Theatre Company is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing an educational, developmental experience for young people through the performing arts.

For more information, contact Chuck Minsker at 304-736-4366.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Auditions for "MacBeth"

Coming up this weekend are auditions for the ARTS production of William Shakespeare's MacBeth.

Here's the info:
Auditions for ARTS production of William Shakespeare's Macbeth will be held Friday, July 20 from 7 - 10 p.m. and Saturday, July 21 from 12 - 4 p.m. with callbacks Sunday at 2 p.m. (if needed).

The auditions will be held on the main stage at ARTS. Actors will be asked to read from the play, as well as work with Shakespearean sonnets given ahead of time. Headshots and resumes are welcome but not required.

Please pick ONE of the following sonnets to be familiar with. You need not memorize them, just be familiar enough to read them in various ways with some playable actions / direction. These can also be found with a simple Google search for a printable copy.

Sonnet #139
O! call not me to justify the wrong
That thy unkindness lays upon my heart;
Wound me not with thine eye, but with thy tongue:
Use power with power, and slay me not by art,
Tell me thou lov'st elsewhere; but in my sight,
Dear heart, forbear to glance thine eye aside:
What need'st thou wound with cunning, when thy might
Is more than my o'erpressed defence can bide?
Let me excuse thee: ah! my love well knows
Her pretty looks have been mine enemies;
And therefore from my face she turns my foes,
That they elsewhere might dart their injuries:
Yet do not so; but since I am near slain,
Kill me outright with looks, and rid my pain.


Sonnet #147
My love is as a fever longing still,
For that which longer nurseth the disease;
Feeding on that which doth preserve the ill,
The uncertain sickly appetite to please.
My reason, the physician to my love,
Angry that his prescriptions are not kept,
Hath left me, and I desperate now approve
Desire is death, which physic did except.
Past cure I am, now Reason is past care,
And frantic-mad with evermore unrest;
My thoughts and my discourse as madmen's are,
At random from the truth vainly expressed;
For I have sworn thee fair, and thought thee bright,
Who art as black as hell, as dark as night.

The production will run October 12, 13, 14 and 19, 20, 21, with a SCHOOL SHOW on Thursday, Oct. 18.

Rehearsals will begin Sunday, July 29.

Come willing to play and have fun. Don't let Shakespeare scare you. Let's scare the audiences in October, instead!

The play will be directed by Mike Murdock.
They've even cooked up a nifty trailer promoting the auditions, which you can watch right here.

Friday, July 13, 2012

No Pants Players To Perform Benefit Show

If you're looking for a good laugh this weekend, here's a great show for all ages:
The No Pants Players, West Virginia’s premier improv comedy troupe are no strangers to the stage or fundraising for a worthy cause.

Over the last 11 seasons, No Pants has raised money for such organizations as Covenant House, American Heart Association and the families of the Upper Big Branch miners.

On July 14, 2012, the troupe will hold another benefit show for The Jericho House of St. Albans. Sponsored by Marty’s Tires, this show will be held at the Alban Arts and Conference Center at 65 Olde Main Street in St. Albans.

The show begins at 7 p.m. and tickets are $8 for children under the age of 12, $10 for adults.

For 20 years, the Jericho House of St. Albans has served as a halfway house for families that have found themselves in dire straits. Jericho House offers food and shelter to those in need. Often a family will stay for about six months before getting back on their feet and moving forward with their lives. Without Jericho House, this process is much more difficult. They truly understand what it means to help one’s neighbor and are a beacon of kindness in the valley.

Please support the No Pants Players, Marty’s Tires and Jericho House as they all try to make a bit of difference in the community. Proceeds will be donated to Jericho House in support of its efforts to feed and house families in need.

Tickets are also available online at www.nopantsplayers.com and at the door starting at 6:30 p.m. For more information, call the toll free number 1-877-IMPROV-9
(1-877-467-7689), or email admin@nopantsplayers.com.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The New Season for Company of Dreams

Company of Dreams is a theatre company in Ashland, and the group has just announced the shows it'll be staging in the next year - and it's an excellent lineup!

Here's the press release:
The 2012-2013 Season for Company of Dreams:

Marvin's Room - Auditions: Sept. 28, 29 / Shows: Nov. 8, 9, 10, 2012

Almost Maine - Auditions: Dec 21, 22 / Shows: Feb. 7, 8, 9, 2013

[Title of Show] - Auditions: April 26, 27 / Shows: June 6, 7, 8, 2013

Company of Dreams looks forward to hearing from YOU! "LIKE" our Facebook page to keep up to date. More audition and show information to come!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Weather Woes for HOT

The scary thing about outdoor theatre is that your shows are at the mercy of the weather - and that made for a rough opening weekend for Huntington Outdoor Theatre's production of the musical comedy Legally Blonde, as heat and heavy rain kept crowds small.

It's an excellent show, loaded with high energy, a fast and funny story and lots of terrific songs.

My pal Dave Lavender brings us up to speed:
You know it’s been too hot, when it’s too hot for H.O.T.

In spite of this being the 19th year of Huntington Outdoor Theatre, founder and director Helen Freeman said this past weekend, opening weekend, was the hottest on record for her troupe that performed two sweltering nights of Legally Blonde at Ritter Park amphi­theater before being rained out Sunday.

That rain-out, during the fourth scene of Act 1, was only the eighth rain-out in the 19­-year history of H.O.T.

Freeman said the danger­ously hot weather devastated their numbers. H.O.T. needs about 500 people at the amphi­theater to make any money. They had 200 Friday and only 165 on Saturday when the tem­perature was 104.

“Saturday they said it felt like it was 112 and it did feel like it was 112,” Freeman said on Monday. “As the night went on it did dip down into the 90s and it felt like it was cool. It wasn’t cool but it was much better. I am really proud of the people who came out and endured the heat. That was so nice.” Freeman said the cast, which includes two dogs, per­formed amazingly well under duress, and now they’re gear­ing up for big weekends as the show continues.

“It went well for all the adversity so it was good for the weather that we had, but heat can hurt you just like the rain can,” Freeman said. “If people don’t come out and support us, there won’t be an Huntington Outdoor Theatre next year.” Legally Blonde continues at 6:30 p.m. July 13-15, July 20-22 and July 27-29 at Ritter Park A mph it heater.

The main show begins at 8:30 p.m. with the Children’s preshow “A Tribute to Leg­ends” beginning at 7 p.m. and a community preshow at 7:30 p.m. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. for picnicking. Folks may bring their own, although con­cessions are available.

General Admission are $15, Seniors 65 and better and Children 5-12 are $13 while children under 5 get in free.

Tickets may be purchased at the Big Sandy Superstore Are­na or at the gate on the nights of the show. Group rates are available. For more informa­tion call 304-412-3393 or go online at www.hotwv.org.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Auditions This Week

There are two auditions coming up this week, including:

- Dracula The Musical - Curtains Up Players will hold auditions Wednesday at 6 p.m. at at the Kuhn Memorial Prebyterian Church in Barboursville. Performance dates are Oct. 26, 27, Nov. 1, 2 and 3 at 8 p.m. and Oct. 28 and Nov. 4 at 2:30 p.m. All performances take place at The Jeslyn Performing Arts Center - 1030 4th Avenue. For more info, call Clara Adkins, Director at 304-634-9605.

- Huntington Outdoor Theatre will hold auditions Thursday evening at 6 p.m. at the Ritter Park Amphitheatre for anyone who would like to perform for the Community Showcase portion of the evening of entertainment at HOT. Each weekend in July (each Friday, Saturday and Sunday) HOT presents three shows: Children's Show at 7 p.m., Community Showcase at 7:30 p.m. and Legally Blonde, the Musical at 8:30 p.m. Those who are auditioning should come to the back of the theatre and meet with Donna Duke. If you cannot meet on Thursay, give her a call at 304-743-6664 to schedule another time. She will try to work with everyone to schedule convenient times. Come join the fun!

Murder and Mystery

If you're looking for a nice murder mystery to tackle, here's the schedule for upcoming events from the Murder and Merriment theatre troupe:
Interactive Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre

July 13 - Cosmopolitan Club, Ashland 7 p.m.
July 20 - CSX Train Tracks, Huntington 7 p.m.
July 21 - Hillside Community Church, Ashland 7 p.m.
July 27-28 - Greenhouse of Teays Valley, Hurricane 7 p.m.

The interactive murder mystery theatre troupe, Murder and Merriment, is cooking up a summer full of murderous intrigue all over the Tri-State. Beginning July 13, Murder and Merriment presents “Murder at the Opera!” for one night at the Cosmopolitan Club in Ashland, Ky. The mystery involves the recent death of world famous tenor, Lucianno Manicotti, who was found poisoned on the stage of Carnegie Hall. Now his widow, Carla, and daughter, Anna, have gathered his closest associates for a reading of the Will and a Séance to determine who may have murdered Lucianno. The mystery begins at 7 p.m. and tickets can be reserved by calling
606.329.0746. Guests will play the role of junior detective and assist Detective Columbus in solving the murder and competing for a valuable prize. The Cosmopolitan Club is located at 1008 Annex, next door to the Blue Ribbon Lanes Bowling Alley on Winchester Avenue. A catered Italian Buffet will be served.

The following weekend, Murder and Merriment will perform for Guests of the Collis P. Huntington Railroad Historical Society July 20th at 7pm on an actual rail dining car located on the Carolina Track at the CSX Train Station on 7th Avenue in Huntington. The mystery is “The Murderer Who Came to Dinner!” Eccentric millionaire, Nicholas Shockley, has invited eight guests with murderous pasts to join him on his private rail car. Each of the guests have been invited under false pretenses and suddenly find themselves unwilling victims of a murderous game. The Murder Party is open to the public and tickets must be reserved by calling 1.866.639.7487. Seating is very limited for this special event. A catered dinner will be served, and the Guests will have the opportunity to help Detective Adrian Mink solve the mystery.

On July 21 at 7 p.m., Hillside Community Church, located in Ashland, Ky, at 2301 Greenup Avenue, finds itself hosting “A Murderous Reunion!” Join fellow classmates and professors as they celebrate the 25th Reunion of the Calvin Coolidge Class of 1987. Overshadowing the Reunion is the recent murder of former student body president, Jason Jensen, who everyone hated. Fortunately, amateur sleuth and mystery writer, Jennifer Fletcher, is on hand to help Guests solve the mystery of who killed Jason. This dinner theatre event is being sponsored to raise funds to improve the building and promote church activities. Be sure to wear your favorite 1980s outfit! Tickets can be reserved by calling 606.922.2903.

Then Murder and Merriment is off to present a murder party at The Greenhouse of Teays Valley in Hurricane, WV July 27-28, nightly at 7pm. In case you missed the Reunion, you will have the opportunity to attend it at the Greenhouse. “A Murderous Reunion!” is the fourth monthly installment of interactive murder mystery theatre presented by the restaurant & gift shop located at 3554 Teays Valley Road, Suite 105. Each of the murder parties presented by the Greenhouse over the last three months have sold out every night. If you plan to attend, make your reservation right away by calling 304.397.6316. A catered dinner will be served along with a chance to help Jennifer Fletcher solve the mystery and win a prize.

Murder and Merriment was created by George R. Snider III and has seen unprecedented success and growth since 2010. For more information about Murder and Merriment or any of their upcoming murder parties, call 304.634.8581.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Curtains Up Players Announces its 2012-13 Season

My pal Danny Ray sends along this info about the upcoming 2012 - 2013 season for the Curtains Up Players in Huntington.

He writes:
We are very excited and pleased to announce:

Avenue Q is Aug. 24 - Sept. 2
Dracula the Musical is Oct. 26 – Nov. 4
Holiday Concert – Nov. 16-18

And in 2013:

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs - March 1-10, 2013
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged - May 17-26, 2013
The Great American Trailer Park Musical - Aug. 23- Sept. 1, 2013
The Rocky Horror Show - Oct. 25 – Nov. 3, 2013
Holiday Concert – Nov. 22-24, 2013

All performances will be held at the Jeslyn Performing Arts Center in Huntington, W.Va.

Thanks for your support!

Friday, July 06, 2012

Auditions for "Dracula The Musical"

Auditions are being held this weekend for Dracula - the Musical, which will be staged by Curtains Up Players.

They'll be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Kuhn Memorial Prebyterian Church in Barboursville.

Auditioners should arrive early and be prepared to begin at 2 p.m. Please prepare a minimum of 32 vocal bars and be ready to read from the script. Wear comfortable clothing for movement. Reading may also take place on an individual basis.

Performance dates are Oct. 26, 27, Nov. 1, 2 and 3 at 8 p.m. and Oct. 28 and Nov. 4 at 2:30 p.m.

All performances take place at The Jeslyn Performing Arts Center - 1030 4th Avenue. For more info, call Clara Adkins, Director at 304-634-9605.

On Stage This Weekend

Lots of great shows to catch this weekend - two are indoors and the rest outdoors:

- Legally Blonde - The comedy musical kicks off its run tonight at the Ritter Park Amphitheatre. It stars Kathryn Davis as Elle Woods, the college student who decides true love (and intelligence) can conquer any obstacle. It runs July 6-8, July 13-15, July 20-22 and July 27-29.

The show begins at 8:30 p.m. The children's preshow "A Tribute to Legends" begins at 7 p.m. and a community preshow at 7:30 p.m. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. for picnicking. Folks may bring their own baskets although full concessions are available. General admission $15, seniors 65 and better and children ages 5-12 are $13. Children ages 5 and under are admitted free. Tickets may be purchased at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena or at the gate on the nights of the show. Group rates are available. For more information, call 304-412-3393.


- Steel Magnolias - The Jax Theatre production of Robert Harling’s drama runs Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Wheelersburg, Ohio Cinema Complex (next to Ponderosa). Tickets are $12 adults. It's based on the beloved book and film about the relationships of six strong women in Chinquapin Parish.


- Proof - The run of the drama was extended since a power outage shut the show down last weekend. Proof will be presented Saturday and Sunday at 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Alban Arts and Conference Center at 65 Olde Main Street in St. Albans. Tickets are $15 for Adults and $10 for Students and Seniors.

On the eve of her 25th birthday, Catherine, a troubled young woman, has spent years caring for her brilliant but unstable father, a famous mathematician. Now, following his death, she must deal with her own volatile emotions; the arrival of her estranged sister, Claire; and the attentions of Hal, a former student of her father's who hopes to find valuable work in the 103 notebooks that her father left behind. Over the long weekend that follows, a burgeoning romance and the discovery of a mysterious notebook draw Catherine into the most difficult problem of all: How much of her father's madness — or genius — will she inherit? This show contains strong language.


- Honey in the Rock and Hatfields & McCoys - Theatre West Virginia’s 52nd season is underway with Honey in the Rock, the nation’'s oldest Civil War drama. Hatfields & McCoys, the violent dispute that made the mountains bleed red, opened June 13. These two historical dramas will run in rotating repertory through July 27.

Tickets for Theatre West Virginia’s productions are on sale now and can be purchased by phone at 304-256-6800 or 800-666-9142 or online at www.theatrewestvirginia.com. Prices range from $7 to $19.


- Tecumseh! - The life story of the Shawnee leader as he struggles to defend his sacred homelands in the Ohio country during the late 1700s, will take place Monday through Saturday through Sept. 1 at the Sugarloaf Mountain Amphitheatre in Chillicothe, Ohio.

Tickets are $24.25 for adults and $17.25 for children ages 10 and younger. The show begins at 8 p.m. nightly. For more information or to purchase tickets, call toll free at 866-775-0700 or go online at www.tecumsehdrama.com.


- The Marvelous Wonderettes and Grease - Jenny Wiley Theatre at Jenny Wiley State Resort Park in Prestonsburg, Ky., will offer The Marvelous Wonderettes July 6 and Grease July 6, 7 and 8. Evening performances at 8:15 p.m. Some shows include a dinner options while others are show only. For ticket information, call toll free 877-CALL-JWT or locally at 606-886-9274.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

"Legally Blonde" Takes the Stage Tonight!

Here's the story from today's Herald-Dispatch by my pal Dave Lavender:

There will be one hot blonde, two dogs and one largemouth singing 'Bass' hanging out in Ritter Park Amphitheater this July as Huntington Outdoor Theater's 19th season features the romantic comedy musical Legally Blonde.

Best known for the 2001 movie starring Reese Witherspoon and which
inspired the Broadway musical, Legally Blonde dances its way into the park for a July run that kicks off this weekend.

Directed by Helen Freeman and starring Kathryn Davis, two dog actors named Princess and Rufus, and such colorful theater veterans as Kennie Bass, Legally Blonde is set to run July 6-8, July 13-15, July 20-22 and July 27-29.

The main show, which is accompanied by a live orchestra with musical direction by Mark Smith (keyboardist for Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr.) begins at 8:30 p.m. with the children's preshow "A Tribute to Legends" beginning at 7 p.m. and a community preshow at 7:30 p.m. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. for picnicking. Folks may bring their own baskets although full concessions are available.

General admission $15, seniors 65 and better and children ages 5-12 are $13. Children ages 5 and under are admitted free.

Tickets may be purchased at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena or at the gate on the nights of the show. Group rates are available. For more information, call 304-412-3393.

Freeman said they're excited to stage the hip, hot musical that tells the story of Elle Woods, a sorority girl who enrolls at Harvard Law School to win back her ex-boyfriend Warner but then discovers how her knowledge of the law can help others, and successfully defends exercise queen Brooke Wyndham in a murder trial.

"I picked Legally Blonde because I knew it would draw and because
it's a really fun, upbeat show that is just great for outside," said Freeman, of
the show which is rated PG.

Freeman said they had lots of people audition for the lead role, played by Witherspoon in the movie and Mercury Records recording artist Laura Bell
on Broadway. Freeman said no one stood out like Kathryn Davis, who was in the 2004 H.O.T. show Footloose and who in a quirky twist of fate is in fact a young attorney practicing at Huddleston Bolen LLP in Huntington.

"I think she had it from the time she walked in and the moment she opened her mouth," Freeman said. "She has a real distinctive voice, and when she walks in you think she's so beautiful, she's so sweet and she's so cute. All in a second you say those three words. When she opened her mouth to sing everybody just went 'whoa.' You could see it in people's faces. They all wanted her to be Elle, and she works so hard. I will tell her something and she will work real hard until she gets it. She's just a lovely person."

Now in her 19th year of putting on H.O.T., Freeman has seen it all - incredible highs and lows of trying to keep community theater alive in the summer.

This year, though, the trouble and drama level went to 11 when last Friday's storm hit while she was at the printer's and her cast was rehearsing at Ritter Park.

Freeman drove across downed limbs and under a tree across a road to get to the amphitheater where she found her cast and crew safe. They were without power until Tuesday when they were able to find a commercial-grade generator to ensure that the show would go on with proper sound and lighting.

Although she's been battling the elements and loss of power, Freeman said she feels lucky to have such great people by her side including long-time musical director Mark Smith, who's best known these days for backing nationally touring act Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr.

Smith, who has gigs with Murphy in July in California, Utah, Michigan and Clarksburg, W.Va., is still vocal coach and musical director for the show, although he's not physically playing H.O.T., something he's done for years.

In addition to the main show and the community pre-show, which often features a who's who of H.O.T. alums and other Tri-State talent living both here and folks visiting, is the children's pre-show.

This year, that perennial favorite part of the show is called "A Tribute to Legends," with the dynamic duo of directors Kerri Easter Stambaugh and Smith, guiding the kids through a music tribute to such late music icons as Whitney Houston, Randy Gibb of The Bee Gees, Donna Summer and Dick Clark.

"The pre-show is always very cute but this year they're really dancing and singing like nobody's business," Freeman said. "There are so many great songs like 'Bandstand,' and Whitney's 'I Wanna Dance with Somebody.' "

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

"Legally Blonde" : The Show Will Go On

Despite the harsh weather we've seen recently (to put it mildly), the word from Huntington Outdoor Theatre is: the show will go on.

Regardless of whether or not Ritter Park gains power, the show will go on as scheduled as Huntington Outdoor Theatre has secured a commercial-grade generator to power up this weekend’s opening performance of the hit romantic comedy musical, Legally Blonde.

Director and H.O.T. founder Helen Freeman said Tuesday afternoon that they have just secured a generator thanks to Dave Thompson at Creative Audio.

Freeman said the generator, which is costing the non-profit group, $1,200 for a weekend rental, will enable them to put on the show which starts at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 5, with a pay-what-you-will performance.

The show will open Friday and run through Sunday at the Ritter Park Ampitheater (above the Rose Garden and the Tennis Courts in Ritter Park). The show will then continue each weekend in July: July 6-8, July 13-15, July 20-22 and July 27-29

The main show begins at 8:30 p.m. with the children’s preshow beginning at 7 p.m. and a community preshow at 7:30 p.m. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. for picnicking.

General admission $15, seniors 65 and better and children ages 5-12 are $13. Ages 5 and under are free.

Tickets may be purchased at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena or at the gate on the nights of the show. Group rates are available. For more information, call 304-412-3393.

Read more about Legally Blonde in Thursday’s pullout Weekend section inside The Herald-Dispatch.