Tri-State Theater

Let's discuss upcoming shows, secrets behind the scenes, things you never knew about the theater and why live theater is so darn entertaining.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

"Cabaret" Interview #2 - Sarah Diamond Burroway

   For our second interview with the cast of Cabaret, let's hear from my pal Sarah Diamond Burroway

Q: Tell us about the musical Cabaret

Sarah: “There was a cabaret and an emcee.  And there was a city called Berlin in a country called Germany.  It was the end of the world… and I was dancing with Sally Bowles and we were both fast asleep…” 

   That quote by character Clifford Bradshaw speaks volumes to what the story is all about.  It’s about life on the brink of change, about exploration, about keeping your eyes shut to harsh realities, about love.  It’s about a moment in time when the rules were different. 

   There are three love stories in Cabaret. An elderly German landlady and her Jewish suitor. Sally, the cabaret singer / party girl and Cliff, the aspiring writer from America who has his sites set on real love, not the steamy, dark love of the Kit Kat Klub. And, there’s the Emcee, with his love of the audience and of telling stories through songs that make you think and feel and want to suspend reality, if only for a moment.
Q: Tell us about the character you play.

Sarah: I play Frau Kruger, a neighborhood lady. She’s a minor character who’s a bit judgmental, as she takes in all the goings-on at the Klub and later, at Fraulein Schneider and Herr Schultz’s engagement party.
Q: What's your favorite part of the show?
Sarah: My favorite part of the show is watching the transformation of the cast into characters that are so very different from whom they really are. Sure, that’s what acting is all about. But, in this case, there are some pretty drastic changes. The actors who play the Kit Kat Girls, for example, are all highly intelligent, very proper, sweet ladies - all dear friends. The Kit Kat Girls, on the other hand, are provocative, campy show girls who use their sexuality to distract patrons from the worries of the day. It’s all done with a PG-13 rating, but still, knowing these women, it’s very out of character.  The Kit Kat Girls are quite endearing!  
   I’ve been especially impressed with Michael Naglee’s portrayal of the androgynous Master of Ceremonies.  The Emcee is one of the most memorable characters in the play and the movie, with which most people are familiar. Michael has done a terrific job of making the role his own, adding his own spice and flavor to it. He is always a joy to watch in performance. I especially love “If You Could See Her,” which features Michael on vocals, paired in a dance with Tristan Reynolds. You will love it! Space doesn’t allow me to list each cast member by name, but I would be remiss if I didn’t say how much I enjoy Clay McKnight as Cliff. Vocally, he is a delight and he brings so much light, determination and innocence to the role of Clifford Bradshaw.

Q: Why did you want to be part of this show?
Sarah: Cabaret is the first show of the ARTS 2013 season and the first undertaking with members of the ARTS Resident Acting Company on cast. While many of the actors and production crew have worked together, for me, it is important to commemorate this show as the place “where it all began” for the new culture being created at ARTS. 

   Everyone brings so much talent and desire for growth to the table. As Resident Company Manager, that is very exciting to me. This show sets the tone and the pace for the company’s inaugural year.  I can’t wait until March for Julius Caesar. Heck, I can’t wait for the entire year! 
For me, community theatre is all about collaboration - everyone coming together to tell the story. I don’t think director / associate choreographer Gene Anthony could have picked a better cast and crew to tell the story of Cabaret.  Working with Gene, as well as Coni Anthony (associate director / choreographer), Tawny Tilley (music director), Bil Neal (vocal director), and Stevie Brigode (production stage manager) has been one big learning experience.  

Q: Why would you recommend this show to our readers?
Sarah: ARTS production of Cabaret is entertaining and fun. It’s thought-provoking. The show is set as environmental theatre with three main performance areas constructed in the ballroom. It will provide a theatre experience most audience members have never had. It’s not theatre-in-the-round. It’s theatre that places you in the Kit Kat Klub; at the engagement party; at the boarding house. I think people will enjoy it very much because it is something different for the Tri-State Area.

Q: Tell us the dates, times and place for the show.
Sarah: Cabaret opens this Friday night at 8 p.m. Show dates are February 1-2 and February 8-9. “Wir Sagen, Wilkkomen – Bien Venue – Welcome!”

   Thanks, Sarah!

On Stage This Weekend: "Cabaret" and "Gods of Carnage"

   There are two great shows on stage this weekend - don't miss them!

- Cabaret - presented by ARTS, the musical takes the stage at the Renaissance Ballroom at 900 8th Street in Huntington. The show runs Friday, Feb. 1 and Saturday, Feb. 2 at 8 p.m. (It also runs Feb. 8 and 9). Tickets for the show only are $15, or for Dinner and the Show it's $30. Reservations are required for the dinner at 6:30 p.m. - call 304-733-ARTS.

- God of Carnage - presented by Charleston Stage Company, the play will be staged at Studio101 at the Hermann Fine Arts Center at Marietta College in Marietta, Ohio. The show is presented Friday and Saturday, Feb. 1 and 2 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and senior citizens. Call 740-373-0894 for more information.

   And that's it! Get out there and support your community theatre!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

"Cabaret" Interview #1 - Tristan Reynolds

Leading up to this weekend's premiere of the musical Cabaret, we have some e-interviews with members of the cast. 

Let's start with the youngest member, Tristan Reynolds:
Q: Cabaret is a hit Broadway musical and movie - tell us the basic story.
Tristan: Cabaret takes place in Weimar (post World War I) Germany, 1929-1930. It follows Clifford Bradshaw, an American author living in Berlin, Sally Bowles, the mercurial and fantastical girl living with him, Frau Schneider, his landlady, Herr Schultz, her suitor, and Ernst Ludwig, his friend. The show is set against a background of institutional chaos and the rise of a certain political party. Interspersed throughout the show are numbers presented in the manner of a cabaret of the period, by the Kit Kat Klub's M.C. and his Kit Kat girls.
Q: Tell us about the character you play.
Tristan: I do a variety of smaller roles, from a lady gorilla to a Nazi thug (though not in the same scene). I also do some work with the crew backstage - I'm a sort of a jack of all trades.
Q: What's your favorite part of the show?
Tristan: Aside from the parts that feature me? (Narcissism alert) The last scene between Cliff and Sally - both Clay and Andrea do a tremendous job with the incredibly demanding and emotional material.
Q: Why did you want to be a part of this show?
Tristan: Because people forget so easily that things like the rise of the Nazis, or the Holocaust, they do not happen in a void. They happen because things in the world at large, the condition of the world, makes it conducive to be radical, to be bigoted, to blame somebody else for your problems, to shut out reality, and to either join in with the mob and their prejudiced and bigoted mentality, or to at least tolerate it, not to speak out against it, which makes you just as culpable for what they do. This play, I hope, will remind people to wake up, take notice of the world outside their own comfortable sphere, and try and correct some of the injustice in this world.
Q: Why would you recommend this show to our readers?
Tristan: Well, it's a good piece of theater. At least, I think so. I'll leave that, as a definitive statement, to the audience. So you've got to see it, if for no other reason than to prove me wrong, which I hope won't happen. Also, because it makes you think. You start off with this group of very likable characters, but by the end of the play, you feel a sense of genuine disgust with each of them, all for different reasons. And it's not disgust that you can have a dissociation from, because at some point, all of us have acted like the people. All of us are less than perfect, and that's what grips you about this piece - none of these people are evil, they just have flaws and blind spots, like the rest of us, but from those flaws, those blind spots, comes incredible evil, because even though these people are mostly good, that is not true of everyone.
Q: Tell us the dates, times and place for the show.
Tristan: February 1, 2, 8 and 9 at 8 p.m. in the ARTS Renaissance Ballroom (900 8th Street) in  Huntington, W.Va.
   Thanks, Tristan!

Monday, January 28, 2013

On Stage Soon: "Cabaret"

Coming up on Friday is Huntington's first full-fledged play of the year - and it's a great one: the musical Cabaret will be presented by ARTS at the Renaissance Ballroom at 900 8th Street.

The multiple Tony Award-winning musical is directed by Gene Anthony with choreography by Coni Anthony.

February 1, 2 at 8 p.m.
February 8, 9 at 8 p.m.

General Admission Tickets: $15
Dinner & Show: $30

Reserve your tickets by calling during the day at 304-733-ARTS

My pal Gene Anthony sends along this note:
In the “Golden Age” of Broadway musicals such as Hello Dolly, The Music Man, My Fair Lady, and all such, the generic term used to describe them was “Musical Comedy.” With the advent of Andrew Lloyd Weber and Stephen Sondheim with titles like Phantom of the Opera and Sweeny Todd, the nomenclature became “Musical Theatre.” 
Think of Cabaret as a transitional, cross-genre musical work. It is full of comic and entertaining moments, but it is set against a very dark and serious background: Nazi Germany. 
The milieu of the piece is a cabaret set in this period. It centers around three major characters: Sally Bowles, Cliff Bradshaw, and a comic narrator type called the M.C. 
It is a story that embraces love, tragedy, hardship, persecution, satire, frolic and sensuality. It causes an observer to experience both laughter and shock. It is a totally engaging evening of music, comedy, and provocative thought. 
Coni and I have been entertaining the notion of creating a version of this piece of entertainment for years, and we have been discussing concepts for it for a long time. ARTS has offered us an opportunity to stage it in a very unique and, we think, exciting format which I refer to as “Environmental Theatre.” 
Be prepared for a spell-binding evening of theatre.

I'll have lots more about the show in the days ahead, including interviews with some of the actors involved. I'd advise making your reservations early - you don't want to miss this one!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

On Stage This Weekend: Two Shows

   Courtesy of my pal Ryan Hardiman, here's the list of shows hitting the stage this weekend:

- God of CarnageCharleston Stage Company presents the play Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Jan. 24 - 26 at 7:30 p.m. at the WVSU Capitol Center Theater at 123 Summers Street in Charleston. Tickets are $15 Adults / $10 Students and Seniors. For more info visit www.charlestonstagecompany.com.

Marriage, Mob, & Murder! - the Murder and Merriment company presents the murder mystery Friday, Jan. 25 at Huntington's Pullman Plaza Hotel. Special Wine Tasting begins at 6 p.m., and the Murder Party begins at 7p.m. Tickets are $40 and reservations are required. For more info call 304-691-5414.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser for "The Bully Plays"

    First Stage Theatre Company's cast from The Bully Plays will host a Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser on Saturday, Jan. 26 from 8 to 10 a.m. at the downtown Applebee's.

    Breakfast is $5 a person.

   The Bully Plays is a collection of 10-minute plays that are touching, imaginative, powerful, uplifting and funny. The effect of bullying is explored along with the dangers of cyber-bullying. This collection of short plays will challenge, inspire and enlighten audiences and help confront the issue of bullying in a constructive and creative way. 

   The play will be presented Feb. 21, 22 and 23, 2013 at the Jeslyn Performing Arts Center. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

On Stage This Weekend - "Josh M!" and "God of Carnage"

There are two shows on stage this weekend, and they're both terrific:

- Josh M! - Marshall Theatre Alliance presents this showcase for the talented Josh Meredith, a night of classic cabaret entertainment conceived and performed by Josh and his friends (including American Idol contestant Chase Likens). You have one last chance to catch this show - tonight at 7 p.m. at the Francis-Booth Experimental Theatre (which is in the Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center). I caught last night's performance and loved it! Josh is a gifted performer and the show is funny and thoroughly entertaining. High recommended! 

God of Carnage -  Charleston Stage Company presents the drama about an unexpected conflict between two families at the WVSU Capitol Center Theater at 123 Summers Street on Jan. 18 and 19 and Jan. 24, 25 and 26.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Josh M! Tonight!

   I had a great time this evening at the opening performance of Josh M!

   It's a senior capstone project by actor/singer/dancer Josh Meredith, and serves as a recap of his life growing up in Huntington and his career as an actor in community theatre, as part of Marshall's Theatre Alliance, and his work as a professional actor.

   It's a fast-paced, funny and personal show, loaded with great songs, some very funny stories and some genuinely touching moments. The band (led by my pal Mark Smith) is terrific, and the show includes guest performances by some of Josh's fellow students.

   Even though Josh has at least one more show this spring before he moves on to bigger and better things, this is something of a farewell for him - but what a spectacular way to go!

   I admit I'm prejudiced - Josh grew up performing in First Stage Theatre and was in several shows with my sons, and I've been fortunate enough to direct him in several shows. He's a talented young man and it's been a delight to watch him grow from a gifted kid to a genuine star!

    You only have one more chance to catch the show - the last performance in Friday night at 7 p.m. at the Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center.

   Highly, highly recommended!

Josh M!

   The great thing about being involved in children's theatre is that you get the chance to see kids learn and grow, gain confidence and take flight.

   That's exactly what happened with Josh Meredith, who started appearing in local shows when he was very young. Always a hard worker, he was everything from a Wickersham Brother in Seussical to a Revolutionary student in Les Miserables: School Edition.  

    With each role, his talent grew. Josh is a rarity in acting - a true triple threat. He's not only a terrific actor, he's also a gifted singer and a talented dancer.

   Those skills led him to lead roles in shows like Cats and (my personal favorite) as Sharpay's brother Ryan in Disney's High School Musical, a show that allowed him to shine (and steal scenes shamelessly).

   Then, as kids will do - he graduated and went off to college. Thankfully, he went to Marshall University to study theatre, and there he appeared in numerous shows, including Working and A Midsummer's Night Dream (to name just two).

   During his summer "breaks" he worked as a professional actor, primarily at Weathervane, where he again tackled a number of challenging roles.

   Now he's in his final year at MU, and to celebrate his impending graduation, he's presenting a special production called Josh M!

   It gives Josh (and some of his theatre friends) a chance to once again shine. The musical cabaret runs Thursday and Friday night only at  7 p.m. at MU's Francis Booth Experimental Theatre in the Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center.

   If you've seen Josh in a show before, you know what to expect - a fun, high-energy, top-notch show! You won't have many more chances to catch him on a local stage, so I highly recommend catching Josh M!

(The photo of Josh singing at the All Grown Up concert last September is courtesy Stephen Vance.) 


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

"Josh M!" - On Stage This Weekend

   The community theatre season gets 2013 off to a raucous start with this weekend's production of Josh M! at Marshall University's Francis Booth Experimental Theatre.

   The show runs two days only, and it's a showcase for the insanely talented actor / singer / dancer Josh Meredith

   I'll have lots more to say about it in the days ahead, but take my advice and order your tickets now - you don't want to miss this one!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

"Les Miserables" - A Review

    I should admit up front that I’m a fan of the stage musical and the book. 
    So I went into the film expecting to like it - but instead, I loved it.

   Les Miserables is not a show for everyone. (I have friends who love the musical, others who don’t like it at all.) Set shortly after the French Revolution, it’s a big, sprawling story that winds around a big cast of characters.  It changes location suddenly, and gleefully skips over large hunks of time between songs - so the main character goes from being a ragged prisoner to suddenly being a respected businessman, and his adopted daughter goes from young child to grown woman just as quickly.

   Some don’t care for the music, for the fact that there’s virtually no dialogue (the cast sings - almost - the entire show), for the confusing bits in the story, or they just don’t like the characters. I am not one of those people - I think the music is terrific, the characters are compelling, and the story carries important lessons even today. 

   It touches on the inhumanity of the prison system, the horrors forced on women who had children out of wedlock or who couldn’t find work, it shows what it’s like to have your heart broken and - best of all - it demonstrates the saving power of love and grace. It’s got heroism, morality, wickedness and a heartfelt and uplifting message.

   The story focuses on Jean Valjean, a man who stole a loaf of bread to feed his starving family. He was arrested and sentenced to five years in prison - a sentence that was extended to 19 years. Finally released, he finds a world that wants nothing to do with an ex-con. But one act of kindness turns everything around, and he pledges his life to doing right. 

   The story then jumps several years to find that he’s become a respected businessman, employing hundreds of workers in a factory - but his past rises up to haunt him and threatens to destroy the life he has built. He must also deal with the effect of his choices on others, including Fantine, a woman who loses her job and is forced into prostitution.

   Valjean ultimately finds himself involved in the student revolutions at the time. Young people rallied for justice for the poor and downtrodden, and those protests often became violent. 
And those are just some of the highlights - have I mentioned that the original novel (possibly the greatest novel of all time) is 1200 pages long? So there’s a lot of ground to cover, and the musical does an admirable job of whittling it down to a manageable size without losing the heart of the story.

   Of course, since film is a different medium, the filmmakers took a different approach to the story. Where on stage the focus is on powerful voices and impressive sets, in the film the focus is on the acting - emoting into the camera all the intense feelings each song represents. The cast delivers that in spades.

   Hugh Jackman plays Valjean, and he’s perfect, with a powerful voice (able to hit those high notes in “Bring Him Home”),  a powerful physical presence and the acting chops to make you believe Valjean as both the broken man at the beginning, a man transformed when touched by the mercy of God, and the civilized man faced with painful choices. 

   Anne Hathaway has virtually been anointed the winner of the Oscar, and it’s easy to see why - her performance here is stunning. She plays Fantine, a young woman with a child out of wedlock who has given her daughter to an innkeeper and his wife to raise while she works at Valjean’s factory. When she loses that job, she’s forced to sell all her possessions and become a prostitute. Hathaway manages to transform into an emaciated, brutalized shell of herself, and delivers a powerful rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” as Fantine pours out her heart. It’s shot in a brutally tight, extended shot that pulls no punches and makes the song about the pain of life and lost hope even more poignant.   

   Russell Crowe has been on the receiving end of some harsh words for his performance, and I can only assume that’s from fans of the stage show who are used to an Inspector Javert who booms out his songs in a deep bass. Crowe has a strong singing voice (though not the usual bass we might expect) and I think he does a great job here. His character is the antagonist in the story - but not the villain. Javert is a man of extreme moral standards, and he takes his job with the police very seriously. He cuts the prisoners no slack, but he holds himself to the highest standards as well. The film nicely gives Javert several moments to offer us a glimpse of his humanity, as he offers his resignation for offending the disguised Valjean, or a last act of kindness to a fallen youth. Javert has to be a fitting opponent to Valjean, physically and emotionally able to carry the part, and with the gravitas to match up to Jackman. Others may disagree, but I thought Crowe was spot on.

   The only comedic bits in the movie belong to the innkeepers, the Thenardiers. The performances by Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter are terrific,  though if I were to make a minor criticism, I’d say the “Master of the House” number was played a bit darker and more vulgar than I would have preferred. It’s the one “fun” number in the show, and should have been a bit more light-hearted - but that’s a minor quibble. 

   The romantic side of the story is carried by the Eddie Redmayne as Marius, Amanda Seyfried as the grownup Cosette, and Samantha Barks as Eponine. 

   Marius is the student who falls in love with Valjean’s daughter Cosette. Redmayne is an excellent singer (perhaps the best in the movie) and manages the difficult task of making Marius sympathetic but strong - and he tears your heart out with “Empty Chairs and Empty Tables.”

   Seyfried was actually the performer I was expecting to stumble - her voice can be a bit thin sometimes - but as the sweet, innocent Cosette, I thought she did well, and she managed to hold her own with Redmayne.

   Barks is another vocal and acting standout - there are few songs that present the heartbreak of unrequited love better than “On My Own,” with “A Little Fall of Rain”  (with Redmayne) turning the knife one more time. 

   Stealing scenes (and hearts) is young Gavroche, played by Daniel Huttlestone. He provides the lighthearted link between the poor, the students, Javert and Valjean. (Interesting note: never mentioned in the musical is the fact that Gavroche is the son of the Thenardiers and brother to Eponine.)

   How wonderful, too, to see Colm Wilkinson as the Bishop. Broadway’s original Valjean, he creates a sweet and memorable character here. Kudos also to young Isabelle Allen as young Cosette - a small but pivotal role, she’s sweet and sympathetic.

   So why is this musical so beloved? My own theory is that it resonates emotionally with many - from the purity of redemption, the ache of love lost, the desperation of love, the connection with God that rings in the final song - “To love another person is to see the face of God” - it’s a powerful, moving message that puts the audience through an emotional wringer. 

   When the film ended, I had to sit there a few minutes to sort through the experience. A tremendous film, one I’ll see many more times. 

   Highly, highly recommended! 

Friday, January 11, 2013

On Stage Tonight: "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"

   I started to write that there were no shows taking the stage this weekend - and then saw a show that had slipped under my radar. This was posted in today's Herald-Dispatch:
   Students in the theater department at Cabell Midland High School will present Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 11, at the school.

   The cost is $5 and is open to the public. The school is located along U.S. 60 between Milton and Barboursville.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Oscar Nominations

   The nominations were announced this morning, and include several nominations for Les Miserables, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Hugh Jackman, Best Supporting Actress for Anne Hathaway and Best Original Song for "Suddenly!"

   Here's the rundown from The Associated Press:

1. Best Picture: "Amour," ''Argo," ''Beasts of the Southern Wild," ''Django Unchained," ''Les Miserables," ''Life of Pi," ''Lincoln," ''Silver Linings Playbook," ''Zero Dark Thirty."

2. Actor: Bradley Cooper, "Silver Linings Playbook"; Daniel Day-Lewis, "Lincoln"; Hugh Jackman, "Les Miserables"; Joaquin Phoenix, "The Master"; Denzel Washington, "Flight."

3. Actress: Jessica Chastain, "Zero Dark Thirty"; Jennifer Lawrence, "Silver Linings Playbook"; Emmanuelle Riva, "Amour"; Quvenzhane Wallis, "Beasts of the Southern Wild"; Naomi Watts, "The Impossible."

4. Supporting Actor: Alan Arkin, "Argo"; Robert De Niro, "Silver Linings Playbook"; Philip Seymour Hoffman, "The Master"; Tommy Lee Jones, "Lincoln"; Christoph Waltz, "Django Unchained."

5. Supporting Actress: Amy Adams, "The Master"; Sally Field, "Lincoln"; Anne Hathaway, "Les Miserables"; Helen Hunt, "The Sessions"; Jacki Weaver, "Silver Linings Playbook."

6. Directing: Michael Haneke, "Amour"; Benh Zeitlin, "Beasts of the Southern Wild"; Ang Lee, "Life of Pi"; Steven Spielberg, "Lincoln"; David O. Russell, "Silver Linings Playbook."

7. Foreign Language Film: "Amour," Austria; "Kon-Tiki," Norway; "No," Chile; "A Royal Affair," Denmark; "War Witch," Canada.

8. Adapted Screenplay: Chris Terrio, "Argo"; Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin, "Beasts of the Southern Wild"; David Magee, "Life of Pi"; Tony Kushner, "Lincoln"; David O. Russell, "Silver Linings Playbook."

9. Original Screenplay: Michael Haneke, "Amour"; Quentin Tarantino, "Django Unchained"; John Gatins, "Flight"; Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola, "Moonrise Kingdom"; Mark Boal, "Zero Dark Thirty."

10. Animated Feature Film: "Brave"; "Frankenweenie"; "ParaNorman"; "The Pirates! Band of Misfits"; "Wreck-It Ralph."

11. Production Design: "Anna Karenina," ''The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," ''Les Miserables," ''Life of Pi," ''Lincoln."

12. Cinematography: "Anna Karenina," ''Django Unchained," ''Life of Pi," ''Lincoln," ''Skyfall."

13. Sound Mixing: "Argo," ''Les Miserables," ''Life of Pi," ''Lincoln," ''Skyfall."

14. Sound Editing: "Argo," ''Django Unchained," ''Life of Pi," ''Skyfall," ''Zero Dark Thirty."

15. Original Score: "Anna Karenina," Dario Marianelli; "Argo," Alexandre Desplat; "Life of Pi," Mychael Danna; "Lincoln," John Williams; "Skyfall," Thomas Newman.

16. Original Song: "Before My Time" from "Chasing Ice," J. Ralph; "Everybody Needs a Best Friend" from "Ted," Walter Murphy and Seth MacFarlane; "Pi's Lullaby" from "Life of Pi," Mychael Danna and Bombay Jayashri; "Skyfall" from "Skyfall," Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth; "Suddenly" from "Les Miserables," Claude-Michel Schonberg, Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil.

17. Costume: "Anna Karenina," ''Les Miserables," ''Lincoln," ''Mirror Mirror," ''Snow White and the Huntsman."

18. Documentary Feature: "5 Broken Cameras," ''The Gatekeepers," ''How to Survive a Plague," ''The Invisible War," ''Searching for Sugar Man."

19. Documentary (short subject): "Inocente," ''Kings Point," ''Mondays at Racine," ''Open Heart," ''Redemption."

20. Film Editing: "Argo," ''Life of Pi," ''Lincoln," ''Silver Linings Playbook," ''Zero Dark Thirty."

21. Makeup and Hairstyling: "Hitchcock," ''The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," ''Les Miserables."

22. Animated Short Film: "Adam and Dog," ''Fresh Guacamole," ''Head over Heels," ''Maggie Simpson in 'The Longest Daycare,'" "Paperman."

23. Live Action Short Film: "Asad," ''Buzkashi Boys," ''Curfew," ''Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw)," ''Henry."

24. Visual Effects: "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," ''Life of Pi," ''Marvel's The Avengers," ''Prometheus," ''Snow White and the Huntsman."

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

"Beauty and the Beast" in Ashland

   Taking the stage this week in Ashland is the touring version of the Broadway show Beauty and the Beast.

   You can read all about it in the Herald-Dispatch in this story by Derek Halsey. Here's an excerpt:
   In New York City, Disney has three Broadway musicals going strong with the long-successful The Lion King, Mary Poppins and the Tony Award-winning Newsies. But the company's first triumph on Broadway was Beauty and the Beast. The production ran for 13 years becoming one of the top 10 longest running shows in Broadway history.
   Now, Disney has revived the Beauty and the Beast musical, bringing back many of the original creatives who brought the show to life nearly 20 years ago. One stop on this new tour is the Paramount Arts Center in Ashland. 
   Beauty and the Beast will take the stage Thursday, Jan. 10. The show begins at 7 p.m., and tickets range from $45 to $65. The Paramount Arts Center is located at 1300 Winchester Ave., in Ashland.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

On Stage Soon: "God of Carnage"

   Here's a show that almost slipped past me - taking the stage weekend after next:

God of Carnage - presented by the Charleston Stage Company

WVSU Capitol Center Theater at 123 Summers Street 

Jan. 17-19 and Jan. 24-26

Before the play begins, two 11-year-old children get into an argument - Henry Novak refuses to let Benjamin Raleigh join his "gang." Benjamin knocks out two of Henry's teeth with a stick. The playground altercation brings their Brooklyn parents together to resolve the matter.

Benjamin's father, Alan, is a lawyer who is never off his cell phone. Benjamin's mother, Annette, is in "wealth management" - her husband's wealth, to be precise.

Henry's father, Michael, is a self-made wholesaler with an unwell mother. Michael's wife, Veronica, is writing a book about Darfur.

At first, diplomatic niceties reign, but as the meeting progresses and the rum flows, tensions emerge and the gloves come off, leaving the couples with more than just their liberal principles in tatters.

The Charleston Stage Company's production is directed by Geoff Coward. The small but talented cast includes:

Greg Harpold - Michael Novak

Bethany Cline - Veronica Novak

Rob Boone - Alan Raleigh

Kim Javins - Annette Raleigh

God of Carnage will grab the audience by the throat and be talked about for days. An audience should be warned that the language becomes explicit and could be offensive to some.

Tickets are $15 for Adults, $10 for Students and Seniors

Monday, January 07, 2013

"Les Miserables"

   Sad to say that I still haven't had a chance to see the film version of Les Miserables (most people I've talked to have raved about it, although it has received some bad reviews - presumably from those who don't like musicals anyway).

   I'm hoping to correct that oversight this week, and I'll pass along my thoughts - but I should go on record as being a fan of the show already.

   I saw a touring version of the musical in Pittsburgh back in 2006, directed the School Edition version that same year in Huntington, I've seen two earlier (non-musical) film versions, and I read the book - all 1200 pages of it.

   So I may not be exactly impartial here.

   The film is certainly doing well - so far it's earned $103 million in the U.S. alone, and another $67 million overseas.

   I look forward to adding my dollars to the stack, and I suspect I'll be buying the DVD when it becomes available, too. Oh, and rumor has it that the stage show will be returning to Broadway in 2014.


Thursday, January 03, 2013

On Stage in January

   This is typically a quiet month for community theatre, but there are several shows you'll want to mark on your calendar (as always, if I've missed any, drop me a line and I'll correct the list):

- Josh M! - Marshall Theatre Alliance presents this showcase for the talented Josh Meredith, a night of classic cabaret entertainment conceived and performed by Josh and his friends (including American Idol contestant Chase Likens). The show will be presented Jan. 17 and 18 at 7 p.m. at the Francis-Booth Experimental Theatre.

- FDR - Marshall Artist's Series presents Ed Asner in a one-man show about the life of President Franklin Roosevelt, who guided the United States through four terms in office, starting in the Great Depression and continuing to nearly the end of World War II. The show will be presented at the Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center on Jan. 30 at 7:30 p.m.

- Beauty and the Beast - Paramount Arts Center presents the Disney musical Jan. 10 at 7 p.m.

- Romeo and Juliet - Paramount Arts Center presents the classic Shakespeare play on Jan. 14 at 7 p.m.

God of Carnage -  Charleston Stage Company presents the drama at the WVSU Capitol Center Theater at 123 Summers Street on Jan. 17-19 and Jan. 24-26.

   And that's it! 2013 is off to a great start!