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, February 27, 2013

On Stage This Weekend: "Snow White"

   Starting this weekend is the first show in the 2013 season for Curtains Up Players (CUP) - Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

    It's based on the classic fairy tale about a princess who faces a terrible fate at the hands of her evil stepmother. Here's a recap:
   All our old friends, plus a few new ones, are here in this marvelous musical adaptation. We’ll meet the captivating Princess Snow White, the Prince, the Evil Queen and, of course, the seven mischievous dwarfs — Sarge, Gabby, Gloomy Gus, Ticklish, Spritely, Snore, and Slowpoke. Following the traditional storyline, the fairy tale is brought to life with an eclectic score of toe-tapping tunes - and an all-star cast including:  
Maggie Donahoe, Lara Donahoe, Bradley Leonard, Austin Trimboli, Alayna Paige Berry, Robyn Welch, Carly Christian, and Chris Sunderland, along with the 7 dwarves - Schoch Donahoe, Greg Kiser, Mark Radford, Rick Payne, Crystal Clagg, Laura Clagg, and Maddie Johnson
Directors:  Katie Cook & Cody Vinson
Producer:  Shayne Gue
Musical Director:  Michael Rose
Choreographer:  Chris Sunderland
Technical Director:  April Frye
Company Artistic Director:  Holly Maynard

    The show starts Friday and runs two weekends at the Jeslyn Performing Arts Center. Don't miss it!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Oscar Winners

   Here are the winners from last night's Oscar ceremony - kind of a mixed bag, with "Argo" taking the Best Picture award, but no film sweeping the categories. 

   I was pulling for "Les Miserables," and it scored a few awards - most notably Best Supporting Actress for Anne Hathaway - but not Best Picture. But the cast had a nice moment in the show singing an oddly-rearrnged version of "One Day More."

     Courtesy of the Associated Press, here's the list of the 85th annual Academy Award winners announced  in Los Angeles:

1. Best Picture: "Argo."
2. Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, "Lincoln."
3. Actress: Jennifer Lawrence, "Silver Linings Playbook."
4. Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, "Django Unchained."
5. Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway, "Les Miserables."
6. Directing: Ang Lee, "Life of Pi."
7. Foreign Language Film: "Amour."
8. Adapted Screenplay: Chris Terrio, "Argo."
9. Original Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino, "Django Unchained."
10. Animated Feature Film: "Brave."
11. Production Design: "Lincoln."
12. Cinematography: "Life of Pi."
13. Sound Mixing: "Les Miserables."
14. Sound Editing (tie): "Skyfall," ''Zero Dark Thirty."
15. Original Score: "Life of Pi," Mychael Danna.
16. Original Song: "Skyfall" from "Skyfall," Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth.
17. Costume: "Anna Karenina."
18. Documentary Feature: "Searching for Sugar Man."
19. Documentary (short subject): "Inocente."
20. Film Editing: "Argo."
21. Makeup and Hairstyling: "Les Miserables."
22. Animated Short Film: "Paperman."
23. Live Action Short Film: "Curfew."
24. Visual Effects: "Life of Pi."
Oscar winners previously presented this season:
Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award: Jeffrey Katzenberg
Honorary Award: Hal Needham
Honorary Award: D.A. Pennebaker
Honorary Award: George Stevens Jr.
Award of Merit: Cooke Optics

Saturday, February 23, 2013

On Stage This Weekend

  Lots of great shows to choose from this weekend!

   Here's the rundown:

- The Bully Plays - First Stage Theatre presents the 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 today at 7:30 p.m. at the Jeslyn Performing Arts Center. 

Doubt - Marshall Theatre Alliance presents the drama set in a Bronx Catholic school in 1964. It examines the intersections of doubt, truth and faith. Sister Aloysius is certain that young Father Flynn has “made advances” toward the school’s first and only African-American student and sets out in search of the truth. The show will be presented at the Francis-Booth Experimental Theatre Feb. 23 and Feb. 28 – March 2 at 8 p.m.

- Richard the Third - Alban Alban Arts Center presents the most performed of Shakespeare’s history plays. “Now is the winter of our discontent…”At the end of the English civil war known as the War of the Roses, the people look forward to a period of peace under King Edward IV. But Edward's younger brother, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, has other ideas. The play will be staged at the Alban Arts Center at 65 Olde Main Street in St. Albans. The show will be presented Feb. 23 and March 1, 2 at 8 p.m., and Feb. 24 and March 3 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students/seniors. Call 304-721-8896 for reservations and visit www.albanartscenter.com for more information. 

- Sleuth - Kanawha Players presents a play about the ultimate game of cat-and-mouse in a cozy English countryside house owned by celebrated mystery writer. Revenge and murder is plotted in the ultimate “whodunnit.” The show will be presented Feb. 23 at 8 p.m. 

- The Taming of the Shrew - Jenny Wiley Theatre presents the story of the courtship of Petruchio and Katherina.  Petruchio has accepted a challenge to tame the headstrong and stubborn "shrew" Katherina. Through the mischief of reverse psychology, Petruchio does his best to domesticate Katherina, which leads to one comedic pratfall after another. The show will be presented Feb. 23, 28, March 1 and 2 at 7:30 p.m. at the Jenny Wiley Theatre at 218 Second St in Pikeville, Ky.

- Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat - Ashland Community and Technical College presents the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical about the Biblical saga of Joseph and his coat of many colors. The show will be staged Feb. 23 at 8 p.m. and Feb. 24 at 2:30 p.m.

Neil Simon's Plaza Suite - Neil Simon's classic comedy will be presented at the Kahl Theatre, Vern Riffe Center for the Arts at 940 Second Street in Portsmouth, Ohio tonight at 7:30 p.m.

- Arsenic and Old Lace - Appalachian Community Theatre presents the play Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. as a dinner theatre at the Paintsville Country Club. Tickets are $30/person or $50/couple - call 606-369-4900 to make reservations. The show will be staged Feb. 23 at the Strand Twin in Prestonsburg, tickets are $10/person and sold at the door. The show starts at 7 p.m.

Murder and Merriment - the group will host a murder mystery Feb. 23 at The Greenhouse of Teays Valley: The Murderer Who Came to Dinner!

Friday, February 22, 2013

On Stage: "The Bully Plays"

On stage this Friday and Saturday, Huntington's First Stage Theatre Company tackles a unique show.

Most theatrical performances by children's theatres tend to focus on entertainment - songs, dances, a few laughs - often with a message, but with the emphasis on fun.

But The Bully Plays rises above all that. 

The show is a collection of 10-minute plays that are funny, or touching, or moving - but at the heart, it's tackling a very serious problem for young people.

Most kids (and many adults) face the problem of bullying - whether it's being teased, physically abused, cyber-bullying or being mentally tormented - and this show addresses the problem with straighforward and imaginative looks at the different kinds of bullying and what kids can do to protect themselves and their friends.

It's a daring show, one unlike any other First Stage has tackled in its 23-year-long history - but it's a very important topic, and one that needs to be addressed.

None of this is to say that the show is filled with nothing but serious moments and preaching. It's loaded with laughs, drama and powerful, uplifting, touching moments.  

A cast of about 30 young actors and adults bring the stories to life, and helps spread the message that its time to put an end to bullying.

There are three shows open to the public, including a show Friday at 7:30 p.m., and two shows on Saturday - one at 2 p.m. and the other at 7:30 p.m.

All the shows will be presented at the Jeslyn Performing Arts Center (the former Camelot Theatre) at 1030 Fourth Avenue in downtown Huntington. 

It's an important show, especially for kids in middle and high school - a serious subject, but one well worth exploring. These plays challenge, inspire and enlighten audiences and help confront a serious issue in a constructive and creative way.

Highly recommended!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

On Stage This Week: "Doubt"

    Marshall's Theatre Alliance will present the play Doubt this week and next.

   Paul Sebert wrote an excellent story about the production in today's edition of the Herald-Dispatch - here's an excerpt:
   The subjects of doubt, faith, toler­ance and hypoc­risy are going to be addressed in a new production by the Marshall University Theater Alliance. 
   Doubt: A Parable, is a play by John Patrick Shanley. Origi­nally produced in 2004, the play won a Tony award for Best Play and the Pulitzer Prize for drama. In 2008, the play was adapted into a film starring Meryl Streep and Philip Sey­mour Hoffman. The movie was nominated for four Academy awards. 
   Set in 1964, the “Doubt” takes place in a Bronx Catho­lic school. The school’s head nun, Sister Aloysius Beauvier has come to suspect a young priest, Father Brendan Flynn may have an inappropriate relationship with a student. Caught between them are the student’s mother and a young nun. Suspicions, lies, intoler­ance and half-truths collide. Nothing proves to be quite what it appears to be. 
   The play will take place in the Francis-Booth Experimental Theater at the Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center. The shows will run nightly at 8 p.m. from Feb. 20-23, and Feb. 28-March 3. General admission tickets are $20. Tickets for seniors and faculty are $15, $5 for children ages 12 and under. Admission is free with a valid student ID. To buy tickets or for more information, call 304-696-ARTS (2787). The play contains mature subject matter. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

"The Bully Plays" Makes Front Page News!

   Well, not exactly - but for the first time in my memory, a First Stage Theatre production is getting front-page coverage in the Herald-Dispatch.

   That should be a good indication of how important this topic is and how seriously it's being taken.

   Here's an excerpt from today's story by Dave Lavender about The Bully Plays:

   When Mary Smirl overheard the kids in her acting summer camp class talking about bullying, the long-time theater mom knew First Stage Theatre Company couldn't be a bystander. 
   She knew they needed to take action from the stage. 
   With a cast of some two dozen mostly middle- and high-school-aged students and four adults, regional children's theater company First Stage is performing The Bully Plays, a series of 24 short plays exploring bullying and cyber-bullying. 
   First Stage will perform school shows on Wednesday and Thursday, and will then offer public performances at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22, as well as 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23 at the Jeslyn Performing Arts Center, 1030 4th Ave., Huntington. 
   Tickets are $10 and $8 for children (12 and under). Group rates are available.

   You can read the rest of the story right here.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Auditions for Edward Albee's "A Delicate Balance"

   Here's the information about auditions this weekend in St. Albans for A Delicate Balance:
   The Alban Arts Center proudly presents auditions for this classic American comedy from master playwright Edward Albee. There are four roles for women ages mid-30s to mid-60s and two men mid-40s to mid-60s. 
   The Alban production will be directed by Patrick Felton and will play on April 26, 27 and 28 as well as May 3, 4 and 5. 
   Auditions will be Saturday, Feb. 16 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 17 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. 
   Auditioners do not need to bring a prepared monologue, selections from the script will be available and the audition process will be done through dry reading. 
   A Delicate Balance was first produced on Broadway at the Martin Beck Theatre on September 12, 1966, where it ran a respectable four months and won the author the first of his three Pulitzer Prizes.  
   The story revolves around the household of an old WASP couple (Agnes and Tobias) and the cohabiting Claire (Agnes' hard-drinking sister), who never passes up an opportunity to drink or to make a good joke at someone's expense (including her own). Their uneasy peace is disrupted first by the unexpected arrival of two old friends (Harry and Edna) - fellow empty-nesters with free-floating anxiety who ask to stay with them to escape an unnamed terror - and then by the arrival of their daughter Julia, whose fourth marriage has collapsed.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

On Stage This Weekend

   Lots of great shows taking the stage this weekend - here's the rundown:

- 21 Years! Laughing All the Way - First Church Dinner Theater launches its  third decade of Mission fun by reminiscing with performances from years gone by and with new pieces as well. Several fresh, new faces will be joining some of the regulars in a night of love, music, and fun. Dinner and music will be presented Feb. 14, 15 and 16 at 6:30 p.m. at Huntington’s First United Methodist Church at 1124 5thAvenue. Tickets for the dinner plus show are: Adult - $24, child under 12 - $8, and for the show only at 8 p.m. (as space permits) - $5. Reservations are required for all shows - call    304-522-0357 or 740-867-8576. 

- Sleuth - Kanawha Players presents a play about the ultimate game of cat-and-mouse in a cozy English countryside house owned by celebrated mystery writer. Revenge and murder is plotted in the ultimate “whodunnit.” The show will be presented Feb. 15, 16, 22 and 23 at 8 p.m. and Feb. 17 at 2 p.m. 

- Arsenic and Old Lace - Appalachian Community Theatre presents the play Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. as a dinner theatre at the Paintsville Country Club. Tickets are $30/person or $50/couple - call 606-369-4900 to make reservations. On Feb. 15 and 16, it will be dessert and coffee night at the Paintsville Country Club. Then, on Feb. 22 and 23 at the Strand Twin in Prestonsburg, tickets are $10/person and sold at the door. The show starts at 7 p.m.

Murder and Merriment - the group will host a number of murder mysteries this month, including Feb. 14 at Sleepy Hollow Golf Country Club.

   So get out there and support your community theatre!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

"The Emperor's New Clothes"

(A royal performance of The Emperor's New Clothes by Alicia Tish Maynard and Bill Burroway. Photo by Roger Hagley.) 

    There's a new theatre group in the Tri-State area, one that's devoted to Children's Theatre - it's called ACT, which stands for Actors for Children Theatre.

    There are basically two kinds of Children's Theatres - the kind that stage shows with young people acting most or all the roles, or performance groups of adults staging shows intended for young people. 

   ACT falls into the second category, and is (I believe) the only such group in our area.

   The company's manifeto says it exists to provide positive, educational experiences for child audiences through theatrical performances by adult actors in the tri-state area of Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia. ACT performs for children of all ages at schools, community sites, fairs and festivals and other venues.

   Last weekend the group staged its first-ever production, a performance of The Emperor's New Clothes at the Greenup County Extension Office. The performance was a benefit for River Cities Harvest, and the cost of admission was a can of soup. 

   The performance is based on the classic children's story of a mischievous tailor who comes up with a get-rich-quick scheme that is sure to embarrass the vain Emperor!

   The show is a fun, interactive show aimed at children, and the audience loved it! 

   It's just the beginning for this group -  upcoming performances include;

- February 27 at 4 p.m. - Guyandotte Boys and Girls Club, Guyandotte W.Va.
-  March 6 at 1 p.m. - Wurtland Elementary School, Wurtland, Ky.
-  March 20 - two shows - Campbell Elementary School, Raceland, Ky.
-  April 15 - two shows - Ironton-Lawrence County Head Start at Ohio University and Central, Ironton Ohio.
-  April 17 - two shows - Ironton-Lawrence County head Start at Dawson Bryant / Symmes Valley, Coal Grove and Willow Wood, Ohio.
-  April 24 at 1 p.m. - Charles Russell Elementary School, Ashland Ky.
-  May 13 at 10 a.m. - Cabell County Public Library, Huntington W.Va.

   If you'd like to request or schedule a performance by ACT, you can contact Director Sarah Diamond Burroway on Facebook.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Additional "Evita" Auditions Tonight!

      Charleston Light Opera Guild is continuing its Evita auditions tonight, and they're looking to fill certain parts - here's the info: 
Tuesday, Feb. 127:30 p.m. New Auditioners8:30 p.m. for Singers 
Charleston Light Opera Guild Theatre411 Tennessee Avenue at Roane StreetCharleston, W.Va. 
MORE SPECIAL NEEDS:Ballet, contemporary or modern trained DANCERS MEN for supporting and ensemble singing roles YOUNG SOPRANOS AGE 10-12 
AUDITIONS for ALL ROLES WILL BE HONOREDIf you are singing from the show, the music is available.Otherwise bring sheet music for the piano accompanist.Bring a list of any conflicts you may have with the rehearsal schedule. 
REHEARSALS will begin on Friday, Feb. 15 at 7 p.m.You will be called on Wednesday. 
EVITA will be presented at Charleston Civic Center Little TheatreMay 3, 4, 10, 11, 17 & 18, 2013 at 7:30 p.m.Sunday, May 12 at 3:00 p.m. 
AVAILABLE ROLES:Eva Duare Perone: Stylish, mezzo-soprano, 30’sChe: Dramatic tenor, 20’s-50Juan Peron: Strong character baritone, 30’s-60Augustin Migaldi: Handsome and dramatic tenor, mid 20’s-30’sPeron’s Mistress: Young soprano featured on the song “Another Suitcase, Another Town”Youth: Girls and boys who sing in the upper register, approximately 12 years old, to portray one or more children who idolize Eva.People of Argentina: LARGE ensemble of men and women singers and dancers to portray various roles including cabinet members, nurses, upper class citizens, military, generals etc.

The Cast of "Laughing All the Way"

   I forgot to include the cast of 21 Years - Laughing All the Way!  

   Several fresh, new faces will be joining some of the "regulars" in a night of love, music, and fun. The cast of players includes Tess, Maribeth and Scott Anderson, Cassie and Carter Bacon, Katie and Bert Fulks, Leann Haines, Jane and Jerry Morse, Anne-Marie Neal, Rebecca Payne, Stephen Vance, Antwon Williams and Eric Wilson. Alex Naegele will be working tech.

   As always, a great show and a great dinner at First United Methodist Church in Huntington!

Laughing All the Way!

    One of my favorite theatre events is taking the stage this weekend, as First Church Dinner Theater 2013 presents 21 Years! Laughing All the Way.

   The Huntington church presents an excellent dinner and a show to raise money for a great cause! Highly recommended!

   Here's the official announcement:
   To launch our third decade of Mission fun, First Church Dinner Theater will be reminiscing with bits and pieces from years gone by and with new pieces as well.  Since the nuns are playing Vegas again and Bitsy and Boots are working on their new reality TV show, we launched a talent search.  Several fresh, new faces will be joining some of our regulars in a night of love, music, and fun. 
   The Dinner Theater has been a winter highlight in Huntington since 1991. It is an integral part of First Church’s Mission program, raising more than $41,000 for Mission projects through 20 productions. For example, 2012’s proceeds helped West Virginia mission projects, the Campus Christian Center, the City Mission, Nicaraguan families, the city’s homeless, “Sandy” relief, a washer for a young family, and food and clothing for local families in need. 
Location: First United Methodist Church, 1124 5th Ave., Huntington 
Show times: Thursday, Feb. 14; Friday, Feb. 15; Saturday, Feb. 16
Dinner served at 6:30 p.m.     Show at 8 p.m. 
Menu: Choice of entrees: Prime Rib au Jus or Glazed Cornish hen, with Tossed Salad, Baked Potato, Green peas and Pearl Onions, Dilly Rolls, Assorted Valentine Desserts 
Dinner plus Show:  Adult - $24   Child under 12 - $8
Show only (as space permits) - $5 
Babysitting available on request for all shows (advance notice required)
For Reservations, call:    (304) 522-0357   or   (740) 867-8576
All profits benefit the Missions of First United Methodist Church

Saturday, February 09, 2013

"Cabaret" - A Review

   It’s never an easy task to explain the delights of seeing a live performance at the theatre. With movies or television you just sit there and soak up the show, but at live theatre there’s a connection between the audience and the performers.

   The best shows make you feel like you’re part of the experience, not just a casual observer. There’s an immediacy, a passion to it that makes each performance a one-of-a-kind experience.

   That was exactly my experience at last night’s performance of Cabaret

   The musical, best known for the 1972 film that was a star vehicle for Liza Minneli and Joel Gray, originated on Broadway - and that’s the version being staged by ARTS.

   It’s set in Berlin in 1931 as the Nazis rise to power. We see the story of how life and attitudes change through a most unusual venue - the Kit Kat Club, and the effect a visit there has on a young American and the performer he falls in love with. The show is rich in characters who grow and change as the story progresses.

   The key character is the one we learn almost nothing about - the Emcee of the club, brought to life with great gusto and amazing skill by Michael Naglee. A virtual cartoon character (in the best sense of the term), he sings, dances, introduces acts, juggles, does skits, tell jokes - but we never learn much about him. But as his act changes and seems - at times - downright sinister, we get the sense of the changing tides in Germany. 

   Another key character is Kit Kat singer and performer Sally Bowles, played by the wonderful Andrea Parkins. Sally is a mercurial character - loving and ingratiating at one moment, calculating and distant the next - you can’t take your eyes off her. She’s a terrific singer and nails the title song with a heartfelt and moving rendition.

   Falling in love with Sally is American writer Clifford Bradshaw, played earnestly by Clay McKnight. It’s through his eyes that we see the changing face of politics in Germany, and we feel his heartbreak as he sees the country he has grown to love changing in a dark way. Clay does a great job with the role, creating the sympathetic character that is the key to the story.

   There’s actually another love story at the heart of the show - the one between Fraulein Schneider, who runs the boarding house where Clifford stays, and Herr Schultz, who runs a successful fruit market. They’re brought to life with terrific performances by Linda Reynolds and Rick Fleenor, pros who know how to wring every last bit of joy or sorrow out of their part. They play a couple brought together by love, but kept apart by a dark threat on the rise.

   No cast can succeed without a strong supporting cast, and they have that in spades. Eric Wilson is amazing as Ernst Ludwig, a likeable German who befriends Clifford - but he hides a dark secret. Eric is an amazing actor, and virtually tells the story with his facial expressions and reactions alone.

   Jenn Naglee is a delight as Frauein Kost, a (shall we say) resident of the boarding house who seems to have many friends who are sailors. 

   Owen Reynolds has a small part, but it’s pivotal and includes a wonderful song. 

   Weaving throughout the show are other supporting characters, including Frau Kruger (Sarah Diamond Burroway), Frau Wendel (Karen Kelly Pruitt) and an assortment of sailors, waiters and other roles by Jonathan Maynard, Gregory Picklesimer and Tristan Reynolds (who also gets to show off his dance skills - though he’s well disguised in one scene).

   A special shout out (and a few wolf whistles) to the Kit Kat Girls - Joanna Berner, Sheila Meade, Marnie Riddell and Tiffany Caldwell Trent - for their high-energy performances. They sing, they dance, they flirt shamelessly, but it’s always with a fun, sexy attitude - they’re never sleazy or exploited. Terrific work all around! 

   Oh, and a special tip of the hat to the cast for their work creating appropriate accents for each character - whether German or British, the accents were always spot on - very impressive!

   The show, staged in the ballroom at the Renaissance Theatre in Huntington, uses what director Gene Anthony calls an Environmental Setting. Rather than changing the set between scenes, they have several different sets placed around the room, and the scene plays out to one side or the other (and sometimes between). It’s a very effective and inventive way to tell this story.

   The tech work in the show was excellent, with a clever use of lighting to highlight scenes and songs, and the sound work was outstanding - I could easily hear every word and note.

   Kudos also to the band, who reside on stage and become part of the show (including a great gag early on).

   Of course, you’d expect nothing less than an noteworthy show from the all-star directing team - Gene Anthony is one of the best in the Tri-state and, as always, does an amazing job directing this show, Coni Anthony has created wonderful dance sequences (including a tap number), and technical director Stevie Brigode and stage manager Ashleigh Bills provided a nearly-flawless stage production. 

   Quite simply - it’s a terrific show, one of the best in Huntington in recent memory - you owe it to yourself to see this one. But you only have one chance left - the show tonight at 8 p.m. wraps up the run! 

   Cabaret is dark, it’s funny, it’s touching, and features a tremendous cast bringing the story to life on a unique stage. It’s not a show for kids, but for any adult looking for a show that will draw you into the magic of theatre, this is one that you don’t want to miss. Highly, highly recommended! 

Friday, February 08, 2013

On Stage This Weekend

   Four great shows to catch this weekend, including:

- Cabaret - ARTS presents the hit musical that is full of comic and entertaining moments, but is set against a very dark and serious background: Nazi Germany. The setting is a cabaret, and the story 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. The observer will experience both laughter and shock. It is a totally engaging evening of music, comedy and provocative thought. The musical will be presented in the Renaissance Ballroom at 900 8th St., Huntington at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 8-9.

- Almost, Maine - Company of Dreams presents the play set on a cold, clear, moonless night in the middle of winter, where all is not quite what it seems in the remote, mythical town of Almost, Maine. As the northern lights hover in the star-filled sky above, Almost's residents find themselves falling in and out of love in unexpected and often hilarious ways. Knees are bruised. Hearts are broken. But the bruises heal, and the hearts mend - almost - in this delightful midwinter night's dream. Performances are Feb. 8 and 9 at 8 p.m. at the Hillside Community Church in Ashland. Admission is $5, all of which goes to charity. 

- The Emperor's New Clothes - ACT (Actors for Children Theatre) presents the classic tale Saturday, Feb. 9 at 1 p.m. at the Greenup Co. Extension Office at Wurtland Avenue in Wurtland Ky. Admission is free!

- Perfect Wedding - Blazer Theatre presents Robin Hawdon's romantic comedy. Come see what happens when the groom wakes up the morning of his wedding with a girl who isn't his bride-to-be. The play will be presented Feb. 8 and 9 at 8 p.m. and Feb. 10 at 2:30 p.m. at Paul Blazer High School’s Millennium Center. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students and seniors.
   So get out there and support your local theatre!

Thursday, February 07, 2013

"Cabaret: Interview #6 - Marnie Riddell

   Here’s the latest interview (number six in the series, collect them all) with some of the cast of the musical Cabaret, which takes the ARTS stage for its final shows on Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Renaissance Theatre in Huntington.
   Here’s a short interview with one of the Kit Kat girls, Marnie Riddell:
Q: Cabaret is a hit Broadway musical and movie - tell us the basic story. 
   With the beautiful dancing girls, the beautiful orchestra, rollicking music and laughter, the Emcee welcomes the patrons of the Kit Kat Klub and beckons them to leave their troubles “outside.” As one of the Kit Kat girls, I feel we serve as a welcome distraction throughout the show to the chaos and tension in Germany at that time. We are the animated eye candy who entertain our patrons and make them forget the turmoil of the real world. This is best illustrated in one of my favorite parts of the show, what has been referred to as “the drag kick line” and provides a stellar opening for Act II.  
Q: Why did you want to be part of this show?

   As soon as I received wind of the word that ARTS was doing Cabaret, I jumped at the chance to be a part of the experience and was elated to be cast with such an amazingly talented group of people. I am even more honored to be a part of their first resident acting company in Huntington and the fabulous shows we have in store for you this year! So don’t miss you chance to see us in Cabaret and all of our great season of shows! I guarantee by the end of it all, we’ll have you laughing on the 23rd floor! ;-)
   Thanks Marnie!

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

"Cabaret" Interview #5 - Clay McKnight

   It's time for another interview with one of the stars of Cabaret!

   Stepping up to our imaginary microphone is one of the stars of the show, Clay McKnight.

   Here's what he had to say:

Q: Cabaret is a hit Broadway musical and movie - tell us the basic story. 

Clay: Cabaret is an enticing look into the world at the dawn of World War II. Focusing on young love between a Cabaret performer and traveling novelist as well as a budding love between a German boarding house owner and Jewish fruit shop vendor, with a Master of Ceremonies fueling the journey. 

Q: Tell us about the character you play.

Clay: In Cabaret I play Clifford Bradshaw. The young, eager, American Novelist who falls for an "Inspiring" cabaret performer.

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

Clay: Not knowing too much about the show except the title song there was a little bit of anticipation when starting this beautiful piece of theater. I love being on stage and have always heard rave reviews anytime someone talks about this show so I knew it must be one I need to be involved in, and how right my intuition was. Not only does the show stand alone but working with this amazing cast and creative team has been such a learning experience for me that it will be one I will never forget. 

Q: Why would you recommend this show? 

Clay: I would highly  recommend Cabaret to the readers because of the way this show is being presented. Most of you have heard it referred to as "Environmental Theater" and that is true. It was fun as an actor getting used to using three different stages and transforming a ball room into a 1930's Berlin night club, and I think it is equally enjoyable for the audience to get swept away to the Kit Kat Klub to enjoy this show. 

Q: Tell us the dates, times, and place of the show. 

Clay: Cabaret will only be presented two more times. Friday and Saturday night at 8 p.m. in the newly renovated ARTS ballroom! Dinner is still available but going quickly and from hearing the crowd from this past weekend what a treat it was. Call for reservations 304.733.ARTS. CALL NOW!

   Thanks, Clay! 

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

"Cabaret" Interview #4 - Michael Naglee

   For our next interview with the cast of Cabaret, here’s my pal Michael Naglee, who plays the Emcee of the Kit Kat Club – a pivotal character in the musical.

   Mike's an amazing, gifted actor / singer / dancer (and a heck of a nice guy), and this show give him lots of chances to show off his talent!

   Here's Mike: 

Q: Cabaret is a hit Broadway musical and movie - tell us the basic story.

Mike: Cabaret is the story of an American writer who comes to Berlin looking for inspiration shortly before the second World War - instead he finds Sally Bowles, an English cabaret singer. The musical tells the story of their and others' relationships in the harsh reality of 1930s Germany during the Nazi rise to power, with periodic cuts to the Kit Kat Club where Sally works. The Club serves a dual purpose, providing a decadent counter to and an often hilarious allegorical commentary on life outside its walls.

Q: Tell us about the character you play.

Mike:: I play The Emcee, Master of Ceremonies at the Kit Kat Club. He's the very soul of decadence, but in a slightly unsettling way. He always seems to know too much.

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

Mike: My fellow actors, of course! :) Seriously, there are a lot of individual moments that I thoroughly enjoy watching or being a part of. The scene where Sally's fur coat goes "missing," my wife's duet as Kost with Ernst, "Two Ladies," "If You Could See Her." I could go on and on.

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

Mike: First and foremost - the people. I've worked with most of these fine folks before, and it's always a fantastic experience. Second - it's a great show and a bucket list role for me.

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

Mike: It's a perspective on a time in our history that you probably haven't seen before. It's heavy material served up lightly, and all the more effectively for it. I have it on good authority you'll be humming the tunes for days after.

Q: Tell us the dates, times and place for the show.

Mike: You can catch Cabaret in the newly converted Renaissance Ballroom at ARTS - 900 8th Street in Huntington - this Friday and Saturday night at 8 p.m.  $15 for General Admission, $30 for dinner (at 6:30 p.m., reservation required) and show. We were nearly sold out for the first weekend, so call 304-722-ARTS for reservations!

Thanks, Mike!

Monday, February 04, 2013

"Cabaret" Interview #3 - Linda Reynolds

   Time for another interview with one of the stars of Cabaret, which takes the stage for its final weekend this Friday and Saturday in Huntington.

   Let’s hear from my pal Linda Reynolds, an amazing actor / singer / dancer and a pure delight to be around:

Q: Cabaret is a hit Broadway musical and movie - tell us the basic story.

Linda: Cabaret takes place at the dawn of the Nazi party.  Life goes on pretty much as usual in Berlin but we, with hindsight, can see the gathering storm.

Q: Tell us about the character you play.

Linda: I play Fraulein Schneider, the owner of the boarding house where Cliff and Sally live, along with Fraulein Kost (who knows a lot of sailors) and Schneider's "sweetheart" Herr Shultz, a Jewish shop keeper.

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

Linda: My favorite number in the show is "Two Ladies" but it only wins by a nose because Rick Fleenor's (Shultz) version of "Meeskite" is delightful.  There are several Kit Kat numbers that will knock your socks off.

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

Linda:  I love working with Coni and Gene Anthony and Bil Neal.  This play was unknown to me except through association with the move starring Liza Minelli so the character of Fraulien Schneider was also unknown to me until I read the script.  She is a very well written, complete character and represents the average German during this time period. This part will be one of my all time favorites.

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

Linda:  This play has it all.  Great music, great dancing, compelling story lines, excellent performances.  You may not like all these people but you won't be able to look away.

Q: Tell us the dates, times and place for the show.

Linda:  Our final performances take place this Friday and Saturday, Feb. 8 and 9 in the Ballroom at the Renaissance Center, which is also know as Old Huntington High on 8th Street and 9th Avenue.  Dinner is available at 6:30 p.m. with the show to follow at 8 p.m.  Show only tickets are also available but dinner smells pretty good to me!

   Thanks, Linda! Up next, we'll hear from the Emcee of the show!