Tri-State Theater

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

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Cast List for "How to Succeed in Business..."

    ARTS has posted the cast list for its upcoming musical comedy, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and it's an impressive lineup of talented actors!

   Here's the list:

Finch - Clay McKnight
Rosemary - Jocelyn Clark Knapp

Biggley - Mike Murdock
Bud Frump - Stephen Vance
Smitty - Amy Carlson
Miss Jones - Stevie Brigode
Hedy LaRue - Marnie Riddell
Miss Krumholtz - Molly Maynard

Gatch - Eric Wilson
Jenkins - Todd Green
Tackaberry - Mike Naglee
Bratt - Schoch Donahoe
Twimble - Mark Near
Ovington - Jason Kretzer
Wally Womper - Gene Anthony (pending Equity contract)

Emma Imes
Sheila Meade
Jenn Naglee
Tiffany Trent
Linda Reynolds
Joanna Berner
Sarah Bryan
Tiffany McGuire
Nora Ankrom
Aliza Wucher
Jamie Mathis
Robyn Welch
Maggie Donahoe

Jesse Donahoe
Aaron Krick
Tristan Reynolds
Thaddeus Stambaugh

Bil Neal - Director
Lara Donahoe - Musical Director
Coni Anthony - Choreographer
Simon Woods - Stage Manager
Dylan Clark - Assistant Stage Manager

Friday, March 29, 2013

ShadowBox Live Presents "Taboo"

   If you're looking for a good excuse for a road trip, look no further than ShadowBox Live in Columbus, Ohio.

   It's a dinner theatre that produces outstanding, professional theatrical productions. My lovely wife, son Evan and I saw an outstanding production of Chicago there several weeks ago, and the latest offering is called Taboo.

   I bring this to your attention because it's well worth your time (though I should mention that the shows are almost all for adults, not kids), and one of the professional actors who works for ShadowBox is Huntington's own J.T. Walker, an amaznigly talented young man who also happens to be a heck of a nice guy.

   You can learn about ShowdowBox at their website - http://www.shadowboxlive.org/ - and you can read a review of Taboo right here (J.T. gets a mention in there, too).

   Highly, highly recommended!


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

On Stage This Week: "Godspell"

   The musical Godspell will be staged this week in Russell, Kentucky.

   The show tells the story of Jesus - it's based on the gospel of Matthew and Luke - and was written by Stephen Schwartz. It opened off Broadway in 1971, and has enjoyed a long life as a community theatre favorite. It was also revived briefly on Broadway in 2011.

   Now it's being presented by the Bridges Community Theatre on March 28 and 29 at 7:30 p.m. at the Bridges Christian Church at 1402 Kenwood Drive in Russell.

   Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students (through college).  

   It's a fun, moving show, loaded with energy and great songs. Recommended!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Auditions for "How to Succeed in Business..."


   Hard on the heels if Julius Caesar, ARTS is diving into its next production, as it holds audition this week for the musical comedy How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

   Auditions will be held Monday and Tuesday at 7 p.m. - here are the details:

Auditions are in the Ballroom

Director: Bil Neal
Choreographer: Coni Anthony
Music Director: Lara Donahoe

Available Roles:

Rosemary............female..mezzo.....18 – 30
Mr. Twimble.........male....baritone..50 – 80
Gatch...............male....spoken....30 – 60
Bratt...............male....baritone..30 – 50
Miss Krumholtz......female..mezzo.....30 – 65
Ovington............male....spoken....35 – 65
Execs & Secretaries.N/A.....all.......19 – 70

Roles Filled by ARTS Company Members
Finch, Biggley, Smitty, Frump, Miss Jones, Hedy LaRue, Voice of the Book, Wally Womper

Be prepared to sing, dance, and read from the script.

General rehearsal schedule will be Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Rehearsal schedule will include every day for Tech Week, and extended hours. Known schedule conflicts need to be addressed at auditions, so please be prepared to discuss.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

On Stage Tonight - "Julius Caesar"

    Tonight's your last chance to catch the ARTS production of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, which transplants the classic tale of political power and betrayal into a modern setting (with six flat screen TVs)!

    As this review indicates, it's a powerful production and highly recommended!

   The final performance takes the stage tonight at the Renaissance Theatre (the old Huntington High School) at 8 p.m.

   Don't miss it!

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Other Final "Julius Caesar" Interview!

   I know, I said the last interview was the “final” one – and then I received this entry from the director of Julius Caesar, my pal Mike Murdock.
   So here’s the absolutely, this time for sure, final interview:
Q: What is the story behind the play Julius Caesar?
Mike: In short, it's a play about the lengths people will go to when they think they are doing the right thing.
Q: What character do you play?
Mike:  I play the director. It wasn't the easiest job, but somebody had to do it.
Q: Why did you want to be part of this show?
Mike: I love Shakespeare, obviously, and I'm a classically trained actor, so I have an affinity for this kind of thing, I think. I love that Shakespeare's plays transcend the time in which they were written. It's incredible just how important and noteworthy the themes of his plays, especially Julius Caesar, are today. With the political climate the way it is, this is the perfect play to be doing right now. Plus, we even got to open on the Ides of March - how often do you get that chance?
Q: What's your theatre background, and why do you enjoy doing community theatre shows?
Mike: I studied theatre at both Ohio University and Marshall University. I ran my own theatre in Hollywood for a year after moving to Los Angeles, and now that I'm back, I'm one of the Resident Directors at ARTS (Arts Resources for the Tri-State). I love working with ARTS because they are taking risks on shows like this - Macbeth and Caesar especially - and the Resident Company system is second to none. We're changing the face of community theatre in our area, and setting a standard for others to aspire to. I'm really proud of the work we're doing at ARTS. I hope everyone else comes along for the ride.
Q: Why would you recommend this show?
Mike: It's a show like very few have ever seen, I imagine. Mark Near and I designed a simple, attractive, sleek set. We have six 60-inch televisions on stage, we shoot live video DURING the show, we have laptops and iPads and cellphones working all the time, not to mention the stellar group of actors in this show. These people have been working themselves to death to make this show as good as it could possibly be, and they've really nailed it. There's some really great work happening on that stage. I couldn't be more proud of them and the talent they all have. Everyone, from the smallest role to the biggest is putting out his or her best. It's inspiring.
Q: Biggest challenge to this show?
Mike: I wasn't a huge fan of this script when I first started working on it. I had to swallow up some of that, but once the actors took over and brought fresh life to it all, I started to see it all in a different light. If I didn't have their help, I'm not sure what would have happened! Lucky for me they're out there killing it every night. Surround yourself with talented people and it makes things much easier. That's a fact.
Q: Why Shakespeare?
Mike: There's no better writer in the English language. It's as simple as that. I think with Macbeth and now Caesar, people are starting to come around to the classics a bit more. We've had better turnout for this show, and everyone seems to enjoy it. I think we're creating a niche for ourselves at ARTS with this. No one else is attempting it in Huntington on a community level, probably because it's such an undertaking and it's actual, hard work. The payoff, however, is worth every minute of effort.
Q: Tell us show dates, times, place.
Mike: Only two more chances to see the show! Tonight and Saturday, at 8 p.m. at ARTS (900 8th Street - The Old Huntington High School). Don't be the only person that can't relate once people are talking about it in the weeks to come! Tickets are only $10! Call (304) 733-ARTS to reserve!
Q: Would you like to promote your Social Media sites?
Follow @artstristate on Twitter
"Like" ARTS on Facebook: Facebook.com/artstristate
Here's the Youtube link to the...

The Final "Julius Caesar" Interview!

   Sadly, here’s the last of our interviews with the cast of Julius Caesar - but happily, you still have two chances to catch the show at Huntington’s Renaissance Theatre, Friday and Saturday nights at 8 p.m.

    For our final installment, let’s hear from Christal Barton, who plays Flavius (a riot cop) and other ‘background’ characters.

Q: In 25 words or less, what is the story behind the play Julius Caesar?

Christal: Julius Caesar is about friendship and power and how one affects the other. This particular interpretation really highlights the ‘inner person’ in a way I’ve never seen before - Brutus is cold and calculating in private but charming and gregarious in public. Caesar is arrogant in public but kind and loving in private. 

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

Christal:  I saw MacBeth, and I decided that I wanted to play with those people. I am truly enthralled with the way (director) Mike Murdock’s brain works and the amazingly brilliant way he handles a script. His blocking, set design, even costuming makes me look at the play and the characters in a way I never have before. To me, theatre isn’t just about entertainment - it’s about making your audience think, about leaving them better than you found them. Mike does that effortlessly. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?

Q: What's your theatre background, and why do you enjoy doing community theatre shows?

Christal:  I studied theatre at Concord College (now University). The best part about a strong theatre program at a small school is that you can learn pretty much whatever you want - I acted, directed, costumed, stage managed, ran a lighting board - you name it and and one point or other I did it. I was blessed to be there when Dr. Jim and Ann Lile were teaching there, and they instilled a love of theatre as both a craft and art form that I will be eternally grateful for. For the past ten years or so I’ve assisted my husband (a high school theatre teacher) with school productions but otherwise focused on raising our sons. Now that they’re a bit older, I’m excited to be involved with ARTS and other local productions.

Q: Why would you recommend this show?

Christal:  Because it’s awesome? I’m not the world’s biggest Shakespeare fan, and Julius Caesar isn’t really on the short list of shows I like. But this production is really GOOD. I’m a little jealous that I can’t see it from the audience, because even from the wings I can see the power of it. Mike has seamlessly brought Shakespeare’s iambic pentameter into 2013. Brutus video blogs. Calpurnia uses an Ipad. Paparazzi follow Caesar and the conspirators around. This production is unique in that it manages to be current without changing any of the dialogue. And you can see it. You can see Caesar as a candidate for President. You can see Brutus as a jealous underling. This show has the beautiful lyricism of Shakespeare’s words for the classicist and the seamless integration of technology for the modernist. And for everyone else, it’s very pretty and a great time.

Q: Biggest challenge to this show?

Christal:  Personally, my biggest challenge was simply time - with three young boys, there’s just not a lot of it to be had. My biggest challenge as an artist was probably the makeup artist scene - creating a character without words, and responding to a dead body in such a way that was true to the character without drawing focus from the rest of the scene. And of course, just being on stage again after such a long absence was a big challenge.

Q: Why Shakespeare?

Christal:  Shakespeare is relevant. He wrote for the masses in the 1600s and his stories still speak to a modern audience. Forbidden love, struggles for power, political intrigue - these are all very relevant to a modern audience. For this show in particular, I think it’s important that modern audiences see that relevance - it’s important to see that the politics we see on CNN and MSNBC every day were very similar to the politics of ancient Rome and Elizabethan England. Edmund Burke said, “Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it.” I think it’s important to see that we ARE repeating history. And if you happen to have a roaring good time while you learn that lesson, all the better.

Q: Tell us show dates, times, place.

Christal: Two shows left! Friday, March 22 and Saturday, March 23, 8 p.m. at Arts Resources for the TriState, 900 8th Street, Huntington.

   Thanks, Christal!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

"Julius Caesar" Interview #6

   The countdown is on to the final two shows for Julius Caesar - and we’re also counting down our final interviews with the cast of that show!

   This time out, Jinnie Knight provides some answers. She plays the role of Cimber, the only female Conspirator/Senator. 

Q: In 25 words or less, what is the story behind the play Julius Caesar?

Jinnie:  Never be so arrogant that you compare yourself to the Northern Star, it makes those around you want to stab you in the back!   

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

Jinnie:  I wanted to be a part of this show because I saw Macbeth back in the Fall of 2012 and knew that Mike Murdock was a very creative Director and brought his own unique ideas to the Shakespearean Stage.  

Q: What's your theatre background, and why do you enjoy doing community theatre shows? 

Jinnie:  My Theatre background is very limited. I was active in plays in my hometown Community Theatre in Madison, WV called Appalachian Community Theatre and in college i was a member of the Improv Children's Theatre Troop the Pied Pipers.
Q: Why would you recommend this show?

Jinnie:  I would definitely recommend this show to anyone who wants to see something different. It has a very modern twist to a classic piece of literature.

Q: Biggest challenge to this show?

Jinnie:  The biggest challenge to this show for me has been being the only woman in a very man's world. I am a nurse in real life and it is in my nature to nurture those around me, so playing the part of a woman who plots with her male colleagues to commit murder, even though it is for the love of country, was very challenging for me.  When we first started staging the murder scene, we practiced with plastic knives and at first it didn't seem too difficult. But, the night that our fight choreographer Mike Naglee introduced us to the very real knives we would be using, i became physically sick. Suddenly the realization of what we were planning became tangible, that's when I really became Cimber.  

Q: Why Shakespeare?

Jinnie: Shakespeare for even the best actor is an amazing challenge, so for someone like me it is a very humbling experience and I feel truly blessed to be working with and learning from so many talented people. 

Q: Tell us show dates, times, place. 

Jinnie:  The show dates are March 22 and 23 at 8 p.m. each night at the Huntington Renaissance Theatre, 900 8th St. Huntington, WV. See you there and watch your back! 

Thanks, Jinnie!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

"Julius Caesar" Interview #5

   You’re running out of chances to catch performances of the play Julius Caesar - there are two shows left: one Friday, and one Saturday at Huntington’s Renaissance Theatre.

   But we still have a few interviews to share! Next up is Chelsey Nicole Keathley, who wears many hats in the show - she’s a Roman citizen, a member of the press, Publius, and Octavius' intern. 

Q: In 25 words or less, what is the story behind the play Julius Caesar?

Chelsey: Julius Caesar is a tragedy by William Shakespeare. The play tells the story of Caesar's powerful leadership over Rome and then his fall from power! 

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

Chelsey: I wanted to be a part of this show because I had heard nothing but good things about ARTs and thought it would be a good place to do a show. I was right, ARTs is a wonderful place filled with wonderful people! 

Q: What's your theatre background, and why do you enjoy doing community theatre shows? 

Chelsey: This is only my second show in community theater. My first being CUP's Dracula: The Musical. I love doing shows because its fun and I have met some great people!

Q: Why would you recommend this show?

Chelsey: Six big screen TVs, and blood! Need I say more?

Q: Biggest challenge to this show?

Chelsey: The biggest challenge for me has been everything! Learning to act is a new experience and this show has given me some places to learn to grow. Mike Murdock is an amazing director and I appreciate the opportunity he has given me.

Q: Why Shakespeare?

Chelsey: It's classic but still relevant, as you will see if you come to the show!

Thanks, Chelsey! The show runs March 22 and 23 at 8 p.m. at the Huntington Renaissance Theatre, 900 8th Street in Huntington.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

"Julius Caesar" Interview #4

   There’s only one community theatre show on stage this weekend, and it’s the ARTS production of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar

   Continuing our interviews with the cast, let’s hear from Len Trent, who plays the pivotal role of Marc Anthony, one of the few true friends of Caesar. 

   Here's what he had to say:

Q: What is the story behind the play Julius Caesar?

Len: Caesar is a story of those within government using their office for their own ambition all in the name of what is good for the country.  

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

Len: I love Shakespeare and the chance at the funeral scene is something you just can't pass up. 

Q: What's your theatre background, and why do you enjoy doing community theatre shows?

Len: I have been doing theater at one level or another since 1993. It is something I just can not do without for very long. What is happening here at ARTS is very special. I hope we can raise the bar each time out and give the area some great stories. 

Q: Why would you recommend this show?

Len: It is something people have not seen around this area and it is (hopefully) a well told story.

Q: Biggest challenge to this show?

Len: Making the language feel natural to the audience. 

Q: Why Shakespeare?

Len: Shakespeare is very challenging.  He makes you work to get his story across and his plays are timeless. 

Q: Tell us show dates, times, place.

Len: Show dates March 15, 16,22,23 at 8:00 p.m. at the Renaissance Theatre at 900 8th Street in Huntington.

   Thanks, Len!

Monday, March 18, 2013

First Stage Announces Summer Theatre Camps

   Huntington's children's theatre will offer its Second Annual First Stage Theatre Summer Camp for young people in June and July, according to a press release.

   The first camp is open to kids from kindergarten to 5th grade, and it will show what it's like to be in a stage show. The week-long class is called "Alice in 'Wonder What It's Like to Be in a Show' Land," and it will cover auditioning, rehearsing, costuming, set building and performing in a show. The class will be offered from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, June 17 to 21. The cost is $120 per student.

   The second week of camp is open to young people from 6th through 12th grades, and it will offer a workshop in developing "Wicked Auditioning Skills." It will cover preparing for an audition, monologues, vocal assessment, dance, and what to wear. The week will end with a Mock Audition with critique from area theatre directors. The class will be offered from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, July 15 to 19. The cost is $120 per student.

   The camps will take place at the Pea Ridge United Methodist Church, 5747 East Pea Ridge Road in Huntington.

   The director of the camp is Mary Smirl.

   "Last year's summer camp was a huge success, so we're glad to once again make this opportunity available for aspiring actors," Smirl said.

   To sign up or for more information about the camps, call 304-525-2557.

   Based in Huntington, the First Stage Theatre Company is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing an educational, developmental experience for young people through the performing arts. The group just wrapped its 23rd season, which included productions of "Disney's The Little Mermaid," "Scrooge the Musical" and "The Bully Plays."

Sunday, March 17, 2013

"Julius Caesar" - A Review

    “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears.”

    I have no idea which Shakespeare play has the most “quotes we all recognize” - but certainly Julius Caesar must be near the top of the list.

   But while the quotes may be familiar, the setting for this ARTS production at Huntington’s Renaissance Theatre is anything but. 

   The story covers events from 44 BC, as the Roman dictator faces a deadly conspiracy by a group of senators - including his (former) friends and allies. The events have been re-imagined into a modern setting, but the political and moral struggle - and the language - make the jump unchanged.

   It’s a tribute to the lasting power of Shakespeare’s work that it the story is just as powerful in today’s political setting as it is in the halls of the Roman Senate.

   The key to the success of any community theatre production, however, lies in the hands of its actors, and this show is blessed with a terrific, talented cast.

“Et tu, Brute?”

   The lead role actually belongs to Brutus, the senator who is a friend of Caesar’s, but who is convinced that, in order to save Rome, he must join with the conspirators who plot a brutal end to Caesar’s reign. Brutus is brought to life by the immensely talented Owen Reynolds, who manages to capture the passion and spirit of the character and make him viable and even likable, despite his role in the betrayal of Caesar.

   The play revolves around the title character, of course, and Barry Dailey has a commanding presence in the role of Caesar. Politicians have a specific air about them, and it’s not an easy attitude to adopt - but he presents it in spades. He’s powerful and commanding but never slips into a cartoonish portrayal - and he makes the assassination sequence brutal and believable.

 “I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.”

   Leading the opposition to the conspirators is Marc Anthony, played by Len Trent - and he creates a stunning, moving portrayal of a man who must tread carefully, but who uses his intellect and the power of his voice to sway the people of Rome into turning against the conspirators.

   But the show doesn’t rest solely on the leads - the supporting cast does outstanding work, as well. In a cast of dozens, from the “Bag Lady” version of the Soothsayer (Sarah Diamond Burroway) to suffering wives Calpurnia (Amy Carlson) and Portia (Joanna Berner), there are no weak links - there are so many key figures and important scenes to deliver, and the cast does so with great skill and emotional fervor.

“Beware the Ides of March.”

   The set is an interesting combination of minimalism (it’s virtually colorless), with a focus on the ingenious use of six large flat-screen TVs. It gives the set dimension and depth and helps bring some of the story’s unique scenes to life. It also gives a different perspective on the action, as a roaming camera takes the audience up close and personal to the actors.

   It’s a tricky bit of business, incorporating that kind of tech into a show, and it would be easy for it to upstage the actors - but the use is carefully managed and avoids that pitfall. I wasn’t sure I was going to like the use of the monitors, but I thought it was very effective and managed for maximum effect.

   The struggle with Shakespeare is to make the stories written 600 years ago understandable and accessible to modern audiences. Some of that is achieved by editing the play down a bit - this version clocks in at a touch over two hours - but the best conduit it to put it in the hands of capable actors who deliver their dialogue with passion and clarity.

   Thanks to the outstanding cast, you’ll find exactly that. It’s a delight to hear the amazing wordplay brought to life. 

“Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war!”

   Kudos to director Michael Murdock for his inventive direction and vision for this production, both in terms of tech design and for his spot-on casting choices, and for getting terrific performances of out of his talented cast.

   With this play and the recent production of MacBeth, ARTS has established its reputation as a home for serious, professional-quality theatre productions - something any fan of theatre should be delighted to see. 

   Highly, highly recommended!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

"Julius Caesar" Interview #3

   Three is a magic number! And for our third interview with the cast of Julius Caesar, let’s hear from Jonathan Maynard, who plays Cinna(s).

Q: In 25 words or less, what is the story behind the play Julius Caesar?

Jonathan: Caesar is becoming too powerful. Or is he? One group of men believe so and believe there is only one way to stop it: bloodshed. 

Q: What character(s) do you play?

Jonathan: Cinna the Conspirator and, by a twist of fate (?), Cinna the Poet

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

Jonathan: Having previously been a part of MacBeth at ARTS, I was thrilled to get another opportunity to work at ARTS, directed by Mike Murdock, in Shakespeare. The ability to work with such like-minded people, who really enjoy bringing something like this to a living, breathing, existence is just beyond enjoyable. 

Q: What's your theatre background, and why do you enjoy doing community theatre shows?

Jonathan: I am absolutely a newbie to theatre. Caesar will mark only the fifth time I have stepped on stage. I was drawn into the world by my lovely wife who has been doing theatre for years. Once the bug hit, however, I was hooked. I know I have a tremendous amount to learn, but every rehearsal offers lessons and skills that just cannot be learned anywhere else. The experiences and friendships one makes cannot be gained in any other venue. 

Q: Why would you recommend this show?

Jonathan: It is a classic. However, you will see things you won't see anywhere else. I won't spoil it but I can guarantee that you haven't seen Shakespeare quite like this before. Plus there's blood, lots of blood. And who doesn't like that?

Q: Biggest challenge to this show?

Jonathan: Playing two characters with vastly different personalities. I quite literally am both a lover and a fighter. To keep the intensity of one but not have it spill into the other gives me a new perspective on character development.

Q: Why Shakespeare?

Jonathan: Why not? Shakespeare wrote about the basest elements of the human experience; love, hate, power, jealousy, fear, happiness, etc, etc. And he did it so skillfully that he likely coined an entire section of words for the dictionary. The stories are timeless, the characters are memorable, and, it is just fun to speak in Shakespearean English. 

Q: Tell us show dates, times, place.

Jonathan: March 15, 16, 22, 23 at 8:00 p.m. nightly at the Renaissance Theatre in the old Huntington High School Building. 

    Thanks, Jonathan!

Friday, March 15, 2013

"Julius Caesar" Interview #2

   For our second interview with some of the cast members of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, which kicks off its run this evening. Let's hear from my pal Stephen Vance, who wears many hats at ARTS: actor, director, and tech guru!

   Here's what he has to say about playing Decius, a senator who turns against Caesar:

Q: What is the story behind the play Julius Caesar?

Stephen: Caesar wants to be in charge. The senators want to remain in charge. Ambition, Conspiracy, and a touch of altruism.

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

Stephen: The Bill Cosby Show - the Shakespeare episode with Christopher Plummer and Roscoe Lee Browne.

Q: What's your theatre background, and why do you enjoy doing community theatre shows?

Stephen: I'm a fan. I started doing this a few years back because I was fascinated with the talent in this area. I've been on stage a lot and have even had the privilege to direct a couple of shows. Currently, I'm one of the directors in the ARTS Resident Company.

Q: Why would you recommend this show?

Stephen: The cast is fantastic and this will be unlike anything you've ever seen anywhere. The first time we discussed this concept, I thought it was great, but I wasn't sure we could pull it off. I think we did - come find out.

Q: Biggest challenge to this show?

Stephen: The technical elements. In addition to having a role in the show and getting to be involved in some major fight choreography, we are running some pretty sophisticated technical gear. The level of detail put in those elements are challenging but I think they are what pulls it together.

Q: Why Shakespeare?

Stephen: It's rich. Great characters, heightened situations, and incomparable language.

Q: Tell us show dates, times, place...

Stephen: March 15, 16, 22, 23 at 8 p.m. at 900 8th Street (Old Huntington High) Main Stage.

   Thanks, Stephen!

On Stage This Weekend - Four Shows

   Another busy weekend of community theatre locally (ain't it great?) - here's the rundown:

- The Secret Garden - 5th Avenue Theatre presents the musical based of the classic novel. It follows a young English girl who is sent to Yorkshire to live with relatives she's never met. Her life blossoms when she discovers a secret garden. Shows will be presented at the City Hall Auditorium March 15 and 16 at 8 p.m. and March 17 at 2:30 p.m. 

- Julius Caesar - Beware the Ides of March! William Shakespeare's classic play about power, is brought to life by ARTS at the Renaissance Theatre at 900 8th Street in Huntington on March 15, 16, 22 and 23 at 8 p.m.

- The Wizard of Oz - Paramount Arts Center presents the classic musical about Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion as they search for the Wizard. The musical will be presented March 15 at 7 p.m. and March 16 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.

- Legally Blonde: the Musical - Portsmouth Area Arts Council & Children's Theatre presents the hit Broadway show about a young woman's quest to overcome all odds and win her man - even if it means going into Harvard's law school! Shows will be presented at the Verne Riffe Center for the Arts March 15 and 16 at 7 p.m. and March 17 at 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 - for more information call 740-351-3600.

   So don't say there's nothing to do this weekend!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Our First "Julius Caesar" Interview

   As Shakespeare's Julius Caesar prepares to take the stage, we have several e-interviews with the cast to share.

   Let's start out with my pal Sarah Diamond Burroway:

Q: What is the story behind the play Julius Caesar?

Sarah: Friendship, deceit, heroes and villains, power, persuasion, conspiracy.  

Q: What character do you play? 

Sarah: I play the Soothsayer who tries to warn Julius Caesar that conspiracy is afoot. I really like that (director) Mike Murdock set the show in today's time and made the Soothsayer a modern day bag lady.

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

Sarah: I'm just very pleased with what ARTS is doing for community theatre in our region, really coming out and making a commitment for the future with the Resident Acting Company. I worked with Mike Murdock last fall in my first show at ARTS, Macbeth, and played one of the Weird Sisters. I loved it and wanted to do more Shakespeare. I auditioned for the Company last fall and was thrilled to be cast in Caesar. The vision, the use of media and technology - these factors attracted me to the project. 

Q: What's your theatre background, and why do you enjoy doing community theatre shows?

Sarah: I'm still a newbie in community theatre, only doing shows since 2010 and have the highest regard for the people at ARTS and in our community who've been doing theatre for years. I love the collaboration and believe the arts elevate a community and enrich our quality of life. I enjoy the learning atmosphere at ARTS and am so grateful for new opportunities to grow as an actor and as someone interested in arts and non-profit leadership. 

Q: Why would you recommend this show?

Sarah: If you like Shakespeare, you'll love this adaptation. If you're unsure about Shakespeare, Julius Caesar is a great starting point- particularly this contemporary version. 

Q:  Biggest challenge to this show?  

Sarah: Our first read-through was in December and I've been so anxious for March to get here! It's been a pleasure to work with this cast and crew and my fellow Resident Acting Company members on this show. 

Q: When and where will the show be staged?

Sarah: Julius Caesar opens on the Ides of March at ARTS. Show dates and times are March 15, 16, 22, 23 at 8:00 pm nightly. Call 304-733-ARTS for tickets.