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.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Free New Year Concert: Moonage Daydream

   If you're looking for a fun activity on New Years Eve, here's a great suggestion: a FREE concert featuring the music of David Bowie, performed with vocals by Ryan Hardiman, piano by Mark Scarpelli and a string quintet. 

   The concert includes two 45-minute sets - one at 7 p.m. and the second at 9 p.m.  

   They'll be performed at the First Presbyterian Church at 16 Leon Sullivan Way in Charleston.

   This is the sixth year they have paid tribute to the music of Bowie, and will be the first time they have performed this music since Bowie's passing early in 2016. 

   So join the special celebration and have a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

We Three Kings

   Another old favorite, from the Will Vinton Claymation Christmas Special - a unique take on the classic "We Three Kings" - with a twist (and some amazing vocal performances):

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

White Christmas

   Here's another holiday favorite about a wish that didn't come true this year: a White Christmas.

   The cartoon is still fun!

Monday, December 26, 2016

Must Be Santa Claus

   Here's another favorite, and one of the most unexpected Christmas videos of them all - from 2009, Bob Dylan singing, "Must Be Santa Claus."

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!

   As per tradition (and since there are no shows being staged this week), we'll be presenting some favorite holiday videos for the next week - starting with one from CBS-TV in the '60s, which nicely captures the giving spirit of the season.

   Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, gentle readers!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

On Stage: "A Christmas Story"

   Quite a few theatre companies tackle Christmas shows, but most of them wrap up their run well before the holiday arrives.

   But the Charleston Light Opera Guild is pushing their last show for 2016 right up to the line, as it wraps up its production of A Christmas Story the Musical this week!

   The show is also unique because it's the second year in a row that CLOG has presented the holiday classic - the group has never done that before. 

   The story, of course, follows the adventures of Ralphie, a boy who dreams of getting a Red Ryder BB-Gun for Christmas - but every time he brings it up, he gets the same warning: "You'll shoot your eye out."

   This production adds some terrific songs to the production, but keeps the same delightful story that taps into the humor and the heart of the holiday season.

   You can catch A Christmas Story on Thursday and Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the Norman L. Fagan State Theater at the Culture Center. What better way to get into the holiday spirit?

   Highly recommended!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

On Stage This Weekend: Two Christmas Classics!

    With Christmas closing in fast, there are only a couple of holiday outings taking the stage this weekend. Thankfully, they're both terrific shows!

   Here's the rundown:

A Christmas Story - The Charleston Light Opera Guild presents the musical version of the popular film classic with performances on Dec. 16, 17, 18, 21, 22 and 23 at 7:30 p.m., and Dec. 17 and 18 at 2 p.m. at the Norman L. Fagan State Theater at the Culture Center.

A Charlie Brown Christmas - Jenny Wiley Theatre presents the classic story on Dec. 16, 17 and 18 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 17 at 2 p.m.

   So see a show, and have a Happy Holiday!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Cabell Midland Orchestra's Christmas Concert

   The Cabell Midland Orchestra will present their annual Christmas Concert on Tuesday, Dec 13, 2016 at 7 p.m. in that school's auditorium. 

   The orchestra will be performing music for the season. The doors open at 6:30 p.m. and is free to the public. 

   For more information contact Ron Caviani at 304-743-7425.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Hairspray Live!

   Social media has been burning up today with comments and reviews about Hairspray Live, the latest live musical presentation on network television.

   I'm seeing lots of raves and a lot of nit-picking - but I don't know how anyone could watch it and not have a big smile on his or her face.

   The show is just loaded with positive energy and great messages - not to mention some wonderful songs!

   And the cast was terrific, from newcomer Maddie Baillio as Tracy, to stars like Kristin Chenoweth, Harvey Fierstein, Jennifer Hudson, Martin Short, Ariana Grande and Derek Hough. They all had their moments to shine (or often, to steal scenes altogether).

   Chenoweth is always amazing, even playing the heel, and Jennifer Hudson blew the roof off the joint with her incredible voice. And thank goodness we got to see Fierstein in this signature role - he was an absolute scream!

   The show carries a great message (several of them, actually), and it's just pure fun from start to finish.

   Which is not to say that I liked everything about it. There were a few technical problems (mostly minor lighting issues), I didn't care for the "live" commercial breaks or the remote shots from the crowd or different locations around the country - all that just diverted attention from the performance. I'm not sure why the tinkered with the staging of "You Can't Stop the Beat" (although nothing can keep that song from being fun). And I'm shocked that they missed Kristin's "curtain call" at the end of the show (the curtain call was a bit of a train wreck anyway - maybe they needed one more rehearsal).

   But all those things are just minor irritants - it was a joyful, powerful show with ingenious staging and amazing performances - I'll be keeping that one on my DVR for a long time!


Tuesday, December 06, 2016

On Stage in the Spring: "Kid Superheroes on the Rise"

   ACT has annunced its new show, and it’s written by a local playwright! 

   Here’s the info:

    Actors for Children Theatre - ACT is pleased to announce the upcoming premiere of the new play by Jonathan Joy! 

   ACT will debut Kid Superheroes on the Rise in Spring 2017! Kid superheroes take center stage in this imaginative play about a boy learning to use his newfound superpowers. 

   Buck is a shy kid with a big gift. He's a kid superhero and so is the new girl in school, Tracy. Together they form a friendship and battle dastardly villains like The Great Chili Monster, The Monkey Bar Brute, Kid Popsicle and more.

   Jonathan Joy adapted the play from the Bedtime Series column he writes for the The Greater Ashland Beacon. 

   Kid Superheroes on the Rise focuses on the importance of creativity, working together, stopping bullying and more!

Monday, December 05, 2016

Harry Potter on Broadway in 2018

   To the surprise of no one, the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will be appearing on Broadway - but you'll have to be patient.

   According to Broadway.com 

   The inevitable transfer of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will begin performances on Broadway in spring 2018. The play, which runs in repertory in two parts, has proven a critical and commercial smash hit in London's West End, and Great White Way theater owners were involved in an intense competition to land the show. The Ambassador Theatre Group won out and the production is set for an undoubtedly long-running engagement at the Lyric Theatre.

   The theater is to undergo extensive renovations to accommodate Cursed Child, and 400 seats will be removed from the vast, 1900 seat auditorium. 

Thursday, December 01, 2016

On Stage in December

   The holiday spirit takes the stage this month with lots of great shows to see. Here’s the rundown:

New Works 2016 - ARTS presents its second annual New Works Festival, featuring 21 new plays writing by playwrights from around the world. The performances will be presented at the ARTS Renaissance Center at 900 8th Street in Huntington. Readings will be offered at 7 p.m. on Dec. 1 with the reading of a horror screenplay, "Butcher Holler," by Dan Shea, a Kansas resident and Ohio University graduate. At 7 p.m. on Dec. 2 there will be a reading of six short plays with local actors reading plays from writers all over the world. Friday night's headline act is four brand new plays by locally-based, nationally-known playwright Jon Joy. At 4 p.m. on Dec. 3, there will be nine more short plays from talented playwrights all over the world with the night ending with a reading of Mike Murdock's new scary thriller, "Sarah's Fire."

Mary - Scarpelli and Kehde's rock opera follows the life of Mary, mother of Jesus, during the final nine months before the birth of Christ. A driving score and vibrant young talent brings the story to life on the stage of the WVSU Capitol Center at 123 Summers Street in Charleston on Dec. 1, 2 and 3 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $8 for students and $15 for adults.

A Christmas Story - The Charleston Light Opera Guild presents the musical version of the popular film classic with performances on Dec. 16, 17, 18, 21, 22 and 23 and matinee shows on December 17 and 18 at the Norman L. Fagan State Theater at the Culture Center.

The Magic Tree House Collections: A Ghost Tale for Mr. Dickens Jr. - The Children’s Theatre of Charleston present the play, which adapts Mary Pope Osborne’s book, as Jack and Annie’s tree house takes them to Victorian London in this holiday-themed story, where they learn the importance of charity and kindness through their friendship with legendary author, Charles Dickens . The play will be presented at the Charleston Civic Center Little Theater on Dec. 9 and 10 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 10 and 11 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 for students and $12 for adults.

A Christmas Carol - ACTC presents its annual production of the Charles Dickens classic on Dec. 2, 2016 at 11 a.m., Dec. 2 and 3 at 7 p.m., and Dec. 4 at 2:30 p.m.

A Charlie Brown Christmas - Jenny Wiley Theatre presents the classic story on Dec. 6, 8, 9, 10, 13, 15, 16, 17 and 18 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 17 at 2 p.m.

A Christmas Carol...More or Less - Kanawha Players presents the play on Dec. 2 and 3 at 7:30 p.m. at the LaBelle Theater at 311 D Street in South Charleston. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and senior citizens $10.

Joytacular! - No Pants Players present an “all ages” Improv Comedy show on Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. at the Alban Arts and Conference Center at 65 Olde Main Street in St. Albans. Admission with the donation of a toy for Toys for Tots.

- The Laramie Project - George Washington High School Theater of the Nevertheless is performing the play on Dec. 9 and 10 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 11 at 1 p.m. at the school's auditorium. 

    So go see a show!