Title

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, October 21, 2017

Interview with Shawn from "Poe's Midnight Dreary"

   This is the only weekend when you can see the Halloween play from First Stage Theatre, Poe’s Midnight Dreary, which is being presented at Huntington Middle School.

   The show is all about the macabre stories by author Edgar Allan Poe and includes some of his greatest works - and how he met his end. 

   We’ve been sharing interviews with the cast, and up next is the talented Shawn Hodge:

Q: What is the play Poe's Midnight Dreary about?

Shawn: A poet named Edgar Allen Poe who has a soft spot in his heart but is very depressed.

Q: Tell us about the parts you play.

Shawn: I play a guy named Reginald who is very rich and doesn't care about anything. I also play a corpse. 

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

Shawn: Because I really like being part of the acting industry.

Q: Do you have a favorite scene in the play?

Shawn: When I start playing charades as a corpse.

Q: What shows have you done before?

Shawn: Without Strings and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

Q: If a kid reading this was thinking about trying out for a play, what would you tell them?

Shawn: It's a great way to make new friends and express yourself through acting. If you don't get a part the first time don't give up because there's always next time.

Q: Why would you recommend Poe's Midnight Dreary?

Shawn: Because it has a lot of great poems and all the actors collaborate together to make the show even better. 

Q: Thanks, Shawn!


Poe’s Midnight Dreary - First Stage Theatre Company presents the play based on Edgar Allen Poe’s most famous works, told through the characters as they visit Poe on his deathbed. It will be presented on Saturday, Oct. 21 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 22 at 2:30 p.m. at the Huntington Middle School auditorium at 935 3rd Street. Tickets at $8 for adults and $6 for children age 12 and under and senior citizens. 

Interview with Hunter from "Poe's Midnight Dreary"

    Time is running out fast - there are only three performances left for Poe’s Midnight Dreary, which is on stage this weekend at Huntington Middle School.

   Presented by First Stage Theatre (and kicking off the group’s 28th Season), the show is all about the horror author Edgar Allan Poe - his greatest works and his last days. 

   We’ve been sharing interviews with the cast, and up next is the talented Hunter Mullens:    

Q: What is the play Poe's Midnight Dreary about?

Hunter: Poe’s Midnight Dreary is about a deranged poet who relieves his most popular tales 

Q: Tell us about the part you play.

Hunter: I play Zachary. He is a character who is horrified by what his drunkard hands may do.

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

Hunter: I wanted to be a part of this play to gain experience and I enjoy dark poetry and theater. 

Q: What shows have you done before?

Hunter: I have done Xanadu Jr.

Q: If a kid reading this was thinking about trying out for a play, what would you tell them?

Hunter: To do their very best and be prepared.

Q: Why would you recommend the play?

Hunter: I would recommend Poe's Midnight Dreary to anyone who enjoys dramas with a bit of comedy.

Q: Thanks, Hunter!


Poe’s Midnight Dreary - First Stage Theatre Company presents the play based on Edgar Allen Poe’s most famous works, told through the characters as they visit Poe on his deathbed. It will be presented on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 21 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 21 and 22 at 2:30 p.m. at the Huntington Middle School auditorium at 935 3rd Street. Tickets at $8 for adults and $6 for children age 12 and under and senior citizens. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

Interview with Shannyn from "Poe's Midnight Dreary"

   Taking the stage tonight at Huntington Middle School is the first performance of Poe's Midnight Dreary, a play about the author Edgar Allan Poe and some of his most famous scary stories.

   We've been sharing some interviews with members of the cast, and up next we have Shannyn Kyle, a veteran of First Stage shows who's making her final stage appearance in this show:

Q: What is the play Poe's Midnight Dreary about?

Shannyn: The famous author and poet, Edgar Allan Poe, is on his deathbed in a hospital in Baltimore. While there, he is visited by the characters from his works.  

Q: Tell us about the parts you play.

Shannyn: I play many different parts, including Captain O’Herrigan and Victorine. Captain O’Herrigan is a police officer with the Baltimore Police Department who makes an appearance during The Tell-Tale Heart. Victorine, which is my favorite role, is a flirtatious French heroine in "Premature Burial," who finds herself in an interesting situation. 

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

Shannyn: I wanted to be a part of the show because it is my senior year and I love Edgar Allan Poe.  I read some of his works in class last year, including "The Raven" and "The Black Cat." I love the personification and the literary devices he used in writing his pieces. Also, I was excited to do a show with my older sister, Brynne, who directed the show.  

Q: Do you have a favorite scene in the play?

Shannyn: My favorite scene is probably "The Premature Burial" because the whole scene is just hilarious. 

Q: What shows have you done before?

Shannyn: Sadly, this is my 16th and last First Stage show. I have acted in many FSTC shows, including Seussical The Musical, Disney's The Little Mermaid and It’s A Bird, It’s A Plane, It’s Superman! 

Q: If a kid reading this was thinking about trying out for a play, what would you tell them?

Shannyn: Go for it! Theatre has lead me to meet many people and make lots of friends! First Stage is a wonderful and family-like company to work with! 

Q: Why would you recommend Poe's Midnight Dreary? 

Shannyn: Everyone has or will learn about Poe in their life time.  This play brings his works to life in a creative way. If you are looking for a Halloween inspired play, then this is the show for you! 

Q: Thanks, Shannyn!

Poe’s Midnight Dreary - First Stage Theatre Company presents the play based on Edgar Allen Poe’s most famous works, told through the characters as they visit Poe on his deathbed. It will be presented on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 20 and 21 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 21 and 22 at 2:30 p.m. at the Huntington Middle School auditorium at 935 3rd Street. Tickets at $8 for adults and $6 for children age 12 and under and senior citizens. 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Interview with Aaliyah from "Poe's Midnight Dreary"

   Friday marks the premiere public performance for the Halloween show Poe’s Midnight Dreary, being presented by First Stage Theatre at Huntington Middle School. 

   Here’s the next in our series of interviews with the cast - let’s hear from the talented Aaliyah Walls, who plays several roles in the play.

Q: What is the play Poe's Midnight Dreary about?

Aaliyah:  This performance is about telling the life of Edgar Allen Poe, featuring many of his written works, including "The Raven,” "The Tell-Tale Heart,” and many more.

Q: Tell us about the parts you play.

Aaliyah: I play Virginia / Madeline, Poe's love interest. I also play Pluto, the black cat, and Allouisious' mother. I love playing all of my parts, but it is definitely hard to change so quickly in a shorter play such as this one.

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

Aaliyah: I wanted to be in this show to entertain and educate others about Edgar Allen Poe. I also just really love to act and to be onstage.

Q: Do you have a favorite scene in the play?

Aaliyah: All of the scenes are very fun to act out and watch, but I have to say that one of my favorite scenes was with Bertram. Lauren does such a great job portraying the character.

Q: What shows have you done before - or is this your first play?

Aaliyah: This is my sixth show in First Stage Theater. I have done three musicals, including "Aladdin Jr." and "School of Rock.” I've also acted in two non-musicals, my latest one being "Without Strings.” I've also acted in many grade school plays.

Q: If a kid reading this was thinking about trying out for a play, what would you tell them?

Aaliyah: I would encourage them to just go for it. Even if you don't make it, that should still encourage you to try harder next time! When you make it into a show, play your part the very best you can, no matter how small or big.

Q: Why would you recommend Poe's Midnight Dreary?

Aaliyah: Watching this show from offstage and acting onstage has really given me a sense of what Poe really was like (not to mention that Lillian is absolutely perfect for the part), and it also has a scary theme to it that is perfect for the month of October.

Q: Thanks, Aaliyah!

Poe’s Midnight Dreary - First Stage Theatre Company presents the play based on Edgar Allen Poe’s most famous works, told through the characters as they visit Poe on his deathbed. It will be presented on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 20 and 21 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 21 and 22 at 2:30 p.m. at the Huntington Middle School auditorium at 935 3rd Street. Tickets at $8 for adults and $6 for children age 12 and under and senior citizens. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Interview with Jeremy Ramsier with "The Odd Couple"

   This weekend wraps up the final performance from the group known as ARTS production - and it’s a terrific show: the classic Neil Simon comedy The Odd Couple.

   My lovely wife and I caught it last week and had a great time - it’s smart and very, very funny (my favorite of Simon’s comedies), and the cast is terrific!

   If you want to see it, get your tickets quick - the weekend shows are almost sold out!

  We have one more interview with the show’s cast to share - so let's hear from the "new kid on the block" - the funny and talented Jeremy Ramsier

Q: Just in case someone hasn't seen the show, tell us about The Odd Couple.

Jeremy: The story is about two friends, Oscar and Felix. Oscar is a slob. Felix is fastidious to a fault. Felix has just found out his wife wants a divorce, leaving him without a place to live. Oscar, who is already divorced, invites Felix to live with him in his apartment. People say opposites attract. Well, in this case, opposites mix like oil and water. However, by the end, this mixture becomes a little more homogenous as Oscar becomes less of a slob and Felix doesn't sweat the small stuff.

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

Jeremy: I've wanted to act in a straight play for a long time. Most shows in the Huntington area are musicals. I don't do musicals. I saw the auditions posted online for The Odd Couple and thought, this is my chance. I auditioned and got a part. 

Q: Tell us about the character you play.

Jeremy: I play the character of Speed. He is a friend of Oscar and Felix and part of the Friday night poker gang. Speed is a wisecracking smartass with a short fuse. His anger comes through as sarcastic remarks mostly. The character of Speed is a fun part to play. His frustrations toward his friends creates some of the more comedic moments when the poker game is played.

Q: What's your background in theatre?

Jeremy: I'm a relative newcomer as a theater participant. I have, however, been a theater parent for many a year. My first role in a production was as stage hand for 5th Avenue's White Christmas. Later, I made ensemble cast and was the prop master for their production of Sweeney Todd. 

Q: What's the most challenging thing about doing a comedy like this?

Jeremy: Timing. There isn't much air between lines. That's what makes the lines punch and the punchlines funny. Getting the lines correct to make the jokes work has also been a challenge. It's funny (or not-so funny in this case) how changing just a word or two can make the difference between the audience laughing or them missing the joke completely. The show is physical. Much of the comedy comes from physical, almost slapstick humor. 

Q: Tell us about the talented cast.

Jeremy: Everybody has been a complete joy to work with. Although I'm a newbie, I've been treated like a part of the family. The whole crew is invested in the show and their commitment is what makes it work. 

Q: Why would you recommend this show?

Jeremy: First and foremost, it's funny. With all the trouble going on these days, it's nice to be able to escape for a few hours and laugh. There are also many tender moments between Oscar and Felix. It's relatable. You find yourself thinking, am I carefree like Oscar, or am I uptight like Felix? Finding the balance between the two is what makes good people. 

Q: Thanks, Jeremy!

The Odd Couple by Neil Simon will be presented by Arts Resources for the Tri-State (ARTS) on Thursday  Friday and Saturday, Oct. 19, 20 and 21 at 8 p.m. at the ARTS Renaissance Ballroom at 900 8th Street in Huntington. Tickets are $15 for the show only and $30 for both dinner and the show. Reservations are required for the dinner - call 304-734-2787. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Interview with Halee from "Poe's Midnight Dreary"

    We’re just a few days away from the first performance of Poe’s Midnight Dreary, the Halloween play being presented by First Stage Theatre at Huntington Middle School. 

   We have some interviews with the cast to share - up next is Halee Plybon, who plays several roles in the play. 

Q: What is the play Poe's Midnight Dreary about?

Halee: The play is about Edgar Allan Poe; he is seeing a series of his writings right before he dies, and he keeps switching between his writings and reality.

Q: Tell us about the parts you play.

Halee: I play numerous roles: Zachary's Wife, Figure 1, Sailor 1, Doctor 1, and Chorus Member.

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

Halee: I wanted to be a part of this play because I like to act and want to gain more experience in the field of drama. 

Q: Do you have a favorite scene in the play?

Halee: My favorite scene in the play is “The Tell-Tale Heart,” because it involves mystery and transformation.

Q: What shows have you done before?

Halee: I have been in other plays before First Stage. I was in Spring Hill Elementary's Music Drama for three years where we acted and sang. Those plays included: "Lights,  Camera, Christmas,” "I Want a Christmas Vacation" and "Out at Seas.”  With First Stage, this is my third play with them. I was in "Without Strings" and "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer."

Q: If a kid reading this was thinking about trying out for a play, what would you tell them?

Halee: If a child wanted to try out for a play with First Stage I would tell them how fun it is and how much of an opportunity it is to act and be a part of a GREAT show.

Q: Why would you recommend Poe's Midnight Dreary?

Halee: I would recommend Poe's Midnight Dreary because it involves mystery, suspense, a bit of dark comedy, mixed in with enough creepiness just in time for Halloween. 

Q: Thanks, Halee!

Poe’s Midnight Dreary - First Stage Theatre Company presents the play based on Edgar Allen Poe’s most famous works, told through the characters as they visit Poe on his deathbed. It will be presented Oct. 20 and 21 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 21 and 22 at 2:30 p.m. at the Huntington Middle School auditorium at 935 3rd Street. Tickets at $8 for adults and $6 for children age 12 and under and senior citizens. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Interview with Lillian from "Poe's Midnight Dreary"

   Taking the stage this weekend (for one weekend only) is a treat for Halloween: Poe's Midnight Dreary, which is based on the life and stories by the master of the macabre, Edgar Allan Poe.

   It's the first show of the season for First Stage Theatre Company, and we have some interviews with the cast to share.

   Up first is the actor playing Poe himself - here's Lillian Ramsier:

Q: What is the play Poe's Midnight Dreary about?

Lillian: The play takes place in a hospital in Baltimore. Throughout the play, Poe is haunted by his creations as he and the others narrate his stories.

Q: Tell us about the part you play.

Lillian: I play Poe, the lead in the show. It’s been one of the best roles so far. 

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

Lillian: I wanted to be part of this show because I love Poe and his works and I love working with First Stage.

Q: What shows have you done before - or is this your first play?

Lillian: This is definitely not my first show. It’s my 13th show all together. I’ve been in other shows like Tom Sawyer as Huck Finn and Without Strings as Cricket.

Q: If a kid reading this was thinking about trying out for a play, what would you tell them?

Lillian: Do It. Shows are so much fun and has helped me with so much. It’s a great experience for everyone.

Q: Why would you recommend Poe's Midnight Dreary


Lillian: If they like scary things and Poe, they’ll love this. It’s a great story line and it may be a once in a lifetime experience to see this show.

   Thanks, Lillian!

Poe’s Midnight Dreary - First Stage Theatre Company presents the play based on Edgar Allen Poe’s most famous works, told through the characters as they visit Poe on his deathbed. It will be presented Oct. 20 and 21 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 21 and 22 at 2:30 p.m. at the Huntington Middle School auditorium at 935 3rd Street. Tickets at $8 for adults and $6 for children age 12 and under and senior citizens. 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Interview with Mandy Harper with "The Odd Couple"

   Tonight wraps up the first weekend of performances for the ARTS production of the classic Neil Simon comedy The Odd Couple - so let’s continue our interviews with the show’s actors!

   The show features a mostly-male cast, but a couple of talented females also take the stage - so for today’s interviews, let’s hear from the lovely and talented Mandy Harper, who plays Cecily Pigeon

Q: Why did you want to be part of The Odd Couple

Mandy: I've always wanted to do comedy and never really had the chance. Neil Simon is amazing and I'm so excited to be able to do one of his shows. It's so very different than the types of shows I'm used to acting in.

Q: Tell us about the character you play. 

Mandy: I play Cecily Pigeon. She and her sister Gwen are neighbors to Oscar. She is absolutely clueless and very "COO-COO" and you could say over the top obnoxious, but in a cute way.

Q: What's your background in theatre? 

Mandy: I've been doing theatre since I was very small. I did community theatre in Charleston growing up. I studied Acting at Pace University for a year in New York City. I transferred to Marshall my sophomore year and graduated this past May with a B.F.A in Theatre Performance. My favorite show I've ever done would have to be "Circle Mirror Transformation" by Annie Baker at Marshall University. Theatre is my life and I intend on moving to the West Coast in a year or so to study at a Meisner conservatory.

Q: What's the most challenging thing about doing a comedy like this? 

Mandy: It is so hard not to laugh on stage. Seriously, Robert Hutchens and James Holley kill me but I have to hold it together until I am off stage. I keep reminding myself that the audience will think it's funnier if you act completely serious.

Q: Tell us about the talented cast. 

Mandy: I love working with this cast! Robert is AMAZING as Felix. Seriously, absolutely on point. And of course James too and everyone else. I love getting to work with these people! Everyone brings 100 percent to the stage every night and it's such a fun experience and I am so thankful!

Q: Why would you recommend this show?

Mandy: If you want to come laugh your socks off then come see this show. It's like you're in the living room of Felix and Oscars house. Seriously, you won't be disappointed!

Q: Thanks, Mandy!


The Odd Couple by Neil Simon will be presented by Arts Resources for the Tri-State (ARTS) on Oct. 14, 19, 20 and 21 at 8 p.m. at the ARTS Renaissance Ballroom at 900 8th Street in Huntington. Tickets are $15 for the show only and $30 for both dinner and the show. Reservations are required for the dinner - call 304-734-2787. 

The Show Must Go On

   So the good news is, last night's performance of The Odd Couple went on as planned.

   According to reports, representatives of the Huntington Housing Deveoplment Corporation temporarily blocked the entrance to the ballroom - though the organization hasn't issued a statement about why it took that action.

   But the show went on as planned, as the members of the audience were brought up via the back stairway. 

   The sold-out show went on as planned, and according to reports from ARTS representatives, all planned shows will be presented as scheduled.

   Shows will be presented tonight and next Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 8 p.m.

   

Friday, October 13, 2017

Trying to Stop the Show

   Under the heading of "unbelievable events," I'm seeing reports on Facebook that the Huntington Housing Development Corporation is blocking people from entering the Renaissance Theatre to see The Odd Couple.

   Why they would be doing this (the public has been attending shows at the old Huntington High School for almost 20 years, after all, with not a peep or objection) and what they hope to gain by stopping Huntington residents from seeing this show is difficult to understand.

   There were reports some months back of a legal issue between the company and ARTS, but if they wants to settle an issue - or wants money from the organization - it's difficult to understand how stopping the group from selling tickets benefits anyone.

   Hopefully this can all be sorted out, but if this is the kind of treatment ARTS has been dealing with, it's no wonder that the group has decided to shut down.

   We'll follow up on this as more information comes to light.

(***CORRECTION - An earlier version of this post stated the Huntington Housing Authority was blocking the entrance - it was actually the Huntington Housing Development Corporation, which operates the old Huntington High School.)

On Stage This Weekend

   You have four great shows to choose from this weekend - here's the rundown:

- The Odd Couple -  Arts Resources for the Tri State (ARTS) presents the play by Neil Simon on Oct. 13, 14, 19, 20 and 21 at 8 p.m. at the ARTS Renaissance Ballroom at 900 8th Street in Huntington. Tickets are $15 for the show only and $30 for both dinner and the show. Reservations are required for the dinner - call 304-734-2787.

- The Miracle Worker - Marshall University Theatre presents the play that tells the story of Annie Sullivan and her student, blind and mute Helen Keller. It will be presented Oct. 13 and 14 at 7:30 p.m. at The Francis-Booth Experimental Theatre at The Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center in Huntington. Tickets are $20.

- Disney’s High School Musical - Huntington High School Theatre presents the show on Oct. 13 and 14 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 15 at 3 p.m. at the Huntington High School Auditorium at 1 Highlander Way. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students.

- The Addams Family - Jenny Wiley Theatre will present the musical based on the beloved TV show on Oct. 13, 14, 17, 19, 20, 21, 24, 26, 27, 28 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 15 and 22 at 3 p.m. at 216 Second Street in Pikeville, Ky.

   So go see a show!