Category Archives: StageCentral

Three for the Price of One – Spectral Sisters’ One Act Festival This Weekend
Wednesday, September 9, 2015

SSP 2015 One Act Slider 02You don’t have to look hard to find variety in theatre offerings in central Louisiana. From Broadway standards to family favorites to the edgy and experimental, each season our local production companies fill area stages with comedies, dramas, musicals and everything in between. This weekend, Spectral Sisters offers us a “three-fer” variety pack—three very different original plays for the low, low price of one.

 

Creeping Charlie, by Dr. Ken Robbins, explores one man’s middle age crisis with humor—and not a little angst. Praline’s Cut-N-Style is a side-splittin’ back porch comedy by John Wilson that will bring tears (of laughter) to your eyes. Dr. David Holcombe’s issue-driven Prom Dress is the story of a teen’s special night gone tragically awry.

 

Of eight submissions to Spectral Sisters’ juried One Act Play Contest held earlier this year, these three plays were selected for staging. Once the winners were announced, the call went out for directors and actors to fill the roles. Auditions were held in July.

 

In conjunction with the One Act Festival, SSP’s annual playwriting workshop will be held on Saturday, led by D. V. Simonian Caitlyn, actor and associate professor at the School of Stage and Screen at Western Carolina University. The workshop is free and open to anyone interested in learning or improving their craft. More information about the workshop can be found here: http://www.spectralsisters.com/index.php/upcoming-events

 

SSP has also announced the theme for their 2016 Ten-Minute Play Festival, “Thirteen,” in honor of their upcoming thirteenth season of ten-minute plays. Entries will be accepted beginning January 1, 2016. You can get started on yours by attending the free workshop!

 

Who:  Spectral Sisters Productions

What:  One Act Festival*

When:  September 10–13, Thurs.–Sat. @ 7:30pm; Sunday Matinee @ 2:30pm

Where:  Hearn Stage at the Kress Theatre, Downtown Alexandria

Tickets:  https://secure.acceptiva.com/?cst=455858

 

*Note: Plays contain adult content and might not be suitable for children.

 

Who:  Spectral Sisters Productions

What:  Playwriting Workshop with D.V. Simonian Caitlyn

When:  September 12 @ 1:00pm

Where:  Kress Theatre Lobby, Downtown Alexandria

 

—Gumbeaux

 

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Gumbeaux Arts PhotoGumbeaux’s heart beats to the rhythm of arts and culture in Louisiana. A jazz vocalist, actor, and writer, her New Orleans family’s artistic roots run at least four generations deep. Now residing in the heart of the state, Gumbeaux is on a mission to bring Louisiana arts, artists, and audiences together, spreading the word about our spicy cultural roux, with a flavor all its own! For arts happenings all around Louisiana, like “GumBeauxArts” on Facebook. Gumbeaux tweets Louisiana arts @GumBeauxArts. Email Gumbeaux at gumbeauxarts@krskreative.com.

 

Gumbeaux is one of TicketCentral’s volunteer bloggers for the 2015-16 season.




The More Things Change… City Park Players Presents Clybourne Park
Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Theatre is a spiritual and social X-ray of its time. —Stella Adler

 

CPP Clybourne Park Poster 01 (JPEG)In 1959, playwright Lorraine Hansberry made history with the first African American drama to be produced on Broadway. She was 29, and the play was A Raisin in the Sun. Loosely based on her own family’s experience with housing discrimination in 1938 Chicago (Hansberry v. Lee), the play explores the struggles of the Youngers, a black family who is offered a sum of money to stay away from Clybourne Park, the white neighborhood where they have purchased their dream home. The premiere starred Sidney Poitier, Claudia McNeil, and Ruby Dee, and over the past half century, Hansberry’s work has received enduring critical and commercial acclaim.

 

Bruce Norris’ Tony Award (2012) and Pulitzer Prize-winning (2011) Clybourne Park spins off right where A Raisin in the Sun ends—the Youngers have spurned the Neighborhood Improvement Association’s offer and sent its representative to “run tell that.” The action picks up across town, in the very Clybourne Park home that the Youngers soon will occupy. The second act transports us fifty years—from 1959 to 2009—to the same house, with new occupants. Since the Youngers’ inauspicious move, you might wonder, what have the past fifty years wrought in Clybourne Park?

 

[caption id="attachment_5381" align="alignleft" width="390"]Stage Clybourne Park 01 From Act I. Courtesy of Reverend Charley Photography.[/caption]

Where A Raisin in the Sun trained a spotlight on the hot button issue of race and community in 1959, two generations later, Clybourne Park illuminates an even wider swath of issues, from gentrification to veterans affairs to attitudes about people with mental illness and disabilities. Where Hansberry offered a glimpse of the very real and persistent struggle that many African Americans still experience, to own a slice of the American pie, Norris holds up a mirror for us all to see a full spectrum of pernicious intolerances reflected in ourselves.

 

Bigotry is never pretty and in Clybourne Park Norris exposes its pallid underbelly, where it most often hides its hackneyed platitudes, outdated proprieties, and unexamined privilege. The emotions in Clybourne Park are as raw as its issues are tangled, with highly charged language to match. But when you see it, please, please do not allow the strong language to distract you from the power of the experience. This play is worthy of your consideration. It’s worthy of your contemplation. It will not leave you untouched.

 

[caption id="attachment_5387" align="alignright" width="400"]Stage Clybourne Park 02 From Act II. Courtesy of Reverend Charley Photography.[/caption]

Plan to be part of the audience for at least one of three scheduled “talk-backs” with the director and cast, on Thursday, July 30; Thursday, August 6; and Friday, August 7, immediately following the performance. These events offer opportunities to share your thoughts about the play, ask questions of the cast, and process your experience with others.

 

Director Ty Cedars is to be credited for his vision, and the cast for their delivery of such authentic performances. Actor Willem Dafoe is quoted as saying, “Great theatre is about challenging how we think and encouraging us to fantasize about a world we aspire to.” Kudos to City Park Players for stepping up to just such an ideal.

 

Clybourne Park opens July 30 and runs through Sunday, August 9. Cast members include David Folarin, Kendall From, Joshua Goodnight, Amanda Phillips, Karen Riley Simmons, Tina Smith, and Daniel Townley, with stage management by Ashley Treib.

 

See you at the theatre, dahling!

 

Who:  City Park Players

What:  Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris

When:  July 30–August 9, Thurs.–Sat. @ 7:30pm; Sunday Matinees @ 2:30pm

Where:  Hearn Stage at the Kress Theatre, Downtown Alexandria

Tickets:  https://secure.acceptiva.com/?cst=69658f

 

Note: Thursday, August 6, also offers a “pay what you can” admission night for theatre-goers for whom the ticket price might be out of range or simply not enough.

 

—Gumbeaux

 

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Gumbeaux Arts PhotoGumbeaux’s heart beats to the rhythm of arts and culture in Louisiana. A jazz vocalist, actor, and writer, her New Orleans family’s artistic roots run at least four generations deep. Now residing in the heart of the state, Gumbeaux is on a mission to bring Louisiana arts, artists, and audiences together, spreading the word about our spicy cultural roux, with a flavor all its own! For arts happenings all around Louisiana, like “GumBeauxArts” on Facebook. Gumbeaux tweets Louisiana arts @GumBeauxArts. Email Gumbeaux at gumbeauxarts@krskreative.com.

 

Gumbeaux is one of TicketCentral’s volunteer bloggers for the 2015-16 season.




The Beauty of Beauty and the Beast
Monday, July 20, 2015

LBM Beauty & the Beast Poster 02sQuestion:  Where in Central Louisiana can youth get professional musical theatre training?

Answer:  LBM Productions’ Summer Musical Theatre Intensive, that’s where!

 

Yes, folks, right here in River City—or Alexandria, in this case, LBM Productions’ summer theatre camp offers children and teens an opportunity to significantly improve their theatre skills, meet new friends, and be part of an exciting summer musical theatre experience. This year’s camp featured Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Jr., and drew 24 young people, ages 8–19, from schools across central Louisiana and cities as far away as Lafayette and New Orleans.

 

[caption id="attachment_5251" align="alignleft" width="300"]Stage 150720 01 Lumière the Candlestick and Babette the Feather Duster. Courtesy of LBM Productions.[/caption]

The two-week camp consisted of three days of intensive, 5-hour workshops in music, choreography, blocking, and characterizations, followed by six days of rehearsals to prepare for the show’s opening matinee on Sunday, July 19. In addition to enjoying six performances from July 19–25, audience members get to meet Beauty, the Beast, and other characters over dinner, lunch, or dessert during special “Be Our Guest!” events at each show.

 

“The summer intensive gives campers a chance to focus on improving their skills without the pressure of school or other extracurricular activities,” said Laine Miller, LBM Productions founder and director. “In only two weeks, their skills have improved by leaps and bounds and I’m very pleased with the results!”

 

In addition to direction from Laine, campers were instructed by Olivia Miller in vocals, Amelia Dewitt in choreography, and Jan Reich in characterizations.

 

[caption id="attachment_5258" align="alignright" width="250"]Stage 150720 02 The Wardrobe or “Madame de la Grande Bouche.” Courtesy of LBM Productions.[/caption]

Dr. Richard Brasher and Alexandria Pediatric Dentistry are co-producers of this year’s summer intensive workshop and production.

 

LBM Productions’ Disney’s Beauty and the Beast opens with a matinee on Sunday, July 19, at the Richard Gwartney Theatre at LSU-Alexandria. The production runs through Saturday, July 25, with a variety of matinees and evening shows throughout the week.

 

Who:  LBM Productions

What:  Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Jr.

When:  PERFORMANCESJuly 19–25; Sun. & Sat. matinees @ 2:00pm; Mon. & Thu. matinees @ 11:00am; Mon. & Fri. evenings @ 7:00pm

 

BE OUR GUEST EVENTSSun. & Sat. Dessert @ 1:00pm; Mon. & Thu. Lunch @ Noon; Mon. & Fri. Dinner @ 6:00pm

 

Where:  Richard Gwartney Theatre, LSUA, Mulder Hall

Tickets:  https://secure.acceptiva.com/?cst=f94d99

 

What’s up next for LBM Productions? Be on the lookout in mid-August for auditions for The Addams Family, set to open in October.

 

—Gumbeaux

 

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Gumbeaux Arts PhotoGumbeaux’s heart beats to the rhythm of arts and culture in Louisiana. A jazz vocalist, actor, and writer, her New Orleans family’s artistic roots run at least four generations deep. Now residing in the heart of the state, Gumbeaux is on a mission to bring Louisiana arts, artists, and audiences together, spreading the word about our spicy cultural roux, with a flavor all its own! For arts happenings all around Louisiana, like “GumBeauxArts” on Facebook. Gumbeaux tweets Louisiana arts @GumBeauxArts. Email Gumbeaux at gumbeauxarts@krskreative.com.

 

Gumbeaux is one of TicketCentral’s team of volunteer bloggers for the 2015-2016 season.




Of Snakes, Snake Oil, and Sibling Rivalries
Thursday, June 25, 2015

SSP 10 Minutes 2015 Poster (Official)A few years ago, while researching an environmental story in the Florida Everglades, I met a winsome herpetologist who was there to participate in The Great Florida Burmese Python Snake Hunt. Dressed in safari khakis and horn rimmed glasses, he was dangerously handsome with a hint of nerd—a cross between Crocodile Dundee and Denzel Washington, if you can imagine that. As we talked alternately about global warming and the curious mating habits of the python molurus bivittatus, he began to wax on about his Grave Love for the carnivorous reptiles that were eating their way through the endangered glades. He kept several as pets, he told me. I began to realize this was a First Date, Going Badly when he confessed his Private Passion for a “game” he and his pets would play, wherein the constrictors would wrap themselves around his body and slowly and methodically squeeze, performing a sort of whole body “massage” until he became lightheaded and would almost pass out before they let him go. He described it as exhilarating. I described it as hellacrazy and moonwalked away from him and his snakeskin boots as fast as I could go.

 

I’ve heard that Florida is sponsoring another python hunt in early 2016. I can’t help but wonder if my fetished ophiophilist will be there or if he became The Last Patient his psychiatrist would ever see before seeking therapy for herself. No chance of me getting within a hundred miles of the place. The Prospect of my spending another minute in The Garden of Earthly Delights that is the Florida glades is slim to none.

 

Spectral Sisters Production’s annual Ten Minute Play Festival opens this weekend at the Hearn Stage of the Kress Theatre. The festival will present the eight winners of the 2015 ten-minute playwriting contest, held earlier this year. The winning playwrights were David R. Sobel, Mike Hogan, Jarrod Abraham, Allen Rowlen, John Wilson, and David Holcombe, along with first place winner, Melissa Savage. (See if you can identify all eight winning titles, cleverly disguised in the tale above.)

 

Who:  Spectral Sisters Productions

What:   Ten Minute Play Festival – Comedy from the Back Porch

When:  June 18–21, Thurs.–Sat. @ 7:30pm; Sunday Matinee @ 2:30pm

Where:  Hearn Stage at the Kress Theatre, Downtown Alexandria

Tickets:  https://secure.acceptiva.com/?cst=0b7cac

 

Submissions for the Spectral Sisters One Act Play Festival, scheduled for September, are being accepted through July 1, 2015. Electronic copies should be sent to daniho402@gmail.com. In addition, the $15 entrance fee should accompany a hard copy sent to Spectral Sisters Productions at P. O. Box 14472, Alexandria 71315.

 

 

Dinner, Deltas, and Sisterhood

 

CPP LogoThe Central Louisiana Juneteenth Association and the Alexandria Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, in collaboration with City Park Players, happily present a dinner theatre production of Housewarming by Phyllis Clemons. The production is part of events and activities commemorating Juneteenth in Alexandria.

 

Originally set in New Orleans, director Rosa Ashby Metoyer has adapted the play to present day Alexandria. Four sisters get together at their mother’s house to spruce it up and paint a room before the church pastor and usher board arrive for a little “housewarming.” Hilarity ensues when childhood rivalries and family issues resurface as the sisters work. Cast members include Sylvia Yancy Davis, Sha’Condria Sibley, Zelda Harrison Baines, and LaTonya Scriven Charles, along with Metoyer.

 

Who:  Central Louisiana Juneteenth Association; Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Alexandria Chapter; City Park Players

What:   Juneteenth Dinner Theatre featuring Housewarming by Phyllis Clemons

When:  Sunday, June 21 @ 6:00pm

Where:  Alexandria Convention Hall, Downtown Alexandria

Tickets:  $25 at Brent’s Desktop Publishing, (318) 445-9120; Best & Swain Insurance (318) 443-6500; or at the door

 

—Gumbeaux

 

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Gumbeaux Arts PhotoGumbeaux’s heart beats to the rhythm of arts and culture in Louisiana. A jazz vocalist, actor, and writer, her New Orleans family’s artistic roots run at least four generations deep. Now residing in the heart of the state, Gumbeaux is on a mission to bring Louisiana arts, artists, and audiences together, spreading the word about our spicy cultural roux, with a flavor all its own! For arts happenings all around Louisiana, like “GumBeauxArts” on Facebook. Gumbeaux tweets Louisiana arts @GumBeauxArts. Email Gumbeaux at gumbeauxarts@krskreative.com.

 

Gumbeaux is one of TicketCentral’s team of volunteer bloggers for the 2015-2016 season.




Musical Fantasy and Only Ten Minutes
Friday, May 1, 2015

LC Once Upon A Mattress Poster 01Theatre Louisiana College is at it again! With elaborate period costumes, an audacious set, lithe vocals, and a “cast of thousands,” tlc’s production of Once Upon Mattress is delightful and entertaining. Some of the best work I’ve seen at tlc has been their period plays. This musical stage adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson’s tale, The Princess and the Pea, is no exception (though surely, Anderson never dreamed of the zany subplots and quirky characters this retelling contains!).

 

Opening on Broadway in 1959, Once Upon A Mattress marked the Broadway début of Carol Burnett, who garnered a Tony nomination for her role as Winifred the Woebegone, only one of the aptly named characters in this tongue-in-cheek fantasy. Here, Princess Winifred is played by Rose Smoak, opposite Cullen Chaffin as the hapless Prince Dauntless, with Karen Wagley as Queen Aggravain, and Daniel Majure as King Sextimus. Can you just guess the profiles for these epithetic characters?

 

LC senior Emily Lansing directs the bevy (okay, not thousands, but 31 cast members), which includes community actors and area elementary and high school students, as well as LC’s host of players. Senior Bekah Unsworth has created an ambitious and imaginative set, turning the Martin Theatre into a labyrinth of entrances and exits, balconies and landings that director Lansing fully employs. Alana Pate (always a master) is musical director and Tabitha Bryant Huffman produces.

 

Who: theatre lc

What: Once Upon A Mattress by Jay Thompson, Marshall Barer, Dean Fuller with music by Mary Rodgers

When: April 23–May 3, Thurs.–Sat. @ 7:00pm; Sunday Matinees @ 2:00pm

Where: Martin Performing Arts Center, Louisiana College, Pineville

Tickets: https://secure.acceptiva.com/?cst=63653e

 

 

mattress_sliderSpectral Sisters Productions (SSP) – 10-Minute Play Festival: Auditions – On a recent drizzly evening, Bob Savage, president of Spectral Sisters Productions, called to order an informal gathering of playwrights, actors, theatre-goers, and supporters. We all eagerly awaited his announcement of winners of SSP’s 10-Minute Play Writing Contest. Two third-party judges had ranked 18 entries, submitted by veteran and novice playwrights across Louisiana. The eight winning playwrights are: Melissa Savage (The Garden of Earthly Delights); David Holcombe (Speech Writing); John Wilson (First Date); Allen Rowlen (The Great Florida Burmese Python Snake Hunt); Jarrod Abraham (Grave Love); Jim Weinzettle (Private Passion); Philip Hogan (The Last Patient); and David R. Sobel (The Prospect).

 

Auditions for the festival plays will be held Saturday, May 2 at 2:00pm and Monday, May 4, at 6:00pm at the Rapides Foundation Building 1104 Fourth Street, downtown Alexandria. Directors for several of the plays are also being sought.

 

Who: Spectral Sisters Productions

What: 10-Minute Play Festival: Auditions

When: Saturday, May @ 2:00pm and Monday, May 4 @ 6:00pm

Where: Rapides Foundation Building, 1101 Fourth Street, Downtown Alexandria

Information: http://www.spectralsisters.com

 

See you at the theatre!

 

—Gumbeaux

 

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Gumbeaux Arts PhotoGumbeaux’s heart beats to the rhythm of arts and culture in Louisiana. A jazz vocalist, actor, and writer, her New Orleans family’s artistic roots run at least four generations deep. Now residing in the heart of the state, Gumbeaux is on a mission to bring Louisiana arts, artists, and audiences together, spreading the word about our spicy cultural roux, with a flavor all its own! For arts happenings all around Louisiana, like “GumBeauxArts” on Facebook. Gumbeaux tweets Louisiana arts @GumBeauxArts. Email Gumbeaux at gumbeauxarts@krskreative.com.

 

Gumbeaux is one of TicketCentral’s team of volunteer bloggers for the 2014-2015 season.




Love Viewed through an Open Envelope
Wednesday, April 22, 2015

“There must be millions of people all over the world who never get any love letters… I could be their leader.” —Charlie Brown

 

CPP Love Letters Poster (JPEG)Ahh, the love letter! Perhaps no other form of communication has gushed so much emotion, oozed so much vulnerability, or spewed so much hyperbole as the lettre d’amour. Love letters, almost by definition, are intended for the object’s eyes only, fraught with futility to explain the inexplicable and convey the ineffable. Such intimate sentiments, shared so tenderly, are not meant to be exposed to public air. Yet, let’s face it—that’s what makes them so irresistible! Looking over the writer’s shoulder, we get to coo at their pet names, learn cozy details of their relationship, and become virtual voyeurs of their most private life. Reading someone else’s love mail can be so satisfyingly vicarious!

 

That’s why you will absolutely adore City Park Players’ production of A.R. Gurney’s Love Letters. Picture this: two star-crossed lovers, separated by space, time and circumstance, reading decades-old letters, each reminiscing in their own private reverie. Love Letters isn’t your usual theatrical production, with lots of characters and action across the stage. But what it might lack in exploits, it more than makes up for in expression. We get countless snapshots of torrid celebrity love affairs or glimpses of legendary romances via Google or tabloid exposés, but rare is the opportunity to witness love from first seed through blossom, bloom, and fade as recorded in the lovers’ very own words. And that is what Love Letters is, a look at the fickleness of life and love through an open envelope.

 

Directed by Wanda Schenk, the production casts four pairs of actors as Melissa Gardner and Andrew Makepeace Ladd, III, each performing two of the eight performances: David and Norrine Caplan, and Vince and Connie Mallory in the first weekend’s shows, April 16–19; and Michael Davis with Frances Yeager, and Daniel Williams with Karen Riley Simmons, April 23–26.

 

Who: City Park Players

What:  Love Letters by A. R. Gurney

When: April 16–26, Thurs.–Sat. @ 7:30pm; Sunday Matinees @ 2:30pm

Where: Hearn Stage at the Kress Theatre, Downtown Alexandria

Tickets: https://secure.acceptiva.com/?cst=3d3775

 

– Gumbeaux

 

Click here to read older posts

 

Gumbeaux Arts PhotoGumbeaux’s heart beats to the rhythm of arts and culture in Louisiana. A jazz vocalist, actor, and writer, her New Orleans family’s artistic roots run at least four generations deep. Now residing in the heart of the state, Gumbeaux is on a mission to bring Louisiana arts, artists, and audiences together, spreading the word about our spicy cultural roux, with a flavor all its own! For arts happenings all around Louisiana, like “GumBeauxArts” on Facebook. Gumbeaux tweets Louisiana arts @GumBeauxArts. Email Gumbeaux at gumbeauxarts@krskreative.com.

 

Gumbeaux is one of TicketCentral’s team of volunteer bloggers for the 2014-2015 season.




Sunshine, Laughter, and Dark Comedy
Monday, March 23, 2015

[caption id="attachment_4503" align="alignright" width="300"]Stage God of Carnage 01 Georgia Fox (left) and Bradley Riddick as Veronica and Michael Novak in LSUA Empty Players’ production of God of Carnage.[/caption]

And now for a theatre pop quiz!

 

Question: What is the difference between comedy and tragedy?

 

I’ll give you a moment. (Insert Jeopardy theme song here.)

 

Time’s up!

 

If you answered, “One is funny and the other is sad”… um, yeah! Kinda, but not exactly and not always. A comedy, simply put, is anything that is not a tragedy. A theatre professor once explained this to me. In a tragedy, the hero dies. Think Hamlet. Romeo and Juliet. Into the Wild. The Fly. Tragic indeed. In other words, if the hero or heroine lives, it’s a comedy! But it’s not always funny, you know—funny “ha-ha!” Sometimes a comedy is satiric, or triumphant, or very dramatic. Think The Truman Show, Rocky, or even 12 Years A Slave (it would have been tragic, if Northup had also died). Got it?

 

[caption id="attachment_4506" align="alignleft" width="300"]Stage God of Carnage 02 Nick Blackstone (left) and Meagan Chatelain play Alan and Annette Raleigh in LSUA Empty Players’ production of God of Carnage.[/caption]

Now, I know this is a simplistic definition and it leaves lots of ground uncovered. If you want to debate Aristotelian or Shakespearean literary theories, or expound on all of the tragic and comedic subtypes, meet me at Tamp & Grind after the Sunday matinee. For the purpose of this post, we will only discuss two simple types of comedy: 1) light comedy (which is funny “ha-ha!”) and 2) dark comedy (you know, funny, but not always funny “ha-ha!”).

 

If you live in central Louisiana, you’re in luck! You have two perfect opportunities to experience and enjoy comedy—both light and dark—live on stage, simultaneously, over the next two weekends! Okay, you really do have to attend them one at a time, at different theatres, but they are running concurrently.

 

Opening Thursday, March 19 and running through Sunday, March 29 are City Park Players’ production of Neil Simon’s The Sunshine Boys (an excellent example of light comedy—funny “ha-ha!”), and the LSUA Empty Space Players’ production of God of Carnage (a superbly dark comedy, you know, funny, but not always funny “ha-ha!”).

 

[caption id="attachment_4509" align="alignright" width="330"]Stage God of Carnage 03 The cast of LSUA Empty Players’ production of God of Carnage: How do two civilized couples discussing their children end up like this?[/caption]

Neil Simon is one of the most prolific American playwrights and a master of light comedy. The Sunshine Boys is the story of Al Lewis and Willie Clark, a top-billed vaudevillian duo for more than 40 years. Estranged and disgruntled for the last decade, the aging “Lewis and Clark” grudgingly agree to a reunion for a television special. Simon’s legendary one-liners are cast and hilarity ensues. The jokes are quick and uncomplicated, the kind that evoke knee-slaps, belly laughs, and watering eyes at how funny they are.

 

Under the direction of Theresa Louviere, Bob Savage (Clark) and Jeremy Parker (Lewis) have a load of fun on stage. The entire cast is energetic, rounded out with Michael Dalme as television producer Ben Silverman, newcomer Wallace Levy as the nurse(s), Jerry Havens, Anthony LaCroix, and the voices of Bob Levy and Stu Riggar. Kathy Parker and Alana Pate also make pinch-hitting appearances as nurses during the run.

 

CPP Sunshine Boys Poster (JPEG)Yasmina Reza’s God of Carnage is a study of the tension between amiable, if stilted civility and savage instinct. Two couples meet to resolve an altercation between their two young sons. One boy, who might or might not have been provoked, has hit the other with a stick, knocking out two teeth. The incident proves far more damaging to the adult relationships than either boy’s appearance or psyche and the resulting debris is alarming. Strangers before their meeting, the civilized veneer of the couples’ exchange quickly dissolves into a bedlam that’s painful-yet-can’t-look-away funny to watch. It’s the kind of comedy that provokes laughter in outbursts, accompanied by nods of recognition at the truth of how funny we are.

 

Deftly directed by Bob Harper, the cast wring a full range of emotion from their lines and leave everything (literally, everything!) on the stage. Nick Blackstone and Meagan Chatelain play Alan and Annette Raleigh, he a corporate lawyer and she a “wealth manager.” Bradley Riddick and Georgia Fox are Michael and Veronica Novak, a wholesaler of “household goods” and a writer.

 

So, there you have it. Two very different plays in which not one hero dies—two comedies, one a light, hilarious knee-slapper and the other a dark, brawling hoot. Now, armed with this knowledge, go! Prepare for laughter. Guffaw, cackle, chuckle, and titter to your heart’s content, and do bring a friend.

 

Who:  City Park Players

What:  The Sunshine Boys by Neil Simon

When:  March 19–29, Thurs.–Sat. @ 7:30pm; Sunday Matinees @ 2:30pm

Where:  Hearn Stage at the Kress Theatre, Downtown Alexandria

Tickets:  https://secure.acceptiva.com/?cst=382594

 

Who:  LSUA’s Empty Space Players

What:  God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza; translated by Christopher Hampton

When:  March 19–29, Thurs.–Sat. @ 7:30pm; Sunday Matinees @ 2:30pm

Where:  Richard Gwartney Theatre, Mulder Hall, LSUA

Tickets:  https://secure.acceptiva.com/?cst=62809ahttp://

 

– Gumbeaux

 

Click here to read older posts

 

Gumbeaux Arts PhotoGumbeaux’s heart beats to the rhythm of arts and culture in Louisiana. A jazz vocalist, actor, and writer, her New Orleans family’s artistic roots run at least four generations deep. Now residing in the heart of the state, Gumbeaux is on a mission to bring Louisiana arts, artists, and audiences together, spreading the word about our spicy cultural roux, with a flavor all its own! For arts happenings all around Louisiana, like “GumBeauxArts” on Facebook. Gumbeaux tweets Louisiana arts @GumBeauxArts. Email Gumbeaux at gumbeauxarts@krskreative.com.

 

Gumbeaux is one of TicketCentral’s team of volunteer bloggers for the 2014-2015 season.




Cenla Stages Heat Up, Defy Punxsutawney
Monday, February 9, 2015

With the holiday lull behind us and the winter chill upon us, area theatres have been relatively quiet for the past couple of months. Now with Carnival balls in full swing, and T-Boy the Nutria predicting an early spring, central Louisiana’s theatre scene is also heating up! So, whip out your iCals, Outlooks, and Google Calendars, my friends, and synchronize those smart phones because you won’t want to miss a single show this season!

 

Getting things started is the Louisiana AACTFest 2015, a statewide, biannual community theatre festival presented as a program of the American Association of Community Theatres (AACT). This year’s state AACTFest will be held right here in Alexandria, hosted by City Park Players. In addition to City Park Players, participating theatres include Alexandria’s Spectral Sisters Productions, along with the Opelousas Little Theatre, and Upstage Theatre of Baton Rouge. They will compete for state honors to move on to the regional festival in Albuquerque in April. Regional winners will compete for a national title in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in July. Each company will present a work from their most recent season, or a new work that fits certain criteria. Festival stage performances are always a treat, so here’s a chance to catch some shows by local groups that you didn’t get to see last year, or something new from another part of the state. Either way, it’s a great time at a great price!

 

Stage AACTFest LogoWhat:  Louisiana State AACTFest 2015

When: Saturday, February 20

Where:  Coughlin-Saunders Performing Arts Center, Downtown Alexandria

Tickets:  $15/each two-show set

Information:  Jerry Havens Jerry@tdpowerskills.com

 

 

theatre lc (tlc)Little Women, directed by Dr. Debrah “Pete” Richardson. Theatre Louisiana College presents Louisa May Alcott’s beloved tale of the four March sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy—adapted for the stage by Marian de Forest. This Victorian period classic follows the four sisters on the verge of womanhood as they cope with changing societal norms. tlc is particularly good at period pieces such as this and their pool of talented students always delivers. This cheerful drama promises to be a delight.

 

little_women_sliderWho: theatre lc

What: Little Women by Marian de Forest

When: February 19–March 1, Thurs.–Sat. @ 7:00pm; Sunday Matinees @ 2:00pm

Where: Martin Performing Arts Center, Louisiana College, Pineville

Tickets: https://secure.acceptiva.com/?cst=a9a398

 

Tea and a Matinee – For a special treat, join theatre lc for a “spot of tea,” complete with Victorian-style snacks, on Saturday, February 21, at 10:00am, followed by a special matinee performance of Little Women, at 11:00, all for one low price. More information about the tea, here: tlc’s Little Women Victorian Tea. Contact Alana.pate@college.edu for reservations.

 

What: Victorian Tea & Little Women Matinee

When: Saturday, February 21, 10:00am

Where: Martin Performing Arts Center, Louisiana College, Pineville

Reservations: (318) 487-7495 or Alana Pate Alana.pate@college.edu (*Price includes tea and show.)

 

 

Stage Lagniappe Greater Tuna 01Lagniappe TheatreGreater Tuna. Lagniappe opens their 2015 season with one of their most popular shows. Greater Tuna is the hilarious Southern comedy about the third smallest town in Texas. It’s hilarity at its finest, with 2 actors, 20 characters, and thousands of laughs. With a mix of comedy, musicals, drama, Lagniappe is poised to offer central Louisiana another great stage season.

 

Who: Lagniappe Theatre Company

What:  Greater Tuna by Jaston Williams, Joe Sears, and Ed Howard

When: February 20 & 21, 7:00pm

Where: Lagniappe Theatre, Alexandria Mall, Alexandria

Tickets: (318) 487-8243, at the door, or here.

 

 

Spectral Sisters Productions (SSP) – 10-Minute Play Festival: Call for Submissions. It’s submission season for Spectral Sisters, and they are calling for novice and seasoned writers to submit entries for their 10-Minute Play competition. This year’s theme is “Back Porch Comedy.” Writers are asked to submit an original comedy (light, dark or in-between), using a single set—a nondescript back porch. First and second readings are February 7 and 28, respectively. The February readings offer authors a chance to “workshop” their plays and make any changes ahead of the March 10 deadline for all submissions. Third-party readers will adjudicate the plays and winners will be announced on April 11. Winning selections will be produced in SSP’s 10-Minute Play Festival, June 18–21. Complete criteria and contest guidelines can be found on the Spectral Sisters Productions website, here.

 

spectral_sisters_1(2)Who: Spectral Sisters Productions

What: 10-Minute Play Festival: Call for Submissions

When: 1st Reading – February 7 & 2nd Reading – February 28, 10:00am–2:00pm (Submission Deadline – March 10)

Where: Rapides Foundation Building, 1101 Fourth Street, Downtown Alexandria

Information:  http://www.spectralsisters.com

 

 

latraviata_sliderCity Park PlayersThe Sunshine Boys. City Park Players opens their 2015 season with classic Neil Simon comedy. Al Lewis and Willie Clark were top-billed vaudevillians for more than 40 years. Estranged and disgruntled for the last decade, “Lewis and Clark” grudgingly agree to a reunion for a television special. Described by the New York Post as “ham on wry,” this audience favorite casts Simon’s legendary one-liners in rare form. CPP’s entire 2015 line-up looks great, so get your season tickets early at https://secure.acceptiva.com/?cst=88e07d! Get more information via cityparkplayers@gmail.com.

 

Who: City Park Players

What: The Sunshine Boys by Neil Simon

When: March 19–29, Thurs.–Sat. @ 7:30pm; Sunday Matinees @ 2:30pm

Where: Hearn Stage at the Kress Theatre, Downtown Alexandria

Tickets: https://secure.acceptiva.com/?cst=382594

 

 

little_women_sliderEmpty Space Players (LSUA)God of Carnage, directed by Robert Harper. A playground fight between two young boys turns into a hysterical evening of name-calling, tantrums, and tears before bedtime. What?? Not from the boys, but their parents! The New Yorker hailed this Tony Award-winning comedy about adults behaving badly as “ninety minutes of sustained mayhem.” In the hands of Bob Harper, we should expect nothing less than an evening of raucous delight!

 

Who: LSUA’s Empty Space Players

What: God of Carnage by Jasmina Reza; translated by Christopher Hampton

When: March 19–29, Thurs.–Sat. @ 7:30pm; Sundays @ 2:30pm

Where: Richard Gwartney Theatre, Mulder Hall, LSUA

Tickets: https://secure.acceptiva.com/?cst=62809a

 

– Gumbeaux

 

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Gumbeaux Arts PhotoGumbeaux’s heart beats to the rhythm of arts and culture in Louisiana. A jazz vocalist, actor, and writer, her New Orleans family’s artistic roots run at least four generations deep. Now residing in the heart of the state, Gumbeaux is on a mission to bring Louisiana arts, artists, and audiences together, spreading the word about our spicy cultural roux, with a flavor all its own! For arts happenings all around Louisiana, like “GumBeauxArts” on Facebook. Gumbeaux tweets Louisiana arts @GumBeauxArts. Email Gumbeaux at gumbeauxarts@krskreative.com.

 

Gumbeaux is one of TicketCentral’s team of volunteer bloggers for the 2014-2015 season.




Magic in the Midst of Doubt
Monday, November 17, 2014

There is something magical about live theatre. There in the audience, time, space, and actors are transformed before your very eyes by a little make-up, a couple of costumes, a few lights, and some dialogue. Belief and reality are suspended for an hour or two and your imagination is engaged as a short story comes to life. There in your seat, you are transformed, too. You weep, you laugh, you sing along. You think.

 

[caption id="attachment_3756" align="alignleft" width="400"]Stage Doubt 01 Jared Guillory as Fr. Flynn in LSUA’s production of Doubt: A Parable by John Patrick Shanley.[/caption]

In the wings magic happens, too. In the dark, on the other side of the backdrop, actors mouth their lines, stagehands handle props, costumes are changed, cues are anticipated, entrances awaited, and exits made. And yet, in the flurry of all that activity, secreted from the audience, weeks of rehearsal, hours of preparation, and months of planning take form and shape. Pages of dialogue and reams of director’s notes become something animate and relatable. The curtain rises, the lights go up, and—magic!

 

I’ve acted in many stage productions and attended many more. I’ve witnessed the magic of theatre from both sides of the footlights and still I am amazed by my own transformation each time. As a part of the audience, I love being transported beyond my own experiences and myself. As an actor, I relish slipping into a character’s skin, walking in her shoes, imagining her point of view, and working to express what she would feel or think. Each of these experiences stretches me. Being part of the cast of Doubt has been no different.

 

Doubt is one of those plays that grabs you by the lapels and insists that you to grapple with knotty issues. The play is set in 1964, at the fictional St. Nicholas Catholic School and Church in the Bronx, an institution that is all black and white and cloistered with confining habits and stifling traditions. Vatican II has loosened the moorings of the church, and that shift cloaks some with a gray fog of uncertainty. Sister Aloysius, the school’s longtime principal and anchor, finds herself at odds with changes introduced by the parish’s charismatic new priest, Father Flynn. And so it begins.

 

[caption id="attachment_3758" align="alignright" width="400"]Stage Doubt 02 Diane Falcone as Sr. Aloysius and Karen Riley Simmons as Mrs. Muller in LSUA’s production of Doubt: A Parable by John Patrick Shanley.[/caption]

My role as Mrs. Muller, the mother of one of the students, is not a large one, but under the direction of Bob Harper, understanding his interpretation, taking and listening to the direction he has given my cast mates and me, I’ve been stretched as an actor. I’ve grown through my interactions with Jared Guillory as Fr. Flynn, Elizabeth Hilgerson as Sr. James, and especially Diane Falcone as Sr. Aloysius, with whom I share a scene. Playwright John Patrick Shanley’s provocative handling of weighty and uncomfortable themes in the play has loosened some of my own moorings and caused me to think and consider and pray.

 

Theatre is like that. That’s its magic. Whether your experience is on the stage or in the audience, a stage play can meet you in one place and—presto!—transport you to another. Changed. Transformed. I hope you’ll take the opportunity to discover some of that magic for yourself, with LSUA’s production of Doubt, November 13–23. See you at the thee-a-tah!

 

—Gumbeaux

 

Who:  LSUA’s Empty Space Players

What:  Doubt: A Parable by John Patrick Shanley

When:  November 13–23, Thurs.–Sat. @ 7:30pm; Sunday Matinees @ 2:30pm

Where:  Richard Gwartney Theatre, Mulder Hall, LSUA

Tickets:  https://secure.acceptiva.com/?cst=c0790c

 

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Gumbeaux Arts PhotoGumbeaux’s heart beats to the rhythm of arts and culture in Louisiana. A jazz vocalist, actor, and writer, her New Orleans family’s artistic roots run at least four generations deep. Now residing in the heart of the state, Gumbeaux is on a mission to bring Louisiana arts, artists, and audiences together, spreading the word about our spicy cultural roux, with a flavor all its own! For arts happenings all around Louisiana, like “GumBeauxArts” on Facebook. Gumbeaux tweets Louisiana arts @GumBeauxArts. Email Gumbeaux at gumbeauxarts@krskreative.com.

 

Gumbeaux is one of TicketCentral’s team of volunteer bloggers for the 2014-2015 season.




Spectral Sisters: More than One Act
Thursday, November 6, 2014

Stage SSP OAF Logo 01Spectral Sisters is at it again! Eleven years ago, the group started with a germ of an idea: Produce short plays by local writers. What could be simpler?

 

Turns out, almost anything else would have been simpler than finding and cultivating would-be playwrights and teaching them to write in a 10-minute play format (also not as simple as it sounds). Almost anything would have been simpler than establishing a fair and objective play selection process; developing an effective casting system; and recruiting enough directors, stagehands, technicians, costumers, producers and others to put on what amounts to 10 separate stage productions, all in one night—no, make that three nights and a matinee!

 

Well, they’ve been there and done that. Now with eleven of their signature Ten-Minute Play Festival seasons under their belt, Spectral Sisters Productions (SSP) introduces their second act, a One-Act Play Festival, opening Thursday, November 6.

 

Structured much as their ten-minute version, the One-Act Festival began as a contest of sorts, with a call for submissions and entries by ten novice-to-seasoned, Louisiana-grown playwrights. These ten plays were read and rated on their merit by two out-of-state adjudicators, whose scores for each play were then added together. The highest scoring four plays were selected for production in the festival’s inaugural season, including works by Doan Moran, David Holcombe, William Griffin, and Jim Weinzettle.

 

Stage SSP Writing Workshop 01What makes SSP’s play festival formula extra special, good-good is the accompanying free Play Writing Workshop held every season. The workshop offers aspiring and experienced writers alike an opportunity to gain playwriting skills and inspiration as well as valuable feedback on new work or works in progress. After the workshop, writers can continue working on their plays to submit when the contest season reopens, in this case, on January 1, for 2015’s 10-Minute Festival.

 

It all makes for a very self-nourishing cycle—one in which writers who are products of SSP’s Play Writing Workshops can compete in a field of playwrights of every experience in a one-act play contest and emerge on top. Meanwhile, central Louisiana gains an ever deepening pool of playwrights who get to hone their craft year after year. (Did I mention the workshop is free?)

 

It’s really not to be missed—and it all happens this week! Check details below.

 

What:  Spectral Sisters 1st Annual One-Act Play Festival

When:  Thurs–Sat., November 6–8 @ 7:30pm; Sunday, November 9 @ 2:30pm

Where:  Hearn Stage at the Kress Theatre, Downtown Alexandria

Tickets:  https://secure.acceptiva.com/?cst=9bd5b8

 

What:  Spectral Sisters 11th Annual Playwriting Workshop

When:  Saturday, November 8 @ 2:00pm

Where:  Hearn Stage at the Kress Theatre, Downtown Alexandria

 

– Gumbeaux

 

Click here to read older posts

 

Gumbeaux Arts PhotoGumbeaux’s heart beats to the rhythm of arts and culture in Louisiana. A jazz vocalist, actor, and writer, her New Orleans family’s artistic roots run at least four generations deep. Now residing in the heart of the state, Gumbeaux is on a mission to bring Louisiana arts, artists, and audiences together, spreading the word about our spicy cultural roux, with a flavor all its own! For arts happenings all around Louisiana, like “GumBeauxArts” on Facebook. Gumbeaux tweets Louisiana arts @GumBeauxArts. Email Gumbeaux at gumbeauxarts@krskreative.com.

 

Gumbeaux is one of TicketCentral’s team of volunteer bloggers for the 2014-2015 season.