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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.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

On Stage This Month - "A Body of Water"

My pal Mel shares this message from Debbie Haught about the upcoming Kanawha Players production A Body of Water.

Debbie writes:
This is a funny, thought-provoking, intelligent puzzle of a play about how who we are if we have no memories.

I was very excited when I first read this play, it engaged me from the beginning and I found myself looking at things from a different perspective.

Now that it is cast, I am in love with this play. I have three very skilled actors, Joe Miller as Moss, Susan Marrash-Minnerly as Avis and Bethany Cline as Wren.

The show performs on June 11-13 at 8 p.m. at the Kanawha Players Theater on Beauregard Street, with two additional matinees at 2 p.m. on June 14 and June 21. The show runs 90 minutes with no intermission.

This show deserves an great audience, and I know you all know people who love good theater. Encourage them not to miss this one.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Tony Awards - Denise's Picks

Stepping into the batter's box is my pal Denise, our reigning champion in the "Pick the Tony Winners" competition!

As always, readers, you're invited to send in your picks anytime before the Tony Awards show begins next weekend. You can send them in as a comment (the link is at the bottom of each blog entry), or you can email them to me at TheMinskers@aol.com. The list of nominees is right here (just click on the link).

With luck, I'll once again live-blog the show, and we'll see who wins the award this time around!

Denise writes:
Enclosed and below are my best guesstimates for the 2009 Tony awards. I would be very surprised if my record didn't come crashing down. Good luck to everyone. And happy Tony watching!

BEST PLAY: God of Carnage

BEST MUSICAL: Billy Elliot

BEST BOOK OF A MUSICAL: Lee Hall, Billy Elliot. Though Next to Normal would be the more esoteric and brave choice.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE OF A MUSICAL: Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey, Next to Normal

BEST REVIVAL OF A PLAY: The Norman Conquests

BEST REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL: Hair

BEST SPECIAL THEATRICAL EVENT: Liza's at the Palace

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTOR IN A PLAY: Geoffrey Rush, Exit the King

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTRESS IN A PLAY: Janet McTeer, Mary Stuart. Hard one. Marcia Gay Harden and Jane Fonda both have a chance. But my money is on the Brit.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL: David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik, Kiril Kulish, Billy Elliot

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL: Alice Ripley, Next to Normal

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY: Roger Robinson, Joe Turner's Come and Gone. Difficult to choose between John Glover in Waiting for Godot or Mr. Robinson.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTRESS IN A PLAY: Angela Lansbury, Blithe Spirit. Hallie Foote from Dividing the Estate (written by the late Horton Foote) deserves it though.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTOR IN A MUSICAL: Gregory Jbara, Billy Elliot. This one is also hard. It could be Will Swenson from Hair.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL: Karen Olvio, West Side Story

BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A PLAY: Dale Ferguson, Exit the King

BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A MUSICAL: Ian MacNeil, Billy Elliot

BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A PLAY: Dale Ferguson, Exit the King

BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A MUSICAL: Tim Hatley, Shrek

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A PLAY: David Hersey, Equas

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A MUSICAL: Kevin Adams, Next to Normal

BEST SOUND DESIGN OF A PLAY: Gregory Clark, Equas

BEST SOUND DESIGN OF A MUSICAL: Acme Sound Partners, Hair

BEST DIRECTION OF A PLAY: Matthew Warchus, God of Carnage. He was also nominated for The Norman Conquests and could win for this play instead of G of C.

BEST DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL: Stephen Daldry, Billy Elliot

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY: Peter Darling, Billy Elliot

BEST ORCHESTRATIONS: Michael Starobin and Tom Kitt, Next to Normal

Friday, May 29, 2009

On Stage This Weekend - "Cupid Rising" and "Words and Music"

We wrap up the month of May with a couple of great shows in Charleston!

Make the time to see:

- The comedy Cupid Rising, which is being presented by CYAC tonight and Saturday night at the WVSU Capitol Center Theater at 123 Summers Street in Charleston.

- West Virginia: Words and Music, which is co-presented by the Clay Center and the Charleston Stage Company. Show times are tonight and tomorrow at 8 p.m. in the Clay Center’s Walker Theater. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for seniors and students and can be purchased at this site or by calling 304-561-3570.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Huntington High's Talent Show

Thanks to son Evan for pointing out the photo gallery on the Herald-Dispatch's website (which you can see here).

It features photos from Huntington High School's talent show last Wednesday, and sharp-eyed readers will spot several performers who have appeared in community theatre shows.

For example, here's a shot of two terrific singers, Elliott Imlay and Maggie Saunders (how I wish these photos included sound!):


And here's Maggie again, this time providing guitar backup for another outstanding singer, Elijah Boyles:


There are lots of great shots by H-D photographer Lori Wolfe - check 'em out!

EDIT: Here's a late addition (and a real treat) - video of Maggie and Elliott singing, courtesy of my pal Allen. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Art Center School of Dance Presents Ballet

I usually don't post dance recital notices here (because community theatre events take up most of our time), but I'm making an exception here for two reasons: 1) they actually sent me a press release; and 2) they sent along a photo of two of the featured dancers - both of whom have appeared in a number of community theatre shows (including, I should mention, some of mine).

Here's the photo of Nathan Mohebbi and Sarah Hayes:

And here's the press release:
Mrs. Ella Hay and The Art Center School of Dance present their 2009 Spring Recital, featuring the ballet “La Fille Mal Gardée” this Saturday, May 30, at 8:00 p.m. at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center.

“La Fille Mal Gardée” is a romantic comedy, and is the oldest and one of the most important works in modern ballet repertoire. The Art Center School of Dance’s production features dancers Sarah Hayes as Lise, Nathan Mohebbi as Colas and Josh Meredith as Alain, and is directed by Ella Hay.

Prior to the performance of “La Fille Mal Gardée”, The Art Center School of Dance will present its 2009 Spring Recital featuring Mrs. Hay’s students performing a variety of ballet and tap numbers.

Tickets are $12, and are available at the door or by calling The Arts Center School of Dance at (304) 429-6606.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

ACTC Announces Its Upcoming Season of Shows

Well, your man Chuck is back from vacation and ready to get back to blogging!

To get us back in gear, my pal Zach sends along this information: Ashland Community and Technical College (ACTC) has announced its 2009 - 2010 season of shows.

Zach writes:
ACTC Theatre recently held its annual awards banquet and after the awards, it announced the shows for the upcoming season. They are:

- The Fall production is Blood Brothers.

Willy Russell's classic musical Blood Brothers is set in Liverpool and is about twins separated at birth whose paths cross in later life.

Now commonly regarded as one of the all-time great British musicals, Blood Brothers has touched the hearts and minds of a generation of theatregoers in dealing with two of the most pressing social issues of our time - inequality and unemployment.

The story takes us to Liverpool, around the time of the coal miner strikes. A single mother in financial desperation gives away one of her newborn sons and attempts to keep them from discovering one another's true identity. However, their lives become unavoidably linked.

The pressures of superstition, economics and class trap them both and seal their fate - their paths are destined to cross again in both friendship and anger with the most tragic consequences imaginable.

A powerful and moving story, with both lively and sad parts. A wonderful tale that will capture your heart and leave a lasting impression. The show is both hilariously funny, deeply moving and features loads of well-known songs.

The incredible score includes Bright New Day, Marilyn Monroe and the emotionally charged hit, Tell Me It's Not True.

- The Christmas show is (of course) A Christmas Carol.

- The children's show is the musical Willy Wonka Jr.

- The Spring show is Copacabana the Musical by Barry Manilow.

The story follows aspiring songwriter, Stephen, as he composes what he hopes will become a hit musical. His imagination takes him back to the 1940s as he creates a story surrounding an ambitious young singer, Lola Lamar, who arrives in New York City from Tulsa hoping to become a star. She lands a position at the famous Copacabana Nightclub, "the hottest club north of Havana," and strives to become a 'Copa Girl' dancer with the help of the bartender, Tony Starr.

It is so great to see a full lineup for ACTC again. I am looking forward to a wonderful exciting season.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A Rare Day Off

Hey, it's the Memorial Day weekend, so ye olde Tri-State Theatre blog is going to take a rare couple of days off.

Enjoy the holiday, and take a moment to remember your friends and loved ones who have passed on.

And give a special thought to the Veterans who paid the ultimate price for the freedom we all enjoy!

See you on Tuesday!

On Stage This Weekend - "Cupid Rising" and "Words and Music"

Be sure to check out the two shows running this weekend in Charleston:

- The comedy Cupid Rising is being presented by CYAC tonight and May 29-30 at the WVSU Capitol Center Theater at 123 Summers Street in Charleston.

- West Virginia: Words and Music is co-presented by the Clay Center and the Charleston Stage Company. Show times are tonight and May 28, 29 and 30 at 8 p.m. in the Clay Center’s Walker Theater. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for seniors and students and can be purchased at www.theclaycenter.org or by calling 304-561-3570.

Check 'em out!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Jim Stone Scholarship Applications Being Accepted

Here's an announcement especially for graduating seniors, about a scholarship program that's near and dear to my heart - The Jim Stone Scholarship. First, the announcement:
The First Stage Theatre Company is now accepting applications for its annual Jim Stone Scholarship.

First Stage sponsors the scholarship to honor the memory of Jim Stone, a distinguished local actor and a longtime supporter of and mentor to local children in the performing arts.

A $1000 scholarship is available to an entering freshman or current full-time student who is studying dramatic or performing arts at a college, university or certified school of the performing arts.

The deadline for entries is Monday, August 10, 2009.

Applicants must have been involved with at least one First Stage Theatre Company show, either on-stage (as a performer) or off-stage (as a member of the tech crew).

Applicants must send a transcript of their last year’s schooling, a list of the shows they’ve been in and a short essay (no more than 300 words) on why the applicant is planning to study dramatic or performing arts.

Applications should be sent to: First Stage Scholarships, c/o Nancy Newfeld, 3 Stratford Way, Huntington, WV 25705. For more information, call 304-736-4366.
The award means a lot to me because I worked with Jim Stone on a couple of projects, including an original hour-long TV special, and he acted in shows that included both of my sons, and he was a great mentor to them and to other actors of all ages.

He was a great guy, and I'm glad First Stage honors his memory with this award.

The award has actually changed a little bit - when it was first created, it was designed as a $250 scholarship that would be awarded once a year for four years - so the winner would get a total of $1000 in scholarship money.

At its most recent meeting, the First Stage board of directors voted to make a slight change to the scholarship, so it's a one-time, $1000 award. The previous award winners will get the balance of their winnings this year, too.

If you know of a student who's eligible, have them apply!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

On Stage This Weekend - "Cupid Rising"

Here's another show that slipped under the radar, as CYAC presents Cupid Rising!

My pal Mel sends along this note from Dan Khede about the show:
A comedy??? From the same guy who brought you Fred and Harriet, Fireflies and The Trial of President George W. Bush? A comedy?

It's a good show, very fast paced, actually fairly short, irreverent, a little scatalogical (but not nearly what most of my other plays are) suitable for high school age and up, and written purely for fun.

It's been a short rehearsal schedule with an amazingly diverse and dedicated cast. We're opening this Friday, May 22, and running Friday and Saturday May 22-23 and 29-30, (instead of our normal Thursday - Saturday runs) mainly because of graduations.

So come on out and see us. It'll be nice to see some friendly faces in the audience. (Actually, it'll be nice to see ANY faces in the audience.)

We hope you can make it!
The note doesn't say, but I'm assuming the shows will be at the WVSU Capitol Center Theater at 123 Summers Street in Charleston.

CYAC always does a great job, so check it out!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

WV: Words and Music at the Clay Center This Weekend

Taking the stage in Charleston starting Thursday is West Virginia: Words and Music. It's a great showcase of music and stories, and includes a play by my pals Jonathan Joy and Doug Imbrogno (among others)!

Here's the press release with more info:
The 2008-2009 Clay Center Presents performance season comes to a close with an all-new production – West Virginia: Words and Music co-presented with Charleston Stage Company. Show times are Thursday through Saturday, May 21, 22 and 23 and May 28, 29 and 30 at 8 p.m. in the Clay Center’s Walker Theater.

This incredible performance is full of music and stories that challenge the perceptions of life in West Virginia: past, present and future. The brand new theater piece combines original monologues written by West Virginia playwrights and writers with music including Mountain State standards as well as new songs written for the production.

The cast includes Joe Miller, Micah Atkinson, Rebecca Kimmons, Tara Phares-Pauley, Bill Hairston, Joshua Fix, Doug Imbrogno, Sheila Jarrett, Larry Groce, Jeff Ellis and John Lilly.

West Virginia: Words and Music is directed by David Wohl. The writers and composers whose work is used include Denise Giardina, Colleen Anderson, Mark DeFoe, Kirk Judd, Susan Shaw Sailer, Hallie Turley, Ingrid Briles, Jeremy Richter, Jonathan Joy, Larry Groce, Ron Sowell, Webb Wilder, Doug Imbrogno, Rebecca Kimmons, Al Smith, Mark Atkinson, Jeff Ellis, John Lilly and Margaret Baker.

This performance is part of the Clay Center Presents 2008-2009 performance season. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for seniors and students and can be purchased at www.theclaycenter.org or by calling 304-561-3570.

West Virginia State University students receive free admission with valid student ID. Group discounts are available by calling 304-561-3536.
Highly recommended!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tony Awards - Zach's Picks

The Tony Awards are closing in fast, so it's time to gear up our second annual guessing contest.

Last year, my pal Denise walked away with bragging rights (scoring 17 right out of 26) - so the award became The Denise LaCara Tony Award Good Guessing Award 2008! Can she repeat? Will someone else steal the crown and rename the title? It's up to you, theatre fans!

You can find the list of nominations right here. You can send your choices in as a comment - just click on the link at the bottom of this entry - or you can email them to me at TheMinskers@aol.com.

To kick things off, here are my pal Zach's choices:

BEST PLAY: God of Carnage (don’t know much but seems be well liked in awards)

BEST MUSICAL: Billy Elliot The Musical (what I have seen look awesome but we all know I am pulling for Shrek The Musical. Next to Normal stands strong as well.)

BEST BOOK OF A MUSICAL: Shrek the Musical (hey, I stand by my show, but second pick is Next to Normal)

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE (MUSIC AND/OR LYRICS) WRITTEN FOR THE THEATRE: 9 to 5: The Musical (Dolly has a chance, but I'd rather see Shrek The Musical win.)

BEST REVIVAL OF A PLAY: The Norman Conquests (I don’t know much about non-musicals. Oh well.)

BEST REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL: Hair (to me this is the hardest category this year. All are good choices.)

BEST SPECIAL THEATRICAL EVENT: You're Welcome America - A Final Night With George W. Bush. (Liza stands strong - I mean, come on, look who it is - but Will Ferrell has a great fighting chance)

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTOR IN A PLAY: Geoffrey Rush, Exit the King

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTRESS IN A PLAY: Hope Davis, God of Carnage. (I must confess I chose her just due to her last name.)

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL: Brian d'Arcy James, Shrek The Musical (I thought he was true to the character and marvelous, however the Elliot boys will more than likely take it. Kids in a huge show - of course they will win.)

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL: Sutton Foster, Shrek The Musical (She was flawless and she always delivers.)

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY: Zach Grenier, 33 Variations (again just for his name.)

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTRESS IN A PLAY: Angela Lansbury, Blithe Spirit (She is an Icon. She deserves this.)

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTOR IN A MUSICAL: Christopher Sieber, Shrek The Musical (A show stealing guy! He was fantastic and he does the whole show on his knees! He worked too hard not to win!)

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL: Jennifer Damiano, Next to Normal.

BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A PLAY: Rob Howell, The Norman Conquests.

BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A MUSICAL: Ian MacNeil, Billy Elliot, The Musical (I was shocked to see Shrek wasn’t om this list. The set was OUTSTANDING.)

BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A PLAY: Martin Pakledinaz, Blithe Spirit.

BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A MUSICAL: Tim Hatley, Shrek The Musical (These were simply the best costumes ever. They were Lion King good! Pinnochio’s nose grew on stage! Simply Genius!)

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A PLAY: Hugh Vanstone, Mary Stuart.

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A MUSICAL: Kevin Adams, Hair; Kevin Adams, Next to Normal (Either way - he was nominated twice in one category, he deserves the award!)

BEST SOUND DESIGN OF A PLAY: Russell Goldsmith, Exit the King.

BEST SOUND DESIGN OF A MUSICAL: Paul Arditti, Billy Elliot, The Musical.

BEST DIRECTION OF A PLAY: Matthew Warchus, God of Carnage.

BEST DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL: Stephen Daldry, Billy Elliot, The Musical.

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY: Peter Darling, Billy Elliot, The Musical. (He took kids to an all new level! Hands down, another no contest!)

BEST ORCHESTRATIONS: Danny Troob and John Clancy, Shrek The Musical. (Why not.)

It is going to be very interesting to see the winners announced! Billy Elliot I feel will win the most and I would like to see Shrek win at least four! I find it interesting that Next to Normal and Rock of Ages came in as silent contenders. I am shocked that 9 to 5 didn’t receive more nominations than it did! I am stoked to see what performances get slated into the mix of this fun filled night!

Monday, May 18, 2009

HOT's Summer Plans Are "All Shook Up"

The Huntington Outdoor Theatre has been forced to make a last-minute change in its summer production. The group had planned to present The Wedding Singer, but the rights to that show were pulled because a professional touring show will take the stage at the Clay Center in the fall.

So now HOT will be presenting the musical All Shook Up, which features the music of Elvis Presley.

Here's the updated cast list for that show (in alphabetical order):

Kenny Bass - Jim Haler
Kristin Caviani - Lorraine
Philip Cron - Chad
Kerri Easter - Sylvia
Melanie Hughes - Matilda
Ryan Jackson - Sheriff Earl
Jessica Maier - Miss Sandra
Mark Radford - Dennis
Cody Verbage - Dean

Ensemble:

Tammy Barrett
Megan Boggs
Shaina Carter
Christopher Crawford
Nathan Cron
Zach Davis
Chloe Donohoe
Courtney Dugan
Kenny Duthie
Julia Freitag
Julia Galloway
Christina Gayheart
Todd Green
Casey Homonai
Angela Hunt
Jacob Jarvis
Sarena Johnson
Greg Kiser
Alaina Krantz
Kelsey McCallister
Morgan McMicken
Jesse Patterson
Candiace Radford
Alyssa Ramey
Brea Ross
Hilary Roush
Felicia Sargent
Jynnea Shropshire
Megan Smith
Miranda Swanson
Rachel Tadlock
Sherri Tadlock
Josh Taylor
Cadyn Turley
Brittany Woods
Brian Zepp

Sunday, May 17, 2009

#1100!

Just wanted to note that this is post #1,100 for the Tri-State Theatre blog!

If I was writing a book, I'd be there now!

Now if I just had an idea for a book. ;-)

Of course, this is only possible because of the information you all send along about community theatre. Keep sending in those comments (the link's at the bottom of each post) or send emails to TheMinskers@aol.com!

Thanks as always to the Herald-Dispatch for giving the local theatre community this place to chat, share info and generally have fun.

Thanks for being part of it, gentle readers - there's lots more where that came from!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

"Rent" Auditions in June

As mentioned here the other day, the Charleston Light Opera Guild will be presenting the musical Rent this summer, and auditions are coming up in a couple of weeks.

Here's the information about those auditions:
They'll be held June 7 and 9, 2009 - please arrive at 7:30 p.m. sharp for all auditions!

Be prepared with a musical selection that demonstrates your vocal range and ability (preferably from the show or in the style of 90's music or rock, pop, or gospel). Please bring appropriate sheet music for the accompanist if your selection is not from this production and wear appropriate shoes and clothing suitable for movement.

All auditioners should be in age range 18 to 40. All auditions are held at the Guild Theatre. Call 304-342-9312 or 304-343-6015 for more information.

Rent will be presented at the Civic Center Little Theater on July 31 and August 1, 2, 7, 8, and 9, 2009.

Friday, May 15, 2009

On Stage This Weekend - "South Pacific"

This weekend is your last chance to catch the hit musical South Pacific!

It's being presented by the Charleston Light Opera Guild Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Civic Center Little Theater. Tickets are $20.

It's getting rave reviews, so don't miss it!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

One Theatre Season Winds Down, Another Gears Up

For the most part, there are two kinds of community theatre seasons: the ones that run in the fall and spring (mirroring the school year), and the ones that run in the summer.

With the end of school, there are just a couple of shows left before it all gets turned over to the summer season.

In Charleston, South Pacific wraps up its three-week run Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Civic Center Little Theater.

The last of the spring shows (that I'm aware of) is WV: Words and Music, which takes the stage at the Clay Center May 21 - 23 and 28 - 30 at 8 p.m.

Then we depend on the summer theatre groups for our entertainment. Most are outdoor theatre groups, although Charleston theatre groups will stage indoor productions of Rent and High School Musical 2 - and possibly others.

Here's the summer list I have so far:

- Huntington Outdoor Theatre will present The Wedding Singer in July.

- Theatre West Virginia will present Honey in the Rock, Seussical, High School Musical and Hatfield and McCoys starting in June.

- Chief Logan State Park will host Willy Wonka and The Aracoma Story starting in June.

- Jenny Wiley will present Smoke on the Mountain, All Shook Up and The Legend of Jenny Wiley starting in June.

- Red Lion Theatre Company will present The Wiz and The Odd Couple at Greenbo State Park starting in June. (Thanks to my pal Levi for the info!)

That's the great thing about community theatre - there's always something cooking!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

"The Wedding Singer" Cast List

Huntington Outdoor Theatre has posted the cast list for its summer show, The Wedding Singer - lots of great talent in there!

Here's the list, in alphabetical order:

Tammy Barrett - Ensemble
Kenny Bass - Sammy
Megan Boggs - Ensemble
Shaina Carter - Ensemble
Kristin Caviani - Donatella/Ensemble
Chris Craven - Groom 1/Ensemble
Christopher Crawford - Pee Wee Herman Impersonator/Ensemble
Philip Cron - Mookie/Ensemble
Nathan Cron - Ricky/Ensemble
Zach Davis - Agent/Ensemble
Chloe Donohoe - Ensemble
Courtney Dugan - Wedding Clerk/Ensemble
Kenny Duthie - Waiter/Ensemble
Kerri Easter - Holly
Julia Freitag - Ensemble
Julia Galloway - Bride 1/Ensemble
Christina Gayheart - Crystal/Ensemble
Todd Green - Priest/Ensemble
Ryan Hardiman - Robbie Hart
Casey Homonai - Ensemble
Melanie Hughes - Rosie
Angela Hunt - Tiffany/Ensemble
Ryan Jackson - David/Ensemble
Jacob Jarvis - Bad Hair Cut Guy/Ensemble
Sarena Johnson - Ensemble
Marina Jurica - Julia Sulivan
Amy Kenell - Angie/Ensemble
Greg Kiser - Donnie/Ensemble
Alaina Krantz - Ensemble
Jessica Maier - Linda
Kinsey Mason - Ensemble
Kelsey McCallister - Ensemble
Morgan McMicken - Ensemble
Jesse Patterson - Ensemble
Sarah Pauley - Ensemble
Todd Preston - Glen
Mark Radford - George
Candiace Radford - Tina Turner Impersonator/Ensemble
Alyssa Ramey - Ensemble
Brea Ross - Ensemble
Hilary Roush - Waitress/Ensemble
Felicia Sargent - Cyndi Lauper Impersonator/Ensemble
Jynnea Shropshire - Ensemble
Angela Skidmore - Ensemble
Megan Smith - Ensemble
Miranda Swanson - Ensemble
Rachel Tadlock - Ensemble
Sherri Tadlock - Ensemble
Josh Taylor - Bum/Ensemble
Cadyn Turley - Imelda Marcos Impersonator/Ensemble
Stephen Vance - Shane/Regan Impersonator/Ensemble
Cody Verbage - Billy Idol Impersonator/Ensemble
Brittany Woods - Ensemble
Brian Zepp - Ensemble


Pre-Show Cast

Chad Arthur
Emily Bolt
Leslie Collins
Jade Daniels
Emma Dolin
Shelby Easter
Ruth Finley
Joanna Finley
Ally Fletcher
Olivia Fosson
Audrey Fosson
Katie Fulks
Helen Heffner
Majesty Hill
Maddie Johnson
Sarena Johnson
Allahandra Mallory
Macie McCallister
Megan McCallister
Josh Mitts
Taylor Perdue
Mariah Speas
Hannah Spurlock
Hayley Spurlock
Kobe Stephens
Ibri Trammell
Annie Wolfe
Emma Wolfe

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

No Pants Players Take the Stage

The improv comedy group (who are apparently missing a key item of clothing) is back again, according to this message from my pal Tony Slack:
The No Pants Players will be performing this Saturday, May 16 at 8 p.m. at the Labelle Theater, located at 311 D St in S. Charleston.

Come out for a great night of improv comedy. As always, tickets are only $6. Concessions and NPP merchandise will also be available.

For more info, visit our website at www.nopantsplayers.com or call 1-877-IMPROV9.

Monday, May 11, 2009

"The Addams Family" on Broadway

It's true - the creepy, kooky, mysterious and spooky family that started as a cartoon and became famous on television and the movies is making its way to Broadway, with some top names playing the leads.

Here's the story from the Associated Press:
NEW YORK (AP) - The Addams Family has found its merry macabre menagerie for Broadway.

The show's producers say Nathan Lane will play Gomez and Bebe Neuwirth will be Morticia in the musical based on the popular ghoulish cartoons in The New Yorker.

The Addams Family will open April 8 at a theater to be announced. Previews begin March 4 after a pre-Broadway engagement in Chicago. Also in the cast are Kevin Chamberlin as Uncle Fester, Jackie Hoffman as Grandma and Zachary James as Lurch.

The show features music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa, while Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, who wrote Jersey Boys, will provide the book.
I was always a fan of the TV show, so it'll be interesting to see how this goes.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Lots of love goes out to all the Moms out there - without them, where would we all be?

So, on a personal note, Happy Mother's Day to:

My Mom, Lucille, who is, without a doubt, the most wonderful, thoughtful, caring, patient, supportive and loving Mom that any kid could ever ask for! My family and my brother Eric's family took her to dinner today and had a great visit.

My Mother-in-Law, Linda, who has always been wonderful, loving and supportive ever since I sneaked into her family via marriage. (She was nice before that, too.) We had dinner with her yesterday and had a nice visit.

And my wife, Jeanette, who has been a terrific Mom to our two sons and a wonderful wife, all at the same time!

What a lucky man I am, to have three terrific women like this in my life - I hit the jackpot!

I love you all!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

"Star Trek" - A Review

While I've never thought of myself as a Trekkie or even a Trekker, I will admit to being a fan of Star Trek.

When the show first went on the air in the late '60s, I remember having to ask my parents for permission to stay up late and watch it. After three years the show was canceled, and I figured that was the last I'd see of it.

However, it found new life in syndication, and viewers could enjoy those original episodes over and over again. Eventually, a series of movies followed (with various degrees of success - you can see the ratings of those movies by my pal Jim Ross right here in his Hot Topics blog, and my own rankings are in the comments section).

That led to a series of TV shows, including Star Trek: The Next Generation, which eventually was spun off into more feature films.

Now the original crew of the Enterprise is back in a new Star Trek movie that brings the concept back to the original series. The crew, pictured above, includes (from left) Chekov, Kirk, Scotty, Bones, Sulu and Uhura.

I went to see the movie hoping for the best, and I'm glad to say that I really enjoyed it. The good news is, you don't need to be a fan of the original, or know much of anything about Star Trek to enjoy this film. Since it tells the story about how the crew members first met, you get all the information you need as the story rolls along.

The story sets up a menace from the future - a monstrous ship that's out for revenge on the Federation of Planets. The story moves along briskly, all the cast members have memorable on-screen moments, and they capture the original characters without being outright imitations of the original actors.

The film sets up something of a clean slate for future films, and judging by the success of this one, there should be many more in the years ahead.

(And yes, I know this post didn't really have anything to do with theatre - but it's so nice to have a good Star Trek film to write about, I couldn't help myself!)

Friday, May 08, 2009

One Last Chance to Audition for "The Wedding Singer"

You have one last chance to audition for this summer's Huntington Outdoor Theatre show, The Wedding Singer.

The auditions will be held at Trinity Episcopal at 520 11th Street in Huntington. Enter from the 11th Street side.

The auditions will take place Saturday, May 9 from 10:00 a.m. to noon.

For more information call (304) 523-8080 or (304) 412-3393.

There are roles for individuals ages 7 and up.

Break a leg!

On Stage This Weekend - "South Pacific"

The show stars some of the area's best talent, including WSAZ's meteorologist, Marina Jurica - and it takes the stage this weekend.

I'm talking about South Pacific, which will be presented by the Charleston Light Opera Guild May 8, 9, 15 and 16 at 7:30 p.m., and May 10 at 3 p.m. at the Civic Center Little Theater. Tickets are $20.

It's a great show - highly recommended!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Local Actors on Prime Time

Hey, it was a great week for local actors on prime time television!

Huntington's Michael Cerveris continued his stint on Fox's science fiction show Fringe, showing up for a crucial scene in this week's episode, and my spies tell me he has a big role in next week's season finale on Tuesday night!

Portmouth's Macy Idzakovich (who appeared locally in Cats and Thoroughly Modern Millie, among other shows) made an appearance in this week's Law & Order SVU, and will be showing up in future episodes.

And of course Marshall grad Conchata Ferrell continues to star every week in the top-rated CBS comedy, Two and a Half Men.

Is that cool or what?

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Old Friends perform the music of the Four Freshman May 16

Hey, here's a terrific show and dinner you should check out - and you'll get to help a worthy cause:
Take a musical romp down memory lane as Old Friends performs favorite songs of the Four Freshmen.

If songs like “Route 66,” “Candy” and “The Nearness of You” conjure memories of a simpler time in life, you’ll enjoy hearing “Old Friends” perform music made famous by the Four Freshman. Old Friends is a vocal band that sings 4-part harmony while members accompany themselves on keyboard, bass, drums, trumpets and saxes.

According to Bruce Rous, promoter of the evening’s concert, “these guys are really good. Their sound is slick, their harmonies are smooth. I’ve not heard anything like them around the Tri-State. It’s no wonder they have a huge following.”

The “one-night only” show is Saturday, May 16, 2009 at Highlawn Presbyterian Church, 2814 Collis Avenue, Huntington WV, next to St. Mary’s Hospital.

A “scrumptious,” home-cooked dinner is served prior to the show at 6:00. The cost is $25 for Dinner and Show, and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Habitat for Humanity House being built to honor the memory of Rev. Mark McCalla, who was minister at the church.

Reservations required by May 14 and can be made by calling (304) 634-4126. Discount rates are available for groups of 10 or more.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Tony Nominees Announced

The nominations for the 2009 American Theatre Wing's Tony Awards were announced today, and it looks like Billy Elliot, The Musical is the early favorite, since it received 15 nominations. The most surprising is the one for the three young actors who play the title role (they rotate the part, since young actors can't work every night). Will they have to share a single statue?

Ah well - we'll gear up our "choose the winners" competition soon, and unless I'm stricken by sanity, I'll once again live blog the show.

In the meantime, here are the nominees:

BEST PLAY: Dividing the Estate, God of Carnage, reasons to be pretty, 33 Variations.

BEST MUSICAL: Billy Elliot, The Musical, Next to Normal, Rock of Ages, Shrek The Musical.

BEST BOOK OF A MUSICAL:
Billy Elliot, The Musical, Next to Normal, Shrek The Musical, (Title of Show).

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE (MUSIC AND/OR LYRICS) WRITTEN FOR THE THEATRE: Billy Elliot, The Musical, Next to Normal, 9 to 5: The Musical, Shrek The Musical.

BEST REVIVAL OF A PLAY: Joe Turner's Come and Gone, Mary Stuart, The Norman Conquests, Waiting for Godot.

BEST REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL: Guys and Dolls, Hair, Pal Joey, West Side Story.

BEST SPECIAL THEATRICAL EVENT: Liza's at The Palace, Slava's Snowshow, Soul of Shaolin, You're Welcome America. A Final Night With George W. Bush.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTOR IN A PLAY:
Jeff Daniels, God of Carnage; Raul Esparza, Speed-the-Plow; James Gandolfini, God of Carnage; Geoffrey Rush, Exit the King; Thomas Sadoski, Reasons to Be Pretty.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTRESS IN A PLAY:
Hope Davis, God of Carnage; Jane Fonda, 33 Variations; Marcia Gay Harden, God of Carnage; Janet McTeer, Mary Stuart; Harriet Walter, Mary Stuart.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL: David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik, and Kiril Kulish, Billy Elliot, The Musical; Gavin Creel, Hair; Brian d'Arcy James, Shrek The Musical; Constantine Maroulis, Rock of Ages; J. Robert Spencer, Next to Normal.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL: Stockard Channing, Pal Joey; Sutton Foster, Shrek The Musical; Allison Janney, 9 to 5: The Musical; Alice Ripley, Next to Normal; Josefina Scaglione, West Side Story.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY:
John Glover, Waiting for Godot; Zach Grenier, 33 Variations; Stephen Mangan, The Norman Conquests; Paul Ritter, The Norman Conquests; Roger Robinson, Joe Turner's Come and Gone.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTRESS IN A PLAY: Hallie Foote, Dividing the Estate; Jessica Hynes, The Norman Conquests; Marin Ireland, reasons to be pretty; Angela Lansbury, Blithe Spirit; Amanda Root, The Norman Conquests.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTOR IN A MUSICAL: David Bologna, Billy Elliot, The Musical; Gregory Jbara, Billy Elliot, The Musical; Marc Kudisch, 9 to 5: The Musical; Christopher Sieber, Shrek The Musical; Will Swenson, Hair.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL: Jennifer Damiano, Next to Normal; Haydn Gwynne, Billy Elliot, The Musical; Karen Olivo, West Side Story; Martha Plimpton, Pal Joey; Carole Shelley, Billy Elliot, The Musical.

BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A PLAY: Dale Ferguson, Exit the King; Rob Howell, The Norman Conquests; Derek McLane, 33 Variations; Michael Yeargan, Joe Turner's Come and Gone.

BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A MUSICAL: Robert Brill, Guys and Dolls; Ian MacNeil, Billy Elliot, The Musical; Scott Pask, Pal Joey; Mark Wendland, Next to Normal.

BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A PLAY: Dale Ferguson, Exit the King; Jane Greenwood, Waiting for Godot; Martin Pakledinaz, Blithe Spirit; Anthony Ward, Mary Stuart.

BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A MUSICAL: Gregory Gale, Rock of Ages; Nicky Gillibrand, Billy Elliot, The Musical; Tim Hatley, Shrek The Musical; Michael McDonald, Hair.

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A PLAY: David Hersey, Equus; David Lander, 33 Variations; Brian MacDevitt, Joe Turner's Come and Gone; Hugh Vanstone, Mary Stuart.

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A MUSICAL: Kevin Adams, Hair; Kevin Adams, Next to Normal; Howell Binkley, West Side Story; Rick Fisher, Billy Elliot, The Musical.

BEST SOUND DESIGN OF A PLAY:
Paul Arditti, Mary Stuart; Gregory Clarke, Equus; Russell Goldsmith, Exit the King; Scott Lehrer and Leon Rothenberg, Joe Turner's Come and Gone.

BEST SOUND DESIGN OF A MUSICAL: Acme Sound Partners, Hair; Paul Arditti, Billy Elliot, The Musical; Peter Hylenski, Rock of Ages; Brian Ronan, Next to Normal.

BEST DIRECTION OF A PLAY:
Phyllida Lloyd, Mary Stuart; Bartlett Sher, Joe Turner's Come and Gone; Matthew Warchus, God of Carnage; Matthew Warchus, The Norman Conquests.

BEST DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL: Stephen Daldry, Billy Elliot, The Musical; Michael Greif, Next to Normal; Kristin Hanggi, Rock of Ages; Diane Paulus, Hair.

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY: Karole Armitage, Hair; Andy Blankenbuehler, 9 to 5: The Musical; Peter Darling, Billy Elliot, The Musical; Randy Skinner, Irving Berlin's White Christmas.

BEST ORCHESTRATIONS: Larry Blank, Irving Berlin's White Christmas; Martin Koch, Billy Elliot, The Musical; Michael Starobin and Tom Kitt, Next to Normal Danny Troob and John Clancy, Shrek The Musical.

Dom DeLuise Passes Away

Very sad news today, as we learn of the passing of actor and comedian Dom DeLuise, who starred in so many movies and TV shows, and was hilarious is every one of them (well, not the dramatic ones).

My favorite is probably the one few people have ever seen - The End, in which he played a crazy guy who befriends Burt Reynolds. The final scene absolutely put me on the floor.

But it's difficult to pick a favorite - he was wonderful in a number of Mel Brooks movies, in appearances on TV - heck, wherever he was, it was a fun place to be.

Here's the write-up from the Associated Press:
Dom DeLuise, the portly actor-comedian whose affable nature made him a popular character actor for decades with movie and TV audiences as well as directors and fellow actors, has died. He was 75.

DeLuise died Monday night, Michael DeLuise told radio station KNX on Tuesday. The comedian died in his sleep after a long illness. Calls to Dom Deluise's agent and his son were not immediately returned Tuesday.

The actor, who loved to cook and eat almost as much as he enjoyed acting, also carved out a formidable second career later in life as a chef of fine cuisine. He authored two cookbooks and would appear often on morning TV shows to whip up his favorite recipes.

As an actor, he was incredibly prolific, appearing in scores of movies and TV shows, in Broadway plays and voicing characters for numerous cartoon shows.

Writer-director-actor Mel Brooks particularly admired DeLuise's talent for offbeat comedy and cast him in several of his films, including The Twelve Chairs, Blazing Saddles, Silent Movie, History of the World Part I and Robin Hood: Men in Tights. DeLuise was also the voice of Pizza the Hutt in Brooks' Star Wars parody, Spaceballs.

The actor also appeared frequently in films opposite his friend Burt Reynolds. Among them, The End, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Smokey and the Bandit II, The Cannonball Run and Cannonball Run II.

Reynolds fondly recalled DeLuise in a statement issued by his publicist.

"I was thinking about this the other day," Reynolds said. "As you get older and start to lose people you love, you think about it more and I was dreading this moment. Dom always made you feel better when he was around and there will never be another like him. I never heard him say an unkind word about anyone. I will miss him very much."

Another actor-friend, Dean Martin, admired his comic abilities so much that he cast DeLuise as a regular on his 1960s comedy-variety show. In 1973, he starred in a situation comedy, Lotsa Luck, but it proved to be short-lived.

"To know Dom was to love him and I knew him very well. Not only was he talented and extremely funny, but he was a very special human being," said actress Carol Burnett, who starred with DeLuise on TV show The Entertainers in the '60s. DeLuise also appeared on The Carol Burnett Show in the '70s.

On Broadway, DeLuise appeared in Neil Simon's Last of the Red Hot Lovers and other plays.

Because of his passion for food, the actor battled obesity throughout much of his life, his weight reaching as much as 325 pounds at one point. For years he resisted the efforts of family members and doctors who tried to put him on various diets. He finally agreed in 1993 when he needed hip replacement surgery and his doctor refused to perform it until he lost 100 pounds.

DeLuise was appearing on Broadway in Here's Love in the early 1960s when Garry Moore saw him and hired him to play the magician "Dominick the Great" on The Garry Moore Show. His appearances on the hit comedy-variety program brought offers from Hollywood, and DeLuise first came to the attention of movie goers in Fail Safe, a drama starring Henry Fonda. He followed with a comedy, The Glass Bottom Boat, starring Doris Day, and from then on he alternated between films and television.

"I was making $7,000 a week—a lot of money back then—but I didn't even know I was rich," he recalled in 1994. "I was just having such a great time."

Day remembered him Tuesday as "such a sweet man."

"I met Dom when we were filming The Glass Bottom Boat, and I loved him from the moment we met," she said from Carmel, Calif. "Not only did we have the greatest time working together, but I never laughed so hard in my life as when we were together."

He was born Dominick DeLuise in New York City on Aug. 1, 1933, to Italian immigrants. His father, who spoke only Italian, was a garbage collector, and those humble beginnings stayed with him throughout his life.

DeLuise's introduction to acting came at age 8 when he played the title role of Peter Rabbit in a school play. He went on to graduate from New York City's famed School of Performing Arts in Manhattan.

For five years, he sought work in theater or television with little luck. He finally decided to enroll at Tufts College and study biology, with the aim of becoming a teacher.

Acting called him back, however, and he found work at the Cleveland Playhouse, appearing in stage productions that ranged from comedies like Kiss Me Kate to Shakespeare's Hamlet.

"I worked two years solidly on plays and moving furniture and painting scenery and playing parts," he remarked in a 2006 interview. "It was quite an amazing learning place for me."

While working in summer stock in Provincetown, Mass., he met a beautiful young actress, Carol Arthur, and they were soon married.

The couple's three sons, Peter, Michael and David, all became actors and all appeared with their father in the 1990s TV series SeaQuestDSV, in which Peter and Michael were regulars. David was one of the co-stars of the hit children's series Wizards of Waverly Place.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Four Tonys Already Awarded

Hey, four Tony Award winners have already been announced, as you'll see in this story from the Associated Press:
Jerry Herman is set for a special Tony Award.

The Tony administration committee says the composer of Hello, Dolly! and Mame will receive a special lifetime-achievement prize during the awards ceremony June 7 at Radio City Music Hall. Nominations will be announced Tuesday.

The 2009 regional-theater Tony will go to the Signature Theatre of Arlington, Va. Other special prizes will go to veteran press agent Shirley Herz and to Phyllis Newman who founded the Phyllis Newman Women's Health Initiative of The Actors Fund.

Herman already has won Tonys for Hello, Dolly! and La Cage aux Folles.
EDIT: I corrected the title of this post, where I had inadvertently written "One Tony Already Awarded." Math is hard!

Tomorrow: The Tonys!

Hey, we're back just in time for this year's Tony announcements! Here's the latest from the Associated Press:
Busy spring means a crowded Tony nomination field

By Michael Kuchwara
AP Drama Writer

Broadway is getting ready to honor the best of the New York theater season.

Nominations for the 2009 Tony Awards will be announced Tuesday.

Among the likely candidates for best musical are Billy Elliot, Next to Normal, Shrek and 9 to 5. West Side Story and Hair are expected to be nominated for the musical-revival crown.

Best-play nominees could include reasons to be pretty and Dividing the Estate.

Winners will be announced June 7 during a three-hour CBS telecast from Radio City Music Hall.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Back on Track

Sorry for the lack of posts for the past few days, gentle readers - we had some computer issues that were jamming things up here at Tri-State Theatre Land!

My pal Andrea (who's also the World's Finest Editor) managed to clear up our technical difficulties, so (hopefully) we're back in business and we can get back to our daily posts.

Did you miss me?

Friday, May 01, 2009

Shows On Stage in May

As we approach the end of Spring, the community theatre shows become fewer and further between.

For May, one show is taking up the slack by covering three weekends! There are four different shows on stage this month, and three are in Charleston (not that there's anything wrong with that). The other is in Portsmouth. Here's the list:

- South Pacific will be presented by the Charleston Light Opera Guild May 1, 2, 8, 9, 15 and 16 at 7:30 p.m., and May 10 at 3 p.m. at the Civic Center Little Theater. Tickets are $20.

- 42nd Street will be presented by West Portsmouth High School Drama and Music Dept. this weekend at Shawnee State University. Shows are Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoon (May 1, 2 and 3). Tickets are available at Ticketmaster and at the box office.

- The Rat Pack is Back in a special show celebrating that group's amazing music. The show runs May 5 at the Clay Center, and tickets are $50 and $32.

- WV: Words and Music will take the stage at the Clay Center May 21 - 23 and 28 - 30 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 and $15.

So get out there and support your local theatre!