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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, February 28, 2010

Letter to the Editor - Say What?

So this was a letter to the editor in yesterday's paper:
Area needs more theater performances

My friend Katrina and I saw the touring production of Cats that was part of the Marshall Artists Series. I thought it was fantastic! My friend and I loved it.

It reminded me of when my brother Lynn P. Howard performed in a theater production called Laugh In, Laugh Out in 1969 with co-host actor Mark Withers while both were trying to pursue an acting career and attending the drama school Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena, Calif., in the 1960s.

We need more Broadway-style theater like when the Musical Arts Guild put on some of the greatest productions. There also used to be a theater group called Community Players.

I really wish someone or a group of people would work out with the Musical Arts Guild to put on yearly spring Broadway-style musicals again and someone or a group of people would try to revive the Community Players.

Huntington needs two kinds of theater groups again. It helps build acting skills for all ages if anyone wants to try to pursue a theater or movie/TV career locally and then maybe in California or New York.

Thanks again for bringing great theater to Huntington.

Teresa K. Howard
Huntington
Here's my response to that letter:

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Teresa, I appreciate your sentiments - but you're kidding, right?

Huntington is loaded with theatre groups and talent (which is not to say that there isn't room for more groups or more volunteers with each group).

In this city alone we have the Marshall University Department of Theatre, First Stage Theatre Company, the 5th Avenue Theatre Company, ARTS and Huntington Outdoor Theatre (among others). In other words, we have groups presenting plays and musicals of all shapes and sizes, and for all ages!

Those groups produce everything from Broadway blockbusters (Into the Woods, Man of La Mancha, Peter Pan, Thoroughly Modern Millie, and even Cats) to smaller shows (Charlotte's Web, I Love You... You're Perfect... Now Change, A Christmas Carol).

And there are lots of great shows on the horizon - You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Camelot, Once Upon a Mattress, Annie and White Christmas, for example.

We're also lucky to have the Marshall Artists series bringing in professional touring shows of Broadway hits, such as Avenue Q and Cats!

Of course, most community theatre groups have little money for advertising, so you have to be on the lookout to know when the shows are being staged. The Herald-Dispatch does a great job covering those shows, and then there's (ahem) the Tri-State Theatre blog, which you can link to from the H-D's home page on the Internet. The blog covers all the newest shows along with assorted theatre news and stuff like that (end of free plug).

And believe me, with the economy struggling, community theatre needs your support - so get out there and see the shows being presented. I'm sure you'll find they live up to the legacy of the first theatre groups in the area.

I share your enthusiasm for local theatre and I agree that it's a terrific tool for learning and growing. Taking part in a play teaches many things - confidence, improved speaking skills, teamwork - and it's a lot of fun, too.

So thanks for being an advocate for community theatre, and spread the word - there's a lot of great work being done in this community right now, and for it to continue, those shows need your support!

Your pal,

Chuck Minsker
Tri-State Theatre blog

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Auditions, News and... Weddings!

Several things to talk about today:

- First, congratulations to my pals Autumn Seavey and Matt "Slice" Hicks, who just got married yesterday!

They both graduated from Marshall's Theatre Department and are enjoying great success in the real world in and around Washington, DC (after the wedding ceremony Autumn was back on stage in Rent). They're wonderful people - much happiness to them both!

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- I spent the afternoon helping out with auditions for Jonathan Joy's upcoming show, The First Day of Summer, which looks like it's going to be a lot of fun (and a darn good opportunity for young actors).

As always, though, the show needs more guys! (This is true for theatre everywhere and at all ages.) If you're a kid and you want to try out, your last chance is tomorrow (Sunday) from 2 to 4 p.m. at Pea Ridge United Methodist Church.

There are roles available for five to seven boys and five to seven girls. No experience is necessary.

The First Day of Summer is a story of two young people, a boy named Ron and a girl named Laney, who meet at age 12 one year while on summer vacation. The two clash at first, but eventually grow close and begin a lifelong friendship. Four actors portray Ron and Laney at age 12 and at age 18.

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- Finally, a couple of reminders: there's still time to enter our "Pick the Osacar Winners" contest - you can read all the details right here (click on the highlighted words, that is).

Also, if you follow Twitter, feel free to follow us at www.twitter.com/ChuckMinsker. I send out Twitters (Tweeties? Whatever.) when I put up new posts on the Tri-State Theatre blog, so you can be the first to get the latest news.

As always, we love getting comments, suggestions and stuff like that. You can comment by clicking the "Post Comments" link below, or you can send us an email at TheMinskers@aol.com.

Friday, February 26, 2010

A Review of "Born Yesterday"

My pal Stephen Vance kindly sends along this review of Marshall's production Born Yesterday:
I saw the show tonight. Another great production from Marshall University. It's shows like this that make you hate to hear that Gene Anthony is retiring. It was a great evening despite the fact that lighting board was on the blink.

Mike Murphy's set was breath taking and the costumes were both appropriate and beautiful. Both elements took you right to the '50s.

I've made positive comments about the cast and students at Marshall before but this one just clicked. Jeremy Plyburn was both hilarious and terrifying, a nice combination for him. Chuck Herndon was as a good as ever, and has some of the best punch lines in the show. Christian Whitt did a very nice job playing the very proper yet manipulated senator. Dylan Clark, who is typically a staple as a character actor, was a very nice selection for the romantic lead. His performance was both understated and believable. Finally, Chelsea Sanders was terrific. Her character is so far out there that it would be possible to annoy the audience, but just the opposite can be said. She was a joy to watch, nailing both the comedic and tender aspects of her character. The rest of the cast fit in really well supporting these great performances.

Do yourself a favor, go see this show!
Thanks, Stephen!

And let me offer a proud salute to Gene Anthony, the MU professor who's retiring. He's not only an amazing director and talented actor and performer in his own right - he's also a great guy and a treasure! Hopefully he'll continue to share his talents with the area through community theatre. He will be missed!

On Stage This Weekend - "Born Yesterday" and "Cell Phone"

You have two shows to choose from this weekend - one in Huntington and one in Charleston - and these are your last chances to catch 'em:

- Born Yesterday - the Marshall Theatre Alliance will present the drama tonight and Saturday at the Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center.

- Dead Man's Cell Phone - The Charleston Stage Company presents the drama tonight and tomorrow.

Check 'em out!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Auditions This Weekend for "First Day of Summer"

Auditions will be held this weekend for the next First Stage Theatre Company production. It's a non-musical written and directed by a local playwright.

Here's the info:
Jonathan Joy will be auditioning young actors in grades 3-12 for his original play, The First Day of Summer.

Auditions are 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27 and 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 28 at Pea Ridge United Methodist Church. Rehearsals begin in mid-March.

Performance dates for the First Stage Theatre production are May 7, 8 and 9 at the Huntington Museum of Art.

There are roles available for five to seven boys and five to seven girls. No experience is necessary.

The First Day of Summer is a story of two young people, a boy named Ron and a girl named Laney, who meet at age 12 one year while on summer vacation. The two clash at first, but eventually grow close and begin a lifelong friendship.

They spend their days playing games, talking about hopes and dreams and sharing stories of fellow classmates from their two different hometowns. When they are split apart at the end of summer, they make a pact. They agree to meet back at their favorite spot in the woods on the first day of summer following high school graduation. Four actors portray Ron and Laney at age 12 and at age 18.
I'm prejudiced, of course, but I read an early draft of the show and loved it.

It's going to be a great experience for young actors, and it's history in the making. As the final show of First Stage's 20th Anniversary season, this is the first original play the long-running children's theatre has presented.

Highly recommended for any young actors out there!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Stephen's Oscar Picks

My pal Stephen Vance provides his choices for the Academy Awards, with lots of comments and a bonus feature!

He writes:
I make a point to see all the best picture nominees every year, and this year was a little more difficult since they doubled the list. It was a very broad list, and in my opinion, although the list is expanded it's still not as strong as the list from the past couple of years. All that being said,

1. Best Picture: Avatar. It may not have the strongest story but it pushed the envelope as far as film making goes and really has set new standards for action and special effects films. (And if it was based solely on best story, I still wouldn't pick Hurt Locker. I'd probably go with Up or Precious.)

2. Best Actor: Jeff Bridges. Simply brilliant work. Perhaps the easiest category to pick. Not just the best of the year, but probably the best work of his career. In fact, Crazy Heart is better than several of the best picture nominees.

3. Best Actress: Meryl Streep. This is the single most difficult category to pick. I personally liked Carey Mulligan in An Education the best, but I don't think she has a shot with the heavyweights. The Blind Side was easily the best work I've ever seen Sandra Bullock do.

4. Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz. He was an absolute delight. Tarantino does such a nice job writing stand out parts for his supporting actors. Honorable mention to Stanley Tucci. He was very very creepy.

5. Best Supporting Actress: Mo'Nique. All of the performances were pretty good, but Mo'Nique's is the one that stands out. (I'm actually surprised they picked Penelope Cruz as the one out of Nine.)

6. Directing: James Cameron. I'll go with the best picture gets best director theory. My big problem with The Hurt Locker wasn't that the scenes weren't intense and compact, but that it was very slow between big moments.

7. Animated Feature: Up. Out of all the categories, this is the one I've seen the least of, but if big picture sentiment didn't cause me to pick Avatar, I would've picked Up. It was by far my favorite movie of the entire year.

8. Original Song: "The Weary Kind." It's a stand out in the film, and I think the notice Bridges is getting will carry over into this category also.

Bonus: Here's my rank of the best picture nominees.

10. Serious Man (Too artsy for me.)
9. District 9 (Didn't meet the hype.)
8. Hurt Locker (Liked it, but loved the others.)
7. Up in the Air (Good, but not as good as Juno or Thank You For Smoking.)
6. An Education (Brilliant performances, and a very pretty picture.)
5. Inglorious Basterds (Guilty pleasure film of the year. I could watch this one several times.)
4. Precious (Fantastic story and film. I do not want to see it again. It is very difficult to watch.)
3. The Blind Side (Very, very uplifting. And who doesn't love based on a true story?)
2. Up (A legit story in animated format.)
1. Avatar (It blew my mind. I actually thought it was going to stink. Pleasantly surprised.)

On Stage Tonight - "Born Yesterday"

My pal Dave Lavender provides this look inside Marshall University Department of Theatre's production Born Yesterday, which starts tonight!

You can read the story here, (with photos by Mark Webb) or here:
On a Sunday afternoon that reached nearly 70 degrees, Marshall University students Chuck Herndon, Jeremy Plyburn and Dylan Clark had their own little iceberg of cool happening sporting retro three-piece suits and dress hats like they just walked off the set of the Mad Men.

"We've thought about wearing the suits to class because you know everybody would be like, 'what's going on with those guys and where are they going to,'" Clark said with a laugh. "It's like we found a hot tub time machine, and it went back to 1950."

Yes, they did ladies, and the scotch is flowing, and the mad money is blowing into Washington.

Herndon, Plyburn and Clark are just three of a cast of about a dozen Marshall students tackling the Garson Kanin-written political comedy, Born Yesterday, that runs 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday at the Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center on the campus of Marshall University.

Tickets are $20 to $12 and free for MU students with a valid ID.

Tabbed as one of America's original screwball comedies, the 1950-set political-satire sets a love story inside the comedic drama that splays open a topic that could be ripped from the today's newspaper -- Washington's pay-for-play politics.

Made into a movie in 1950, Born Yesterday was nominated for four Oscars and won Judy Holliday, who plays the character Billie Dawn in the film, a Best Actress Oscar.

John Goodman, Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson starred in a remake of Born Yesterday in 1993.

Marshall University professor Gene Anthony, who is directing the play, said although this is the third time he's directed the poignant yet playful production, it can hardly be more timely.

The U.S. Supreme Court just ruled to lift restrictions on how much corporations can contribute to American political campaigns.

And on campus, the College of Fine Arts happens to be celebrating the 2010 Marshall University Birke Fine Arts Symposium this month with a theme of "Giving Voice: Social Justice and the Arts" as COFA's Art and Design, Music and Theatre programs reflect on how the arts have been at the forefront of social justice issues of fairness, freedom and equality.

"This ended up on the bill not to fulfill any requirements but it certainly contributes to that notion of 'giving voice,'" Anthony said. "I've directed it three times but I haven't touched it for 20 years. I was shocked when I pulled it up about how 'today' it is. Back then they called it 'influence peddling,' now it's lobbying and they don't go to jail for influencing laws even if they get caught."

Utilizing an exquisite set designed by Mike Murphy, the play's action takes place in a posh Washington hotel where self-made-millionaire, Harry Brock (played by Plyburn) is headquartered and where he and his slick lawyer Ed Devery (played by Herndon) concoct their scheme for Brock to throw his weight and power around in the beltway.

When Brock realizes his "very blond" fiancee, Billie Dawn (played by Chelsea Sanders) is in dire need of an extreme makeover, he hires a fellow resident of the hotel, a journalist named Paul Verrall (played by Clark), to give the seemingly dim-witted blonde a crash course in politics, history, literature and -- of course -- true love.

Plyburn, who charges like a bull into his role as the scotch-drinking, Jersey-born, Cleveland-based junk-yard owning scrap-metal millionaire, Brock, said he thinks the play packs a powerful message.

"It does show that money and power drive everything but it also shows a glimmer of hope that if you have one person who wants to do what's right then it can turn everything inside out in that world," Plyburn said.

Jon's Oscar Picks

My pal Jonathan Joy is here with his picks for this year's Academy Awards!

He's a busy man - he has auditions coming up this weekend for the First Stage show The First Day of Summer (more about that soon).

He writes:
This is tough, especially since I've only seen two of the ten films nominated for best picture. I'm still catching up on last year's entries.

1. Best Picture: Avatar

2. Best Actor: Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart

3. Best Actress: Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side

4. Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds

5. Best Supporting Actress: Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air

6. Directing: Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker

7. Animated Feature Film: Up

8. Original Song: "The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)" from Crazy Heart - Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Obituary - Dr. Elaine Novak

Sad news - the local theatre community has lost one of its most prominent members, a woman who affected the lives of thousands in the arts community. Here's the obituary for Dr. Elaine Novak:
ELAINE ADAMS NOVAK, 87, of Huntington, W.Va., died on Friday, Feb. 19, 2010, at the Emogene Dolin Jones Hospice House in Huntington.

Born in West Milton, Ohio, on July 3, 1922, she was the daughter of the late Dr. Edwin Booth Adams and Isabel Mast Adams, who lived and worked in Huntington.

Her education included an A.B. degree from Marshall College, an M.A. from Columbia University and a Ph.D. from Ohio State University. Other study was at the American University, Catholic University, American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and American Theatre Wing.

During World War II, she achieved the rank of lieutenant (senior grade) in the WAVES, and worked in Communications Intelligence for the U.S. Navy in Washington, D.C.

In 1956, she began a 37-year career of teaching speech and theatre, and directing plays and musicals at Marshall University, rising from instructor of speech, to professor of theatre, to director of university theatre.

She was the author of four books on acting, directing and performing on stage.

During her long and notable career, she received the 1987 West Virginia Theatre Conference's award for "Outstanding Contribution to Theatre," the 1993 "Distinguished Service Award" from Marshall University, and the 1996 "Distinguished Arts Educator Award" from MU's College of Fine Arts. Also in 1996, she was inducted onto the "Greater Huntington Wall of Fame" by the City of Huntington Foundation.

Dr. Novak taught thousands of students over the course of her career, and she is survived by them, as well as a son, Edwin Adams Novak of New York City; and a daughter and son-in-law, Deborah Novak and John Witek of Huntington.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made in memory of Dr. Novak to Marshall University Theatre. Checks should be sent to the Marshall University Department of Theatre, One John Marshall Drive, Huntington, WV 25755.

A graveside service will be held at Spring Hill Cemetery on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010, at 1 p.m. by Tim Dixon. Family guestbook at www.klingelcarpenter.com.

"Camelot" Cast List

Here's the Camelot cast list, as provided by my pal Eddie Harbert:
The Cast for Camelot includes:

Arthur - Mark Baker
Merlyn - Merlyn Marten
Guenevere - Marina Jurica
Lancelot - Todd Preston
Pellinore - Danny Ray
Mordred - Andrew Surber
Morgan Le Fey - Nancy Jackson
Tom of Warwick - Tristan Reynolds
Sir Dinadin - Ron Short
Sir Lionel - Chuck Minsker
Sir Sagramore - Brandon Ward
Squire Dap - Allan Sturm
Lady Catherine - Loretta Hetzer
Lady Sybil - Jaclyn Boylan
Nimue - Jennifer Scott
Fairy - Leela Jackson

Chorus: Cathy Lawson, Stacy Gallaher, Kyle Fisher, Liz Webb, Priscilla Marten, Betty Craddock, Sharon Whitehead, Kenny Harbolt and Alex Wallen.

If anyone would like to participate in the chorus, they can either email me at eddie_harbert@yahoo.com or call me at 304-412-8738.

I want to thank everyone who came out to auditions. We have a very talented cast and I hope that everyone will do their best to see the show. The dates of the show are April 23-25 and April 30-May 2. Tickets are $12.00 for adults and $10.00 for children.

Season tickets will be available for 5th Avenue's complete season which includes three shows: Camelot, Steel Magnolias and White Christmas. Season tickets are available for $30.00 which is about a 20% discount off total ticket prices. Season tickets may be purchased by calling 304-696-5522. Be sure to pick yours up today!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Doesn't Everyone Love Lucy?

My pal Dave Lavender files a great story here about Tuesday's Marshall Artist Series show that spotlights one of the funniest women in entertainment history - Lucille Ball.

Here's an excerpt:
Before Cher, Madonna and Oprah, there was a lady who for six decades was on a first-name basis with America -- Lucy.

A radio, movie and TV actress whose career spanned from the 1930s to the 1980s, Lucille Ball, was the first lady of television best known for her sweet and sassy character that held America spell-bound in three hit CBS TV shows, "I Love Lucy" (1951-1957), "The Lucy Show" (1962 to 1968) and "Here's Lucy" (1968 to 1974).

At 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 23, the red-headed comedic fireball comes back to life during the one-woman play, An Evening with Lucille Ball: "Thank You for Asking," presented by the Marshall Artists Series at the historic Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center.

Adults tickets range from $45-$55 and youth may receive a 20 percent discount. Tickets can be purchased online at www.marshallartistsseries.org, or www.ticketmaster.com.

The funny and inspirational one-woman play is performed by actress and renowned impressionist, Suzanne LaRusch, and was written by LaRusch with Lucie Arnaz, the daughter of the famous couple Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.

An Los Angeles-based actress who has been playing Lucille Ball since 1991, LaRusch said although Ball passed on in 1989, her clever but clean brand of comedy still speaks to generations who only know the legendary actress through late-night reruns.

"What she has to offer to today's generation is the point that comedy can be clever, and it can be clean," LaRusch said. "You don't have to go into the toilet, and you don't have to use bad language to get a good belly laugh. They see so much comedy that is trashy, but that kind of wholesome, everyday humor that was used in the 'I Love Lucy' show and subsequent shows, proves that you don't have to do that. One thing we mention in the show is that Lucille Ball credits her writers for all of her great success, and one of the things she admitted was that she didn't think she was funny, but that if her writers were funny and could write it down in detail she could do it."

Sunday, February 21, 2010

"Camelot" Auditions

Just in case anyone was curious - I did try out for Camelot today (I could scarcely have chickened out after so many friends urged me on) and it was actually a lot of fun!

I saw lots of my theatre pals, and the auditions were painless (well, they were for me. Those poor directors had to listen to my singing)!

I'm impressed with the directing team - they've already done at least part of the casting. They called earlier this evening and offered me a role, which I gratefully accepted.

(I won't say what it is until the official cast list is released - but I'm delighted with my part!)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Chuck's Oscar Choices

What the heck, I'm going to go ahead and name my choices to win the Academy Awards this year:

1. Best Picture: The Hurt Locker - Lots of good candidates this year, and certainly Avatar is a heck of an achievement, but I think if the winner is the movie with the best story, then it'll go to The Hurt Locker.

2. Best Actor: Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart - It just seems like Bridges deserves it for his career of work as much as for the outstanding job he does here.

3. Best Actress: Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side - This is a tough one to name, but I think Bullock gets it for the same reason as Bridges. But it's tough to vote against Mirren or Streep.

4. Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds - Mostly because everyone's raving about him. I haven't seen the movie yet (it's on my NetFlix list).

5. Best Supporting Actress: Mo'Nique, Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire - No idea on this one, so this is my "wild guess" entry.

6. Directing: Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker - I was tempted to choose Cameron on this, because Avatar is such an achievement, but I still think the Best Director and the Best Picture winners go hand in hand (or should go together, anyway).

7. Animated Feature Film: Up - I'll be really shocked if this is nominated for Best Picture and doesn't win Best Animated Film.

8. Original Song: "The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)" from Crazy Heart - Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett - Again, a wild guess (and I hate to vote against Randy Newman), but what the heck.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Zach's Oscar Choices

My pal Zach is the first to chime in with his choices in our Oscar competition! (You can find the details about how to enter in this post.)

Here's what he had to say:
I tried a different approach this year. I tried to research more movies and really concentrate and chose my picks carefully. I did remain unbiased this time unlike the Tony picks this past year. Lots of good films happened this year and several categories will be close!

1. Best Picture - Avatar (I didn't see it and to me it seems overrated. Personally I would like to see The Blind Side win.)

2. Best Actor - Jeff Bridges (I hear he was great and he did win the Golden Globe.)

3. Best Actress - Meryl Streep (by far one the hardest categories this year Sandra Bullock is right there with her.)

4. Best Supporting Actor - Christoph Walt

5. Best Supporting Actress - Penelope Cruz (again, hard category with Mo in the running but Cruz was a smoking hit in that film like wow.)

6. Directing - Jason Reitman, Up in the Air (Cameron will probably take it but Jason had a more original piece.)

7. Animated Feature Film - Up (Disney also has The Princess and the Frog which could win. Both are fantastic and again tough group to win in.)

8. Original Song - Almost There (however the other one from the same movie could take it as well. I honestly think one of the two will win. It is Disney after all and Randy Newman.)
Great choices, Zach! Next?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Auditions for "Camelot" on Sunday

The 5th Avenue Theatre Company is planning to stage on of my favorite shows this spring - Camelot! It's the musical version of the legend of King Arthur, natch.

My pal (and the show's director) Eddie Harbert sends along this notice about auditions:
I wanted to send out an invitation to all of you to come and audition for Camelot, which is a musical being presented by 5th Avenue Theatre Company on April 23-25 and April 30-May 2 with a school performance on April 29. Date of auditions is this Sunday, Feb. 21 at 2:00 p.m. at City Hall Auditorium.

Camelot is the story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. It is the love story between King Arthur and Guinevere. Everything is wonderful in the land of Camelot until Lancelot arrives from France to join the Round Table. Throw in a couple of witches and an illegitimate son and doom is certainly on the horizon - or is it?

Many beautiful and familiar tunes are in Camelot such as "If Ever I Would Leave You," "Camelot," "How to Handle a Woman" and "What Do the Simple Folk Do." I would like to have a chorus of about 25 people or more. There are about 10 speaking roles in the show. I would also like to cast a boy and a girl between the ages of 8-12.

Everyone should come prepared with a song to demonstrate their vocal range. An accompanist will be provided. Auditions will be held only one day and all those auditioning are requested to be there at 2:00 p.m. Everyone will be given the chance to read and sing. Anyone interested in serving on the tech crew is also requested to come at that time.

If you have any questions about auditions or the show, please feel free to email me at eddie_harbert@yahoo.com or call 304-412-8738.

Please come join us in this glorious production which has not been done in our community in 30 years:

"Don't let it be forgot,
That once there was a spot,
For one brief shining moment
That was known as Camelot!"
Eddie's a great guy and an outstanding director, and he's assembled an excellent directing team, so I know it's going to be a great show!

And I have to admit (dare I say it?) - I'm tempted to try out for it. I'm not much of an actor, and I'm not much of a singer, and I can't dance, but I do love the show.

The only other time I was on stage was in a production of 1776, and it was a heck of a lot of fun - so we'll see. Maybe I could land the part of Peasant #4...

I'm still on the fence, although my lovely wife is pushing for me to give it a shot. We'll see...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Leslie McElroy Memorial Scholarship Applications Being Accepted

Here's something that's near and dear to my heart. First Stage Theatre Company offers two scholarships every year, and they just sent out an announcement that they're accepting applications for the one named in honor of my dear friend Leslie McElroy.

I was lucky enough to work with her on many shows, and she was a wonderful friend. The children's theatre decided to create a scholarship to honor her memory, and I'm happy to support it and pass this information along:
The First Stage Theatre Company is now accepting applications for the Leslie McElroy Memorial Scholarship.

First Stage sponsors the scholarship to honor the memory of Leslie McElroy, who was a great supporter of community theatre as a producer, actor and board member of First Stage.

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

Entries must be received by Monday, March 15, 2010.

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 list of the shows they’ve been in; a list of school-related extra-curricular activities; a list of civic or public service activities; a copy of an official school document showing the individual's most recent grade-point average; identification of the college the individual is attending or will attend; and a brief statement (250 words or less) on why the applicant is interested in studying dramatic or performing arts and detailing the applicant's financial need for the award.

Applications should be sent to First Stage Scholarships, c/o C.E. Wilson, 6421 Rt. 60 East, Barboursville, WV 25504. For more information, call 304-736-4366.

Complete application information and forms are available at www.firststagetheatre.org.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

On Stage This Weekend - "Wonka" and "Cell Phone"

Mark your calendars now - there are two community theatre shows coming up this weekend.

One is in Ashland, and it's based on a film that's a hugely popular musical comedy. The other is in Charleston, and it's an original drama.

Here's the rundown:

- Willy Wonka, Jr. - ACTC presents the classic musical Feb. 19, 20 and 21.

- Dead Man's Cell Phone
- The Charleston Stage Company presents the drama Feb. 18, 19, 20, 25, 26 and 27.

Monday, February 15, 2010

You Choose the Oscars Winners!

Even though it's a bit of a stretch for a theatre blog, last year we had fun picking the winners of the Academy Awards. (If we don't do it, who will?)

Linda Reynolds is our reigning champion, narrowly edging out several others for the crown last year. As always, it's easy to enter - you can send your selections from the list below in as a comment (the link is at the bottom of the post), or email your choices to me at TheMinskers@aol.com. Feel free to add comments after your selection. The deadline for entering is the beginning of the broadcast March 7.

I'll post your choices here, and after the Oscars are handed out, we'll name our champion! The only prize is bragging rights, but isn't that glory enough?

Here are your choices for 2010:

1. Best Picture:


Avatar
The Blind Side
District 9
An Education
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire
A Serious Man
Up
Up in the Air


2. Best Actor:

Jeff Bridges, "Crazy Heart"
George Clooney, "Up in the Air"
Colin Firth, "A Single Man"
Morgan Freeman, "Invictus"
Jeremy Renner, "The Hurt Locker"


3. Best Actress:

Sandra Bullock, "The Blind Side"
Helen Mirren, "The Last Station"
Carey Mulligan, "An Education"
Gabourey Sidibe, "Precious: Based on the Novel `Push' by Sapphire"
Meryl Streep, "Julie & Julia"


4. Best Supporting Actor:

Matt Damon, "Invictus"
Woody Harrelson, "The Messenger"
Christopher Plummer, "The Last Station"
Stanley Tucci, "The Lovely Bones"
Christoph Waltz, "Inglourious Basterds"


5. Best Supporting Actress:


Penelope Cruz, "Nine"
Vera Farmiga, "Up in the Air"
Maggie Gyllenhaal, "Crazy Heart"
Anna Kendrick, "Up in the Air"
Mo'Nique, "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"


6. Directing:

James Cameron, "Avatar"
Kathryn Bigelow, "The Hurt Locker"
Quentin Tarantino, "Inglourious Basterds"
Lee Daniels, "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"
Jason Reitman, "Up in the Air"


7. Animated Feature Film:

Coraline
Fantastic Mr. Fox
The Princess and the Frog
The Secret of Kells
Up


8. Original Song:

"Almost There" from The Princess and the Frog - Randy Newman
"Down in New Orleans" from The Princess and the Frog - Randy Newman
"Loin de Paname" from Paris 36 - Reinhardt Wagner and Frank Thomas
"Take It All" from Nine - Maury Yeston
"The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)" from Crazy Heart - Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett

Saturday, February 13, 2010

"Bitsy, Boots and Friends" - A Review

Last night my lovely wife and I (and lots of friends) got to see the latest misadventures of Bitsy, Boots and Friends in the original play written by Jonathan Joy.

The First United Methodist Church makes an annual tradition out of presenting great shows along with a terrific meal, and the latest is on display this weekend only!

Joy has supplied the play for the past three years, each one a new chapter in the life of Bitsy and Boots, two sisters from Lawrence County, Ohio, who can be a bit... contrary, shall we say.

The events of the play traditionally revolve around a visit by their nephew Tommy and his fiancee (and now wife), Kat.

The second edition of the play added another cantankerous character to the mix - cousin Ida, who would try the patience of a saint.

All those characters return for the newest play, along with Boots' beau Max, and three new characters: Bridgett, a fast-talking friend; Franklin, who adores Bitsy; and Cheryl Daniels, an inept police officer.

The play is very funny, both for the terrific characters and the hilarious situations and events they're caught up in. Joy has a terrific ear for dialogue, and I love the references to real locations sprinkled in throughout the story.

The show also succeeds because it has such a terrific cast. Jane Morse owns the part of Bitsy, the flinty, somewhat grouchy and always entertaining sister. Her comic skills are amazing to watch, and always delightful.

Loretta Hetzer also owns the part of Boots, the somewhat sweeter and slightly ditzy sister. Her comic timing is right on the money, as she takes on the "straight woman" role with great energy.

I've praised my pal Mike Murdock (Max) many times in the past - he's a thorough professional and one of the funniest actors I've ever seen on stage, period. Here he not only steals virtually every scene he's in but manages to save the show - he took over the role just four days ago, but you'd never know by watching - his timing and deliver are impeccable.

Rebecca Payne returns as Ida, the cousin to the sisters, and she strides the stage with incredible confidence and skill. She's an absolute scream as the most irritating, annoying and delightful character you're likely to see. Wonderful work here on her part.

Adam Stephens plays Tommy, the long-suffering nephew who finds himself in the middle of Bitsy's plans. He does an outstanding job at being the straight man and perhaps the only sane character in this crazy cast.

His wife Kat is played by Melissa Langham, who returns to the role for a second time. She had some of my favorite scenes in the show, delivered with a manic, "I Love Lucy"-style intensity that had me howling (and let me add, comparing a comic actress to Lucy is the highest compliment I know).

The newest members to the cast are also terrific comedic actors, including: the very funny Stephen Vance as Franklin, who's lovestruck by Bitsy (he also provided these photos, by the way - thanks, Stephen!); the hilarious Leann Haines as Bridgett, the motor-mouthed gal who gets drawn into Bitsy's latest scheme; and the zany Sarah Lester Tschop as Cheryl Daniels, a police officer who must be related to my all-time favorite TV deputy from Mayberry.

An honorable mention goes out to Stacy Morgan, who played the never-seen newscaster. Well done!

If this show tradition goes on much longer at First United Methodist Church, they're going to need a bigger stage! The one at the church is small, and the cast of characters just keeps growing!

Kudos to everyone - the cast, directors and tech crew - for a terrific job on a very funny show!

If you're looking for a laugh (and don't mind eating an outstanding meal at the same time), you must see Bitsy, Boots and Friends! You can thank me later.

TICKET INFO: - the comedy will be presented Saturday and Sunday at 6:30 p.m. at 1124 5th Avenue in Huntington. Proceeds from the dinner theater will help fund the church youth work team and many other projects. A ticket for dinner plus show is $22 for an adult and $8 for a child under 12. Tickets for the show only will be sold for $5 each, as space permits. Reservations are required for all shows - call 304-522-0357 or 740-867-8576.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Auditions Soon for "The First Day of Summer"

From today's paper, we see an advance notice of auditions for an original play:
Jonathan Joy will soon be auditioning young actors in grades 3-12 for his original play, The First Day of Summer.

Actors needed are five to seven boys and five to seven girls. No experience necessary. Audition dates/times are 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27 and 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 28 at Pea Ridge United Methodist Church.

Rehearsals begin in mid-March. Performance dates for the First Stage Theatre production are May 7, 8 and 9 at the Huntington Museum of Art.

The First Day of Summer is a story of two young people, a boy named Ron and a girl named Laney, who meet at age 12 one year while on summer vacation. The two clash at first, but eventually grow close and begin a life long friendship. They spend their days playing games, talking about hopes and dreams and sharing stories of fellow classmates from their two different hometowns. When they are split apart at the end of summer, they make a pact. They agree to meet back at their favorite spot in the woods on the first day of summer following high school graduation. Four actors portray Ron and Laney at age 12 and at age 18.

Originally, this play was a four character, 30-minute one act written by the author in the Summer of 2004 for a graduate writing class at Marshall University. A portion of the play was then presented in a reading at the Birke Art Gallery. A year later, in August 2005, it premiered to a sold out crowd at Shawnee State University.

Since then, the author has been workshopping the play with students throughout the Huntington area in the hopes of expanding it into an hour-long full length play with a larger cast. That full length version will make its premiere with First Stage Theatre in May 2010.

The play offers unique acting challenges that include approaching and developing a new text. The cast will be an integral part of the further development of this play. Any students interested in writing and/or performing arts should audition and become a part of this exciting experiment.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

On Stage This Weekend - Two Shows!

Start making your plans - there are two great shows to choose from this weekend!

They are:

- Bitsy, Boots and Friends - presented by First United Methodist Church, the comedy will be presented Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 6:30 p.m. at 1124 5th Avenue in Huntington. Proceeds from the dinner theater will help fund the church youth work team and many other projects. A ticket for dinner plus show is $22 for an adult and $8 for a child under 12. Tickets for the show only will be sold for $5 each, as space permits. Reservations are required for all shows - call 304-522-0357 or 740-867-8576.

- 12 Angry Men - The Kanawha Players presents this classic drama Feb. 12 - 13 at 8 p.m. at the Kanawha Players Theatre, 309 Beauregard Street in Charleston. Tickets are $16 for general admission and $10 for students. For more info, go to www.kanawhaplayers.org.

As I've said many times before, it's great to have so many outstanding shows to choose from - but the down economy is hurting your local theatre groups, too, and they need your support - so make the time to see a local show!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

"Cats" and "Bitsy and Boots"

Hey, it's always great to see theatre stories getting some ink in the pages of the Herald-Dispatch - and there were a couple of stories in there today.

Even better, it made the front cover!



This awesome photo is by Toril Lavender , and you can see more photos of the cast of Cats right here.

And the Artists Series is just getting warmed up!:
A sold-out crowd experienced one of Broadway's longest-running musicals, Cats, on Monday night at the Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center.

The popular show is just one of the many Marshall Artists Series events coming up. Here are what's next in the upcoming shows at the Keith-Albee:

8 P.M. TUESDAY, FEB. 23: Lucille Ball: Thank You for Asking is a celebration of the first lady of television performed by actress and renowned impressionist, Suzanne LaRusch, and written by LaRusch in association with Lucie Arnaz and Laurence Luckinbill.

MARCH 5 TO 7: The Spring International Film Festival will feature films from around the world, including Departures (Japan); The Girl From Monaco (France); Burma VJ: Reporting From a Close Country (Belgium); Lake Tahoe (Mexico); Flow: For the Love of Water (USA); Lemon Tree (Israel).

8 P.M. MONDAY, MARCH 15: Mozart's Don Giovanni - Hailed by many as the greatest of all operas, Mozart's Don Giovanni is based on the true-life escapades of Don Juan of Seville, an aristocratic lothario who lived during the 1600s.

7:30 P.M. THURSDAY, APRIL 22: Michael Flatley's Lord of the Dance is a mesmerizing blend of traditional and modern Celtic music and dance.
And you could also see this story about a great show coming up next weekend:
First United Methodist Church in Huntington is continuing to accept reservations for its annual First Church Dinner Theater, which will be presented Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings, Feb. 12-14, at the church, 1124 5th Ave.

This year's play is the world premiere of local playwright Jonathan Joy's Bitsy, Boots and Friends.

The dinner theater has raised more than $35,000 since 1991 to support First United Methodist Church's community projects, mission projects across West Virginia and national and international relief efforts. Members volunteer throughout the community, and participate in teams in West Virginia, Alaska and Nicaragua. Proceeds from the 2010 dinner theater will help fund the church youth work team and many other projects.

Dinner will be served at 6:30 each night, with the show beginning at 8 p.m. A ticket for dinner plus show is $22 for an adult and $8 for a child under 12. Tickets for the show only will be sold for $5 each, as space permits.

The choice of entrees include prime rib au jus or glazed Cornish hen, with tossed salad, baked potato, green peas and pearl onions, rolls and assorted Valentine desserts.

Reservations are required for all shows, and should be made by calling 304-522-0357 or 740-867-8576.

Baby-sitting is available on request for all shows, but advance notice is required.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Some "Cats" Tickets Are Still Available!

The tickets are going fast for Tuesday's performance of Cats that takes the stage at the Keith Albee Performing Arts Center!

Here's the info:
Presented by the Marshall Artists Series, Cats will take place at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 8 and Tuesday, Feb. 9. Monday's show is sold out, but tickets remain for Tuesday's show.

Based on T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, and with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Cats won seven 1983 Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Lighting and Best Costumes.

Cats is the only production in North America sanctioned by Lloyd Webber. With original direction by Trevor Nunn and choreography by Gillian Lynne, this is the production credited with the British invasion of Broadway.

“Anybody who does a musical in England never really feels they've done it until it goes to Broadway and survives or fails that test,” Nunn told The New York Times. “That is the journey.”

The national tour of Cats recently celebrated its 26th anniversary season. In June 1997, Cats became the longest running musical on Broadway, continuing to live up to its motto “Now and Forever.” Its 18 year run ended on September 10, 2000.

Five continents and 26 countries later, Cats is still one of America’s most loved family musicals. Approximately 8.5 million audience members later, Cats is still the ground-breaking and awe inspiring event it was on opening night.

Tickets are on sale now at the Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center box office and all Ticketmaster locations, online at ticketmaster.com or call 304-696-6656 for more details. Adult tickets are $55, $50 and $45.

Cats is sponsored by the Children’s Hospital at Cabell Huntington Hospital, Heiner’s Bakery, Touma Foundation, University Physicians & Surgeons, West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, West Virginia Department of Education, WKEE, B-97, The Herald-Dispatch, WSAZ, Marshall University, The College of Fine Arts and the Marshall Artists Series.

Friday, February 05, 2010

On Stage This Weekend - Five Shows!

The weekend is at hand, so get out there, brave the weather and enjoy one of five (count 'em, five!) shows taking the stage this weekend.

Here's the lineup:

- I Love You... You're Perfect... Now Change - ARTS presents this musical comedy in the Renaissance Ballroom (Old Huntington High School). Shows will be presented Feb. 5-7. Dinner is at 6:30 p.m. and the show begins at 8:00. Tickets for the show and dinner is $25.00 per person and $10.00 for show only. A group rate is available for groups of 10 or more. The story is based around four couples who take the audience through the whole journey of love, dating, and relationships and pokes fun at the process we go through in search of a mate.

- The Pirates of Penzance - the Charleston Light Opera Guild presents the Gilbert & Sullivan’s musical comedy on Feb. 5 and 6 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 7 at 3 p.m. All shows are at the Light Opera Guild Theater on the corner of Tennessee Avenue and Roane Street in West Charleston. Tickets are $15 and it is festival seating. The box office number is 304-342-9312 - for more info go to www.charlestonlightoperaguild.org.

- Galileo - The Contemporary Youth Arts Company will present Bertolt Brecht’s classic drama Galileo at 8 p.m. Feb. 5-6 at the historic WVSU Capitol Center Theater, 123 Summers Street, Charleston W.Va. Tickets are $9.50 for adults and $5.50 for students and seniors.

- The Memory House - A two-person play by Kathleen Tolan will be performed at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights at Marshall's Francis Booth Experimental Theatre inside the Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center. The play is free and open to the public.

- 12 Angry Men - The Kanawha Players presents this classic drama Feb. 5 - 7 and 12 - 13 at 8 p.m. and Feb. 7 at 2 p.m. at the Kanawha Players Theatre, 309 Beauregard Street in Charleston. Tickets are $16 for general admission and $10 for students. For more info, go to www.kanawhaplayers.org. (As my pal Mel points out in the comments, I missed this one in the original post - mea culpa!)

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Theatre Notes About Three New Shows

There are three theatre stories to check out on the Herald-Dispatch online. For example:

- Go here and read my pal Dave Lavender's preview of the show that takes the stage next week - the touring show of Cats. Here's an excerpt:
More than 8.5 million purring fans can't be wrong.

Based on T.S. Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, and power-packed with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Cats is without a doubt one of the most popular musicals of all times.

Cats set records for longevity in London, scratched out the second-longest-run on Broadway, and on the road, the big '80s musical has lived up to its motto, "Now and Forever" playing in some 26 countries and five continents.

Come Monday and Tuesday, the behemoth musical that cost some $5 million when it first came to Broadway in the early 1980s, brings its amazing and playful musical junkyard to the stage at the Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center, 925 4th Ave.

The Monday night show, produced by the Marshall Artists Series is sold out, as is a Tuesday morning school show that will be performed for more than 2,200 area school children from around the Tri-State.

Tickets do remain for a second night show at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $55, $50 and $45 and are on sale now at the Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center box office and all Ticketmaster locations, online at ticketmaster.com or call 304-696-6656 for more details.

As a testament to Cats' popularity we caught up with actor Adam Steiner (Rum Tum Tugger). He has only been with the touring production of Cats since February 2009, but has already been to most states, as well as South and Central America.

A graduate of Western Michigan University, Steiner said it was an amazing experience sharing Cats with audiences in South America, many whom were experiencing their first taste of American Broadway shows.

"It was just phenomenal, and we had sold out houses over and over. It was just an honor to be there as one of the first Broadway shows to go down there," Steiner said. "It's something people had only heard about, but they hadn't seen a full production, so it was so cool for them and for us to be immersed into their culture. It really was amazing to get to go and get a feel for each individual place that we were performing it in."
And here's a show that has its origins a bit closer to home - it takes the stage (and the dinner table) Valentine's weekend:
First United Methodist Church is thrilled to present yet another brand-new comedy by local actor, playwright and drama instructor Jonathan Joy.

First Church Dinner Theater will be hosting the World Premiere of Bitsy, Boots and Friends for your Valentine’s entertainment.

The show will take place Feb. 12-14. Dinner served at 6:30 p.m., the show begins at 8 p.m. There is a choice of entrees: Prime Rib au Jus or Glazed Cornish hen, with Tossed Salad, Baked Potato, Green peas and Pearl Onions, Dilly Rolls and assorted Valentine Desserts.

Tickets: Dinner plus Show: Adult - $22, Child under 12 - $8, Show only (as space permits) - $5. Babysitting available on request for all shows (advance notice required). Reservations are required for all shows. For Reservations, call: 304-522-0357 or 740-867-8576.

Bitsy, Boots and Friends presents still more of the unexpected, as Tommy brings his bride to southern Ohio for another visit with the two oddball aunts who raised him, their even odder cousin Ida, and an assortment of other friends, new and old.
Then go here to read about a show I knew nothing about (but it sounds like a great one to check out):
The Memory House, a two-person play by Kathleen Tolan, will be performed at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights at Marshall's Francis Booth Experimental Theatre inside the Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center.

Directed by Marshall University Department of Theatre student, Mary Poindexter Williams, the play is free and open to the public.

Set in a Manhattan apartment on a New Year’s Eve, the play follows a recently-divorced mother baking a pie as her daughter tires of finishing a college essay exploring her childhood memories. As the essay deadline looms, unexamined issues of the girl’s adoption from Russia, questions of her loyalty to one’s culture and country, her parents divorce and the fear of leaving home, surface as her mom works through her own loss and sadness.

The mom, Maggie, is played by veteran Huntington area actress, Linda Reynolds, and the daughter is a Marshall student, Rachel Kenaston, who is a senior theater and French major and also a Yeager Scholar.

For more theater events, go online at www.marshall.edu/cofa and click onto Theatre.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

The Oscar Nominees

This blog is actually about community theatre, not movies, but we bend the rules at this time of the year to talk about the Oscars. This year there are 10 films nominated in the "Best Picture" category, which should make things interesting.

The nominees were announced this morning - give me a few days to get things sorted out, and we'll crank up our annual "Name the Winners" competition!

Wearing the crown from last year is my pal Linda Reynolds. Can she repeat? Will someone else win the title? Will Chuck finish in last place again? Only time will tell!

In the meantime, here are the nominees:

Best Picture:
Avatar
The Blind Side
District 9
An Education
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire
A Serious Man
Up
Up in the Air
Actor:
Jeff Bridges, "Crazy Heart"
George Clooney, "Up in the Air"
Colin Firth, "A Single Man"
Morgan Freeman, "Invictus"
Jeremy Renner, "The Hurt Locker"
Actress:
Sandra Bullock, "The Blind Side"
Helen Mirren, "The Last Station"
Carey Mulligan, "An Education"
Gabourey Sidibe, "Precious: Based on the Novel `Push' by Sapphire"
Meryl Streep, "Julie & Julia"
Supporting Actor:
Matt Damon, "Invictus"
Woody Harrelson, "The Messenger"
Christopher Plummer, "The Last Station"
Stanley Tucci, "The Lovely Bones"
Christoph Waltz, "Inglourious Basterds"
Supporting Actress:
Penelope Cruz, "Nine"
Vera Farmiga, "Up in the Air"
Maggie Gyllenhaal, "Crazy Heart"
Anna Kendrick, "Up in the Air"
Mo'Nique, "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"
Directing:
James Cameron, "Avatar"
Kathryn Bigelow, "The Hurt Locker"
Quentin Tarantino, "Inglourious Basterds"
Lee Daniels, "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"
Jason Reitman, "Up in the Air"
Foreign Language Film: "Ajami," Israel; "El Secreto de Sus Ojos," Argentina; "The Milk of Sorrow," Peru; "Un Prophete," France; "The White Ribbon," Germany

Adapted Screenplay: Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell, "District 9"; Nick Hornby, "An Education"; Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche, "In the Loop"; Geoffrey Fletcher, "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"; Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner, "Up in the Air"

Original Screenplay: Mark Boal, "The Hurt Locker"; Quentin Tarantino, "Inglourious Basterds"; Alessandro Camon and Oren Moverman, "The Messenger"; Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, "A Serious Man"; Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, Tom McCarthy, "Up"

Animated Feature Film: "Coraline"; "Fantastic Mr. Fox"; "The Princess and the Frog"; "The Secret of Kells"; "Up"

Art Direction: "Avatar," "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus," "Nine," "Sherlock Holmes," "The Young Victoria"

Cinematography: "Avatar," "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," "The Hurt Locker," "Inglourious Basterds," "The White Ribbon"

Sound Mixing: "Avatar," "The Hurt Locker," "Inglourious Basterds," "Star Trek," "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen"

Sound Editing: "Avatar," "The Hurt Locker," "Inglourious Basterds," "Star Trek," "Up"

Original Score: "Avatar," James Horner; "Fantastic Mr. Fox," Alexandre Desplat; "The Hurt Locker," Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders; "Sherlock Holmes," Hans Zimmer; "Up," Michael Giacchino

Original Song: "Almost There" from "The Princess and the Frog," Randy Newman; "Down in New Orleans" from "The Princess and the Frog," Randy Newman; "Loin de Paname" from "Paris 36," Reinhardt Wagner and Frank Thomas; "Take It All" from "Nine," Maury Yeston; "The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)" from "Crazy Heart," Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett

Costume: "Bright Star," "Coco Before Chanel," "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus," "Nine," "The Young Victoria"

Documentary Feature: "Burma VJ," "The Cove," "Food, Inc." "The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers," "Which Way Home"

Documentary (short subject): "China's Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province," "The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner," "The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant," "Music by Prudence," "Rabbit a la Berlin"

Film Editing: "Avatar," "District 9," "The Hurt Locker," "Inglourious Basterds," "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"

Makeup: "Il Divo," "Star Trek," "The Young Victoria"

Animated Short Film: "French Roast," "Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty," "The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte)," "Logorama," "A Matter of Loaf and Death"

Live Action Short Film: "The Door," "Instead of Abracadabra," "Kavi," "Miracle Fish," "The New Tenants"

Visual Effects: "Avatar," "District 9," "Star Trek"

Monday, February 01, 2010

On Stage in February

The month ahead may be a short one, but there are quite a few great shows squeezed in there.

Here are the shows I know about - as always, if I've missed one, let me know in the comments below, or email the information to TheMinskers@aol.com.

Here's the list for February:

- I Love You... You're Perfect... Now Change - ARTS presents the musical comedy at the Renaissance Center Feb. 5, 6 and 7.

- The Pirates of Penzance - The Charleston Light Opera Guild presents the musical comedy by Gilbert & Sullivan Feb. 5, 6 and 7.

- Galileo
- The Contemporary Youth Arts Company presents Bertolt Brecht’s classic drama Jan. 29-30 and Feb. 5-6 at the historic WVSU Capitol Center Theater in Charleston.

- CATS - The Marshall Artists Series presents one of Broadway's most popular musicals Feb. 8 and 9 at the Keith Albee Performing Arts Center.

- Bitsy, Boots and Friends - The original show by Jonathan Joy will be presented at the First United Methodist Church in Huntington Feb. 12, 13 and 14.

- 12 Angry Men - The Kanawha Players presents this drama Feb. 12 and 13.

- Willy Wonka, Jr. - ACTC presents the classic musical Feb. 19, 20 and 21.

- Dead Man's Cell Phone - The Charleston Stage Company presents the drama Feb. 18, 19, 20, 25, 26 and 27.

- Lucille Ball: "Thank You For Asking" - The Marshall Artists Series presents a show about the film and TV star at the Keith Albee Performing Arts Center Feb. 23.

- Born Yesterday - the Marshall Theatre Alliance will present the drama Feb. 24, 25, 26 and 27 at the Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center.