New Moon's production of Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead is a good example of how to make a perfectly enjoyable show with limited resources and a mixed assortment of talents.
Mercifully, Playhouse on the Square's spunky but misguided production of Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet closes this weekend, just as a variety of plays written or inspired by the Avon's bard open to the public. Here's how it all shakes out.
Theresa Rebeck's Bad Dates is a show custom made for "girls night out." It's lot like Sex in the City only without any of the actual sex which is really the only thing about Sex in the City most men can comprehend. Kim Justis Eikner plays a Texas waitress who conquered the New York restaurant world but can't seem to meet Mr. Right. Or Mr. Right Now. Or even Mr. Wrong-but- Serviceable. Bless her heart.
Sure green donuts may be an idea that only Homer Simpson could love but it's the thought that counts, right? WICKED tickets go on sale this morning (4/17/09) and to celebrate The Orpheum is giving away emerald-colored sinkers and coffee until 10 a.m.
I Am Somebody... Else!, an original play written and performed by Memphian Emma Crystal, was originally scheduled to open and play a limited engagement at the Hattiloo Theater in March. The weather had other plans.
“Unfortunately our chosen weekend included a snow cancellation,” says director Jamie Mann. “We felt that all of our hard work, and the show itself deserved a second showing.
Crystal appeared as one of the witches in The Hattiloo's production of Macbeth last season.
The second coming of I Am Somebody...Else!, a comic look at rejection, racism, and religion opens on Wednesday, April 15th and runs through Saturday, April, 18 at Southwest Tennessee Community College Theater, 737 Union Avenue. Tickets are $10, $5 for students with appropriate ID. Call 901.240.8867 for additional information.
Call me cynical but I read Theatre Memphis's inclusion of The Sound of Music, Driving Miss Daisy, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat on its 2009-2010 season as a clear and unmistakable sign that troubled economic times are upon us. And it's not just Theatre Memphis. All around the town our professional and community playhouses are playing it safe by producing material with a proven track record for attracting large crowds. That's probably a smart move for the theaters and its certainly good news for fans of the shows. On the other hand, such news can be a bit depressing for regular theatergoers who tired of the “Lonely Goatherd” when they were 16 (going on 17). That doesn't mean '09-10 doesn't have plenty to offer more discriminating consumers. Here's a user-friendly guide to next season's 11 must-see shows.
Bad Dates, Theresa Rebeck's one woman comedy opens at Theatre Memphis on Friday, April 17. Kim Justis Eikner takes on the role of Haley, a Texas waitress with 600 pairs of shoes and a complete inability to meet a decent guy.
"I'm thinking about going into banking. It's safer and the takes are bigger"
—Macheath, Threepenny Opera
Americans are most familiar with Marc Blitzstein's sanitized translation of the seedy Bertolt Brecht Kurt Weill masterpiece The Threepenny Opera. That doesn't mean there aren't more interesting translations. In 1976 Joe Papp and the New York Shakespeare Festival presented a new, edgier version translated by Ralph Manheim and John Willett. It was directed by arch-formalist Richard Foreman, founder of New York's Ontological-Hysteric Theatre and starred Raul Julia as Macheath and the Tony-nominated Ellen Greene as pirate Jenny.
Stanley Silverman's aggressive treatment of Weill's already remarkable score made this cast recording the most powerful interpretation of Threepenny Opera that doesn't also include a performance by Lotte Lenya. Thanks to Sony Masterworks this and seven other difficult to find cast albums are now available on CD for the first time.
A handful of Memphians were exposed to elements of the Manheim/Willett translation in 1988 when Rhodes College staged a production of Threepenny Opera that also used the best parts of the Blitzstein and Eric Bently translations. Rhodes received word from the Kurt Weill Foundation that the cast had to perform from the Blitzstein text exclusively or shut down. The production, starring Tony Garner as Macheath, and directed by Jack Eric Williams (who originated the role of Beadle Bamford in Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd) closed after only two preview performances.
A video review: