On Sunday, August 30 the Memphis Theater Community will celebrate the best of the 2008-'09 season and raise a toast to actor/director, and recently retired University of Memphis theater professor Joanna "Josie" Helming when she receives the Eugart Yerian Award for Lifetime Achievement at the 26th annual Ostrander Awards. Helming was recruited to do her graduate studies in Memphis by Keith Kennedy, who founded the U of M's Department of Theatre & Dance. She finished her MA in 1967 and became cornerstone of the U of M's performance faculty.
Now, without much ado, here are the nominees for this year's Ostrander awards...
Pictured: Josie Helming in Candida
Arrow Rock Lyceum, 1973
The production of Much Ado About Nothing opening at the Bartlett Performing Arts Center this weekend features original music by 60's inspired art rocker Bennett Foster of The Barbaras. Director Irene Crist, who set Shakespeare's classic battle of the sexes in the 1960's, is Foster's Mom.
Here's Foster performing a sweet, lo-fi Barbaras-style take on "Sigh No More Ladies." The song will be performed live by actor/musician Michael Towle.
Dead and Gone, a Chatterbox audio theater adaptation James Joyce's The Dead airs on WKNO FM 91.1, Tuesday, July 21 at 7 p.m. Robert Arnold, Chatterbox's Executive Director has moved Joyce's novella-length epiphany from 1904 Dublin, Ireland to post-reconstruction Memphis. Now he has some explaining to do.
Memphis writer and actor Jazmin "Jazzy" Miller has developed a new script based on the life of Sojourner Truth a slave who renounced her bondage claiming God and spoken to her. Miller, a towering presence in her own right says she was intrigued by Truth's faith and sold on the idea of developing a script after discovering she was also "six feet of woman." Here's what else she had to say about her play The Journey of Truth.
Opera Memphis may not be breaking up with the Orpheum, but the Germantown-headquartered organization has definitely decided to date other venues. O.M.'s 2009-2010 finds the opera docking at Germantown Performing Arts Center in October for a roaring 20's take on Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte, then transforming the Clark Opera Memphis Center into a performance space to house Christoph Willibald Gluck’s ORPHEUS in January, 2010. Poetically enough, the company returns to the Orpheum to end its season with Giacomo Puccini’s Madame Butterfly in April 2010.
Opera Memphis's 2009-10 season
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s COSI FAN TUTTE at Germantown Performing Arts Center
Saturday October 31 & Tuesday November 3, 2009
Christoph Willibald Gluck’s ORPHEUS at the Clark Opera Memphis Center
Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings, January 22-24, 29-31, 2010
Giacomo Puccini’s MADAME BUTTERFLY at the Orpheum Theatre
Saturday April 17 & Tuesday April 20, 2010
High fives and champagne all around! André Bruce Ward, Theatre Memphis' resident costume designer for 33 years and Christopher McCullom, the theater's relatively new scenic designer, have received the highest honor that can be bestowed upon community theater designers. Both were honored with certificates for outstanding achievement issued by the American Association of Community Theatre at the AACT convention on Saturday, June 27 in Tacoma, Washington. Ward, who is 71 and whose designs were collected in the 2008 book André: 30 Years of Costume Design at Theatre Memphis, also received the organization's lifetime achievement award.