Friday, February 26, 2010

Muchas Vaginas Juntos: Eve Ensler's Monologues en Espanol

Posted By on Fri, Feb 26, 2010 at 8:42 AM

Candy Vaginas for V-Day
  • Candy Vaginas for V-Day
I think I have vagina burnout. I never thought I'd type, speak, or even think those words and having done so my darling wife will probably stare at me like a stranger. But it's true. After a decade's worth of annual productions of The Vagina Monologues and two productions this month alone there's just not much left to say. I mean even Playhouse on the Square retired Peter Pan eventually (although I've heard it may be coming back like Jason Voorhees with a meathook). On the other hand there is this...

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Politics of Performance: Three questions about a free theater experience at Java Cabana

Posted By on Thu, Feb 25, 2010 at 7:59 PM

Poster for MAKE AMERICA
  • Poster for MAKE AMERICA
Writer/actor Brandon Chase Goldsmith has been working on what he describes as "a new form of political theater." His interactive performance Make America is based on a 1792 essay by James Madison where the principle author of the Constitution refers to both his writing and Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence as "America’s “Political Scriptures.” Goldsmith has a lot to say about his performance and the bumpy road leading up to its Memphis debut. Intermission Impossible managed to get to the heart of it all in a little game we like to call Three Questions.

Intermission Impossible: Let's start with a strange question. Your show is inspired by a James Madison essay where he refers to the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution as America’s “Political Scriptures.” Is there some semantic advantage in using spiritually-charged language to define man made documents?

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Motion of the Ocean: Project: Motion showcases surrealists and storytellers

Posted By on Thu, Feb 25, 2010 at 4:12 PM

Project: Motion is joining forces with Seattle artists Juliet Waller Pruzan and Stephen Hando and Pennsylvania dancer/choreographer Ursula Payne for AXIS, an intimate, insightful, and occasionally hilarious collection of performances.

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Sneak Peek: Sights & Sounds from Ballet Memphis' Open Rehearsal

Posted By on Fri, Feb 19, 2010 at 9:11 AM

Thursday's open rehersal didn't attract a huge crowd but a handful of mid-day visitors to the Lowenstein building got a fun preview of Ballet Memphis' AbunDANCE: Joyful Noise, which opens next weekend at Playhouse on the Square.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Brown-Bag Ballet: Catch a free lunchtime performance by Ballet Memphis

Posted By on Wed, Feb 17, 2010 at 5:01 PM

I know where I'm going noonish tomorrow.

Ballet Memphis is hosting an open rehearsal for its upcoming production of "AbunDANCE: Joyful Noise tomorrow (Thursday, February 18th) at Downtown's Lowenstein Building from 11:30- 1:00 p.m. Brown-bag lunches are welcome.

From the press release: "AbunDANCE: Joyful Noise" is the third installment in Ballet Memphis' "Abundance" collaborative series. This season, Ballet Memphis focuses on the marriage between music

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and dance. "Joyful Noise" features four works: Trey McIntyre's "Second Before the Ground," Petr Zahradnicek's "Broad Waters," Robert Battle's "Takademe," and a yet untitled piece by Jane Comfort (who collaborated with local favorite Kirk Whalum).

The Lowenstein Building is located at Jefferson and N. Main

PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE: All performances will be at Playhouse on the Square. The show runs from February 27th through March 7th.
TICKETS AND MORE INFORMATION: Tickets are $10, $20, $35, $50 and $75. Contact Ballet Memphis at 901/737-7322 or balletmemphis.org

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Arts Afire Summer Camp

Posted By on Tue, Feb 16, 2010 at 2:12 PM

Everything you need to know...

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Beethoven on the Square

Posted By on Tue, Feb 16, 2010 at 12:47 PM

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Tonight the Memphis Symphony Orchestra—which has just named its new Director— makes its first appearance at the new Playhouse on the Square.

Here's the program


HEITOR VILLA-LOBOS Duo for Oboe and Bassoon, W. 535
POULENC Sonata for Trumpet, Horn and Trombone
BRAHMS Quartet No. 1 in C minor
MOZART Flute Quartet in D major
BEETHOVEN Sextet in E Major

Monday, February 15, 2010

It's a Sign: Circuit Playhouse officially becomes the Evergreen Theatre...

Posted By on Mon, Feb 15, 2010 at 12:34 AM

And this is what it looked like...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Going Evergreen

Posted By on Sun, Feb 14, 2010 at 1:34 AM

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Actor Ron Gordon and Playhouse on the Square Executive Producer Jackie Nichols put some last minute touches on the "new" Evergreen Theatre on Poplar Avenue. The former Circuit Playhouse is now a rental facility and a ribbon cutting is scheduled for Sunday February 14 at 2 p.m. Tours of the facility will be given.

From the press release:

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Pat Bogan, Theaterworks Board President is ecstatic about the wonderful success of the Theatreworks facility which has consistently been booked two years in advance. Finally, others will be able to take advantage of what we have to offer.

Midtown has much to offer to the theater arts and dance. With a new name and new opportunities for local artists, Evergreen is just what its name implies for the art aficionado in us all.

ShoWagon Announces Spring Break Camps and Free Kids Cabaret.

Posted By on Sun, Feb 14, 2010 at 1:10 AM

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ShoWagon, Theatre Memphis' resident company focusing on education and outreach has anounced its season and scheduled a series of Spring Break day camps. Here's the deets.

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

One Sentence Reviews: The Piano Lesson

Posted By on Sat, Feb 13, 2010 at 10:45 PM

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The Hattiloo Theatre's sloppy, too stilted go at August WIlson's unconventional ghost story springs to noisy life whenever Anthony Bell swaggers, stumbles, or barges onto stage as Whinin Boy, a wandering entertainer trying to give up the blues.

Scenes from "Fallen Angels" at Theatre Memphis

Posted By on Sat, Feb 13, 2010 at 12:17 AM

Friday, February 12, 2010

Seasons For Sale: An apology to Theatre Memphis' playfinding committee

Posted By on Fri, Feb 12, 2010 at 4:43 PM

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I assume that every review I write, even the positive ones, will result in a few nasty emails. Theater people are a curious breed and many will call you all sorts of terrible things for complimenting their hair when the play was so obviously about their shoes. Still, I had no idea that my one sentence review of Noel Coward's Fallen Angels would set off an avalanche of angry phone calls, ugly emails, and grumpy comments. Most took issue with my style while ignoring the substance of a gimmicky little post which was every bit as complementary as it was caustic.

Here's a link to the original but there's no point in not quoting the whole thing

The cast is ideal, the direction is thoughtful and the costumes are absolutely fabulous but
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what in the hell kind of cleaning products were being freebased when the playfinding committee scheduled this pointless obscurity to appear on Theatre Memphis' Lohrey Stage?

It's sad that I need to break things down like this but for those who can't see the steak for the parsley, this single sentence is what we in the business call a mixed review. Miraculously, its deliberate lack of subtlety doesn't preclude nuance. Many things about the show are obviously quite good and I don't even question the validity of staging such a trifle. I do however question the judgment behind putting this third rate tripe by a first rate wit on the big 'ol Lohrey stage.

Before Playhouse on the Square opened its new state of the art facility in Midtown last week the The Lorhey stage was the Boardwalk and Park Place of theatrical real estate in Memphis. With Hotels even. And it's still Marvin Gardens, at least and there are very good reasons why seasons are chosen by committee rather than fiat. As it turns out I owe Theatre Memphis' playfinding committee a huge, huge apology. Sorry guys. I now know that you had little or nothing to do with picking Fallen Angels. If my grapevine can be trusted—and considering the vast and varried outpouring of juice I'm very sure it can be— this show was presented to them by the powers that be as more of a fact than an option. Here's the back story

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Coochie Coochie: Three Questions with Vagina Monologues Director P. Elizabeth Cawein

Posted By on Fri, Feb 12, 2010 at 9:32 AM

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Eve Ensler's Vagina Monologues are back and here's what the show's director P. Elizabeth Cawein has to say for herself.

Intermission Impossible: V-Day performances usually benefit organizations working to end violence against women. Who benefits this go-round?

P. Elizabeth Cawein: Our proceeds locally are going to Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region. The decision was an extremely personal one for our cast, as many of the actresses have had very positive experiences with the support and advocacy of the organization. In addition to PPGMR, each year a spotlight campaign is chosen by Eve Ensler, and that campaign receives 10 percent of the proceeds from every V-Day event nationwide. This year, as last, that campaign is Stop Raping our Greatest Resource: Power to Women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a new global campaign to call attention to the atrocities facing women and girls in Eastern DRC.

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The Next Big Jukebox Musical?

Posted By on Fri, Feb 12, 2010 at 8:37 AM

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I just picked up a copy of the Tommy James autobiography Me the Mob and the Music: One Helluva Ride with Tommy James and the Shondells. I haven't had a chance to read any of it yet but one of the dust jacket blurbs caught my eye,

Written with the cinematic vision and hard-driving pace, Me the Mob and the Music tells the story of music icon Tommy James and his climb up the music industry's slippery ladder. His personal failures within these pages are just as insightful as his triumphs— Josh Osher, Broadway producer of the Jersey Boys.

Now I'm not saying that James' book is being developed as a Broadway musical and I certainly don't want to start any rumors. But I know of at least one mega-hit show that could also be titled Me the Mob and the Music if it wasn't already titled Jersey Boys.

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