Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Supporting Sister Pt. 1: A conversation with Sister Myotis's Bible Camper Jenny Odle Madden

Posted By on Wed, Jun 30, 2010 at 10:36 PM

Ask a simple question...

Looking for a City: Video from Sister Myotis's New York opening

Posted By on Wed, Jun 30, 2010 at 7:38 PM

I've watched Steve Swift's Sister Myotis character evolve for the better part of a decade now. I've seen Sister preach her gospel in a variety of public settings and have also observed as Swift labored over his creation in a semi-private writing workshop with Tongue of a Bird playwright Ellen McLaughlin. But familiarity doesn't always foster understanding. Sometimes a change in scenery is necessary in order to fully appreciate an artist and his or her work.

Myotis is clearly a mighty, mighty warrior for the Lord but Swift's character never actually quotes scripture or mentions Jesus by name. I've noted all of this in previous reviews but for some reason the choice really stood out in the New York performance. Over a snack at the Chelsea Street Market the man behind the wig and the corsage and miles and the miles of matronly bosom explained why he does what he does: He makes fun of church politics not religion.

Continue reading »

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Eating Pie With Katori Hall: Memphis' critically acclaimed playwright shares some tasty pastry

Posted By on Tue, Jun 29, 2010 at 7:03 PM


It's good to be Katori Hall. At 28 this Craigmont High grad became the first female African-American playwright to win an Olivier Award. Her acclaimed play The Mountaintop is slated to open on Broadway this fall with an A-list cast ( Samuel L. Jackson and Halle Berry are the names being floated at the moment). She was awarded a PONY fellowship by the Lark Play Development Center, an award with benefits that include one year's free housing in an apartment in the heart of New York's the theatre district, and a living stipend.

Last week I met Katori at The Little Pie Company on 43rd Street in Hell's Kitchen to scarf down one of TLPC's apple, sour cream, and walnut pies and to talk about how she went from being an usher for A Tuna Christmas at Playhouse on the Square in Midtown Memphis, to being the belle of the London stage.

Eating Pie with Katori Hall from Chris Davis on Vimeo.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Say It Don't Spray It: An Interview with "Hairspray" creator John Waters

Posted By on Sat, Jun 26, 2010 at 1:16 PM

Courtney Oliver and Jordan Nichols in HAIRSPRAY at POTS
  • Courtney Oliver and Jordan Nichols in HAIRSPRAY at POTS
People are often surprised when I describe John Waters as one of the most gracious people I've ever encountered. I met the king of trash cinema in 2002 when he was celebrating the 30th anniversary of Pink Flamingos. In 2004 he agreed to let me interview him and our conversation became one of my very favorite Flyer cover stories. With Hairspray opening at Playhouse on the Square this weekend I thought it might be nice to look back at some of the things Waters had to say about his most successful and—to hear him tell it—his most subversive creation. Here's an excerpt:

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

One Sentence Reviews: Sister Myotis' Bible Camp (New York Edition)

Posted By on Wed, Jun 23, 2010 at 9:54 AM

  • Sister
Hilariously subversive without being disrespectful, Sister Myotis's Bible Camp is a drag show that's not about the drag, a non-partisan political satire, and a really, really good time no matter what those yankee critics may think.

One Sentence Reviews: MEMPHIS

Posted By on Wed, Jun 23, 2010 at 8:56 AM

MEMPHIS scored big at the Tony Awards and culturally speaking it may be this generation's Camelot but the revisionist history is frustrating, and the charming cast's best efforts can't change the fact that the music seems to have been written for people who don't really like Memphis music or early Southern R&B.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Amazing: Theatre Memphis extends JOSEPH

Posted By on Thu, Jun 17, 2010 at 1:51 PM

This just in...

Due to popular demand, the closing production of Theatre Memphis’ 2009-10 season, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, has added a performance for Wednesday, June 30, 2010 at 7:30pm.


The Trip: NYC here I come...

Posted By on Thu, Jun 17, 2010 at 12:28 PM

Posting will be light between now and Saturday when I hop on a plane to NYC in order to take in Sister Myotis' New York opening, visit with Olivier Award winning Memphian Katori Hall, and catch performances of Tony winners Memphis, and Million Dollar Quartet. Once I'm on the ground I plan to post comments and video regularly. If you'd like more up to he second reports on Sister's big day you can follow me on Twitter @peskyfly

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Ballet Memphis Throws a Party

Posted By on Tue, Jun 15, 2010 at 2:10 PM

On Monday evening Ballet Memphis threw a party to celebrate the company's impending performances at The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. This is kinda-sorta what it looked like.

Blacksplanation: The Hattiloo Theatre assembles an African American Theater exhibit

Posted By on Tue, Jun 15, 2010 at 12:16 AM

Ekundayo Bandele, the Hattiloo Theatre's Founding director, has turned his fledgling playhouse into a disorienting maze crammed with information about the African-American theater experience. The Black Theatre Museum shows the progression of black-themed entertainments from 19th Century "coon shows" to the Pulitzer Prize winning prose of Suzan-Lori Parks.

The Museum is open Tuesday - Saturday 10a.m. - 3p.m., June 15th - July 10th. Tickets are $8/adults, $6/children

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Monday, June 14, 2010

The Onion on The High School Tony Awards

Posted By on Mon, Jun 14, 2010 at 11:19 AM


High School Tony Awards Honor Nation's Biggest Drama Club Nerds

Tony Loves MEMPHIS: Bluff City musical takes the top prize

Posted By on Mon, Jun 14, 2010 at 7:51 AM

Memphis wins the Tony Award for Best Musical...

More here.

Friday, June 11, 2010

One: Solo performances return to Theatreworks in July

Posted By on Fri, Jun 11, 2010 at 2:16 PM

And here's the lineup...

Continue reading »


Will Call: Tips & Tidbits for the Theatrically Inclined

Posted By on Fri, Jun 11, 2010 at 12:26 PM

I'm not a snob. I'm really not. But I may not make it out to see Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat or Red, White, and Tuna. I don't detest the former as I do so many "Really Useful" musicals and I am certain that Theatre Memphis is blowing it out. But I've seen it enough to know that I'd be much more interested in a honey-coated anthill dip than sitting through another round with Joseph. Seriously, I'd be more inclined to attend a 48-Hour Sound of Music marathon starring Jim Carrey in all the roles. As for Red, White, & Tuna... I hope it makes a lot of money for Playhouse on the Square. But I don't find the mere mention of a Frito pie all that funny. So it's probably best for me to stay at home this weekend. That said, there's no reason you should.

As mentioned here, I wasn't blown away by Project: Motions eMPHasis on Blue. It was tonally static and with few wonderful exceptions any achievement in dance was blanketed over by gushing sentimentality and heavy melancholy. In the previous post, however, I failed to mention a solo performance by Ondine Geary which doesn't just stand out from the rest of the show, it stands out as a solo work generally.

Wearing the costume of a circus performer Geary performs a handful of not very impressive tricks then basks in the appreciation of an unseen audience. Then her body begins to fail driving her from her stage and forcing her to confront change and evolve. It's one of this overly-maudlin show's two real stunners, marrying a rare dose of much needed humor with some of the evening's more authentically emotional moments.

If you're looking for something a little more mainstream you may want to take a trip to Millington to sample Playhouse 51's production of Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap, which opens June 11th and runs through the 19th.

To my ongoing shame I've not yet made it out to sample the fare at Playhouse 51. If anyone visits this weekend I'd appreciate a review.

As for me, I think I'll just take in the Tony Awards this weekend and let you guys have all the fun.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Celluloid Jam: The Rocky Horror Picture Show returns to The Evergreen Theatre

Posted By on Wed, Jun 9, 2010 at 10:38 PM

You know what's wrong with kids these days? They just don't dress in drag and throw toast in the air anymore. Thank goodness that's all about to change. MemphisFreakEngine Productions is bringing The Rocky Horror Picture Show--complete with a live stage show and audience participation—to The Evergreen Theatre.

What's great about this? In 1977, when the Evergreen was still a movie house Playhouse on the Square's Jackie Nichols partnered with the theater to produce the first regional production of Rocky Horror outside of New York or L.A. Larry Raspberry played Dr. Frankenfurter.

Yes, there's a costume contest so audience members are encouraged to dress up.

According to FreakEngine frontman Michael Entman negotiations are underway with the theater management and the distributor of the film to host The Rocky Horror Picture Show in its more traditional midnight time slot on a monthly basis.

The Time Warp starts on Friday, June 25 at 8:00 p.m. Admission is $10.00 at the door.

UPDATE: Michael Entman has asked that I make a slight adjustment. Although this first trial screening will feature costumes and audience participation there won't be a live stage show. Entman says he'll assemble a cast if he's able to start having regular midnight screenings. So think of this as a heads up for would be Frankies, Rockys & assorted Riffraffs.



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