Friday, April 25, 2014

A Beautiful Night for Shakespeare: TSC Opens "Taming of the Shrew"

Posted By on Fri, Apr 25, 2014 at 3:40 PM

poster-shrew2014.jpg
Tennessee Shakespeare Company is taking a Vaudevillian approach to The "Taming of the Shrew," at the Dixon Gallery and Gardens.

It's a fun concept, especially considering Shrew's debt to Commedia dell’arte, the Italian street theater that employed stock characters and treated well-known plots as empty vessels to be filled with stunts and gags.

According to press materials, "The TSC production will place the story in 1927 Memphis in the newly-constructed home of Hugo Dixon on Park Avenue... The year and geography also give us an opportunity to respond to the Jim Crow-law positions of submission for people of color in America, both socially and in the entertainment industry."

Sounds like director Dan McCleary and Co. have taken one of Shakespeare's more controversial works and ramped things up.

For details, here you go.

Down On the Farm: "Camp Logan" Explores Another Bitter Patch of American Racial History

Posted By on Fri, Apr 25, 2014 at 1:52 PM

The cast of Camp Logan
  • The cast of "Camp Logan"

Clocking in at two-and-a-half hours, Camp Logan is a play in serious need of a high and tight military-style haircut. But this humor-infused, and ultimately devastating peek inside the racial pressure cooker that resulted in the 1917 Houston riot is well worth the time investment, if only for the history lesson.

Celeste Bedford Walker’s play is more of a character study than a straightforward narrative. Inspired by actual events, it follows a platoon of black soldiers stationed at Camp Logan in Houston, TX, in the months leading up to the United States' entry into WWI. The men to whom we're introduced have served their country under Teddy Roosevelt and chased Pancho Villa throughout the American Southwest, but it's clear that they are officially regarded as blacks first, soldiers second and therefore assumed to be lazy, lecherous, and unable to get by without the strictest rules and white supervision.

Camp Logan introduces audiences to class clown Gwelly (Jose Joiner), the righteously indignant Joe Moses (Kenon Walker), the appetite-driven Boogaloosa from New Orleans (Cooli Crawford), Franciscus the straight-laced MP (Jernario Davis), and Hardin (Emanuel McKinney), a young intellectual from Minnesota, inspired by the writing of W.E.B. Dubois to serve his country, and prove to the white population that his people are worthy of something better than second class citizenship. We are also introduced to the drunken white Capt. Zuelke (Bart Mallard), and Sgt. McKinney (TC Sharpe), a hard-assed drill Sgt. tasked with keeping his men from being caught in Jim Crow traps, and taking the brunt of the Army's top-down racism.

There are two primary forces driving the action in Camp Logan. The immediate threat is rooted in the expectations of whites as Houston's black population becomes empowered by the mere presence of certifiable African-American heroes. Blacks that won't boot-lick and deliver service with a smile under even the most humiliating circumstances are deemed insubordinate. And over time it becomes clear that no fairly-devised plan can prevent the soldiers from run-ins with local law enforcement.

The second primary conflict is born from the fact that these black soldiers have been to Cuba and Mexico where they were treated the same as whites. There's concern within the military that America's enemies could easily flip black allegiance by pointing out America's obvious inequalities. The irony, of course, is that it's red blooded Americans and not the "German Huns" who make it clear to the soldiers stationed at Camp Logan that their war isn't overseas.

Is there anything more disturbing than the image of an African-American performing broad race-based comedy in blackface? If there is it's Camp Logan's depiction of black soldiers finding joy and empowerment in these performances for the entertainment of appreciative white audiences. Strong medicine, effectively presented.

In real life things in Houston came to a head when two Houston police officers broke into the home of an African American woman, dragged her partially naked into the street, and assaulted her in front of her children. When military men interfered they were shot at and beaten. Although all of this happens off-stage Camp Logan follows this basic narrative, stressing the psychological effect of constant dehumanization.

The slow-moving nature of Walker’s's play requires some patience. This is exacerbated by a fantastic cast that's still struggling to find firm footing in a meandering piece. But patience will be rewarded with an incredible story that's been all but swept underneath the rug of history.

Those keeping up with the news have no doubt encountered the story of Cliven Bundy, the rancher who became a Conservative folk hero following a standoff with Federal troops. Bundy lost some of his strongest public supporters when he said out lout what smarter politicians prefer only to say by way of deracialized public policy: Blacks might be better off in slavery. This idea, which has never gone away, comes from the belief that without the great white father to take care of them and encourage them to work a little harder than they might on their own, blacks fall into savagery and dependance. This recently-expressed idea is a guiding principle at Camp Logan. The namesake play strongly, and perhaps even unintentionally, suggests that maybe things haven't changed as much as so many of us seem to think they have.

The Bluff-City Tri-Art Theatre Company is dedicated to producing new and lesser-known works. Camp Logan is a great example of just how valuable our independent-minded companies are, even in a fairly rich and diverse theater environment. For details and ticket information click here.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Dance Fever: Spring is Here and so is New Ballet Ensemble's SpringLoaded. Plus, an All New Tap Revue

Posted By on Thu, Apr 24, 2014 at 10:09 AM

Shamar Rooks and Noelia Garcia Carmona
  • Shamar Rooks and Noelia Garcia Carmona

There are few annual dance events that I look forward to the way I look forward to New Ballet Ensembles' SpringLoaded concerts. These days Memphis Jookin' is so ubiquitous that I'm tempted to insert the expression "peak jookin" into our ongoing cultural conversation. But NBE was the first local company to mix Memphis street forms and classical dance and over time styles have evolved within the company that can't be easily described as Jookin', Ballet, or Flamenco. It is instead, as I described in this truncated history of Memphis' "Gangsta Walk," some new kind of Rock-and-Roll. This year NBE is doing something especially nifty.

If ever there was a ballet begging for a little Memphis street it's “Coppelia, which tells the story of an inventor who has created a life sized dancing doll, and the villager who falls in love with the lifeless automaton.

If you don't know why a robot ballet based on a series of ETA Hoffman stories would be perfect for a company with street cred, maybe this video shot at Collins' barber shop can clue you in.

New Ballet's "Coppelia ReMix”, tells the story of a jookin’ Dr. Coppelius and the yong people who visit his toy store. Choreographers include Kaori Ogasawara, Robin Sanders and Artistic Director, Katie Smythe.

In addition to "Coppelia" the ensemble will also perform new repertoire by guest choreographer, Francesca Harper and a new Flamenco work by Noelia Garcia Carmona to original music by Roy Brewer.

Last year Carmon's duet with Shamar Rooks, featuring original music by Brewer was a season highlight.

New Ballet Ensemble Presents Springloaded from New Ballet Ensemble on Vimeo.


For details about SpringLoaded you can visit NBE's website, here.

SWEET HONEY

So who exactly are The Hot Foot Honeys? They're Memphis' brand new (and ONLY, to the best of my knowledge) tap dance company. The group is presenting its inaugural show, "HeArt & Sole: A Rhythm Revue for Tap Lovers," April 25-27. Although rooted in tap the show features dancers from many traditions, ranging from Africa to Ireland.

Memphis dancer Marianne Bell founded the company noting that many other cities, such as St. Louis, Chicago, Atlanta, and New Orleans all have established tap communities," while "Memphis— a city that can't stage a musical without a flashy tap break— does not.

I don't have any footage of the new company, but I do have a preview clip from an outdoor tap/vaudeville routine Bell staged for a tree-themed environmental concert. This fun piece takes inspiration from beatnik culture.

Guest artists performing with the Hot Foot Honeys include Artistik Approach, Bridging Souls Productions, Inis Acla School of Irish Dance, Wayne M. Smith, and steppers from Phi Beta Sigma.

April 25-27, 2014 at Evergreen Theatre in midtown.
Price: Adults- $7.50 in advance, $10 at box office. Children under 10- $5, 302-5487

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

High School Musical Award Nominations, 2014

Posted By on Tue, Apr 22, 2014 at 5:11 PM

Spamalot at Memphis University School
  • "Spamalot" at Memphis University School

The Orpheum Theatre has announced nominees for the 2014 High School Musical Theatre Awards.

The award ceremony takes place Monday, May 12th at 7:00 p.m. Over 200 students will perform on the Orpheum stage and the winners in the Lead Actor and Actress categories will travel to New York to compete nationally in the Jimmy Awards.


Outstanding Chorus
The Sound of Music, Briarcrest Christian School
Urinetown, Cordova High School
Hairspray, Germantown High School
Shrek the Musical, Ridgeway High School
West Side Story, St. Benedict at Auburndale
Curtains, Lausanne Collegiate School

Outstanding Small Ensemble
The Office Staff in Cordova High School’s Urinetown
The Knights in Memphis University School’s Spamalot
The Cowboy Chorus in Northpoint Christian School’s
Annie Get Your Gun
Three Blind Mice in Ridgeway High School’s Shrek the Musical
The Jets in St. Benedict at Auburndale's West Side Story
The Bottle Dancers in Tipton-Rosemark Academy's
Fiddler on the Roof

Outstanding Student Orchestra
South Pacific, Collierville High School
Urinetown, Cordova High School
Hairspray, Germantown High School
110 in the Shade, Overton High School
Shrek the Musical, Ridgeway High School
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, St. George’s Independent School

Outstanding Music Direction
Jason Bell, Cordova High School’s, Urinetown
Stephen Womack, Evangelical Christian School’s Into the Woods
Steve Danielson, Germantown High School’s Hairspray
Cynthia Romoff, Lausanne Collegiate School’s Curtains
Patti House, Northpoint Christian School’s Annie Get Your Gun
Jordan Wells, St. Benedict at Auburndale’s West Side Story

Outstanding Dance Execution
Urinetown, Cordova High School
Hairspray, Germantown High School
You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, Horn Lake High School
Annie Get Your Gun, Northpoint Chrtistian School
Shrek the Musical, Ridgeway High School
West Side Story, St. Benedict at Auburndale

Outstanding Featured Dancer
Chad Baker in Germantown High School’s Hairspray
Abigail Clements in Horn Lake High School’s
You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown
Margaret Shaul in Memphis University School’s Spamalot
McKenzie Brower in Tipton-Rosemark Academy’s
Fiddler on the Roof
Josh Oliver in White Station High School’s Hairspray
Gary Gwynn in Whitehaven High School’s High School Musical

Outstanding Production Number
“The Cop Song” in Arlington High School’s Urinetown
“Run Freedom Run” in Cordova High School’s Urinetown
“That a Way” in Lausanne’s Curtains
“Day by Day” in Millington Central High School’s Godspell
“Gee Officer Krupke” in St. Benedict at Auburndale’s
West Side Story
“Teyve's Dream” in Tipton-Rosemark Academy’s
Fiddler on the Roof

Outstanding Hair and Makeup
Into the Woods, Evangelical Christian School
Hairspray, Germantown High School
Annie Get Your Gun, Northpoint Christian School
Shrek the Musical, Ridgeway High School
The Wiz, St. Agnes Academy
Curtains, Lausanne Collegiate School

Outstanding Costumes
Alice in Wonderland, Jr, Corinth High School
Into the Woods, Evangelical Christian School
Hairspray, Germantown High School
Annie Get Your Gun, Northpoint Christian School
Shrek the Musical, Ridgeway High School
The Wiz, St. Agnes Academy

Outstanding Set Design
Little Shop of Horrors, Bartlett High School
Into the Woods, Evangelical Christian School
Seussical the Musical, Hutchison School
Spamalot, Memphis University School
Annie Get Your Gun, Northpoint Christian School
Fiddler on the Roof, Tipton Rosemark Academy

Outstanding Artistic Element
The Plant/Puppetry in Little Shop of Horrors, Harding Academy
The Cartoon Scenery, in You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, Horn Lake High School
The Shootout in Annie Get Your Gun, Northpoint Christian School
The Sun/Moon Set in 110 in the Shade, Overton High School
The Pumpkin Carriage in Cinderella, St. Mary's Episcopal School
The Carriage in The Slipper and the Rose, Wynne High School

Outstanding Production Materials
Little Shop of Horrors, Bartlett High School
Beauty and the Beast, Bolton High School
Alice in Wonderland, Jr., Corinth High School
Annie Get Your Gun, Northpoint Christian School
The Wiz, St. Agnes Academy
Fiddler on the Roof, Tipton-Rosemark Academy

Outstanding Front of House
Urinetown, Arlington High School
Alice in Wonderland Jr., Corinth High School
Annie Get Your Gun, Northpoint Christian School
The Wiz, St. Agnes Academy
Fiddler on the Roof, Tipton-Rosemark Academy
The Slipper and the Rose, Wynne High School


Student Technical Achievement Award
Brandon Lau, Germantown High School
Nicolas Kleiderer, Northpoint Christian School
Kevin Rotzoll, St. Benedict at Auburndale
Sydney Valadie, St. Benedict at Auburndale
Joshua Joiner, Whitehaven High School

Student Creative Achievement Award
Bridgett Church, Bartlett High School
Summer Dawn Torian, Horn Lake High School
Maria Herrera, Germantown High School
Douglas McClew, Memphis University School
Catie Blackwood, St. Benedict at Auburndale

Outstanding Comedic Duo/Trio
Officer Lockstock & Sally, Urinetown, Arlington High School
Bloody Mary and Luther Billis, South Pacific, Collierville High School
Officer Lockstock & Sally, Urinetown, Cordova High School
Edna & Wilbur Turnblad, Hairspray Germantown High School
Arthur and Patsy, Spamalot, Memphis University School
Mrs. Meers, Ching Ho & Bun Foo, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Southside High School

Outstanding Featured Actress
Tamlyn Sampson as Penelope Pennywise in Cordova High School’s Urinetown
DeShara Edwards as Dragon in Ridgeway High School’s
Shrek the Musical
Micah Oxner as The Messenger in St. Agnes Academy’s The Wiz
Maddie Arnold as Anybodys in St. Benedict at Auburndale’s West Side Story
Sutton Hewitt as Logainne in St. George’s Independent School’s The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
Olivia Bernabe as The Queen in St. Mary Episcopal School’s Cinderella

Outstanding Featured Actor
Daniel Moore as Cogsworth in Bolton's Beauty and the Beast
Josh Vega as Lumiere in Bolton's Beauty and the Beast
Chase Wyatt as Brother Maynard in Memphis University School's Spamalot
Augie Van Deveer as Robin in Memphis University School's Spamalot
Jordan Moye as Chief Sitting Bull in Northpoint Christian School's Annie Get Your Gun
Robert Grissom as Leaf Coneybear in St. George’s Independent School’s The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

Outstanding Supporting Actress
Lexi Jenne as Jack's Mother in Evangelical Christian School's Into the Woods
Katherine Sterling as Little Red in Evangelical Christian School's Into the Woods
India Ratliff as Motormouth Maybelle in Germantown High School’s Hairspray
Erica Penninger as Penny Pingleton in Hernando High School’s Hairspray
Gabrielle Willingham as The Wiz in St. Agnes Academy’s
The Wiz
Reva Obenchain as Hodel in Tipton-Rosemark's
Fiddler on the Roof

Outstanding Supporting Actor
Jeffrey Haddock as Officer Lockstock in Arlington High School’s Urinetown
Nautica Beauregard as Officer Lockstock in Cordova High School’s Urinetown
Baker Ball as Sir Galahad in Memphis University School’s Spamalot
Robert Dockery as Jimmy in Overton High School’s
110 in the Shade
Greer Harkness as Donkey in Ridgeway High School’s
Shrek the Musical
Kyle Van Frank as Action in St. Benedict at Auburndale’s
West Side Story

Outstanding Direction by a Teacher
Chris Luter, Urinetown, Cordova High School
Rene Cave, Into the Woods, Evangelical Christian School
Tim Greer, Spamalot, Memphis University School
Julie Reinbold, Shrek the Musical, Ridgeway High School
Ryan Kathman, West Side Story, St. Benedict at Auburndale
Marques Brown, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, St. George's Independent School

Outstanding Actress in a Lead Role
Bethany Beckham as The Witch in Evangelical Christian School's Into the Woods
Jada Tate as Georgia Hendricks in Lausanne Collegiate School's Curtains
Logan Martin as Annie Oakley in Northpoint Christian School’s Annie Get Your Gun
Cedricka Simpkins as Lizzy in Overton High School’s
110 in the Shade
Mariatu Okonofua as Fiona in Ridgeway High School’s
Shrek the Musical
Arielle Labilles as Anita in St. Benedict at Auburndale’s
West Side Story

Outstanding Actor in a Lead Role
Jose Alpizar as Emile Debeque in Collierville High School’s South Pacific
Phillip Bond as Bobby Strong in Cordova High School’s Urinetown
Joshua Smith as The Baker in Evangelical Christian School's
Into the Woods
Maclean Mayers as Edna Turnblad in Germantown High School’s Hairspray
Paul Stevenson as King Arthur in Memphis University School's Spamalot
Ontario McGregor as Shrek in Ridgeway High School’s
Shrek the Musical

Outstanding Achievement in Musical Theater
Into the Woods, Evangelical Christian School
Hairspray , Germantown High School
Spamalot, Memphis University School
Annie Get Your Gun, Northpoint Christian School
Shrek the Musical, Ridgeway High School
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
St. George's Independent School

Outstanding Overall Production
Cordova High School's Urinetown
Evangelical Christian School's Into the Woods
Germantown High School's Hairspray
Memphis University School's Spamalot
Northpoint Christian School's Annie Get Your Gun
St. Benedict at Auburndale's West Side Story

Friday, April 4, 2014

"The Submission" Opens at Theatre Memphis

Posted By on Fri, Apr 4, 2014 at 2:38 PM

Screen_Shot_2014-04-04_at_2.34.54_PM.png

If you're curious, Theatre Memphis has made a trailer.

I'll be there for opening. Look for a review in Wednesday's paper.

Ghost Stories: A Taste of the Midtown Opera Festival

Posted By on Fri, Apr 4, 2014 at 1:42 PM

Peabody Southwell as the Spirit of the Building begging the sun to come back
  • Peabody Southwell as the "Spirit of the Building" begging the sun to come back

Last night I dropped in on a dress rehearsal for Ghosts of Crosstown, a collection of five monologue-based operas, each of which was inspired by the long-abandoned Sears building in Memphis' Crosstown neighborhood. The rehearsal was moved inside due to weather conditions, and the wind whipped dramatically through the empty space which was even more dramatically lit by floor torches and shop lights. As rehearsals go, it was bumpy and everybody knew it would be given the conditions. Lights failed one after the other, but the artists pressed on. And for all of the weather-related distractions, the voices were gorgeous, and the individual pieces could still be entirely captivating.

Ghosts, which was commissioned by Opera Memphis kicks off the company's second annual Midtown Opera Festival.

OM's general director Ned Canty says Memphis is "gonna be bursting at the seams with opera" for the next two weeks. But even if Ghosts was the only thing left on the season, this bouquet of contemporary composers tied together by ribbons of poetry and prose from the hand of Memphis playwright Jerre Dye, it would be an event worth celebrating.

A monologue by Jenny Madden
  • A monologue by Jenny Madden

The 10-day festival was conceived by Canty as a nexus for opera fans and the opera curious, where both groups could mix and sample a variety of classical and contemporary works in bite-sized chunks. In addition to several free concerts, kids' shows, and panel discussions, this year's ticketed events showcase works by Mozart, Richard Wargo, and Gian Carlo Menotti.

Dye doesn't know if he'll make it back to Memphis to watch his first foray into opera come to life in the shadow of the hulking Sears building that inspired it. He's currently in Chicago working with the Route 66 Theatre Company's extensively reworked production of his play Cicada, which opens next week.

"I'm so glad I did this," Dye says of his collaboration with Opera Memphis. "First of all, I got to be a writer, which is what I like to do. But how can I describe the collaboration with all these composers?

Jennifer Goode Cooper likes order
  • Jennifer Goode Cooper likes order

"They were all so different," he says, explaining what a mental workout it can be adapting your process to the needs of five unique composers. Steven Osgood of the Metropolitan Opera is heading up the creative team, which includes composers Anthony Davis, Kamran Ince, Nathaniel Stookey, Jack Perla, and Zach Redler. Dye worked with Ince on the piece "Abandoned," which has been selected as a best new work by Opera in America and will be performed at OIA's conference in June. "Abandoned" is sung from the perspective of the Sears building, alone at night, pleading with the sun to return.

Ghosts of Crosstown at Sears Crosstown Building Friday, April 4th. Pre-show talk at 6:30 p.m., curtain at 7:30 p.m.

"The Double Bill: The Impresario and The Music Shop at Playhouse on the Square, Saturday, April 5th. Pre-show talk

6 p.m., curtain at 7:30 p.m. For more information on the Midtown Opera festival, go to operamemphis.org.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Tripping: New Moon Revisits Horton Foote's "Trip to Bountiful"

Posted By on Thu, Apr 3, 2014 at 1:12 PM

(Sylvia Barringer Wilson)
  • (Sylvia Barringer Wilson)

Horton Foote’s The Trip to Bountiful speaks to me in uncommonly personal ways. I know every one of those characters. I met them when I was a child, watching the little old tough-as-iron ladies living in an East Texas retirement community, as they planted plastic flowers in the sandy beds they’d cut into grey-brown lawns full of goat-heads and grass burrs, where no actual flowers would grow. My dad was born and raised in the Lone Star State, and when I was very young he told me the story about how his dad, my Papa Charlie, once threw a brick out of the window of his house with the pronouncement, “Wherever it lands, that’s where we’re going to bury you.” Out of context it sounds like a threat, but it’s more an expression of what it means to be a Texan. My grandparents moved from city to city and town until eventually, toward the end of their lives, they moved back to their tiny hometown. I imagined all sorts of exotic reasons for the frequent changes of address, but when I finally asked the real answer was so simple and so obvious: “It’s just too beautiful a state to stay in any one place for very long.”

Clearly The Trip to Bountiful, currently on stage at TheatreWorks, has spoken to a diverse audience since it arrived as an NBC TV drama some 61-years ago. But I swear, you need a little Texas in your blood to really get it.

Bountiful is a small play with epic intentions. It’s the “there and back again” story of Carrie Watts, an elderly woman living in Houston with her struggling son and his prattling wife. She burns with the Salmon-like need to return to Bountiful, TX , her hometown, just one last time before she dies, to see her old house on the banks of the Brazos river, smell the brackish Gulf air, and listen to the sound of the mockingbirds. But being a prisoner in her son’s home (for “her own good” of course), she has to sneak out and go on the lam. The play’s drama is provided by the ensuing chase, combined with an unusual look at the usual perils encountered by a “babe in the woods.” The rest is a personality study, and a meditation on changes in life and the American landscape, and all the things we lose along the way.

The supporting cast of characters are relatively benign creations, although it’s easy to imagine most of them as the same people you’ll meet in a Jim Thompson noir on the rare day when they aren’t feeling malicious.

New Moon was established as a company on a mission to produce difficult, sometimes anti-commercial work, but has evolved considerably, building a strong, well-deserved reputation as an actor’s showcase, and working with more audience-friendly material like Death of a Salesman, Vanities, and now The Trip to Bountiful.

Sylvia Barringer Wilson makes Carrie a soft-spoken spitfire, and the play is at its best when she leads the audience to wonder if Bountiful is a real place, or an invention of subtle dementia. She may even be a little too soft-spoken at times, in a nearly cinematic performance that’s done no favors by a lighting design de-emphasizing the intimacy of TheatreWorks.

Tracie Hansom makes a convincing bully of Carrie’s Coke-swilling, glamor-minded, gospel music-hating daughter-in-law Jessie Mae, and one almost longs for the moment when Carrie’s son Ludie, ably played by Joshua Quinn, snaps like the henpecked Gooper in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and tells Jessie Mae to lay off his Mom. That never quite happens. Even though Ludie tries to establish some ground rules, we leave the theater knowing that he’s not very effective, and not much has changed.

Gene Elliott and Emily Marie Burnett are especially good as the fresh-faced newlywed Carrie meets on the train that takes her closest to Bountiful, and the small town Sheriff who does a good turn.

The minimal scenic design effectively places the action between rows of telephone poles. An even more forced perspective might have made TheatreWork’s wide, shallow playing area seem more compact, as would a lighting design that emphasized people over space.

Don’t be mislead by any negative tone you may perceive in this review. I wasn’t knocked out by the production, but I was often engaged. And like I said before, I feel like I know these people. Like they could be family. And I would have preferred to spend the evening with them instead of watching them close up, but at a distance.

The Trip to Bountiful is at TheatreWorks through April 13. For more information, click here.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Learning to Fly: Ballet Memphis Uses Critic to Test Rigging for Peter Pan

Posted By on Tue, Apr 1, 2014 at 1:26 PM

Im a bird... Im a plane...
  • I'm a bird... I'm a plane...

We've all seen stage versions of Peter Pan where the little boy who wouldn't grow up has flown erratically on some version of a rope and pulley system. That just wouldn't do for Ballet Memphis, so the company is using a computerized, joystick-operated system that insures a smooth flight, and a soft landing. But why risk your top notch dancers on a test flight when there's a critic around?

This doesn't seem too bad...
  • This doesn't seem too bad...

On the other hand, it doesn't seem so good either...
  • On the other hand, it doesn't seem so good either...

This just got real.
  • This just got real.

And away we go...

To learn more about how the fly system works you can click the video I shot below, or drop in for one of Ballet Memphis' pre-opening events. If you happen to be Downtown Thursday, April 3 you can drop by the Cook Convention Center Northwest Hall during lunch (11a-1p) to see flying rehearsals live.

If you want to know more Choreographer Steven McMahon, Rhodes Professor Charles Hughes, and local artist Beth Edwards will be at Crosstown Arts at 6:30 p.m. for a Pan-related SPARK talk about the "loss of innocence."

Continue reading »

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