News

Friday, October 21, 2016

Looking for a Halloween Costume? Theatre Memphis is Having a Yard Sale.

Posted By on Fri, Oct 21, 2016 at 10:22 AM

Christmas ghosts are still ghosts.
  • Christmas ghosts are still ghosts.
Sure, you could probably go buy a mass-produced sexy pirate costume made from the world's worst fabrics. Or you could make something at home — a paper bag mask, perhaps. Or you could take advantage of Theatre Memphis' storage limitations and pick up pieces built or selected by professional costumers. Cheap. Or, at least, relatively so. 

Theatre Memphis Is bringing back its annual Halloween season overstock yard sale. According to press materials, items up for grabs will primarily be, "clothing including vintage costumes, shoes, hats, and other unique specialty children’s items."

Just in time for all those fancy dress parties you're attending, right?

Saturday's sale happens rain or shine in the Theatre Memphis lobby.  Doors open at 8am with large kitchen trash bags  available from Noon – 1pm. $5 for all you can stuff into your treat bag. No tricks. 

Who knows, maybe you can find something swell that looks good on you all year long. 

Don't be a mass-produced sexy pirate. Be awesome. 

Oh, almost forgot: Early Birds get in at 7 a.m. for a $5 early bird fee. Just saying. 

All goes down at Theatre Memphis this Saturday. Perkins at Southern. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

New Editions: Ibsen, Naughty Shakespeare

Posted By on Wed, Oct 5, 2016 at 4:56 PM

img_5940.jpg
img_5942.jpg



This post is so going viral. I mean, who among us doesn't get crazy excited about new editions of classic plays by authors like William Shakespeare and Henrik Ibsen? 

I've already written a bit about Pelican's new Shakespeare collection. But I feel compelled to jot a few words about Othello and The Taming of the Shrew. Both include the usual essays, with nice, lightly rendered introductions. Breaking a willful wife and training her up right was a popular plot back in Willie's day and Shrew, we're instructed, is part of that mysoginist genre, forever popular, but at odds with modern sensibilities. Othello's intro builds from the Shavian barb inspired by Verdi's Opera Otello. In a spot on analysis George Bernard said Otello wasn't Verdi's most Shakespearian adaptation, so much as Othello was Shakespeare's best Italian Opera. But honestly, I'm not here to type about what's in the books, so much as what's on them. I mean, it's one thing to be bawdy, and quite another to be so on the nose. Or on the... something.

Nice berries Othello. 
img_5944.jpg

I'm not sure what it means to reduce the Moor of Venice to nothing but a head with a stylized penis, but here we are. Now here's Kate the cursed on the cover of Shrew. 
 What are all those little things around her her heartgina? Beads of sweat? Bugs? Just... Ew. 
img_5941.jpg

The scripts are fine, the essays are swell, but from the teeny tiny titles on, I'm just not loving this design.

img_5947.jpg
Is it fair to call Ibsen Norway's Shakespeare? Maybe not. Okay, no. But he was practically as inventive as the Bard when it came to word coinage and that can be a problem for translators. The new Penguin Ibsen collection isn't just a new edition, it's a new set of translations. That's great news because we're talking about an author who worked in a small language and is known primarily by way of translations, not all of which are historically sensitive.

It's probably not so strange, given translation goals, that the publishers continue to use the title A Doll's House even though that's not quite right. In Norway "Doll House" is a distinct word, and one that Ibsen specifically rejected in favor of something closer to "A Home for Dolls," which is less catchy, but bends the title's meaning in a slightly different direction. Beyond this example where the title is too well known to alter, this is exactly the kind of thing the new editions aim to correct. 

In addition to A Doll's House the new collection includes GhostsAn Enemy of the People, and an underrated early work The Pillars of Society. 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

"Small and Essential," New Quark Theatre Company Offers Alternatives

Posted By on Thu, Aug 25, 2016 at 1:17 PM

Isbell, Koeppel, Remsen
  • Isbell, Koeppel, Remsen
Did you miss Krapp's Last Tape at Theatre South last season? If the answer is yes — and given trends and logistics it probably is — then you missed a genuine event. All the right pieces were in play: Veteran actor Tony Isbell starring in a dream role; Beckett's bleak bite-sized memory play; A production focusing on bare essentials, not because anybody had to (even if they did), but because that was a priority. For true blue fans of great scripts and masterful acting this was a "Get it while it's hot moment," because, even  in a city with a growing, thriving theater scene, this collision of actor and ethos was as rare as the production was fine and fuss-free. 

Turns out there's more where that came from. Isbell and his partner in Krapp Adam Remsen, and Remsen's partner in life Louisa Koeppel have partnered to create Quark Theatre, named for the elementary building block of matter. Nerdy. Cool. 

It makes for a nice logo too. Also essential. Build that brand, kids! (Also on Facebook, of course, friend them).
screen_shot_2016-08-25_at_12.30.38_pm.png
Quark was inspired by Krapp's modest success, and aims to produce similarly modest work with a focus on performance and quality material that hasn't, and might not otherwise be produced in Memphis.

Season One launches in Spring 2017 with a production of David Harrower's acclaimed Blackbird, a British drama about a young woman meeting the middle aged man who sexually abused her when she was 12.  It's an Olivier winner, with two notable New York runs. 

Blackbird is followed by Alan Barton's Years to the Day in September, and Jennifer Haley's The Nether in March 2018. The former chronicles a coffee house meeting between two old friends where savage nostalgia ensues meriting comparisons to David Mamet and Brett Easton Ellis. The latter's virtual future noir of shifting avatars and changeable realities.

That sounds like a tight schedule; ambitious but manageably so for a company stressing essentials.

Memphis loves big musicals, and big musicals love Memphis. Nothing wrong with that. Even so, and accounting for existing indies, we remain underserved on other fronts. Every jot helps. 

Welcome, Quark. 


 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Ostrander Winners, 2016

Posted By on Sun, Aug 21, 2016 at 10:26 PM

David Foster and Ashley Bugg Brown
  • David Foster and Ashley Bugg Brown
Please join me in an ovation for this season's winners. Or don't it's entirely up to you. 

COLLEGE & UNIVERSITY DIVISION

Set Design
Kathy Haaga – The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The McCoy Theatre at Rhodes College

Lighting
Kristen Reding – Oklahoma!, The University of Memphis

Costumes
Ashley Rogers – A Flea in Her Ear, The University of Memphis

Music Direction
Jacob Allen – Next to Normal, The University of Memphis

MORE VIDEOS TO COME

Sound Design

Eric Sefton – The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The McCoy Theatre at Rhodes College

Choreography
Jill Guyton Nee – Oklahoma!, The University of Memphis

Supporting Actress in a Drama
Brianna Roche – A Flea in Her Ear, The University of Memphis

Supporting Actor in a Drama
Jake Bell – A Flea in Her Ear, The University of Memphis

Leading Actress in a Drama
Amelia Sutherland – A Flea in Her Ear, The University of Memphis

Leading Actor in a Drama
Caleb Leach – A Flea in Her Ear, The University of Memphis

Supporting Actress in a Musical
Allison Huber – Oklahoma!, The University of Memphis

Supporting Actor in a Musical
David Couter – Oklahoma!, The University of Memphis

Leading Actress in a Musical
Amelia Sutherland – Next to Normal, The University of Memphis


Leading Actor in a Musical
Ryan Gilliam – The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The McCoy Theatre at Rhodes College


Small Ensemble
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The McCoy Theatre at Rhodes College

Large Ensemble
A Flea in Her Ear, The University of Memphis


Featured Cameo

Jon Castro – Oklahoma!, The University of Memphis

Direction of a Drama
Meredith Melville – A Flea in Her Ear, The University of Memphis

Direction of a Musical
Cecelia Wingate – The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The McCoy Theatre at Rhodes College

Best Dramatic Production
A Flea in Her Ear, The University of Memphis

Best Musical Production
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The McCoy Theatre at Rhodes College

screen_shot_2015-07-31_at_1.59.36_pm-1.jpg

COMMUNITY & PROFESSIONAL DIVISION


Set Design
Jack Yates - The Producers, Theatre Memphis

Props
Kellie Bowles – Peter and the Starcatcher, The Circuit Playhouse


Lighting
Jeremy Allen Fisher – Into the Woods, Theatre Memphis


Costumes
Amie Eoff - The Producers, Theatre Memphis

Hair/Wig/Make-Up
Buddy Hart & Erin Quick- Into the Woods, Theatre Memphis


Music Direction
Jeffrey B. Brewer - The Producers, Theatre Memphis

Sound Design
Zach Badreddine – Carrie the Musical, The Circuit Playhouse

Choreography
Patdro Harris – In the Heights, Hattiloo Theatre

Supporting Actress in a Drama
Michelle Miklosey – A Streetcar Named Desire, Germantown Community Theatre

Supporting Actor in a Drama
David Foster – Peter and the Starcatcher, The Circuit Playhouse

Leading Actress in a Drama
Natalie Jones – A Streetcar Named Desire, Germantown Community Theatre

Leading Actor in a Drama
Jordan Nichols – Buyer & Cellar, The Circuit Playhouse

Supporting Actress in a Musical 
Kim Sanders – Billy Elliot, Playhouse on the Square

Supporting Actor in a Musical
Justin Asher - The Producers, Theatre Memphis

Leading Actress in a Musical
Claire D. Kolheim – Sister Act, Playhouse on the Square

Leading Actor in a Musical
Nathan McHenry - Memphis, Playhouse on the Square

Small Ensemble
The Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged), The Next Stage at Theatre Memphis

Large Ensemble
Peter and the Starcatcher, The Circuit Playhouse

Featured Role/Cameo
L. Simeon Johnson – In the Heights, Hattiloo Theatre

Best Original Script
Byhalia, MS, POTS@TheWorks

Best Production of an Original Script
Byhalia, MS, POTS@TheWorks

Direction of a Drama
Justin Asher – A Streetcar Named Desire, Germantown Community Theatre

Direction of a Musical
Cecelia Wingate - The Producers, Theatre Memphis

Best Production of a Drama
A Streetcar Named Desire, Germantown Community Theatre

Best Musical Production
The Producers, Theatre Memphis

Special Award

Dawn Bennett – Specialty Pieces Design and Fabrication – The Producers, Theatre Memphis

The Gypsy Award
Kenesha Reed

The Behind the Scenes Award
Bea Miller

The Larry Riley Rising Star Award
Gabe Beutel-Gunn

The Eugart Yerian Lifetime Achievement Award
Jim and Jo Lynne Palmer


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Ostrander Nominees, 2016

Posted By on Wed, Aug 3, 2016 at 7:49 AM

Jim and JoLynne Palmer in The Gin Game
  • Jim and JoLynne Palmer in The Gin Game
The 33rd Annual Ostrander Awards honoring excellence in Memphis Theatre will take place at the Orpheum Theatre Sunday, August 21. Cocktails start at 6 p.m. The awards, hosted by Sister Myotis, begin promptly at 7. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased here.

The Ostranders are produced in partnership with Memphis Magazine and the Memphis Arts Council. This season's show sponsors are Dorothy O. Kirsch and Dr. Thomas Ratliff.

Community and Professional Division

Eugart Yerian Lifetime Achievement Honorees:
Jim and JoLynne Palmer

Set Design
Justin Asher & Andy Saunders – A Streetcar Named Desire, Germantown Community Theatre
Bryce Cutler – Memphis, Playhouse on the Square
Melanie Mul – In the Heights, Hattiloo Theatre
Jack Yates – Into the Woods, Theatre Memphis
Jack Yates - The Producers, Theatre Memphis

Props
Kellie Bowles – Peter and the Starcatcher, The Circuit Playhouse
Betty Dilley – A Streetcar Named Desire, Germantown Community Theatre
Betty Dilley – Orpheus Descending, New Moon Theatre Company
Jack Yates – The Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged), The Next Stage at Theatre Memphis
Jack Yates – The Producers, Theatre Memphis
imgres-1.jpg

Lighting
Jeremy Allen Fisher – Into the Woods, Theatre Memphis
Jeremy Allen Fisher – The Producers, Theatre Memphis
Zo Haynes – Peter and the Starcatcher – The Circuit Playhouse
John Horan – Billy Elliot, Playhouse on the Square
John Horan - Memphis, Playhouse on the Square

Costumes
Austin Conlee – A Streetcar Named Desire, Germantown Community Theatre
Amie Eoff - The Producers, Theatre Memphis
Rebecca Y. Powell - Memphis, Playhouse on the Square
Rebecca Y. Powell – Sister Act, Playhouse on the Square
Rebecca Y. Powell – The Matchmaker, Playhouse on the Square

Hair/Wig/Make-Up
Buddy Hart & Erin Quick- Into the Woods, Theatre Memphis
Buddy Hart – Oliver!, Theatre Memphis
Kaite Coffey & Rebecca Y. Powell – All The Way, Playhouse on the Square
Kaite Coffey & Rebecca Y. Powell – The Matchmaker, Playhouse on the Square
Barbara Sanders & Jaclyn Suffel - The Producers, Theatre Memphis

Music Direction
Gary Beard – Into the Woods, Theatre Memphis
Thomas Bergstig – Billy Elliot, Playhouse on the Square
Thomas Bergstig – Memphis, Playhouse on the Square
Jeffery B. Brewer - The Producers, Theatre Memphis
Jason Eschhofen - Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Germantown Community Theatre

Sound Design
Zach Badreddine – Carrie the Musical, The Circuit Playhouse
Matt Cantelon – All The Way, Playhouse on the Square
Jason Eschhofen – Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Germantown Community Theatre
Jeremy Allen Fisher – Wait Until Dark, Theatre Memphis
David Newsome & Amanda Davis – Into the Woods, Theatre Memphis

Choreography
Geoffrey Goldberg – Billy Elliot, Playhouse on the Square
Patdro Harris – In the Heights, Hattiloo Theatre
Ellen Ingrahm – Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Germantown Community Theatre
Jared Thomas Johnson & Christi Hall – The Producers, Theatre Memphis
Jordan Nichols & Travis Bradley - Memphis, Playhouse on the Square
Bertram Williams – Free Man of Color
  • Bertram Williams – Free Man of Color
Supporting Actress in a Drama
Jessica “Jai” Johnson – Byhalia, MS, POTS@TheWorks
Michelle Miklosey – A Streetcar Named Desire, Germantown Community Theatre
Maggie Robinson – Peter and the Starcatcher, The Circuit Playhouse
Kim Sanders - The Other Place, The Circuit Playhouse
Morgan Watson – In the Red and Brown Water, Hattiloo Theatre

Supporting Actor in a Drama
Delvyn Brown - All The Way, Playhouse on the Square
David Foster – Peter and the Starcatcher, The Circuit Playhouse
Marc Gill – Byhalia, MS, POTS@TheWorks
Shadeed A. Salim – Radio Golf, Hattiloo Theatre
Christopher Tracy – A Streetcar Named Desire, Germantown Community Theatre

Leading Actress in a Drama
Jillian Barron – Byhalia, MS, POTS@TheWorks
Sarah Brown – Lettice & Lovage, New Moon Theatre Company
Natalie Jones – A Streetcar Named Desire, Germantown Community Theatre
Kim Justis – The Other Place, The Circuit Playhouse
Karen Mason Riss – Mothers & Sons, The Next Stage at Theatre Memphis

Leading Actor in a Drama
George Dudley – All The Way, Playhouse on the Square
John Moore – I Hate Hamlet, Germantown Community Theatre
Jordan Nichols – Buyer & Cellar, The Circuit Playhouse
Gregory Szatkowski – A Streetcar Named Desire, Germantown Community Theatre
Bertram Williams – Free Man of Color, Hattiloo Theatre

Supporting Actress in a Musical - SIX NOMINEES
Lorraine Cotten – Memphis, Playhouse on the Square
Jeanna Juleson – Billy Elliot, Playhouse on the Square
Carla McDonald – Carrie the Musical, The Circuit Playhouse
Kim Sanders – Billy Elliot, Playhouse on the Square
Montanez Shepheard – In the Heights, Hattiloo Theatre
Gia Welch – Into the Woods, Theatre Memphis

Supporting Actor in a Musical
Justin Asher - The Producers, Theatre Memphis
Jarrad Baker – Memphis, Playhouse on the Square
Curtis C. Jackson - Memphis, Playhouse on the Square
Seth Judice – Billy Elliot, Playhouse on the Square
Clark Richard Reeves – The Producers, Theatre Memphis

Leading Actress in a Musical
Susannah Corrington – Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Germantown Community Theatre
Meredith Koch – Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash, Germantown Community Theatre
Claire D. Kolheim – Sister Act, Playhouse on the Square
Maggie Robinson – Carrie the Musical, The Circuit Playhouse
Nikisha Williams - Memphis, Playhouse on the Square
2d9bd255b-00a9-c4e7-fabd1a7d12defde3.jpg

Leading Actor in a Musical

Lee Hudson Gilliland - The Producers, Theatre Memphis
Jared Graham – Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Germantown Community Theatre
Philip Andrew Himebook - The Producers, Theatre Memphis
Nathan McHenry - Memphis, Playhouse on the Square
CJ Sagadia – In the Heights, Hattiloo Theatre

Small Ensemble
Byhalia, MS, POTS@TheWorks
Mothers & Sons, The Next Stage at Theatre Memphis
Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash, Germantown Community Theatre
The Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged), The Next Stage at Theatre Memphis
The Other Place, The Circuit Playhouse

Large Ensemble

All The Way, Playhouse on the Square
In the Heights, Hattiloo Theatre
Memphis, Playhouse on the Square
Peter and the Starcatcher, The Circuit Playhouse
Sister Act, Playhouse on the Square

Featured Role/Cameo
Jillian Barron – Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Germantown Community Theatre
Evie Bennett & Anna Lunati – Into the Woods, Theatre Memphis
Travis Bradley – Billy Elliot, Playhouse on the Square
Jaukeem Balcom, Daniel Gonzalez and Ryan Patrick Jones – Sister Act, Playhouse on the Square
L. Simeon Johnson – In the Heights, Hattiloo Theatre

Best Original Script
Byhalia, MS, POTS@TheWorks
Short/Stories, Voices of the South

Best Production of an Original Script
Byhalia, MS, POTS@TheWorks
Short/Stories, Voices of the South

Direction of a Drama
Justin Asher – A Streetcar Named Desire, Germantown Community Theatre
Stephen Hancock – All The Way, Playhouse on the Square
Robert Hetherington – Peter and the Starcatcher, The Circuit Playhouse
Jeffrey W. Posson – The Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged), The Next Stage at Theatre Memphis
Anne Dauber Scarbrough – Buyer & Cellar, The Circuit Playhouse

Direction of a Musical
Lorraine Cotten – Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Germantown Community Theatre
Patdro Harris – In the Heights, Hattiloo Theatre
Dave Landis – Sister Act, Playhouse on the Square
Jordan Nichols - Memphis, Playhouse on the Square
Cecelia Wingate - The Producers, Theatre Memphis

Best Production of a Drama
All The Way, Playhouse on the Square
A Streetcar Named Desire, Germantown Community Theatre
Buyer & Cellar, The Circuit Playhouse
Peter and the Starcatcher, The Circuit Playhouse
The Other Place, The Circuit Playhouse

Best Musical Production
Michael Detroit and George Dudley in All the Way.
  • Michael Detroit and George Dudley in All the Way.
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Germantown Community Theatre
In the Heights, Hattiloo Theatre
Memphis, Playhouse on the Square
Sister Act, Playhouse on the Square
The Producers, Theatre Memphis

COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY DIVISION 
Set Design
Kathy Haaga – The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The McCoy Theatre at Rhodes College
Brian Ruggaber – The School for Scandal, The University of Memphis
Jesse White – Oklahoma!, The University of Memphis

Lighting
Laura Canon - The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The McCoy Theatre at Rhodes College
Anthony Pellecchia – The School for Scandal, The University of Memphis
Kristen Reding – Oklahoma!, The University of Memphis

Costumes
Ashley Rogers – A Flea in Her Ear, The University of Memphis
Ashley Rogers – The School for Scandal, The University of Memphis
Anne Thompson – For Our Freedom, And Yours, Southwest Tennessee Community College

Music Direction
Jacob Allen – Next to Normal, The University of Memphis
Jacob Allen – Oklahoma!, The University of Memphis

Sound Design
Anthony Pellecchia – Next to Normal, The University of Memphis
Anthony Pellecchia – Oklahoma!, The University of Memphis
Eric Sefton – The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The McCoy Theatre at Rhodes College
Into the Woods at Theatre Memphis
  • Into the Woods at Theatre Memphis
Choreography
Jill Guyton Nee – Oklahoma!, The University of Memphis
Jared Johnson & Cecelia Wingate – The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The McCoy Theatre at Rhodes College

Supporting Actress in a Drama
Anita Jo Lenhart – The School for Scandal, The University of Memphis
Andrea Pajarillo – Admissions, The McCoy Theatre at Rhodes College
Brianna Roche – A Flea in Her Ear, The University of Memphis
Sister Act at Playhouse on the Square
  • Sister Act at Playhouse on the Square
Supporting Actor in a Drama
Jake Bell – A Flea in Her Ear, The University of Memphis
Matthew Nelson – A Flea in Her Ear, The University of Memphis
Hunter Reid – The School for Scandal, The University of Memphis

Leading Actress in a Drama
Andrea Pajarillo – Good Boys and True, The McCoy Theatre at Rhodes College
LaToya A+ Slater – The Woman in Me, Southwest Tennessee Community College
Amelia Sutherland – A Flea in Her Ear, The University of Memphis

Leading Actor in a Drama
Delvyn Brown – For Our Freedom, And Yours, Southwest Tennessee Community College
Jon Castro – The School for Scandal, The University of Memphis
Caleb Leach – A Flea in Her Ear, The University of Memphis

Supporting Actress in a Musical
Isabel Celata – The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The McCoy Theatre at Rhodes College
Olivia Gacka – The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The McCoy Theatre at Rhodes College
Allison Huber – Oklahoma!, The University of Memphis

Supporting Actor in a Musical
David Couter – Oklahoma!, The University of Memphis
Ian Goodwin – Oklahoma!, The University of Memphis
Jared Johnson – The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The McCoy Theatre at Rhodes College
Hunter Reid – Oklahoma!, The University of Memphis

Leading Actress in a Musical
Erica Peninger – Oklahoma!, The University of Memphis
Amelia Sutherland – Next to Normal, The University of Memphis
Jenny Wilson – The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The McCoy Theatre at Rhodes College

Leading Actor in a Musical
Justin Braun – Next to Normal, The University of Memphis
Ryan Gilliam – The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The McCoy Theatre at Rhodes College
Tyler Vernon – Oklahoma!, The University of Memphis

Small Ensemble
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The McCoy Theatre at Rhodes College
Next to Normal, The University of Memphis
The Woman in Me, Southwest Tennessee Community College

Large Ensemble

A Flea in Her Ear, The University of Memphis
Oklahoma!, The University of Memphis
The School for Scandal, The University of Memphis

Featured Cameo
Jon Castro – Oklahoma!, The University of Memphis
Robert King – My Christmas Caryl, Southwest Tennessee Community College
Landon Meldrum – A Flea in Her Ear, The University of Memphis

Direction of a Drama
Stephen Hancock – The School for Scandal, The University of Memphis
Evelyn Hall Little – For Our Freedom, And Yours, Southwest Tennessee Community College
memphsiweb-835x1024.jpg

Meredith Melville – A Flea in Her Ear, The University of Memphis

Direction of a Musical
Jacob Allen – Oklahoma!, The University of Memphis
Swaine Kaui – Next to Normal, The University of Memphis
Cecelia Wingate – The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The McCoy Theatre at Rhodes College

Best Dramatic Production
A Flea in Her Ear, The University of Memphis The School for Scandal, The University of Memphis
The Woman in Me, Southwest Tennessee Community College

Best Musical Production
Next to Normal, The University of Memphis
Oklahoma!, The University of Memphis
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The McCoy Theatre at Rhodes College

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Opera Memphis General Director Ned Canty Elected to OPERA America Board of Directors

Posted By on Wed, Jul 13, 2016 at 10:04 AM

Ned Canty
  • Ned Canty
Opera Memphis General Director Ned Canty has been elected to the Board of Directors for OPERA America, a service organization promoting Opera in the Unites States with affiliated international companies like Opera Australia and the Canadian Opera Company. 

Memphis' tireless opera director has previously been a featured speaker at Opera America meetings where he's discussed local innovations for making opera more accessible to everybody, like 30-Days of Opera and the Midtown Opera Festival.'

Canty, from the announcement:
“My election to this board position is more than a testament to my time at Opera Memphis; it’s also a reflection of the incredible staff that works tirelessly to continue Opera Memphis commitment to innovation and to the unparalleled support we receive from the Memphis community. I’m looking forward to bringing some Memphis grit-and-grind to the Opera America board and to having a front-row seat to what’s next in American Opera.” 



Wednesday, June 15, 2016

"Film" and "NotFilm": Buster Keaton & Samuel Beckett visit Brooks Museum

Posted By on Wed, Jun 15, 2016 at 1:38 PM

Buster
  • Buster
It should have worked. It should have been amazing. 

What could be better than a team up between absurdist playwright Samuel Beckett, and cinema's great clown Buster Keaton? Add to that, a story that's nothing more than a chase scene boiled down to essence? What could have possibly gone wrong?

The rather preciously named Film— screening at the Brooks Museum this week — should have been a spectacular cinematic event, not some footnote and fascinating curiosity. But Beckett had no idea how to make a movie. His friend and longtime collaborator Alan Schneider didn't either. Worser
Sam
  • Sam
  still, neither of these grand men of the theater knew how to talk to the poker-faced (and minded) Keaton, a certifiable master of the form.

Beckett and Keaton couldn't have been more different. The former was a heady, experimental philosopher, the latter more interested in technical details and visceral pleasures. Keaton had previously turned down the role of Lucky in the American premiere of Waiting for Godot, because, like so many American theatergoers, he just didn't get it.

Ironically, Beckett described Keaton as impenetrable. 

Keaton didn't understand Film either, and said so publicly. He took the gig because he needed the work. 

Visual essayist Ross Lipman tells the story of Beckett’s struggle to understand the language of film and of his difficult relationship with collaborators like Keaton and award winning cinematographer Boris Kaufman in the documentary Notfilm, also screening at the Brooks this week. Lipman's digital feature (not film) is narration-heavy, and contemplates itself into some un-cinematic corners. It also contains fantastic interview footage with actress Billie Whitelaw, who's widely regarded as the definitive interpreter of Beckett's work.

As a teenager, Leonard Maltin visited the movie set hoping to meet Keaton, whom he idolized. With starry-eyed fanboy zeal the popular film critic recounts his story of an uneventful meeting that, nevertheless, made a lasting impression. He knows Beckett was probably on location too, but Malton only had eyes for Keaton.
 

Beckett regarded Film as a qualified failure, and strong evidence that his peculiar brand of performance didn’t translate well to the big screen. Still, the curious artifact functions as a kind of movie trailer, teasing images and themes the playwright explores more thoroughly in plays like Endgame and Rockabye. It does so with lots of stark visual appeal thanks to Kaufman's cinematography.

NotFilm, by contrast, is a qualified success that could take a lesson from Beckett's show-don't-tell ethos. 

On a side note, Kaufman was the younger sibling of Russian film pioneers Dziga Vertov and Mikhail Kaufman. He worked as cinematographer and director of photography on a number of Hollywood features including Tennessee Williams' gorgeously-shot The Fugitive Kind. That was the story's third title. It had originally been staged as Battle of Angels, then rewritten and staged as Orpheus Descending

New Moon Theatre Company's solid production of Orpheus Descending is currently on stage at Midtown's Evergreen Theatre. 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Voices of the South: Headed to New York, Presenting New Work

Posted By on Thu, Jun 9, 2016 at 12:51 PM

Berry & Madden
  • Berry & Madden
Something Old, Something new...

Nobody's getting married to my knowledge, but there's still some cause to celebrate. Voices of the South is gearing up to take Mississippi Stories — some of Alice Berry and Jenny Madden's oldest adapted work — north for a short, Off-Broadway run. In the meantime, the little company that could is also preparing a festival of new, locally-developed work brought to life as the result of guided workshops. 

The Summoner's Ensemble Theatre, which produces A Christmas Carol at the Merchant’s House starring former Memphian Kevin Jones in all roles, is presenting Mississippi Stories, adapted by Berry and Madden from the works by Eudora Welty. The Gloria Baxter-directed production arrives at the Studio Theatre at Theatre Row on July 28 and runs through August 7. 

Voices hosts its first Mid-South Writer's Lab Festival June 17-19. A group of local playwrights have spent the last year working together in a supportive environment to create five new plays. 

Friday, June 17 at 7:00 pm:
THE SECOND SAVIOR OF CAMBERT COUNTY
By Jeff Posson

Saturday, June 18 at 5:00 pm:
WILD
By Jason Gerhard
THE VEIL
By Terry Scott

Sunday, June 19 at 5:00 pm:
LETTER MAN
By Joy Tiffin-Sutherland
THE LEGEND OF T.C. DAWLEY
By Jonathan Lambert

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Memphis Theater Wins Big at Chicago's Jeff Awards

Posted By on Tue, Jun 7, 2016 at 11:16 AM

Liz Sharpe at Memphis' Ostrander Awards
  • Liz Sharpe at Memphis' Ostrander Awards
Monday, June 6, 2016 was a big night for Memphis theater in Chicago. The cast of Byhalia Mississippi was honored with two non-equity Jeffs, including the prize for Best New Work awarded to playwright (and past Playhouse on the Square intern) Evan Linder.

"Holy Shit!" Those were the first heartfelt words of Cecelia WIngate's acceptance speech. 

Holy shit, indeed. Wingate's a terrific player but she’s better known locally for directing monster hits like The Producers, The Addams Family, [Title of Show], Young Frankenstein, and Altar Boyz. Her performance as a loving but irredeemably racist grandmother earned the Jeff for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.

Memphis expat Liz Sharpe was nominated for Best Actress in a Leading role, but lost to Amanda Drinkall for her performance in Last Train to Nibroc.  Theater fans my remember Sharpe as Jackie, the tough survivor in Lanford Wilson’s Hot L Baltimore, or as the Valium-addicted Harper in Angels in America at Playhouse on the Square.  She played Byhalia’s protagonist, Laurel, a young mother who doesn’t always make the best decisions.

The big winner, of course, is the play itself. Byhalia, Mississippi co-premiered in four cities: Memphis, Chicago, Toronto, and Charleston. It’s since been picked up by Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre where it opens in July.

Linder's a co-founder of Chicago's New Colony theater collective. The Warriors, The New Colony's fantastic docudrama about survivors of a playground shooting in Jonesboro was recently adapted for audio-only by Memphis' Chatterbox Audio Theatre.

Give it a listen. 
Cecelia WIngate (center) picking up an Ostrander.
  • Cecelia WIngate (center) picking up an Ostrander.
CORRECTION: This post originally named Liz Sharpe as a winner. She was a nominee, but didn't win. But she shoulda, dammit. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Hattiloo Theatre to Expand.

Posted By on Tue, Feb 9, 2016 at 10:15 AM

1348515734-screen_shot_2012-09-24_at_2.36.59_pm.png


The Hattiloo Theatre has come great distance in only 10 years. Ekundayo Bandele’s black repertory theater launched in 2006 in a cramped but lovingly converted storefront on Marshall Avenue just north of Sun Studio. Eight years later, following an innovative capital campaign, Bandele moved his company into a new, custom-built playhouse on Overton Square. Now, only 18 months — and not quite two full performance seasons — after the big move, Bandele and his board of directors are preparing to undertake the Hattiloo’s first major expansion.

Longtime board member Cardell Orrin says the need to expand physical resources became apparent during a strategic planning effort. “We thought about our mission and the kind of staffing we’d need to meet these goals,” he says. “And it became clear that we were already bursting at the seams in terms of multiple plays on stage, multiple plays in rehearsal, and everything else.”

9b76e87c-7f94-4784-890d-a3b8c19ac298.jpg

$750,000 in funding is already in place, and plans have been developed to build a two-story, 3,200 square-foot Development Center just off the northwest corner of the existing theater building at 37 S. Cooper at Monroe. “We’re calling it the D.C.,” Bandele says. The list of contributing benefactors for the expansion is only four names long: An anonymous Friend of the Hattiloo Theatre, The Assisi Foundation, The Hyde Family Foundation, and The City of Memphis.

“Of course the first question we had to answer was why so quick?” Bandele says. “That answer was simple. The new building generated a level of growth — or more accurately a pace of growth — that we weren’t prepared for. “We’ve always done a lot, but we’ve done it with so little,” Bandele explains. “We had to make compromises.”

The Hattiloo has never been a playhouse only. It has doubled as a teaching space, cultural center, and hub for artists. Since its move to Midtown, the theater has hosted everything from book clubs to film festivals to conversations about social justice. Orrin describes the Hattiloo as “This dream of what Memphis could and should look like.”

Ambitious programming found the rapidly growing company with one play open and running on its main stage, a second play in technical rehearsals in the adjoining black box theater, a youth program rehearsing in the lobby, and no space available for anything else. To accommodate all the activity many rehearsals moved off site to Rhodes College or the Urban League on Union Avenue. “The real problem with all these locations is that a parent takes their kids to a rehearsal at the Urban League one night, then to Rhodes the next night, then Hattiloo,” Bandele says. “There’s been no consistency. So whenever we were rehearsing or doing programs, it was a full-time job just figuring out where things are being placed. Now everything we do is going to be on the same campus.”

9b76e87c-7f94-4784-890d-a3b8c19ac298.jpg

Like the Hattiloo, the D.C. is being designed by Barry Yoakum and the design team at Archimania. The new space will be divided equally into two 1,600 square-foot stories. There are 10 small office spaces, a modest conference/rehearsal room, and a smaller office/meeting room on the first floor. The second floor is dedicated primarily to the development center — a large open room with an adjoining lobby and green room. Although it is laid out like a third performance space the D.C. won’t be used as a venue for additional programming. “I mean, where would we rehearse then?” Bandele asks. “We might do an occasional showcase there or something like that but nothing else. That would defeat the whole point.”

“Archimania has done a fantastic job of building a lot into a small space,” says Orrin. “They figured out how to grow it from one to two stories and put in an elevator.”

Bandele sees the new building as both a solution to his growth problems and as a chance to create more opportunities for theater education and community engagement. “We are definitely going to amp up our youth theater program,” he says. He also anticipates growing a program the Hattilooo started for young adults with special needs.

Oluremi (Loo), Bandele’s youngest daughter, has cerebral palsy. “I noticed that, as soon as a young person with special needs graduates from high school, their entire social circle just collapses,” he says. “So not only will this allow young adults with special needs to continue to have a social life, it helps in the same ways theater helps everybody. It’s going to help with speech, with the expression of emotion, and with their bodies.”

There are also plans to relaunch the Hattiloo Theater School for adults, which focuses on playwriting, directing, and acting.

If all goes according to plan, construction on the Hattiloo’s Development Center should begin before the end of the first quarter and be complete before the end of 2016.



Tags: , , ,

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Emergency Medical Fund for Theater Artists Hosts Fundraiser, Seeks Donations

Posted By on Sat, Jan 2, 2016 at 1:30 PM

1907408_910024602346465_2388884331889693946_n.jpg
A few years back Memphis Theatre stalwart Jo Lynne Palmer suffered a stroke while performing in The Fantasticks. Thankfully, that event had a happy ending and Palmer has returned to the stage better than ever. It also lead to the creation of the Emergency Needs for the Theater Artists Community fund — ENTAC. 

Memphis actor Ron Gordon has been working to raise ENTAC's profile, spearheading an effort to create an annual fundraising event. For his first outing Gordon has enlisted more than twenty area musicians to perform a concert Sunday, Jan. 10 at Neil's Music room. 3 p.m.

Event organizers are still seeking donors for a silent auction. According to Gordon's post to the #theatre901 Facebook page, all kinds of products and services are welcome:

"House cleaning service, voice lessons, sculptures, hair stylist, a slot at theater camp, that unwanted Christmas gift that is a hassle to return, tickets to Graceland... we need it all."

 Donations for the silent auction can be dropped off at the box offices of Germantown Community Theatre, Playhouse on the Square, or Theatre Memphis. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Germantown High School Graduate Makes an Impression on Broadway

Posted By on Tue, Jun 30, 2015 at 6:05 PM

COURTESY NHSMTA/JIMMY AWARDS
  • COURTESY NHSMTA/JIMMY AWARDS
Great news for local actor Maclean Mayer. Last month the Germantown High School graduate received the Best Actor award at the Orpheum High School Musical Awards. Last week he was a top four finalist for the seventh annual National High School Musical Theatre Awards. He was also awarded the "Spirit of the Jimmy" award, which is given to the conferee that best represent the positive spirit of the program. 

For the rest of the story check out Jane Schneider's post at Memphis Parent



Friday, June 5, 2015

Voodoo Shakespeare: Stephanie Shine Sets "A Midsummer Night's Dream" in the Bayou.

Posted By on Fri, Jun 5, 2015 at 10:43 AM

Phil Darius Wallace as Oberon, Stephanie Weeks as Titania, and Noah Duffy - COURTESY OF TSC
  • Courtesy of TSC
  • Phil Darius Wallace as Oberon, Stephanie Weeks as Titania, and Noah Duffy

Tennessee Shakespeare Company is reviving one of the bard's best loved comedies, and giving it a distinctly Southern twist. Intermission Impossible asked director Stephanie Shine about the magical elements found in A Midsummer Night's Dream, and how she's used regional music to recontextualize the play's familiar settings and characters. 

Intermission Impossible: Tell me a little bit about your perspective on A Midsummer Night’s Dream and how you came to give it a voodoo/bayou twist.

Stephanie Shine: A Midsummer Night’s Dream is play known to many. If it’s not known specifically, it’s known generally. So there’s this sense of familiarity about it. For this production in particular, I wanted to explore the depths of it. Because, I think the general notion, speaking for all of America here, is that it’s a great comedy. And it is. It’s one of the great comedies. But it also has a soul worth mining. And the soul of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of transformation. Shakespeare has all the characters go into a forest. And, as with so much literature, where there is a trial by nature — a trial by forest — you come out changed. Everybody gets to change because of the forest. And, with that in mind, I wanted to emphasize the area of change. That’s where the bayou comes into play because in my mind, and in my imagination the bayou is sultry, ever changing, ever mysterious. And you never quite know if you’re on terra firma or not. And you think about the animals that might be existing in there, and the inherent dangers, and the sounds of the bayou. And the fireflies— it just seemed like a really great place to try yourself. To see if you could do a night in the bayou . And what it would be like coming out the other end.

I like the regional specificity— that it’s a distinctly Southern choice.

For us here in the south the Bayou is familiar ground. The play has so many magical elements to it, and I think the bayou grounds us. Because we understand the setting and we can imagine things unimaginable happening in the bayou.

Noah Duffy at Puck. - COURTESY OF TSC
  • Courtesy of TSC
  • Noah Duffy at Puck.

And we’re familiar with the sounds.

Midsummer it is a very musical play it has lots of music in it and I consider there to be four fairly distinct worlds in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and each of those worlds is represented musically. That's what's fun about having it set in a Southern Louisiana-inspired setting, because the music of that culture so rich. And that's one way to define the worlds— by the sounds that we hear.

How does all of that work?

Part of the comedy is watching how these worlds intersect. There is the world of martial, military law that we have in the court of Duke Theseus, who wooed [the Amazon Queen] Hippolyta with his sword and won her by doing her injuries. Now he’s going to wed her whether she likes it or not. The young lovers experience this martial law when Hermia’s father Egeus comes to Theseus and says, “Well if my daughter won't marry the person I want her to marry, I'm going to call up an old law.” God knows in our country there are so many old laws on the books you don't know exist anymore until someone brings them up. And I kind of think this law is that way as well.

Good point. I think Egeus describes it specifically as the “ancient” law of Athens.

He does. Then we have the young lovers who are looking towards hope, and trying to carve a new existence for themselves. And you've got the immortals— the fairies who exist without having a lot of interaction human beings knowingly. But they certainly wreak havoc on human world. We also have the mechanicals who work with simpleness and duty, trying very hard to produce art that will be pleasing to people. And of course they have a big transformation in the forest as well when Bottom is turned into that donkey.

And each of these groups has its own musical sound.

Our human world setting is the mid-nineteen-forties, which makes sense, coming at the end of a war. So there’s all that wonderful big-band music. And the mechanicals play the music live. All six of them play a variety of musical instruments, and many learned just for this production. The sounds of the mechanical world is early New Orleans Jazz. And then in the forest it's Cajun, Acadian, Creole and all ancient sounds. Who knows how old some of those melodies really are? It’s fun to bring them to life again for the lullaby to Titania and the blessing.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is so frequently produced. How many times have you done it?

Actually not too many times given the length of my career and how popular the play is. I did it once when I was 20. I played a fairy. I’ve directed it twice. Once with middle school kids and later professionally. But it's been 17 or 18 years since I've had any in depth contact with the play, which is also a blessing. It's humbling to come back to a play you think you know, and you’ve got almost two decades of life under you, and all of a sudden it's speaking a different language to you. That's why we do Shakespeare. That's why you spend a life with Shakespeare. Although there's a limited number of plays, what they have to offer you is infinite.
G Valmont Thomas (Bottom) and Stephanie Weeks (Titania). - COURTESY OF TSC
  • Courtesy of TSC
  • G Valmont Thomas (Bottom) and Stephanie Weeks (Titania).

Wow. That is unusual. I’d have guessed you would have worked on it many times, and I was hoping for some insight as to how one goes about greeting old friends as strangers.


If it’s not something that I’ve personally been involved with it's not quite an issue. If I’ve done a show several times within recent history— like the Romeo and Juliet that I’ve directed every year for four years — that's a challenge. I have to really think about it. Really take time to figure out what the play is saying this time that is different than even eleven months ago. What's important in the world that the play might address? So it's always topical, always fresh.

Transformation is the thing that really stands out in my mind about Tennessee Shakespeare Company’s first production of Midsummer several years ago. Specifically in regard to the character Puck. The text makes it clear that he’s a shapeshifter, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen that fact made so clear as it was in that production, directed by Dan McCleary. You’ve already talked a little bit about transformation, I was hoping you might take a deeper dive on that theme.

The word that Shakespeare uses to describe that is “translated.” At first I thought, “translated?” Are they speaking malaprops? But no. Translation is to change the form. This starts in the forest when Bottom is physically turned into which he behaves. And then he’s changed once again from an actor that was all about, “I” to an actor who is all about, “we.” And as you know, you can’t do theatre if “we” isn’t the active pronoun.

Puck’s feelings about the mortal world are ones of disdain: “Lord what fools these mortals be!” He likes to make your life difficult for humans. But something changes in Puck too. He talks about his transformations and how he'll make himself to look differently and scare people. Then towards the end of the play he's the one who comes out to offer the final blessing and the apology to the audience. So it's within Puck that we see how the fairy world changes its viewpoint about humanity.

When I think about Tennessee Shakespeare, I think about environmental productions. But this time around you’re using the University of Memphis’ theater.

We are not only using the University of Memphis to space but the partnership that came about as a result of collaboration with Holly Lau and the whole theatre department at the University of Memphis, is allowing us to build our set there and out costumes. So we're really in residence right now. It's a beautiful rehearsal situation to have all the elements we need in one space. That’s not always been afforded to this company. It just feels like a dream come true.

Stephanie Weeks at Titania. - COURTESY OF TSC
  • Courtesy of TSC
  • Stephanie Weeks at Titania.

Speaking of transformation, I love environmental theater and have done a lot of it. But sometimes it’s a relief not having to expend so much energy trying to make a viable theater experience a place that was never intended to be a theater.

I have watched Dan McCleary spend so much time and effort doing exactly that. We were constantly inventing a space. Often it can give you marvelous artistic explosions and insights. But sometimes it's so nice to be in a theater and let other elements of your artistry have an opportunity to come to the surface. You know there are only so many hours in a day.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is on the University of Memphis main stage June 4-21, 2015

The production’s title sponsor is FedEx, is sponsoring a "Free Will Kids Night" every Thursday. Up to four children under 17 years will be admitted free when accompanied by a paying, attending guardian. Also, family morning matinees will be made available Wednesday mornings at 10:30 am.

Some images and sounds from TSC's 2011 production of A Midsummer Night's Dream

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

RIP: Memphis Actor John Malloy

Posted By on Wed, Jun 3, 2015 at 3:13 PM

John Malloy as King Lear (L) with Jazzy Miller. And as Jones (R) in "Cannery Row."
  • John Malloy as King Lear (L) with Jazzy Miller. And as Jones (R) in "Cannery Row."

I'm really going to miss getting the random "catching up" phone call from Memphis actor John Malloy.

Malloy, who passed away this week at the age of 82, was a character actor's character actor, as comfortable on stage as he was in front of a camera. He played one of the lovable bum's in the 1982 film adaptation of John Steinbeck's Cannery Row with Nick Nolte and Debra Winger, and appeared in a number of other films such as Black Snake Moan, Hoffa, and My Blueberry Nights. Malloy also taught theater classes for the University of Memphis' Continuing Education program. " 

_57-1.jpg

I only had the pleasure of working with Malloy once, in a rough and tumble production of Shakespeare's Henry V, produced in the beer garden of the Tennessee Brewery. The gruff-edged actor loved Shakespeare, and loved acting as much as anyone I've ever seen. He told the best backstage stories and was incredibly patient as a certain young actor (turned theater critic) asked endless questions about McNary Co. Sheriff Buford Pusser and the drive-in movie classic, Walking Tall: The Final Chapter. 

If you don't know about Pusser and the Walking Tall Movies, this is as good a place as any to start. 

In the final installment of the original Walking Tall trilogy, Malloy played Mel, a Hollywood producer who comes to Tennessee to make a movie about Pusser's tragic life and crime-fighting exploits. 

Here's the scene where Mel meets Buford. I especially enjoy how believably Bo Svenson, the actor playing Pusser, delivers the line, "huh?" Enjoy it. And rest in peace John Malloy, you were one of a kind. 


Monday, April 27, 2015

Voices of the South Launches the Mid-South Writer's Lab

Posted By on Mon, Apr 27, 2015 at 5:05 PM

Voices of the South
  • Voices of the South

For 20-years Voices of the South has served up new plays with a distinct Delta drawl. Now the scrappy little company is entering into its third decade with a renewed commitment to the cultivation of new work.

And here's the nifty thing. Because VOTS specializes in narrative performance, they aren't only interested in traditional plays and playwrights. They are also interested in developing work by poets, songwriters, and prose-makers who are interested of seeing their work developed in a theatrical context.

The Mid-South Writer's Lab is being described as an incubator that will provide artists with space, feedback, actors and workshop opportunities. 

And a $200 stipend.




11169979_10153278661129803_2978822094144671073_n-1.jpg

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2016

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation