Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Cirque Jerk: My love/hate relationship with Holidaze

Posted By on Wed, Nov 18, 2009 at 2:21 PM

Princess Mongo Halloran
  • Princess Mongo Halloran
I must confess I missed the opening moments of Cirque Dreams: Holidaze because I was staring in slackjawed wonder at Orpheum CEO Pat Halloran's program note.

"It is often said that people always resemble or look like their dogs," Halloran wrote in an off-topic and weirdly redundant intro to what was, ostensibly, an acknowledgement of his 29-years as President of the Memphis Development Foundation. "If that is the truth, then I must look like Princess Mongo," he concluded before bragging about the 150 Broadway shows, thousands of concerts, and countless other performances that have brought 10-million people through the Orpheum's doors. In the top right hand corner of the page there was a photo of a goggle-wearing pooch, presumably Princess Mongo standing in for her master. By the time I looked up there was already some guy on stage juggling devil sticks about as well as some of the red-eyed hippies I've seen in Overton Park on 4/20. I thought about staring at my program some more, then quickly put it away to avoid the temptation.

I have mixed emotions about the evolution of the modern circus. In theory I should like all the innovation that's taken place since the 1980's when a struggling Canadian company called Cirque du Soleil changed things forever.

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Hattiloo Wins...

Posted By on Wed, Nov 18, 2009 at 12:32 PM

Congratulations are due to Ekundayo Bandele, the founder and Executive Director of Memphis' Hattiloo Theatre. Bandele's organization is $5000 richer after receiving a General Mills "Feeding Dreams Community Champion Award."

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Eyes of Glenn Beck

Posted By on Tue, Nov 17, 2009 at 10:41 PM

Becks peepers
  • Beck's peepers
This holiday season Fox news personality Glenn Beck is bringing back his live stage show, The Christmas Sweater. That's right, Glenn Beck has a live stage show and for the low, low price of $20 local Beckheads can catch a big screen simulcast of the event at Memphis' Cinema Paradiso on Thursday, December 3rd at 7:00 p.m. To promote The Christmas Sweater—a Return to Redemption, the Conservative talker has created the following trailer, which is one of the most accidentally hilarious things I've seen in a long, long time.

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André Goes to Nashville

Posted By on Tue, Nov 17, 2009 at 2:12 PM

André Bruce Ward
  • André Bruce Ward
For 30 years Theatre Memphis' patrons have been delighted and dazzled by André Bruce Ward's stunning, award winning costume designs. Now Ward, who began his career as an assistant designer for the New York City Opera before moving to the Bluff City in 1977, is taking his show on the road. Well, at least as far as Nashville anyway, where the Tennessee Arts Commission will exhibit drawings from Ward's book André, Thirty Years of Design at Theatre Memphis.

André: Costume Designs at Theatre Memphis is on display at Tennessee Arts Commission Gallery in Nashville from Nov. 19, 2009 — Jan. 8, 2010

Gallery hours are Monday — Friday, 8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. Admission is free. For more information on the exhibit, call (615) 532-9798

Friday, November 13, 2009

Will Call: Tips & Tidbits for the Theatrically Inclined

Posted By on Fri, Nov 13, 2009 at 1:09 PM

This is usually the time of year when all the holiday shows start opening and, humbug that I am, I have nothing to get excited about. But man, what a great week for going to the theater this is!

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Things That Go Bump: Chatterbox uploads another batch of spooky stories

Posted By on Tue, Nov 10, 2009 at 1:35 PM

I simply cannot believe that I missed it. While advising readers to celebrate Halloween with zombies, shape shifters, or Edward Gorey, I totally forgot about what appears to be a real fright night tradition in the making. Like aliens from The Outer Limits, Memphis' Chatterbox Audio Theater took over the airwaves at WKNO radio on Halloween night. For the second year in a row the Chaterboxers kept listners on the edge of their seats with tales of supernatural horror, brutal revenge, and monsters from the pits of hell. And I forgot about it completely.

But here's the good news: It's all online. Part one can be found here. And here's part two.

If you liked those you might want to re-visit Chatterbox's 2008 Halloween broadcast. And the group's more recent adaptation of James Joyce's The Dead.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Potty Mouth: Natalie Wilder answers three questions about her performance in "Dead Ringer."

Posted By on Mon, Nov 9, 2009 at 2:54 PM

Natalie Wilder
  • Natalie Wilder
U of M alum Natalie Wilder recently received the kind of glowing New York Times review that most actors would lock a sibling in the cellar for. According to critic Anita Gates, New Jersey Rep's production of Gino Dilorio's Dead Ringer is a real winner and Wilder's character Mary is "a likable smart-aleck."

"She’s enthusiastically foulmouthed so her best lines can’t be repeated here," Gates wrote.

That last bit of course caught our attention right away and we had to ask our old friend what sorts of nasty lines she'd been repeating and whether or not she'd be up for playing a little game of Three Questions. Thankfully, she was.

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Friday, November 6, 2009

Will Call: Tips & Tidbits for the Theatrically Inclined

Posted By on Fri, Nov 6, 2009 at 10:04 AM

The Elephant Man
  • The Elephant Man
There are some big parties this weekend like Saturday's Curtain Up: A Taste of Playhouse on the Square. It's an over the top event with lots of food, lots of beverages, too much entertainment and dancing on the stage. Or, as Playhouse's Courtney Oliver puts it, "It's kicking."

Let's all cross our fingers and hope that Theatre Memphis takes good care of itself this weekend and doesn't break a hip. This enduring organization—quite literally born in a stable— is pulling out the stops to celebrate its 90th birthday. There's a concert by Kallen Esperian on Friday evening and dancing into the late bright. Then There are kid's events on Saturday afternoon.

But what does all this shindigging mean for people who actually want to see a show? The choices are slimmer than usual to be sure, but there's still plenty to choose from.

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Kallen Esperian saves the day: A change in plans for Theatre Memphis' birthday bash

Posted By on Thu, Nov 5, 2009 at 9:52 AM

Kallen Esperian
  • Kallen Esperian

I've just heard from Theatre Memphis' communications guru Randall Hartzog that Robert Glazier, the "Steinway artist" scheduled to play TM's 90-Years Young party on Friday, November 6th has the flu and won't be able to perform. But the show must go on, as they say and in lieu of Glazier playing Memphis' very own diva Kallen Esperian will be SINGING selections from the Great American Songbook. 90-Years-Young runs from 6:30-9:30 and everybody who attends this $90 event gets a wrist band insuring complementary drinks throughout the evening. There will be dancing on Theatre Memphis' main stage until midnight dontcha know, and everybody who comes to see Kallen gets into the second event free.

“Club 90”, is Theatre Memphis' second birthday event starting at 9:30 p.m. on the Lohrey Stage. DJ Glenn Miller will spin contemporary dance tracks until the last stroke of twelve. There will be snacks and a cash bar. Admission is $25 at the door.

Theatre Memphis will also host a kids' celebration with a performance at 2 p.m. of Rikki Tikki Tavi by ShoWagon on Saturday, November 7th, along with crafts, scavenger hunt, and birthday cake. Tickets to the kids' event are $5 per person, but a family pack of six tickets can be purchased for $20. Call 682-8323 for reservations.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Dish: What's on the menu at A Taste of Playhouse

Posted By on Wed, Nov 4, 2009 at 4:53 PM

Curtain Up: A Taste of Playhouse goes down this Saturday night AT 7 P.M. And while I can assure you all it's a delicious concept I must confess that the event's name always raises an eyebrow. I mean, what would Playhouse on the Square actually taste like? Old costumes? Actor sweat? Elvis residue from the days when POTS was the King's favorite movie house? I mean ICK, right? Well Courtney Oliver, Playhouse on the Square's Jane-of-all-trades, told me in confidence that

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Who wants to be the next Nixon... and other audition notices

Posted By on Tue, Nov 3, 2009 at 2:15 PM

Tricky Dick
  • Tricky Dick
Here's a cool opportunity for actors looking for meaty roles and the opportunity to play iconic historical characters. Playhouse on the Square is auditioning Peter Morgan's gripping docudrama FROST/NIXON on November 14 In the theater's new office building rehearsal room across from Playhouse on the Square behind the new Playhouse building which is currently under construction

FROST/NIXON, which was eventually developed as a film by director Ron Howard, is about a series of explosive interviews between British journalist David Frost and President Richard Nixon.

The theater is looking for 8 male actors, and 2 female actors, Ages 21 and Up. All roles are currently available. Guest director Rob Satterlee is asking for one prepared monologue of 2-minutes or less.

For more information, please contact Courtney Oliver via email at courtney@... or by phone, 901.725.0776.

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Bill Young Memorial

Posted By on Tue, Nov 3, 2009 at 1:32 PM

Tonight at Playhouse on the Square there will be a memorial service honoring the life of Memphis theater patron Mr. Bill Young. The service runs from 5:30-7:00 p.m. Food & Wine will be available.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Jim Ostrander on Facebook.

Posted By on Mon, Nov 2, 2009 at 3:48 PM

I had the great good fortune to work and converse frequently with Jim Ostrander, the famously kind, and gifted actor for whom the Memphis theater awards are named. But no conversation was more moving than the one and only time when he and I sat down for a formal interview shortly before his life and career were cruelly abbreviated by cancer of the jaw.

"I've had 33 years of doing something that I was really good at," he said. "I was wholly realized as an artist, in full possession of my powers And I used them with full knowledge of what I was doing. You can't ask for more than that. You can't ask for that to go on forever."

Of course he was right, you can't ask for that to go on forever. But there are a lot of people who loved Jim and want his memory, not just his name, to live on. So I suppose this was inevitable. There is now a Facebook page for friends of Jim Ostrander with lots of pictures archived there for fans to pore over. So if you do the FB thing, and you loved Jim, drop by, sign up, and share what you've got.

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