Sunday, January 31, 2010

Upcoming: Peer Gynt by Henrik Ibsen, Mary Moody Northern Theatre, St. Edward's University, February 11 - 21

Received directly:

In its 37th season,
the Mary Moody Northern Theatre
at St Edward's University presents

Peer Gynt

by Henrik Ibsen

directed by Ev Lunning, Jr.
February 11 - 21
Thursday–Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m.

Out of the gentle genius of Henrik Ibsen comes a stunning theatrical travelogue exploring one man’s journey of self-discovery from impetuous boyhood to penitent old age.

A fantastical voyage filled with puppetry, music and wonder in the tradition of the great Norwegian fairy tales, Peer Gynt races, stumbles, fights, meanders and crashes, alternately, around the world and back again in this new translation by Minnesota poet laureate Robert Bly. Featuring Equity guest artists Sheila M. Gordon and Ben Wolfe.

Mary Moody Northern Theatre
St. Edward’s University, 3001 South Congress Avenue, Austin
Click to view campus map

Tickets available through the MMNT box office at 448-8484.
Reserved Seating. Advance sales: general admission $15 ($12 students, seniors, St. Edward’s community) All tickets $18 at the door.
Box office is open 1-5 p.m. Monday–Friday and 1 hour prior to curtain.
SPECIAL STUDENT NIGHT: Friday, Feb. 12 at 7:30 p.m., all student tickets $6 with ID

[image adapted from the website of the Norwegian Embassy in Hanoi]

About St. Edward's University
Founded by the Congregation of Holy Cross, St. Edward's University is named among the top five "Up-and-Coming Universities" in the Western Region by its academic peers in a 2010 U.S. News & World Report survey. For seven consecutive years St. Edward's has been recognized as one of "America's Best Colleges" by U.S. News & World Report and this year by Forbes and the Center for College Affordability and Productivity. St. Edward's is a private, Catholic, liberal arts university of nearly 5,300 students located in Austin, Texas. For more information on St. Edward’s University, visit

Upcoming: The Atheist by Ronan Noone, Hyde Park Theatre, February 18 - March 13

Click for ALT review, February 20

UPDATE: Review by Claire Carnavan for Statesman's Austin360 "Seeing Things" blog, February 19

UPDATE: Robert Faires' 2300-word profile of Joey Hood, Austin Chronicle, February 18

Received directly:

presents the Southwest premiere of

The Atheist
a dark comedy by Ronan Noone
directed by Ken Webster

February 18 - March 13, 2010

The Atheist is a wickedly funny dark comedy about a young journalist who is high on ambition and low on morals. Augustine Early is a reporter who will do anything to be famous, even if it means blackmailing a Congressman for a story that will make Augustine a star.

Joey Hood (Killer Joe, Bombs in Your Mouth, The Collection) and directed by HPT Artistic Director and Austin Arts Hall of Fame member Ken Webster (The Pillowman, Dog Sees God).

The Boston Globe called this show "viciously funny . . . especially to anyone who cares about the creeping power of tabloid values even in the 'serious' press.”

Curtain Up called it “a thrilling ride.”

Atheists, Christians, Jews, and Muslims will all find
The Atheist a savagely funny night of theatre. Tickets are $19 and $17 for students, seniors, and ACOT members on Fridays and Saturdays. Thursdays are pay-what-you-can.

Hyde Park Theatre is located at 511 W. 43rd. Tickets can be charged online at, or by phone at 479-PLAY.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Upcoming: The 1940s Radio Hour, Wimberley Players, February 12 - March 7

Update: Click for ALT review, March 1

Received directly:


The 1940s Radio Hour

by Walton Jones
Feb. 12 - March 7, 2010

It is December 1942, and our troops overseas are listening to the radio for news and entertainment from back home. The 1940’s Radio Hour, written by Walton Jones, is opening at the Wimberley Playhouse February 12, is a nostalgic musical about a radio broadcast – but this time you, the playgoers, are the actual audience.

Reminiscent of the setting of the recent film, A Prairie Home Companion, the play shows how a radio broadcast is put together. Only this time the music is not country, but favorite old ballads from the 40’s – “Kalamazoo,” “Blue Moon, “Ain’t She Sweet?” “Blues in the Night,” “You Go to My Head,” “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” and many others. The music will be presented onstage by a small orchestra consisting of bass (Guy Ben Moshe), trumpet (Sean Palmer), trombone (Tom Van Tassel), drums (John King), piano (Robert FitzGerald), saxophone (Robert Eaton) and tenor sax (Donna Heath).

The 1940’s Radio Hour is directed by Jennifer McKenna, new to the Wimberley Playhouse but known in Austin theatre (Crimes of the Heart at City Theatre and The Diaries of Adam and Eve at the Baker Theatre).

Read more at . . . .

Images by Will Hollis Snider: Selkie Project: Gestation by Divergence Vocal Theatre, January 23

Will Hollis Snider has published on Flickr a set of 17 images from Selkie Project: gestation presented by Divergence Vocal Theater on Saturday, January 23 at the Creative Research Laboratory in Austin.

Shown here are participants Chase Crossno, Caroline Sutton Clark, and Steffanie Ngo Hatchie.

The Selkie Project was a cross-disciplinary installation environment of multimedia performance, opera and new music-theater. Misha penton designed voice, text and sound design. megan M. Reilly did multimediaand lighting design.

Performers were Misha Penton, mezzo soprano; Maimy Fong, piano; Steffanie Ngo-Hatchie, Chase Crossno actors; Caroline Sutton Clark, dancer/choreography.

View more at . . . .

Friday, January 29, 2010

Stuck on GeeDot, Generic Ensemble Company, January 22 - 30

Their choice of a company name offers a hint of the deadpan drollery of their approach to art and to the audience. In a town that whelps new theatre companies as if it were a puppy mill, these young women label themselves the "generic ensemble company."

Generic as in "common" and "absolutely typical" or as in "no longer under patent" or, reaching a bit, as in "an embodiment of an abstract ideal." And generic as in "gender," for their credo states in part, ". . . we strive to promote, foster, and engage performance, writing and ideas of/with people of color, queers, gender queers, women, working class people, immigrants and youth."

There's a bit of swagger in that but no arrogance toward the audience. Unless you count the moments when the two young actresses in their bowler hats and nondescript (generic) costumes peered at me with close-up, polite curiosity from several angles and pronounced themselves puzzled. "It must be a piece of modern art."

This thoughtful and creative re-interpretation of Beckett's Waiting for Godot takes place in a frame house on a dark street in east Austin near the intersection of Pleasant Valley and Webberville Road. The company painted the house number on a banner and hung it in the front yard so we wouldn't miss them completely in the darkness.

The public space was the living/dining room area and part of the kitchen space. Walls, windows, beams and bar were draped with blank, white sheets. As the 10 or so of us gathered, a woman wearing a bowler hat was sitting slumped forward in the middle of the playing space, for all the world like a Bolivian market woman who had forgotten her traditional costume. She re-animated as another, more alert and taller young woman, also in a bowler hat, joined her. We learned quickly that the shorter of the two was "Gohgoh"; the more animated was "DeeDee." The names directly mirror the nicknames given by Beckett to their prototypes Estragon and Vladimir.

Read more and view images at . . . .

Upcoming: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard, San Antonio Shakespeare at Jump-Start Theatre, February 12 - 27

UPDATE: rave review by Ashley Lindstrom at San Antonio Current, February 16

UPDATE: review by Michael E. Barret for San Antonio Express-News, February 18

Found on-line:

announces its the inaugural main stage production!

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
by Tom Stoppard
February 12 - 27 at the Jump Start Theater.

Tickets are now available for San Antonio Shakespeare's inaugural production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. The show runs from Feb 12-27 at the Sterling Houston Theater inside the Blue Star Art Complex. Thursday, Friday and Saturday shows start at 8 p.m. and the matinee on Sunday, February 21 is at 2:30 p.m. The box office opens 30 minutes before show time.

Tickets are $15 in advance online by credit or debt card or $18 at the door (cash only).

The company is proud to announce the cast list for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead:

Rosencrantz: Michael Burger
Guildenstern: Brandon Sasnett
Hamlet: Robert Jerdee
Gertrude: Christy Huffman
Claudius: Jason Smiley
Ophelia: Susana Lopez
Polonius: Rick Lukens
Player King: Greg Hinojosa
Players: Morgan Scharff, Courtney Coston, Mellissa Marlowe, Pamela Kenny
Alfred: Walter Miranda

Director: Matthew Byron Cassi
Dramaturge: Isaac Martin

for more information, email
for school group rates or educational tour, please email
See San Antonio Shakespeare on Facebook!

Upcoming: Vinegar Tom by Caryl Churchill, Texas State University, San Marcos, February 11-14

Found on-line:


Vinegar Tom

by Caryl Churchill
directed by Lara Willars
February 11-13 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, February 14 at 2 p.m
Theatre Center: PSH Foundation Studio Theatre
Tickets:$8 general admission and $5 for students with a valid Texas State ID

Written by one of England's foremost contemporary playwrights Vinegar Tom transports the audience back to the seventeenth-century witch hunts and the role of women within the male-dominated society of the time. With glimpses of past and present intermixed, Caryl Churchill creates a world filled with both vivid imagery and poignant characters.


Alice Terissa Kelton
Susan Allison Gregory
Joan Ashley Rountree
Margery Leslie Monge
Jack Geoffrey Douglas
Betty Ragan Rhodes
Ellen Stephanie Marlow
Goody Tina Morille
Packer Zach Schulte
Man Wesley Crump
Bellringer Nicolas Kier

Kramer Curtis Barber

Upcoming: A Brief Narrative of an Extraordinary Birth of Rabbits by C. Denby Swanson, Salvage Vanguard Theatre, February 11 -

UPDATE: Review by Avimaan Syam for the Austin Chronicle, March 4

UPDATE: Review by Bastion Carboni at, February 26

UPDATE: Review by Jeanne Claire van Ryzin at Statesman's Austin360 "Seeing Things" blog, February 21

UPDATE: Review by Ryan E. Johnson at, February 18

UPDATE: Review by Tracy Medberry for "A-Team" of Greater Austin Creative Alliance, February 17

UPDATE: Robert Faires interviews playwright C. Denby Swanson, Austin Chronicle, February 11

UPDATE: One-page feature about the show by Justin Boyd, published in American Theatre magazine, February 2010, received from Trouble Puppet Theatre Company

Received directly:


A Brief Narrative of an Extraordinary Birth of Rabbits

by C. Denby Swanson

Directed by Jenny Larson, set designs and puppetry by Connor Hopkins, original music by Graham Reynolds.
February 11 –March 6, Thursdays - Saturdays at 8 p.m.
Salvage Vanguard Theater, 2803 E Manor Rd
$15 admission For reservations and more information, call (512) 474- SVT6 or visit

In England in 1725, a young woman named Mary Toft was several weeks pregnant with her third child, and the family was hungry. She chased rabbits through her fields, hoping catch one and cook it. But the rabbit always got away.

Soon after, she went into labor - and miscarried a rabbit. During the course of the next four months, Toft claimed to give birth 18 times to rabbits, or pieces of rabbits. Two of the three prominent physicians who examined Mary Toft believed that her rabbit pregnancy was scientifically possible.

Read more at . . . .

Seamstress by Kenneth Wayne Bradley featuring Melanie Dean, FronteraFest at Hyde Park Theatre, January 27

Is it ethical for a theatre journalist to accept a cookie from an actress in mid-performance?

How about if everyone in the audience has a chance at the home baked goods, because Melanie Dean has handed front-row spectators two big plastic bowls filled with cookies?

There were lots left when the bowl came along the third row. I dipped in without compunction, happy to trust in Melanie's persona as the garrulous small-town Texas widow who has been making wedding gowns since she was a young teenager.

Ken Bradley with his direct stare and imposing assurance is one of Austin's most distinctive actors. This piece, "Seamstress," shows again that he's a deft hand at writing character sketches. Last year Travis Dean rode Bradley's short script "Windchimes and Varicose Veins" in Capital T's I ♥ Walmart to a B. Iden Payne award as Austin's most outstanding featured actor in a comedy for the 2008-2009 season.

That script was a rant; this one's a ramble. Melanie Dean's in her workshop, addressing a new client, probably an awestruck young woman overwhelmed with our culture's bridal rituals. The seamstress is charming and reassuring, as she's fretting with notions both visible and invisible. As she fusses about the shop she chats to the spectators, stand-ins the apparently silent client. We hear how she wound up in this business because she was an assistant to her grandmother; how she fell in love with her slow-talking, courteous and methodically drinking husband; how her remarkable designs came to the attention of some big city designers, just at the wrong time.

Hers is a steady flow of reminiscence and counsel, a dreamy movement like a tubing trip down the Guadalupe of her memories. She's an artisan with a good heart, sharing good moments and regrets, putting her unseen client at ease. Melanie Dean makes this woman lively, friendly and entirely credible.

Bradley's Seamstress under Ellie McBride's direction is a neatly done cameo, a professional piece of work turned out with an eye to the cut, to the presentation, the detail and the tradition. Just like those imaginary bridal gowns that have sustained our seamstress over the years.

Judging from the length of the applause for Dean and for Bradley's script, I'm expecting to see this piece again tomorrow night at FronteraFest's Best of the Week, and probably again at the Best of Fest in February.

I'll be accepting a cookie then, too.

[illustration tweaked from Felicia Bond's cover for "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie" by Laura Joffe Numeroff, © 1985, a Laura Geringer book published by HarperCollins]

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Upcoming: Taming of the Shrew, Original Practices, Hidden Room, April 30 - May 23

Susie Gidseg of NowPlayingAustin interviews Beth Burns, Ryan Crowder and David Boss about this production, April 30 (15 min.)

Received directly:

the hidden room presents

The Taming of the Shrew - Original Practices

directed by Beth Burns

April 30 – May 23
Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 5 p.m.
- in a hidden room somewhere in downtown Austin -

Shakespeare’s fiery masterpiece is performed by an all-male cast,with live musicians on period instruments, and exquisite costumes built with attention to period detail. The Taming of the Shrew is performed with the quick, muscular textual delivery and exuberant character-driven style of the Elizabethans, by accomplished classical actors.

"Original Practices or 'OP' productions strive to recreate the playing circumstances that existed when a play was first performed. We have found that using original practice solves textual problems and clarifies audience understanding far more than the ever-popular modernization approach. We are grateful for the revolutionary OP work undertaken by Shakespeare's Globe Theatre under artistic director Mark Rylance. Globe Education has been extremely generous in sharing knowledge, successes, and stumbles from those years. We are also relying upon the renowned scholarship of Andrew Gurr and current work by the American Shakespeare Center."

Read more at . . . .

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Upcoming: Saint Matilde's Malady, remounted and free of charge, January 30

UPDATE: Review by Dan Solomon for, February 11

Found on-line, thanks to JMJTX:

Hello sailors.

If you missed St.Matilde’s Malady in either of our Frontera Fest performances, you can see it on Saturday, FOR FREE. Get your Saturday night started with some pirates and whores. You know, like usual.

We’re still waiting to hear who’ll make it to the Best of Fest, but in the meanwhile, you’ve got another chance to enjoy 30 minutes of non-stop sailors, prostitutes, juggling, and textiles…

A swashbuckling new play about rage, love, and other sexually transmitted diseases.

January 30 at 7 p.m.
Running time: approxximately 30 minutes
Winship Theatre Building at UT (directions below)
Admission: FREE.

Where to go:
Winship Drama Building, Room 2.180
Click the link above for driving directions. You should be able to get parking along San Jacinto. We’ll have signs posted in the building to lead you to the show.

xoxox – Connie, Madam of Connie’s Brothel and Rug Shop

- - -

FROM UT Department of Drama and Dance: "3rd year MFA Playwriting Candidate, Kyle John Schmidt, presents his new play “Saint Matilde’s Malady” for the UT community. ”Saint Matilde’s Malady” was recently produced at the FronteraFest to rave reviews. The play also features the talents of Talleri McRae (DTY) and Jenn Hartmann (DTY)."

Dying City by Christopher Shinn, Capital T Theatre at Blue Theatre, January 19 - February 6 (seven performances)

Emptiness echoes from our first moments with
Dying City. Motionless on the sofa, Liz Fisher as Kelly sits listening vacantly to Stephen Colbert's bright, acerbic chatter. She fingers a book; shifts her position; pushes at the stack of papers on the coffee table. An open cardboard box on the floor suggests packing or at least some interrupted task of organization. The buzzer sounds. Someone is downstairs and wants to come up.

Dying City is not about Iraq. It's not about politics, either or about the war. Unless it's the war between men and women, made vivid for us by two gifted actors and three characters as a persistent, largely silent guerrilla war of emotional attrition.

Kelly's a therapist, psychologist and counselor. And, since this time last year, a widow. She's a young woman for whom time has slowed and meaning has ebbed away.

She understands that she needs to heal herself, but she lacks the will and energy to do so.

We learn this gradually, by witnessing her reluctant reception of Mark Scheibmeir as Peter, her brother-in-law. In an acute emotional crisis he has sought her out, unannounced, renewing his previously failed effort to establish some sort of complicity with her.

Read more and view images at . . . .

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Lady M by Melissa Smith-Rodriguez, Salvage Vanguard Theater, January 19, 23, 25, 28

With the imagining of her piece Lady M Melissa Smith-Rodriguez explores the darkness of pre-history, of feudal Scots customs and of the perceived enigma of character of the leading woman in Shakespeare's Macbeth. This play is not an exculpation of Macbeth's unnamed lady but rather athe creation of a fictional history explaining the woman's cold, fierce and ambitious nature.

As a mantra and foreshadowing the playwright evokes the dark night of Act II, Scene 2 with Lady Macbeth's feverish comment,
" Had he not resembled /My father as he slept, I had done’t."

Ours is an age of prequels -- to use that nasty twentieth century neologism made popular by George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola -- and most of them have motivations far more commercial than this piece. Smith-Rodriguez's Lady M is a serious and respectful piece, providing a credible back story.

Recorded Scottish history was no great help, as the playwright notes in the program. Gruoch, who later became queen to Macbeth, had been married to a nobleman who died along with fifty of his followers when a hall caught fire. The cause is unknown. Macbeth married Gruoch subsequently and they ruled in peace for many years.

The playwright focuses on the young Gruoch, mother of an infant daughter, and supposes that Gruoch's father Boite was scheming to clear his own way to assume the crown of Scotland. Their kinsman the young Macbeth thirsts for vengeance for the murder of close family members by unknown hands. The arrogant and duplicitous Boite informs Macbeth that Gruoch's husband was responsible and persuades Macbeth to set the fire that kills the man and his followers.

Read more at . . .

Upcoming: Moonlight and Magnolias, Gaslight Baker Theatre, Lockhart, January 29 - February 13

More about the play, received directly from the Gaslight Baker Theatre in Lockhart:

Hollywood never looked so funny
By Janet Christian

Have you ever seen a grown man lying atop a desk, pretending to be in labor? No? How about three grown men standing in a triangle performing a mesmerizing array of cheek slaps, to see which will look best on camera? Not that either? Well, then, how about a harried but hard-working woman doing her best to handle three hungry, sleep-deprived, slightly crazed men? Yeah, probably!

All these scenes and many more are yours for the viewing when you attend the Gaslight-Baker Theatre's production of Moonlight and Magnolias directed by Todd Martin, one of our best local directors. The plot was conjured by writer Ron Hutchinson from a real Hollywood incident.

In February 1939, Producer David O. Selznick shut down production of Gone with the Wind and fired screenwriter Sidney Howard and director George Cukor. Selznick then pulled Director Victor Fleming off of the Wizard of Oz and summoned famous screenwriter Ben Hecht.

The plot of Moonlight and Magnolias springboards off these actual facts to take a hilarious behind-the-scenes look at how Selznick, Fleming, and Hecht managed in a few days to rewrite the screenplay and establish a whole new direction for the action and plot. Especially if, as the play claims, Hecht had never actually read the famous novel!

Hecht and Fleming are convinced they'll fail, until Selznick states, "Movies are a series of moments frozen in time by the only time machine ever invented." Inspired by Selznick's words, and surviving solely on a diet of bananas and peanuts, the men get to work. Selznick and Fleming re-enact every major "moment" in the book while Hecht turns their comical acting skills into actual screenplay scenes.

David Schneider creates the perfect persona for the harried, financially committed Selznick, who knows that this picture can make or break him. Steve Lawson plays the talented and pompous but secretly vulnerable Fleming for all he's worth. Randy Wachtel brings to vivid life the idealistic Hecht, perfectly depicting the writer's frustration at not only being expected to write a screenplay for a story he's never read, but for even being asked to write about such an unpopular theme as slavery and supremacy in the Old South. And Esther Williams memorably plays the ever-patient and ever-unappreciated Miss Poppenghul, Selznick's personal secretary.

If you love Gone with the Wind this play is a must see. Even if you've never read the book or seen the movie, you'll still enjoy this peek at how the Big and Powerful in Old Hollywood might have made things happen!

Moonlight and Magnolias opens Friday, January 29 and runs through Sunday, February 14, with performances each Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and two matinees at 2 p.m. -- one on Saturday, February 6 and the other on Sunday, February 14. Rated PG for mild language.

The Baker Theatre is located at 216 S. Main, one block south of the Lockhart town square For more information, contact the theatre at 512-376-5653 or visit their web site:

Images: John and Jen, Penfold Theatre at Hideout Theatre, February 4 - 21

Click for ALT review, February 8

UPDATE: Click for Michael Lee's interview with Michael McKelvey on KUT's "Arts Eclectic," with music from the production (2 min.)

Images received directly from

from its fourth production,
at the Hideout Theatre:

john & jen

directed by Michael McKelvey
with music by Andrew Lippa and lyrics by Tom Greenwald
February 4 – 21. Thursdays – Saturdays at 8 p.m, Sundays at 5 p.m.

john & jen takes audiences on a forty year journey from the mid-50s to mid-90s, exploring the relationships between brothers and sisters, and parents and children, during four decades of change. With a cast of only two persons, john & jen is a tour-de-force for two actors who take Jen and John from childhood, through adolescence and beyond.

Featuring Sarah Gay and Andrew Cannata. Artistic team includes David Utley (sets), Glenda Barnes (costumes), Steve Saugey (piano) and Trevor Detling (percussion).

enfold theatre at the Hideout Coffee House & Theatre, 617 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701.

Tickets: $20 General Admission; $15 Students, Seniors and Groups; $10 Student Rush. Buy tickets online or through or call (800) 838-3006.

Auditions: "Broadway Bound" Musical Summer Camp in Wimberley, Lee Colee Studios

Received indirectly and followed up on-line:

Broadway Bound
June 2010 Music Theatre Boot Camp
Could you be the best of the best?
Lee Coleé Boot Camp , Wimberley

The biggest production yet is being planned for this summer’s musical theatre boot camp, produced and directed by Lee Cole Studios at the Wimberley Players’ Playhouse.

This June, kids 8-14 and teens 15 and up will be performing highlights from four Broadway blockbuster classics.

Camp dates are June 7th -27th. After over 80 hours of instruction and rehearsals with theatre professionals, the teens will present highlights from West Side Story and The Phantom of the Opera. This will be the first boot camp that gives the performers a chance to tackle in depth acting skills in a dramatic production instead of light or broad comedy. The music and vocal demands are also quite challenging since the style leans heavily on operatic techniques.

For the younger performers, 8-14, highlights from Annie and Oliver will be presented. Theatre patrons will get to experience the excitement of two to three Broadway shows in a single evening.

For the first time, kids and teens interested in technical theatre can audition and interview for a backstage position as stage manager, lighting or sound tech, costume and props supervisor or backstage crew as well as box office representatives.

Information available on-line. E-mail: Telephone: (512) 847-7934
Click for more information; click to view flyer in .pdf (1.45 MB)

Arts Reporting: Fox-7 Does FronteraFest with Schave & Reilly and Kevin Draine, January 26

Found on-line: Nik Ciccone of Fox-7 interviews Ben Schave & Caitlin Reilly (2 min. 56 sec)
and Kevin Draine the "Bitter Poet" ( 2 min. 35 sec.):

FronteraFest Celebrates Offbeat Theatre

Updated: Tuesday, 26 Jan 2010, 9:13 AM CST
Published : Tuesday, 26 Jan 2010, 9:12 AM CST

A big month-long theatre festival in Austin has more than a hundred shows. FronteraFest is going on now across Austin and it's described as the "newest, rawest, most exciting theatre happening."

Nik Ciccone stopped by Hyde Park Theatre and spoke to some local actors about this festival.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Love Me by Philip Kreyche, Blue Theatre, January 18, 23, 27, 30

The title of Philip Kreyche's Love Me is deceptively simple. As playwright and principal actor he takes on German expressionism, focusing on the Austrian painter Oskar Kokoschka in the period 1918-1919, when the painter was known among his circle of bohemians in Dresden simply as "mad Kokoschka."

Renowned as an artist of dark and powerful brushwork and a writer of equally dark, sex-obsessed essays and narratives, in 1912 Kokoshka became involved with Alma Mahler, whose husband had just died. The painting at the left, Two Nudes (1913), is Oskar's vision of them together. The affair burned out by 1914, partly due to his possessiveness. Kokoschka enlisted in the cavalry, mostly to escape her, and in Galicia suffered a gunshot wound to the head and a bayonet wound to the side. He convalesced and returned to his art, employed as an art instructor. In 1919 he commissioned an anatomically correct life-sized female dummy, a purchase that caused a scandal when he published his correspondence with the manufacturer.

Read more and view images at . . . .

Upcoming: Double The Love, KingsNThings at U.S. Art Authority, February 12 & 13

Received directly:

It's coming up on that time of year again!

Kings N Things will be having our annual Valentines show in February of 2010! This year, it's one heck of a

Double the Love

event with the show running February 12 and 13 (our first two-night show!) at the amazing all-ages venue: United States Art Authority (2906 Fruth Street - next to Spiderhouse).

Dance party to follow.

Rebecca Havemeyer will be gracing us with her hosting talents yet again!

Featuring performers from Austin, Dallas and Houston... bringing awesome drag performances, queerleading, burlesque, dance moves, bellydancing AND MORE!!

$8 presale
$10 week of show and at the door

Friday, February 12 and Saturday, February 13
Doors at 9 p.m., Show at 10 p.m.
Presale tickets released for general admission 15 minutes before the show starts

10% of proceeds to benefit OutYouth

**Online ticket purchases are recommended as this more intimate venue has the potential to sell out**

Online tickets can be purchased at eventbrite.

Upcoming: The Graveside Service by Tim Thomas, FronteraFest at Hyde Park Theatre, February 5

Received directly:


The Graveside Service

by Timothy Thomas

as part of FronteraFest's Short Fringe. This is your first chance to get a glimpse at what will become a new musical from Loaded Gun Theory. This show will sell out!

Friday February 5, 2010, 8 p.m. at the Hyde Park Theatre
Buy Tickets Now!

Loaded Gun Theory will reveal everything about KOOP Radio's Mr. Spradling and Mr. Harris and their roles in the deaths of certain musicians.

Lights! Longing! Music! Carnage!

Directed by Amy Lewis with Craig Kanne as Mr. Harris,Gene Storie as Mr. Spradling, Nikki Zook as Lillian Price, Bobbie Oliver as Mrs. Roger T. Price

Upcoming: Mary Stuart by Schiller, Austin Shakespeare at the Rollins Theatre, Long Center, February 11 - 28

Click for ALT review, February 15

UPDATE: Review by Clare Carnavan at Statesman A360 "Seeing Things" blog, February 11

UPDATE: Unsigned review at AustinOnStage, February 11

Received directly:

is the first company in the Southwest to stage the new adaptation of

Mary Stuart

a dramatic portrait of royal rivalry between
Mary, Queen of Scots and Queen Elizabeth of England

February 11 - 28 at the Rollins Theatre, Long Center
Tickets available now online or by telephone at (512) 474 - LONG

Now in its 25th anniversary season, Austin Shakespeare is proud to be the first theater in the Southwest to be awarded the rights to produce the new suspenseful adaptation of Schiller's Mary Stuart by British poet/playwright Peter Oswald, nominated in 2009 for 7 Tony Awards for the Broadway production.

Austin Shakespeare will transform the Long Center's Rollins Theater into a runway with audience on two sides, designed for a modern-day take on the Elizabethan era as they perform history’s illustrious high-stakes Tudor love triangle opening on Valentine’s Day weekend.

“This new version brings the clash between these charismatic women to life on the stage with language that is true to Schiller's emotional romantic play,” said Ann Ciccolella, artistic director of Austin Shakespeare. “The masterwork drives to reach a confrontation scene that never took place in history.”

The play is based on the story of Mary Stuart, the passionate and beautiful Queen of Scotland, as she struggles to gain freedom from her rival cousin, Elizabeth, the powerful Queen of England. Each woman uses the same man as lover and protector. Peter Oswald's new, energetic adaptation draws striking parallels to contemporary society.

As in the real-life story, Mary Queen of Scots has quite a resume. She murders her husband, marries his murderer, gets thrown out by the Scots as their Queen and conspires to bring about several murders. Schiller brilliantly condensed her story, beginning the action in the days before her execution.

[photo by Kimberley Mead]

Read more at . . . .

Upcoming: Arrythmia by Zell Miller III and Uprise! Productions at the Vortex Repertory, February 4 - 20

UPDATE: Review by Jeanne Claire van Ryzin at Statesman's A360 "Seeing Things" blog, February 12

UPDATE: KUT's Michael Lee does a feature with Zell Miller III, February 8 (2 min.)

Found on-line:

written and directed by Zell Miller III
presented by VORTEX Repertory Company and UpRise! Productions
February 05 – 20, 8 p.m.
Tickets $30-$10 available on-line or at 512-478-LAVA (5282)

VORTEX Repertory Company and UpRise! Productions proudly present the world premiere of the newest hip-hop theater performance piece written and directed by award-winning playwright, Zell Miller III.

arrhythmia examines love, in all of its ugliness and splendor. This urban odyssey utilizes elements of hip-hop, contemporary movement, and lyrical slam-style poetry in this challenging, musical, political, breathtaking experience for all audiences.

Featuring performances from Ebony Stewart, Sean Tate, Aaron Sanders, and introducing Toni Ringgold, as four spirits on a journey: Love, Forgiveness, Remorse, and Elation. Original music by DJ S.T.A.T.I.K. and guitarist Buddy Cannon. Choreography from Ananda Mayi Moss. PR Photo by Bonnie Cullum.

Zell Miller III is an interdisciplinary theater/performance poet. His play premiered at The VORTEX last season and won the B. Iden Payne Award for Best Original Script. His one-man show Radio Silencemy child, my child, my alien child, won the Award for Best Original Script from the Austin Critics’ Table in 2007. Zell is also the creator and co-producer of the Hip-Hop Theater Explosion which features poets, MC’s, DJ’s, dancers, and musicians in a theatrical variety show. He also hosts “Speaking the Spoken: The Art of Verse” a monthly open mic series at The VORTEX. Zell has been a featured poet at SxSW Fest and has opened for legendary artists such as Nikki Giovianni and The Last Poets. As one of the premiere hip-hop theater artists in the country, Zell is proud to bring this art form to his home city, Austin.

arrhythmia is a great way to honor Black History Month (February). Ask about Valentine’s Day Specials with Cake and Wine.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Hotel Morocco by Aaron Black, Echo Productions at the Blue Theatre, January 22, 24, 26, 30

Aaron Black's Hotel Morocco has lots of ambience and some tough, snarling dialogue. Talk about atmosphere -- he has taken the 50s noir setting of a New York fleabag hotel, populated it with dumbasses, women looking for bad sex, gangsters, a demented ancient resident and one would-be writer on his way down. The writer, carrying the Everyman label of Adam, lost his previous job in a better hotel and is in deep, limp depression over his father's death. To cap it all, he has writer's block.

Black ladles it out. These people are are all corporality, crassness, crime and copulation. The actors, several of whom were with Black in City's Hamlet, have a good time with this nasty dialogue and they deliver it well.

Read more and see images at . . . .

Invitation to Audition: Maternal Instincts Project, February 27 - 28 for May performances at Vortex Repertory

Received directly:

Maternal Instincts Project 2010 ,

a unique performance about women, mothers, and motherhood is seeking two performers (women ages 18-65). Auditions will be scheduled between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday, February 27 and Sunday, February 28. Auditions will be informal, with a reading of an existing piece and a prepared piece of your choice (pieces written by you or based on your own experience are highly encouraged).

Performances are scheduled at the Vortex Repertory on May 13 - 15, the Thursday, Friday and Saturday after Mother's Day.

Call (512)259-8071 for details or visit
for more information and to see clips from the pilot last year.

A Man, A Magic, A Music, Movin' Melvin Brown at the Blue Theatre, January 22, 24, 25, 30

Melvin Brown is a big, serene tornado, a walkin', talkin', singin' and tap dancin' history of rhythm and blues, soul and entertainment. He comes from Cincinnati but traveled all over the country and abroad on the entertainment circuits, then settled near Austin after a long and eventful career.

This man has a vital energy and irrepressible joy in life. He's 65 years old but he is strong, fast, funny and attractive. He's got a fine mellow tenor voice like an oboe in full swing, and he does Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson, Chubby Checker and James Brown. With those magic feet and his powerful physique he will dance you Bo Jangles, Texas clogging, Gregory Hines and Michael Jackson's full repertoire.

Then let him do you a Southern revival preacher ("Amen!") before launching into "When The Saints Come Marching In!" He balances that one with a number taken directly from three years on the road as a male stripper, and we can tell you that he's in fine physique still.

We clapped along, we swayed, we shouted and applauded. Movin' Melvin will tell you the story of his life and give you a "highlights" show of mid-century African American music and entertainment that will leave you wanting more. So buy a CD at the stand, because the funds go for the "Change The World" project in Elgin where he plans to build a home for homeless children and the elderly.