Monday, October 31, 2011

Upcoming: The 1940s Radio Hour, Southwestern University, November 16 - 20

Southwestern University

presents1940s Radio Hour Southwestern University TX

The 1940s Radio Hour

By Walton Jones
Directed by Rick Roemer

Nov 16 - 20, 2011
7pm | Wednesday & Thursday
8pm | Friday & Saturday
3pm | Saturday & Sunday

Jesse H. and Mary Gibbs Jones Theater, Sarofim School of Fine Arts, Southwestern University, Georgetown (click for map)

Purchase Tickets

[image: Kristi Brawner, Nick Kellogg (photo by Rebecca Bennett for Southwestern University Theatre Department)]

1940s Radio Hour Southwestern UniversityIt’s Christmas time in 1942. On a cold and snowy evening, a close-knit group of entertainers at a small New York City radio station-all heading somewhere else-are broadcasting the final holiday variety show for the troops overseas. Patriotic, sentimental, and overwhelmingly nostalgic, this holiday musical production is reminiscent of an era long since passed, but never completely forgotten.

Many local artists will be performing in this production.

Joey Banks is a Southwestern University 2007 alum. He has acted in Footloose, Zilker Summer Musical Theatre, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Austin Shakespeare, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Zach Theater, Hair! San Jose Repertory Theatre, Girlfriend, TheatreWorks, and The Madwoman of Chaillot, California Theatre Center.

Trumpet player Walter “Bud” Emmert resides in Sun City. In 1951-52 he was in charge of the Bergstrom Air Force Stage band. He has played in the Austin Symphony in 1951-52, the Lawrence Welk Show in 1948, and with Kay Kyser on a USO tour in 1945.

Clarinet player Pete Geiger resides in Sun City. He performed in many ensembles including, the United States Navy Band and Orchestra in Washington, D.C. from 1947-65, New York Queens Symphony, Paul LaValles Orchestra at Radio City Music Hall, and Sun City Texas Jazz Band. He has also performed on Broadway in Man of La Mancha and Fiddler on the Roof.

For information on our 2011-12 Season visit us at

For tickets call the Box Office at 512.863.1378 or purchase online at

Southwestern University is a selective, nationally recognized undergraduate liberal arts college with an enrollment of 1,300 students. It is the oldest institution of higher learning in Texas. For more information on Southwestern, visit

Upcoming: An Ordinary String by Hannah Bisewski, Broccoli Project, University of Texas, November 11 - 20

Received directly:

The Broccoli Project

at the University of Texas

presentsAn Ordinary String Hannah Bisewski Broccoli Project University of Texas

An Ordinary String

by Hannah Bisewski

Co-directed by Hannah Bisewski and Melanie Scruggs

November 11 - 13 and 18 - 20, 7:30 p.m.

Black Box Theatre, Student Activities Center, Room 2.304, 2201 Speedway (click for map)

The Plan II-affiliated Broccoli Project's production this fall An Ordinary String is an original production written by Plan II senior Hannah Bisewski. Co-directed by Melanie Scruggs and Hannah Bisewski, An Ordinary String is a mind-bending play within-a-play-within-a-play, in which stories encompass wandering theatre troupes, a steampunk turn-of-the-century magician, and an Old World cabaret. Prepare yourself for a space-altering radical take on the theatre experience. Performances will be held in the SAC black box theatre, November 11-13 and 18-20 at 7:30. Tickets are $5 for students, $10 for non-students, and can be purchased at the door prior to performance.

Audience members enter this theatrical realm faced with a choice: the seat chosen around this four-sided set constructed of four equilateral stages determines one of four possible realities to be experienced. Three sides of the story remain a mystery, that is unless you choose to see the play more than once.

Upcoming: Fifty Words by Michael Weller, Attic Rep at Trinity University, San Antonio, December 1 - 18

Found on-line:

Attic Rep San Antonio

presentsFifty Words Michael Weller

Fifty Words

by Michael Weller

directed by Andrew Thornton

December 1 - 18, Thursdays - Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2:30 p.m.

Ruth Taylor Theatre Bldg, 1 Trinity Place, Trinity University, San Antonio (click for map)

Tickets on-line via Brown Paper Tickets, $10 - $25 plus service fee

While their nine-year-old is away for the night on his first sleepover, Adam and Jan have an evening alone together, their first in nine years. Adam's attempt to seduce his wife before he leaves on business the next day begins a suspenseful nightlong roller-coaster ride of revelation, rancor, passion and humor that explores a modern-day marriage on the verge of either a breakup or deepening love and understanding. The NY Times describes Michael Weller as "a bold and productive dramatist". Directed by Andrew Thornton and starring Rene Garvens with Tim Waggoner.

Upcoming: Cuento Navideño ¡Bah humbug in the Barrio! by Rupert Reyes, Teatro Vivo, Rollins Theatre, Long Center, December 8 - 18

Found on-line:

You won’t want to miss this holiday gift from

Teatro Vivo Austin TX

Cuento Navideño Teatro Vivo Austin TX

Cuento Navideño

¡Bah Humbug in the Barrio!

written and directed by Rupert Reyes

December 8 - 18
Thurs - Sat 8 p.m. - Sunday 2 p.m.
Rollins Theater, The Long Center for the Performing Arts, South First and Riverside (click for map)

Teatro Vivo gives the gift of laughter this holiday season with the bilingual comedy Cuento Navideño, Bah Humbug in the Barrio. Written and directed by Rupert Reyes and inspired by Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, Cuento Navideño ( A Christmas Story) takes place on Christmas Eve in a modern, urban Latino community. Evangelina Cruz is the Latina Ebenezer Scrooge! She is a selfish businesswoman who has lost touch with her culture, her family and connection to her community. An unexpected visit from the ghost of her former business partner, the once equally-greedy Teodora, sets Evangelina on a journey to look closely at her choices. This festive bilingual comedy infuses Latino culture, Spanish language, and Latino holiday traditions in a show to be enjoyed by the whole Austin familia.

Each performance will have surprise stars representing local community leaders, elected officials, celebrities and guest artists who will have a small (but fun) part in the play.

[Apple users: can't see the video of Rupert Reyes? Click to go to YouTube]

Upcoming: Spring Awakening, School Edition, Austin High School, December 9-11, 30-31

Received directly:

Red Dragon Players Austin High School

present as their 400th theatrical production

the school edition ofSpring Awakening for schools

Spring Awakening

lBook & Lyrics by Steven Sater

Music by Duncan Sheik

Based on the play by Frank Wedekind

December 9, 10, 11, 30, 31, at 7 p.m. and December 10, 2 p.m.

Larry Preas Theatre, Austin High School, 1715 W. Cesar Chavez Avenue (click for map)

$10 for students, $15 for adults (cash or check made out to 'Austin High School') Reserve tickets by calling the theatre office: (512) 414-7311

Spring Awakening, a School Edition contains mature themes and strong language.

Read more at . . . .

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Auditions in San Antonio: Miss Evers' Boys, Renaissance Guild, November 10

Found on-line:

Renaissance Guild San Antonio

Auditions for Miss Evers' Boys

by David Feldshuh

directed by Antoinette Winstead

Thursday, November 10, 6.30p.m., Carver Community Cultural Center,

226 N. Hackberry St., San Antonio 78202 (click for map)

Production Dates: February 10-26, 2012

Miss Evers' Boys Renaissance Guild San AntonioIn an effort to get medical help for Alabama tenant farmers, their nurse, Miss Evers, convinces them to join a government study to treat venereal disease. When the money runs out, Nurse Evers is faced with a difficult decision: to tell the men that they are no longer being treated and that they are now part of a research study to see what untreated syphilis will do to them, or follow the lead of the doctor she respects and the tenets of the nursing profession.

Nurse Evers follows the advice of her advisors, and with the understanding that the study can help thousands more, she does not tell the men they are no longer receiving medication. She does this with the assurance that as soon as medication becomes available, her men will be the first to receive it. But after fourteen years of caring for her patients as if they were family, when medication is finally available, it is denied to her study group. Nurse Evers, devastated at the news and starting to watch her men die, can no longer keep silent.

Shunned for her silence of fourteen years, Nurse Evers holds her head up and explains the reasons and emotions that kept her in the study and kept her caring for her men. Some of them forgive her, others do not, as Nurse Evers tries to put back a world broken by prejudice, disease, time and trust.

Needed are the following:

Eunice Evers, 28, (black female) a public-health nurse

Dr. Eugene Brodus, 40, (black male) Hospital Admin Head

Dr. John Douglas, 34, (white male) public health physician

Willie Johnson, 19, (black male) tenant farmer

Caleb Humphries, 25, (black male) tenant farmer

Hodman Bryan, 37, (black male) tenant farmer

Ben Washington, 57, (black male) tenant farmer

(Actors must be able to play ages listed, not necessarily be that age)

There will be cold readings. No other preparation needed.

To signup email ~ Paul Riddle, Jr. For full synopsis or more info click here or call (210) 656-0349

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Images by Kimberley Mead: Big Love by Charles Mee, Shrew Productions at the Rollins Theatre, November 10 - 27

Images by Kimberley Mead, received directly:Big Love, Charles Mee, Shrewd Productions, Austin TX

Shrewd Productions


Big Love

a comedy by Charles Mee

directed by Robert Faires

November 10 - 27, 2011
Thursdays - Sundays at 8 p.m.
Rollins Studio Theatre at the Long Center for the Performing Arts

50 runaway brides seek refuge in a villa on the Italian coast in this hilarious and heartbreaking comedy by Charles Mee. When 50 determined grooms drop out of the sky, the villa erupts in a clash of wills, song and dance, romantic reverie, violent fits, satin ribbon, and one final, unforgettable showdown.

Big Love, Charles Mee, Shrewd Productions

Click to view additional images by Kimberley Mead at . . .

Upcoming: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Dripping Springs High School Theatre, November 3 - 5

Found on-line:

Dripping Springs High School Theatre Department

presentsMidsummer Night's Dream Dripping Springs High School

A Midsummer Night's Dream

by William Shakespeare

November 3 - 5 at 7:30 p.m., matinee at 2 p.m., Saturday, November 5

Dripping Springs High School, 940 Highway 290 West (click for map)

TICKETS $6 students / $10 adults, at the door or on-line via Front Gate Tickets

Who wrote Shakespeare's plays? We don't care! -- we just want to perform them for you. Take the trip out to the fancy-pants Dripping Springs High School Auditorium Theater and see our version of A Midsummer Night's Dream, complete with all the fairies, donkey heads, and mixed-up lovers you could possibly want. Directed by Rachael Koske with technical direction by Becky White.

Don't think you like Shakespeare? DSHS Theatre is up to the challenge of changing your mind. Already a fan? Then you will love this faithful retelling of the Bard's classic. Three exciting plotlines intersect in A Midsummer Night's Dream, one of Shakespeare's most popular comedies. Dripping Springs High School Theatre presents it as the first show of the exciting 2011-2012 season, in the new DSISD Auditorium Theatre! Many enjoyed last year's splashy production of the musical, "Footloose", and we now invite you to experience the first full-length non-musical production in this beautiful space!

Set in a 1920's era Athens, the audience follows the cast of "Midsummer" through a mythical enchanted forest as the inhabitants of the fairy world create havoc on their plans and their love lives! As Shakespeare writes in the play, "The course of true love never did run smooth."

DSHS' Rachael Koske directs 29 student performers in this production, with a crew of 16 led by technical director Becky White. Scenic and lighting designs by White set off period costumes designed by Koske and Ellie Blackwood. The music of Duke Ellington's Three Suites helps set the mood of this off-kilter, surprising, and oft-hilarious play. Come dream away an evening with us!

Performances are in the DSISD Auditorium Theatre at 7:30 pm on November 3, 4, and 5, with an additional matinee performance on November 5 at 2:00 pm. Tickets are $6.00 for students and $10.00 for adults, and are available at the door. The Box Office opens one hour before each performance.

Austin Shakespeare: Ann Ciccolella's Advice on Auditioning

Here's what Artistic DirectorAnn Ciccolella tells her students and will be watching for today at auditions for Tom Stoppard's Arcadia:

Austin Shakespeare, Austin Texas

Advice to the players

Tips on auditioning

From Ann Ciccolella, Artistic Director, Austin Shakespeare

Ann Ciccolella (image: Michael Thad Carter, LStyleGStyle magazine)To be successful auditioning means to be present, relaxed and connected during your audition. I want to a sense of who YOU are… at first very simply: your voice and body, spirit and personality. I am very interested in the uniqueness you bring to character. So, don’t try to guess “what the director wants.” In fact, sometimes I see something in someone that I hadn’t anticipated and changed my vision of a character.


What is important is:

Just clearly communicate what’s going on in your speech/scene, ie. the important focus is on what you WANT… right?

If you working in a scene, LISTEN to your scene partner. Yes, Acting is re-acting.

If you are doing a speech, SHARE what you are saying with us. What is the result you want in the situation from saying these words? And you want to get that goal NOW -- as the immediate result of your speech. In the end of the speech, did you get what you want or not? How might that affect the end?

Plunge into the moment. Take Risks, surprise us. Surprise yourself…. And enjoy this experience all your can.

NERVES. It is natural to feel stress at auditioning. Put yourself in a place to succeed before you come into the room. Tell yourself that breathing will help you perform better. Focus on the audition as playful; engage your imagination. We are ready to enjoy your piece. And we are glad you are auditioning!

Let all your tension be released as energy to get what you want in the moment you experience each word.

Coach yourself with kindness to do that.

- - -

Click to go to

Friday, October 28, 2011

Upcoming: Birth by Karen Brody, Blue Theatre, October 27-30

Received directly:

Central Texas Doula Association logo

presents Austin performances ofBirth by Karen Brody BOLD Austin, Texas


by Karen Brody

October 27 - 29

Blue Theatre, 916 Springdale (click for map)

CTDA is bringing BOLD to Austin! BOLD is a global movement that uses arts to raise awareness and funds for making maternity care mother-friendly. Their mission is to “inspire communities around the world to organize productions of Karen Brody’s critically acclaimed play about childbirth, Birth, and BOLD Red Tent birth storytelling circles to raise money and awareness to make maternity care the best it can be for all mothers.” BOLD in Austin will be performing Karen Brody’s play Birth to inspire our community to rally around, and financially support making maternity care the best it can be for all Central Texas mothers.

Oct. 27 at 7:00 p.m.
Exclusive Sponsor and Media Preview
“Thank You” Cocktail Reception

Oct. 28 at 7:00 p.m.
Silent Auction during intermission
After-show Talk Back Panel with local Birth Professionals

Oct. 29 at 1:00 p.m.
After-show Talk Back Panel with local Birth Professionals

Austin Birth Awards Ceremony at 5pm

Oct. 29 at 7:00 p.m.
Silent Auction during intermission
After-show Talk Back Panel with local Birth Professionals

* Our silent auctions will feature items from many local businesses!

Purchase Tickets HERE!

Theatre Coverage: How the Denver Post Does It

Profiled by David Cote as one of the country's twelve most influential theatre critics, theatre reporter John Moore of the Denver Post describes in his blog Running Lines the paper's multifaceted coverage of theatre in the state:

Running Lines John Moore Denver Post

John Moore, Denver Post Theatre Reporter (via

I’m just a little surprised (but not at all ungrateful) that the reason I was told I pretty much made the list isn’t reflected in the article [. . . .] I’m no dummy. I didn’t make it because I produce reviews you might mistake for the New Yorker’s. What I will own is a work ethic that has allowed our Denver Post team to cover an average of 160 to 180 plays a year for the past decade.

But the real reason I was included, I was told, is the multimedia innovations we have implemented on The Denver Post’s online theater page that have advanced the ways in which major metropolitan newspapers can cover theater in the age of social media. Some people have this misguided impression that the “legacy” (old school) media is dying, and I say it’s only dying if you stubbornly go down with the Santa Maria, instead of taking the wheel of a modern ocean liner.

At The Denver Post, we cover theater in print as much as any paper of our size could be possibly expected to in this era of shrinking news holes – we average three reviews, one advance, one issue story and one news roundup every week. But it’s been five years since we fully embraced the amazing possibilities that social media provide for us to expand our reach. In doing so, we’ve been able to both reach new audiences, and exponentially expand the ways in which we can get word out about what’s going on in local theater. Much more so than we were ever able to do with print alone.

Off the top of my head, I am thinking about our:

*Running Lines video podcasts (more than 200 episodes now, including audio segments)

*Standing O – our full-service web site dedicated exclusively to high-school theater in Colorado.

*Our “Running Lines” theater blog – home to breaking news, cast lists, spotlight on college theater and whatever else comes up during the day. This summer, when a visiting New York actor went missing on the streets of Denver, “Running Lines” had record traffic by giving the concerned a place to virtually gather, and helped (I think) coordinate efforts to bring the mystery to a quick and positive close.

*New Play Sampling Series – These are 5-to-10-page excerpts from new plays being performed in the area. This helps both theaters reach readers who have no prior knowledge of an unfamiliar title.

*Interactive presence on Facebook and Twitter.

*Denver Post Theatre ListingsOur commitment to maintaining comprehensive online listings of every scheduled production, by opening date, by company, or by all current offerings.

*Our 24-7 online photo gallery that includes one production shot from every currently running production, which we embed in several places including our home page, so that readers can get a visual sense of their theatergoing options all in one place.

I think, too, that the comments that are already showing up at the bottom of David’s American Theatre story are worth an ongoing conversation. The list centers on legacy media, but there’s no doubt of the impact that new critics whose distribution is solely through the internet are having.

Click to read John Moore's full blog posting at the Denver Post

View 25-minute interview of John Moore by Eden Lang on her web program 'In Focus' of June 25, 2011 (especially recommended for his discussion of the role of the reviewer) (27 min. on YouTube -- the version without the initial advertising)

Upcoming: René Auberjonis Reads Smut for the Harry Ransom Center, November 3

Received directly:

Harry Ransom Center University of Texas


A 'Smut' Sampler

A Light-Hearted Reading of Selections from Some Notorious Banned Books

René Auberjonois in The Imaginary Invalid (Washington Shakespeare, 2008 - photo by Carol Rosegg)by René Auberjonois and Kristen Vangsness

hosted by Isaiah Sheffer in connection with the exhibition 'Burned, Banned, Seized and Censored'

Thursday, November 3, 7 p.m. -- free admission

Jessen Auditorium, Homer Raney Hall, 21st St. (click for map)

VIEW A LIVE WEBCAST of this event starting at approximately 7 p.m. CST on Thursday, November 3.

The Ransom Center presents an evening with Isaiah Sheffer as he hosts readings from works featured in the exhibition Banned, Burned, Seized, and Censored in Jessen Auditorium at The University of Texas at Austin.

Banned Books Harry Ransom CenterxA 'Smut' Sampler: A Light-Hearted Reading of Selections from Some Notorious Banned Books features actors René Auberjonois and Kristen Vangsness. They will read from works including Lady Chatterley's Lover, Ulysses, Jurgen, and Tropic of Cancer.

Heard on public radio stations across America, Sheffer is co-founder and artistic director of Symphony Space and director and host of Selected Shorts. Tony Award–winning actor Auberjonois has acted in a variety of theater productions, films, and television programs, including Benson, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, The Practice, Judging Amy, and Frasier. Vangsness currently stars in Criminal Minds and Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior.

The event is free and open to the public. Seating is limited. Line forms upon arrival of the first patron, and doors open 30 minutes in advance. This program will be webcast live.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Three Viewings by Jeffrey Hatcher, Trinity Street Players, October 22 - November 6

by Michael Meigs

David Harper, Mary Jane Smith, Linda Miller Raff (photo: Rod Machen)

Those who attend Trinity Street Players' Three Viewings by Jeffrey Hatcher will be spending some time in the dark with these faces. Each will feature in a solo act, navigating the fragile thread of human emotion like a tightrope walker. Or, to use the German expression for it, like a 'rope dancer,' because these narratives are not as predicable as a taut line. These characters inhabit the same world and speak to us from the same space -- a barren smoking lounge in a funeral home in the northeastern United States -- but they don't appear together until the curtain call

That black box theatre up on the fourth floor of the First Baptist Church puts them within arm's reach of the audience. Director Bob Beare builds that up-close-and-personal feeling by having two of his talented actors enter through the audience ("excuse me; excuse me; coming through, here") and the other one emerge from the audience.

Jeffrey Hatcher has written three monologues as intimately eerie as pieces by Edgar Alan Poe and as surprising as short stories by O. Henry. The narratives are not in the least morbid, despite the setting and even though they speak frankly of funerals and of the recently deceased. These are the living, bereaved but not bereft.

Trinity Street Players stages three plays a year and they often fill up this space with characters and actors. That's what happened in their productions of Steel Magnolias, You Can't Take It with You and Arthur Miller's Incident at Vichy. Shadowlands was really a two-character play but those characters were well surrounded.

The three solo one-acts of this piece by Hatcher require different strengths. Each actor must establish rapport, create the character and tell the story as if delivering it to the ear of an old and trusted friend. Their success here reinforces the impression that Trinity Street Players are by far the most accomplished community ensemble in the greater Austin area.

Read more at . . . .

Arts Reporting from the Blackfriars Shakespeare Conference: Beth Burns and cast on the original Practices Taming of the Shrew

Notes from Cass Morris at the Blackfriars Shakespeare Conference in Staunton, Virgina, October 27:

American Shakespeare Center

Beth Burns, Hidden Room Theatre:

"Original Practices at Hidden Room"

Beth Burns (Hidden Room Theatre)Beth Burns introduces her support team from Hidden Room, noting that she met her dramaturg for The Taming of the Shrew at a previous conference. She positions herself clearly on the side of practitioners as opposed to strict academics, but states that she tries to make her practice as well-grounded in scholarship as she can. She thanks the scholarly crowd for "letting me steal your work, as I do do and will do today."

Burns discusses her experiences with Original Practices and notes that, while different companies and scholars have different views on what that means, they all come down to: "let's not fight the text; let's go with it." She's curious about the idea of "male playing female, and what that does to the text," particularly what it does to jokes -- which she doesn't like to cut just because the reference isn't relevant. She wondered if the idea of men playing women would balance out the gender issues in Shrew. "What I found instead was, actually, a love story. A really sexy love story." It also produced a theme of identity.

She noted two challenges: 1) to get the audience to believe the man playing a woman as a female character, and 2) to make the audience perceive the relationship displayed as a heterosexual one, not a homosexual one. Her actors from Hidden Room then present the introduction between Kate and Petruchio (2.1), in (as in her production), late-sixteenth-century costumes and (lead-free) makeup. The scene is fast-paced and full of action, with a Kate visibly enjoying the challenge of sparring with Petruchio, and a Petruchio utterly unwilling to part company with her. Kate also seems moved (though somewhat uncomfortable) by a Petruchio speaking to her sexually -- as, this staging seems to suggest, no other man has ever done.

Burns notes that the scene is "a veritable cornucopia" of the techniques they use. She notes that, to make the steaminess palpable, they don't just go for the obvious sexual jokes, but also those words that "sound sexual" by virtue of their sonic qualities or the face-shapes the sounds cause. They also explored "non-standard touch", to break the expectation of the usual courtship interactions. She moves to the next scene, which she hopes will cause us to look at gender role and power.

Judd Farris, Ryan Crowder (Hidden Room Theatre)In the "sun and moon" scene, 4.5, Kate's concession to Petruchio's declarations comes with more than a light touch of sarcasm -- but she laughs when Petruchio address Vincentio (an impromptu substitution of Matt Davies) as a fair mistress. When Kate gets the joke and flirts with Vincentio, Petruchio intervenes a bit hastily, to cut off a kiss -- which represents, as Burns points out, that she's now playing on an even field with him. They move to the final scene: 5.1, on the street -- the "kiss me, Kate" moment. Their frenetic energy slows to tender regard, but loses none of its passion.

Burns brings her actors out and first asks Ryan (Kate) about building the character. He talks about placing her "center" low, to ground her and also give her grace. Burns and Judd (Petruchio) talk about building the "uber-macho" Petruchio, who Judd describes as "the archetypal alpha male" who goes beyond the typical plateau of gentlemanly behavior.

Matt Davies opens up to questions from the audience for either presenter.

Click for notes on Q&A session at . . .

Arts Reporting: UT Gives Steven Dietz Creative Research Award

From the University of Texas:

UT Gives Steven Dietz Creative Research Award

( October 26, 2011Steven Dietz (photo by Lauren Tarbel)

Department of Theatre and Dance Distinguished Professor of Playwriting Steven Dietz received the Creative Research Award last week at the Robert W. Hamilton Book Awards, an annual event honoring the scholarship of faculty members. [ . . .]

“The award is an acknowledgement of the extraordinary professional accomplishments of Steven Dietz,” said Brant Pope, chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance. “Our students, faculty and audience at The University of Texas at Austin are the great beneficiaries of the amazing talents of this playwright, director and teacher.”

“Steven Dietz has tremendous scope as a playwright, achieving the same humane economy of language and action whether writing serious drama, children’s theater, historical adaptations, comedy, or criticism of contemporary theater and theater education,” added College of Fine Arts Dean Douglas Dempster. “He is one of the leading playwrights of our day and exactly what we strive for in a first-class research university that values the arts.”

The Creative Research Award caps off a banner year for Dietz. He is the third recipient of the nationally-coveted Ingram New Works Fellowship from the Tennessee Repertory Theatre and recently premiered a new play in Minneapolis, A Year Without Summer, commissioned by the famed Tyrone Guthrie Theater.

Read full text at site for UT Theatre and Dance . . . .

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Titus Andronicus, Last Act Theatre Company at CTC Garden, October 20 - 31

Karen Alvarado Kevin Gates Titus Andronicus Last Act Theatre Company

Austin likes its hellish Halloweens and on that score Titus Andronicus deserves standing-room-only audiences and ticket queues around the block, down there on César Chávez Avenue just a few blocks east of Interstate 35.

Forget all that stuff about Shakespeare they taught you in high school and college. This one he wrote really early in his career, in 1591 or so when he had only a couple of comedies and the three-part history Henry VI under his belt. The wannabe playwright gleefully embraced the new and popular genre of the blood-and-gore revenge tragedy pioneered by Thomas Kyd with The Spanish Tragedy, or Hieronimo is Mad Again (ca. 1585, published in 1592).

Looking for shivers? Try these: agéd Roman general Titus Andronicus returns to Rome after forty years of battles in which twenty-one of his twenty-five sons have been killed. He parades in captured Goth queen Tamora and her three sons; despite her pleading he orders his troops to take reprisal by killing the eldest and burning his corpse. Titus refuses the people's choice of him as their emperor and moves them to acclaim Saturninus, son of the former emperor.

Now emperor, Saturninus selects Titus' daughter Lavinia as his wife, thereby depriving his brother Bassanius of a sweetheart; Titus' sons refuse and spirit away their sister. Furious at this disobedience, Titus kills his own son Martius. Only after Titus' brother Marcus intervenes does the old warrior permit them to place the corpse of Martius in the family mausoleum. Annoyed at Bassanius' "rape" -- kidnapping -- of Lavinia, the emperor decides to take Goth queen Tamora to wife, giving her and her two remaining sons Roman citizenship. Tamora counsels new hubby Emperor Saturninus to stay calm, promising him "I'll find a day to massacre them all,/and raze their faction and their family. . . "

And that's just the first act.

Read more at . . . .

Upcoming: Ancient Greeks - Modern Lives, staged reading by Aquila Theatre at the University of Texas, November 10

Received directly

Less than a week before a performance at the White House

Aquila Theatre

presentsAncient Greeks Modern Lives Aquila Theatre

Ancient Greeks - Modern Lives

a staged reading in cooperation with the UT Classics Department

Thursday, November 10, 7 p.m.

Avaya Auditorium. ACE building, University of Texas, 24th Street and Speedway (click for map)

The University of Texas Classics Department will host a staged reading of scenes from Ancient Greek texts at the Avaya Auditorium, ACE 2.302, 7 p.m., on Thursday, November 10, 2011. Professors Thomas Palaima and Peter Meineck (Artistic Director of Aquila Theatre Company in NYC) will host the talk-back after the staged-reading. Ancient Greeks - Modern Lives receives funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The event will feature professional actors and will last approximately ninety minutes and will include an introduction, performed readings, a post-show discussion and a town hall style meeting, including audience comments. The New York Times describes Aquila as “a classically trained, modernly hip troupe.” profiles this program in its announcement that performers and U.S. veterans will participate in reading at the White House on November 16 (click to read the article)

National Endowment for the HumanitiesAquila Theatre has been awarded a highly prestigious NEH Chairman’s Special Award of $800,000.00 for a major national humanities program traveling to 100 public libraries and art centers across America.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Funding Appeal: Burn This by Lanford Wilson, 7 Towers Theatre Company, Austin, December 2 - 18

Received directly:

Seven Towers Production Company, Austin TX

7 Towers Theatre Company

appeals for for $2000 in funding via



Burn This

by Lanford Wilson

December 2 - 18

City View Terrace, Ballet Austin, 501 W. 3rd Street (click for map)

As of October 25, $1250 has been pledged; 25 days remain

The Project

Our first full season kicks off with a production of Lanford Wilson’s Burn This, December 2-18. The play is an often funny, often heartbreaking look into the human soul after a tragic loss. It deals with the aftermath of a dancer’s death for his roommate, a struggling New York choreographer, and his brother, a hard-edged restaurant manager from New Jersey. Burn This is a play that speaks to the realities of living in a less than ideal world, and finding moments of beauty within it. It’s about the artist’s place within the community. To that end, we’re producing Burn This in the City View Terrace at Ballet Austin. This non-traditional space allows us connection to the larger Austin arts community as well as to the downtown business community that surrounds both our production space and the lives of the characters in the play.

What We Need & What You Get

We need your help to get this first production off the ground! Besides production rights ($600+) and production space ($1000+), we need to provide costumes, set pieces to turn Ballet Austin's space into a New York loft, advertising/marketing costs and stipends for our professionally trained artistic and production teams. (Sadly, we'll never be able to afford to pay these fantastically talented people what they're worth, but you can help us to at least show some appreciation for the time, effort, and passion they've given us!) For your help, we'd love to give you some perks (see the sidebar), and an engaging, thought-provoking night of theatre!

Click 'Read more' for further information or go to the Indiegogo page . . . .

Austin's B. Iden Payne Award Winners for Performance and Stagecraft, 2010-2011

Published by the B. Iden Payne Committee, October 25:


Outstanding Production

  • Frankenstein: The Trouble Puppet Show (Trouble Puppet Theater Company)

Outstanding Direction

  • Connor Hopkins (Frankenstein: The Trouble Puppet Show)

Outstanding Lead Actor

  • Justin Scalise (Hamlet) Hamlet [Scottish Rite Theatre and Black Swan Events]

Outstanding Lead Actress

  • Babs George (Martha) Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Outstanding Featured Actor

  • Travis Dean (Baylor) A Lie of the Mind

Outstanding Featured Actress

  • Rebecca Robinson (Beth) A Lie of the Mind

Click to view full list at or go to the website for the B. Iden Payne Committee

Arts Reporting: TCG's David Cote Profiles 12 Theatre Critics -- including Robert Faires

Found on-line, thanks to @travisbedard:

Theatre Communications Group 50

Critical Juncture

As theatres and audiences face a brave new digital world, 12 of the nation's most influential theatre critics talk about their towns and their changing roles

By David Cote, Time Out New York

Whenever I told friends that I was writing about 12 of the most influential theatre critics in America, I made sure to pause for the laugh. Are there a dozen out there? In this atomized age of Twitter and Facebook, with media outlets shedding arts staffers and shredding budgets, what constitutes influence? How was this list compiled?

Not scientifically, to be sure. But these 12 journalists made the cut for specific reasons: years on the beat, quality of writing, reach of their voice through syndication, and, lastly, understanding of the field. Another criterion is quite blunt: Many of them are "last man or woman standing" in their communities; after they retire or take a buyout, it's unclear if some blogger or junior critic will step up to fill the void. As such, they form a vital phalanx of critical opinion that chronicles and weighs work that national media outlets are content to ignore. These dozen writers may not be flashy prose stylists or even revolutionary thinkers about their art form. But they have dedicated years to the field—and certainly not to get rich.

[Profiled: Don AuCoin, Boston Globe; Misha Berson, Seattle Times; Christine Dolen, Miami Herald; Robert Faires, Austin Chronicle; Robert Hurwitt, San Francisco Chronicle; Charles Isherwood, New York Times; Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune; Peter Marks, Washington Post; Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times; John Moore, Denver Post; Graydon Royce, Minneapolis Star-Tribune; Toby Zinman, Philadelphia Inquirer]

Austin: Robert Faires
Position: Arts Editor, The Austin Chronicle
Age: 53 Years on the beat: 18

Texas is too rangy for a single critic to dominate, and Robert Faires doesn't pretend to have a say about what plays in Houston or Dallas. As arts editor of the Austin Chronicle, he's responsible for overseeing not just theatre (which he's been reviewing since 1984) but also dance, visual arts, comedy and classical music—and that keeps him busy. He partly attributes the vibrancy of the Austin theatre scene to the constant influx of young talent from the University of Texas at Austin, but also to the creative tension that his city generates, being an oasis of liberal energy in a mostly conservative state.

Among his favorite companies, there's the ZACH Theatre, which produces local versions of contemporary musicals such as Spring Awakening and Next to Normal. And of course you can't discuss Austin theatre without including the Rude Mechs or Salvage Vanguard Theater. "In many ways, I think that Rude Mechs and Salvage convinced people in Austin that theatre could be made a different way here," Faires notes. "They showed that you could not only make compelling theatre but also survive for 15 years. And they're showing no sign of stopping; they're doing crazier, more original stuff every year." Faires, who grew up near Houston but has lived in Austin since 1976, is toying with writing a history of Austin theatre, which today boasts dozens of small, lively troupes that he likens to garage bands.

Quote: "Austin has been a refuge for young people all across the state for decades. Recently, I had the chance to interview Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt for the golden anniversary of The Fantasticks, and they were saying the same was true in the 1940s. They grew up in these small outposts around the state where no one was interested in theatre or the arts; they'd come to University of Texas, and suddenly they'd find all these people who shared their creative drive."

Click to read full text at the Theatre Communications Group website. . . .

Arts Reporting: UT's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde at

Found on-line:

Monstrous craving

M.F.A. student’s creative impulse makes coming unhinged come together on stage in a contemporary adaptation of a Victorian classic Oct. 24, 2011Liz Kimball William Brittain Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde University of Texas

Director and College of Fine Arts student Daria Davis points to an unlikely character for providing the most important lines of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” Jeffrey Hatcher’s modern adaptation of the iconic tale. In the closing scene of Act One, an otherwise unmentioned parlor maid gives a statement to the police after witnessing Edward Hyde commit a heinous act of violence.

“I’m sorry. The better in me would have called out sooner,” the maid stammers, “but the bad in me … wanted to watch.”

That friction that exists between contradictory impulses – not just the dilemma of doing what’s right or wrong but between public posturing and private desires – serves as the focal point for “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” which opens at the B. Iden Payne Theatre on Friday, Oct. 28 at 8 p.m.

Kyle Schnack Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde University of Texas “The interesting, complex question that we try to address is what happens when you try and separate those two things into wholly good or evil,” poses Davis, a master’s of fine arts candidate in the Department of Theatre and Dance. “Where do they blend together? It’s about that push and pull of competing needs – that gray area.”

In popular culture, there seems to be a growing fascination with this dilemma, as anti-hero characters – Walter White on TV’s “Breaking Bad,” “The Wire”’s Omar Little, Dexter Morgan on “Dexter” – survive by their own moral codes and occasionally make terrible decisions for all the right reasons.

Read more at . . . .


Monday, October 24, 2011

Kickstarter Appeal: American Bear by Theatre en Bloc, Austin

Notice received directly:


appeal by

Theate en Bloc, Austin TX

American Bear

by Larry MitchellAmerican Bear Larry Mithcell Theatre en Bloc

to be produced November 25 - December 17

Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 5 p.m.

at the Hideout Theatre, 617 Congress Avenue (click for map)

Tickets are $15. Reserve via the Theatre en Bloc website or by leaving a message at (512) 522-4083

American Bear: A play about home, is the first production of Austin's latest artistic development Theatre en Bloc. This production also marks the world premiere of the fully realized script by Theatre en Bloc's resident playwright Larry Mitchell.

This project will be funded only if at least $1,500 is pledged by Friday Nov 18, 6:00pm EST.
As of October 24:

0 Backers 0$ pledged of $1,500 goal 25 days to go

American Bear is a play about how we define home and family, especially during times of family crisis. Is family forever? How far can the bonds of family be stretched before they snap? Why is it that families tear themselves apart. When isn't blood thicker than water?

American Bear is the journey of two brothers, Eddie and Jules, struggling to find themselves in the wake of their parents’ untimely death. Eddie, who has been gone for many years, returns to the boys' childhood home for the funeral with his new fiancée, Lonnie, in tow. As the three work through the history of family strife, it is more than sibling rivalry that comes between the two brothers.

American Bear is a provocative play that finds a subtle and refreshing balance between humor and drama. Mitchell is a craftsman. While there are tones of great playwrights like O'Neill or Sheppard in the piece, Mitchell's perspective, voice, humor and love for his characters ring true. Theatre en Bloc is excited to bring this play to Austin and is working to publish Mitchell's script to be distributed to other theatres looking to produce new American plays.

Click for additional information at

Click HERE or on the image to go to Kickstarter for the video slideshow or to pledge