Tuesday, April 30, 2013

THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE, musical, Georgetown Palace, May 17 - June 16, 2013

Georgetown Palace Theatre, Georgetown, TX


Thoroughly Modern Millie Georgetown Palace TX

Thoroughly Modern Millie

a musical by Jeanine Tesori, Dick Scanlan and Richard Morris

directed by David Sray

May 17 to June 16
Friday and Saturday shows are at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday shows are at 2:00 p.m.

Ticket prices are $24 General Admission, $22 Seniors (55+), $14 Students (10-22) and Active Military, and $10 Children (9 and younger). 
Available on-line via the Palace website.

Rated for General Audiences 

Georgetown’s Historic Palace Theatre opens Thoroughly Modern Millie on May 17 for a five-weekend fun-filled music and dance fest! With music by Jeanine Tesori, lyrics by Dick Scanlan, and book by Richard Morris and Dick Scanlan, the stage production of Thoroughly Modern Millie is based upon the 1967 film of the same name starring Julie Andrews.

It is New York City in 1922, a New York full of intrigue and jazz – a time when the rules of love and social behavior were changing forever. Thoroughly Modern Millie tells the story of a small-town girl, Millie Dillmount, in search of a new life for herself. Millie comes to New York City to marry for money instead of love – a thoroughly modern aim in 1922, when women were just entering the workforce. Filled with frisky flappers, dashing leading men, and a dragon-lady of a villainess, Thoroughly Modern Millie is a perfectly constructed evening of madcap merriment.

Sara Burke (Millie) and Stephen Jack (Jimmy Smith) star in this musical romp! Sara made her first musical theatre splash sharing the coveted role of Annie in the Palace’s 2003 production with two other lucky young ladies! Her most recent triumph at the Palace was as Kathy Seldon in the Palace’s hit production of Singin’ in the Rain. Sara has performed all around the Austin area, as well: as Kira/Clio in Xanadu, Wendla in Spring Awakening, Amber in Hairspray, Serena in Legally Blonde, Cathy in Last 5 Years, and Charity in Sweet Charity. Most recently, Sara studied vocal performance with Adam Roberts. She will teach and direct for the Palace’s Theatrical Education Program this summer.

Stephen Jack (Jimmy Smith) has Austin credits that include Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (Blue Theatre), Standing on Ceremony (ZACH Theatre), I Love You Because (Hyde Park Theatre), Drone (City Theatre), and RENT (ZACH Theatre); his Palace Theatre credits include Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Man of La Mancha, and Big River. Additional credits include numerous galas and season previews for Austin Theatre Project, Penfold Theatre, and ZACH Theatre.

A strong supporting cast includes Melita McAtee as ‘Mrs Meers’ (The Villainess!); Scott Shipman as ‘Mr. Trevor Graydon’; Nikki Bora as ‘Matilda’; Tiffany Blackmon as ‘Miss Dorothy Brown’; Lariena Brown as ‘Muzzy Von Hossmere’; and Samantha Watson as ‘Miss Flannery’!

David Sray, who has both acting and directing recognition at the Palace, directs Millie. David’s Palace acting credits include Carl-Magnus in A Little Night Music, Edward Rutledge in 1776, and Curly in Oklahoma!; plus a B. Iden Payne Outstanding Cast Award-winning Austin performance in I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change. Palace directing credits include I Hate Hamlet, Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and Cheaper by the Dozen. David has the inimitable support of Clifford Butler for music direction and Jesee Smart for choreography.

Thoroughly Modern Millie plays at the Palace on weekends from May 17 to June 16. Actual production dates are May 17-19, 24-26, 31-June 2, June 7-9, and 14-16. Friday and Saturday shows are at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday shows are at 2:00 p.m. Ticket prices are $24 General Admission, $22 Seniors (55+), $14 Students (10-22) and Active Military, and $10 Children (9 and younger). Rated for General Audiences 

The Palace seats about 295, with reserved seating paid for in the ticket price. The Palace office in the lobby of the theatre is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. (except for some holiday dates). Purchase tickets and select seating on-line at www.georgetownpalace.com or by calling (512) 869-7469 or (512) 869-5081. (Please call ahead regarding special needs seating.) 

Visa, Master Card, and Discover Card are accepted.

The Historic Palace Theatre is located at 810 South Austin Avenue in downtown Georgetown and is part of the most beautiful Town Square in Texas!

(Click to go to the AustinLiveTheatre front page)

REEFER MADNESS, THE MUSICAL, Doctuh Mistuh Productions at Spider House Ballroom and Dougherty Arts Center, June 7 - 30, 2013

Doctuh Mistuh Productions Austin TX

Reefer Madness Doctuh Mistuh Austin TX


June 7-30, 2013

Ticket Information:
$22 Adults & $15

 Students/Seniors at the Door$20 

Advance Sales through brownpapertickets.com (800) 838-3006 or click BPTkts logo (as of May 1)

brown paper tickets

Locations in Austin, Texas:
Spider House Ballroom, 2908 Fruth Street, Austin, Tx http://spiderhousecafe.com June 7-16, June 23 - 30
Dougherty Arts Center, 1110 Barton Springs Rd., Austin, Tx June 20 - 22

Reefer Madness Doctuh Mistuh Austin TX

Performance Schedule

Friday, June 7 @ 8pm Spider House Ballroom
Saturday, June 8 @ 8pm Spider House Ballroom
Saturday, June 8 @ 12am (Midnight Show) Spider House Ballroom
Sunday, June 9 @ 6pm Spider House Ballroom

Sunday, June 16 @ 6pm Spider House Ballroom

Thursday, June 20 @ 8pm Dougherty Arts Center
Friday, June 21 @ 8pm Dougherty Arts Center
Saturday, June 22 @ 8pm Dougherty Arts Center
Sunday, June 23 @ 6pm Spider House Ballroom
Friday, June 28 @ 8pm Spider House Ballroom
Friday, June 28 @ 12am (Midnight Show) Spider House Ballroom
Saturday, June 29 @ 8pm Spider House Ballroom
Saturday, June 29 @ 12am (Midnight Show) Spider House Ballroom
Sunday, June 30 @ 6pm Spider House Ballroom

Reefer Madness is Doctuh Mistuh's 4th production and promises to be the craziest one yet with two venues, an insanely talented cast...and it's about REEFER. We hope you will check it out. To reserve tickets, please click to go to our Purchase Tickets link on the Home Page.

Jose Villareal (Lecturer)
Joey Banks (Jimmy)
Sarah Marie Curry (Mary Lane)
Libby Dees-Detling (Mae)
Nathan Brocket (Jack)
Kristi Brawner (Sally)
Chase Brewer (Ralph)
Paul Koudaris (Jesus)
David Ponton (Ensemble)
Brian Loyosa (Ensemble)
Stephen Mercantel (Ensemble)
Sarah Konkel (Ensemble)
Kimberly Wilson (Ensemble)
Kaitlyn Moise (Ensemble)
Lisa Wright (Ensemble)

Meet The Production Team

Michael McKelvey (Stage & Musical Director)
Joe Carpenter (Set Designer)
Glenda Barnes (Costume Designer)
Cameron Allen (Technical Director)
Sam Chesney (Lighting Designer)
Angelica Manez (Production Stage Manager)
Rebecca Robinson (Publicity)
Jennymarie Jemison (Graphics)

The Band

Kyle Sigrest (Keyboard & Conductor)
Trevor Detling (Drums)
Ryan Beavers (Guitar)
(Click to go to the AustinLiveTheatre front page)

OM SHANTI, Agni Productions at Long Center, August 23 - 25, 2013

Agni Productions Austin TX


Om Shanti Agni Productions Austin TX

Om Shanti
once upon a time in Bollywood
at the Long Center, Austin, Texas
August 23 - 25, 2013
Every fairytale you fell in love with always began with “Once upon a time”, and so does this one. Om Shanti is a tale that tells the story of Om, a court dancer madly in love with the princess, Shanti; and a land called Bollywood, whose soul was song and dance until “the incident” changed everything. This summer, Agni Entertainment brings to you a saga on stage: of celebration, friendship, hope, love, life, after-life, revenge, and more, all rolled into one big fat musical – Bollywood style!

Think Broadway
Think Bollywood
Now mix it up!

So come to the Long Center and watch Om Shanti as young Rahul and Anjali take you on a journey so full of excitement and energy but managing to touch your soul. This is a roller coaster ride you dont want to miss as all the wonders of Bollywood – lights, costumes, dance, music and melodrama come together to unfold a tale you wont forget.

When you want something with all your heart, the entire universe conspires in helping you achieve it…

Will there be a happily ever after for Om and Shanti? Come find out!
For more information about attending this performance, click here.

Om Shanti Agni Productions Austin TX

(Click to go to the AustinLiveTheatre front page)

Monday, April 29, 2013

AUSTIN LATINO NEW PLAY FESTIVAL, Staged Readings by Teatro Vivo at Rollins Theatre, Long Center, May 16 - 18, 2013

Teatro Vivo Austin TX
Teatro Vivo A ustin New Latino Play Festival 2013


The Third Annual Austin Latino New Play Festival

May 16-18, 8 p.m.
at the Rollins Theatre at the Long Center for the Performing Arts
Playwrights Ariana Mendez, Caroline Dobson Chavez and Rupert Reyesembrace the full spectrum of humanity through the Latino cultural lens.
Teatro Vivo presents the third annual Austin Latino New Play Festival (ALNPF) in collaboration with the Long Center for the Performing Arts and ScriptWorks. Everyone is invited to enjoy these three evenings of staged readings of new Latino plays. Performances take place at the Long Center for the Performing Arts, Rollins Theatre, May 16-18, 8 p.m. Reserved seats are $10 and $8 for students and seniors for each evening. An ALNPF Festival Pass is available for all three evenings for $30 and $20 for students and seniors. A limited number of free general admission tickets will be made to the public for each performance.
ALNPF is a theater event, which unites regional playwrights and audience members in conversation about three new workshop productions that bring insight into the Latino experience. The staged readings are workshop-style presentations with readings using props and movement on stage. After each workshop, the playwright, director and actors partake in talkback sessions with the audience. Though the productions have Latino roots, they explore cross-cultural age-old themes and modern dilemmas that will surprise, challenge, engage and push the dramatic envelope for audience members accustomed to one-way conversations at the theater.

El Jardín Viviente (The Living Garden)
by Ariana Mendez
Thursday, May 16 (8 p.m.)
Ariana Mendez Synopsis: Susana, a woman in her mid thirties, is suffering from breast cancer and has accepted her fate despite her family’s attempts to keep her alive. Her brother, Marcos, and sister, Gloria, each turn to their spiritual beliefs in hope that Susana will recover and overcome cancer. Ultimately, Marcos and Gloria realize that despite their efforts to keep their sister alive, they have to no power when it comes to God’s will and nature.
Playwright: Ariana Mendez is a California native born to Mexican immigrant parents. Her passion for writing stemmed from watching dramatic soap operas as a child. She dreamed of bringing her own writing to life in novelas or film. Ariana is currently studying Radio-Television-Film and Theater at the University of Texas at Austin, where she developed an interest for playwriting because she wanted to contribute to the Latino representation in theater. She looks forward to graduating in May, and hopes to pursue a career in playwriting and documentary filmmaking.

by Caroline Dobson Chavez
Friday, May 17 (8 p.m.)
Caroline Dobson Chavez 
Synopsis: Two almost-fifteen-year-old girls study Spanish together, and, along the way to a quinceañera, discover the real meaning of friendship, family, love, loss and forgiveness in the quest to define themselves.
Playwright: Caroline D. Chavez, originally a native of North Carolina, has lived in San Antonio since 2001. Caroline obtained a Bachelors of Science in Biology and a Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She was featured in several television commercials for companies such as McDonald’s, Quincy's Steakhouse and Roses. Caroline’s poetry has been published and received Honorable Mention in the San Antonio Poetry Fair Anthology, Voices Along the River 2002, 2003, 2008 and 2011 editions. Quincea-WHAT? is Caroline's first script endeavor.

Petra's Pastorela
by Rupert Reyes
Saturday, March 18 (8 p.m.)
Rupert ReyesSynopsis: Maria, a young woman, stumbles into a rehearsal of La Pastorela, directed by Petra Dominguez. Already in labor, Maria brings not only a future resident of Las Flores, TX but reveals the past that will unravel Tina Tamayo's world. Petra's Pastorela is a bilingual comedy that explores the joy of birth, the sadness of the loss of life, and love of family that opens the heart to forgiveness, understanding and strength. It is a new twist on the Pastorela plays first performed in the New World by the Spaniards and a play that is still performed though the Latino communities all over the world. Petra’s Pastorela is the fourth play in a series often referred to as the Petra Plays.
Playwright: Rupert Reyes is the co-founder and artistic director of Teatro Vivo. He has appeared in local-made films which include Tadpoles, Arco du Santi and the feature films, Miss Congeniality, Office Space, The Alamo and Rough Riders. He has done TV commercial work for Whataburger, Texas Lottery and HEB. In 2008 his play Vecinos was nominated for a B. Iden Payne Award. Rupert’s Petra plays have been produced nationally. The Petra plays include Petra's Pecado, Petra's Sueño, and Petra's Cuento. Petra's Sueño will be produced in El Paso, Texas in April. Petra's Pastorela is the fourth in the series. Rupert earned a BFA in Theater from The University of Texas at Austin, as well as a marriage license when he wed JoAnn Carreon. Both are still in effect today.

teatrovivo austin texas
This performance is brought to you in part by the Redd Carpet Fund, providing artists and arts organizations access to the world class facilities at the Long Center for the Performing Arts.
This project is funded and supported in part by the City of Austin through the Economic Growth & Redevelopment Services Office/Cultural Arts Division believing an investment in the Arts is an investment in Austin's future.

About Teatro Vivo
Teatro Vivo has produced more than 25 bilingual plays since JoAnn Reyes and Rupert Reyes founded the company in 2000. Contact JoAnn Reyes at Teatro Vivo for more information, images and playwright interviews: 512-413-6791 or joannreyes@yahoo.com
(Click to go to the AustinLiveTheatre front page)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Opening This Week in Central Texas, April 29 - May 4, 2013

Austin Live Theatre

Opening This Week
in Central Texas

April 29 - May 4, 2013

Click images for additional information

Opening in Austin . . .
Hit Shanon Weaver Chick and A Dude Austin TX
May 2 - 18 at Hyde Park Theatre
Chimponauts Electronic Planet Ensemble Austin TX
Normal Like Us Depression Chronicles Lucky Chaos Austin TX
 May 4 at the SVT
Passing Strange Half and Half Austin TX
May 2 - 18 at Highland Mall
Objectify St Edward's University Austin TX
May 2 and 3
Two Gentlemen of Verona Shakespeare Something for Nothing Theatre AUstin TX
Romeo and Juliet Shakespeare McCallum Fine Arts Austin TX
Winter's Tale William Shakespeare AUstin TX
What's Going On Generic Ensemble Company Austin TX
What's Going On? (after Brecht's Good Person of Szechuan), GENENCO at SVT May 3 - 11
Picnic William Inge Playhouse San Antonio TX


PASSING STRANGE, Half and Half Productions, May 2 - 12, 2013

Click to listen to 2-minute feature by Mike Lee at KUT's 'Arts Eclectic'


Half and Half Productions Austin TX

Passing Strange Half and Half Productions Austin TXHalf and Half Productions is a brand new theater company, but its artistic directors have been working in Austin for years. Before starting Half and Half, Julianna E. Wright and M. Scott Tatum studied together in college, taught together at the McCallum Fine Arts Academy, and worked together on a number of other theater projects in town. So the company may be new, but the partnership is a decade old.
For their debut as Half and Half, Wright and Tatum are staging Passing Strange, a comedy/drama rock musical by Stew. It’s a coming-of-age piece and a tale of the self-discovery of a young artists. With a live band and music that spans genres from soul to gospel to punk, the energy of the show is something like a rock show crossed with a stage play. The show will be staged at Half and Half at Highland Mall, a new black box style theater in what used to be a clothing store at Highland Mall.

At Half and Half at Highland Mall, 6001 Airport Blvd, Suite 1020
May 2 -12, Thursday – Saturday at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 6:00 p.m.

(Click to go to the AustinLiveTheatre front page)

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Same Time, Next Year by Bernard Slade, Georgetown Palace, April 5 - 28, 2013

ALT reviewSame Time Next Year Bernard Slade Georgetown Palace TX

by Michael Meigs

Yes, I would be delighted to enjoy a guilt-free assignation once a year with the energetic, sweet and affectionate Virginia Keeley.

Fellow actor Bill Barry has had that privilege this month at the Georgetown Palace, at least in our imaginations. Since the six scenes in Bernard Slade's span the twenty-four years between 1951 and 1975, Barry's averaging just about one imaginary assignation a day. (And by his exuberant count in the final scene, 116 acts of marital infidelity over that span.)

Posters from the Palace caution potential clientele that Same Time, Next Year "is intended for ADULT audiences," but they probably needn't have worried. As the appreciative audience made its way out afterwards, I saw a woman look around and heard her comment, "It doesn't look as if there's anyone under 40 in here."

This piece is not adult in the XXX sense; it's adult in that it's pitched at those who have reached the age of consent. It's not a sex farce à la Feydeau, for such pieces provoke our laughter by suggesting how foolish and mindlessly lustful the characters are, implying that they're essentially still children in their emotions. And it's not a play about adultery, for it never seriously examines that issue.

Bernard Slade's light comedy was a success in New York almost 40 years ago, and received Tony award nominations for best actress, best actpr and best direction, and in fact Ellen Burstyn walked away from that year's ceremony with the statuette. Three years later she got the Academy award for the same role in the filmed version.

This script has two distinguishing characteristics: first, by situating his six scenes at intervals of about five years, the playwright evokes some of the changes in American popular cultural during that time. Some of them he misses -- the contraceptive pill, for example, prompting us to wonder if one or the other of these good parents of families already had tubes tied -- but others he celebrates. Spunky Doris embraces the freedom of the Age of Aquarius, and she becomes a self-made businesswoman by the final scenes. George is a quivering, nervous mess when this first gets started, but once he gets used to it, he thrives. Unlike Doris, he gets more conservative as he ages, creating what might be derided by some today as a Republican paradox. The Vietnam War is there, as well, and inflicts a deep-felt catastrophe on one of the illicit partners.

Second, Same Time, Next Year is pure wish fulfillment, the equivalent of meeting in real life that 'imaginary friend' you may have had in your childhood. The casually confident acceptance of a regular extra-marital sexual partner, one who poses absolutely no danger to your own agreeably settled life, was an enchanting one to the hopefuls of the mid-1970's. And may still be an enchanting one for the now somewhat creaky public for this play that has probably become a staple of community theatres. The strong support given the Palace by the retirement communities of the area made it a feasible programming choice.

The world of the play is pretty much irrelevant to the contemporary world of instant messaging, hooking up, friends with advantages, living together without sanction of marriage and easy divorces. And to anyone born since the play was first staged in 1975.

This serial wish fulfillment cannot go on forever, of course, even in the world of the play. The uncomfortable dénouement in the final scene touches upon the infringed vow "till death do us part," although the death in question isn't that of either of the characters on stage. One engages in a bit of grandstanding, and -- for apparently the first time -- some outright duplicity, betraying their comfortable compact of betrayals for the first time in 24 years. That's weakly resolved, but we're supposed to feel happy about it.

The Georgetown Palace does its usual accomplished job in putting the piece on stage. The set's a solid and convincing depiction of the hideaway on the California coast, costuming by Ismael Soto III is appropriate, Rich Simms provides the video, and both actors are fully into the characters. Bill Barry as George visibly gains confidence and ages, principally by shifts of expression, attitude and posture; Virginia Keeley's an unaffected sweetheart, a doll who grows in experience and perhaps in wisdom over the course of the action. That Southern accent of hers is never explained, but it just made her that much more attractive to me. One gentle chiding, however: we in the audience who are applauding at the curtain call would like to be met by smiling actors. Keeley the acknowledging actor appeared suddenly tired or distracted.

And why, Palace folks, is it necessary to mic up your actors for a stage play in the comfortable space and reasonable acoustics of your theatre? Body mics are appropriate for the Palace's many musicals, but in this conventionally delivered dialogue piece, neither actor lacks lung power. When the script called for them to raise their voices, the sound system went a bit bonkers. I speculate that the technical decision was taken because the Palace has installed that special system for the hard of hearing. Perhaps the on-stage action could be gathered for that clientele by microphones suspended above the stage rather than held on stalks extending from the sides of the actor's heads.


Click to view excerpts from the program of Same Time, Next Year at the Georgetown Palace

Same Time Next Year Georgetown Palace TX

HOLIER THAN THOU by Bastion Carboni, Poison Apple Initiative, June 20 - July 6, 2013

Poison Apple Initiative Austin TX

[performing at The Off-Center, 2211-A Hidalgo Street, near E. 7th Street and Robert Martinez (behind Joe's Bakery) -- click for map]


Holier Than THou Bastion Carboni Poison Apple Initiative Austin TX

(Click to go to the AustinLiveTheatre front page)

Friday, April 26, 2013

THE CIRCUS, Sky Candy Aerial Arts at the Scottish Rite Theatre, June 21 - 29, 2013

Sky Candy Aerial Arts Austin TX

Sky Candy aerial arts collective proudly presents its next theatrical production
The Circus Sky Candy Aerial Arts Austin TX
 THE CIRCUS, a one-of-a-kind circus theater tale, is running June 21 - 29, 2013, at the Scottish Rite Theater.
THE CIRCUS, Sky Candy’s fifth theatrical production, explores the struggles of a turn-of-the-century American circus. Written by acclaimed poet and Austin Poetry Slammaster, Danny Strack and directed by Sky Candy co-founder, Winnie Hsia, THE CIRCUS is set in 1890 and follows the story of young girl who gets more than she bargains for when she runs away to join the struggling Piccolo’s Acrobatic Circus Review of the South, featuring the Sideshow and Animal Extravaganza. (Note: THE CIRCUS has an all-human cast.)

As a young circus company, it’s important for us to understand our roots. Through exploring the history of the small, family circus, we’ve come to find parallels to our own growth and challenges,” said director Winnie Hsia.

The show features Sky Candy’s signature aerial acrobatics, as well as adventures in clowning, puppetry, live period music and theatrical magic. The cast boasts the talents not only of Austin’s favorite aerial artists from Sky Candy and its Studio Company, but also local actors and puppeteers regularly seen at The VORTEX and Trouble Puppet Theatre.

“We have set out to challenge conventions of both circus and theatre to create an original work that blurs the line between onstage and backstage. THE CIRCUS ultimately focuses on the timeless and unique characters that call the circus home” says playwright Danny Strack.

THE CIRCUS rolls into town on Friday, June 21st and will be held at The Scottish Rite Theater located at 207 W 18th St. in downtown Austin. Click for map. Ticket prices range from $15-35 and can be purchased at http://scottishritetheater.org/. The show will run at the following dates and times:

Friday, June 21 8pm
Saturday, June 22 2pm & 8pm
Sunday, June 23 2pm
Friday, June 28 8pm
Saturday, June 29 2pm & 8pm

The final two performances of THE CIRCUS, 2pm and 8pm on Saturday June 29th, will be ASL-interpreted by Visual Voice Interpreting.

Since 2011, Sky Candy has delighted Austin audiences with their innovative circus theater productions including The Red Shoes, The Time Machine, and Land Without Evil, a collaboration with Agent Red which was featured on PBS Arts in Context

(Click to go to the AustinLiveTheatre front page)

Opinion: The Collapse of the Theatre Season Subscription Model, Terry Teachout in the Wall Street Journal, April 26, 2013

Author, drama review and WSJ columnist Terry Teachout sees that because of financial pressures, regional theatre programming is collapsing toward the safe center:

Wall Street Journal

Theatre's Expiring Subscription Mode

by Terry Teachout, April 26, 2013

Terry Teachout (image: www.amazon.com)
Terry Teachout (image: Amazon.com)

[. . . .] [N]ot only are solo and small-cast plays increasingly taking the place of large-scale shows, but I've noticed in the past couple of years that many regional theaters are also opting for significantly less adventurous fare. More familiar comedies and recent Broadway hits, fewer challenging new shows and revivals of great plays of the past: That seems to be the direction in which American theater is moving.

TCG quote Terry Teachout WSJ 2013 04 26But is it all about the recession? Not long ago I spoke to the artistic director of a well-regarded theater company somewhere in America that's feeling the pinch. No names: I'll call her Ms. X for the sake of convenience, though "she" may or may not be a woman. In addition to running the company, Ms. X is a stage director of high seriousness, one whose work I've praised in the past. Yet her company is inching away from the kind of programming that led me to start reviewing its shows in the first place. I didn't ask why—we were talking about something else—but Ms. X volunteered an explanation, and though I wasn't taking notes, this is more or less what she said to me:

"I'm in the ticket-selling business. If I don't sell tickets, we shut down. We used to do it by selling subscriptions. That gave us money up front, and it also made it easier for me to do serious work, because people were buying a five-show package, and they trusted me to give them a well-chosen, wide-ranging package each year. We'd do a comedy, a new play or two, a classical revival, maybe a couple of modern classics. August Wilson, Tennessee Williams, that kind of thing. Sometimes they didn't like all five. Maybe they never did. But they still went home feeling like they'd gotten a balanced diet, they'd done their duty to theater. And that used to matter to people. It really did. They thought that seeing good shows made you a better person.

"Then the subscription model fell apart, for a lot of reasons. Some subscribers got too busy, or too old, to commit in advance to five shows on specific dates. Some of them couldn't afford to buy all five in one pop anymore. And young people never have gotten in the habit of subscribing to anything. On demand, that's their motto. Anyway, it all added up to the same thing: We had to start selling individual shows instead of a package. When that happened, everything changed. Instead of trusting us to give them something good, people started playing it safe, and we had to play safe with them. We didn't have any choice. The last time I tried putting on a classical revival, our single-ticket sales dropped by nearly half. And we've had to start using name actors as often as we can. Doesn't matter what the show is: It's the star that sells, not the play.

"Look, I'm as serious as I ever was. And I don't waste money, either. I didn't pile up debt by building a big, fancy theater complex, which is what's gotten a whole lot of other regional companies in hot water. And I think we're still putting on good shows here—but more and more of them are middlebrow shows. Safe shows. And more than anything else, it's the collapse of the subscription model that's done it to us. It's as simple as that."

Is it? Or was the old-fashioned subscription model always a snare and a delusion, an easy-money honeypot that seduced growth-happy companies into losing sight of their artistic missions? While I'm sure that the answer varies from company to company, there seems little doubt that the model itself is going bust. According to the Theatre Communications Group, nationwide revenue from subscribers plunged 18% between 2007 and 2011.

What now? Modernize the subscription model? Or scrap it altogether and try something completely different? If I knew, I'd start a theater company. But I do know that if regional theater wants to save its soul, it'll have to find new ways to sell tickets. Otherwise, it's going to be "The Odd Couple" and "Clybourne Park" over and over again, forever.

—Mr. Teachout, the Journal's drama critic, writes "Sightings" every other Friday. He is the author of "Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong." Write to him at tteachout@wsj.com.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

TRUE HOLLYWOOD TALES - 8. SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW, Salvage Vanguard Theatre, May 18, 2013

True Hollywood Tales Lashonda Lester

Episode VIII:
Somewhere Over The Rainbow

May 18, 2013 @ Salvage Vanguard Theater 8pm - click for map
FREE preshow martini mixer starts at 7pm 



In this episode, we'll examine the fabulous lives and often tragic deaths of Hollywood's favorite gay icons. We'll also look at the history of gay rights in the 20th century and its impact on popular culture.

Featured biographies;
Freddie Mercury
Judy Garland

Lashonda Lester (ACL Live, Austin Monthly)

Ralphie Hardesty (The Encyclopedia Show)
Roxy Castillo (Black Widow Burlesque)
Cymone Love

With special drag performances by the award winning Cupcake and Miss Austin Pride 2011 Kai Lee Mykels!

Hosted by Luke McClory

(Click to go to the AustinLiveTheatre front page)

Auditions: Special Characters and Entertainment for Texas Renaissance Festival, May 4 and 11, 2013

Texas Renaissance Festival
Texas Renaissance Festival Announces Open Casting Calls
39th season will include brand new characters including King Henry VIII and King Midas

[ALT note: The Texas Renaissance Festival is 135 miles east of Austin, about halfway between College Station and Houston. Click for map]

TODD MISSION, Texas (April 23, 2013) — Have you ever dreamed of being a Fairy Princess? Or King Midas, where everything you touch turns into gold? Well, dream no more. These are just two of the new characters that the Texas Renaissance Festival will cast during open auditions May 4 and May 11 at the festival grounds in Todd Mission.

The Texas Renaissance Festival, the nation’s largest and most acclaimed Renaissance themed event, will add six new lead characters to their cast of over 400. Performers who entertain festival-goers during the eight themed weekends will breathe life into new characters including King Henry VIII, Queen Ann Boleyn, The Fairy Princess, Queen of the Masquerade Ball, Mother Earth and King Midas.

The Texas Renaissance Festival invites all types of performers, individuals and specialty acts to audition for the 39th annual festival. Auditions take place during morning and afternoon sessions through improvisational and prepared performances. All performance positions are paid.

"We are looking forward to this year’s auditions and can’t wait to see how the performers will get into character, especially for the Fairy Princess and King Midas roles. Much like the festival, auditions are improvisational. The characters can be interpreted broadly and be cast in a multitude of ways," says Jeffery L. Baldwin, Entertainment Director at the Texas Renaissance Festival. "We prefer an outgoing personality and a talented and passionate performer over an extensive theatrical resume."

Audition Dates: Saturday, May 4 and Saturday, May 11, 2013

Audition Location: Texas Renaissance Festival grounds at 21778 FM 1774 Todd Mission, Texas 77363

Audition Times: Two sessions; 8:30 – noon and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Audition Tips: Performers are judged on looks, speaking ability, how they stand/walk and how they show emotion.

Audition Requirements: Performers must schedule an appointment in order to audition. Call 1-800-458-3435 Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Specialty acts of groups or individuals who perform music, magic, juggling, storytelling, dance, etc. will have a maximum of 10 minutes to showcase their talent. The content is up to the performers and creativity, costumes and props are encouraged.

Character actors will audition in a workshop format featuring improvisational exercises. Photo, resume and prepared auditions are appreciated, but not required. Monologues should be of the Renaissance period and no longer than two minutes. Songs must be performed a cappella. Movement oriented clothing is recommended and costumes are not necessary for auditions.

The 39th Texas Renaissance Festival will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends, Oct. 12 – Dec. 1, 2013 and Thanksgiving Friday. The interactive theme park embraces different eras, including the 16th century and beyond. The 55-acre theater is filled with live entertainment, food, fun and professional actors who stay true to character for the entire eight weekends. For more information on the TRF, please visit www.texrenfest.com.

For more details on the audition process or to schedule interviews with event planners and returning characters, contact RoShelle Salinas at roshelle@loveadv.com or by calling 713-552-1055.