Monday, November 30, 2009

Upcoming: The Eight: Reindeer Monologues by Onyx Company at The Studio on West, December 4 - 19

UPDATE: Review by Bastian Carboni at, December 10

Received directly:

Onyx Co. presents on stage

The Eight: Reindeer Monologues

Rudolph is in a padded cell, Santa is on a bender, and the reindeer are talking to anyone who'll listen. Such is the premise of Jeff Goode's hard-hitting, chocolaty-dark holiday confection The Eight: Reindeer Monologues, being presented from December 4th through 19th by the Onyx Co.

Scandal erupts at the North Pole when one of Santa's eight tiny reindeer accuses him of decidedly un-Christmas-like behavior - sexual harassment, to be exact. As the media descends, the other members of the elite sleigh team share their sordid confessions.

A tale of corruption and perversion emerges, implicating everyone from the littlest elf to Saint Nick himself. With each deer's confession, the truth behind the shocking allegations becomes clearer and clearer - and murkier and murkier.

Performances are Friday and Saturday nights at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 for general admission. Due to the script’s content, the production is recommended for mature audiences.

The Studio on West is located at 3408 West Avenue. For information and reservations, call (512) 294-9393 or email

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Opinion: Kirk Tuck on Photographing the Theatre (Rockin' Christmas Party at Zach Scott, November 27 - December 27

UPDATE: Robert Faires' review for the Austin Chronicle, December 24

UPDATE: Zach Theatre posts on its blog 67 of Kirk Tuck's photos from his shoot of a final dress rehearsal of Rockin Christmas party, December 11

UPDATE: GACA "A-Team" reviews of A Rockin' Christmas Party, December 2

UPDATE: Review by Rob Faubion of the 16th annual presentation of A Rockin' Christmas Party,, December 2

In his posting "At The Theatre with a Camera and a Big Lens" on November 28, Austin photographer Kirk Tuck discusses equipment, settings and challenges of photographing a dress rehearsal with no interruptions to "stop" the action. He provides examples from his recent session with the Zach Theatre's
Rockin' Christmas Party.

Tuck adds,

I suggest you head out and support your local theaters during the holidays. Live theater is something special. And while not as polished as a movie or a television show there is a tremendous value in the unexpected and the energy of live performances. Many theaters depend on the holiday cash flow to help subsidize chancier work during the rest of the year. And if we let theaters die off all we'll be left with is television and YouTube. Don't you want a nice excuse to get out of the house?

Click on the image (© Kirk Tuck, 2009) to view a larger version.

Read more and view other images at Kirk Tuck's blog, The Visual Science Workshop.

For Zach's video of the 2008 Rockin' Christmas Party, go to . . . .

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Upcoming: Alice!, Chaotic Theatre Company at Vortex Repertory, December 11-13, 17-20

UPDATE: Review by Ryan E. Johnson, December 19

UPDATE: Review by Bastion Carboni panning this production, December 20

UPDATE: Click to view feature by Brian Paul Scipione in the December 2009 Insite magazine: "How Far Down the Rabbit Hole Are You Willing To Go?" [Click to download .pdf file of the entire December 2009 issue - 5.2MB]

Found on-line:

The world premiere production of

By James Jackson Leach
Directed by Justin LaVergne
Lighting and Set Design by Stephen Shirey

presented by Chaotic Theatre Company in association with VORTEX Repertory Company
December 11-13 & 17-20, 2009 8 p.m. (bonus shows on Saturdays, Dec. 12 & 19 at 11 p.m.)

From the twisted mind of the Chaotic Theatre Company, comes Alice!, a story about a young girl’s descent into madness. Along this journey she meets characters with sinister smiles and outrageous personalities in the world premiere of this new play by James Jackson Leach, based on the eccentric tales of Lewis Carroll.

Throughout the show you will experience interactions like nothing you have ever seen before. Menacing laughter will fill your ears and engulf your mind. You will be torn between two worlds: the harsh reality of Blackthorn Asylum and the fantastical world of Wonderland.

Don’t be afraid if you feel a slight caress around your ankles and a twinge down your spine. (Click for video teaser!)

The VORTEX Café is now serving fabulous sandwiches, tamales, cake and ice cream, in addition to our exceptional assortment of beer and wine and homemade sangria. Come early, stay late.

Tickets: $30-$25 Priority Seating, $20-$15 General Admission, $10 Starving Artists.
11 p.m. shows 2 for 1 with non-perishable food donation. Limited seating. Advance purchase recommended.

Upcoming: Athens vs. Sparta, Hyde Park Theatre, December 17

UPDATE: Elizabeth Cobbe's comments, published at, December 21

The Hyde Park Theatre provides the venue on December 17 for a presentation of Charlie Roadman's Athens vs. Sparta. Ken Webster provides the narrative for the piece based on Thucydides' history of the Peloponnesian War, released on CD last January.

Chris Parker wrote last April in the San Antonio Current,

"A combination pop-opera, Greek drama, modern allegory, and historical CliffsNotes created by Trinity University history grad and musician Charlie Roadman, the album resonates on several levels and is likely unlike anything you’ve ever heard. It details how Athens’ cultural hubris, faltering democracy, self-serving oligarchs, indifference to its allies, and ill-considered military adventurism resulted in a war doomed by poor prosecution and overextended forces."

(Click for
full text of Parker's extensive article of April 15, 2009.)

Click for capsule review by Daniel Mee in the Austin Chronicle, January 23, 2009.

Photo from a slideshow published by band member Cliff Brown, Jr., with a May 30 post on his blog "The Life and Times of Cliff Brown, Jr."

Annie, The Musical, Georgetown Palace Theatre, November 20 - December 30

This holiday season’s production of Annie at the Georgetown Palace is an enormous undertaking. Most principal roles are triple-cast, with actors assigned to Mango, Kiwi or Plum casts. Ensemble roles are double cast, with actors assigned to Strawberry or Blueberry casts. Palace management is proud that 106 actors appear on their stage during the course of 28 presentations, many of those shows outside the Friday-Saturday-Sunday schedule usual at 810 S. Austin Avenue in Georgetown.

Running a musical comedy that way is quite a feat of theatrical logistics. Such extensive involvement builds and reinforces the community of artists and arts supporters that enables the Palace to run its vigorous and well attended season.

Anyone writing a review for you has to advise you from the first, however, that the show that unrolled before him that evening might differ from the one that you’ll see there some other evening. Codes for my Saturday night experience on November 21 were Mango and Strawberry, suggesting an interesting dessert.

Over a six-week run three Annies share those red curly wigs and two bald-pated Oliver Warbucks will be setting the Depression-era United States to rights. Two FDRs will in turn occupy that wheelchair and the three villains are embodied by six actors. Your endearing opening chorus of orphan girls could well be different from the one that introduced us to Annie's bleak orphanage.

Read more and view images at . . . .

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Ongoing: I'll Be Seeing You, Tex-Arts, Lakeway, December 4 - 20

UPDATE: Review by Robert Faires in Austin Chronicle of December 10

UPDATE: GACA "A-Team" review by Preston Kirk, December 7

UPDATE: Lisa Scheps of KOOP-FM speaks with Todd Dellenger and plays music used in the show -- click to listen to Dellenger describe the origins of the script and his approach to directing it on her program "Off Stage and On The Air," November 30
Received directly:

TexArts' original sold-out holiday review
is back for a 2nd sparkling season with
new musical numbers!

I'll Be Seeing You

is an original 1940s musical/musical revue from TexArts' Todd Dellinger that received its world premiere to sold-out, wildly enthusiastic audiences in 2008. It weaves the narratives of two now-grown neighbor children of World War II with letters to & from the home front, with slides, videos and popular holiday tunes of the era. It's a sparkling and warm family show that is sure to become a tradition for the Austin region.

This union production weaves Austin's great musical theater talents as well as youth performers from TexArts' acclaimed music, theater and dance academy program with great holiday cheer and reminiscence.

December 4-20 -- Friday, Saturday and Sunday performances
Tickets are going fast!

Kam & James Morris Theater at TexARTS' Keller Williams Studios
For more information and to purchase tickets call
(512) 852-9079 x101, visit, or book online at
NowPlaying Austin.

Upcoming: Michael Kaiser, Kennedy Center President, on Arts in Crisis, San Pedro Playhouse, San Antonio, December 2

Michael Kaiser, president of the Kennedy Center, comes to San Antonio's San Pedro Playhouse on December 2 at 9:00 a.m. as part of the announced 50-state tour to discuss the crisis in the arts. Jeanne Claire van Ryzin of the Austin Statesman published the date in the Statesman's Austin360 "Seeing Things" blog of November 26.

Kaiser is well on the way to achieving his 50-state goal, announced last February and the subject of an ALT posting on February 9. Recognizing financial and management difficulties for arts organizations across the country, the Kennedy Center put up its website, offering to link arts organizations in trouble with experts in their areas or with the Kennedy Center's own staff. Here's Kaiser's brief outline of the program:

YouTube offers lots of coverage of some of Kaiser's roadshow presentations, including especially the Q&A session in Los Angeles. A search turns up more than 60 YouTube videos on the subject.

The San Pedro Playhouse is located at:800 West Ashby Place San Antonio, TX 7821.

Do You See What I See?, Silver Spur Theatre, Salado, November 27 - December 19

Received directly:

Yuletime comedy

Do You See What I See?

at Salado Silver Spur Theatre

November 27 - December 19

Zany staff at WSPR-TV are tasked to 'save the day' with national Christmas Eve simulcast

The Silver Spur Theater at 108 Royal St. in historic Salado takes audiences back to the "Golden Age of Television" this Yule season with a sleigh-full of holiday hilarity in Do You See What I See, an original comedy running Nov. 27 through Dec. 19 in the renovated Sanford and Guest Granary & Feed Co., a first class, 150-seat proscenium venue between Temple and Georgetown, just off Interstate 35. Theatre patrons will be right in "the studio audience" for the music, the merriment and the memorable, mirthful staging of an "on-the-air" variety show. This seasonal scenario was conceived, written, and performed by a cast of veteran performers, continuing the Spur's tradition of homespun, heartfelt, original family entertainment.

On Christmas Eve at the small broadcast facilities of WSPR-TV, the production crew and maintenance staff are busily preparing for a live holiday simulcast with network affiliates in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. Unexpected technical difficulties place the show's success squarely on their shoulders, tasking them to present an excerpt from The Nutcracker, as well as the Canadian Brass performance. Frivolity ensues as they try to save the day and discover their own hidden talents that will bring holiday cheer for the audience and viewers. Song, satire, sentiment and slapstick are among the gifts from the Spur-radical players’ bag of goodies.

Read more at . . . .

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

New images for Upcoming: That Time of Year, Sam Bass Community Theatre, Round Rock, November 27 - December 19

Rehearsal photos for That Time of Year, received directly from the Sam Bass Community Theatre.

A musical revue of 25 all-original Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year's songs that captures the warmth and humor of this unique interfaith holiday season. The show offers a wide variety of material, running the musical gamut from show tunes to rock, blues and jazz. The songs, with lyrics by the ASCAP award-winning team of Laurence Holzman & Felicia Needleman, and music by seven different composers, range from funny, upbeat group numbers, highlighting the joys and anxieties of the holiday season, to beautiful, touching ballads about the meaning behind both holidays.

See "upcoming" announcement for performance times and more information.

View more images at . . . .

Lonestar, A Popcorn Throwing Rock Country Musical, Vestige Group at United States Art Authority, November 4 - 21

Wow, guys, this was a mess.

Melodrama meets country rock band and invites beer drinkers to interrupt the whole thing at will with popcorn, catcalls, and even, on one particularly wild night, someone's shoe thrown from the audience.

Dr. Dave my retired college professor friend and I paid for the Wednesday night VIP seats, only there weren't any. We were kindly removed from the high table next to the stage, which turned out to be the location for those long-legged cowgirls, but there was still time to nab our front row seats. We did get our complimentary beer glasses with logo and the two beer tickets each, so we had little cause to complain on that account.

Let's look at a couple of the key elements.

Melodrama: a theatrical art form performed in small towns, church halls, saloons and theatres across the country, particularly but not exclusively in the 19th century. Typically, a simple story with a beleaguered, right-thinking young hero, a virginal heroine with heart of gold regularly threatened by a black-hearted villain with loss of her maidenhead, loss of the family farm, and loss of everything else of value. The playing style is broad. The characters are stereotypes. Frequently, the actors turn to address the audience in character, exaggerating emotions with a complicit wink. Everyone knows that Virtue Will Triumph.

Country Rock: Amplified, very loud guitar-based up-tempo music, featuring a full and active drum set and perhaps an amplified fiddle. Thrumming base guitar is a must. Words and lyrics appear to be optional, because you cannot hear them over the roar of the music, anyway.

Read more at . . . .

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The 1940s Radio Hour, Austin Community College Choir at One World Theatre, November 17-19

I knew that The 1940s Radio Hour done last week at the One World Theatre by the Austin Community College Choir would provide us a time machine to amusement. The surprise for me was the dipsy-doodle movement of that flight through time.

I went to the 11:30 a.m. performance, enjoying the novel sensation of driving in daylight to a theatre performance. I got there half an hour early, picked up my ticket, hiked upstairs to the theatre and was astonished to find myself walking into a capacious performance space with almost every seat already filled. I had to scramble to get a front seat to the far right of the stage.

Looking a little closer, I realized that I'd unwittingly signed up for the "senior special" performance -- rarely had I seen such a vast display of tidily coiffed older women. Yes, I saw some men here and there, usually of the same age, but for a moment it was if the Frank Sinatra fan club of 1942 had been waiting eagerly and patiently in that magic space for the past 68 years. Buzzing and happy, they didn't mind that the show started ten minutes late.

Strictly speaking, most of these folks were probably toddlers back in 1942, so the time warp wasn't exactly perfect. But the ACC choir players gave us good renditions of the golly-gee-whiz all-American entertainment of the 40s, so it hardly mattered.

The set-up for the Radio Hour is familiar -- it's exactly the sort of ensemble piece about young hopefuls in the entertainment world churned out in the various Big Broadcast films of the 1930s and perfected by Arthur Freed at MGM. The hassled, abrupt producer; his dutiful second banana ordering the players around; a crooner with a drinking problem; a cute girl group, the Boutineers, that's a direct knock-off of the Andrews sisters; a couple of clean-cut young men, one destined for the Army Air Force and another taking the relay from his older brothers, now both in the service; "Pops," the janitor; the Judy Garland vulnerable heart of gold, and the tough sexy blonde who reeks of late nights with sugar daddies.

Read more and view images at . . . .

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Reviews from Elsewhere: Chaoses, The Broccoli Project, UT, reviewed by The Daily Texan

Found on-line:

Plan II players engage complex plot

By Gerald Rich
Daily Texan Staff
Thursday, November 19, 2009

Photo: Jordy Wagoner/The Daily Texan
In the picture Kyle Evora plays the character Felipe in The Broccoli Project’s latest production, “Chaoses,” written and directed by Plan II Honors student Hannah
[click photo to view larger version]

As audience members slowly trickled into the Burdine auditorium early Saturday night and chatted before the show, suddenly, and without any change in stage lighting, a planted cast member jumped up from the audience and began prefacing the play.

The audience is left to wonder where reality stops and the fiction begins in “Chaoses,” the latest play by Plan II student organization The Broccoli Project.

“Not only is it a play within a play, it’s like a play within a play within a play. There are plots crossing over, bending and interweaving,” said writer/director and Plan II junior Hannah Bisewski. “It speaks to how immutable that line is between reality and fiction. The characters in pieces of fiction, whether it’s a conscious effort or not, are always trying to transcend the limits of their own fiction.”

The play begins with a present-day journalist wishing to move away from the stark realism of news reporting. He sets out to write a slightly fictionalized yet reality-based memoir. The journalist then visits an elderly couple and begins to listen to the husband’s hilariously risque ramblings about his princess falling in love with a pirate. Although these ramblings initially seem like pure fantasy, the audience slowly learns that the stories actually lie somewhere in between fiction and reality.

Read more at the Daily Texan Online. . . .

Friday, November 20, 2009

Upcoming: Godspell, Jr., Austin Children's Theatre, December 4 - 6

Found on-line:

Godspell, Jr.

Austin Children's Theater
December 4 & 5 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, December 6 at 7 p.m.
Austin Children's Theatre
4001 Speedway

Directed and choreographed for ACT by Adam Roberts, Godspell Jr. is an especially exciting project for the ACT family: our first-ever production of a mainstream musical! The original 1971 off-Broadway production took New York by storm with music by the composer/lyricist of Wicked, Stephen Schwartz.

We're thrilled to bring to life onstage an all-important message of love, respect, kindness and humanity through this version of the musical, designed especially for performance by kids! There are 18 youth performers in this production that are sure to dazzle you and have you clapping along in no time! Don't miss out on the fantastic musical! Performances are one weekend only!

Tickets: $10 advance, $12 at the door
Info Phone: 512-927-6633

Upcoming: Farndale Ave. Townswomen's Guild Dramatic Society's Production of "A Christmas Carol", Way Off Broadway Community Players, Leander, 12/4-19

Found on-line:

The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen's Guild Dramatic Society's Production of "A Christmas Carol"

By David McGillivray & Walter Zerlin, Jr.
Directed By Tavaris "Tazz" Kelly

Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., December 4 - 19
with a 3 p.m. matinee on Sunday, December 13

In a festive mood, the ladies mount another assault on the classics with their stage version of A Christmas Carol. They enthusiastically portray a dizzy array of characters from the Dickensian favorite (and a few which aren't), engineer some novel audience participation while bravely contending with an intrusive PA system and a real Farndale first rap their vocal cords and feet around two original, show stopping songs. Another classic dramatic massacre that enthralls.

Click here to make reservations

Upcoming: A Christmas Carol, told by Bernadette Nason, Austin Playhouse, December 4 - 20

UPDATE: Review by Avimaan Syam in the Austin Chronicle, December 17: "There are a lot of holiday stories out there intended to warm your heart this time of year. Certainly there is a wide selection of Christmas Carols alone. Austin Playhouse gives one to you simply and precisely, which, during a season that can get very maudlin, is quite refreshing. Toward the end of Carol, the narration states of Scrooge that 'his own heart laughed' with joy. That certainly seemed true of Nason in that moment, and of all the audience as well."

Received directly:

A Christmas Carol
by Charles Dickens
December 4 - 20, 2009

starring Bernadette Nason
directed by Lara Toner

Austin Playhouse - King Theatre

Award-winning actress Bernadette Nason performs Charles Dickens’ own abridged version of A Christmas Carol. She'll create more than 30 characters in just over an hour as a festive treat for Austin Playhouse audiences!
[photo by Christopher Loveless]

Performances: Thursday – Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 5 p.m.
Special 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday, December 19!
Prices: $20. Student tickets are half-price.
Tickets: (512) 476-0084 or online at (online ticket sales include a service charge)

A Christmas Carol is suitable for children 7 and up. Children under 5 are not permitted.

Austin Playhouse Main Stage season subscribers and their guests receive a $5 discount off the regular ticket price for A Christmas Carol! Call 476-0084 for reservations!

Upcoming: The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge, Gasllight Baker Theatre, Lockhart, December 4-

UPDATE: Click for ALT review, December 10

UPDATE: GACA "A-Team" review by (uncredited), December 7

UPDATE: Click for additional images provided by Gaslight Baker Theatre

Received directly:

The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge

In December, The Gaslight Baker Theatre in downtown Lockhart Texas will treat the community to a festive comedic twist on a holiday classic: The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge. This family-friendly holiday play by American playwright Mark Brown will run from December 4 to 19 for a total of 8 performances.

Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., with 2 p.m. Saturday matinees on December 12 and 19

A year after his miraculous transformation, Ebenezer Scrooge is back to his old ways, suing Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmas for breaking and entering, kidnapping, slander, pain and suffering, attempted murder, and the intentional infliction of emotional distress. As the trial of the century progresses, hilarity ensues.

The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge features the great acting talents of Jennifer Davis, Arthur DiBianca, Jason Foreman, Carl Galante, Angela Irving, Lydia Kettle, Dana Peschke, Perry Redden, Derek Smootz, Katherine Wiggins, Jay Young and Gary Yowell. Directed by Stephen Reynolds, assisted by Beverly Galante, this holiday romp is sure to be fun for the whole family!

Be sure to check out our schedule and reserve your tickets today at or call (512) 376-5653. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for students and seniors. Discounts are available for groups of ten or more.

New Images for Ongoing: The Skin of Our Teeth, Different Stages at the Vortex Repertory, November 13 - December 5

Images by Brett Brookshire, received directly.

AustinLiveTheatre recommends The Skin of Our Teeth by Thornton Wilder, playing Thursdays - Sundays at the Vortex until December 5.

Shown: Andrew Matthews, Chloe Edmonson and Bobbie Oliver as the Antrobus family.

Click for ALT review.

View more images at . . . .

Upcoming: Dionysus in 69, Rude Mechanicals at the Off Center, December 3 -

UPDATE: Click for ALT review, December 5

UPDATE: Dan Solomon interviews director Shawn Sides for, December 4

UPDATE: Extensive backgrounder by Robert Faires, published in the Austin Chronicle, November 26

Found on-line:

Rudes rebirth

Dionysus in 69

December 3 -20, Thursdays - Sundays at 8 p.m.
at The Off Center
Tickets on sale now at Brown Paper Tickets

[Photos by Bret Brookshire]

Rude Mechs is proud to produce the first-ever revival of The Performance Group’s Dionysus in 69, a groundbreaking interpretation of Euripides’s The Bacchae. Offering Austin theatre-goers an extraordinary opportunity to relive history, the Rudes are painstakingly recreating the original production, using Brian de Palma’s filmed version of the play and the 1970 book, Dionysus in 69 as source materials, as well as inviting the original production's director, Richard Schechner, to guide several rehearsals.

Rude Mechs celebrates 40 years of experimental theatre by experiencing and learning about Dionysus in 69 in the deepest way - through its performance.

Ensemble: Heather Barfield, Elizabeth Doss, Thomas Graves, Jude Hickey, Matt Hislope, Jodi Jinks, Hannah Kenah, Josh Meyer, Aron Taylor, Katie Van Winkle
Co-Directed by: Madge Darlington and Shawn Sides

NOTE: In addition to Richard Schechner leading several rehearsals in advance of the production he will return to Austin for opening night December 4, when he'll briefly introduce the piece immediately before the show and will attend the opening night party following.


Read more and view images at . . . .