Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Arts Reporting: Austin Shakespeare Announces Cast for The Dream, Zilker Park, April 28 - May 30

Found on-line:

Artistic Director Ann Ciccolella has announced the cast for this summer's production of The Dream (our musical version of A Midsummer Night's Dream):

Puck - - Alex MacDonald Villareal
Oberon/Theseus - - William Moses
Titania/Hippolyta - - Kara Bliss
Lysander - - Joseph Banks
Demetrius - - Brian Hensley
Hermia - - Jenny Larson
Helena - - Gwendolyn Kelso
Egeus/Tom Snout - - Stephen Robinson
Nick Bottom - - Michael Dalmon
Peter Quince - - Andrew Matthews
Francis Flute - - Nathaniel Lahay
Robin Starveling - - Erin Molson
Snug - - Chris Skillern
Moth - - Macey Mayfield
Cobweb - - Eve Alonzo
Mustardseed - - Leslie Hollingsworth

Upcoming at Austin Drama Club: R&J, M of V, Mother C

Received directly:

Hello theatre fans,

We've been working hard on 3 productions at the same time. Here they are with their performance dates, Thursdays - Saturdays at 8 p.m.

Romeo and Juliet
(April 15 - May 1) is a repertory production directed by Japhy Fernandes. Cast members coming back from the '07 production include Casey Allen as Romeo, Japhy Fernandes as Friar, Christopher Harris as Paris, and Aaron Lawhon as Benvolio. New cast members include Ashley Mcnerney as Juliet, Sabrina Taributton as the nurse, Java as Lord Capulet, Teddy Fernandes as Tybalt, Steven Brandt as Mercutio, Lakeva Greene as Page to Paris, and Sarah England as Lady Capulet. Ellen Fernandes does lights and sound.

Set in the present with modern costumes and dance...some live loud electric guitar rock and plenty of colored lights and a fog machine. A few things are changed in this updated version....Paris is bound to a wheel chair from the top of the show. Tybalt wears a dress to the ball. Someone else kills Juliet at the end. I call it our Kurt and Courtney version...all apologies.

Merchant of Venice
by William Shakespeare (May 6 - 22). We did this gem back in '08 and gave it a 'Three is Company' sit-com type of feel. Set in modern times, and characters like Shylock and Antonio do their business on the raquetball court rather than on the Rialto. Portia and Nerrisa chew and twist gum around their fingers while choosing a husband with the choice of the right box. And then there is the famous courtroom scene. There was a man who recently flew a plane into an IRS building here in Austin -- in a final letter he made reference to this play when he told them that they would get their "pound of flesh...." You'd have to see the play to understand what he was getting at.

Returning from the original cast is director Japhy Fernandes who now takes the role of Shylock. Christopher Harris is back as Antonio, Casey Allen is back as Lorenzo. Making a triumphant return to the Austin Drama Club, Kevin Karwoski takes the role of Prince of Arogon/Duke. Sarah England (the witch from Macbeth) is our new Portia. Steven Brandt is our new Bassanio. Look for more new faces in this light hearted drama of a buisness/love deal gone bad.

Mother Courage
by Bertolt Brecht (June 3 - 19). It's a new show for us and our 1st attempt at Brecht. Austin Drama Club legend Aaron Lawhon makes this his directing debut. More details about the cast and play are coming soon.

Also, we've done some work on our performance space to give audiences more leg room, softer seats, and better air flow, so visit us again. Remember, for all shows seating begins 7:30 p.m...shows start at 8 p.m. We do our best to seat any latecomers. BYOB. No concessions. Donations go in the jar marked "donations." Contact for specific location, directions or any other questions.

Upcoming: Our Town, Zach Theatre, April 15 - May 23

UPDATE: Review by Jeanne Claire van Ryzin at Statesman's Austin360 "Seeing Things" blog, April 19

Received directly:



by Thornton Wilder

April 15 - May 23, Wednesdays - Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. , Sundays at 2:30 p.m.

Kleberg Stage , 1421 W. Riverside Dr. (corner of Riverside and South Lamar.)
Tickets range from $20 to $50, with $15 tickets available to students starting 1 hour prior to curtain time. Charge tickets by phone at 476-0541, ext. 1 or visit the Zach website to purchase on-line

Zach Theatre Re-Envisions “Our Town” in Our Town with all-star, all-Austin cast starring “Greater Tuna’s” Jaston Williams as the Stage Manager

Austin’s finest actors join together to tell the intimate, heartfelt story of America’s best loved play. Zach’s contemporary interpretation transports the audience to a chapel of love that will linger in your memory. Our Town audiences will watch the story unfold in several settings, including the wedding scene, which will be fully realized in its setting, costumes, environment with music by Austin area choral choirs. Directed by Dave Steakley, ZACH’s production is more than a play: it’s an experience as unique as Austin!

Jaston Williams, star of ZACH’s The Laramie Project and Austin‘s Greater Tuna will star as the iconic Stage Manager in Grover’s Corners. ZACH’s production also stars well-known, Austin favorites Michael Amendola, Michael Bryce, Janelle Bucahanan, Barbara Chisholm, Lana Dieterich, Christian Guerra, Harvey Guion, Billy Harden, Jordan McRae, Michael Mendoza, Crystal Odom, Don Own, Marco Perella, Scotty Robertson, Donelvan Thigpen, and Evan Underbrink,

ZACH Theatre is sponsored in part by Applied Materials, Austin American-Statesman, Time Warner Cable, Austin News TV 36, The Dell Foundation, Vollmer Public Relations, SOL Marketing Concepts, IKEA, The Shubert Foundation, The City of Austinunder the auspices of the Austin Arts Commission, The Texas Commission on the Arts, and The National Endowment for the Arts.

[Click for information on $5 discount offer]

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Images: How The Other Half Loves, City Theatre

Click for ALT review, April 8

Received directly:

images from City Theatre's production of

the Alan Ayckbourn comedy classic

How The Other Half Loves

March 25 – April 18
Thursdays – Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 5:30 p.m.
Reservations 512-524-2870 or by email to info AT
The City Theatre. 3823 Airport Blvd., east corner of Airport Blvd. and 38 ½ Street (behind the Shell station)

View more images at . . . .

Upcoming: Robin Hood, Scottish Rite Children's Theatre, Apri 10 - May 16

Found on-line:

brings back the popular classic

Robin Hood

April 10 - May 16, Saturdays at 10 a.m., Sundays at 2 p.m.

tickets available for weekday performances on April 14, 15, 29 and May 12 and 13

purchase on-line, by telephone Monday-Friday from 12 Noon to 4:30 PM at 512-472-KIDO (5436), or in person at the theatre, 18th and LaVaca ($8 children, $10 adults)

The Far, Far Away Kingdom is in danger! In this original production, the evil Sheriff of Nottingham has been stealing from the poor townspeople. Now it’s up to Robin Hood and his right hand man, Little John (with some help from the audience) to stop the Sheriff and save the lovely Maid Marian before she has to marry the no-good Nottingham!

The production is designed to be interactive with the audience and best suited for children ages 3-10. Weekday shows are great for school groups, care centers and home schoolers.

Upcoming: Max and Ruby, for children, One World Theatre, April 10

Found on-line:

Theatreworks USA presents

Max and Ruby

One World Theatre, 7701 Bee Caves Road
April 10, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Tickets: $9-$12 available on-line

Big sisters have big responsibilities, especially when the little brother is a big trouble-maker! Join in the fun as TheatreworksUSA presents a lovable new musical full of fun and sibling revelry: Max and Ruby!

Ruby, a seven-year-old rabbit, loves her Grandma very much and wants to do something special for her. She gets the brilliant idea to put on a show, with music and costumes and a castle and everything! She'll need some help, though, so she tries to enlist her little brother Max. Ruby wants to put on a play about a princess, but Max is already playing a cowboy. Ruby wants to work quietly, but Max is enjoying his noisy toys. Ruby wants to look for costumes, but Max is too busy looking for frogs!

Max is no help at all, so Ruby recruits her Bunny Scout friends for assistance. But can the help her finish Grandma's play in time? Find out in this delightful musical based on the top-rated Nickelodeon television show inspired by Rosemary Wells' bunny siblings, Max and Ruby!

Click for study guide, images, and more, from Theatreworks USA

Click to go to Theatreworks USA to view video of scenes from Max and Ruby

Upcoming: Keeping Track, Teatro Vivo at Salvage Vanguard, April 8 - 25

Click for ALT review, April 12

UPDATE: Interview of playwright-actress Erica Saenz by Jeanne Claire van Ryzin of the Statesman, April 8

UPDATE: Feature by Belinda Acosta in The Austin Chronicle, April 1

Received directly:

Teatro Vivo presents

Keeping Track

by Erica Saenz

April 8 - 25, Thursdays - Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 3 p.m.
Salvage Vanguard Theatre, 2803 Manor Rd
Tickets $16 general admission, $13 students and seniors, available on-line

This laugh out loud comedy is about a modern day Latino family balancing the fine line between staying in touch with la familia and just being nosy. Janet struggles with her husband, Albert, to get her "metiche" mother-in-law, Carolina, out of their house, so she can enjoy more of Albert's attention. Meanwhile, younger brother, Jack, and his wife Melinda deal with the complications of supporting their new baby. To top it off, there is their childhood friend, Yolanda, who might as well be family, to deal with.

Read more and see image at . . . .

Arts Funding: Cookie Ruiz Suggests Thanking the Commission

Cookie Ruiz of Ballet Austin, one of the arts community's chief spokespersons with the City, writes to arts organizations to suggest that organizations and artists write to members of the City's advisory Arts Commision, who voted unanimously on March 23 to reject City management's revisions to arts funding criteria and application forms. She includes the names of Commission members, with e-mails and other contact information.

In today's Austin Statesman Jeanne Claire van Ryzin summarizes the current status (Austin's arts funding changes on hold; Official: City will create task force to resolve tourism issue). KUT-FM mentioned the issue in a brief item in its Austin newscast.

Ms. Ruiz's note begins,

Dear Colleagues,

If you have a moment in the next few days and have not already done so, would you consider sending an email/note of appreciation to the members of the Arts Commission? The action taken by the commissioners on March 22nd to move into the “City of Austin Cultural Arts Funding Programs – Core Programs 2010/11” using the December guidelines was an important vote in support of the arts community. Their leadership and memo to City Council contributed to the decision not to move forward with the proposed revisions discussed in recent weeks, so close to the submission date. Many thanks to those that could arrange schedules to attend this meeting on short notice. Commissioner Pennington (Chair) reminded us that the platform for exchange and communication exists at each meeting of the Arts Commission, and invited our continued attendance/participation.

For continuation, Arts Commission contacts and links to earlier reporting on this issue, go to . . . .

Monday, March 29, 2010

Upcoming: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Tex-Arts Youth Production, April 10 - 11

Found on-line:

A Midsummer Night's Dream

by William Shakespeare

April 10 and 11

at TexArts' Kam & James Morris Theater
2300 Lohman's Spur at 620, Lakeway
Tickets $15.00 online at or call (512) 852-9079 x101

Under the direction of founder & former professional classical actor Todd Dellinger, the "Great Shakes" Theatre Troupe brings you one of Shakespeare's most beloved and enjoyed romantic comedies. On the heels of last year's hugely successful Much Ado About Nothing, the TexArts troupe breathes an exciting vitality and vigorous contemporary whimsy to this tried and true classic.

From forlorn lovers to fiery fairies of the wood, this classic is retold by TexArts' talented teens in a tangible and timely way. Gentles, come enjoy the fantastical realm of Titania, Oberon, Bottom, Puck and friends as they spin a dreamlike world of mischief and merriment.

Upcoming for Youth: Call It Courage, Zach Theatre, April 9 - May 8

UPDATE: Comments by webmaster, TheatreAustin, Yahoo Groups, May 14

Found on-line:

Call it Courage

Zach Theatre Premiere Youth Production
Whisenhunt Stage - Fridays-Sundays, April 9 - May 8
Tickets by Phone: (512) 476-0541, ext. 1

Music, Lyrics and Book by Adam Overett, Based on the book by Armstrong Sperry, Directed and choreographed by Adam Roberts, Associate Director Jaclyn Loewenstein, Featuring ZACH's Showstoppers

Mafatu's name means "Stout Heart," but he has lived his whole life in terror of the ocean. Now the time has come to face it. With his dog Uri, he climbs into a canoe and sets out on the sea to confront his fears. On the way he will battle sharks, boars, violent storms, and more. Will Mafatu survive to become the brave Chief he was meant to be, or will the sea conquer him after all? Join Mafatu on the journey of a lifetime in Call It Courage -- a tale of excitement, adventure, and self-discovery on the stormy South Seas!

Arts Funding: Michael Melinger's "After Action" Comments to City and to Arts Leaders

In his reply to the letter of March 26 from the City's Kevin Johns on the issue of potential changes to criteria for arts funding, Michael Melinger of the Austin Jazz Workshop examines the issues of supporting Austin arts generally, particularly arts education of all forms:

March 29th, 2010

Dear Friends,
We have come through an intense week regarding the future of arts funding in Austin. Many thanks to all who have contributed to the discussion.
I have read the recent letter from EGRSO Director Kevin Johns, and I appreciate the spirit of openness and the big-picture intentions that it expresses. But as always, the devil is in the details. I do have some concerns that I would like to share with you all, in the spirit of moving the arts into a more stable funding situation.

My first concern is for the future of arts education funding in the city. My reading of Kevin's letter is that arts education groups may be moved out of the HOT funds and into an unspecified-as-yet 'somewhere else'. If this 'somewhere else' ends up being the city's general fund, I fear we will be fighting this battle annually, with the threat of being cut always looming during lean budget years. Arts education funding would also be at the whim of future councils, mayors, and city managers who may not share our vision of its true value.

Don't get me wrong: any funding is better than no funding. But if were to lose our eligibility for HOT funds, we had better replace it with something equally as untouchable. Whether that be in the form of a usage fee, special tax, or something else would have to be up to the city council, but it would be a big mistake to rely on the city's general fund coffers for our continued survival.

Read more at . . . .

Master Class: Auditioning for Musicals, Joe Penrod and Jonathan Borden, Georgetown Palace, April 5

Tucked into programs at the Palace:

Master Class:

Singing for Auditions

Monday, April 5, 7 p.m.

Georgetown Palace Stage

Would you like to be able to sing with greater confidence at an audition? Do you ever wonder what makes a good audition song? Are you interested in learning how to bring a song to life? Then join us for an exciting evening of singing on Monday, April 5. Instructors Jonathan Borden and Joe Penrod will work with a number of singers, demonstrating techniques that you can use to make your next audition the best it can be.

The cost for non-Guild Members is $20, and Guild Members pay $10. If you would like to sign up for the Master Class, please email, Payment is due the day of the class.

All levels of experience are welcome. Only a set number of singers will be selected to actually sing during the class. Those individuals will be notified by March 29 that they have been selected to sing. Whether you sing or not, there will be a great deal to learn. Hope to see you there!

Upcoming: Robert Faires Revisits Henry V for UT Nilsson Lecture, April 1

Received directly from UT, the word that Robert Faires will reprise part of his breath-taking solo performance of Henry V:

Robert Faires revisits the Bard for fifth annual Nilsson Lecture

The David O. Nilsson Lecture in Contemporary Drama takes yet another wild turn this year with Austin Chronicle Arts Editor Robert Faires stepping in to reprise an excerpted version of his notable one-man take on Henry V.

The performance ­ titled "This is Not a Pipe" ­ will take place in the Capitol Room of the Blanton Museum of Art's Edgar A. Smith Building at 5:30 pm on Thursday, April 1. A reception beginning at 4:30 p.m. will precede the event .

The original version of Faires's Henry V played last summer at The Off Center Theater and garnered enthusiastic reviews for its combination of spare presentation and complex performance. Faires will pare down the previous adaptation while attempting to further disrupt the partition between audience and actor in this modernist perspective on Shakespeare's epic history.

Henry  V, Red Then ProductionsThe Nilsson Lecture was founded through the generosity of Dr. David O. Nilsson, a retired mathematics instructor at The University of Texas at Austin, independent scholar and Henrik Ibsen aficionado.

Past lectures have featured the Swedish novelist Lars Gustaffson (speaking on paradox in Ibsen's The Wild Duck), and director of Shakespeare at Winedale James Loehlin (on Stanislavski¹s contrarian production of The Cherry Orchard), and an entertaining panel of local playwrights including internationally-renowned Kirk Lynn and Keene Prize winner George Brant (discussing the state and fate of theater). Last year's lecture featured alternating performance and discussion of scenes from Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing featuring British actress Eunice Roberts and notable local actors Matthew Radford and David Stahl.

Please RSVP to (512)495-4363 or if you plan to attend.

Book: Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare by James Shapiro

The daily ArtsJournal on-line signals this review of James Shapiro's history/investigation of the question, published March 25 in The Economist:

William Shakespeare

Hero or hoax

The man and his pen

Mar 25th 2010 | From The Economist print edition

Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare? By James Shapiro. Simon & Schuster; 367 pages; $26. Faber and Faber; £20. Buy from,

[ . . . ] “What difference does it make who wrote the plays?” someone asked the author wearily. Mr Shapiro (for whom Shakespeare was definitely the man) thinks it matters a lot, and by the end of this book, his readers will think so too.

The authorship controversy turns on two things: snobbery and the assumption that, in a literal way, you are what you write. How could an untutored, untravelled glover’s son from hickville, the argument goes, understand kings and courtiers, affairs of state, philosophy, law, music—let alone the noble art of falconry? Worse still, how could the business-minded, property-owning, moneylending materialist that emerges from the documentary scraps, be the same man as the poet of the plays? Many have shaken their heads at the sheer vulgarity of it all, among them Mark Twain, Helen Keller, Henry James, his brother William, and Sigmund Freud.

Mr Shapiro teases out the cultural prejudices, the historical blind spots, and above all the anachronism inherent in these questions. No one before the late 18th century had ever asked them, or thought to read the plays or sonnets for biographical insights. No one had even bothered to work out a chronology for them. The idea that works of literature hold personal clues, or that—more grandly—writing is an expression and exploration of the self, is a relatively recent phenomenon. [ . . . ]

Read full text at . . . .

Sunday, March 28, 2010

ALT: From the Audience on World Theatre Day


comments prepared by Michael Meigs,
at World Theatre Day observance, March 27, 2010
organized by the Exchange Artists
at the Greater Austin Creative Alliance

Thanks to Susie Gidseg, and to Ken Webster and Robert Faires, who have just spoken.

For this program I represent the audience. My comments are a late addition to the program, which is just fine with me. I was surprised and gratified when the Creative Alliance offered me the chance to speak tonight. I couldn’t resist the opportunity.

The Audience. Normally mute and appreciative, happy to applaud. And now facing the old vaudeville dilemma –how can I follow acts like those?

Read more at . . . .

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Arts Reporting: Lt. Gov. Dewhurst Intimidates Tarleton U. into Cancelling Play

UPDATE: Touring production of Corpus Christi will present in Dallas, June 4-6, for Corpus Christi weekend, from KERA Art&Seek Blog, via Jeanne Claire van Ryzin of the Austin Statesman, April 19

UPDATE: Report by Ralph K.M. Haurwitz in Austin Statesman blog, March 27, and lots of comments by readers

Richard Whittaker reports in an Austin Chronicle blog that Texas Lt. Governor David Dewhurst used a press conference to intimidate Tarleton State University in Stephenville into cancelling a scheduled invitation-only performance of Terence McNally's
Corpus Christi:

Dewhurst the Critic

by Richard Whittaker, March 27

How is Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst like a radical Muslim leader? Because he's decided to get all condemnatory about the play Corpus Christi, thus drawing unwelcome and extraordinary attention to a student production and causing four plays to be canceled over safety concerns.

The play by Texas-raised and Tony-nominated playwright
Terrence McNally, about a gay Christ-like figure called Joshua, was to be part of a performance of one-act plays performed by students at Tarleton State University today, March 27. It is not a minor work (Time's Richard Zoglin called it "witty but not patronizing, as sober and cleansing as a dip in baptismal water") nor is it new (it was first performed in 1998.) Dewhurst, for no readily apparent reason (hey, isn't it an election year?) decided to weigh in on a student performance through a full-blown press release on Friday afternoon.

Read more at Austin Chronicle blogs. . . .

The Taming of The Shrew, All-Women Staged Reading, Austin Shakespeare, March 25 - 27

Much of the comedy in Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew arises from farcical transformation. Lucentio changes places with his servant Tranio; both suitors to the fair Bianca disguise themselves as tutors; an aged traveler is intimidated into playing the part of wealthy old Vincentio, Lucentio's father. And of course, the titular shrew of the piece, "Kate the curs't," is a woman seeking to assert her rights to autonomy, choice and respect, as if she had all the rights of a man!

The Elizabethans had no problem with that. In the post-show discussion on opening night, University of Texas prof Dr. Emily Richmond-Garza, head of the comp lit department, reminded actors and audience that in the theatre of Shakespeare's time there were two sure-fire crowd-pleasing delights: fights and wife-beatings.

Our own time finds it difficult to swallow the basic premise of The Taming of The Shrew, which is Petruccio's macho conquering, abasement and subjugation of Kate. Earnest apologia or exculpations appear in director's notes for some productions. Some directors emphasize Kate's intelligence and wiliness, providing interpretations and stage business indicating that rather than capitulating to Petruccio, she has in fact outsmarted him and everyone else.

Read more at . . . .

City Management's Reply to Cultural Arts Contractors, March 26

The following letter was sent March 26 by Kevin Johns, Director of the City's Office of Economic Growth and Redevelopment Service to organizations on record as cultural arts contractors.

Click to view larger version and continuation page at . . . .

Friday, March 26, 2010

Upcoming: Dead Man's Cell Phone by Sara Ruhl, Texas State University, April 8 - 11

Found on-line:

Texas State University presents

Dead Man's Cell Phone

by Sarah Ruhl
Directed by Christine Tankersley
April 8 - 10 at 7:30p.m.,April 11 at 2 p.m.

The answering of an incessantly ringing cell phone…of someone who is dead… leads to an unexpected chain of events, in this “wildly, imaginative comedy” by MacArthur “Genius” Grant recipient Sarah Ruhl. Dead Man’s Cell Phone explores how people memorialize the dead-and how that remembering changes them. It is the story of a woman forced to confront her own assumptions about morality, redemption, and the need to connect in a technologically obsessed world.

Read more at . . . .

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Upcoming: Chanteuse, CrystalSwordFish Theatre Works at Cafe Caffeine, April 9 - May 1

Found on-line:

Greenwood Nook Productions, in association with CrystalSwordFish TheatreWorks



book, lyrics and music by Louise Richardson
April 9 - May 1, Fridays and Saturdays at 9:30 p.m., Sunday times to be announced
Cafe Caffeine, 909 W. Mary Street (click for Google map and directions)

Chanteuse is the compelling and moving story of two young folk singers and their relationship to their art, their agent, each other, fame, and being true to one’s self set against the backdrop of the rise of folk music, the onset of the civil rights movement, and the political landscape of the United States from 1959 to 1982.

It follows two young women from Texas in their friendship and careers, and the owner of the coffee house where they get their start in show business.

Summary and audio recordings available at

Scenes from Chanteuse were produced at the 2007 FronteraFest Short Fringe, with Frank Delby, Katherine Fletcher and Angela Finney.

Go to to view the YouTube video that captures the opening of the show (9 min. 45 sec.)

Upcoming: Always, Patsy Cline, Bastrop Opera House, April 9 - May 1

Bastrop Opera House presents

Always...Patsy Cline

by Ted Swindley
Directed by Chester Eitze
starring Terry Lyne Moore as Patsy Cline and Engela Edwards as Louise Seger
Fridays and Saturdays, April 9 - May 1 at 7:30 p.m.
and one matinee performance Sunday, April 25 at 2:30 p.m.
Read more about the show at
Tickets $15 reserved seating
Produced by special arrangement with Ted Swindley Productions.

Always…Patsy Cline has enjoyed great success all over the United States, including a successful run off-Broadway. It has been one of the most produced musicals in America according to American Theatre Magazine.

Always…Patsy Cline is more than a tribute to the legendary country singer who died tragically at age 30 in a plane crash in 1963. The show is based on a true story about Cline’s friendship with a fan from Houston named Louise Seger, who befriended the star in a Texas honky-tonk in l961, and continued a correspondence with Cline until her death.

The musical play, complete with down home country humor, true emotion and even some audience participation, includes many of Patsy's unforgettable hits such as "Crazy," "I Fall to Pieces," "Sweet Dreams." and "Waking After Midnight"…27 songs in all. The show's title was inspired by Cline's letters to Seger, which were consistently signed "Love ALWAYS... Patsy Cline.”

Always...Patsy Cline reserved seating tickets: Purchase tickets on line with check or credit card. NO added fees.

Reviews from Elsewhere: Wayne Alan Brenner on FupDuck

From the Austin Chronicle, March 25 -- comments by Wayne Alan Brenner on FupDuck presented by Trouble Puppet Theatre Company, March 17-20:

You might think something is missing in this fine adaptation of Jim Dodge's modern, backwoodsy fable Fup, as directed by resident artist Caroline Reck for Trouble Puppet Theater Company.

You might think something more is necessary for a feeling of completeness as Chris Gibson, seated all dignified and authorial at a small table, performs the sole narrator's job with such solid professionalism and such compelling mastery of different voices that you suspect the man to be a star at some major audiobook company.

As the puppeteers maneuver their near-life-sized, articulated mannequins of Granddaddy Jake and the tall boy called Tiny around the darkly appointed stage, their movements smoothly choreographed and well-rehearsed, you might imagine . . . .

Read full text at . . . .

The Carpetbagger's Children by Horton Foote, Different Stages, March 19 - April 10

The Carpetbagger's Children, staged in 2005, was the penultimate of the Texas playwright's dramas, the next-to-the-last of from 40 (according to Wikipedia) to more than 60 (according to the New York Times). Like many of his dramas, it is set in the mythical town of Harrison, Texas, based on his birthplace Wharton, a crossroads southwest of Houston. Foote's final play was, aptly enough, a reworking of his earlier Dividing The Estate. He died last year at the age of 92. With Foote's previous consent, the Austin-based Marchbanks Foundation has established a $30,000 prize to recognize new American plays of exceptional quality, to be awarded every other year.

Well and good, one might say, and it's appropriate that Norman Blumensaadt and Different Stages should honor the playwright. Robert Faires pointed out last January in the Austin Chronicle the incongruity that this staging is only the fourth time in the past 20 years that Austin has seen a production of Foote's work.

That means I've seen half of them. As it happened, while traveling through Austin in 1998, well before imagining our own migration to this town, my daughter and I attended Don Toner's production of The Young Man from Atlanta at the State Theatre. That work, and the fact that a mainstream Austin theatre would do an elegant and deeply felt production of it, lingered in my memory. They shaped my perception of Central Texas and of Austin.

Read more at . . .

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Upcoming: World Theatre Day in Austin - Spect[Actor], March 27

Received directly:

Theatre artists will take to the streets, buses, shops, parks and fountains of Austin to engage unsuspecting audiences as participants in

Austin's World Theatre Day celebration.

The schedule of diverse performances has been released for the theatrical acts to be performed in everyday settings on Saturday, March 27, between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. in various locations around Austin.

Hosted by The Exchange Artists, Austin's SPECT[ACTOR] acts will be created and performed by local companies and individuals at locations throughout Central Texas.

Austinites will have the opportunity to encounter more than 50 actors in public places on March 27, including two theatrical acts taking place on public transit, with permission from Capitol Metro. Click on 'Read more" below to view the detailed schedule.

The evening will conclude with a party hosted by The Exchange Artists at 7 p.m. at the Creative Alliance Studios, located at 701 Tillery Street.

The event begins with a reading of the International World Theatre Day message written by Judy Dench, read by Hyde Park Theatre’s Ken Webster. Austin Chronicle arts editor Robert Faires will also deliver the first ever "State of the Arts in Austin Address". Michael Meigs of will speak "From the Audience." Refreshments, video clips from the day, live streaming footage from other cities celebrating World Theatre Day will also be included. The free event is open to the public.

Click for further information and schedule at . . . .

Upcoming: Harvey, Georgetown Palace Theatre, March 26 - April 18

Click for ALT review, April 5

Received directly:


by Mary Chase (Non-Musical)

March 26 - April 18, Fridays & Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m.
General admission, $20; seniors (55+), $18; students(16+)/active duty military with ID): $12, children 15 yrs or younger, $8

When Elwood P. Dowd starts to introduce his imaginary friend, Harvey, a six-and-a-half-foot rabbit, to guests at a society party, his sister, Veta, has seen as much of his eccentric behavior as she can tolerate. She decides to have him committed to a sanitarium to spare her daughter, Myrtle Mae, and their family from future embarrassment. Problems arise, however, when Veta herself is mistakenly assumed to be on the verge of lunacy when she explains to doctors that years of living with Elwood's hallucination have caused her to see Harvey also! The doctors commit Veta instead of Elwood, but when the truth comes out, the search is on for Elwood and his invisible companion. When he shows up at the sanitarium looking for his lost friend Harvey, it seems that the mild-mannered Elwood's delusion has had a strange influence on more than one of the doctors. Only at the end does Veta realize that maybe Harvey isn't so bad after all.

Arts Reporting: Beginnings of UT Drama - The Curtain Club

Preparing for the celebration of its 60th anniversary, UT's Department of Theatre and Dance has republished on-line a 1997 article on the Curtain Club, the student association that initiated theatre tradition at the university. Some extracts:

In the fall of 1908, several young men approached Stark Young, an English professor at UT, with the idea of forming a club whose purpose would be "to promote dramatic activity and the study of Shakespeare." Young agreed to sponsor the extracurricular organization and direct its productions. The name they chose was taken from a London theatre which flourished in Shakespeare's day, and the Curtain Club was born.

On March 2, 1909, the Curtain Club produced Ben Jonson's The Silent Woman with an all-male cast. Judging from contemporary articles in The Cactus and The Alcalde, the play was deemed a rousing success. In 1911, Moliere's The Miser played before a packed auditiorium and later toured Texas.

[. . .]

In 1916, women were finally admitted into the club. At that time, the students built all their own scenery, and usually borrowed props and costumes. Performances were first held in the University Auditiorium, until that building was condemned. The Scottish Rite Cathedral, the men's gym, the Labor Temple, Saengerrunde Hall, and even a tent were to house Curtain Club plays for the next decade.
Young left UT in 1915 to teach at Amherst College, and later to became a well-known theatre critic for the New York Times, New Republic, and Theatre Arts Magazine.

Read more at . . . .

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Update on City Arts Funding Revisions

The advisory Arts Commission of the City of Austin met in special session on Monday night, March 22, to consider changes to arts funding prepared by City staff in response to an opinion deliver by the City's legal office. After hearing citizen comments, the Commission voted unanimously to urge City Council members to reject the new criteria, which could have the consequences, inter alia, of cutting off grants for education and arts outreach.

Commission leaders and Latifah Taormina, Executive Director of the Greater Austin Creative Alliance (GACA) briefed arts organizations on March 23.

The story has broken in the press. Dan Solomon of surveys the issue and legal texts, as well as interviewing major players. Jeanne Claire van Ryzin, writing on the Statesman's Arts360 "Seeing Things" blog, does a brief summary but provides pertinent numbers and percentages regarding Austin's revenues from the hotel and occupancy tax.

Latifah Taormina provides an update today, March 23, by e-mail and on the NowPlaying Austin blog, opening, "It's working. . . . " Her piece includes notes about the action plan items suggested by arts organizations.

The Internet-based private news service reports that City Council members were taken by surprise by the deluge of more than 500 e-mails on the proposed changes in criteria for arts funding and they are displeased with city management. The article quotes acting mayor Mike Martinez, Randi Shade and Bill Spellman. Full text of report is reprinted by permission at the Austin Jazz Workshop website.