Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Cambiare's Kickstarter Appeal for the Final Push for Messenger No. 4, February 29


As of 4:30 p.m. on February 29, with five days left before the deadline friends of Cambiare Productions including Austin Live Theatre had pledged 88.9 percent of the company's Kickstarter goal of $4000 in support for Messenger No. 4. Here's Travis Bedard's thank-you video at the half-way mark. Below that is the company's explanation and further appeal for help in completing the funding (everything goes away if the $4000 goal isn't reached by the deadline). Click here or on the Kickstarter logo to go to the Messenger No. 4 project page.


After more than a year of work we are down to the final weekend of
Messenger No. 4 (or... How to Survive a Greek Tragedy) at the Blue Theatre.
If you are in the Austin area we hope you've been able to visit us (you still have a chance!). if you're not, we're sorry that you haven't been able to share this with us. It really is something.

As many of you are aware we've been running a
Kickstarter fundraiser to cover the non-discretionary portion of our budget and ensure that Cambiare Productions lives to fight another day.

I don't know of a single artist who likes asking for help in any way, but asking for financial help in particular feels like failing.

We haven't asked for personal donations since our first production Transformations and are only asking now because the economic climate has reduced City of Austin funding to the bare minimums.

Cambiare was one of 16 itinerant theatre companies in the City of Austin to be awarded grants in this fiscal cycle, but the grant funding was so slight that we declined it.

We decided instead to ask for a grant from our own advocates. From the folks who have supported us from the beginning, who've sat with us in diners and listened to our crazy ideas, or sewed costumes freshman year of high school. From the folks who share in our joys when we succeed, lend an ear when we fail, and hold us accountable when we're not sure.

Many of you have already given and I can't thank you enough for your support. The outpouring has been humbling. With 5 days remaining we have reached just over 80% of our goal. If we don't reach the 100% threshold we don't recieve
any of the pledged money so we are reaching out more specifically to ask for help.

We are aware that many of you aren't in a position to give, if that's the case we ask that you tell your friends. If you can only give a little consider this:

One backer has already ensured that if we reach our goal Travis will have to get their name tattooed on his leg.

You want to help make that happen.

Thank you all for everything you have done for us over the years, thank you for the help already given on this project, and thank you for the help you will provide in the future.

Travis, Will, and Amanda

P.S. don't forget to check out Travis' celebratory performance of the Hanson song

P.P.S. Bowties are cool.

Upcoming: Reading/Lecture by Playwright Sherry Kramer, Michener Center for Writers, University of Texas, March 22

The Michener Center for Writers of the University of Texas

presentsSherry Kramer (image from Michener Center for Writers)

Sherry Kramer

reading from a work in progress

7:30 pm • Thursday • March 22, 2012
Avaya Auditorium, ACE 2.302
southeast corner of 24th & Speedway on campus

Sherry Kramer's readings are always wildly entertaining, like her work—a fearless melding of humor, pathos, and intellect. Kramer’s plays have been produced in theaters across the country and abroad. She is a recipient of fellowships from the NEA, the NY Foundation for the Arts and McKnight Foundation. Her other honors include the Weissberger Playwriting Award and a NY Drama League Award (WHAT A MAN WEIGHS), the LA Women in Theater New Play Award (THE WALL OF WATER), and the Jane Chambers Playwriting Award (DAVID'S REDHAIRED DEATH). She was the first national member of New Dramatists, former head of the Iowa Playwrights’ Workshop, and is on the permanent faculty at Bennington College.

Auditions for Zilker Productions' The Sound of Music, March 17, 18 and 31; Audition Workshop Added

Zilker Theatre Productions Austin TX
The Sound of Music Rodgers & Hammerstein Zilker Productions Austin TXWe are now accepting audition requests for this summer's production of The Sound of Music, directed by M. Scott Tatum. Auditions are by appointment only, so e-mail us now to reserve your spot! Primary auditions will be held on Saturday & Sunday, March 17 - 18 and on Saturday, March 31. Callbacks are scheduled for Sunday, April 1 (and possibly Saturday, April 7). The show's run dates are from July 6 to August 11, with performances Thursday through Sunday. Rehearsals are currently scheduled to begin mid to late May.

Who Individuals 7 years of age and older are invited to audition. ZTP warmly encourages actors of all ethnic/racial backgrounds to audition.
How Auditions are by appointment only. To schedule a time or to ask questions, please contact us at
What to Prepare Please come prepared to sing 32 bars of a musical theatre song, in the style of the show, that best shows your range and vocal ability. Be aware that we may stop you after 16 bars. Bring sheet music (already in your key) for the pianist. No a cappella or taped accompaniment allowed. Wear comfortable clothing and appropriate footwear for the dance audition, which will be in the form of group dance call. Bring a headshot and resume.

We welcome, but do not require, auditioners to attend one of our free Audition Workshops. Please note we have added a new section for 7 - 14 year olds on Saturday, March 17. Click to go to for more information.

If you are unable to attend the auditions in person, please contact us to receive information about sending in a video audition.

These positions are paid positions. Please note that at this time, Zilker Theatre Productions is unable to hire Actor's Equity Association members. We hope to be able to work out an agreement sometime in the near future.

Opinion: Graham Schmidt on Maxsym Kurochkin and Breaking String's New Russian Drama Festival, March 9-11

Published at the Fusebox Festival blog:

The New Russian Drama Festival, or Writing Plays No One Will Be Able To Read in 20 Years

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012 New Russian Drama Festival

As Fusebox approaches we are asking artists from across disciplines to submit thoughts and perspectives on the unique worlds they work with. In our first installment Graham Schmidt of Breaking String Theater Co., offers a splendid essay on their work with the New Russian Drama Festival.

Graham Schmidt by AustinLiveTheatreThis past December, Moscow Times theater critic John Freedman predicted that life would “return to something resembling normalcy at some point.” Protests against fraudulent parliamentary elections had engulfed the city; Muscovites gathered repeatedly by the tens of thousands to demand free and fair elections, and an end to Vladimir Putin’s rule as a de facto dictator.

With the presidential elections looming and the protests ongoing, normal is nowhere in sight for Moscow’s theater community. This is the backdrop against which Breaking String Theater Co., in association with Fusebox Festival and the Center for International Theatre Development, welcome two of Moscow’s most important theater professionals to Austin for a weekend of conversations, play readings and the American premiere of one of Moscow’s most popular plays from the 2011-2012 theater season: Maksym Kurochkin’s The Schooling of Bento Bonchev.

Finished in 2010, Bento is not a political play by any stretch, but a love story with a twist. The setting is the near future on a typical American college campus – recognizable in every sense, except that the people in this world have decided that love is a superstition, and thanks to advances in technology, sex is obsolete. Max’s play dashes through the life of Bento Bonchev, a graduate student in the history of human sexuality who renounces his mentor-professor and rejects love, while finding himself drawn to a young woman named Sandy throughout his life.

Freedman’s translation of Bento is his fifth Kurochkin play. On what drew him to the work initially, he notes, “Max’s work has always attracted me with its intelligence and its inventiveness. He may be the only writer I know of who at least comes close to working in a new genre each time he writes a play. And he’s written well over two dozen.”

Indeed, Kurochkin’s play partakes of the same mind-spinning mixture of fantasy and reality, antiquity and modernity, and comic sensibility that he’s become known for. Plays like the 2001 Kitchen – a commentary on the enduring influence of history, set simultaneously in the world of Norse mythology and the kitchen of a tourist-attraction in Russia’s hinterlands, and 2003’s Vodka, Fucking and Television, which tracks a man’s mid-life crisis and break with his constant companions (the play’s title roles), garnered Kurochkin critical acclaim and a reputation for challenging, innovative plays, and catapulted him to the fore of what became known as the New Drama movement in Russia.

Read more at the Fusebox Festival blog . . . .

Click to go to the schedule for the New Russian Drama Festival

Auditions for Billboard by Michael Vukadinovich, Punchkin Repertory Theatre, March 5 and 7

Punchkin Repertory Austin TXPunchkin Repertory Theatre, an Austin-based theatre company, is holding auditions for Billboard by Michael Vukadinovich on Monday, March 5th, 6 - 9 p.m. and Wednesday, March 7th, 6 - 8 p.m., with a possible third audition day TBA. Billboard won the 2006 Next Generation Playwriting Contest by Reverie Productions and the 2006 Tim Robbins Playwriting Contest for Plays of Social Significance. *Show dates: May 11, 12, 13, 17, 18, and 19 @ Salvage Vanguard Theatre. Possible deferred pay.

Characters:Andy - a writer in his 20s; Katelyn - an artist, Andy's girlfriend, in her 20s; Damon - Andy's best friend, in his 20s

Andy, a recent college graduate weighed down by student loans, gets paid a great deal to tattoo a corporate logo on his forehead. His artist girlfriend Katelyn is not impressed, his liberal best friend thinks he's crazy, and now he has to live with it. The decision has both tragic and comic consequences as he comes to learn that the logo is more than just ink on his skin. But Katelyn sees a unique artistic opportunity. She sees his body as an example of the extent to which consumerism has permeated our daily lives. Billboard is a comedy about the battle between commercialism, fame, art and love.

Auditions will take place at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center - Raul Salinas Room, 1st floor (next to the main office), 600 River St., Austin, TX 78701 (click for map). To schedule an audition appointment, please email headshot/resume to lease prepare a 1-minute seriocomic monologue. Auditions may also consist of cold readings from the script. For more info. about the company and its mission, please visit You can follow us on Facebook.


Upcoming: Arsenic and Old Lace, Circle Arts Theatre, New Braunfels, April 12 - 29

Circle Arts Theatre New Braunfels TX

presentsArsenic and Old Lace (image via

Arsenic and Old Lace

by Joseph Kesselring

April 12- April 29

Opening Thursday, April 12, playing Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m.
Circle Arts Theatre, 124 Elizabeth St, New Braunfels, TX 78130 (click for map)
tel. 830-837-6172 - Visit the website
Tickets $18 - Purchase tickets on-line
Driving directions - View the seating chart

This classic is just as funny as ever. When Mortimer comes home for a visit, he finds a dead body in the window seat and his two elderly aunts simply explaining that "it's a chairity." Add in a murderous brother and another one that thinks he's Teddy Roosevelt and you've got pure comedy on your hands!

[image from]

Upcoming: The Blue Marble, Zach Theatre for Schools, mornings, April 10 - May 11

Zach Theatre

program for schools presentsBlue Marble Zach Theatre Austin

The Blue Marble

created by Tina Gramann & Shaun Wainwright-Branigan
written by Shaun Wainwright-Branigan

Celebrate Earth Day 2012 and travel boldly through the solar system, as creatures from outer space discover and learn what makes Planet Earth unique. Focus on saving water, recycling and ways to keep the third rock from the sun safe and beautiful!

Live on Stage Tuesday Through Friday, April 10 through May 11, 2012
SHOWTIMES: Weekday mornings at 9:45am and 11:00am
Click here to make your reservation
COST: $5 per child | 1 adult for every ten children is free | each additional adult is $10

Discounts are available for Title 1 schools with a high percentage of students eligible for the free or reduced lunch program. Check with your bookkeeper to learn your current percentage before you call.


  • After you make your reservation, you will get an invoice e-mailed to you within two days of your reservation
  • Payment is due one month before your visit. If you need an extension, please call 512-476-0594 x 236
  • Remember to reserve your buses early!
  • Parent Chaperones are welcome and should make reservations with the teacher coordinating the group. Payment for parents must be collected before arrival to expedite the seating process.
  • Cancellations must be submitted in writing two weeks prior to your scheduled performance date. Groups that fail to give minimum written notice or fail to show on the reserved date are responsible for 20% of the balance.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Upcoming: A View from the Bridge by Arthur Miller, San Antonio College, April 5 - 15

San Antonio College, TX

presentsA View from the Bridge Arthur Miller via LCC Theatre, Lansing MI

A View from the Bridge

by Arthur Miller

directd by Charles Falcon

April 5 - 15

1300 San Pedro Ave., San Antonio, Texas, 78212
Times: April 5-7 at 7:30 pm and April 12-14 at 7:30 pm and April 15 at 2:30 pm
Tickets: $2 with Alamo Colleges ID; $8 Other students and $10 General Admission; ATAC judges free

Written by quintessential American dramatist Arthur Miller, A View from the Bridge is as timeless as the Greek tragedies on which it is modeled and as contemporary as today's headlines. Eddie Alfieri, a local lawyer, tells the story of Longshoreman Eddie Carbone who lives in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn with his wife Beatrice and her orphaned niece Catherine, whom they have brought up as their own daughter. Into the household come two of Beatrice's cousins from Italy who enter the country illegally to find work on the waterfront. Eddie's love for his niece turns to obsession when the younger of the Italian brothers, Rodolpho, and Catherine strike up a friendship that blooms into romance. Soon Eddie's conflicted feelings lead him to betray his family's trust and in a desperate attempt to split them up before they can marry, he betrays both cousins to the Immigration Authorities. This timeless American tragedy touches upon the themes of loyalty, justice, family, homosexuality and betrayal.

Directed by Charles Falcon, Set Design by Debra Coates, Costume Design Ronald Watson, Sound Design by Paula Rodriguez
For More Information: 210-486-0486 or Cfalcon[AT]

Auditions for To Be Continued, Stiletto Productions, March 6

Stiletto Productions Austin TXAuditions for To be Continued..., a new play by Cliff Butler, based on the novel Eternity by Ned Snead, directed by Jenny Lavery. Produced by Stiletto Productions and the Snead Institute.
Auditions will be held on Tuesday, March 6 from 7- 9 p.m. at the Salvage Vanguard Theatre, 2803 Manor Rd. (click for map) Callbacks will be Wednesday, March 7 from 7-10 p.m. at Salvage Vanguard Theatre.

5 men, 20s - 70, one woman 11-15. Equity & Non-Equity Actors encouraged to audition. All roles are paid. Please email by March 5 to schedule an appointment. If you are unable to make the above mentioned time, please let us know. Allow 24 hours for confirmation of you audition slot. Thank you.

REQUIREMENTS: Please prepare a monologue, no more than 2 minutes. Bring a head shot and resume.

Performance dates: May 17-June 3, Thurs-Sat at 8 pm, Sun at 2 pm Rehearsals: March 19th-May 16, evenings and weekends

SYNOPSIS: The play chronicles an older man remembering his life/lives while he questions his legacy. What does he leave behind? What will he be remembered for? Does one's life or legacy even matter?

Click to view character list and descriptions at

Ongoing: The Cherry Bowl, Ben Schave's commedia dell'arte version of The Cherry Orchard, February 24 - March 10

Gnap Theatre Projects Austin TX


The Cherry Bowl Ben Schave after Chekhov, Austin TSX

The Cherry Bowl

by Ben Schave

February 24 - March 10, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m.

Salvage Vanguard Theatre, 2803 Manor Rd. (click for map)

$10 general admission, $5 high school and college students

tickets available on-line (with surcharge) at Gnap! Theatre Projects

A commedia-inspired adaptation of Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard by one of Austin’s preeminent physical comedians, Ben Schave. In this near dialogue-free production, Chekhov’s masterpiece is distilled down to its gestural essence.

Featuring: Jessica Arjet, Emily Breedlove, Kristin Firth, Bob Galligan, Brad Hawkins, Niki Jacobsen, Brady James, Michael Jastroch, Frank Nappi, Joel Osborne, Jayme Ramsay, Aaron Walther

Auditions for Wild Dust, Way Off Broadway Community Players, Leander, March 12

Way Off Broadway Community Players in Leander will be holding auditions for Wild Dust by Flip Kobler, directed by Rick White, on Monday March 12 at 7 p.m. Auditions will consist of cold readings from the script. There are roles for 8 women, and 1 man.

Wild Dust Way Off Broadway Community PlayersAuditions are open to the public and will be held at Way Off Broadway's new theater, located in the 2243 Business Park at 11880 West FM 2243, Leander, 1 mile west of Hwy. 183, just east of Bagdad Road. (click for map)

The time is the 1800’s and one of the worst dust storms of the century has hit a western town. All the townsmen have left to help move the ranchers’ precious livestock to safe shelter. The women in the area are left to find their own safe shelter in the strongest building in town: the saloon and brothel. Tempers flare and sparks fly, injected with comedy, when society ladies are forced to take refuge with the “fallen” women. Now a lone cowboy stumbles in, a mysterious stranger who may or may not be a U.S. Marshal. Which adds to the tension because the women of the saloon are trying to dispose of the bartender’s body - who was killed in self defense - before anyone discovers the murder! As the storm kicks into high gear, there’s a tempest brewing inside. For three days everyone is forced to face each other and themselves. Femininity meets machismo and both are stripped bare as everyone fights the roles in which society has them pegged. Love, self esteem and a healthy dose of laughter are the results.


COOPER - A decent horseman who somehow got off track.
MARION - The boisterous, flamboyant mama of the saloon.
BELLE – Georgia-born eye candy with a huge heart. A few peaches short of a full load.
SALLY - A cynical but pretty woman of Asian descent. She has the heart of a banker.
HARD CORA - A woman out of time. The town’s blacksmith and better than any man.
DENISE - A dreamer who for too long has been lost in make believe.
LOUISE STYLES - A smart, sophisticated, opinionated and self-righteous mother.
GERTIE - Louise's daughter. Repressed as a child, she’s a good girl about to hit the fan.
REBECCA - A sturdy woman, recently blind and hating that this cost her independence.

All interested parties are encouraged to audition. Way Off Broadway is continually searching for performers, technicians, and other volunteers of every experience level.

Additional information is available at our website, .

Performances will be at 8:00 PM on April 27, 28, May 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, and 19 and at 3:00 PM on May 6.

Civilization (All You Can Eat) by Jason Grote, Salvage Vanguard Theatre,

Civilization (All You Can Eat) Jason Grote (poster art: Derek A. Rosenstrauch)

By Catherine Dribb

It’s strange. The concept is great, but the play is strange.

Just a warning.

The show opens with actors engaged in movement who quickly scatter when the initial dialogue begins, and the audience meets the first character, a hog, played by the talented Jude Hickey. And the rest is, well, an unveiling not only of hogs but also of porn stars, bigots, directors, hippies, self-help-book authors and (of course) actors.

It’s a strange show. But what was I expecting?

Under the direction of Jenny Larson, Salvage Vanguard Theater presents Civilization (All You Can Eat) by Jason Grote, a playwright simultaneously watching two productions of his show go up in Washington DC and, you guessed it, Austin. While I can’t speak to the D.C. show, the Austin cast is strong, rivaled only perhaps by the set designed by Connor Hopkins and the visual concept for the show, which I found compelling and effective, if under used.

From George Washington eating Twix bars to a giant man-hog strangling a runaway porn-star teenager, the show will surprise and shock you with both laughter and poignant disillusionment.

That’s not to say the writing is brilliant. It isn’t. The script appeared to be the weakest part of this production. Scenes dragged not because of boring actors or bad directing but because the dialogue isn’t engaging. Like I said, the concept is great. The writing wasn’t.

Civilization is described as a “parable of the Obama age,” where “desperation, desire, and existential dread connect the lives” of the characters. Hilarity mixes with overwhelming disillusionment as the audience empathizes with the characters trying to make a small difference in the world, to embody the change they long to see. They want to be effective and good at something, however obscure or shunned by society. They want to felt, noticed, loved, successful: these are basic longings of most of the angsty offspring of baby boomers.

Barack Obama said change was on the horizon. But is it, really, when compared to the stars staring down on us from millions of miles away? Is it, when a thousand or a million butterflies can change the course of history without any rhythm or warning? What really drives this world? What really matters?

Pertinent questions. I can’t say Civilization (All You Can Eat) adequately expressed or, for that matter, answered them (but wasn’t that the point?). But the concept was there. The disjointed chaos emphasized by the apparent links among these characters’ lives reminds us where the playwrightwanted to go, despite the fact that he never took us there.

Got a free night next weekend? Go see Civilization. It’s fresh, creative and different. And funny as hell. Disjointed, but amusing. Featuring Florinda Bryant, Michael Joplin, Heather Hanna, Griçelda Silva, Mical Trejo, Annie La Ganga and Jude Hickey. The set is brilliant, the acting is fresh and the play is short… under an hour and a half with no intermission.

Hey, George Washington… is that a Twix bar you’ve got hidden under that Declaration of Independence?

Maybe. Then again, maybe not.

Civilization (All You Can Eat). And then some.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Proof, Trinity Street Players, February 16 - March 10 (extended run)

David Auburn's Proof plays with the audience, cannily withholding elements essential to the story taking place before our eyes in a back garden, adjacent to the University of Chicago. The first of those elements arrives after a lengthy gentle conversation between a relaxed, reassuring professor of mathematics and his earnest, worried daughter. Similar to an instruction to divide by the square root of -1, it obliges new rules upon us, sending us off into the world of the imaginary.

Auburn does it again at the close of Act I, when Bridget applies an operator that's similar to [*-1], giving our results a smart shake that turns our received knowledge inside out. And since in good story telling tradition surprises come in 3's, he situates the opening of the second act not in n but rather in [n - x] where x = 4 and the units are years.

Leaving math play aside for a moment, one intriguing aspect of Auburn's story about the frontiers of mathematics and the far reaches of human rationality is how little of mathematics appears in it. Of course, your ordinary audience would probably sit glassy eyed at any serious intent to explain a major postulate or proof. We who are largely innumerate take the existence of higher mathematics largely on faith, and we're perfectly satisfied when Auburn withholds the mumbo jumbo of technical terms for the the final seconds of the piece when the stage lights are going down. Catherine, granted credence by her aspiring suitor the graduate student in math, is about to take his adoring attention into those mythical realms where we can't follow.

Proof only hints at mathematical proofs, exercises in a closed and shining world where everything fits incontrovertibly. More importantly, it offers us the search for proof in a more judicial sense -- the messy accumulation of facts, testimony and human interactions intended to establish in our fallible mind , beyond a reasonable doubt, a version of reality.

Read more at . . . .

Upcoming: Wit by Margaret Edson, City Theatre, March 18 - April 8

City Theatre Asutin TX

City Theatre Austin

presentsWit Margaret Edson City Theatre Austin TX


by Margaret Edson

March 15 – April 8, Thursdays - Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 5:30 p.m.

The City Theatre, 3823 Airport Blvd. Suite D. 78722 – east corner of Airport Blvd. and 38 ½ Street.(click for map)

For reservations, call 512-524-2870 or e-mail $15 General seating. Front Row Reserved $25. Thursday all seats $10. Kid ten and under $10. Group and student discounts.

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. After spending years studying and teaching the metaphysical poetry of John Donne, an uncompromising English professor diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer struggles with doctors and family ultimately reassessing her life with such profundity, grace and humor that she transforms herself and all those around her.

"A dazzling and humane play that you will remember till your dying day." —NY Magazine.

Starring Dr. Judith Laird with Vanessa Marie, Clay Avery, Kristen Bennett and Craig Kanne.

Call for Asian American Actors and for Techs: Cheese by Irwin Tang, Lucky Chaos Theatre, Asian American Performance Art Collective

Lucky Chaos Theatre Austin (chaos image by Erika Thornpe via - Auditions and Tech Call for LuckyChaos Asian American theater

Lucky Chaos Theater, a sponsored project of the Austin Asian American Arts Collective (AAAC), announces the premiere of Irwin Tang’s original play Cheese. Cheese is a heartwarming and hilarious tale of a Chinese American family set in small-town Texas in the 1980s. Director: Estevan Chuy Zarate The show runs April 13th to 21st (Fri/Sat)

[image: Chaos by Erika Thorpe via]

Character Breakdown
NOTE: For the Shiu family, the breakdown refers to the ethnicity of the characters, not necessary the ethnicity of the actors.

Mr Shiu -- male 40s to 50s, Chinese descent, Chinese accent
Mrs Shiu -- female 40s to 50s, Chinese descent, Chinese accent
Irvine Shiu -- male, 14, Chinese descent (Looking for actor 18 and over)
Berkerley Shiu -- female, 13, Chinese descent (Looking for actor 18 and over)
Mr. Wallace -- male 30s to 60s, any ethnicity

Respond via Craig's list posting of February 27. Craig's list PostingID: 2873595345.

Also looking for tech personnel for lighting, sound, stage manager and stage hands. Some positions are paid. Please email for more information. [ALT note: this domain may not yet be functioning; also try]

AAAC is a nonprofit based in Austin, TX. Our mission is to promote and support original works by Asian American artists, or works about the Asian American experience, especially but not limited to performance and visual arts.

Reviews from Elsewhere: Phineas and Messenger No. 4, Cambiare & Paper Moon Productions, February 17 - March 4, reviewed by David Glen Robinson

Posted at the Tutto Theatre blog, February 26, by David Glen Robinson:

Messenger No. 4 Cambiare Productions Phineas Hamm Paper Moon Austin TXThese full-length plays were presented as a double feature (although one could choose to buy a ticket for a single play only), and this arrangement gave Dr. Dave a huge theatre night. Fortunately, the productions were spectacular and well-matched and left their audiences energized and satisfied. Unfortunately, these shows will soon be competing head-to-head for numerous awards in the upcoming award nominating and granting season—Dr. Dave predicts.

The 27 Would-Be Lives of Phineas Hamm
is a full-production premiere of an original play by its director, Rachel Maginnis. The set, costumes and props have a nineteenth century European feel to them, inspecific as to place. Speaking accents were not used or attempted by the cast. The title character inherits a device from his inventor father, that, when used, kills him and reincarnates him in a new life. [. . .]

Messenger #4 hails from the classically obsessed imagination of Will Hollis Snider of Cambiare Productions. A literary agency has proprietary technology, which allows it to send the Messengers into every Classical and Elizabethan play—to manage their common literary devices of messengers coming on stage telling the characters and audiences what has just happened off stage. That way a playwright doesn’t actually have to stage the sea-battle of Actium or anything else enormous that wouldn’t fit onto the stage. Hilarity ensues. Messages to different plays get switched; technology goes haywire; and characters fall in love. Yes, this is farce comedy.

Read more at the Tutto Theatre blog . . . .

Reviews from Elsewhere: Jigglewatt Jubilee, February 24, reviewed by David Glen Robinson

Posted at the Tutto Theatre blog, February 26, by David Glen Robinson:

I have been wanting to write this blog for a long time. I have been a fan of members of the Jigglewatts burlesque troupe since before they were Jigglewatts. They tour nationally now, and occasionally overseas, So tonight’s show (actually two performances--at 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.) was somewhat of a rarefying opportunity to see them in Austin. So I reserved a VIP table and showed up at the venue with time to spare.

OK, stop You. I didn’t go to a strip show or to a “gentlemen’s club.” The Jigglewatts perform a new and rising form of alternative performance that I call New Burlesque. It borrows from your grandmother’s vaudeville burlesque, yes, but it also adds to that certain new forms such as rock music, an emphasis on costuming, acting, dance and social networking. The short intro is that in New Burlesque they never fall out of their pasties and G-strings, although there have been legendary accidents. More on New Burlesque later. You’ll have to dig up the legendary accidents for yourself.

Looking around the 29th St. Ballroom I saw an alternative crowd of hipsters, street people, artists, retired go-go- girls, industrial workers, a few Goths (getting old and gray now), the leather crowd, in short, the demimonde. Jigglewatts aficionados all. The acreage of tattooed flesh was so great that it truly became urban camouflage. This is not mine, OK, I’ve heard it before, but it is certainly true. These are the people who have unfettered imaginations and are ruled by their dreams, not the boss’s punch-clock. They pay for having minds and talents by working behind retail counters and in repair shops their entire lives. Management does not like or promote them, and they scrape together a living in one postindustrial slough or another. Altogether they form a vast underground tribe.

Read more at the Tutto Theatre website. . . .

Reviews from Elsewhere: Woodwork by Hank Schwemmer, Paper Chairs, February 17 - March 4,reviewed by David Glen Robinson

Posted at the Tutto Theatre website, February 26, by David Glen Robinson:

is another Woodwork Hank Schwemmer Paper Chairs Austin TXproduction taking place in a warehouse, this time the huge Delta Millworks factory at 5th St. and Springdale Road in east Austin. Again I say “Aah, east Austin.” The place by its very existence gives the theatre world extremely rich settings and imagery, seemingly without end. The setting could not be more apt for presenting this dense, colorful and fantastically textured collection of six one-acts by Austin playwright Hank Schwemmer. The place was well-designed and prepared when the seating (no paper chairs) was set out around the space. I complimented scenic designer and director Lisa Laratta (one of four directors of these plays) that she had even designed in the sweet, aromatic wood fragrance that permeates the place. She said, “Yeah, that and the popcorn smell—it can’t be all one thing, you know.”

Click to read more at . . . .

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Upcoming: Mud Offerings by Natalie Marlena Goodnow, Southwestern University, April 3

Southwestern University, Georgetown


Mud Offerings Natalie Marlena Goodnow Southwestern University

Mud Offerings

by Natalie Marlena Goodnow

Tuesday, April 3, 5:30 p.m.

Sarofim Fine Arts, Heather Hall

Southwestern University, Georgetown

This piece is a solo play unraveling the culturally complicated truths, lies and mythologies of women's spirituality and sexuality in contexts of violence and betrayal. Directed by Dino Foxx and kt shorb.

Natalie Marlena Goodnow is a nationally recognized teatrista, teaching artist and cultural activist from Austin, Texas. She performs, directs and writes; she's been practicing some combination of those forms for seventeen years and began teaching through and about them 8 years ago. She specializes in the creation of original work for the stage, as a solo performer and in collaboration with other performers and playwrights, both youth and adult.

Mud Offerings is the 2011 winner of the Jane Chambers Playwriting Award, which recognizes excellence in feminist plays and performance texts nationwide and has been presented at conferences festivals and venues such as the National Museum of Women in the Arts (Washington DC) , the Women at Work Festival, Stage Left Studio (New York, New Yor4ki and El Mundo Zurdo: An International Conference on Anzaldúan Thought (San Antonio, TX). Natalie ('07) studied Theatre, Spanish and Feminist Studies at Southwestern University.

This performance is sponsored by the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, the Feminist Studies Program, the Theatre Department, Kappa Delta Chi sorority, and Latinos Unidos.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Love in Pine by Gary Jaffe, Last Act Theatre Company at Broken Neck, February 16 - March 3

by Michael MeigsLove in Pine Gary Jaffe Last Act Theatre Company Austin TX

Gary Jaffe's Love in Pine is a coming-of-age story, a coming-out story and a fable with a tree spirit and ghosts, all this with multiple realities and time periods anchored in the fictitious town of Pine, Texas at a time of conflagrations. This is unmistakably Bastrop, at about the time that Jaffe left Yale Drama School to return to his hometown of Austin. One wonders uneasily how much of this is auto-therapy, considering that a central character is seen job hunting on the east coast and then returning via some magical transport to the Texas that she holds in disdain.

Just now as I put the header on this piece, my fingers of their own volition typed Love in Pain instead of Love in Pine. That was a Freudian slip, not a an effort to be snide. There is a lot of pain in all of these characters and they work over the past obsessively as those big flames draw nearer.

Love in Pine Gary Jaffee Douglas Mackie Bridget Farr Last Act Theatre Company Austin TXJaffe denies names to them. His characters have generic appellations both on the program card and as they speak of one another: Sister, Girl, Teacher, Boy and Tree. I found that precious and a bit off-putting, particularly given the closeness of their relations -- two sisters, a couple destined never to make it to the big prom, a trusted high school teacher (all right, I'll waive my objection in the case of the tree spirit).

The central obsessive incident is clearly depicted on the poster: on their way to their high school prom, with arrangements in place for post-dance coitus, the couple crashes against a huge pine tree -- ironically, the same one in which they carved their joined initials when they were thirteen years old. Just as Sister and Teacher had done when they were the same age, some years before that.

[image: Last Act Theatre Company]

Click to read more at . . . .

Friday, February 24, 2012

Upcoming: Oh, Grace!, Silver Spur Theatre, Salado, March 9 - 17

Silver SPur Theatre, Salado, TX

presentsGrace Jones for Oh, Grace Silver Spur Theatre Salado Texas

Oh, Grace!

by Laurel Aarsvold and Diana Richardson

directed by Tony Blackman

March 9 - 17, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.

Silver Spur Theatre, 108 Royal Street (click for map)

Admissions are $15 with $12 discount tickets for seniors, military and students. Group rates are available. For reservations, call the box office at 254-947-3456.

Due to subject matter, parental discretion is advised.

She was a decorated WWII pilot, a fashion maven, a high society wife and ultimately a savvy business woman. Now, the late Grace Rosanky Putnam Jones, who rocked the couture world with her runway looks and A-list clients, is the subject of a new play premiering a block from her former small-town, destination shop.

“Oh Grace!” a fictional drama by Californians Laurel Aarsvold and Diana Richardson, is based on the colorful owner of “Grace Jones of Salado,” an internationally successful ladies wear salon famous for its exclusive clientele of politicians, international designers, celebrities and First Ladies.

The adventures of the bigger-than-life fashionista are explored in a promising new production that will have its world premiere at the Salado Silver Spur Theater (108 Royal St.) at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays, March 9-10 and 16-17. The playwrights will be in attendance.

For directions or more info: Wine, beer, cider and expanded food choices will be available at the evening shows through The Spuradical Social Club in the lobby. ( )

The six-member cast of veteran actors includes four Temple, TX, residents: Sharon Smith as Young Grace/Salado Grace; Jimmie Vernon as Elderly Grace; Emily Garza as Nurse Agnes; and Steve Smith as Grace’s husband Jack. Saladoans Will Lowery is Charlie, and Grainger Esch, co-founder of the Silver Spur and its Executive Director, portrays John Rosanky, Grace’s nephew.

Read more at . . . .

Performance Images of Cabaret at MacTheatre, McCallum Fine Arts Academy, February 23 - March 4

Images posted at by

MacTheatre Austin

Cabaret McCallum Fine Arts Academy Austin TX

for the spring musical


score by Kander and Ebb

February 23 - March 4, Thursdays - Saturdays at 7 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m.
directed by Molly Wissinger
MacTheatre, McCallum Fine Arts Academy, Sunshine

Tickets $6 for students, $10 for seniors, $15 for general admission (click to purchase on-line)

(Click images to view larger versions)

Cabaret McCallum Fine Arts Academy Austin TX

Click to view additional images from McCallum's Cabaret at . . .

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Crucible by Arthur Miller, Mary Moody Northen Theatre, St. Edward's University, February 16 - 26

by Michael Meigs

One measure of the power of Arthur Miller's drama about the Salem witch trials of 1692 is the startling transformation of familiar actors. Tiny Sophia Franzella, now a junior at St. Edward's, has charmed audiences with her wildly comic and mischievous personae in The Imaginary Invalid, Urinetown and A Year with Frog and Toad. Here, as the malicious and vindictive accuser Abigail Williams, Franzella is smooth faced duplicity, a murderous woman-child driven by spite and lust. Hers is a finely understated performance, one that makes her all the more hair-raising because of her almost silent conviction and the restraint of her lust for her former employer John Proctor.

David Stahl, an Equity regular at Austin Playhouse, has acquitted himself of a wide range of characters in Austin theatre but those which remain most vivid in memory, for better or worse, are clowns -- the unnamed all-purpose player in The 39 Steps, the hypochondriac in Laughter on the 23rd Floor, the old actor Henry in The Fantasticks, and Sagot, the prancing rouge-cheeked art dealer in Picasso at the Lapin Agile. Director Michelle Polgar recruited Stahl for the role of Deputy Governor Danforth, the chief inquisitor who entirely dominates the second half of The Crucible. Stahl is nothing less than terrifying, with his baleful stare, self certainty and the immense self regard of a small man in a position that surpasses his capacities.

Arthur Miller studied the historical records of the Salem witch trials, but he wrote this 1953 piece principally as an indictment of the obsessive Communist hunting led by Senator Joseph McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee (a body that three years later convicted Miller of contempt of Congress for his refusal to furnish names during a hearing). The witch hunt metaphor stuck like pitch to the investigators and did a great deal to turn public sentiment against them.

Ironically, the meaning of the play's title remains obscure for many -- so much so that the student calling from the Mary Moody Theatre box office was asking whether I wanted to make an early reservation for "the curcible." A crucible is a bowl or other recipient capable of withstanding high temperatures. Miller's title is drawn from the technology of smelting -- melting and then shaping ingots from white-hot metal. It's an inexact metaphor for the content of the play, for the hysterical and then judicial processes described in the work are not transformational but, rather, purely destructive.

Mid-Life! The Crisis Musical, Tex-Arts, Lakeway, February 10 - 26

Mid-Life the crisis musical Tex-Arts Lakeway TX

By Catherine Dribb

Mid-Life!, the Crisis Musical, presented by TexArts for only one more weekend, is a funny, witty piece about colorful characters and the crises they face. Brothers Bob and Jim Walton wrote book, music, and lyrics for this musical review with no plot other than scenes of the characters as they progress (and digress) through their mid-lives. Mid-Life! features six outstanding cast members directed by Lenny Daniel, bringing talent to Lakeway from Dripping Springs, Austin and Georgetown! If you’re able to make the scenic drive west, it’s a performance worth the trip.

Mid-Life! covers the range of emotions and crises associated with the often dreaded mid-life years -- a 37-year-old ticking time bomb looking for the perfect sperm; a 40-year-old man exhibiting Tourette’s syndrome outbursts of his father’s idioms; and a man and woman who decide turning the big five-oh isn’t so oh, oh, all that bad.

The creatively designed set is filled with stuff we’ve acquired in our lives. Mid-Life! is smoothly staged as characters come in and out of scenes carrying small props or rearranging the set items already there.

The six performers play different characters in different marriages, divorces, jobs and homes. Most of the show is comic: three women at their 30-year high school reunion discussing their divorces, for example, or the three men exaggerating their skilz on the bball court [sic] only to cut their recreation time short because wives are telephoning. From softly spoken I love yous to blatant I’ve-traded-you-for-a-younger-model announcements, Mid-Life! pokes fun at those who stay married, those who abandon marriage, and those whose marriage spawned that damn kid who just won’t leave home.

It isn’t all just fun and games. Coming out of the closet and mammogram tests aren’t all sparkles and flashing lights (though they are in this show!). In the finale a trio gently addresses the distressing responsibilities of parenting their own parents. After scenes that elicit laughs, gasps and did-they-really-just-go-there?, it’s a tender moment for the audience and actors.

That tenderness didn’t come any too soon, either. While it’s clever and funny, Mid-Life! can be hard to stomach at times, let alone watch. But at least both genders get what’s coming to them. Women in the audience had to watch the characters mock menopause and mammograms while men got to suffer through a song about that dreaded trip to the doctor that’s complete only after the rubber-gloved prostate exam.

Songs about such sensitive subjects were bearable, thanks to a strong cast. Special accolades go to Jarret Mallon and Amy Nichols. When all six performers sang together onstage, the overall blend wasn’t remarkable, but their individual performances in solos, trios and small ensembles were superb.

You will, indeed, laugh out loud at TexArts’ production in Lakeway of Mid-Life!, the Crisis musical featuring Kirk Kelso, Jarret Mallon, Melita McAtee, Amy Nichols, Rudy Roberson and Cathie Sheridan. It runs through February 26. Tickets can be purchased online or at the door.

Auditions for Medea by Euripides, City Theatre, March 18 - 19

City Theatre Austin TXThe City Theatre Company conducts auditions on March 18 and 19 for Media by Euripides, Karen Sneed directing. Ten-minute appointment slots at the City Theatre 3823 Airport Blvd. Suite D Austin, TX 78722 (click for map). Sunday 1 – 4 p.m. and Monday 6 –9 p.m. Callbacks Tuesday, March 20. Show dates June 7 – July 1.

Medea by Euripides Babcock Theatre University of UtahMen & boys 7 - 70; women 20 – 70, all with a strong command in voice, presence and emotional range. All roles open. Actors of color are encouraged to audition. Bring head shot and resume. Readings from the show will be performed.

Surviving almost 2500 years,
Medea remains one of the most controversial plays of all time and still an actor favorite. Jealousy, sex, revenge, magic and murder in a Greek masterpiece that disturbs, confounds and perplexes audiences and generates controversy wherever it is performed - that's the Medea by Euripides. This dramatically demanding play, in a recent translation preserving the poetry and power of the original, is still a challenge and test for actors today. Click for more information about the play and the characters at Wikipedia.

Hamlet, Sam Bass Community Theatre, Round Rock, February 10 - March 3

Hamlet Sam Bass Community Theatre

Why climb a mountain? Because it's there.

Sam Bass Community Theatre in Round Rock is a small, hard working group of friends who know their public and regularly serve up dramatic fare that's been tested and approved in the community kitchens across the country. Those Futrelle sisters of the mythical small town of Fayro, Texas, imagined by the trio of Hope, Jones, and Wooten, for example; or other kinder and more thoughtful staples of middle class dramatic life. The company does a good job on their tiny stage and the familiar faces satisfy and console.

About once a year they stretch. Not a little, but a lot. In 2008 with Romeo and Juliet and in 2010 with Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett's mid-20th century absurdist existentialist masterpiece. In 2011 with Frank Benge's magical steam-punk Tempest Project. This year director Lynn Beaver takes on the Mt. Everest of English-language theatre, the story of the much-wronged and much-haunted prince of a Denmark that never really existed except in imagination.

In the compiled version that has come down to us Hamlet is Shakespeare's longest text, more than4000 lines of unforgettable verse that takes more than four hours to play entire. Just about everyone knows the story. The language, expressions and imagery live deep in the shared culture.

Beaver's version at the Sam Bass plays start to finish in two hours, including an intermission. Key scenes are there but in order to achieve that concision the text has been amputated again and again. Those who know it only vaguely won't be disturbed, for the story remains as strong as ever, but devotees of Shakespeare's language may experience the gaps as disconcerting.

Classes: Theatre Action Project, spring break and summer 2012

Theatre Action Project Austin TXTheatre Action Project has a few spots still open for 2012 Spring Break Creativity Camp!

Theatre Action Project Camp Austin TXTheatre Action Project, Austin's premiere arts and education organization
, is hosting Spring Break Creativity Camp at Trinity United Methodist Church, centrally located in Hyde Park at 4001 Speedway. March 12th - 16th, Monday - Friday from 9:00am - 4:30pm. For ages 5 - 12.The theme of this year's Spring Break Creativity Camp is TAP TV! Campers will produce their own television network. TAP TV is a different kind of network - one that is socially responsible and empowers the youth of today! Our campers will work together on creative projects including: music videos, short films, public service announcements and news segments that inspire youth to make the world a better place. We invite friends and family to the network launch on Friday afternoon. Cost is $235 per week, with extended care available. Online registration and more info available at:

Also now enrolling for Summer Camp - 8 exciting weeks of camp hosted at Trinity United Methodist Church. June 11 - August 10th!
"My child loved the staff, the friends she made, all of it. She doesn't want to come home!" - Parent of 2011 Camper
"I loved the low staff/student ratio and commitment to real learning." - Parent of 2011 Camper
"My child looked forward to coming every day. So in my eyes, your program deserves an A+" - Parent of 2011 Camper
For questions write to or 512-442-8773.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Upcoming: The New Russian Drama Festival at the Off Center, March 9 - 11

New Russian Drama Festival Austin TX

Friday, March 9 through Sunday, March 11

The Off Center
2211 Hidalgo Street, Austin, TX 78702 (click for map)

Thanks to generous support from the Center for International Theatre Development and Austin's Fusebox Festival, NRDFest is free and open to the public.

Festival Schedule

Friday, March 9

  • 8:00pm - (American Premiere) The Schooling of Bento Bonchev
  • Saturday, March 10

    • 2:30pm - Staged Reading: The Right of the Captain of the R.M.S. Carpathia, by Maksym Kurochkin, translated by John J. Hanlon, directd by James Loehlin
    • 4:30pm - Staged Reading: Vodka, Fucking and Television, by Maksym Kurochkin, translated by John J. Hanlon, directed by Liz Fisher
    • 6:30pm - A Conversation: Avant-Garde Theater in Austin and Moscow with Maksym Kurochkin, John Freedman and Robert Faires
    • 8:00pm - Performance: The Schooling of Bento Bonchev

    Sunday, March 11

    • 3:00pm - Maksym Kurochkin's plays and contemporary Russian culture - a conversation with UT experts Tom Garza and Elizabeth Richmond-Garza
    • 4:15pm - Staged Reading: Dancing, Not Dead by John Freedmanh, directed by Daria Davis
    • 6:00pm - Contemporary Russian Theater - Closing remarks and a look forward, by John Freedman
    • 8:00pm - Performance: The Schooling of Bento Bonchev

    Click for additional information about the author and the translator at . . . .

    Auditions for SummerStock Austin's Legally Blonde, Chess and A Year with Frog and Toad, March 17 - 25

    Summer Stock AustinSummerStock Austin is pleased to announce its auditions for its 8th season, which will present productions of the smash-hit musical Legally Blonde, Chess (featuring the music of ABBA) and a remount of our award-winning A Year with Frog and Toad.

    SummerStock Austin

    SSA is a unique theatrical training program, as well as repertory theatre company, that features the talent of college and high school students under the supervision of theatre professionals. This award-winning program is the only one of its kind in the United States and was founded to serve the students of the greater Austin area. This past season, SSA's production of A Year with Frog and Toad was awarded the B. Iden Payne Award for Outstanding Production for Youth and its other two productions, The Producers and Urinetown, were both nominated for Outstanding Musical. We welcome all college and high school students to come out and audition for this one-of-a-kind opportunity.

    Auditions: Saturday, March 17
    (9am-3pm) and Sunday March 18, (9am-3pm), Saturday, March 24 (1:30pm-6:30pm) and Sunday, March 25 (9am-2pm).

    Where: Ballet Austin Studios, 501 W 3rd St, Austin, TX 78701
    (click for map)

    Who: College and High School age Performers, Stage Managers and Technicians. (
    Chess will also feature some guest SSA alumni.)

    Note to College Students: There will be 8-14 paid mentorships available for the season. See our website for mentorship positions and specifics.

    What to Prepare: 2 songs (16 bars of a ballad/32 bars of an uptempo. One selection should be in pop/rock style) and a 60-90 second contemporary monologue. There will be a dance call each day.

    Note: The SSA rehearsal period runs July 5-26 and the performance season runs July 26-August 12. All performances will be at The Long Center for the Performing Arts.

    To reserve an audition time and specific information, please go to For further information or specific questions, please contact Producing Artistic Director Michael McKelvey at