Monday, March 28, 2016

Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen come to Saenger Theater June 24

Posted By on Mon, Mar 28, 2016 at 3:48 PM

CNN's Anderson Cooper strides purposefully down the Canal Street neutral ground in this 2007 photograph. - CREATIVE COMMONS/BART EVERSON
  • CNN's Anderson Cooper strides purposefully down the Canal Street neutral ground in this 2007 photograph.
CNN anchor Anderson Cooper and Bravo personality Andy Cohen are bringing something called "Deep Talk and Shallow Tales" to the Saenger Theater June 24. Press materials describe it as a "live, interactive look behind the scenes of pop culture and world events."

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Shakespeare Festival at Tulane announces 2016 season

Posted By on Mon, Mar 28, 2016 at 10:54 AM

New Orleans Shakespeare at Tulane presented Cymbeline in 2015.
  • New Orleans Shakespeare at Tulane presented Cymbeline in 2015.

The New Orleans Shakespeare Festival at Tulane announced its 2016 summer season. The schedule includes Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Illusion, Tony Kushner's adaptation of L'Illusion Comique, and a night of improvised Shakespeare works by the NOLA Project called By Any Scenes necessary.

Tulane University's Newcomb Art Museum will host an exhibit featuring a copy of First Folio, the first anthology of Shakespeare's plays, published in 1623, seven years after Shakespeare's death. There are 233 surviving copies of the book. The expo runs May 9-31.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Review: Orpheus Descending

Posted By on Wed, Mar 23, 2016 at 3:53 PM

Irene Glezos and Todd d'Amour star in Orpheus Descending.
  • Irene Glezos and Todd d'Amour star in Orpheus Descending.
With a guitar and a smirk, Val Xavier brings a sexy, hip-swaying energy to a rigidly conservative small Southern town. After spending a night in jail, he looks for work at a store run by Lady Torrance. Val’s presence jolts the community and exposes some of its dark secrets in Orpheus Descending, presented by Southern Rep at the University of New Orleans’ Robert E. Nims Theatre.

First produced in 1957, this Tennessee Williams play is a reimagined version of the story of Orpheus, who traveled to the underworld to save his wife Eurydice and was told not to look back at her. Val (Todd d’Amour) says he has reformed his bad-boy ways and is looking forward. He is reminiscent of a young Elvis, and d’Amour is charming and aloof. His jutting eyebrows and quick head nods are entrancing. Lady (Irene Glezos) is reluctant to hire the vagabond musician, but she takes him on as a clerk to make up for the absence of her sick husband Jabe (Carl Palmer).

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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Review: Sive

Posted By on Thu, Mar 17, 2016 at 2:47 PM

James Bartelle and Kristin Witterschein star in Sive. - JOHN BARROIS
  • James Bartelle and Kristin Witterschein star in Sive.

Sive asks her grandmother about her parents, who died separately when she was young. Mike Glavin promised his sister, Sive’s dying mother, that he would take care of the girl and provide for her education. His wife Mena has soured on the 17-year-old’s schooling while the family scrapes by on their meager farm in 1950s Ireland. She’d be happy to be rid of Sive and her mother-in-law when a matchmaker arrives with a proposal that upends their world in Sive, presented by The NOLA Project at Ashe Power House Theater.

Matchmaker Thomasheen Sean Rua (James Bartelle) tells Mena (Kristin Witterschein) that a man will pay the Glavins 200 pounds if Sive (Yvette Bourgeois) marries him. The suitor is the wealthy farmer Sean Dota (Ron Gural), who is an old man, and Mena scoffs at the idea. Witterschein is fiery as Mena, though she’s also vulnerable and humbled by their hardscrabble life. When Rua suggests that she could send the mother-in-law, Nanna Glavin (Janet Shea), to live at Sive’s new home, Mena warms to the plan.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Welcome to Night Vale returns to New Orleans in July 2016

Posted By on Tue, Mar 15, 2016 at 1:30 PM

Cecil Baldwin narrates the podcast Welcome to Night Vale. - LIEZL ESTIPONA
  • Cecil Baldwin narrates the podcast Welcome to Night Vale.

Broadcasting from a fictional desert town as a sort of Lake Wobegon-meets-Twin Peaks community radio show, the popular podcast Welcome to Night Vale returns to New Orleans for another installment of its live stage rendering this summer. The show returns to the Civic Theater on July 8 with a new script, "Ghost Stories," the fifth live script since the show's live performances began in 2013.

Night Vale creators Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor talked to Gambit in 2014 before the show's first New Orleans appearance about its conception (as a show and a place "where every conspiracy theory is true and we just move on with our lives") and its transformation into theater.

Tickets are $23-$28 and go on sale at noon Friday, March 18.

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Friday, March 11, 2016

Broadway in New Orleans and Le Petit Theatre announce 2016-2017 seasons

Posted By on Fri, Mar 11, 2016 at 12:32 PM

Lucy Faust, Annalee Jefferies and Curtis Billings star in Glass Menagerie. - BRIAN JARREAU
  • Lucy Faust, Annalee Jefferies and Curtis Billings star in Glass Menagerie.

Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre marks its centennial March 16, and opens Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie March 18.

Le Petit and Broadway in New Orleans also announced their 2016-2017 seasons. Le Petit's season includes Jelly's Last Jam, Freud's Last Session and It's Only a Play, produced in conjunction with The NOLA Project. The theater also unveiled a redesigned website.

Broadway in New Orleans will present The Sound of Music, Jersey Boys, Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas and other shows at the Saenger Theatre. Full schedules after the jump.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Review: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

Posted By on Wed, Mar 9, 2016 at 1:17 PM


In a school gymnasium, a group of anxiety-ridden students vies for a spelling bee trophy. All have won a district final, so they’re already champions, but only one will prevail in the Tony Award-winning musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, currently running at Rivertown Theaters for the Performing Arts

As a former champion, spelling bee host Rona List Perreti (Elise Harvey Spurlock) takes the competition very seriously. Spurlock’s warmth regulates the show’s emotional content as student spellers freak out when they are eliminated. She and vice principal Douglas Panch (Kevin Murphy) are a hilariously quirky duo. Murphy has perfectly dry delivery when asked about a word’s origin, and he offers increasingly outlandish responses when asked to use contest words in a sentence.

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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Review: Abraham Lincoln’s Big, Gay Dance Party

Posted By on Wed, Feb 24, 2016 at 4:45 PM


A rumor persists that Abraham Lincoln might not have been 100 percent straight because he shared a bed with his friend Joshua Speed. But as Menard, Illinois elementary school teacher Harmony Green finds out, you can’t suggest the former president is gay without drawing some pushback. Or in her case, without going to court in Abraham Lincoln’s Big, Gay Dance Party, presented by Rockfire Theatre at Mag's 940.

Green (Lisa Luongo) gets in trouble when she writes her school’s Christmas pageant to include Lincoln’s “intimate friendship.” It’s not easy to understand why Green faces jail, but her case attracts outrage and media attention. The show depicts the trial from three perspectives: Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Anton (Kevin Murphy) and two Republican politicians, Tom (Ben Clement) and Regina (Monica R. Harris). An audience member picks the order in which the segments are presented, and actors play different characters throughout. At some point, each of the actors plays Lincoln, who is the show’s guiding conscious.

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Monday, February 15, 2016

2016 Tennessee Williams Literary Fest lineup announced

Posted By on Mon, Feb 15, 2016 at 12:53 PM

Tennessee Williams, 1959. - NYPL
  • NYPL
  • Tennessee Williams, 1959.
The Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival hosts its 30th anniversary series of literary and theater events from March 30-April 3. Speakers include Megan Abbott (The Fever), Dorothy Allison (Bastard Out of Carolina, Cavedweller, She Who), Alys Arden and Cynthia Bond (Ruby), as well as Dick Cavett, Rick Bragg, Heisman Trophy-winner Billy Cannon, Alexander Chee, playwright Lisa D’Amour (Detroit), Beth Henley, Estelle Parsons, Rex Reed, Claire Vaye Watkins, and The New Yorker's John Lahr, who also who wrote the 2014 biography Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh.

Among the stage productions during the fest is Southern Rep's Orpheus Descending, directed by Jef Hall-Flavin, at the University of New Orleans' Robert E. Nims Theatre. Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre stages The Glass Menagerie. The Tennessee Williams Theatre Company of New Orleans also stages three of Williams' one acts, including two world premieres, and writers and playwrights participate in a reading of Williams' plays, letters, essays and letters. The NOLA Project stages a Williams-centric improv show By Any Scenes Necessary as well as Christopher Durang’s For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls.

There also are music and food events and, of course, the annual Stella! and Stanley! shouting contests. The 13th annual Saints and Sinners LGBT literary conference also runs at the fest.

The full schedule and ticket information is available on the festival's website.

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Monday, February 1, 2016

Anthony Bean Theater buys St. Raymond Catholic Church

Posted By on Mon, Feb 1, 2016 at 3:44 PM

Anthony Bean has run his namesake theater on Carrollton Avenue for 15 years. - CHERYL GERBER
  • Anthony Bean has run his namesake theater on Carrollton Avenue for 15 years.

Anthony Bean announced Anthony Bean Community Theater purchased St. Raymond Catholic Church at 3720 Paris Ave. in Gentilly and will move into the new space in two weeks. The campus will allow Bean Theater to add a dance studio, music rooms and a museum to recognize the history of local theater groups Dashiki Project Theater, Free Southern Theater and Ethiopian Theater.

The final production at Anthony Bean Community Theater's longtime home at 1333 S. Carrollton is Jungle Kings, which runs Feb. 12-28. Rain Denise Wilson's play about incarcerated young black men debuted in Los Angeles. At Anthony Bean, it stars Martin "Bats" Bradford and Damien Moses, who recently shared the stage in Harold Clark's Fishers of Men at Ashe Power House Theater.

Anthony Bean Theater has presented its shows at Central St. Matthew United Church of Christ for 15 years.

The theater will finish this season's scheduled productions at the new space. 

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