Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Review: Death of a Salesman

Posted By on Wed, May 21, 2014 at 10:14 AM


“You can’t eat the orange and throw the peel away,” Willy Loman says in Death of a Salesman. “A man is not a piece of fruit.” Arthur Miller’s 1949 Pulitzer Prize-winning play explores the anxiety brought on by the American Dream. For his entire life, Loman has wanted to be successful in business, and almost as important, well-liked as a man, but things rarely go his way. More than six and a half decades after its premiere, the show stands the test of time and Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre’s production continues its recent string of successes.

A father in his 60s, Willy (George Sanchez) ends a business trip after he nearly hits a pedestrian while driving to Massachusetts. Upon his early return home, his wife Linda (Mary Pauley) urges him to rest and then ask his boss for a nontraveling sales job in New York. The couple’s two grown sons, Biff (Garrett Prejean) and Happy (Chris Marroy), are staying at their parents’ house. Willy’s troubles lead his sons to re-examine their own lives.

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Friday, May 16, 2014

Preview the original dance performance Known Mass

Posted By on Fri, May 16, 2014 at 2:00 PM

Known Mass combines improvised music and dance.
  • Known Mass combines improvised music and dance.

The non-narrative dance and music performance Known Mass features dancers from the New Orleans Ballet, Baton Rouge's Of Moving Colors and Tsunami Dance theaters performing to a live score from Jasper den Hartigh of the punk band Heat Dust. Den Hartigh uses a host of instruments and looping sounds, and dancers incorporate contemporary and classical dance and contact-improvisation practice, creating a performance both choreographed and improvised.

There's a preview of Known Mass at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 17 at daMata Acupuncture Studio (2933 St. Claude Ave). Proceeds benefit the collective's full-length production at Marigny Opera House June 20-21.

The preview also features performances from den Hartigh and Silo Homes, with food from Whole Foods, Twelve Mile Limit, Boucherie and Prytania Bar. Tickets are $5-$10. Visit the performance's website for more information.

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Monday, May 12, 2014

The NOLA Project announces its 2014-2015 season

Posted By on Mon, May 12, 2014 at 9:44 AM

As its hit production of Adventures in Wonderland continues through May 25 (check out Will Coviello's review), The NOLA Project has announced its 10th season, which begins in September with a production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

Also on the lineup: Shakespeare's Twelfth Night and the Theater of the Ridiculous' version of Camille (directed by Jeffery Roberson, aka Varla Jean Merman). Full lineup under the jump.

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Review: Adventures in Wonderland

Posted By on Wed, May 7, 2014 at 3:01 PM


The Humpty Dumpty in The NOLA Project’s Adventures in Wonderland, a semiparticipatory dramatic adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s two novels about Alice, doesn’t sit on a wall. He hangs out on a bridge in the middle of the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden. Instead of the hapless nursery rhyme character, he’s a speech-impaired, slightly edgy social climber who wants to be invited to the A-list parties in Wonderland. Carlos Velazquez plays him to hilarious effect, especially as he insists that people crossing the bridge keep their elbows down, so as not to upset any (unnamed) other person.

Humpty is a minor character in Adventures. Audience members choose either to chase Alice through the garden, sit at the Mad Hatter’s tea party or follow Alice’s sister Esther on her wild adventure. But one of the things that makes the production so thoroughly charming is that all the characters in the garden are constantly active during the 90-minute show. One can go with Alice (Molly Ruben-Long) to the tea party to see if the Mad Hatter (Alex Martinez Wallace) knows who stole the Red Queen’s tarts, and off in the distance, one will see Humpty conversing with the White Rabbit, or Mock Turtle lecturing some of the garden’s sculptures of human figures. Under Andrew Larimer’s clever direction, Wonderland feels like a living place where one is crashing the party along with Alice or one of her other sisters (one of whom doesn’t exist in the books).

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Le Petit Theatre announces 2014-2015 schedule

Posted By on Tue, Apr 29, 2014 at 2:52 PM

Death of a Salesman opens May 9.

Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre announced its 2014-2015 season. Its current season has two productions remaining, Death of a Salesman, which opens May 9, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (July 11-26). The 2014-2015 schedule includes:

Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike Sept. 5-20
The regional premiere of Christopher Durang's Tony Award-winning comedy.

Peter & the Starcatcher Nov. 7-23
The action-packed prequel to Peter Pan.

Jesus Christ Superstar Jan. 16-30, 2015
Andrew Lloyd Webber's popular rock opera.

Dinner with Friends March 20, 2015-April 4, 2015
Donald Margulies' Pulitzer Prize-winnning drama about a middle aged couple whose lives are shaken up.

Merrily We Roll Along May 22, 2015-June 6, 2015
Stephen Sondheim's musical about a composer and his friends.

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Friday, April 25, 2014

Review: Shoebox Lounge

Posted By on Fri, Apr 25, 2014 at 9:56 AM


As a child, native New Orleanian Jennifer Pagan “threw up Jesus” on her first pair of “church shoes” at her communion. This experience left her confused about religion, but almost as important, ruined her white Mary Janes. That memory is part of Pagan’s alternately heartbreaking and humorous one-woman show Shoebox Lounge, presented at The Shadowbox Theatre.

Pagan is a riveting performer and the show blends memoir pieces and excellent character work. She animates nine figures, including her shoe-loving grandmother and racetrack-aficionado grandfather. Like fragmented pieces of Pagan’s history, the characters came together in a satisfying way to formed a nearly complete whole. Her New Orleans shoe repairman vignette was particularly good. For someone who loves shoes so much — there’s a great moment when she recites a litany of brands — her repairman naturally became a therapist of sorts. The sign over his shop says, “I Will Heel You. I Will Save Your Sole. I will Even Dye for You,” and it laid out the theme of one of the show’s most emotional threads.

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Southern Rep announces 2014—2015 season

Posted By on Thu, Apr 24, 2014 at 9:19 AM

Southern Rep recently concluded its 2013-2014 season with The Night of the Iguana.
  • Southern Rep recently concluded its 2013-2014 season with The Night of the Iguana.

Southern Rep announced a 2014-2015 season full of works by or about Louisianans. John Biguenet's Broomstick kicks off the season. The one-act show features a witch looking back on her life, including past romances and confessions of cruelty inflected on helpless victims. The piece is written entirely in verse. Also included in the schedule is Lisa D'Amour's Detroit, a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize, and Tennessee Williams' Suddenly, Last Summer, which will be presented in conjunction with the 2015 Tennessee Williams New Orleans Literary Festival.

Locations and dates are to be announced. The season includes:

Broomstick by John Biguenet

Detroit by Lisa D'Amour

Boudin: The New Orleans Music Project, curated by Matt Callahan, Sean Daniels and Aimee Hayes. Featuring stories by New Orleanians about how music affects their lives.

Suddenly, Last Summer by Tennessee Williams

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Friday, April 4, 2014

Parks & Recreation's Nick Offerman is your Ignatius J. Reilly

Posted By on Fri, Apr 4, 2014 at 6:15 PM

Nick Offerman in American Ham
  • Nick Offerman in American Ham

Stepping into the role of Ignatius J. Reilly for the reading of Jeffrey Hatcher and David Esbjornson's anticipated Broadway adaptation of John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces is Nick Offerman, according o The Hollywood Reporter.

The star of NBC's Parks & Recreation (in which he plays the stern, mustached, high-and-tight haircut anti-government government employee Ron Swanson) will read the part during the "industry-only reading" on April 28 at Pearl Studios in New York.

Offerman has appeared in dozens of films and TV shows and is an alumnus of Chicago's Steppenwolf theater, where he cut his teeth. He also runs a wood-working collective in Los Angeles. His one-man show/film American Ham debuted at Sundance earlier this year.

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John Lydon to star in Jesus Christ Superstar at UNO Lakefront Arena

Posted By on Fri, Apr 4, 2014 at 1:43 PM

John Lydon of the Sex Pistols and Public Image Ltd. will headline a new area tour of Jesus Christ Superstar, which opens at UNO Lakefront Arena in June. - CREATIVE COMMONS/ED VILL
  • John Lydon of the Sex Pistols and Public Image Ltd. will headline a new area tour of Jesus Christ Superstar, which opens at UNO Lakefront Arena in June.

Those of us who have always yearned for a mashup of Public Image Ltd. and Destiny's Child are having our wishes granted.
Good Morning America broke the news that New Orleans will be the kickoff for a new arena-sized production of Jesus Christ Superstar, with John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten) as King Herod, Michelle Williams of Destiny's Child as Mary Magdalene and JC Chasez of *NSYNC as Pontius Pilate (as well as some guy named Ben Forster as Jesus). 

The show will play UNO Lakefront Arena June 9. Here's the touring production's webpage.

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Friday, March 21, 2014

Cynthia Willard-Lewis and Gail Glapion to star in Oliver Thomas' sequel to his play Reflections

Posted By on Fri, Mar 21, 2014 at 10:05 AM

Cynthia Willard-Lewis, Charles Bosworth, Oliver Thomas and Gail Glapion star in Reflections 2
  • ABCT
  • Cynthia Willard-Lewis, Charles Bosworth, Oliver Thomas and Gail Glapion star in Reflections 2

Following Oliver Thomas' rise-and-fall drama Reflections: A Man and His Time, starring and co-written by the former New Orleans City Council member who pleaded guilty to bribery, Anthony Bean Community Theater debuts the sequel Reflections 2 next month.

Bean and Thomas wrote the play, which also stars former New Orleans School Board President Gail Glapion and former City Council member Cynthia Willard-Lewis, who recently ran against incumbent James Gray for the District E seat in February's election. Thomas, Glapion and Willard-Lewis play themselves.

Reflections 2 "asks how hidden flaws can overwhelm an apparently honorable man, and asks if personal tragedy can correct the flaws," according to a theater release. "No easy answers, but a powerful look into the soul of a person who was once a New Orleans icon. What will you think?"

Performances are at Anthony Bean Community Theater (1333 S. Carrollton Ave., 504-862-75298) at 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday, April 11-27. (There is no performance on Easter, April 20.) Tickets are $20 general admission, $18.00 students and seniors.

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