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Arts and Humanities
10:23 am
Sat March 1, 2014

Humana Festival Playwright Lucas Hnath on 'The Christians'

Playwright Lucas Hnath returns to Actors Theatre with "The Christians," directed by Les Waters.

Playwright Lucas Hnath returns to the Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville this month with a commissioned play. Directed by artistic director Les Waters, "The Christians" opens Thursday in the Pamela Brown Auditorium. 

"The Christians" features an American evangelical pastor as he prepares to deliver a sermon that will challenge the foundations of his congregation's beliefs. 

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Arts and Humanities
2:44 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Humana Festival Playwright Dorothy Fortenberry on 'Partners'

Playwright Dorothy Fortenberry's "Partners" is her Humana Festival debut.

The 38th annual Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville opens this week.

The first production to open is “Partners” by Dorothy Fortenberry, which has its first preview Wednesday and opens Friday.

Directed by Lila Neugebauer, “Partners” is the story of two best friends with big plans – opening a food truck business, starting families – but an unexpected financial windfall makes them reevaluate how they feel about their commitments.

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Arts and Humanities
6:00 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Generated by Enthusiasm: Actors Theatre Announces New Season of Plays

Emily Gunyou Hulaas, Dominique Serrand, Megan Hill, Nathan Keepers in "Fissures (lost and found)" in the 2010 Humana Festival. Serrand and Keepers are collaborating on a new adaptation of Shakespeare's "Love's Labors Lost" for the upcoming Actors Theatre season.
Credit Harlan Taylor / Actors Theatre of Louisville

Actors Theatre of Louisville will re-mount a revised production of Naomi Iizuka’s “At the Vanishing Point,” a play written about Louisville’s Butchertown neighborhood that premiered in the 2004 Humana Festival of New American Plays, in their next season. The theatre announced the next season’s lineup today.

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Arts and Humanities
3:14 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

REVIEW | Actors Theatre's 'Our Town' Reinvigorates a Classic

Bruce McKenzie as Stage Manager, with the cast of "Our Town" at Actors Theatre of Louisville.
Credit Bill Brymer

It’s not easy producing a classic play. You carry the weight of the aggregate of all previous productions with you into the theatre, where you then ask the audience to set aside their individual ideas about how this play should look, sound and feel on stage based on what they’ve seen before and accept your vision with an open mind and heart. If the production is faithful to tradition, you’re rewarded by those seeking comfort in the familiar, but the other side of the coin can be brutal – dismissed by those prizing innovation over all. And the opposite is also true – a daring production can break all of the rules and garner critical acclaim while alienating a large swath of ticket buyers.

All of this is to say that Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town” was not necessarily a “safety” pick for Actors Theatre of Louisville’s 50th anniversary season. There is as much danger in producing such a well-known and frequently produced (especially on school and community stages) play as there is in putting up an untested world premiere in the Humana Festival.

But director (and artistic director) Les Waters, who came to “Our Town” with an Englishman’s fresh eyes, has pulled it off. His “Our Town” is a sensitive, beautiful and unsentimental production that honors Wilder’s groundbreaking script while offering innovative gestures that are wholly his own.

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Arts and Humanities
11:17 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Actors Theatre Extends 'Pirates' Run

The cast of "The Pirates of Penzance," Actors Theatre of Louisville, 2014
Credit Bill Brymer / Actors Theatre of Louisville

Due to heavy demand for tickets, Actors Theatre of Louisville is extending the run of "The Pirates of Penzance" in the Bingham Theatre. The company has added an extra performance, February 5 at 7:30 p.m., to increase capacity for the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta.

"We've been thrilled by the tremendous response we have seen from audiences. Louisville is really loving this party in the middle of winter," says spokeswoman Kirsty Gaukel. "People have been returning to see the show for a second time, so they can try out the promenade seats."

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Arts and Humanities
1:00 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

Actors Theatre's Les Waters Sees American Classic With Fresh Eyes

Credit Actors Theatre of Louisville

Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town” is a certified American classic. Taught and performed in high schools across the country, the play, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1938, at times suffers from the regrettable side-effects of that familiarity, reduced to a sentimental period piece appealing to those nostalgic for small-town simple life at the turn of the 20th century.

Wilder, oddly enough, is often misunderstood by those who should know him best. 

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Arts and Humanities
2:44 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

REVIEW | The Hypocrites Stage Hilarious, Wild 'Pirates of Penzance'

Dana Omar, Becky Poole, Matt Kahler, Emily Casey, and Christine Stulik in "The Pirates of Penzance" at Actors Theatre of Louisville, 2014
Credit Bill Brymer / Actors Theatre of Louisville

January can get a little dreary – it’s cold, dark and wet, and the occasional sub-zero day has us eyeballing island vacations even as our bank accounts are still recovering from the holidays. Fortune smiles upon us  inside Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Bingham Theatre, where Chicago-based theatre troupe The Hypocrites have brought the beach party to us with a delightfully eccentric production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Pirates of Penzance.” The show’s sunny disposition and high-energy staging are as effective a mid-winter mood-lifter as an hour with a light box and a shot of Vitamin D.

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Arts and Humanities
3:36 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

The Hypocrites Stage Gilbert and Sullivan By Their Own Rules

Cast of "The Pirates of Penzance," Actors Theatre of Louisville, 2014.
Credit Bill Brymer / Actors Theatre of Louisville

The operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan are often staged with a big chorus and full Victorian costumes, but the Hypocrites take a different path. The Chicago-based theatre troupe stages "The Pirates of Penzance" with plastic kiddie pools, actors in short-shorts and bathing suits playing banjos, and the production is fairly intimate, as many audience members are seated right in the midst of the action on stage. 

It's all part of an inspired-by-improv approach to what director Sean Graney calls the "respectfully subversive" style of Arthur Sullivan and W.S. Gilbert. 

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Arts and Humanities
11:07 am
Sun December 8, 2013

REVIEW | Actors Theatre's 'A Christmas Carol' Still Easy to Love

David Ryan Smith as the Ghost of Christmas Present and William McNulty as Ebenezer Scrooge in Actors Theatre of Louisville's "A Christmas Carol."
Credit Alan Simons / Actors Theatre of Louisville

A funny thing happened to me last night. Even though my tree is decorated and my holiday plans are made, it didn't really feel like Christmas had started. And then the lights went up on Actors Theatre of Louisville's "A Christmas Carol," and it did. 

Maybe it's the stirring addition this year of a solemn opening carol, accompanied by a lone fiddler (Tom Cunningham). Maybe it's the knowledge that next year's production, which director Drew Fracher will revamp, will look, sound and feel different, even as Charles Dickens' story of Ebenezer Scrooge's transformation from miserable loner to man of the people remains fundamentally unchanged since 1843. 

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Arts and Humanities
1:00 pm
Thu November 28, 2013

Veteran Actor Anne Hodapp Returns to Actors Theatre for 'A Christmas Carol'

Anne Hodapp as Mrs. Grigsby with William McNulty as Ebenezer Scrooge in Actors Theatre of Louisville's "A Christmas Carol."
Credit Harlan Taylor / Actors Theatre of Louisville

The tale of Ebenezer Scrooge’s journey to redemption thanks to visits by three ghosts is a holiday classic. And for 38 years, Actors Theatre of Louisville has staged a production of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” This year's holiday classic opens Friday, and once again, actress Anne Hodapp will perform. She's Mrs. Grigsby and Cook now, but over the 22 years Hodapp has appeared in "A Christmas Carol" at Actors Theatre, she's played a variety of roles and seen some magical (and disastrously funny) moments on stage.  

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