Arts and Humanities
11:00 am
Mon November 18, 2013

Kentucky Shakespeare Expands Spring/Summer Season in the Parks

When he sat down to plan Kentucky Shakespeare's 2014 summer season, artistic director Matt Wallace knew he had to make a bold statement. The oldest free outdoor Shakespeare festival in the country was rocked by management scandal and an abruptly canceled show last summer, and as soon as Wallace accepted the job in July, he started working on repairing the company's reputation and relationships within the community.

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Arts and Humanities
11:54 am
Fri November 15, 2013

REVIEW | Like Its Hero, Actors Theatre's 'Tom Jones' Is Charming, Flawed

Drigan Lee and Maren Bush as Tom and Sophia in Jon Jory's new adaptation of Henry Fielding's "Tom Jones" at Actors Theatre of Louisville.
Credit Bill Brymer / Actors Theatre of Louisville

Actors Theatre of Louisville welcomed legendary former producing director Jon Jory home for the company's fiftieth anniversary season with his new adaptation of Henry Fielding's classic picaresque novel "Tom Jones." Directed by Jory, "Tom Jones" opened last night in the Bingham Theatre and runs through December 8. 

It's fitting that Jory, under whose leadership Actors Theatre became the Tony Award-winning institution that it is, returns for the golden anniversary with a new play. Jory's been on a tear through the Jane Austen catalog for the last several years, staging his adaptations of "Pride and Prejudice" and "Sense and Sensibility" at Actors Theatre ("Emma" and "Persuasion" have gone up elsewhere, too), but this time he went further back in Brit-lit history to the book commonly recognized as the first English novel.

On stage, "Tom Jones" is a frothy, funny romp through the backyards and bedchambers of the English countryside and London's snobby salons. And like the eponymous hero, the play packs plenty of charm, but not always enough to overcome its weaknesses. 

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Arts and Humanities
2:33 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Louisville Ballet Artistic Director Bruce Simpson To Retire In July

Bruce Simpson
Credit Robert Burge

The Louisville Ballet has announced that artistic director Bruce Simpson, 64, will retire at the end of this season. Yesterday, Simpson informed the dancers, board of directors and staff that he will complete his tenure in July, when his current contract expires. 

Simpson has served as artistic director since 2002.

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Arts and Humanities
11:29 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Puppeteers Bring 'War Horse' Equine Star to Life

Puppeteers bring "War Horse" to life.
Credit Brinkhoff/Mögenburg

The 2011 Broadway premiere of the World War I drama “War Horse” won five Tony Awards, including Best Play and Best Direction. But the show also garnered a special Tony Award for Handspring Puppet Company, which designed the show’s star – a life-sized horse puppet named Joey.

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Arts and Humanities
2:07 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

New Biography Examines Richard Pryor's Singular Brand of 'Furious Cool'

He’s considered one of the best – and one of the most controversial – stand-up comedians of all time. But Richard Pryor’s influence went beyond the stand-up scene. Through his groundbreaking comedy albums, television specials, film and TV roles, he changed how Americans thought and talked about race, sex, class and addiction.

There’s a  new book about Pryor’s life and career.  “Furious Cool: Richard Pryor and the World that Made Him” is written by Louisville screenwriter David Henry and his brother Joe Henry, the songwriter and Grammy Award-winning producer.

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Arts and Humanities
2:15 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Slant Culture Theatre Festival Returns With Uncommon Works

Last year, five Louisville theater companies came together to put on what they call a festival of "uncommon works.”

Theatre [502], Le Petomane Theatre Ensemble, Savage Rose Classical Theatre, the Louisville Improvisors and Walden Theatre are teaming up again this year for the second annual Slant Culture Theatre Festival, which opens Thursday with a launch party at Walden Theatre featuring performances by Billy Goat Strut Revue, Sandpaper Dolls and Justin Paul Lewis, food by Grind Burger truck and assorted short theatrical performances. The festival runs through November 24. 

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Arts and Humanities
8:15 am
Sun November 10, 2013

Humana Festival Lineup: Anne Bogart and SITI Company, Jordan Harrison, Kimber Lee and More

Anne Bogart will direct "Steel Hammer," a play about John Henry created by SITI Company and based on texts by playwrights Kia Corthron, Will Power, Carl Hancock Rux and Regina Taylor in the 38th Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville.

Actors Theatre of Louisville has announced the lineup for the 38th annual Humana Festival of New American Plays.

The festival, which coincides with the company’s 50th anniversary, features six world premieres from playwrights and ensembles both new and returning to Actors Theatre.

The Humana Festival opens Feb. 26 and runs through April 6.

Notable veterans presenting new work in the festival include long-standing Actors Theatre collaborators Anne Bogart and the SITI Company, who have partnered with four playwrights (Kia Corthron, Will Power, Carl Hancock Rux and Regina Taylor) on “Steel Hammer,” a play with music by Julia Wolfe about American folklore legend John Henry.

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Arts and Humanities
11:32 am
Thu November 7, 2013

Happy Birthday, Verdi! Kentucky Opera Gives His Seldom-Seen 'Simon Boccanegra' a New Look

Design sketch of the Kentucky Opera's new production of "Simon Boccanegra."
Credit Kentucky Opera

Giuseppe Verdi turned 200 last month. To celebrate his bicentennial birthday, the Kentucky Opera is staging a brand-new production of the Italian composer's infrequently-produced "Simon Boccanegra," an opera about the intersection of populist politics and familial intrigue.

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Arts and Humanities
7:00 am
Wed November 6, 2013

This Is Not a Painting: Ephemeral Art Symposium Explores Fleeting Nature of Art and Time

Courtney Kessel's "In Balance With."
Credit Courtesy of Courtney Kessel

If cared for properly, paintings and sculptures remain relatively static over time. Think of the recently-discovered treasure trove of modern art masterpieces uncovered in a German apartment, long thought lost to Nazi looting. After seventy years in a cabinet, a Chagall is basically the same Chagall.

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Arts and Humanities
4:44 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

21C Hosts Lydia Lunch Performance on Violence, Loss

Lydia Lunch performing "Dust and Shadows."
Credit Courtesy of Lydia Lunch

No-Wave pioneer and performance artist Lydia Lunch has collaborated with filmmaker Elise Passavant to create a texturally-rich live performance of what they call a “psycho-ambient soundscape.” The artists will perform “Dust and Shadows” Wednesday at 21C Museum Hotel (7 p.m., free).

“Dust and Shadows” layers Lunch’s lyric poetry and narration over music and Passavant’s images of ghost towns destroyed in the Spanish Civil War – a conflict that has largely faded into an historical and literary footnote for most Americans.

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