theatre

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.

Read more
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."

Read more
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. 

Read more
Arts and Humanities
12:59 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

U of L's African American Theatre Program Honors Kentucky Women in MLK Day Program

Lundeana Thomas (center) and students in the African American Theatre Program perform in the 2013 Martin Luther King Day celebration at the University of Louisville
Credit University of Louisville

  Every year, Lundeana Thomas, a theatre arts professor who heads the University of Louisville's African American Theatre Program, leaders her students in a research and writing project culminating in a theatrical performance honoring King's legacy. A free event Monday at U of L will be the 15th annual AATP Martin Luther King Day celebration.

Read more
Strange Fruit
12:03 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Strange Fruit: Keith McGill Directs Comedy on Sex in Middle Age; Trans Leaders on Katie Couric

Credit Disney/ABC

Louisville comedian Keith McGill has been one of our favorite people since he was first on the show last year to talk about his work in a local production of Top Dog/Underdog. That play explored themes of black masculinity through the fractured relationship of two brothers struggling with instability and poverty.

Read more
Arts and Humanities
7:04 am
Mon January 13, 2014

Kids Acting Against Cancer Grows Up

Remy Sisk as Melchior, McKenna Poe as Wendla and Charlie Meredith as Moritz in Acting Against Cancer's Louisville production of "Spring Awakening."
Credit Whitten Montgomery / Acting Against Cancer

The Louisville-based nonprofit organization Kids Acting Against Cancer has come a long way since two girls, Whitten and Jaclyn Montgomery, put on shows in their basement to raise money for cancer research. They started taking acting classes when their mother was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and their first show was “Annie.”

Read more
Arts and Humanities
4:13 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Louisville Writer's New Play Debunks Myths About Women's Sexuality

Carol Dines, Clint Gill, Rebecca Henderson and Sean Childress in Heidi Saunders' comedy "Sex Again."
Credit Kevin Robinson

Despite its provocative title,  Heidi Saunders says her new play "Sex Again" isn't an X-rated show. 

“It’s not raunchy at all,” says the Louisville playwright.

That's because the central conflict in this comedy is between a woman and her husband whose long-term marriage has, well, suffered from a lack of intimacy of late. The wife wants to end their dry spell, and her husband resists. 

Read more
Arts and Humanities
10:00 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Ten-Minute Play Festivals Seek Short Work from Kentucky Writers

A scene from the 2013 Ten-Tucky Festival at The Bard's Town Theatre.
Credit Doug Schutte / The Bard's Town Theatre

The contemporary American ten-minute play is practically a Louisville invention – former Actors Theatre producing director Jon Jory was a champion of the form, establishing it as a legitimate sub-genre from the early beginnings of the Humana Festival, and the annual National Ten-Minute Play Contest is still administered by Actors Theatre. So it’s no surprise that several Louisville companies have developed a fondness for the short form.

Read more
Arts and Humanities
8:15 am
Sat December 14, 2013

REVIEW | Savage Rose's 'Twelfth Night' Unleashes the Lord of Misrule

Julane Havens as Viola/Cesario in Savage Rose Classical Theatre's "Twelfth Night."
Credit Savage Rose Classical Theatre

One of the beautiful things about Shakespeare's plays is how infinitely adjustable they are. You can go broke building realistic castle sets and kitting everyone out in sumptuous period costumes, or you can take a bare set and add in just enough detail to suggest setting and character. Savage Rose Classical Theatre opts for the latter treatment in their new production of "Twelfth Night," the cross-dressing rom/com about the misadventures of a shipwrecked set of fatherless twins. 

Read more
Arts and Humanities
4:36 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Going Into Its Fourth Season, Louisville's The Bard's Town Theatre Refines Its Artistic Vision

Brian Hinds and Beth Tantanella in The Bard's Town's 2013 production of Kate Fodor's "Rx."
Credit Doug Schutte / The Bard's Town

When The Bard's Town Theatre artistic staff programmed its first two seasons, executive artistic director Doug Schutte says they made choices based on little more than pure desire. He had some long-standing wishes he wanted to fulfill, like staging plays by Liz Fentress and Nancy Gall-Clayton, two of his favorite Kentucky playwrights.

Done. (2011's "Strike Zone" and 2012's "The Snowflake Theory," respectively.)

Read more

Pages