Little Rock Culture Vulture

Cultural events, places and people in the Little Rock area

LR Cultural Touchstone: Jana Beard

BeardJana Beard has taught dance in the central Arkansas area for over 30 years and has been the owner and director of her own studio for over twenty of those years.

In addition to being committed to offering the highest quality of instruction and the opportunity to experience all forms of dance, she has enjoyed performing in many Arkansas Rep productions, including Sweet Charity, Guys and Dolls, Chicago, Good Woman of Setzuan, A Soldiers Tale, Evita and Into The Woods.

Jana attended the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville as a dance major, and while at UALR she performed in the productions of Cabaret and Pippin.  She has also been an instructor in the Theatre and Dance Department.

She has served for many years as director and choreographer for the bi-annual legal cast spoof The Gridiron (which returned this year after a hiatus) and has also served as the stage director for the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra’s Christmas Spectacular.

A few years ago, Ballet Arkansas was on the brink of closing its doors.  Jana let the organization use space within her studio complex for offices, classes and rehearsals.  She sometimes served as the only staff member as the ballet was trying to regain its footing.  In addition, for several years she was the coordinator of The Nutcracker which was Ballet Arkansas’ only revenue source during the lean years.

Because of her lifeline, Ballet Arkansas is now poised to grow to heights never seen in the company’s history.  The move to Main Street, the new programming and statewide touring would not have been possible had Jana not offered a home when it needed it.

In addition, Jana choreographed high school musicals in which the Culture Vulture appeared in the 1980s.

Start Celebrating with CABARET

Argenta Community Theater's CabaretThe Argenta Community Theatre is inaugurating producing its own productions with the Tony winning Cabaret.  Unfortunately, if you don’t already have a ticket, you won’t be able to “come to the Cabaret” because this production has been sold out for over a week.

Cabaret, which won the Tony Award for Best Musical in 1967, is a musical adaptation of Christopher Isherwood’s “Berlin Stories” and John van Druten’s I Am a Camera.  It features a book by Joe Masteroff and score by John Kander and Fred Ebb.

Producer Vince Insalaco and director Robert Hupp have assembled a cast and creative team to transform the Argenta Community Theatre into the Kit Kat Klub.  The choreographers are Marisa Kirby and Christen Burke Pitts with Kurt Kennedy serving as musical director.

Kirby leads the cast as tragic heroine Sally Bowles. Cipher-like scribe Cliff Bradshaw is played by Michael Klucher.  Brandon Higdem is the leering MC of the Kit Kat Klub.  Also starring are Tricia Spione and Alan Rackley as a mismatched pair of older Germans struggling with their relationship in the midst of the onset of the Third Reich.

Others in the cast are David Weatherly, Jessica Smith, Carl Carter, Matt Morley, Kris Waltermire, Dylan Dugger, Sydney Ippolito, Emily Karnes, Bailey Lamb, RaeLeigh Narisi, Rachel Powell and Brittany “Sparkles” Rorie.

Insalaco hopes to produce a musical and a play at the Argenta Community Theatre each year.


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