2nd Friday Art Night – Doris Williamson Mapes retrospective at The Rep

Image may contain: mountain, cloud, sky, nature and textOne of the newer venues participating in 2nd Friday Art Night is the Arkansas Repertory Theatre.  While one thinks of The Rep as a performing arts venue (and it certainly is), the Rep has also long been a promoter of the visual arts.

Drop by The Rep and enjoy paintings by late Arkansas artist, Doris Williamson Mapes. Known for her brilliant use of color, Doris described herself as a mixed media artist, using watercolors, acrylic, pencil, ink, gouache, casein, pastel, crayons, etc.

She studied design and encaustic painting under Townsend Wolfe at the Arkansas Arts Center and advanced painting with Edwin Brewer in the Adrian Brewer Studio. In 1970, Mapes, along with four other artists, founded and incorporated the Mid-Southern Watercolorists (MSW) in Little Rock. Mapes was elected as the organization’s founding president and served until 1972.

Doris was a long-time supporter of The Rep. The collection hangs in her memory

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A Shhhhhhhh-ICAGO Speakeasy Thursday Night at Rock Town Distillery

Shhhh…

Arkansas Rep is hosting a Chicago Speakeasy at Rock Town Distillery on Thursday, February 7, from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Admission is free, but you must know the password…

Speakeasy attendees will be the first to taste Rock Town’s all-new, Chicago-inspired drink, “All That Razz!” at half price. Cast members Rachel Perlman and Erik Joshua Clack will perform a few sets of tap dance to Jazz Age music.

Members of The Rep’s Young Professionals group, The 601 Club, receive a coupon for a free tour and tasting at Rock Town!

If you want to know the password — check with the LR Culture Vulture.

RSVP to krudolph@therep.org.
Event is open to attendees ages 21+.

Little Rock Look Back: Ben Piazza joins cast of WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? on Broadway

On February 4, 1963, Little Rock native Ben Piazza joined the cast of the original Broadway production of Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? replacing George Grizzard.

Grizzard had left the show to play Hamlet during the Guthrie Theatre’s first season.  He had accepted that role prior to the Albee play opening on Broadway and becoming a runaway hit.

Piazza, a friend of Albee’s, had been involved in the play since its early days. At the play’s first read-through, he read the part of Nick (which he would play on Broadway) with Albee and producers Richard Barr and Clinton Wilder reading the other three parts.

Piazza stayed in the role of Nick for the rest of the run of the show until it closed on May 16, 1964. His fifteen months in the role is the longest that anyone has ever played a role in an Albee play on Broadway (or perhaps anywhere).

He joined original cast members Arthur Hill, Uta Hagen and Melinda Dillon (a native of Hope).  Dillon was the next to leave the cast and was followed by Rochelle Oliver in the role of Honey.  As Martha, Hagen was followed by Nancy Kelly, returned to the role, and then left it to star in the London production. Piazza would then play opposite future Little Rock resident (and Arkansas Rep performer) Mercedes McCambridge for the last five months of the run.

As George, Arthur Hill was succeeded by Shepperd Strudwick a month after Hagen left. He returned to the play when Hagen did and joined her in London.  Donald Davis, who had played George in the matinee cast, took over the part in the evenings for the last five months.

Skip Day! Happy Birthday to Skip Rutherford!

Though a native of Batesville (and a proud booster to this day), James L. “Skip” Rutherford has lived in Little Rock for many years. While he was a student at the University of Arkansas, he probably never envisioned the impact he would have on the cultural scene of Little Rock.

After moving to Little Rock, Skip (and his wife Billie) became civic boosters which often involved attending or promoting cultural events.  However, by the mid-1990s, this moved into a whole new realm.

Skip was one of the visionaries behind the creation of a Central High Visitors Center.  His interest in this project combined his interests in public service, public policy, and public schools. This was an extension of his work as an aide to Senator David Pryor from 1979 to 1983 and a Little Rock School Board member from 1987 to 1991.  As the 40th anniversary of the integration of Little Rock Central High approached, Skip worked with Mayor Jim Dailey and others to plan the 1997 commemoration activities as well as the 1998 recognition of the Women’s Emergency Committee.

A few weeks after the Central High 40th anniversary events in September 1997, President Clinton announced that Little Rock would be the site of his Presidential Library.  As President of the Clinton Foundation, he was involved in the planning for not only the construction of the building but also the grand opening festivities.  Through his efforts, the City’s major cultural institutions all had events in conjunction with the opening of the Clinton Presidential Center.

In 2006, he followed Sen. David Pryor in the role of Dean of the Clinton School of Public Service.  Among his accomplishments in this role has been the expansion of the Clinton School Speaker Series. This free series of lectures and public discussions has added immensely to Little Rock’s cultural life. Topics range from foreign relations to domestic policy, from social services to community philanthropy, The lecture series has also focused on productions at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre, guest artists with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, books by historians, and many other cultural topics over the years.

That he would oversee the expansion of this lecture program should not be a surprise.  He is also the founder (in 1983) of the Political Animals Club. While the original, non-partisan group still meets regularly in Little Rock, several other affiliates have been created in other portions of the state. He has always been one for civil, civic dialogue.

In April and May 2018, Skip was one of the civic leaders who stepped up to promote efforts to save the Arkansas Repertory Theatre. He was also involved in the planning and promotion of the Elizabeth Eckford Bench which was installed near Little Rock Central High School in September 2018.  Later that month, he presided over an event celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Women’s Emergency Committee.

Earlier this month, the Clinton School partnered with UA Little Rock Downtown for the a Clinton School program which discussed the 1930s mural which has been restored and now hangs in the new UA Little Rock space.  2019 will offer more opportunities for his civic and cultural boosterism, as well.

Tonight at 5:30 – Learn more about becoming involved at Arkansas Rep

Interested in becoming more involved with The Rep? They are back in action and ready for a great 2019 season, but they cannot do it without community support!

On January 22 from 5:30pm to 7:00pm, the Arkansas Repertory Theatre will host an information session about volunteer and involvement opportunities.

Join them to learn about the ways you can volunteer at The Rep and impact the community.

Light refreshments will be provided.

The session will be at the Rep’s main building.

Ten Minute Play Showcase auditions tonight

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Auditions will be held on January 14th, between 6pm-9pm for the second annual Ten Minute Play Showcase produced by ACANSA Arts Festival and presented by Arkansas Repertory Theatre!

They are seeking actors ages 13+. Sides will be provided.

Rehearsals will run the month of February with the Showcase production on March 1st and 2nd at The Rep’s Annex Black Box.

Please email hjtrudell@theyarnstorytelling.com with questions.

2nd Friday Art Night – The Rep features the art of Doris Williamson Mapes

Image may contain: mountain, cloud, sky, text and natureOne of the newer venues participating in 2nd Friday Art Night is the Arkansas Repertory Theatre.  While one thinks of The Rep as a performing arts venue (and it certainly is), the Rep has also long been a promoter of the visual arts.

Drop by The Rep and enjoy paintings by late Arkansas artist, Doris Williamson Mapes. Known for her brilliant use of color, Doris described herself as a mixed media artist, using watercolors, acrylic, pencil, ink, gouache, casein, pastel, crayons, etc.

She studied design and encaustic painting under Townsend Wolfe at the Arkansas Arts Center and advanced painting with Edwin Brewer in the Adrian Brewer Studio. In 1970, Mapes, along with four other artists, founded and incorporated the Mid-Southern Watercolorists (MSW) in Little Rock. Mapes was elected as the organization’s founding president and served until 1972.

Doris was a long-time supporter of The Rep. The collection hangs in her memory.