Still time to join Arkansas Rep for Ovation starring Tony winner Victoria Clark

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, closeupMillion Dollar Quartet may have closed yesterday, but there is still an electric performance coming up at Arkansas Rep in October.

The Arkansas Repertory Theatre is hosting “Ovation, An Encore Event” on Friday, Oct. 25. The evening celebrates the theatre’s supporters with dinner and a special performance by Tony Award-winner, Victoria Clark.

Ovation gives guests a behind-the-scenes look at the Rep, including props and costumes from previous shows and a seated dinner in one of the rehearsal spaces. Ruth Shepherd and Bill Rector, co-chairs of the event, bring their excitement from decades of volunteering with the theatre and are thrilled to share the space with attendees.

“Because we are hosting Ovation here at the Rep, it will have all the intimacy of a private party with all the pizzazz of a night on the town,” said Shepherd. “Suggested attire is ‘what makes you feel good,’ so put on some feathers or sequins and come on down.”

Victoria Clark earned a Tony Award for Leading Actress in a Musical (The Light in the Piazza) and three additional Tony Award nominations. She has performed in 12 Broadway plays and musicals, several off-Broadway productions, and many well-known films and television shows.

“I can’t wait for this night to get here,” said Will Trice, Executive Artistic Director of the Rep. “It will be a true celebration of what The Rep is all about, with incredible music from one of the most renown performers in the country.”

Tickets range from $200 to $1000, giving guests the option to pick their price point and perks. To purchase tickets, contact Kimberly Miller at kmiller@therep.org or call (501) 378-0445 x 203

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Little Rock and VIRGINIA WOOLF

On October 13, 1962, Edward Albee’s first Broadway play Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? opened on Broadway.

Though not in the original cast, Little Rock native Ben Piazza had participated in early readings of the play.  In fact the first time the script was ever read through aloud it was by Albee, Piazza, and producers Richard Barr and Clinton Wilder.

After original cast member George Grizzard left the show due to another commitment, Piazza joined the cast in February 1963.  He remained in the production throughout the rest of the run. Piazza holds the record of most performances of any Edward Albee play on Broadway.

The play was selected by the Pulitzer jury for drama to receive the prize in 1963. But because the award criteria still contained language about “moral example” the final committee rejected the choice and no play was recognized that year. The public hue and cry over the decision served to shake up the criteria for future play selection. Albee would receive the Pulitzer for A Delicate Balance, Seascape and Three Tall Women.

The New York Drama Critics Circle recognized the play as Best Play. It also won Tony Awards for Best Play, Best Producer of a Play (Richard Barr and Clinton Wilder), Actor in a Play (Hill), Actress in a Play (Hagen) and Director of a Play (Alan Schneider). Dillon, who received a Tony nomination for Featured Actress in a Play, received a Theatre World Award for her performance.

During the run of Virginia Woolf, Piazza was writing a novel called The Exact and Very Strange Truth. This would be a fictionalized account of his boyhood in Little Rock. Whenever he would stop writing on it, he would put the manuscript in the freezer of his refrigerator to keep it safe.

Piazza would go on to appear in several other Albee plays both on and off Broadway. He would direct and appear in other productions of Virginia Woolf? throughout the country.

Fifty years to the day after Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? first opened on Broadway, the production’s third revival opened. It starred Tracy Letts, Amy Morton, Carrie Coon and Madison Dirks.  It was directed by Pam MacKinnon.  Nominated for five Tony Awards, it won three: Best Revival of a Play, Actor in a Play (Letts) and Direction (MacKinnon).

One of the producers on stage accepting the Best Revival Tony was Little Rock native Will Trice. Like Piazza, he was a graduate of Little Rock Central High School. Now Trice is the Executive Artistic Director of the Arkansas Repertory Theatre.

Final Days to see MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET at Arkansas Rep

Arkansas Repertory Theatre’s production of Million Dollar Quartet will wrap up its extended this Sunday, October 13. Tickets are available online at TheRep.org or by calling the Box Office at (501) 378-0405.

Million Dollar Quartet, a Tony Award-winning smash hit Broadway musical, is the current production in The Rep’s 2019 Season.

Based on the book by Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux, Million Dollar Quartet chronicles the epic 1956 recording session of young rock ‘n roll stars Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins.

“It’s more than just a jukebox musical,” said Director Hunter Foster. “It’s a dramatic play. But, the music is still the star and by the end people are usually dancing in the aisles.”

Showcased hit songs include “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Fever,” “Walk the Line,” “Sixteen Tons,” “Who Do You Love?,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” “Hound Dog,” and more.

“All the music that audiences will hear is actually being played by the actors,” Foster said. “Most audiences can’t believe they are playing because they are so good! We’re bringing some of the best actor/musicians in the country to Arkansas.”

The Arkansas Rep cast includes Trent Rowland (Elvis Presley), Bill Scott Sheets (Johnny Cash), Skye Scott (Carl Perkins), Brandyn Day (Jerry Lee Lewis), Karack Osborn (Sam Phillips), Alyssa Gardner (Dyanne), Brian Wolverton (Jay Perkins) and David W. Lincoln (W.S. “Fluke” Holland).

The design and creative team includes Lauren T. Roark, costume designer; Erin Reed, associate costume designer; Adam Koch, set designer; Steven Royal, associate set designer; James Barry, music supervisor; Kirk Bookman, original lighting designer; Steve O’Shea, lighting designer; and Luke Mitchell, sound designer. The stage manager is Colin JB and Merit Glover is the assistant stage manager.

Tickets start at $20. Discounts are available for full-time students, season subscribers, seniors and military personnel. For complete information, visit TheRep.org.

Tickets
May be purchased online at TheRep.org, by phone at (501) 378-0405 or by visiting the Box Office at 601 Main Street in Little Rock. Performances run now through Oct. 13.

Tickets are on sale for Arkansas Rep’s October 25 special event OVATION!

Image result for victoria clark

The Arkansas Repertory Theatre is hosting “Ovation, An Encore Event” on Friday, Oct. 25. The evening celebrates the theatre’s supporters with dinner and a special performance by Tony Award-winner, Victoria Clark.

Ovation gives guests a behind-the-scenes look at the Rep, including props and costumes from previous shows and a seated dinner in one of the rehearsal spaces. Ruth Shepherd and Bill Rector, co-chairs of the event, bring their excitement from decades of volunteering with the theatre and are thrilled to share the space with attendees.

“Because we are hosting Ovation here at the Rep, it will have all the intimacy of a private party with all the pizzazz of a night on the town,” said Shepherd. “Suggested attire is ‘what makes you feel good,’ so put on some feathers or sequins and come on down.”

Victoria Clark earned a Tony Award for Leading Actress in a Musical (The Light in the Piazza) and three additional Tony Award nominations. She has performed in 12 Broadway plays and musicals, several off-Broadway productions, and many well-known films and television shows.

“I can’t wait for this night to get here,” said Will Trice, Executive Artistic Director of the Rep. “It will be a true celebration of what The Rep is all about, with incredible music from one of the most renown performers in the country.”

Tickets range from $200 to $1000, giving guests the option to pick their price point and perks. Contact the Rep to purchase tickets or learn more about the event.

On “Little Shop of Horrors Day” remembering Arkansas Rep’s 1996 production

Because it is referenced in the script, September 21 is “Little Shop of Horrors” day.  That brought back memories of productions I have seen and in which I have been involved.

But it also brought back a memory of a production I nearly did not get to see.  In September 1996, the Arkansas Repertory Theatre was preparing to open its season with LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS.  When horror struck.

During the Wednesday, September 4, preview performance, actor Kaleo Griffith injured himself severely enough that surgery would be required. He had no understudy.  The show was set to open on Friday, September 6.  The September 5 preview and opening night were cancelled.

Rep Founder/Artistic Director Cliff Baker, production director Brad Mooy and Rep staff sprang into action to try to find someone who could play the part on short notice. Howard Pinhasik, who had played the part before and was available, arrived in Little Rock, rehearsed with the cast, and the show opened one day late on Saturday, September 7.

Others in the cast were Joseph Conz, Kathrynne Haack, Tim Reynolds, David Johnson, Ericka Cooper, Tracey Lee and Tammi Phillips

The show played the rest of its run through September 29, 1996, without incident.  Well other than people getting fed to a talking plant every night.