Little Rock Culture Vulture

Cultural events, places and people in the Little Rock area


THE LITTLE MERMAID swims into Ark Rep for holiday season

LittleMermaidFrom the creators of Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and Little Shop of Horrors, the Arkansas Rep presents Disney’s The Little Mermaid, an enchanting musical features an infectious score that includes the popular songs “Part of Your World,” “Under the Sea” and “Kiss the Girl.”

Adapted from the beloved fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen into one of Disney’s most popular animated films of all time, The Little Mermaid is now a lavish theatrical spectacle you won’t want to miss. Plunge into the colorful depths of an undersea wonderland as The Rep’s stage is transformed into an aquatic playground underscored by a funky Calypso beat. The musical features a book by Pulitzer Prize winner Douglas Wright and a score by Alan Menken, Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater.

“A heart warming musical for the entire family,” said Bob Hupp. “From Hans Christian Anderson to Disney to The Rep, generations have fallen in love with the young mermaid who dreams of love and life on land. This musical has it all: a great story, lush designs and all the songs you sang with your kids. You’ll certainly want to make The Little Mermaid part of your world this holiday season.”

The show opens tonight and runs through Sunday, January 3.  Performances are at 7pm with Sunday matinees at 2pm.

The production is directed by Melissa Rain Anderson in her Arkansas Rep debut. Other members of the creative team are Adam Cates (choreography), Mark Binns (music director), Shoko Kambara (scenery), Rafael Colon Castanera (costumes), Robert Denton (lighting), Allan Branson (sound), Lynda J. Kwallek (properties), Robert Pickens (wigs) and 2 Ring Circus (aerial and circus direction).

Katie Emerson plays the title character and Shayne Kennon is her prince. Others in the cast include Cornelius Davis (Sebastian), Jack Doyle (Grimsby), Jared Green (Flotsam), Zach Green (Jetsam), Amy Jo Jackson (Ursula), Ben Liebert (Scuttle), Evan Tyrone Martin (King Triton) and DJ Plunkett (Flounder). Rounding out the cast are Anthony D. Bryant, Kacie Burns, Taylor Collins, Lani Corson, Audra Cramer, Joshua Dean, Ben Franklin, Luke Grooms, Samantha L. Harrington, Sydney Ippolito, Shaun Repetto and Molly Rosenthal.

Some of the performances are already sold out, so act quickly on buying tickets.

 

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Ark Rep’s The Little Mermaid is focus of Clinton School lunchtime program today

LittleMermaidThe Arkansas Repertory Theatre works in partnership with the Clinton School of Public Service to participate in the UACS’s Distinguished Speaker Series, hosting educational panel discussions on various Rep productions.

The latest in these takes place today, Thursday, December 3 at 12 noon at Sturgis Hall in Clinton Presidential Park.  It focuses on the Rep’s upcoming production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid.

Adapted from the beloved fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen into one of Disney’s most popular animated films of all time, “The Little Mermaid” is now a lavish theatrical spectacle you won’t want to miss.

From Hans Christian Andersen to Disney to The Rep, generations have fallen in love with the young mermaid who dreams of love and life on land. This musical has it all: a great story, lush designs and all the songs you sang with your kids.

Join the Clinton School for a panel discussion about this production with moderator Bob Hupp, producing artistic director at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre.

The play opens officially on Friday evening and runs through Sunday, January 3.


Go “Behind the Theme” tonight at Arkansas Rep before next month’s THE LITTLE MERMAID

LittleMermaidTonight, Monday, November 23, join the Arkansas Rep for its new event series, Behind the Theme, for a discussion of  The Origin of Fairy Tales!

The Little Mermaid is based on Hans Christian Andersen’s folktale of the same name.  Before you plunge into the colorful depths of the Rep’s production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid, UCA professor Jay Ruud will lead a discussion on Tolkien’s theory on the nature of myth and ‘fairy-stories.’ Find out where fairy tales originated and how they’ve become the stories we know and love today. 

Monday, November 23, 6 p.m.

Foster’s, located on the first mezzanine

FREE and open to the public

Cash bar available

Please RSVP to Allyson Gattin

501.378.0445 ext. 125 | agattin@therep.org


Studio Show series of Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre launches with THE UGLY DUCKLING

aac ct ss UglyDuckling_posterThis year, the Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre features three Studio Shows in addition to its mainstage shows.  Up first, The Ugly Duckling, Aug. 28-Sept. 6, 2015.

Devised and directed by Katie Campbell, The Ugly Duckling is a reimagining of the classic fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen. It follows a young girl as she embarks on a journey of self-discovery and personal transformation. This shadow play unfolds with three actor-puppeteers, two overhead projectors, nearly 100 paper puppets.

“The striking and graphic simplicity of the paper cutting along with the inherently cinematic quality of overhead projector puppetry lays the aesthetic foundation for the production,” Campbell said. “There is no dialogue as the narrative unfolds entirely in the visual language of puppetry and the emotional topography of music.”

Campbell, a North Carolina native, made her home in Little Rock eight years ago when she became a company member with the Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre. The Ugly Duckling stemmed from a thesis project as she pursed an MFA in directing theatre for young audiences at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

“It happened out of necessity—I needed a story that could be told with very few actors and a minimalist set in order to share a tour van with another student,” Campbell said. “But I believe in the story so much. I love telling stories of personal transformation, so it was a natural fit for me to reimagine Andersen’s classic but to adapt it from my personal life lens.”

After touring in North Carolina, Campbell contacted the AACCT to gauge their interest in her show. “There’s never been a single idea that Brad [Bradley Anderson, AACCT artistic director] has said ‘no’ to,” Campbell said. “He and the Arts Center are just so supportive and encouraging of anyone with artistic ambition.”

Before the show could begin at the AAC Children’s Theatre, Campbell needed to find new music since the University of North Carolina at Greensboro owned the rights to the original scores. Enter the Jim Henson Foundation.

The Ugly Duckling was the recipient of a 2015 Jim Henson Foundation Family Grant which celebrates innovation and excellence in puppetry. The grant allowed Campbell to approach Jessica Drake Mosher to compose and arrange new, original music.

The two met through a mutual friend on Facebook, and after only a few months of comparing notes, the ensemble was complete. Mosher’s music will be performed live by a 15-piece ensemble from the Arkansas Symphony Youth Orchestra, directed by Geoffrey Robson.

“I have long been interested in collaborating with the Arkansas Arts Center and this is a wonderful opportunity for a first collaboration,” said Robson, associate conductor for the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra.

“I was even more excited that Katie was commissioning new music to be written for this production,” Robson said. “It is always a thrill to be involved in a world premiere, and to give students the opportunity to work with a living composer. Performing a piece of music for the first time is a unique learning experience, and it is a thrill that all of this is happening as the Arts Center kicks off its Studio Series.”

“This is a true collaboration of arts organizations,” Campbell said. “I just consider myself a caretaker of this project because it would not have been possible without any of them.”

After the 36-minute show, the audience is invited to participate in a hands-on demonstration of the shadow puppetry process.

The Ugly Duckling is presented by The Philip R. Jonsson Foundation and sponsored by the Jim Henson Foundation. The 2015/2016 season of the Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre is sponsored by: Presenting Sponsor, Arkansas BlueCross Blue Shield; Fall Season Sponsor, Centennial Bank; Spring Season Sponsors, The Fine Arts Club of Arkansas and Dr. Loren Bartole, ‘Family Foot Care’; Additional Support Provided by The Morris Foundation and Media Sponsor, Little Rock Family Magazine.

Show times: Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m.

Ticket prices: $10 General admission, $8 for Arkansas Arts Center members


ONCE ON THIS ISLAND presented by Ark Rep SMTI junior students tonight and this weekend

Rep SMTI OOTIThe Tony nominated musical Once on This Island, by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, is being presented tonight, tomorrow and two times Saturday by the senior level students in the Arkansas Repertory Theatre’s Summer Musical Theatre Intensive (SMTI).

Performances are at 7pm tonight (Thursday the 6th), Friday and Saturday with a 1pm matinee on Saturday the 8th, as well.  Tickets are $10 and may be purchased by calling the Rep box office or stopping by in person. You can also order them online .

Once on This Island is based on the 1985 novel My Love, My Love; or, The Peasant Girl by Rosa Guy.  Set in the French Antilles, it mixes Caribbean mythology with elements of Romeo and Juliet as well as Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid.  It was nominated for 8 Tony Awards in 1991.  Four years later, it won the Olivier Award for Best New Musical in London.

Summer Musical Theatre Intensive (SMTI) is The Rep’s annual training program for aspiring young artists in Arkansas.  Under the direction of Capri, SMTI is an intensive, audition-based theatre training program designed exclusively for motivated young artists who are serious about the arts and musical theatre.

The SMTI staff is comprised of professional directors, choreographers, musicians and designers. Daily rehearsals are structured similarly to a professional summer stock experience and include instruction in musical theatre techniques, multi-media, costume and stage make-up, dance and vocal coaching.

Each session – broken into Select (ages 10 – 12), Junior (ages 13-15) and Senior (ages 16-23) – involves intensive daily rehearsals culminating in a public workshop performance of a selected musical or musical revue.


ONCE ON THIS ISLAND presented by Ark Rep SMTI senior students tonight and this weekend

Rep SMTI OOTIThe Tony nominated musical Once on This Island, by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, is being presented tonight, tomorrow and two times Saturday by the senior level students in the Arkansas Repertory Theatre’s Summer Musical Theatre Intensive (SMTI).

Performances are at 7pm tonight (Thursday the 23rd), Friday and Saturday with a 1pm matinee on Saturday the 25th, as well.  Tickets are $10 and may be purchased by calling the Rep box office or stopping by in person.

Once on This Island is based on the 1985 novel My Love, My Love; or, The Peasant Girl by Rosa Guy.  Set in the French Antilles, it mixes Caribbean mythology with elements of Romeo and Juliet as well as Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid.  It was nominated for 8 Tony Awards in 1991.  Four years later, it won the Olivier Award for Best New Musical in London.

Summer Musical Theatre Intensive (SMTI) is The Rep’s annual training program for aspiring young artists in Arkansas.  Under the direction of Capri, SMTI is an intensive, audition-based theatre training program designed exclusively for motivated young artists who are serious about the arts and musical theatre.

The SMTI staff is comprised of professional directors, choreographers, musicians and designers. Daily rehearsals are structured similarly to a professional summer stock experience and include instruction in musical theatre techniques, multi-media, costume and stage make-up, dance and vocal coaching.

Each session – broken into Select (ages 10 – 12), Junior (ages 13-15) and Senior (ages 16-23) – involves intensive daily rehearsals culminating in a public workshop performance of a selected musical or musical revue.


Fight the Summer Heat – Enjoy FROZEN at Movies in the Park tonight

MitP10 FrozenThe 2013 film Frozen is tonight’s film at Movies in the Park.

Directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, it is inspired by the Hans Christian Andersen story “The Snow Queen.”  This Oscar winning movie stars Kirsten Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, Santino Fontana, Alan Tudyk, Ciaran Hinds and Edie McClurg.  Frozen was named Best Animated Feature at the Oscars. It also won the Best Song Oscar for “Let It Go” by Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez.

Now in its 10th season, Movies in the Park is a free outdoor film series at the First Security Amphitheater in Riverfront Park.  The move starts at dark (around 8:30).

Movies in the Park has grown to a season of eight films per year, on average, reaching audiences of up to 4,000 people. It’s a staple event in Central Arkansas. Communities from across the state, and the country, have reached out for guidance as they have tried to implement similar programs in the own communities.

Since 2008, the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau has been managing Movies in the Park.