ANTIQUITIES plays Riverdale 10 Cinema January 25 to 31

One of the hits at the Arkansas Cinema Society’s August 2018 Filmland event was Arkansas made film Antiquities.

It has been picked up for distribution and will screen at the Riverdale 10 Cinema from January 25 to 31. Tickets can be purchased here.

After the first screening during Filmland sold out quickly, a second screening was added.  But there are many people who did not get to see it, or want to see it again.  Now is that chance!

After his father’s death, a young man – WALT (Andrew J. West) – moves to his dad’s hometown in order to learn more about who his father was. Walt decides to stay with his awkward aunt and her family, whose denial makes his search nearly impossible. He accepts a job in a local antique mall where his boss quickly offers him the possibility of a management position; however, a mean-spirited co-worker isn’t pleased by his new competition and proceeds to sabotage any chance Walt has. Walt then meets ELLIE (Ashley Greene), an eccentric and crude free spirit who still manages to be irresistibly charming. He finds himself completely enamored, though both are hesitant to pursue a relationship. Walt ends up not only finding out who his father really was, but learns more about himself than he ever thought possible.

The cast includes many Arkansas actors such as Mary Steenburgen, Graham Gordy, Jason Thompson, Alanna Hamill Newton, Jeff Bailey, Damon McKinnis, Joanne Riddick, the late Fran Austin, and a brief cameo by David Bazzel as well as Rett Tucker as a bingo caller.

Filmed in and around Arkansas, the movie was directed by Daniel Campbell from a screenplay by Campbell and Gordy.  Cinematography was by Gabe Mayhan.  The film was produced by Campbell, Gordy, David Jennis, Jayme Lemons, Gary Newton, Angela Prosser, and Kathryn Tucker.

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31 Days of Arkansas Rep: 1985 World Premiere of THE GOOD WOMAN OF SETZUAN

The Arkansas Repertory Theatre set the American regional theatre world abuzz with its world premiere of a musical version of Bertolt Brecht’s The Good Woman of Setzuan.

Director Cliff Fannin Baker received many telephone calls from his colleagues who were surprised that the Brecht estate had given its authorization for a musicalization to a small professional theatre in Little Rock.

The songs were written by Arkansas native Michael Rice using as a libretto the Eric Bentley translation of the original Brecht work. Rice also served as music director, leading a seven member orchestra as it played the nineteen songs he wrote.

As director, Baker used many Brechtian techniques to stay true to the story. These included music, neon signs, and non-traditional costuming for some of the characters.  Speaking of costumes, Little Rock fashion designer Connie Fails designed the clothing for the production.

Others on the creative team included Michael R. Smith (a set that was described as “dazzling, trashily opulent”) and Kathy Gray.

The title character was played by Vivian Morrison (now Vivian Norman). Other leading roles were played by Mark Johnson, Terry Sneed, Dianne Tack, and Mychael McMillan (in drag).  Playing a trio of gods were Ronald J. Aulgur, Scott Edmonds, and Candyce Hinkle. Others in the cast included Jean Lind, Ruth Shepherd, Kathryn Pryor, Judy Trice, Carol Ann Connor (now McAdams), Ginny Pace, and Jeff Bailey.

The production took place at the Arkansas Arts Center Theatre instead of the Rep’s facility on 11th Street.  With a cast of twenty and extensive set changes, the production needed more space than the Rep’s home could accommodate.

The Good Woman of Setzuan opened on June 13 and ran through June 22.

31 Days of Arkansas Rep: 1985’s CRIMES OF THE HEART

Since at least Chekov, playwrights have been fascinated with a trio of women at the center of a play.  Southerner Beth Henley put her own twist on this concept with her 1981 Pulitzer Prize winner Crimes of the Heart.

Focusing on the three Magrath sisters and their assorted friends in Hazelhurst, Mississippi, the story looks at how they come together because one of the sisters is accused of shooting her estranged husband.  A comedy with some dark undertones, it was a hit Off Broadway and then transferred to Broadway after winning the Pulitzer.

Arkansas Rep presented it in April 1985.  The cast featured Evelyn Carol Case, Cathey Crowell Sawyer and Laurel Anne White as the three sisters.  Maggie Murphy, Jeff Bailey and Mark Johnson rounded out the cast.  The show was directed by Cliff Baker, who had  directed the same show (with a different cast and design team) at the Alley Theatre earlier in 1985.

Pulitzers Play Little Rock: CRIMES OF THE HEART at Arkansas Rep

Crimes of HeartSince at least Chekov, playwrights have been fascinated with a trio of women at the center of a play.  Southerner Beth Henley put her own twist on this concept with her 1981 Pulitzer Prize winner Crimes of the Heart.

Focusing on the three Magrath sisters and their assorted friends in Hazelhurst, Mississippi, the story looks at how they come together because one of the sisters is accused of shooting her estranged husband.  A comedy with some dark undertones, it was a hit Off Broadway and then transferred to Broadway after winning the Pulitzer.

Arkansas Rep presented it in April 1985.  The cast featured Evelyn Carol Case, Cathey Crowell Sawyer and Laurel Anne White as the three sisters.  Maggie Murphy, Jeff Bailey and Mark Johnson rounded out the cast.  The show was directed by Cliff Baker, who had  directed the same show (with a different cast and design team) at the Alley Theatre earlier in 1985.

2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the first Pulitzer Prize for Drama being given. To pay tribute to 100 years of the Pulitzer for Drama, each day this month a different Little Rock production of a Pulitzer Prize winning play will be highlighted.  Many of these titles have been produced numerous times.  This look will veer from high school to national tours in an attempt to give a glimpse into Little Rock’s breadth and depth of theatrical history.

LR Film Fest: Made in Arkansas Awards

IMG_5408There are four awards presented to films in the “Made in Arkansas” track.   This year there were fifteen shorts and five feature films in contention for these awards.

Liza Burns won the Best Actor award for her performance in the feature 45 RPM.  (Note that actor is used as a gender non-specific term.)  The other nominees were Jeff Bailey for “The Discontentment of Ed Telfair,” Jeffrey Fuell for “Blood Brothers” and Graham Gordy for “Mary.”

The Charles B. Pierce Award for Best Short went to “The Discontentment of Ed Telfair” which was directed by Daniel Campbell.  The other nominees were “Diamond John” (directed by Travis Mosler), “Last Shot Love” (directed by Nolan Dean) and “Mary” (directed by Zach Turner).  Interestingly, the latter two and Campbell’s winning film were all grouped together in the “Heartbeats” block.

The award for Best Feature went to 45 RPM directed by Juli Jackson.  The other nominees were Last Summer by Mark Thiedeman and The Identity Theft of Mitch Mustain by Matthew Wolfe.

Mark Thiedeman won Best Director for Last Summer.  This is the third consecutive year Thiedeman has had a film at the Little Rock Film Festival.  The other nominees were Amman Abbasi for “Bad Water,” Zach Turner for “Mary” and Juli Jackson for 45 RPM.