Run Forrest Run – CALS Ron Robinson screens FORREST GUMP tonight

Forrest Gump PosterNo word on whether there will be boxes of chocolates available at the concessions stand, but the CALS Ron Robinson Theater will be showing Oscar winner FORREST GUMP tonight.

The story follows the life of low I.Q. Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks) and his meeting with the love of his life Jenny. The film chronicles his Zelig-like experiences with some of the most important people and events in America from the late 1950s through the 1970s including a meeting with Elvis Presley, JFK, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, fighting in Vietnam, etc. The problem is, he doesn’t realize the significance of his actions. Forrest comes to embody a generation.

Others in the cast include Sally Field, Robin Wright, Gary Sinese, and Mykelti Williamson.  The movie was nominated for 13 Academy Awards and won six including Best Picture, Best Actor (Hanks), Best Director (Robert Zemeckis), and Best Adapted Screenplay (Eric Roth).

The showing starts at 6:30pm. The cost is $5.00.

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Set in Northwest Arkansas – third season of HBO’s TRUE DETECTIVE premieres tonight!

HBO’s anthology series TRUE DETECTIVE is back. And the buzz is strong!  Partner detectives investigate a macabre crime involving two missing children in the heart of the Ozarks, Arkansas. The story spans three decades. It premieres tonight.

Oscar winner Mahershala Ali (who just picked up a Golden Globe last Sunday) will play detective Wayne Hays, a state police detective from Northwest Arkansas. Stephen Dorff is set to play Arkansas State Investigator Roland West. Carmen Ejogo will play school teacher Amelia Reardon, who is connected to two missing children.

Additional cast members include Josh Hopkins, who will play Jim Dobkins, a private attorney in Fayetteville involved in deposing state police detectives in an ongoing investigation. Scoot McNairy is Tom, a father who suffers a terrible loss which ties his fate to that of two state police detectives over ten years. Mamie Gummer stars as Lucy Purcell, a young mother of two at the center of a tragic crime. Jodi Balfour, Lonnie Chavis, Ray Fisher, Michael Greyeyes, Jon Tenney, Rhys Wakefield, Sarah Gadon, Emily Nelson, Brandon Flynn and Michael Graziadei also star.

Many Arkansas actors (including Corbin Pitts, Grace Pitts, and Jennifer Pierce Mathus) also appear throughout the series. But in the true nature of the project, don’t ask them too many questions if you know them.

Nic Pizzolatto has scripted eight episodes for Season 3, co-writing Episode 4 with David Milch. Little Rock’s Graham Gordy worked on episodes 5 through 8 as a writer and consulting producer. The new season will mark Pizzolatto’s directorial debut.

31 Days of Arkansas Rep: Charles Portis’ DELRAY’S NEW MOON in 1996

When you’ve written one of the great American novels of the second half of the 20th Century and seen it turned into an Oscar winning movie, what do you do next?  You continue writing.

And if you are Charles Portis, you decide in the 1990s to try your hand at a play.  So in 1996, the Arkansas Rep offered a staged reading of Portis’ play Delray’s New Moon. 

Directed by Rep Artistic Director Cliff Baker, it was set in a honky tonk hotel halfway between Little Rock and Texarkana. Most of the people there are senior citizens awaiting their next location whether it be a nursing home or a relative’s house.

The cast featured Scott Edmonds played a father being shuffled each month between his daughters played by Judy Trice and Natalie Canerday.  Others in the cast included Danielle Rosenthal, Jean Lind, John Stiritz, Michael Davis, Graham Gordy, Stacy Breeding, Angel Bailey, Rhonda Atwood and Tom Kagy.

The production ran from April 18 to 28.  The normally reclusive Portis participated in talkback sessions following performances.

LR Culture Vulture turns 7

The Little Rock Culture Vulture debuted on Saturday, October 1, 2011, to kick off Arts & Humanities Month.

The first feature was on the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, which was kicking off its 2011-2012 season that evening.  The program consisted of Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4 in A, Op. 90, Rossini’s, Overture to The Italian Girl in Algiers, Puccini’s Chrysanthemums and Respighi’s Pines of Rome.  In addition to the orchestra musicians, there was an organ on stage for this concert.

Since then, there have been 10,107 persons/places/things “tagged” in the blog.  This is the 3,773rd entry. (The symmetry to the number is purely coincidental–or is it?)  It has been viewed over 288,600 times, and over 400 readers have made comments.  It is apparently also a reference on Wikipedia.

The most popular pieces have been about Little Rock history and about people in Little Rock.

Shark Week remembrance of Roy Schneider

Actor Roy Scheider’s connection to Little Rock is a sad one.  He visited the City quite frequently during the last years of his life as he was getting treated at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.  Despite UAMS’s best efforts, Scheider died in Little Rock on February 10, 2008.

Though he starred in several iconic films in the 1970s and 1980s, he is probably best remembered for his role in the Jaws series of films.

In the 1970s, Scheider received two Oscar nominations. His first, for Best Supporting Actor, was in The French Connection.  While Scheider did not pick up the Oscar, the film itself was named Best Picture.  It won four other Oscars that night. (As a side note: it was the first R-rated movie to win Best Picture.  Though Midnight Cowboy was re-released as an R-Rated movie after winning the Best Picture Oscar, it was initially released as an X-rated movie.)

Scheider’s second Oscar nomination came for playing Bob Fosse’s stand-in in the movie All That Jazz.  It, too, won four Oscars, though Scheider’s nomination would not result in a win.

Movies in the Park continues tonight with ZOOTOPIA

The 2018 season of Movies in the Park continues with ZOOTOPIA.  The 2016 film, which won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature, starts tonight at sundown at the First Security Amphitheatre in Riverfront Park.

In a city of anthropomorphic animals, a rookie bunny cop and a cynical con artist fox must work together to uncover a conspiracy. The film features the voices of Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Batema, Idris Elba, Jenny Slate, Nate Torrence, Bonnie Hunt, Don Lake, Tommy Chong, J.K. Simmons, Octavia Spencer, Alan Tudyk, and Shakira

Little Rock’s Movies in the Park is sponsored by the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau and the City of Little Rock.  Movies are shown every Wednesday during the season and begin at sundown.

Families, picnics and pets are invited to the park to enjoy movies under the stars, no glass containers please. A parent or adult guardian must accompany all children and youth under the age of 18 and an ID is required. The amphitheater will open an hour before film showings and movies will start at sundown each week. For more information please visit http://moviesintheparklr.net.

Pulitzers Play Little Rock: ‘NIGHT, MOTHER on Arkansas Rep stage with Oscar winner Mercedes McCambridge

MercedesIt is not often that an Oscar winner has appeared in a play on a Little Rock stage.  But in the spring of 1986, Mercedes McCambridge starred in Marsha Norman’s ‘night, Mother at Arkansas Repertory Theatre.

She had moved to Little Rock a few years prior to live full time to be close to family. From time to time, she and Cliff Baker (the Rep’s founder) would have conversations about potential projects. But it was not until 1986, that the stars aligned.  By this point, she had moved away from Little Rock, but was still back from time to time to visit family.  (In an interview with the Arkansas Gazette, she also praised Fred Poe and noted that he was her travel agent for her many excursions.)

Appearing on stage with McCambridge in Norman’s two-hander was Rep veteran Cathey Crowell Sawyer.

Though noted for her film work, McCambridge had appeared on Broadway several times including opposite Little Rock native Ben Piazza in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and receiving a Tony nomination for her work in the play The Love Suicide at Schofield Barracks.

Prior to appearing at the Rep, she had recently toured in the play Agnes of God.  She related to the Gazette that she had been approached to do that play prior to Broadway but did not feel the character she was to play was believable.  When the national tour came about, a conversation with playwright John Pielmeier changed her mind.

Her last Broadway appearance was in Neil Simon’s Pulitzer Prize winning Lost in Yonkers.

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.