GUYS AND DOLLS rolls in to Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre this summer

Logo.jpgGuys and Dolls is the musical in the 2019 season of the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre.

This self-described “Musical Fable of Broadway” is based on Damon Runyon’s stories. With a score by Frank Loesser, it has a book by Abe Burrows. (Contractual obligations required that Jo Swerling get credit as a co-author, though none of his original draft ended up in the final product.)

Telling the story of a pair of gamblers and their romantic entanglements, it features memorable characters who frequent nightclubs, a storefront mission, Cuba, and a floating crap game in a sewer.  The original production won the 1951 Tony Award for Best Musical.

Performances started last night (June 15) and continue today, June 16 (2:00pm), June 23 (2:00pm), June 25 (7:30pm), June 28 (7:30pm), June 30 (2:00pm AND 7:30pm), July 2 (7:30pm), July 4 (2:00pm), and July 6 (2:00pm AND 7:30pm). The musical is performed on the stage of the Reynolds Performance Hall.

The cast includes Chad Bradford, Emily Wold, Benjamin Reed, Chris Fritzges, Rebecca Brudner, Nick Narcisi, Patrice Phillips, Ben Grimes, Will Stotts, Barry Clifton, Cody Walls, Augustine Nguyen, Braxton Johnson, Kevin Alan Brown, Maureen Toomey, Mikala Hicks, Regean Allen, Stephanie Craven, Dylan Blackwood, Ashley Mahan, Anthony Bryant, Brian Earles, and Moriah Patterson.

The production is directed by Jenna Elser.  A native of Searcy, she is the Artistic Director of Glow Lyric Theatre in South Carolina. She also is Director of Converse Opera Theatre at Converse College.

Rebekah Scallet is the Producing Artistic Director and Mary Ruth Marotte is the Executive Director.

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THE COMEDY OF ERRORS kicks of 2019 Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre season

AST2019_TheComedyOfErrors_FinalLogo.pngThe Comedy of Errors launches the 2019 season of the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre.

A tragic shipwreck, two sets of twins divided at birth, mistaken identities, and unrequited love provide the perfect recipe for fun in this Shakespearean farce. The fates bring the brothers and their long-lost father Aegeon together in the land of Ephesus with hilarious results.

Performances started last night (June 7) and continue tonight (June 8), June 9, June 23, June 26, June 29, and July 4. They take place at 7:30pm on the lawn at UCA, across from the President’s House.

The cast includes Paige Reynolds, Chad Bradford, Benjamin Reed, Chris Firtzges, Keith Illidge, Rebecca Brudner, Verda Davenport, Justin Jones, Kyle Clark, Chris Farrell Jr., Corrie Green, Charlotte Mae Ellison, Jack Hradecky, and Saxon Whitehead.

The production is directed by Jack Young.  He is the Artistic Director of Houston Shakespeare Festival, and leads the University of Houston’s MFA Professional Actor Training Program.

Rebekah Scallet is the Producing Artistic Director and Mary Ruth Marotte is the Executive Director.

Shake a Spear, or What You Will on Shakespeare’s Birthday

Today is the traditional birthday of William Shakespeare. It seems a good chance to preview the 2019 Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre season.

The lineup includes: The Comedy of Errors (the first Shakespeare play I ever read), The Scottish Play (sorry, but I don’t want to invoke the curse so I won’t write or say the title), as well as a streamlined version of Romeo and Juliet for families.  Also on tap, in the non-Shakespeare musical slot is Guys and Dolls.

Here is more about each show.
The Comedy of Errors
A tragic shipwreck, two sets of twins divided at birth, mistaken identities, and unrequited love provide the perfect recipe for fun in this Shakespearean farce. The fates bring the brothers and their long-lost father Aegeon together in the land of Ephesus with hilarious results.
Outside on the lawn at UCA – Performances June 7, 8, 9, 23, 26, 29, and July 4

Guys and Dolls
A Musical Fable of Broadway
Based on a Story and Characters of Damon Runyon
Music and Lyrics by Frank Loesser
Book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows
High-rolling gambler Sky Masterson never took a bet he couldn’t win, until he met the no-nonsense Sarah Brown, a mission worker set on redeeming the sinners of Broadway. While fellow gambler Nathan Detroit has his own hands full with his fourteen year engagement to Miss Adelaide. It’s the audience who wins in this delightful musical of love and luck!
On-stage in Reynolds Performance Hall – Performances June 15, 16, 23, 25, 28, 30 (twice), and July 2, 4, and 6.

[The Scottish Play]
Brave warrior The Thane of Cawdor emerges victorious from battle to be greeted by three witches who hail him as the future king of Scotland. What follows is a dizzying descent into political machinations, murder, and madness.
On-stage in Reynolds Performance Hall.  Performances are June 21, 22, 27, 29 and July 3, 5, and 7.

Family Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet
The fighting families of Montague and Capulet put their feud before their children’s happiness in Shakespeare’s classic tale of “star-crossed” young love, reimagined for audiences of all ages in this one-hour adaptation.
On-stage in Reynolds Performance Hall.  Also available to tour.  Performances are June 26, 28, 29 and July 2 and 4.

Mary Ruth Marotte is the Executive Director and Rebekah Scallet is the Producing Artistic Director.

The Ides of March

Today is the Ides of March Since that date is a crucial component of one of Shakespeare’s most-famous plays, it seems a good chance to preview the 2019 Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre season.

The lineup includes: The Comedy of Errors (the first Shakespeare play I ever read), The Scottish Play (sorry, but I don’t want to invoke the curse so I won’t write or say the title), as well as a streamlined version of Romeo and Juliet for families.  Also on tap, in the non-Shakespeare musical slot is Guys and Dolls.

Here is more about each show.
The Comedy of Errors
A tragic shipwreck, two sets of twins divided at birth, mistaken identities, and unrequited love provide the perfect recipe for fun in this Shakespearean farce. The fates bring the brothers and their long-lost father Aegeon together in the land of Ephesus with hilarious results.
Outside on the lawn at UCA

Guys and Dolls
A Musical Fable of Broadway
Based on a Story and Characters of Damon Runyon
Music and Lyrics by Frank Loesser
Book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows
High-rolling gambler Sky Masterson never took a bet he couldn’t win, until he met the no-nonsense Sarah Brown, a mission worker set on redeeming the sinners of Broadway. While fellow gambler Nathan Detroit has his own hands full with his fourteen year engagement to Miss Adelaide. It’s the audience who wins in this delightful musical of love and luck!
On-stage in Reynolds Performance Hall

[The Scottish Play]
Brave warrior The Thane of Cawdor emerges victorious from battle to be greeted by three witches who hail him as the future king of Scotland. What follows is a dizzying descent into political machinations, murder, and madness.
On-stage in Reynolds Performance Hall

Family Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet
The fighting families of Montague and Capulet put their feud before their children’s happiness in Shakespeare’s classic tale of “star-crossed” young love, reimagined for audiences of all ages in this one-hour adaptation.
On-stage in Reynolds Performance Hall.  Also available to tour!

Performance dates will be announced in coming weeks.

Mary Ruth Marotte is the Executive Director and Rebekah Scallet is the Producing Artistic Director.

Shake a Spear, or As Will Likes It at 454

Today is the traditionally observed birthday of William Shakespeare. It is known he was born in 1564, which makes this the 454th birthday.

The Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre earlier announced the lineup for the 2018 season.   The dates have now been announced.

The lineup for the June 8-July 8 season, which explores the theme of transformation, includes Shakespeare classics The Winter’s TaleHenry IV, Part One; and a family adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing, as well as Lerner and Loewe’s My Fair Lady. All four 2018 shows feature characters who undergo major changes — some for the better and others, perhaps, for the worst.

The season will open at 7:30 p.m. June 8 with The Winter’s Tale outdoors on the lawn of McAlister Hall on the campus of the University of Central Arkansas. Lerner and Loewe’s My Fair Lady will open in Reynolds Performance Hall on June 15, and Henry IV, Part One, will open on June 22. AST’s family-friendly adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing will open June 28 in Reynolds and will also tour across the state in June and July.

The Winter’s Tale will be directed by Nisi Sturgis, an AST artistic collective member, Conway native and UCA graduate who was a part of the critically acclaimed tour of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Disgraced at the Goodman Theatre, Berkeley Rep and Seattle Rep.

One of Shakespeare’s late romantic plays, it follows the story of King Leontes, who grows jealous of his wife, leading him to make a series of terrible mistakes. “This is a rarely produced Shakespeare gem,” said Rebekah Scallet, AST’s producing artistic director.

Robert Quinlan, who directed A Midsummer Night’s Dream in AST’s 10th anniversary season, will return at the helm of Henry IV, Part One. This adventurous tale is centered on the young Prince Hal, who prefers spending his time in the tavern with his fat and jolly friend Falstaff to time in castle with his father, the king. When rebellion stirs in England, he must make a choice as to where his true loyalties lie.

Scallet will direct My Fair Lady. This multiple Tony Award-winning musical premiered in 1956 and will be given fresh life in this intimate new production. A musical adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, My Fair Lady tells the story of Eliza Doolittle, a flower girl who wants to transform her status by changing the way she speaks, and so goes to curmudgeonly speech professor Henry Higgins for assistance.

Enrico Spada will make his directorial debut with AST for the touring Family Shakespeare production of Much Ado About Nothing. With a cast of just eight people telling a reduced version of this classic tale, Much Ado is a romantic comedy with the great Shakespearean couple of Beatrice and Benedick at its center. This hour-long adaptation is perfect for families to enjoy together and will be performed on stage at Reynolds along with stops at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Winthrop Rockefeller Institute on Petit Jean Mountain, Hot Springs Farmer’s Market, The Joint in Argenta and The Griffin in El Dorado, among others.

Audiences will again be seated onstage for the three productions in Reynolds Performance Hall. AST’s 12th season will close on July 8 with a final performance of The Winter’s Tale.

For those who want a Shakespeare fix in the actual winter, the Arkansas Repertory Theatre will present As You Like It from February 6 to 24, 2019.

Containing some of Shakespeare’s most famous speeches, As You Like It is a comedy about love, exile, wit, and disguises all set in the Forest of Arden.  Orlando loves Rosalind. Rosalind loves Orlando. But Rosalind is disguised as Ganymede – who’s a boy! And Phebe loves Ganymede – who’s really Rosalind. Yet Silvius loves Phebe. And Rosalind’s best friend Celia loves Orlando’s brother Oliver. But Oliver hates Orlando. And Touchstone lusts after Audrey. Unfortunately, no one much cares for Jacques.

Celebrate romance as Shakespeare’s timeless comedy takes center stage at The Rep!  Directed by Giovanna Sardelli, it runs from February 6 to 24, 2019, with an opening night of February 8, 2019.

On Twelfth Night – Remember TWELFTH NIGHT is part of 2016 Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre lineup

AST 2016 TwelfthToday is Twelfth Night. (Or is it Tonight is Twelfth Night?)  It is a good time to remember that the 2016 the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre season will feature Shakespeare’s play of that name, as the one-hour Family Shakespeare adaptation.

Twelfth Night takes us to the island of Illyria, where shipwrecked Viola must disguise herself as a boy—causing complications in her love life.

Actual performance dates and casting will be announced later.

The other three titles for 2016 are:

The 2016 outdoor Shakespeare: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM
Directed by Robert Quinlan
A comic romp of epic proportions, this magical comedy and its lovers, fairies, and oh-so-Rude Mechanicals are the perfect company for an Arkansas midsummer night.

The 2016 tragedy: ROMEO AND JULIET
Directed by AST Producing Artistic Director Rebekah Scallet
Romance, intrigue, and adventure abound in Shakespeare’s timeless tale of the original
star-crossed lovers caught between their
warring families.

The 2016 musical: WEST SIDE STORY
Book by Arthur Laurents, Music by Leonard Bernstein , Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Directed and Choreographed by Jeremy Williams
This beloved musical transplants the story of Romeo and Juliet to 1950s New York City, where the warring Jets and Sharks stand in the way of true love.

Creative Class of 2015: Rebekah Scallet

scalletRebekah Scallet is the producing artistic director of the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre.  A graduate of Parkview High School and Brandeis University, she has an MFA from Illinois State University.  In addition to being active in theatre at Parkview while a student there, she served as stage manager for productions of the former Shakespeare Festival of Arkansas while she was in college.

After working in several Illinois-based theatres, she returned to Arkansas in 2011 and took her position with the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre.  In addition to overseeing the artistic facets, she directs productions for AST.  In 2012, her first season, she directed Twelfth Night. The work on that garnered her an Arkansas Arts Council Fellowship in 2014.

In subsequent seasons, she has directed The Merchant of Venice, King Lear and Two Gentlemen of Verona for the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre. She also directed The Caucasian Chalk Circle and A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur at UCA, where she also serves as a lecturer in theatre.