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.

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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.

2016 season for Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre announced

AST 2016Last week, the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre announced the four titles for the 2016 season, their 10th season of bringing the Bard and more to Central Arkansas.

Actual performance dates and casting will be announced later.

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.

The 2016 Family Shakespeare: TWELFTH NIGHT
This one-hour Family Shakespeare adaptation takes us to the island of Illyria, where shipwrecked Viola must disguise herself as a boy—causing complications in her love life.

Arkansas Arts Council to honor 9 Individual Artist Fellowship recipients tonight

Arkansas_Arts_Council_logo_2Tonight, the Arkansas Arts Council honors the nine recipients of its 2014 Individual Artist Fellowship awards. The artists will be recognized at a reception, co-sponsored by Historic Arkansas Museum, from 5:00-8 p.m. at the museum on 200 E. Third St. in Little Rock. The reception is free and open to the public. Seating is limited; reservations are required. For reservations, call (501) 324-9766.

Fellowships are awarded annually in the amount of $4,000 each to Arkansas artists in recognition of their individual artistic abilities. These fellowships enable artists to set aside time for creating their art and improving their skills. Three artistic disciplines are selected each year as categories for the awards.

The three categories for this year are Literary Arts: Short Story Writing; Performing Arts: Directing of Theater Productions; and Visual Arts: Works on Paper.

The following recipients were selected by a jury of professional artists, writers, performers and art administrators:

Literary Arts: Short Story Writing

  • Marla Cantrell, Alma
  • Alice Otto, Fayetteville
  • Hung Pham, Fayetteville

Performing Arts: Directing of Theater Productions

  • Amy Herzberg, Fayetteville
  • Kassie Misiewicz, Bentonville
  • Rebekah Scallet, Little Rock

Visual Arts: Works on Paper

  • Sheila Cantrell, Batesville
  • Delita S. Martin, Little Rock
  • Kathryn (Kat) Wilson, Fayetteville

 

The Arkansas Arts Council advances the arts in Arkansas by providing services and grants-in-aid supporting arts endeavors that encourage and assist literary, performing and visual artists in achieving standards of professional excellence. In addition, the Arkansas Arts Council provides technical and financial assistance to Arkansas arts organizations and other providers of cultural and educational programs.

The Arkansas Arts Council was established in 1966 to enable the state of Arkansas to receive funds from the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1971, Act 359 (A.C.A. § 13-8-101 et seq.) gave independent agency status to the Arts Council, with an executive director and a 17-member council appointed by the governor. In 1975, the Arts Council became an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage.

The Arkansas Arts Council is an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage and shares the goals of all seven Department of Arkansas Heritage agencies, that of preserving and enhancing the heritage of the state of Arkansas. The agencies are: Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, Delta Cultural Center in Helena, Historic Arkansas Museum, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and the Old State House Museum. Funding for the Arkansas Arts Council and its programs is provided by the State of Arkansas and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Nine Arkansans received Individual Artist Fellowships from Arkansas Arts Council

Arkansas_Arts_Council_logo_2The Arkansas Arts Council is pleased to announce the nine recipients of its Individual Artist Fellowship awards. The artists will be recognized at a reception, co-sponsored by Historic Arkansas Museum, on Friday, October 3, from 6-8 p.m. at the museum on 200 E. Third St. in Little Rock. The reception is free and open to the public. Seating is limited; reservations are required. For reservations, call (501) 324-9766.

Fellowships are awarded annually in the amount of $4,000 each to Arkansas artists in recognition of their individual artistic abilities. These fellowships enable artists to set aside time for creating their art and improving their skills. Three artistic disciplines are selected each year as categories for the awards.

The three categories for this year are Literary Arts: Short Story Writing; Performing Arts: Directing of Theater Productions; and Visual Arts: Works on Paper.

The following recipients were selected by a jury of professional artists, writers, performers and art administrators:

Literary Arts: Short Story Writing

Marla Cantrell, Alma

Alice Otto, Fayetteville

Hung Pham, Fayetteville

 

Performing Arts: Directing of Theater Productions

Amy Herzberg, Fayetteville

Kassie Misiewicz, Bentonville

Rebekah Scallet, Little Rock

 

Visual Arts: Works on Paper

Sheila Cantrell, Batesville

Delita S. Martin, Little Rock

Kathryn (Kat) Wilson, Fayetteville