2005 film version of RENT on screen at CALS Ron Robinson Theater tonight (2/5)

Rent movie poster.jpgLast week, Fox network screen a “live” version of the musical RENT.  Tonight at the CALS Ron Robinson Theater, the 2005 film version of this Pulitzer and Tony-winning musical will be shown. The film is being shown one day after what would have been the 59th birthday of the composer/writer Jonathan Larson.

Many of the original 1996 Broadway cast members appeared in the film.  Anthony Rapp, Adam Pascal, Jesse L. Martin, Wilson Jermain Heredia, Idina Menzel, and Taye Diggs all recreated their Broadway assignments for the film. Rosario Dawson replaced Daphne Rubin-Vega, and Tracie Thoms replaced Fredi Walker for the film.

Larson’s script was adapted to a screenplay by Stephen Chbosky. Christopher Columbus directed the film and was one of the producers along with Jane Rosenthal, Robert De Niro, Mark Radcliffe, and Michael Barnathan.

The film begins at 7pm at the Ron Robinson Theater. Admission is $5.00.

Pulitzers Play Little Rock: CTLR’s production of RENT

CTLR RentJonathan Larson’s through-sung updated La Boheme was an instant success from its first Off Broadway preview.  Unfortunately with his death that day, Larson never enjoyed the success.  After a long Broadway run, the rights were made available for other productions.

Though not the first to present Rent in Little Rock, the Community Theatre of Little Rock closed out its 58th season in 2014 with a production of this winner of the 1996 Pulitzer Prize in Drama.

The cast included Michael Goodbar, Ryan Whitfield, Charles Holloway, Jeremiah Herman, Angel Monroe, Brittany Sparkles, Kelsey Padilla, Jess Carson, David Weatherly, Courtney Williams, Douglas Hammon, Elijah Ash, Manny Urban, Brian Christopher Roberson, Robert Warner, Claudia Moskova-Cremeens, Ashley McPhearson, Vivian Murray-Colyer, Nichole Henry, Allison Bode, Courtney Speyer, Makayla Ealy, and Beth Ross.

The production was directed by Frank O. Butler.  Matthew Tatus was the Music Director, while the producers were Liz Clark and Jerry Woods.

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.

Broadway Rocks the Arkansas Symphony this weekend

ASO NewThe Arkansas Symphony Orchestra welcomes Christiane Noll, Capathia Jenkins and Rob Evan for a weekend of Broadway music backed by the ASO.

Under the direction of Associate Conductor Geoffrey Robson, this high energy show brings together exciting vocalists from the Broadway stage performing selections from rock and contemporary Broadway hits. Wicked, The Lion King, Mamma Mia, Rent, The Wiz, The Phantom of the Opera – and many more of your favorites from the stage are featured on this exciting show for all ages!

Act I

  • Rocks Overture (arr. Fleischer)
  • Everybody Rejoice (The Wiz/Smalls)
  • This Is The Moment (Jekyll and Hyde/Wildhorn)
  • Good Morning Baltimore (Hairspray/Shaiman)
  • Jersey Boys Medley
  • Total Eclipse Circle of Life (Lion King/John)
  • Proud Mary (Fogerty)
  • Jesus Christ Superstar Overture (Lloyd Webber)
  • Seasons of Love (Rent/Larsen)
  • You Can’t Stop the Beat (Hairspray/Shaiman)


Act II

  • Come Sail Away
  • For Good (Wicked/Schwartz)
  • Anthem (Chess/Andersson/Ulvaeus)
  • I Will Survive
  • Defying Gravity (Wicked/Schwartz)
  • Mamma Mia Medley (Andersson/Ulvaeus)
  • And I Am Tellin’ You (Dreamgirls/Krieger)            
  • Phantom of the Opera (Phantom/Lloyd Webber)
  • Music of the Night (Phantom/Lloyd Webber)

All programs, dates and guest artists subject to change.

Capathia Jenkins, created the role of ‘Medda’ in the hit Disney production of Newsies on Broadway. She made her Broadway debut in The Civil War. She then starred in the Off-Broadway 2000 revival of Godspell. She returned to Broadway in The Look of Love and was critically acclaimed for her performances of the Bacharach/David hits. Ms. Jenkins then created the roles of ‘The Washing Machine’ in Caroline, Or Change and ‘Frieda May’ in Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me, where she sang ‘Stop the Show’ and brought the house down every night.

Christiane Noll was nominated for both the 2010 Tony Award and Drama Desk Award and won a Helen Hayes Award for her portrayal of Mother on Broadway in the Kennedy Center Revival of Ragtime. She made her Broadway debut starring in Jekyll & Hyde, creating the role of Emma. Ms. Noll received an Ovation Award for her comedic turn as Hope Cladwell in the National Tour of Urinetown, wowed audiences again as Vanna Vane in the new musical The Mambo Kings, soared as Jane Smart in the American premiere of The Witches of Eastwick, and most recently received another Drama Desk nomination for her work in Chaplin.

Rob Evan has performed in seven leading roles on the New York Stage including the original Broadway cast of Jekyll & Hyde, playing the title roles for three years and over 1,000 performances worldwide. He also appeared on Broadway as Jean Valjean in Les Miserables, Kerchak in Disney’s Tarzan, “The Dentist” in Little Shop of Horrors, and Count von Krolock in Jim Steinman’s Dance of the Vampires. Off-Broadway, Rob created the roles of The Dancin’ Kid in Johnny Guitar and the hero Miles Hendon in Neil Berg’s m.

2015-16 ASO Pops includes Cirque, Broadway, Movies and Holiday Favorites

aso_2-colorThe Arkansas Symphony Orchestra returns to the Connor Performing Arts Center on the Pulaski Academy campus for the 2015-2016 season.  There is still time to order your tickets.

Things get started on October 24 & 25 with “Cirque Musical.” Debuting this summer at the Hollywood Bowl, this evening will feature contortionists, balances and jugglers providing a visual feast for the eyes while the ASO will play classical and contemporary music.

From December 18 to 20, it will be “Holiday Pops with the ASO.” This long-running tradition will feature Christmas carols and other holiday songs

February 13 & 14 will be “Broadway Rocks!” Featuring Broadway stars Christiane Noll, Carpathia Jenkins and Rob Evans, this evening will feature songs from such Broadway shows as Rent, Wicked, Mamma Mia, The Lion King, The Wiz and The Phantom of the Opera.  A lot of people throw around the term “Broadway stars” but these three deserve it.  If they are in a show, they steal it!

The Pops season will conclude with “The Movie Music of John Williams” on May 7&8.  The ASO will play selections from some of Williams’ mist famous movies. He has win 5 Oscars, 6 Emmys, 25 Golden Globes and 22 Grammys.

Three shows closing this weekend in Central Ark

Fiddler ACTTonight, Fiddler on the Roof continues at the Argenta Community Theatre.  It runs through Sunday evening.  Tickets range from $30 to $50.  Directed by Bob Hupp of the Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Fiddler on the Roof is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The show opened on Broadway in September 1964. Choreographers are Christen Burke Pitts and Kristof Waltermire, with Kurt Kennedy as music director.


Rent CTLRTwo other productions are closing this weekend.  Community Theatre of Little Rock’s Rent closes on Sunday at the new Studio Theatre space.  Winner of both the 1996 Pulitzer Prize and Tony for Best Musical, Jonathan Larsen’s musical is an updated version of La Boheme.  Directed by Frank O. Butler with music direction by Matthew Tatus, tickets for this production range from $8 to $18.


Next-to-Normal_smThe Weekend Theater’s Next to Normal, also a Pulitzer Prize winner, closes on Sunday, as well.  The story of a family dealing with the mother’s mental illness, it is both heart-wrenching and humorous.  Directed by Ralph Hyman, with music direction by Lori Isner, tickets range from $16 to $20.

Broadway on Broadway with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra

ASO_revThis weekend, the music of New York City’s Broadway will be heard along Little Rock’s Broadway as the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra presents the next pop concert of the season — “Best of Broadway.”

Get ready for a walk down the Great White Way in an evening of hits from Broadway’s most beloved show tunes! Join the ASO in a selection of music that crosses all genres and brings a smile to all faces.  The concerts are tonight at 8pm and tomorrow afternoon at 3pm.

The ASO musicians will be under the baton of Associate Conductor Geoffrey Robson. One number will be led by special guest conductor Dr. Richard Wheeler.

The soloists for the concerts are Mandy Gonzales and Destan Owens.

Miss Gonzales has recently completed her run as Elphaba in Wicked on Broadway.  She was awarded Broadway.com’s Favorite Female Replacement Award for this performance. She created the role of Nina in the musical In the Heights.  She has appeared in Aida, Lennon and Dance of the Vampires (in which she starred opposite Michael Crawford and Max Von Essen).  She is perhaps best known for her Obie winning performance in the Off-Broadway musical Eli’s Comin’.

Mr. Owens is an Oklahoma native with a B.A. in Musical Theater from Oklahoma City University. His stage appearances have included Rent, Chicago, Smokey Joe’s Cafe, The Who’s Tommy, Dreamgirls, Jesus Christ Superstar and Sisterella. He appeared at Arkansas Rep in 2007 in It Happened in Little Rock.  He has been a soloist with several symphony orchestras across the country.