RED at Rep

John Logan’s Tony winning play Red opens at the Arkansas Rep tonight for a run that goes through November 10.

 While the name Rothko may not have been a part of your consciousness, his works surely have. Rothko’s canvases feature layers of emotion with each brush stroke: Bold reds, geometric shapes and streaks of color literally bleeding one into the other.

Rothko specially designed his paint to be fast drying so he could layer quickly and work in the moment. Groundbreaking in its day, Rothko’s masterpieces fetch in the millions of dollars and the influence of his work is still being felt.

In partnership with the Arkansas Arts Center’s exhibit “Mark Rothko in the 1940’s: The Decisive Decade,” The Rep is thrilled to stage the revealing Rothko drama Red. Rep Producing Artistic Director Robert Hupp will direct Red, which will star Rep favorite Joe Graves (Othello, The Tempest, Of Mice and Men, Moonlight and Magnolias) as the abstract artist Mark Rothko.

Written by John Logan (whose Hollywood screenplays include Hugo, Gladiator and Skyfall) and set in Rothko’s studio on the Bowery, Red drops you squarely inside the world of the painter and sets your heart pounding, chronicling the tormented artist’s two-year struggle to complete a lucrative set of murals for Manhattan’s exclusive Four Seasons restaurant.

This production provides a rare glimpse of an artist through the lens of his relationship with his naïve young assistant, who must choose between appeasing his mentor—and changing the course of art history. When his assistant challenges his artistic integrity, Rothko must confront his own demons or be crushed by the ever-changing art world he helped create.

The Rep’s first-time partnership with the Arkansas Arts Center provides a depth of artistic exploration never before offered to Little Rock audiences. Amid the swiftly changing cultural tide of the late 1950s, Red is a startling snapshot of a brilliant artist at the height of his fame, providing Arkansans a unique opportunity to witness both the artists’ life and work, all within a five mile radius.

Joining Graves in the cast is Chris Wendleken plays the young protege.  The design team includes Mike Nichols (set), Shawn Sturdevant (costumes), Justin A. Partier (lighting), Allan Branson (sound) and Lynda J. Kwallek (props).

Ark Rep’s DEATH OF A SALESMAN this week!

Salesman (1)Arthur Miller’s Pulitzer, Tony and New York Drama Critics Circle winning Death of a Salesman opens at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre this week.  Previews are Wednesday and Thursday night before Friday’s opening night.  The production runs through May 12.

Death of a Salesman has been hailed as the greatest American play.  The central character, Willy Loman, has been compared to heroes in Aristotlean proportions.

But at the heart of all the hype is family bound by love and crushed by disappointments as they struggle to make sense of life.  Though set in the post World War II era, these themes resonate today.

Arkansas Rep Producing Artistic Director Robert Hupp is directing this production.  He has assembled a powerhouse cast led by Robert Walden as Willy Loman.  In her Arkansas Rep debut, Broadway vet Carolyn Mignini plays Linda Loman, his wife.  Their two sons are played by Avery Clark and Craig Maravich.  Clark has quickly become a Rep audience favorite through his performances in Hamlet, The 39 Steps and Henry V.  Maravich is making his Rep debut.

Others in the cast are Broadway vet William Metzo, Arkansas Rep vets Jay E. Raphael and Joe Menino, and Christopher Ryan and Kevin Sebastian, Stephanie Gunderman , Rachael Small and Andi Watson.

The design team includes Mike Nichols (sets), Rafael Colon Castanera (costumes), Allan Branson (sound), Lynda J. Kwallek (props) and Kenton Yeager (lighting).

Prior to the performances on Wednesday, April 24 and Thursday, April 25, a preshow talk will take place on the set with Hupp and members of the creative team. It will be from 6:15pm to 6:45pm.  There will be another opportunity to learn more about the production on May 1 at the Clinton School at 12 noon.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette presents The Rep’s “Pay What You Can Night” on Wed., April  24 Patrons can pay any amount they wish for their ticket. Tickets must be purchased in person at the Box Office at 601 Main Street the day of the performance. The Box Office will be open from 9 a.m. until curtain. Tickets are limited to (2) two per person. Offer is based on seating availability.

Performance times are Wednesday and Thursday evenings at 7pm, Friday and Saturday evenings at 8pm, and Sundays at 2pm and 7pm.

Arkansas Rep’s NEXT TO NORMAL

Deb Lyons in NEXT TO NORMAL. Photo by Dero Sanford

One of the best lines in the American Theatre in the 21st century is “Valium is my favorite color.”

It comes from the musical Next to Normal which opens tomorrow night and runs through May 27 at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre.  In addition to winning the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama (one of the few musicals to nab that prize), it also won three 2009 Tony Awards.

With music by Tom Kitt and a book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey, Next to Normal is a powerful rock musical about a mentally ill suburban mom who struggles with worsening bipolar disorder and the effects that illness has on her family. The Arkansas Rep production is directed by Nicole Capri. The cast features Deb Lyons as Diana — the mother of the family, Jonathan Rayson as her husband Dan, Kristin Parker and Will Holly as their children, Mo Brady as a friend of the family and Peter James Zielinski playing a pair of physicians.  Zielinski was last seen at the Rep in The Full Monty.

Helen Gregory is the Musical Director. Other members of the creative team include Mike Nichols (scenic designer), Shelly Hall (costume designer), Michael J. Eddy (lighting designer), M. Jason Pruzin (sound designer) and Lynda J. Kwallek (properties designer).

In conjunction with this production, there are several special events.

MainStage Sponsorship Night

Tuesday, May 8 | 7 p.m.

Preshow Panel, Foster’s | 6 p.m.

Arkansas Repertory Theatre, 601 Main Street, Little Rock

Chenal Family Therapy has purchased a “Night at The Rep” and will host a MainStage Sponsor Night on Tuesday, May 8. A portion of the ticket sales for this performance will benefit a number of local non-profit ministries in the Little Rock area. Prior to the show, Chenal Family Therapy will host a panel discussion in Foster’s on the overlap of faith and psychology, featuring prominent local therapists, ministers and professors. Tickets are $35 for general admission seating. For more information or to purchase tickets to this night, contact Chenal Family Therapy at (501) 781-2230 or email


Wednesday, May 9 will be sign interpreted for the hearing impaired.

Reel Classics with The Rep: “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf”

Monday, May 14 | 6:00 p.m.
2801 Orange, North Little Rock 

Reel Classics With The Rep runs the second Monday of every month at Laman Library, 2801 Orange in North Little Rock and is free to the public. Call the Laman Library at (501) 758-1720 for more information.

MainStage Sponsorship Night

Tuesday, May 15 | 7 p.m.

Preshow Reception, Rep Lobby | 5:30 p.m.

Conversation with Clinicians after the Performance

Arkansas Repertory Theatre, 601 Main Street, Little Rock

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Psychiatric Research Institute has purchased a “Night at The Rep” and will host a MainStage Sponsor Night on Tuesday, May 15. This event is open to the public. Tickets are $40. For more information or to purchase tickets to this night, contact Cary Wilson at (501) 526-8100 or visit the first floor reception area at the UAMS Psychiatric Research Institute.

MainStage Sponsorship Night

Tuesday, May 22| 7 p.m.

Preshow Reception, Rep Lobby | 6:00 p.m.

Arkansas Repertory Theatre, 601 Main Street, Little Rock

The Arkansas Repertory Theatre’s Young Artist Guild has purchased a “Night at The Rep” and will host a MainStage Sponsor Night on Tuesday, May 22. This event is open to the public. Tickets are $25. For more information or to purchase tickets to this night, contact The Rep Box Office at (501) 378-0405.

Wiz Biz at Ark Rep

Melson, Williams, Stewart and Alexzander (photo by Cindy Momchilov, courtesy of the Arkansas Rep)There will be a whirlwind of activity as the Arkansas Rep opens The Wiz tomorrow night. This Tony Award winning super soulful retelling of The Wizard of Oz features a witty book by William F. Brown and a score by Charlie Smalls that is infused with blues, R&B, gospel, disco, jazz and good old fashioned razzmatazz.

This production (which runs through April 1 – no fooling, it closes that day) is directed by Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj, who has directed A Raisin in the Sun and Dreamgirls at the Rep.  The cast includes Carla Stewart at Dorothy, Nik Alexzander as the Scarecrow, Tony Melson as the Tin Man, Darryl Jovan Williams as the Lion, and Baci as Toto.  Sinclair Mitchell plays both Uncle Henry and the title character, while Zoie Morris plays both Aunt Em and Glinda.  Jennifer Leigh Warren, who was in the original New York casts of Little Shop of Horrors and Big River will be playing Addapearle (a good witch) and Evilene (the wicked witch).

The creative team for this production includes Set Designer: Mike Nichols, Lighting Designer: Douglas Cox, Costume Designer: Rafael Colon Castanera, Properties Designer: Lynda J. Kwallek, Sound Designer: M. Jason Pruzin, Music Director: Charles Creath and Choreographer: James Harkness.