Play BingoFlix tonight as CALS Ron Robinson Theater shows SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians PosterJoin the Central Arkansas Library System for BingoFlix!

Play bingo to some of the most hilarious movie cliches during a screening of the so-bad-it’s-good film, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians! Win prizes including free movie and event tickets to upcoming shows at the CALS Ron Robinson Theater!

Martians come to Earth to kidnap Santa Claus because there is no one on Mars to give their children presents. Earth kids Billy and Betty set out to save Santa and return him to Earth. The film is a baffling mixture of sci-fi, Christmas cheer and childish slapstick!

Filmed mostly in an old airport hangar on Long Island, it features a cast culled largely from Broadway shows at the time. Among the cast are future Tony winner Bill McCutcheon (who also played Shirley MacLaine’s suitor in Steel Magnolias) and Pia Zadora in her film debut.

Doors open at 6:00 p.m. Film starts at 7:00 p.m. Beer, wine, and concessions will be available!

One Month until WICKED returns to Robinson Center

Oz returns to the Rock as the Tony winning musical Wicked returns to Robinson Center Performance Hall from January 1 to January 19 for a three week run.

Based on the best-selling 1995 novel by Gregory Maguire, Wicked, has won a Grammy and three Tony Awards.  Wicked features songs by Stephen Schwartz (Godspell, Pippin, and Working) and a book by Winnie Holzman (“My So Called Life,” “Once And Again” and “thirtysomething”).  It tales the untold story of the witches of Oz.  The musical is directed by multiple Tony Award-winner Joe Mantello (Take Me Out; Assassins; The Receptionist).

Two other girls meet in the Land of Oz.  One – born with emerald-green skin – is smart, fiery and misunderstood.  The other is beautiful, ambitious and very popular.  “Wicked” tells the story of their remarkable odyssey, and how these two unlikely friends grow to become the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good.

On Tuesday, January 7th at 7:30 pm, treat the kids to a night of fun and theatre at KIDS’ NIGHT ON BROADWAY. Fun and pre-show festivities begin at 6pm. Save 50% on tickets when you buy now in person at the Robinson Center Box Office, by phone at 501.244.8800 or online at Ticketmaster.com. Special offer limited to the first 500 tickets sold.

Presented by Celebrity Attractions, the production takes center stage at Robinson Center Music Hall for a limited three-week engagement.

Birthday of Hall High alum David Auburn, Tony and Pulitzer winning playwright

November 30 is the birthday of Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning playwright David Auburn. A 1987 graduate of Hall High School, he participated in the Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre while he spent his teen years in Little Rock.

Born in Chicago, he grew up in Ohio. He moved to Arkansas when his parents took jobs here, first in Jonesboro then Little Rock. After graduating from Hall, he returned to Chicago to attend the University of Chicago, where he graduated with a degree in English literature.  While there he was involved with a performance group and also wrote theatre reviews.

In 1992, he went to New York to take part in Julliard’s playwriting program.  In 1997, his first Off Broadway play was produced, Skyscraper.  In May 2000, Manhattan Theatre Club produced his play Proof at one of its Off Broadway theatres. Following the success of that run, it transferred to Broadway in the autumn of 2000.

In 2001, Proof won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the Tony Award for Best Play, the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best American Play, and Best Play awards from the Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, and Drama League.

That spring he also served as a script consultant for tick…tick…BOOM! a musical written by the late Jonathan Larson. He was asked by Larson’s family to write the book based on the several different drafts Larson had written prior to his 1996 death.

Subsequently, Auburn has moved between writing plays and movies as well as directing. He has also served as a teacher and playwright in residence. His plays include The New York Idea, The Columnist, and Lost Lake.

He wrote the story for the new Charlie’s Angels movie, in theaters now.

Birthday of Hall High and Ark Arts Center alum Daniel Davis

On November 26, 1945, future actor Daniel Davis was born in Gurdon.  As a child, his family moved to Little Rock where his parents ran a movie theatre.  As a child, he appeared on “Betty’s Little Rascals” local TV show with Betty Fowler.

While a student at Hall High, Davis had the lead as Horace Vandergelder in The Matchmaker (which would soon be musicalized on Broadway in Hello, Dolly!), appeared in Judgment at Nuremburg, sang in the Hallmarks (concert choir), and was a Harlequin Player (drama club). He was also on the staff of the Warrior (yearbook), War Whoop (newspaper), and Inkwell (literary magazine). His fellow members of the class of 1963 voted him the Wittiest boy in the class.

Davis at Hall in 1963

After graduating from Hall, Davis remained in Little Rock and enrolled in the new Arkansas Arts Center school of Art and Drama, a degree granting program.  While there, he appeared in numerous plays.

One of them was The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade.  National theatre critic Henry Hewes of the Saturday Review came to Little Rock to review the production, which was presented a year after the play had won a Tony for Best Play.  Hewes actually liked the Little Rock production better.

After completing studies at the Arts Center, Davis worked with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, American National Theatre Academy, Stratford Festival, and American Conservatory Theatre. He also started appearing in television, including a stint in the soap “Texas” and guest starring in many TV series. In 1993, he started a six year, 145 episode run as Niles the butler in “The Nanny.”  His British accent on the show caused many in the public to think he was from England instead of Arkansas.

Davis has continued to act frequently on stage.  In 1969, he made his Broadway debut as the Dauphin in Henry V followed by an appearance in Othello.  He was a replacement as Salieri in the original production of Amadeus.   In 2003, he received an Obie Award for his appearance in Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads.  Three years earlier he was nominated for a Tony for his appearance in Wrong Mountain.  Other recent Broadway appearances include The Invention of Love, The Frogs, La Cage aux Folles and Noises Off.

All is Right as tickets for THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG are now on sale for Little Rock performances

THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG, the hilarious Tony Award®-winning hit Broadway comedy, will make its Little Rock debut at Robinson Performance Hall March 28-29, 2020. Tickets are now on sale at Celebrity Attractions, by phone at 501.244.8800 or by visiting Ticketmaster.com.

Get thee to the theatre for this one!  The first time I read the script I nearly hyperventilated I was laughing so hard.  If you love NOISES OFF or Monty Python or laughing, you must see this play! – Scott Whiteley Carter

Co-written by Mischief Theatre company members Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields, THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG is a riotous comedy about the theatre. The play introduces The ‘Cornley University Drama Society’ who are attempting to put on a 1920’s murder mystery, but as the title suggests, everything that can go wrong…does, as the accident-prone thespians battle on against all odds to get to their final curtain call.

Entertainment Weekly calls THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG “Hilarious! Non-stop pandemonium.” The Huffington Post calls it “The funniest play Broadway has ever seen!” And the New York Post says it’s “Broadway’s funniest and longest-running play! Nothing is as fall down funny. GO.”

The Broadway production of THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG opened at the Lyceum Theatre on April 2, 2017 and by its closing on January 6, 2019 played 27 previews and 745 performances, making it the 2nd longest running show in the history of the Lyceum Theatre. Not yet done with New York, THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG officially opened Off-Broadway on February 20, 2019 at New World Stages – Stage 4, where it continues delighting audiences. THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG received a Tony Award® for Best Set Design, Broadway.com’s Audience Choice Award for Best Play, and the Theater Fans Choice Award for Best Play.

Awarded the 2015 Olivier Award for Best New Comedy, 2014 WhatsOnStage Best New Comedy and 2015 UK BroadwayWorld Best New Play Awards, THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG is now in its fifth year in the West End and playing on six continents. The producers have avoided Antarctica for fear of a frosty reception.

It is a remarkable rags-to-riches story for a play which started its life at a London fringe venue with only four paying members of the public at the first performance and has gone on to play to an audience of over 2 million people around the world.

THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG tour is directed by Matt DiCarlo with original Broadway direction by Mark Bell, featuring set design by Nigel Hook, lighting design by Ric Mountjoy, sound design by Andy Johnson and costume design by Roberto Surace.

THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG is produced on Tour by Kevin McCollum, J.J. Abrams, Kenny Wax, Stage Presence Ltd., Catherine Schreiber, Ken Davenport, Double Gemini Productions / deRoy- Brunish, Damian Arnold / TC Beech, Greenleaf Productions / Bard-Roth, Martian Entertainment / Jack Lane / John Yonover, and Lucas McMahon.

 

THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG will appear at Robinson Performance Hall in Little Rock for four performances only March 28-29, 2020 (Saturday at 2pm & 7:30 pm, Sunday at 1pm & 6:30pm).  Tickets may be purchased in person at Celebrity Attractions, via phone at 501.244.8800 or online at Ticketmaster.com.  Groups of 10 or more receive a discount by calling 501.492.3312.

 

Ticket buyers are reminded that for Celebrity Attractions’ productions, Celebrity Attractions and Ticketmaster are the only official retail ticket outlets and the only way to guarantee that you are paying face value for legitimate tickets.  Ticket buyers who purchase tickets from a ticket broker or any third party should also be aware that Celebrity Attractions is unable to reprint or replace lost or stolen tickets and is unable to contact patrons with information regarding time changes or other pertinent updates regarding the performance.

Artober – Theatre. Arkansas Repertory Theatre experiences a reprise.

October is Arts and Humanities Month nationally and in Little Rock. Americans for the Arts has identified a different arts topic to be posted for each day in the month. The penultimate feature is Theatre.

At the age of four, my parents took me to the theatre. It was a production of Oliver! A year or two after that, I went to a play produced by the Arkansas Philharmonic Theatre in Hillcrest. (Neither of my parents can remember the title of that production.)

It was this theatre that gave rise, in 1976, to the Arkansas Repertory Theatre.  Cliff Fannin Baker was the founder.  He had first come to Arkansas in the 1960s to work with the theatre program of Arkansas Arts Center School of Art and Theatre. Once that disbanded in 1968, Baker continued to direct theatrical productions for a variety of community and education theatres throughout the state.

Opening on November 11, 1976, the Arkansas Repertory Theatre was Arkansas’ first non-profit professional theatre. It was housed in an old Methodist church building next to MacArthur Park.  Occasionally it would present performances in other spaces including the UA Little Rock theatre or the Arkansas Arts Center theatre.  By the mid 1980s, the Rep was outgrowing its original location.

In 1988, Arkansas Rep moved to Main Street and served as an anchor for a downtown redevelopment project.  While that project may not have taken hold, the Rep did.  Cliff continued to lead it for over a decade on Main Street until his retirement in 1999.  He was succeeded by Bob Hupp, who came to the Rep from Off Broadway’s Jean Cocteau Theatre.

Hupp led the theatre until 2016.  During that time, he also oversaw a refurbishment and renovation of the Rep’s facility on Main Street.  When he left to take over Syracuse Stage in 2016, Baker returned to the Rep to be the Interim Artistic Director.  A few months later, John Miller-Stephany from the Guthrie Theatre came to Arkansas Rep.

By 2018, Arkansas Rep was facing a mounting financial crisis brought on by lagging donations, weakened ticket sales, increasing production costs, and debt related to real estate the theatre owned.  In April 2018, the Rep suspended operations and most of the staff were laid off.

Baker returned again to be an artistic advisor during this period. He worked with two long-time Rep board members who were serving as volunteer staff: Bill Rector and Ruth Shepherd. The community rallied to “Save the Rep” and responded to some challenge matching gifts offered by the Windgate Foundation. In addition, the Rep was able to restructure the debt.

As Baker was starting to consider shows for a rejuvenated Rep, he died while in New York in September 2018.  The Rep pushed forward and announced four shows for the Rep’s “REPrise” season during calendar year 2019.  In January 2019, it was announced that former Rep actor and Tony winning producer Will Trice was coming back to his hometown to assume the role of Executive Artistic Director.

As the Rep is winding down the season of the four shows announced in November 2018, Trice has announced three new shows for the spring and summer of 2020. In September 2020, the Rep will return to the traditional autumn through summer season schedule.

While F. Scott Fitzgerald once observed that “there are no second acts in American lives,” thankfully that does not apply to the Arkansas Repertory Theatre. It is currently in Scene 1 of the Second Act.  Let us hope this act has many many more scenes.

MORE MORE MORE as CALS Ron Robinson Theater shows ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW for 4th time

Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975, R)

Do the Time Warp again tonight at the CALS Ron Robinson Theater when The Rocky Horror Picture Show is screened.

The movie starts at 9:30 pm, and it is interactive!

A mixture of fantastical rock opera and horror movie spoof. A couple of ordinary kids – Brad and (Dammit) Janet (I love you) – have car trouble one dark and rainy night and knock on the door of a looming gothic mansion. They are stunned to learn that they have stumbled into an ongoing convention of kinky characters, hosted by Dr. Frank-N-Furter, a mad scientist who is a sweet transvestite from Transylvania.

The movie stars Tony nominee Tim Curry, Tony winner Barry Bostwick and Oscar winner Susan Sarandon along with appearances by Meat Loaf, and Richard O’Brien (who wrote the stage show and co-wrote the movie).

Originally a flop, it became one of the first cult-classic movies which ended up running for years in various cities.  Now is the chance to again see it on the big screen.

Admission is $5. Concessions are available for purchase.

Tonight marks the fourth and final Friday in October that the CALS Ron Robinson Theater has shown the movie.