Rock the Oscars 2019: James Earl Jones

Actor James Earl Jones has made several appearances in Central Arkansas over the years.  He has appeared at Robinson Center with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra.  On February 12, 1999, he narrated Aaron Copland’s “Lincoln Portrait” and Alexander Miller’s “Let Freedom Ring” with the Symphony in a concert at Robinson Center.  (It was the 190th birthday for Lincoln.)

Born in Mississippi, he spent most of his childhood in Michigan.  After service in the Army during the Korean War, he moved to New York to study theatre.  In the late 1950s he started alternating between Broadway (where he often played a servant) and Off Broadway (where he played leading roles).  His first film appearance was in Dr. Strangelove….  From the 1960s onward he has alternated between stage, film and TV.  In the 1980s, he added voice work to his repertoire.

In 1969 and in 1987, he won Tony Awards for Actor in a Play (The Great White Hope and Fences, respectively).  His other Tony nominations have been for revivals of On Golden Pond and The Best Man.  He was nominated for an Oscar in 1970 for reprising The Great White Hope on film.  He received two Emmy Awards in 1991 – the only actor to ever win two in the same year.

In 2008, he won the Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2011 he was given an Honorary Oscar.  In 2002, he was a Kennedy Center Honors recipient.

He is probably best loved for his work as the voice of Darth Vader in many of the Star Wars films as well as his voicework in The Lion King.

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THE BOOK OF MORMON at Robinson Center from February 12 to 17

Hello!

THE BOOK OF MORMON, winner of nine Tony Awards® including Best Musical has been brought to Little Rock by Celebrity Attractions. Performances begin Tuesday, February 12 and continue through Sunday, February 17. Show times are at 7:30pm each evening with matinees on Saturday and Sunday.

THE BOOK OF MORMON features book, music and lyrics by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone.  Tony Award-winner Lopez is co-creator of the long-running hit musical comedy, Avenue Q.  The musical is choreographed by Tony Award-winner Casey Nicholaw (Monty Python’s Spamalot, The Drowsy Chaperone) and is directed by Nicholaw and Parker.

THE BOOK OF MORMON is the winner of nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score (Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, Matt Stone), Best Book (Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, Matt Stone), Best Direction (Casey Nicholaw, Trey Parker), Best Featured Actress (Nikki M. James), Best Scenic Design (Scott Pask), Best Lighting Design (Brian MacDevitt), Best Sound Design (Brian Ronan) and Best Orchestrations (Larry Hochman, Stephen Oremus); the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical; five Drama Desk Awards including Best Musical, the 2011 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album; four Outer Critics Circle Awards, including Best Musical, and the Drama League Award for Best Musical.

THE BOOK OF MORMON features set design by Scott Pask, costume design by Ann Roth, lighting design by Brian MacDevitt and sound design by Brian Ronan.  Orchestrations are by Larry Hochman and Stephen Oremus.  Music direction and vocal arrangements are by Stephen Oremus.

The Original Broadway Cast Recording for THE BOOK OF MORMON, winner of the 2011 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album, is available on Ghostlight Records.

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.

Will Trice named next leader of Arkansas Rep

Arkansas Repertory Theatre announced that William Trice has been named the theatre’s new executive artistic director. Trice, a Little Rock native, has served as Broadway producer in New York since 2010, producing work that has earned him three Tony Awards and five nominations.

“After the year we’ve been through with suspending productions and re-evaluating our entire operations, we’re thrilled to have Will join our team,” said Ruth Shepherd, The Rep’s board chair. “He is uniquely positioned with his vast experience and ties to central Arkansas to lead at this specific point in The Rep’s history.”

As executive artistic director, a newly-created position, Trice will be responsible for management and budgeting in addition to providing the artistic vision. He assumes his new role officially in August but has been serving as a consultant since December.

“I couldn’t be more excited to join The Rep’s staff, board, supporters, and audiences, as we continue its rich tradition of entertaining and inspiring theatre in Arkansas,” Trice said. “The way this organization has rallied over the past year shows how much The Rep is cherished, and it’s an honor to have a role in mapping its future.”

Trice has served as a producer for nearly 30 productions on Broadway, the West End, and National Tours. He is a three-time Tony Award Winner forAll The Way, staring Bryan Cranston; the Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf; and Porgy and Bess, starring Audra McDonald. He was also nominated for five Tony awards for his work on Fiddler on the Roof; The Royal Shakespeare Company’s Wolf Hall, You Can’t Take It With You starring James Earl Jones and Rose Byrne, The Glass Menagerie starring Cherry Jones and Zachary Quinto; and Gore Vidal’s The Best Man starring John Larroquette and Candice Bergen.

Prior to his career in producing, Trice served as a business analyst with management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, an artistic administration associate with The Metropolitan Opera, and a strategic growth associate with alternative asset managers D.E. Shaw & Company. He holds degrees from Southern Methodist and Northwestern Universities.

Trice, a 1997 graduate of Central High School, began his theatre career on stages in central Arkansas. In fact, he appeared on The Rep stage in 1994 as a young actor in the production of Neil Simon’s Lost in Yonkers.

“The Rep taught me what it means to be a professional theatre-maker,” Trice said. “I was lucky enough to grow up in a community that values the arts and supports institutions presenting music, dance, opera, visual arts, and theatre – all with superb quality. I can’t wait to come back home and help create The Rep’s next edition of a great night out.”

18 Cultural Events from 2018 – THE LION KING rules Robinson Center

On April 19, 2018, THE LION KING opened a twenty-three (23) performance run at Robinson Center Performance Hall in the show’s first-ever production in Little Rock.  Celebrity Attractions brought the show to the Rock.

The twenty-three performances over eighteen days is the longest run a Broadway touring production has ever had in Little Rock.  It eclipses the record of twelve days held by Wicked and The Phantom of the Opera.  More people saw The Lion King in Little Rock than had ever seen a stage production of a single show in the history of Arkansas.

More than 90 million people around the world have experienced the awe-inspiring visual artistry, the unforgettable music, and the uniquely theatrical storytelling of this Broadway spectacular “one of the most breathtaking and beloved productions ever to grace the stage.

THE LION KING brings together one of the most imaginative creative teams on Broadway.  Tony Award®-winning director Julie Taymor brings to life a story filled with hope and adventure set against an amazing backdrop of stunning visuals.  THE LION KING also features the extraordinary work of Tony Award®-winning choreographer Garth Fagan and some of Broadway’s most recognizable music, crafted by Tony Award®-winning artists Elton John and Tim Rice.

Happy Birthday to Pulitzer & Tony winner David Auburn, an alum of Hall High and Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre

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 is currently one of the screenwriters on the upcoming new Charlie’s Angels movie.

Happy Birthday to Hall High and Arkansas Arts Center alum, award winning actor 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.

BOOK OF MORMON tickets on sale on November 9

Hello!

The producers of the national tour of THE BOOK OF MORMON, winner of nine Tony Awards® including Best Musical, and Celebrity Attractions have announced that single tickets will go on sale Friday, November 9, at 10am. Tickets will be available at the Robinson Performance Hall Box Office (426 West Markham), by visiting Ticketmaster.com, or by calling 501.244.8800 (or 800.982.ARTS). Group orders of 10 or more may be placed by calling 501.492.3312.

THE BOOK OF MORMON features book, music and lyrics by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone.  Tony Award-winner Lopez is co-creator of the long-running hit musical comedy, Avenue Q.  The musical is choreographed by Tony Award-winner Casey Nicholaw (Monty Python’s Spamalot, The Drowsy Chaperone) and is directed by Nicholaw and Parker.

THE BOOK OF MORMON is the winner of nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score (Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, Matt Stone), Best Book (Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, Matt Stone), Best Direction (Casey Nicholaw, Trey Parker), Best Featured Actress (Nikki M. James), Best Scenic Design (Scott Pask), Best Lighting Design (Brian MacDevitt), Best Sound Design (Brian Ronan) and Best Orchestrations (Larry Hochman, Stephen Oremus); the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical; five Drama Desk Awards including Best Musical, the 2011 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album; four Outer Critics Circle Awards, including Best Musical, and the Drama League Award for Best Musical.

THE BOOK OF MORMON features set design by Scott Pask, costume design by Ann Roth, lighting design by Brian MacDevitt and sound design by Brian Ronan.  Orchestrations are by Larry Hochman and Stephen Oremus.  Music direction and vocal arrangements are by Stephen Oremus.

The Original Broadway Cast Recording for THE BOOK OF MORMON, winner of the 2011 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album, is available on Ghostlight Records.

THE BOOK OF MORMON will take the stage at Robinson Performance Hall for 8 performances February 12-17, 2019 (Tuesday-Friday at 7:30pm, Saturday at 2pm & 7:30 pm, Sunday at 2pm & 7:30pm).  Tickets go on sale Friday, November 9th at 10am and may be purchased in person at Celebrity Attractions, via phone at 501.244.8800 (or 800.982.ARTS) 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.