Creative Class of 2015: Mark Binns

mark binnsComposer, arranger, vocal coach, musical director, pianist, teacher, performer.  Mark Binns is all of these things.

He has been involved with Arkansas Repertory Theatre for six seasons now as a keyboardist, musical director and composer. Mark has been the Rep’s musical director for White Christmas, Les Miz, Memphis, and Elf. He has is currently at work on their upcoming The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.  For the Rep, he has also worked on their Summer Musical Theatre Intensive for several years.

In addition to the Rep, he often works with the Studio Theatre and Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre.  Other regional Musical Director credits include Hairspray, Oliver!, Cinderella, Pippin, The Last Five Years and Fiddler on the Roof. He has composed original music for the University of Central Arkansas’ production of The Caucasian Chalk Circle and served as Vocal Director/Arranger for the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra’s Holiday Fantasy.

When not working on a show, he can often be found performing at the Lobby Bar, the Afterthought or any number of other venues in Little Rock.

Don’t WAIT UNTIL the show is DARK – Final two performances of thriller at Arkansas Rep

THEREP_WAITUNTILDARK (no credits)-page-001Frederick Knott’s Tony-nominated thriller Wait Until Dark plays its final two performances today on the stage of the Arkansas Repertory Theatre.

This masterfully constructed tale of suspense will keep Rep audiences on the edge of their seat (but you still have to pay for the entire seat).

A sinister con man and two ex-convicts are about to meet their match. They have traced the location of a mysterious doll to the Greenwich Village apartment of Sam Hendrix and his wife, Susy. With murder afoot, a deadly game of cat and mouse ensues, as Susy discovers the only way to play fair is to play by her rules.

The cast is composed entirely of Rep veterans. It includes Amy Hutchins (It’s a Wonderful Life), Nate Washburn (Henry V), Michael Stewart Allen (Of Mice and Men, The Grapes of Wrath, Romeo & Juliet), Robert Ierardi (Clybourne Park), Craig Maravich (Death of a Salesman), Michael Lowe (Les Miserables, Hairspray), David Tennal (Clybourne Park, Les Miserables), Reagan Hodson (Because of Winn Dixie), and Ella Moody (White Christmas).

The production is directed by Robert Hupp. Others on the production team include Mike Nichols (set), Marianne Custer (costumes), Yael Lubetzky (lighting), Allan Branson (sound), Lynda J. Kwallek (props), and D. C. Wright (fight choreography).

Show times are 2pm and 7pm.

No Longer a Wait – WAIT UNTIL DARK opens tonight at Arkansas Rep

THEREP_WAITUNTILDARK (no credits)-page-001Frederick Knott’s Tony-nominated thriller Wait Until Dark opens tonight on the stage of the Arkansas Repertory Theatre.

This masterfully constructed tale of suspense will keep Rep audiences on the edge of their seat (but you still have to pay for the entire seat).

A sinister con man and two ex-convicts are about to meet their match. They have traced the location of a mysterious doll to the Greenwich Village apartment of Sam Hendrix and his wife, Susy. With murder afoot, a deadly game of cat and mouse ensues, as Susy discovers the only way to play fair is to play by her rules.

The cast is composed entirely of Rep veterans. It includes Amy Hutchins (It’s a Wonderful Life), Nate Washburn (Henry V), Michael Stewart Allen (Of Mice and Men, The Grapes of Wrath, Romeo & Juliet), Robert Ierardi (Clybourne Park), Craig Maravich (Death of a Salesman), Michael Lowe (Les Miserables, Hairspray), David Tennal (Clybourne Park, Les Miserables), Reagan Hodson (Because of Winn Dixie), and Ella Moody (White Christmas).

The production is directed by Robert Hupp. Others on the production team include Mike Nichols (set), Marianne Custer (costumes), Yael Lubetzky (lighting), Allan Branson (sound), Lynda J. Kwallek (props), and D. C. Wright (fight choreography).

The show runs through November 9th.  Show times are 7pm on Wednesday, Thursday and Sundays, 8pm on Friday and Saturday and 2pm on Sunday matinees.

 

While downtown for Race & Foodtrucks – Stop by Rep for Costume sale

Rep Costume saleA lot is happening downtown this Saturday. Race for the Cure, Food Truck Festival, and also the Arkansas Rep’s annual costume sale.

This is a chance to pick up a well-made, hand-crafted costume or prop or decoration for prices as low as $2.  You’ve seen it on stage at the Rep, and now you can wear it.

Halloween is around the corner.  Mardi Gras will be here in a few months.  Or maybe you just like escaping the woes of everyday life by throwing on a costume.  The Rep doesn’t question or judge.  Just be sure to stop by.  Among the shows whose clothes will be up for sale are Avenue Q, The Wiz, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, A Chorus Line and White Christmas.  (And since Christmas will be here soon, this is a good chance to pick up things for holiday entertaining!)

All proceeds benefit the Rep’s production office.

So stop by the Rep from 10am to 1pm.  You’ll be in the neighborhood anyway enjoying post-race foodtruck food!

What Dreams Are Made Of – COMPLEAT WRKS OF WLLM SHKSPR ends run at Ark Rep today

WllmShksprToday is the final chance to experience what Shakespeare has in common with football, cooking shows, rap and psychology.  The Arkansas Repertory Theatre production of The Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged) plays at 2pm and 7pm today.

Life is short. The complete works of Shakespeare are long. Now all of the bard’s most familiar pieces are condensed into one hilarious rollercoaster spoof! Ending The Rep’s season is an entertaining romp where audiences will see all of Shakespeare’s plays, reduced in madcap fashion, in less than two hours.

Written by Adam Long, Daniel Singer, and Jess Winfield (former founding members of the Reduced Shakespeare Company) and first performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1987, The Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged) later played at the Criterion Theatre in London, where it ran for nine record-breaking years.

The cast includes Rep favorites Avery Clark (Hamlet, Henry V, Death of a Salesman, The 39 Steps) and Ethan Paulini (The Full Monty, Avenue Q, White Christmas, Tommy) and Rep newcomer Patrick Halley.  The show is directed by Resident Director Nicole Capri. The design team includes Costume Designer: Shelly Hall, Set Designer: Chris Pickart, Lighting Designer: Dan Kimble, Sound Designer: Allan Branson and Properties Designer: Lynda J. Kwallek.

The Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged) is a parody of the plays of William Shakespeare, with all of them being performed in shortened and sidesplitting form.

It has become one of the world’s most popular shows, playing frequently in a variety of languages, and is most notable for holding the (self-proclaimed) world record for the shortest-ever performance of Hamlet, clocking in at just 43 seconds. You don’t have to be a fan of Shakespeare, or even familiar with his plays, to enjoy this inventive, fast-paced comedy!

 

 Avery Clark, Patrick Halley and Ethan Paulini. Photography by John David Pittman.

Bond with the Bard – Enjoy Arkansas Rep rip-roaring production of The Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged)

WllmShksprWhat does Shakespeare have in common with football, cooking shows, rap and psychology?  You can find out when the Arkansas Repertory Theatre presents The Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged).

Life is short. The complete works of Shakespeare are long. Now all of the bard’s most familiar pieces are condensed into one hilarious rollercoaster spoof! Ending The Rep’s season is an entertaining romp on stage June 4 – June 29, 2014, as audiences will see all of Shakespeare’s plays, reduced in madcap fashion, in less than two hours.

Written by Adam Long, Daniel Singer, and Jess Winfield (former founding members of the Reduced Shakespeare Company) and first performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1987, The Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged) later played at the Criterion Theatre in London, where it ran for nine record-breaking years.

The cast includes Rep favorites Avery Clark (Hamlet, Henry V, The 39 Steps) and Ethan Paulini (The Full Monty, Avenue Q, White Christmas, Tommy) and Rep newcomer Patrick Halley.  The show is directed by Resident Director Nicole Capri. The design team includes Costume Designer: Shelly Hall, Set Designer: Chris Pickart, Lighting Designer: Dan Kimble, Sound Designer: Allan Branson and Properties Designer: Lynda J. Kwallek.

The Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged) is a parody of the plays of William Shakespeare, with all of them being performed in shortened and sidesplitting form.

It has become one of the world’s most popular shows, playing frequently in a variety of languages, and is most notable for holding the (self-proclaimed) world record for the shortest-ever performance of Hamlet, clocking in at just 43 seconds. You don’t have to be a fan of Shakespeare, or even familiar with his plays, to enjoy this inventive, fast-paced comedy!

 

 Avery Clark, Patrick Halley and Ethan Paulini. Photography by John David Pittman. 

 

DOLLY turns 50 in Little Rock this week

It was fifty years ago this week, on January 16, 1964, that HELLO, DOLLY! opened on Broadway.  The 50th anniversary national tour is playing in Little Rock tonight through Thursday (the actual 50th anniversary date).

Winner of ten Tony Awards including Best Musical, Hello, Dolly! is one of the most enduring Broadway classics. Emmy- award winning Sally Struthers (All In the Family, Gilmore Girls) stars as the strong-willed matchmaker Dolly, as she travels to Yonkers, NY to find a match for the ornery  “well-known unmarried half-a-millionaire” Horace Vandergelder. Featuring an irresistible story and an unforgettable score including the title song, “Put on Your Sunday Clothes,” “It Only Takes A Moment,” and the show-stopping “Before the Parade Passes By,” Hello, Dolly! has been charming audiences around the world for 50 years.

Joining Struthers in the cast are John O’Creagh as Horace Vandergelder, Matt Wolfe as Cornelius Hackl, Lauren Blackman as Irene Molloy, Garett Hawe as Barnaby Tucker, Halle Morse as Minnie Fay, Brad Frenette as Ambrose Kemper and Hilary Fingerman as Ermengarde.  Others in the cast are Michael Baxter, Zachary Berger, Erin Chupinsky, Joseph Cullinane, Brooke Robyn Dairman, Lucas Fedele, Michael Gorman, Jamey Hood, Liesl Jaye, Louis Jones, Lauren Krautmann, Joseph Nicastro, Michael J. Rios, Lisa Rohinsky, Taylor Schramm, Tony Triano and Paige Wheat.  Also in the cast is A.J. Hughes who played one of the leading roles in the 2012 Arkansas Rep production of White Christmas.

The production is directed by Jeffrey B. Moss and choreographed by Bob Richard.  Others on the creative team include Charlie Morrison (lighting design) and Peter Fitzgerald (sound design).  The production is produced by Big League Productions/Daniel Sher and is brought to Little Rock by Celebrity Attractions.

Hello, Dolly! features a score by Jerry Herman and book by Michael Stewart.  It is based on Thornton Wilder’s 1955 play The Matchmaker, which was a reworking of his earlier effort The Merchant of Yonkers (which played roughly a month in 1938).  Wilder based his play on Johann Nestroy’s Einen Jux Will Sich Machen (which is loosely translated as “He Wants to Have a Lark”).  Nestroy’s play is based on the English play A Day Well Spent by John Oxenford.  Wilder took the minor character of the matchmaker and named her Dolly Gallagher Levi for The Merchant of Yonkers.  He expanded the part (though he himself termed it “minor revisions”) for the reworking of the play in the 1950s.  The new play starred Ruth Gordon as the meddling matchmaker.  And the rest, as they say, is history.

It is appropriate that Hello, Dolly! be one of the final touring shows to play Robinson Center Music Hall before it is closed for renovation.  Original star Carol Channing brought the production to Little Rock on her national tour, one of the first times an original Broadway star brought a show to Robinson.