60th Season of Community Theatre of Little Rock

ctlr1956-2016 – Sixty years. It is hard to believe that Community Theatre of Little Rock has been a Central Arkansas staple, delivering dramas, comedies, romances and musicals.

The season kicks off with Ira Levin’s Tony nominated murder mystery Deathtrap.  It runs September 3rd – 6th and 10th – 13th.

Seemingly comfortably ensconced in his charming Connecticut home, Sidney Bruhl, a successful writer of Broadway thrillers, is struggling to overcome a “dry” spell which has resulted in a string of failures and a shortage of funds. A possible break in his fortunes occurs when he receives a script from a student in the seminar he has been conducting at a nearby college—a thriller which Sidney recognizes immediately as a potential Broadway hit. Sidney’s plan, which he devises with his wife’s help, is to offer collaboration to the student, an idea which the younger man quickly accepts.

Next up is the hilarious holiday musical The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical.  The holiday cheer runs November 26th to 29th, December 4th to 6th and 11th to 13.

 

It’s holiday time down in Armadillo Acres (North Florida’s premier mobile-living community), and everyone’s filled with warmth and beer. But when a freak bout of amnesia strikes the trailer park Scrooge, neighborly love is put to the test. Be on hand as Betty, Lin, and Pickles jingle all the way with some new neighbors in an all-new, all-trailer-park musical! This companion to the original GREAT AMERICAN TRAILER PARK MUSICAL is just as much of a cat-fightin’, sun-worshippin’, chair-throwin’ good time-—but with tinsel and Keg Nog.

The first show of 2016 is William Inge’s classic Bus Stop.  This romantic comedy-drama runs February 11th-14th and 18th-21st.

In the middle of a howling snowstorm, a bus out of Kansas City pulls up at a cheerful roadside diner. All roads are blocked, and four or five weary travelers are going to have to hole up until morning. Cherie, a nightclub chanteuse in a sparkling gown and a seedy fur-trimmed jacket, is the passenger with most to worry about. She’s been pursued, made love to and finally kidnapped by a twenty-one-year-old cowboy with a ranch of his own and the romantic methods of an unusually headstrong bull. As a counterpoint to the main romance, the proprietor of the cafe and the bus driver at last find time to develop a friendship of their own; a middle-age scholar comes to terms with himself; and a young girl who works in the cafe also gets her first taste of romance.

The next show is the warm-hearted, nostalgic comedy On Golden Pond by Ernest L. Thompson.  It plays from April 14th – 17th and 21st to 24th.

This is the love story of Ethel and Norman Thayer, who are returning to their summer home on Golden Pond for the forty-eighth year. He is a retired professor, nearing eighty, with heart palpitations and a failing memory—but still as tart-tongued, observant and eager for life as ever. Ethel, ten years younger, and the perfect foil for Norman, delights in all the small things that have enriched and continue to enrich their long life together. They are visited by their divorced, middle-aged daughter and her dentist fiancé, who then go off to Europe, leaving his teenage son behind for the summer. In the end, as the summer wanes, so does their brief idyll, and in the final, deeply moving moments of the play, Norman and Ethel are brought even closer together by the incidence of a mild heart attack. Time, they know, is now against them, but the years have been good and, perhaps, another summer on Golden Pond still awaits.

Irving Berlin’s sharp-shooting musical Annie Get Your Gun closes out the season in June 2016. Running June 3rd-5th, 10th-12th, and 17th-19th, it shows why “There’s No Business Like Show Business.”

Annie Oakley is the best shot around, and she manages to support her little brother and sisters by selling the game she hunts. When she’s discovered by Col. Buffalo Bill, he persuades this novel sharpshooter to join his Wild West Show. It only takes one glance for her to fall head over heels for dashing shooting ace Frank Butler, who headlines the show. She soon eclipses Butler as the main attraction which, while good for business, is bad for romance. Butler hightails it off to join a rival show, his bruised male ego leading the way, but is ultimately pitted against Annie in a final shoot-out. The rousing, sure-fire finale hits the mark every time in a testament to the power of female ingenuity.

Performances are at the Studio Theatre at 328 W. 7th Street.  Curtain times are: Thursday, Friday and Saturday Nights, 7:30 pm and Sunday Matinees, 2:00 pm.

 

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ROCKing the TONY AWARDS – Jane Summerhays

Rock the Tonys

Photo by  Aubrey Reuben

Photo by Aubrey Reuben

JANE SUMMERHAYS

Little Rock connection: Starred in the Arkansas Rep production of William Inge’s A Loss of Roses.

Tony Award connection: Was nominated for a 1987 Tony for Featured Actress in a Musical for Me and My Girl.

ROCKing the TONY AWARDS – Austin Pendleton

Rock the Tonysaupendleton200AUSTIN PENDLETON

Little Rock connection: Directed Arkansas Repertory Theatre production of William Inge’s A Loss of Roses. While in Little Rock appeared on a panel at the Clinton School which can be viewed here.

Tony Awards connection:Was nominated for the Director of a Play Tony Award for his production of The Little Foxes which starred Elizabeth Taylor and Maureen Stapleton.  Starred in the Tony winning original production of Fiddler on the Roof.

Final Weekend for A LOSS OF ROSES at Arkansas Rep

Theatregoers hoping to not lose out on on Pulitzer Prize winner William Inge’s A Loss of Roses have a few remaining performances to catch it at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre.

The production, directed by Tony nominee and Obie winner Austin Pendleton, stars Tony nominee Jane  Summerhays, Bret Lada and Jean Lichty as a mother, son and a visitor from their past who resurfaces.

Pendleton directed a staged reading of A Loss of Roses featured in TONGUES at New York’s Cherry Lane Theatre in 2010. Pendleton has served as artistic director of the Circle Repertory Theatre Company in New York and is an ensemble member of Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company.

“Bringing a rarely-produced work by William Inge to the stage is cause for celebration; doubly so when the creative team is led by Austin Pendleton,” says Arkansas Rep Producing Artistic Director Robert Hupp. “He’s assembled a dynamic cast for this fascinating play. Arkansas Rep is honored to introduce A Loss of Roses to a new generation of theatregoers and to re-examine Inge in the context of what he spoke of as his favorite among his many works.”

The cast also features Todd Gearhart, Max Jenkins and Sara Croft as members of a traveling troupe of actors and Keegan McDonald, Katye Dunn and Sydni Whitfield as neighbors of the central family.

A Loss of Roses plays tonight at 7pm, Friday and Saturday at 8pm and Sunday, July 1 at 7pm.

Clinton School presents panel on Ark Rep’s A LOSS OF ROSES

The University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service will host a panel discussion with Tony Award-nominated director Austin Pendleton and cast members of the Arkansas Repertory Theatre’s production of A Loss of Roses.  The panel will take place tomorrow, Wednesday, June 13 at 12 noon at Sturgis Hall in Clinton Presidential Park. The program is free and open to the public.

A Loss of Roses is a little-known William Inge masterpiece that tells the story of two women struggling to make their lives bearable in a small Kansas town. Penned in the intimate style of Tennessee Williams, who was Inge’s mentor, A Loss of Roses is a bittersweet romance about the loss of innocence which garnered a young Warren Beatty a Tony Award nomination in the 1959 Broadway production. The play will run on The Rep’s stage from June 13 to July 1.

Director Austin Pendleton starred in the original cast of Fiddler on the Roof (and can be heard on the original cast recording). Since the 1960s he has had successful careers as an actor, playwright, director, lyricist, teacher and administrator.  In addition to his Tony nomination for directing Elizabeth Taylor and Maureen Stapleton in The Little Foxes, he has received the Clarence Derwent Award (for Hail Strawdyke) and Obie Award (The Last Sweet Days of Isaac).  Among his many films are What’s Up Doc? and the Academy Award winning My Cousin Vinny.

Reel Classics with The Rep: PICNIC

Tonight at Laman Library, the Arkansas Repertory Theatre continues “Reel Classics with the Rep.”

Join The Rep for a discussion with The Rep’s Producing Artistic Director, Bob Hupp as he discusses The Rep’s upcoming production of A Loss of Roses by American playwright William Inge.  Following the discussion, Laman Library will screen the 1955 the Academy Award-winning romantic drama “Picnic” starring William Holden and Kim Novak based on the Pulitzer Prize winning play by William Inge.

Reel Classics With The Rep runs the second Monday of every month at Laman Library, 2801 Orange in North Little Rock and is free and open to the public.

Call Laman Library for more details (501) 758-1720.