The journal of a Kentucky culture vulture
Trish Clark, former drama teacher at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School and former artistic director of the Lexington Shakespeare Festival, has been named as the interim artistic and executive director of Woodford Theatre.
Clark steps in for Steve Arnold, who left the theater in October after just over a year in the post. He had succeeded longtime director Beth Kirchner, who made the Versailles theater one of the region’s premier community theaters during her 16-year tenure.
Clark, 59, said the opportunity came along at a good time after her position with the University of Kentucky Opera Theatre’s educational outreach programs was eliminated in a widespread round of layoffs earlier this year. She says she has not decided whether she will apply for the permanent director job at Woodford.
“They needed some immediate care, and that’s what I can do,” Clark said, taking a break from watching rehearsals of The Christmas Foundling, which opens Friday and runs three weekends. “Being around so long, I knew I could get people together, and they’ve been really good about stepping up.”
In two weeks, Clark has retained directors for the three remaining shows on the season after The Christmas Foundling, including bringing Kirchner back to direct Driving Miss Daisy, Feb. 1 to 17. She changed the April production of Neil Simon’s God’s Favorite to Simon’s The Odd Couple, because she said the cost of the set for the originally scheduled play would be prohibitive. Tonda-Leah Fields will direct Odd Couple and retired University of Kentucky Theatre professor James W. Rodgers will direct the season finale, The Secret Garden, May 31 to June 16.
Clark said she does not know what role she will play in selecting a 2013-14 season for Woodford Theatre.
Clark’s daughter, Ellie Clark, is one of three co-directors of Lexington-based Project SEE Theatre, so there are now two theaters in the family.
University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra director John Nardolillo will conduct two of the Boston Pops Orchestra’s holiday concerts in Boston’s Symphony Hall next month.
Nardolillo will step in for the Pops’ superstar conductor Keith Lockhart, who will be conducting tour concerts in New England by the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra Dec. 15 and 16. The concerts are part of the Boston Pops’ regular holiday shows, which are a Boston tradition said Dennis Alves, director of artistic planning for the orchestra.
He said the engagement is part of the Pops’ enduring relationship with Nardolillo, which started when he was music director for folk music legend Arlo Guthrie, who has performed with the Pops. That relationship reached a high point when Lockhart and the Pops came to Lexington in October 2011 to present a concert in conjunction with the UK Symphony Orchestra to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Keeneland. During that performance, Nardolillo conducted the Pops in one number and Lockhart conducted the UK orchestra for a piece. Both conducted the combined orchestras for the evening’s grand finale.
“We’ve liked John so much over the years,” Alves said. “We really saw him work when the Pops were down in Lexington and thought he deserved a shot.”
Nardolillo is the only guest conductor scheduled to conduct the holiday shows.
Alves said in addition to conducting holiday favorites, Nardolillo will be chatting with the crowd and talking to Santa Claus, “the real Santa Claus,” he added.
“Lexington is really lucky to have John with all he has brought to the orchestra and the outreach programs in Appalachia,” Alves said. “And we’re lucky you’re loaning him to Boston.”
Prior to that, Nardolillo will be conducting the UK Symphony Orchestra at 7:30 p.m. Thursday (Nov. 29) in a free performance of Claude Debussy’s La Mer and Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 in the Singletary Center for the Arts Concert Hall. The UK Symphony opened its current season with a performance by violin legend Itzhak Perlman in September and will end with a tour of China in May.
About Rich Copley & Copious Notes
Raised by opera-loving parents in a rock ’n’ roll world, Rich Copley has parlayed his broad interests into his career writing about arts and entertainment. Since 1998, he has covered performing arts, film and faith-based popular culture for the Lexington Herald-Leader, the daily newspaper in Lexington, Ky. MORE | E-mail Rich