The journal of a Kentucky culture vulture
Louisville’s Barnstable Brown Gala will celebrate its 25th edition with plenty of old friends and some new faces Derby Eve.
Among the familiar faces at the home of The ‘Ville’s hostess with the mostess, Patricia Barnstable Brown, will be reigning country superstar Miranda Lambert, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, pop chart-topper Kid Rock, former ‘N Sync member and TV star Joey Fatone, and UK coach John Calipari, according to Louisville’s Courier-Journal.
New stars coming out this year include Josh Henderson, who plays J.R. Ewing’s son on TNT’s Dallas, Krysten Ritter, who plays the title role in ABC’s Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23, Stephen Amell of the CW’s Arrow, model Coco Rocha, twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss of The Social Network fame, Peyton Siva of the national champion University of Louisville men’s basketball team, and UK’s Nerlens Noel.
According to the C-J, Larry Birkhead, whose famously met the late Anna Nicole Smith at the 2004 Barnstable party and had a daughter with her, will arrive with a camera crew in tow documenting his Derby experience.
The Barnstable party always boasts the longest celebrity guest list of the Derby parties, and this year is no different. The celebs can generally be broken down into several categories.
Country music will be well represented by Clay Walker; Kix Brooks, formerly of Brooks & Dunn; Travis Tritt; Lee Ann Womack; and Eddie Montgomery, of Kentucky’s Montgomery Gentry.
R&B and hip hop will be represented by Freddie Jackson, Smokey Robinson, Morris Day of Morris Day and the Time fame, Darryl “DMC” McDaniels of Run-DMC, Taylor Dayne, and Johnny Gill of New Edition. The presence of Tony Award winner Jennifer Holliday means both actresses who won awards for playing Effie in Dreamgirls will be at Derby this year. Jennifer Hudson, who won her Oscar for playing the role in the film is appearing at the revived Grand Gala, Friday night. And Southern rock will be represented by Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Mark “Sparky” Matejka.
The acting attendees include David Denman of The Office and Drop Dead Diva, Terry O’Quinn of Lost, Mercedes Masohn of Chuck, Breakfast Club star Emilio Estevez, and American Pie star Jason Biggs.
And there are always plenty of human athletes in Louisville to watch the horses race: the NBA’s Anthony Davis and Darius Miller of UK’s 2012 national champion men’s basketball team, former UK and current Green Bay Packers star Randall Cobb, his Green Bay teammate linebacker Clay Matthews III, Minnesota Vikings Quarterback Matt Cassel, Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker, New England Patriots defensive lineman Vince Wilfork, Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, and Olympian Bode Miller.
While not everyone has reported Derby Eve plans as of this writing (11 p.m. Thurs., April 25), celebrity guest lists are starting to shape up for several May 3 events in Louisville.
One bash making a notable return to the scene is the Grand Gala, which was last held in 2009. It has moved to Derby Eve and the Marriott-Louisville East and boasts an honest-to-goodness Oscar and Grammy Award winner in Jennifer Hudson atop the guest list. Sports royalty will be there in the form of basketball great Shaquille O’Neal and newly minted NFL star Robert Griffin III, who Washington Redskins fans (like me) tend to think is best thing to happen to Washington’s team since John Riggins. If you want to go, sorry. This gala is already sold out.
If your tastes are a little more country, the Unbridled Eve Gala may be what you want with Academy of Country Music entertainer of the year award winner Luke Bryan topping the bill. Also on the guest list for the event at the Galt House are actress Jane Seymour, The Hills star Lauren Conrad, country star Jo Dee Messina, and regular Derby guest Jennifer Tilly.
Over at the KFC Yum! Center, modern rock pioneers The B-52′s will be playing at The Julep Ball for a crowd including emcees Tiki Barber and Claudia Coffey. Tickets are still available for this event.
As of now, we still have not heard who’s on the guest list at the Barnstable-Brown Gala, which usually boasts the Derby’s deepest celebrity roster. Watch LexGo.com and this space for word on that lineup.
Fans of Tony Award-winning Broadway musicals and that Trey Parker-Matt Stone sense of humor will be able to see the show that brought those two great things together in the PNC Broadway in Louisville 2013-14 season.
The Book of Mormon, which claimed nine Tony Awards including best musical and best book and best score for Parker, Stone and Robert Lopez in 2011 will have a limited engagement as part of the series that starts a year from now. Exact performance dates and times will be announced when the full season is unveiled in March.
But Broadway in Louisville is announcing the engagement now because it is a big deal and subscribers to this season will have first dibs on tickets to Book of Mormon.
While Broadway and the South Park creators may not seem like a logical marriage, Stone and Parker have always had a thing for Broadway and have made numerous homages to the Great White Way, including the 2009 wresting episode W.T.F., which lampooned pro wrestling as more drama than sport (the audition segment is brilliant), or last year’s Broadway Bro Down, made in the wake of Mormon‘s success. (Note: If you click the links, this is South Park, which is one of the raunchiest shows on basic cable.)
This coming season of Broadway in Louisville includes 2010 best musical winner Memphis, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Flashdance — The Musical and Jersey Boys. Subscribers to the coming season will have the first opportunity to buy tickets for next season, including Mormon, when they go on sale.
Actors Theatre of Louisville has named Meredith McDonough, currently director of new works at TheatreWorks in Palo Alto, Calif., as its new associate artistic director. McDonough’s appointment follows Les Waters’ appointment as artistic director of the iconic theater late last year. McDonough and Waters first met at Actors Theatre in 2000 working on the world premiere production of Charles Mee’s Big Love.
“Meredith brings a breadth of work and knowledge that will help position us for the growth we expect to see in the years to come,” Waters said in a news release.
McDonough has previously co-directed several productions at the Humana Festival and served as associate director of the theater’s prestigious Apprentice/Intern Program. She has been at TheatreWorks three seasons and directed the world premieres of numerous shows including Laura Schellhardt’s Upright Grand and Auctioning the Ainsleys. Nationally, she has worked with Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company, the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts and New York’s Roundabout Theatre Company. She is expected to start work at Actors Theatre in the fall, and she will direct The Whipping Man by Matthew Lopez in January.
Lexington’s Ben Sollee will release a new album, Live at the Grocery on Home, Tuesday with a 7 p.m. record relese party at Heine Brothers Coffee, 1449 Bardstown Road in Louisville. The album was recorded by the folk cellist along with fiddle player Casey Driessen and percussionist Jordan Ellis over a four night stand at the Grocery on Home in Atlanta. It will be released with limited editon letterpress covers by Louisville’s Hound Dog Press (check the video, above, about the covers) and sold only through Heine Brothers shops, at stops on Sollee’s upcoming tour and through iTunes and Sollee’s website.
The album release is the only Kentucky date on the tour, at the moment. Sollee will appear appear with the Portland Cello Project in its May 7 performance at the Norton Center for the Arts at Centre College in Danville.
Do you think you have the acting chops to play on the stage of Kentucky’s top professional theater?
Actors Theatre of Louisville will have auditions for children and actors who are not members of Actors Equity, the stage actors union, on April 16, 17 and 19. According to a news release from the theater, the auditions are for introductory purposes as the theater’s casting department seeks to expand its talent pool and looks to recruit actors for its 2012-13 season.
Auditions for children ages 6 to 13 are 4 to 7 p.m. April 17 and 19 in ATL’s administrative offices, 315 West Market Street in Louisville. The auditions are geared toward ATL’s annual holiday shows, Dracula, A Christmas Carol and A Christmas Story. Auditioners should be prepared to recite a short, memorized monologue, sing a hymn or ballad a capella and bring a recent snapshot or photograph of themselves.
The adult auditions for ages 14 and older are 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. April 16, and auditioners should come prepared to recite a one-minute monologue. No specific roles are being cast at this time.
Auditions are by appointment only. To schedule an audition appointment, email firstname.lastname@example.org. For children, include the age and gender of the child plus a contact e-mail and cell phone number in the body of the message. Auditions are on a first-come, first, served basis; confirmation emails of audition times will be sent after April 2. Call (502) 584-1265 for more information.
Louisville’s Hart/Lunsford Pictures has secured North American distribution rights to a film with a prestigious pedigree that includes one of Charles Dickens’ best-loved novels.
The company, co-owned by former U.S. Senate and gubernatorial candidate Bruce Lunsford, has completed a financing deal for Great Expectations, which was shot in England and is currently in post production. The film was directed by Mike Newell, best known for Four Weddings and a Funeral and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and stars Academy Award-nominated actors Ralph Fiennes as Magwitch and Helena Bonham Carter as Miss Havisham.
Great Expectations has been adapted for film numerous times, the last big-screen release being a 1998 version that modernized the story with Ethan Hawke and Gwyneth Paltrow.
The film is expected to be released later this year, putting it in the thick of celebrations of the 200th anniversary of Dickens’ birth.
This version was co-financed by the BBC and the British Film Institute. Co-owner Ed Hart, a theme park entrepreneur who came to Kentucky to rescue struggling and now closed Kentucky Kingdom in the late 1980s, said the company is still figuring out how the distribution rights will be handled.
“We haven’t yet decided if we will sell the rights to one of the many U.S. distributors who have shown an interest or to distribute it ourselves,” he said in a news release.” We might also choose to divide the various ancillary platforms (such as DVD, digital, and television) and sell those separately, while retaining the rights to theatrical distribution. We have plenty of time to formulate a distribution strategy, but our ultimate decision will be based primarily on what’s best for the film.”
Hart/Lunsford has been involved with numerous films at varying capacities since 2007. It’s latest was last year’s Dirty Girl, which was sold to the Weinstein Company for $3 million, according to Louisville’s Business First.
Actors Theatre of Louisville named well-traveled director and administrator Les Waters as its new artistic director this week.
Waters, who comes to the theater from a an eight-year stint as associate artistic director of Berkeley Repertory Theatre in Berkeley, Calif., succeeds Marc Masterson, who has crossed the country himself to become artistic director at South Coast Repertory Theatre in Costa Mesa, Calif. The West Coast taketh away, the West Coast giveth.
Waters, 59, is hardly unfamiliar to Louisville as his staging of Charles L. Mee’s Big Love for the Humana Festival of New American Plays in 2000 went on to an Off Broadway production and an Obie Award in 2002. In 2009, he took Sarah Ruhl’s In the Next Room (or the vibrator play) from Berkeley Rep to Broadway. Somewhat serendipitously, that play will open at Actors Theatre in January as Waters takes the helm. He will serve part time then and take over full time in March, after dispensing with some previous commitments.
At Actors Theatre, Waters also directed Naomi Iizuka’s At the Vanishing Point at the 2004 Humana Festival, a play that was based on the Butchertown neighborhood of Louisville and inspired by the photography of Lexington’s Ralph Eugene Meatyard.
Throughout his career, the Lincolnshire, England native has championed contemporary playwrights such as Mee, Iizuka, Ruhl, Jordan Harrison and Wallace Shawn. He has worked with a wide variety of playhouses including the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre and Goodman Theatre, the Public Theatre/New York Shakespeare Festival and the Bristol Old Vic.
Taking the reigns at ATL, Waters will become only the 47-year-old theater’s fourth artistic director after Masterson, Jon Jory, whose work launching the Humana Festival brought ATL to international prominence, and original artistic director Richard Block.
From the it’s-a-shame-releases-like-this-have-to-be-sent department, the Kentucky Opera in Louisville put out and advisory Thursday reassuring patrons that there will be live music for its performances of Georges Bizet’s Carmen, Sept. 23 and 25. The Louisville Orchestra has traditionally provided the orchestra for Kentucky Opera productions. But the ongoing financial crisis at the orchestra and faltering contract negotiations with its musicians has forced the ensemble to cancel its September and October performances. According to a Kentucky Opera statement, the opera is negotiating directly with Louisville Orchestra musicians to put together an ensemble for Carmen.
On Wednesday, the orchestra announced it was cancelling September and October concerts because it and the musicians union had reached an impasse in negotiating a new contract. The orchestra is emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which it declared earlier this year. It’s previous contract with musicians expired May 31.
Apr26Filed under: dance, Derby, Fashion, Louisville, Music, Television; Tagged as: American Idol, Audrina Patridge, Betsey Johnson, Bob Costas, Chris Thieneman, Derby Eve, Fred Thompson, Illeana Douglas, Jamie Kennedy, Jennifer Tilly, Jordin Sparks, Julie Benz, Kia Hampton, Kris Allen, Linda Davis, Matt Battaglia, Miss Kentucky Teen USA 2011, Miss Teen Kentucky 2011, Nole Martin, Palace Theatre, Phil Laak, Stephanie Jones, Tom Thieneman Jr., Vicki Gunvalson
American Idol winners Jordin Sparks (Season 6) and Kris Allen (Season 8 ) top the guest list at this year’s Mint Jubilee, which will be Derby Eve (May 6) at the Palace Theatre in Louisville.
NBC sportscaster Bob Costas will be the host the event founded by actor, producer and former NFL player Matt Battaglia, along with former NFL player and Louisville real estate developer Chris Thieneman and his brother and fellow real estate executive Tom Thieneman Jr.
Joining them will be Dexter actress Julie Benz, comic and Scream actor Jamie Kennedy, former presidential candidate and actor Fred Thompson (also announced as a guest at the Barnstable-Brown Gala), actress and former Pegasus Parade grand marshal Jennifer Tilly, actress Illeana Douglas, The Hills and Audrina star Audrina Patridge, designer Betsey Johnson, Real Housewives of Orange County Star Vicki Gunvalson, country star Linda Davis, former America’s Next Top Model judge Nole Martin, professional poker player Phil Laak, Miss Teen Kentucky 2011Stephanie Jones and Miss Kentucky Teen USA 2011 Kia Hampton.
Tickets for the Jubilee are still available for $200 to $750. Proceeds go to benefit cancer research.
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