The journal of a Kentucky culture vulture
Mar30Filed under: Actors Guild of Lexington, Classical Music, Downtown Arts Center, Lexington Opera House, Lexington Philharmonic, Music, Musicals, Singletary Center for the Arts, Studio Players, Theater; Tagged as: Actors Guild of Lexington, Bluegrass Community and Technical College, Broken, chool for Creative and Performing Arts, Exile, Garden District, Hairspray, Lexington Philharmonic, Studio Players, Tennessee Williams, The Rocky Horror Show, University of Connecticut Huskies, University of Kentucky men's basketball, Walter May
It used to be that area performing arts groups would go to great lengths to avoid presenting shows that would conflict with a University of Kentucky men’s basketball game.
But Saturday night, despite the fact that they will overlap with a portion of the Wildcats’ first Final Four appearance in 13 years, area theaters say they will go on with their shows as planned. The game against the University of Connecticut Huskies is scheduled to tip off at 8:49 p.m. (8:47 was too early?)
Among the shows that will be going on are:
~ The School for Creative and Performing Arts’ production of the musical Hairspray at the Lexington Opera House, curtain time is 8 p.m.
~ Actors Guild of Lexington and Bluegrass Community and Technical College’s production of The Rocky Horror Show, 7:30 p.m.
~ Exile’s concert to benefit the National Drug Endangered Children Training and Advocacy Center at the Singletary Center for the Arts, 7:30 p.m.
While it might seem to make sense to move out of the way of a major event for the community, Actors Guild Artistic director Eric Seale says moving a performance can often create as many problems as it solves.
“The real problem isn’t people who already have tickets, because you can call them up and tell them you’re making a change,” says Seale, who is overseeing two shows that conflict with the Cats – Broken and Rocky Horror. “But the people who are just planning to walk up and buy tickets, you have no way of contacting them.”
He recalled a production when Actors Guild was at the Downtown Arts Center that had to be cancelled due to a problem in the building. He said all patrons were called and understanding, but one couple that walked up planning to buy tickets at the door was really upset about the change.
He also notes that while some people may welcome a change that lets them see the show and the game, others who aren’t as fixated on basketball may not like it.
Last weekend, of course, there were also shows that went up against the Cats games Friday night and Sunday afternoon. Seale says the Friday night performance of Broken did have a light turnout, but the second nights of shows often do, and most area residents could have seen both the play and the Ohio State-UK game in their entireties.
The Lexington Philharmonic also reportedly had most of its audience in their seats for its entire performance last Friday night, which overlapped with the first half of that game.
Feb24Filed under: Bluegrass Community and Technical College, comedy, Downtown Arts Center, slide shows, Theater; Tagged as: Allie Darden, Beth Kander, Bluegrass Community and Technical College, Downtown Arts Center, Kathy Swango, Katie Jo Cox, Leah Dick, Philip Sharkey, See Jane Quit, Tim X. Davis, Zach Dearing
Beth Kander takes fellow playwright William Shakespeare’s quote that “all the world’s a stage” one step further.
“In the world of the stage, it’s a really small world,” Kander says.
And that helps explain why her play See Jane Quit, which won the 2008 Mississippi Theatre Association Playwriting Award, is having its world premiere in Central Kentucky.
Kander’s boyfriend is old pals with Tim X Davis, director of the theater program at Bluegrass Community and Technical College. Recently they were visiting, renewing an old acquaintance that started when they met directing theater in Biloxi, and Kander mentioned that she wrote plays.
Davis says, “Almost as an afterthought, I said, ‘Well I’m always looking for new scripts. Why don’t you send me something?’”
Kander sent two scripts, and one of them, See Jane Quit, immediately clicked with Davis.
BCTC’s production opens Feb. 25 and will continue through March 6.
It is the second world premiere for the young BCTC theater program, which presented the world premiere of Davis’ Dancing With Dani in 2008. It’s also the second world premiere by a Lexington college theater troupe in less than a month; University of Kentucky Theatre just presented the initial production of Aleks Merilo’s Blur in the Rear View.
BCTC student Leah Dick, who plays the title role in See Jane Quit, says, “I’m really excited being able to set a precedent for other people to follow.”
Veteran Lexington actor Allie Darden, who plays Jane’s best friend, says, “So many times, you go out to audition for that great play like Steel Magnolias, and then you get a role that was made famous by some great actress and you think, ‘I couldn’t possibly do as well as they did it.’
“In a world premiere, you birth it. It’s your part.”
Adding to the excitement of presenting a world premiere is that next weekend’s performances are during the Southeastern Theatre Conference, which will bring more than 4,000 theater professionals and serious amateurs to Lexington from Thursday to Saturday.
Warhorses need not apply on the Lexington Theatre scene this weekend. Bluegrass Community and Technical College and Balagula Theatre both offer up offbeat offerings this weekend, one homegrown and one from across the pond.
BCTC’s Theatre Program opens Jane Martin’s Middle Aged White Guys Thursday night, so we’ll start with them. The play, which premiered at the 1994 Humana Festival of New American Plays, centers on three brothers who gather every decade at a garbage dump to toast the memory of the woman one of them married and the other two had flings with. They eventually drove her to drive herself off a cliff, but with a little help from the Almighty, she’ll have her revenge. The play runs through Saturday at the Talon Winery and Vineyards.
Balagula Theatre opens French-Romanian author Eugene Ionesco’s The Bald Soprano Sunday at Natasha’s Bistro and Bar for a two-week run. The play presents two couples, the Smiths and the Martins having a visit that slips down a slope from normalcy to complete non-sequiturs. Directed by Natasha Williams, it is the second in Balagula’s season of existentialist, absurdiust plays. Natasha’s is arranging a special menu to compliment the play.
Oct20Filed under: Actors Guild of Lexington, Central Kentucky Arts News, Television, Theater; Tagged as: Actors Guild of Lexington, Art, Bluegrass Community and Technical College, Gravedigger, Hamlet, Jack Parrish, Kentucky State University, Merry Wives of Windsor, Polonius, Richard St. Peter, Richmomd Va., Shakespeare at Equus Run, Tim X. Davis, Yasmina Reza
Jack Parrish, a mostly Richmond, Va.-based actor and director who spent the last few years of his life enriching the Central Kentucky theater scene, died Thursday after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 56.
Mr. Parrish was born in Richmond and got into theater while he was in high school. His theater and film career included the roles of Brad Garrick on Another World and Brian Collier on All My Children, as well as stage work in New York and regional stages around the country, reported the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
In 2004, Actors Guild of Lexington’s then-new artistic director Richard St. Peter hired Mr. Parrish to direct the first production under his watch: Yasmina Reza’s play Art.
Mr. Parrish eventually moved to Central Kentucky, where he directed the drama department at Kentucky State University in Frankfort and continued to be active in area theater.
“Watching him act was like watching a master class in the craft,” said Tim X. Davis, Mr. Parrish’s predecessor at KSU and one of the actors in that 2004 production of Art. “I was proud to have Jack take my place at Kentucky State and continue to improve upon the program we had built there. His colleagues and students from KSU, many of whom I’m still in contact with, have nothing but the most positive things to say about him and his work. His work onstage here in Lexington, brief though it was, was simply stunning.”
Mr. Parrish’s roles in Lexington included Polonius and the Gravedigger in Actors Guild’s 2007 production of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. He was set to take center stage as Falstaff in Actors Guild’s summer 2008 production of The Merry Wives of Windsor for Shakespeare at Equus Run but had to bow out because of his cancer treatments.
“It breaks my heart that the community never got to see his Falstaff … as it would have blown people out of their seats,” said Davis, who now directs the theater and film program at Bluegrass Community and Technical College.
Mr. Parrish eventually returned to Richmond with his wife, Kathy Ann Parrish. He was in hospice care when he died.
“I feel like I have lost a family member and one of my best friends all rolled into one,” said St. Peter, who resigned his post at Actors Guild in August. “He was an extraordinary actor, a brilliant interpreter of Shakespeare, a terrific director and a true ‘man of the theater.’”
Jul18Filed under: Arts administration, Central Kentucky Arts News, Film, slide shows, Social Media, Television; Tagged as: Asbury College, Ben Jacobs, Bluegrass Community and Technical College, Chad Gundersen, Jason Epperson, Jeff Day, Jessica Morgan, Lucky Day Studios, Michael Welch, On the Lot, Sarah Habel, Tom Lockridge, Twilight, Unrequited
They were going with the rain plan.
With just five days left to film, the cast and crew of Unrequited faced something they have not seen much of in the previous three weeks of filming the teen psychological thriller in Central Kentucky: precipitation. But that meant they could easily adjust to shoot a key interior scene between troubled Ben Jacobs and his ex-girlfriend Jessica Morgan.
This didn’t faze actors Michael Welch and Sarah Habel.
“We’ve got some important stuff to do today,” Habel, who just came downstairs in the secluded Scott County home where they have been filming, cheerfully saids to director Jason Epperson.
Unrequited is an important film to most everyone involved.
For Kentucky-based Lucky Day Studios, it will be the debut feature that they hope will show they are capable of making high quality films.
For Winchester native Epperson, it will be his debut feature after making a name for himself nationwide as the first runner up on the Fox film director series On the Lot.
For Welch, it’s a chance to take the lead after getting on many movie fans’ radars with his supporting role in Twilight, and fellow actors such as Habel also hope to turn heads with their performances in the gritty drama.
And for much of the Kentucky-based crew, its a chance to put their best feet forward as brand new tax incentives could potentially start attracting more film work to Kentucky.
“The crew senses this is something meaningful,” Epperson says. “We want to all be successful together.”
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