The journal of a Kentucky culture vulture
Film star and Lexington resident Steve Zahn will perform live on stage next month at the Lyric Theatre in a production by The Rep, the local theater company he runs with his wife, Robyn Peterman-Zahn, and local dance legend Diana Evans Pulliam.
It will be Zahn’s first performance on a Lexington stage.
Zahn will play the One-Man-Show-Christmas-Show-Man in the second annual production of Smackdown for the Christmas Crown, an original show by Peterman-Zahn that debuted last year at the Lyric. The role was played last year by Lexington actor Spencer Christensen, who Peterman-Zahn says has gone on to graduate school. Zahn, a member of Actors Equity, will perform under a guest-artist contract with the stage actors union.
Zahn has starred in the movies SubUrbia (1996), Daddy Day Care (2003), Sahara (2005), Rescue Dawn (2006) and the Diary of a Wimpy Kid movies, and he has been a voice in several animated movies and TV series, including Chicken Little (2005) and the Disney Channel’s Phineas and Ferb. He currently stars as Davis McAlary in the HBO series Treme. He’s squeezing preparation for Smackdown between shooting dates in New Orleans for Treme and the feature film Dallas Buyers Club with Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner.
He and Lexington native Peterman-Zahn met when they were both in the 1991 national tour of Bye Bye Birdie, which starred Tommy Tune and Ann Reinking. They married in Lexington in 1994 and moved here 10 years later. Peterman-Zahn became the stage director of Paragon Music Theatre in 2009. She, Pulliam and Zahn formed The Rep last year after the dissolution of Paragon, when founder Ryan Shirar departed for graduate school at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.
With the departure of founder and music director Ryan Shirar, Paragon Music Theatre closed following its performance of Gypsy in May. But stage director Robyn Peterman Zahn and choreographer Diana Evans Pulliam wasted little time in collaborating on a new effort.
This weekend they announced on Facebook that The Rep will have its first production in December with Smackdown for the Christmas Crown at the Lyric Theatre.
Pulliam and Zahn will serve as co-artistic directors with Brock Terry serving as music director.
Auditions for Smackdown will be at 5 p.m. Sept. 24 and 25 at the Diana Evans School of Dance, 153 Burt Road. The show is set in the 1950s with two vocal groups vying for the coveted Christmas Crown at an annual holiday variety show. The Facebook page describes it as, “think Lawrence Welk after 6 beers.”
In all, they are seeking to cast one strong male, comic actor, make and female ensembles of four to eight and a chorus of 15 to 30.
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