The 1960’s will always be remembered for the monumental social changes that took place as young Americans reexamined social structures and modes of conduct. Clearly the baby was thrown out with the bathwater as people lost track of the reason for good manners, and rude behavior became acceptable. “Mrs. Mannerly” by Jeffrey Hatcher is opening soon at Carpenter Square Theatre and is a light hearted comedy about a class in etiquette that is available for students.
Helen Anderson Kirk (called Mrs. Mannerly because she teaches these classes along with public speaking, and drama) is played by the talented Linda McDonald. Kaleb Bruza plays Jeffrey, a young and surprisingly eager student. Bruza also brings to life eight other characters and the ensuing hijinks become very amusing for the audience.
Kenneth Benton directs “Mrs. Mannerly” while Artistic Director Rhonda Clark handles the costumes. Sunny Dawn Marler is the stage manager and James Polk Wilson is the set and lighting designer.
The show runs from February 22-March 16; curtain is at 8:00 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays in March, and a 2:00 p.m. Sunday matinee on March 10.
For information and reservations visit the Carpenter Square Theatre online at www.carpentersquare.com or call 405-232-6500. Carpenter Square is located at 800 W. Main in downtown Oklahoma City with convenient parking nearby.
“Mrs. Mannerly” shapes up to be a very entertaining show and should remind old hippies (self-included) of the havoc they have wrought.
Rob Becker is a writer, actor and stand-up comic who developed “Defending the Caveman” the longest running solo play on Broadway. His show demonstrates the male perspective on the never-ending battle of the sexes, but with the underlying understanding of the female view that every happily married man eventually discovers. “Defending the Caveman” has been brought to Oklahoma City by Oklahoma City Repertory Theatre in association with Theater Mogul. The presentation stars John Venable and he has captured Becker’s original perfectly. As a one-man show, the Production Manager serves in the directorial capacity as needed and Steve Emerson along with Venable rely on the excellent assistance of Ben Hall, Technical Director and Master Electrician, Kathrine Mitchell.
The character Venable plays is Everyman, and Venable is every man who celebrates, along with the French, ‘vive la différence!’ He shows tenderness towards the female as she talks through her life while her male partner silently observes. And in doing so, Venable makes the key visible. Laughter is that key and the audience laughs at him, with him and at themselves as well. That’s because the battle between the sexes is about a naturally funny situation that can easily turn tragic when couples do not recognize one another with grace. “Defending the Caveman” is the perfect show for couples and a great treat for Valentine ’s Day. That is not to say that only couples enjoy the show. A son can better understand a mother and a father can better understand a daughter. A boss can better understand an employee, and an Oklahoman can better understand a Texan. Above all, a lover can understand and appreciate a lover.
Caveman John Venable is a renowned actor from Dallas, regionally based across the Red River and his Texas roots become universal. His performance reveals an in depth knowledge of acting and all the nuances actors use to reveal the humanity of their characters.
Don Jordan, Artistic Director of CityRep has brought us an exceptional evening with “Defending the Caveman” and this allows us to laugh just a little more and with just a little heartier sound. A giggle becomes a chuckle, a chuckle becomes an exhilarating guffaw that is most infectious.
“Defending the Caveman” plays at the Freede Theatre in the Civic Center Music Hall at 201 N. Walker in downtown Oklahoma City. Curtain is at 7:30Pm, not 8PM, to facilitate parking for patrons, and matinees are at 1:30. Call the CityRep box office number, 405-848-3761, for ticket information and to ask about the special Valentine’s Day presentation this coming Thursday, February 14, 2013. Laugh yourself silly and fall in love all over again.
“Crimes of the Heart” by Beth Henley is currently being presented by the Oklahoma City Theatre Company at the CitySpace Theatre located in the lower level of the Civic Center Music Hall. “Crimes of the Heart” is under the direction of Rachel Irick, Artistic Director of OKCTC and this production reveals her expertise.
Two sisters, Lenore and Margaret (called Lenny and Meg) must rally round the third sister and her tragic difficulty. Rebecca is the youngest sister, called Babe by the family. Her husband has been shot and she is presumed guilty as she admits to pulling the trigger. The eldest sister, Lenny, has remained single and stayed at home to care for the ailing grandfather who is in the hospital recovering from a series of strokes. Meg has been pursuing a singing career with little success and only returns as the result of Lenny’s frantic telegram. Babe is in limbo of course and will give no reason for her desperate action. This is quite a reunion for the three young women and it is certainly understandable that no one remembers Lenny’s birthday.
Cousin Chick is the other granddaughter who glories in the misfortunes of her cousins. Also part of the story is Doc, a former boyfriend of Meg’s who has remained a friend of the family. Barnett is the young lawyer retained to defend Babe as she has been charged with attempted murder for the shooting of her husband. The interaction with the six characters as they deal with the tragic issues of this very dysfunctional family is smooth and natural.
Rachel Irick does an exceptional job in staging “Crimes of the Heart” and her cast creates believably flawed and sympathetic characters. J. Collin Spring is Doc and his performance is controlled and accurately represents the common southern man with dignity. Barnett, the eager young lawyer determined to vindicate Babe is played by Kyle Reed, making his first onstage appearance with the Oklahoma City Theatre Company. His performance is a welcome addition. Peggy Free is also new to the OKCTC stage. Her performance as the very unsympathetic and shallow cousin Chick, is excellent as she lends credibility to a character that could easily be a caricature.
“Crimes of the Heart” is a tear jerker requiring a voluminous handkerchief from the men’s department as the little hanky we women usually carry won’t cut it. The cast members portraying the three sisters are stars of the show shining through our tears. Valerie Compton also makes her OKCTC debut with “Crimes of the Heart” and her performance is thoughtful, connected and colorful. Compton is a definite asset to the Oklahoma City theater community. Michele Fields is a superb Meg and captures the flawed character with a nice tongue-in-cheek attitude that complements the other characters beautifully. The third sister, Babe, is delightfully portrayed by Keila Lorenc familiar to the audience of Frankenstein as Mary Shelley. As Babe, Lorenc displays versatility and charm.
Irick’s considered direction showcases these three excellent actresses beautifully in their starring roles for “Crimes of the Heart” and the supporting cast members complement the performances nicely. Lighting and set design by Scott Hynes matches the mood in the show perfectly. Jeff Karl is Sound Designer and works well with Stage Manager Kory Kight and Assistant Stage Manager Kyra Ruddy. Costumes by Christi Newbury reflect the lifestyle of the characters but seem a trifle ill-fitting in some cases yet not enough to distract from the quality of the actors’ performances.
“Crimes of the Heart” plays through February 17, 2013, at the Civic Center Music Hall in downtown Oklahoma City at 201 N.Walker. The CitySpace Theatre is located on the lower level of the Civic Center. For ticket information call the Civic Center box office at 405–297–2264. Oklahoma City Theatre Company also has tickets available online at www.okctc.org. Curtain is at 8 PM Friday and Saturday night and a Sunday 2 PM matinee. Grab your hankies but don’t be surprised at the delightful bits of comic relief skillfully woven into “Crimes of the Heart” and delight in these excellent performances.
Jewel Box Theatre’s production of ‘The 39 Steps” is a charming and entertaining event, well worth an evening of your time.
The script, a light and witty satire of classic Alfred Hitchcock film scenarios, needs sharp timing, precise and clear diction, and lots of stage and theatre ‘magic’—the kind that usually requires a proscenium stage, with wings, flies and special lighting. Jewel Box, with its open, “in the round” construction, would not be considered an ideal setting for this show; however, director Jennifer Teel renders The 39 Steps beautifully. Her cast, most of whom are faced with the need to be many, many people, have adapted to the needs of the piece and deliver solid and engaging performances.
Kevin Logan as Richard Hannay is the only actor who has the luxury of not changing identities, and in return he has to carry the piece. Logan does this ably, bringing the audience along for an exciting ride through various scenes parodied from classic Hitchcock films. Logan is well partnered by Crystal Ecker, who plays her several roles—femme fatale, trapped woman, and ingénue—with equal deftness and grace.
Richie Rayfield and Matt Barger handled the roles of the two Clowns very well. The ‘hat’ scene demonstrates the cleverness with which these two actors switch among several character parts with only a change of headgear and vocal styling.
To address the needs of an “in the round” production, director Teel has introduced the character of the “Foley Operator,” which is theatre jargon for “the sound effects person.” In this role, dressed as an orchestra conductor and occupying a ridiculously tiny “orchestra pit,” Chris Rodgers very nearly steals the show. Teel, using Rodgers’ talented and elastic face perfectly, weaves him into the show seamlessly—although the character does not exist in the script!
Rodgers and Ecker both demonstrate a sharpness of timing that heightens the dramatic silliness of the show. Logan, called upon to think on his feet constantly, managed perfectly when a prop malfunctioned, and he covered the situation with aplomb. Barger and Rayfield bounce from character part to character part with alacrity and skill.
“The 39 Steps” playing at The Jewel Box Theatre at 3700 N. Walker is a light and thoroughly enjoyable evening of theatre. The show runs through February 10, 2013 and tickets are available at the box office. The box office phone is manned Wednesday through Friday afternoons for reservations by calling 405-521-1786 at those times. Curtain is at 8pm Thursday through Saturday with Sunday matinees. Step up to the adventure and catch “The 39 Steps” at the Jewel Box Theatre.
For any organization, thriving for 50 years is a major accomplishment, and Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma has defied the odds and will spend 2013 celebrating its 50th Anniversary in style. Deciding what show should open such a monumental season must have been challenging, but Lyric’s Artistic Director Michael Baron decided on SOME ENCHANTED EVENING, which will run January 30 through February 16 at the Plaza Theatre. The production is a rousing review of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s music featuring songs from CINDERELLA, OKLAHOMA!, THE KING AND I, SOUTH PACIFIC, THE SOUND OF MUSIC and many more.
“SOME ENCHANTED EVENING is the perfect way to open our 50th Anniversary Season because, in a way, the show is a celebration of theatre itself,” said Baron. “Rodgers & Hammerstein gave so much to the world of musical theatre and many of their creations have appeared on Lyric’s stages throughout its 50 years.”
There are five cast members that will make up the main characters of the show, but this production of SOME ENCHANTED EVENING will have a special feature: each performance will include a returning actor from Lyric’s past. Notable performers include Marilyn Govich, Lyn Cramer, Charlotte Franklin, Jane Hall, Bob Windsor, Lexi Windsor, Matthew Alvin Brown and many more. Performing during every show will be regional favorites Dallas Lish, Jamie Buxton, Heather Geery, Ethan Spell and Melissa Griffith.
To view a full schedule of guest performers visit LyricTheatreOKC.com. Tickets to all of Lyric’s 2013 shows are now on sale and are available for purchase online, at Lyric’s box office at 1727 NW 16th Street or by calling (405) 524-9312. Performances will be held at the Plaza Theatre at 1725 NW 16th Street. Performance times are Tuesdays through Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and at 2 p.m. on Saturdays.
Guest post by Michaela Webb
“The Good Counselor” opens Friday, January 10th 2013 at Carpenter Square Theatre at 800 W. Main in Oklahoma City. Written by Kathryn Grant, the story takes on the question of nature versus nurture, and how the realities of racism and classism can twist situations that may at first seem straightforward. The play is directed by Rhonda Clark, with Rehearsal Stage Manager Jaefinn Carr and Production Stage Manager A’mari Jo Rocheleauthe and Light/Set Designer James Polk Wilson. The show runs through February 2nd. Specific show times, tickets and directions are available at www.carpentersquare.com.
The play opens with Rita (Bernadette Puckett) getting ready for church. One of the things that is really interesting about this production is that her character has relatively few speaking lines—you get the gist of who she is mainly through body language and exposition from the other actors. We spend the majority of our time with Rita’s two sons, Vincent and Ray. Vincent (played by Stephen Dillard-Carroll) seems the prodigal son returned—a successful attorney, well-liked by the community and with plenty of money to slide over to his family despite his job as a public defender. Brian C. Scott is fantastic as Ray, who flails at the other end of the spectrum without steady employment, trying to overcome a longstanding drug problem.
The status quo is upset when Vincent is asked to defend Evelyn (Radonna Carter), on trial for the death of her newborn son. Evelyn and Vincent take their time getting over their preconceived notions of each other. Evelyn is the epitome of ‘white trash’—uneducated, rude, and offended by the idea that she must be defended by a homosexual black man who could not possibly know anything about her life. Ray has little sympathy for a woman who failed so spectacularly at parenting when his own mother survived similar circumstances. A little guidance from his boss, Maia (Lana Henson), helps soften Vincent’s opinions about Evelyn and, consequently, reexamine those about his own mother. Some of the suspicions Vincent harbors about Evelyn are perhaps projected from his own childhood as he is unable to face those realities himself.
While not all elements of the production flow seamlessly, the play is well produced. Clark’s use of popular music between scenes is an effective segue from one setting (or era) to another. Wilson’s train trestle, always in the background, serves as a constant reminder of both where the characters are and where they come from. Dillard-Carroll’s Vincent makes it clear that he suffers from survivor’s guilt, and Scott’s Ray is clearly someone who was never allowed to get over his childhood foibles and neglect. Carter’s shrill Evelyn is a trapped, frantic young woman who most of society wants to forget. Henson is the production’s quiet conscience, reminding us that just because empathy is not automatic doesn’t mean it can’t be achieved. Puckett’s Rita is stoic and defensive, having done the best that she could.
It is wonderful and lovely that we’re getting shows like this in Oklahoma. CST consistently produces shows outside the usual fare offered, and we’re lucky to have the opportunity to see them without having to travel too far. Go see “The Good Counselor”!
Looking for something unique and different during the holidays? Join OKC Theatre Company for JACOB MARLEYâ€™s CHRISTMAS CAROL, a creative twist on the Dickens classic anything on OKC stages this season. Supported by inventive lighting (Kathrine Mitchell) and sound designs (Jason McKelvy) the minimal costumes and scenic effects empower the audience imagination to re-envision the familiar Dickens tale. Under the direction of Doug Van Liew who previously starred as Jacob Marley in two previous OKCTC productions, the company brings Tom Mulaâ€™s MARLEY to City Space Theatre starring OKC theatre scene favorite Don Taylor in the title role.Chicagopublications called the original MARLEY production: “…an inspired and moving story that makes all that old stuff about ghosts and graves seem both immediate and revelatory…” -Chicago Tribune. “…MARLEY blends a Dickens sensibility with a taste for fairy tales and contemporary wit…thoroughly charming–a holiday treat…” -Herald (Chicago). “Delectably zany…inspired theatre…gives the audience cause to ache, and to laugh, and in the end, to exalt.” -Citybeat. “Of all the holiday shows dotting the theatrical landscape, none shines brighter than JACOB MARLEY’S CHRISTMAS CAROL.” -The Life. MARLEY is presented in the intimate City Space Theatre atCivicCenterMusic Hall, 201 N.Walkerin downtownOklahoma City. PERFORMANCES: Thursdays-Saturdays December 6 (preview), 7, 8, 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, & 22 at 8:00 pm and Sundays December 16 & 23 at 2:00 pm.
“The Last Romance” is showing at Carpenter Square Theatre and has two sets of leading lady cast members playing alternate nights. After seeing the wonderful job done by Jane Hall as Carol Reynolds and Vickie Wilcox as Rose Tagliatelle with Paul Smith as Ralph Bellini, a second viewing with the alternate cast became a must!
Kitty Fisher stars as Carol Reynolds in the alternate cast, however, Laurel Van Horn Jaworsky did not perform. Vickie Wilcox normally plays alongside Kitty Fisher, and they had a magnificent rapport as did Hall and Wilcox. Although it is clear that Jaworsky provides an excellent performance as well, seeing Hall with Wilcox followed by Fisher and Wilcox gives a delightful dimension to Joe DePietro’s work.
This is an excellent show and the review above is rather lengthy. “The Last Romance” is a wonderful play and Doobie Potter directs a wonderful cast of personal contemporaries. As a result, the review was over-long initially and the reviewer had to edit. Self-editing is never the wisest choice, although it is often necessary. Unfortunately the paragraph that mentions the young singer who portrays the young man so poignantly was removed. The role is beautifully handled and masterfully sung by Robby Ray. Apologies to him for this oversight and belated congratulations on his performance. Ray has a great future as a singer, and his stage presence will enhance future acting roles as well as straight singing opportunities.
In addition to Ray’s great voice, Smith’s best performance, Hall and Jaworsky or Fisher and Wilcox in excellent performance mode, the little dog, Peaches is played by Coco Chanel Carr. Director Doobie Potter has a great show for Oklahoma City audiences. “The Last Romance” plays at Carpenter Square Theatre through December 23, 2012 and should not be missed! Call 405-232-6500 for reservations at Carpenter Square Theatre, 800 West Main in downtown Oklahoma City.
Every now and then a role comes along that is so dynamite it can’t be overlooked. Award winning author Joe DiPietro is known as a great playwright—I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change and Over the River and Through the Woods are examples of his work. Along comes The Last Romance with two roles that would have my name right up in lights! The names filling those roles in this production are Jane Hall and Kitty Fisher for the role of Carol Reynolds and Laurel Van Horn Jaworsky and Vicki Wilcox for the role of Rose Tagliatelle.
Director Doobie Potter then cast the role of Ralph Bellini with Paul Smith. Yes, his name was on that role as well. As a matter of fact this may be absolutely his best performance in any show he has ever done because it suits his speech patterns, and he displays an intricate knowledge of the character that makes him shine. Potter perfectly cast Coco Chanel Carr as the little dog. She designed an open set that works wonderfully for all the locations. But ultimately Potter had to make the hard decision: Hall or Fisher and Jaworsky or Wilcox. She made the best decision imaginable. The result of her decision is romantic and hysterically funny.
The leading ladies are double cast and perform alternately. The performance this article refers to has Hall as Carol and Wilcox as Rose in the roles. (Look out for an update in a few days; next Saturday night, this reviewer will see the alternate cast in performance.)
Smith is inspired as the Italian sweetie-heart who hasn’t lost his appeal as a student of humanity–or his sex appeal. Hall as Carol is a gorgeous older woman who believes she is past any thoughts of romance. Smith’s character Ralph can see beyond her shell to the beauty lurking behind a rare smile. Rose, Ralph’s sister and ‘keeper’ has also lost touch with humanity in general, but if she watches her brother, she may find it again. Wilcox beautifully shows the audience that transformation.
Under Potter’s expertise these three actors create a show that is well worth seeing for the older set. It is also very much a family show. Younger people can relate to The Last Romance much as they relate to their first romance or fantasize about the romance yet to come.
We are never too old to love–never to old to bind our passion–and never too old to step out to Carpenter Square Theatre where The Last Romance plays through December 23, 2012. What great gift a couple of tickets would be for parents or grandparents who only like to pretend to you they are over the hill. They are not!
The excellent cast and crew–as well as Jon and Jaefinn (proud poppas of Coco Chanel Carr, aka Peaches)–welcome patrons to Carpenter Square Theatre. Located at 800 West Main in downtown Oklahoma City, Carpenter Square is easily accessible from the Interstate or from Classen Boulevard. Parking is available nearby; the theatre stocks a nice bar and encourages patrons to come a little early for the art show. Mort Hamilton is the artist for The Last Romance, and her exhibit is entitled “The Sound of Water.” Interested patrons should look closely at some of these paintings because they are not only lovely, they are mysterious. Remember “The Iceman Cometh” and enjoy Hamilton’s work.
Reservations can be made at 405-232-6500. Enjoy a great script choice from Artistic Director Rhonda Clark, and a great show from Director Doobie Potter!
Look for an update with the alternate cast next week here at Oklahoma Arts: Scene & Hurd.
Year after year since its revitalization, the Plaza District continues to attract new and exciting retailers, restaurants, organizations and fans. Last year, Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma debuted LYRIC’S A CHRISTMAS CAROL, turning the Plaza District into not only a destination for holiday shopping and a night on the town, but for the creation of new traditions.
“It was very exciting to see families, friends and couples coming to the Plaza District to celebrate the holidays with LYRIC’S A CHRISTMAS CAROL,” said Lyric’s Artistic Director Michael Baron. “Now that we’re in our second year of the production, it’s thrilling to have all those that loved it last year returning and bringing even more loved ones to experience it for the first time.”
Baron’s original adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic is unlike what audiences typically expect from the redemption tale—picture flying ghosts, larger-than-life puppets and beautiful carol singing. Not to mention, as an audience member, be prepared to experience a little snowfall.
Last year’s debut was met with rave reviews from audiences and they weren’t the only ones that fell in love with the show. The entire adult cast from 2011 opted to return for this year’s run, including Oklahoma City favorites Jonathan Beck Reed (Scrooge), Tom Huston Orr (Bob Cratchit), Matthew Alvin Brown (Young Scrooge/Fred), Susan Riley (Mrs. Cratchit), Jayme Petete (Christmas Past), Mandy Jiran (Christmas Present) and more. There are also several talented kids featured throughout the production, which is directed by Baron and choreographed by Lyric’s Associate Artistic Director Ashley Wells.
If you’re looking to start a new tradition or revisit an old favorite in a new way, LYRIC’S A CHRISTMAS CAROL shouldn’t be missed this holiday season and for years to come.
LYRIC’S A CHRISTMAS CAROL will show at the Plaza Theatre, November 30 through December 29. The theatre is located at 1725 NW 16th Street, Oklahoma City, 73106. For tickets call Lyric’s box office at (405) 524-9312, visit LyricTheatreOKC.com or stop by the box office at 1727 NW 16th Street.
Guest post by Michaela Webb