Theater

Artsies Awards Announced

Artsies Awards Announced

Instead of an in-person black-tie event, this year’s Artises was virtual. The 13th Richmond Theatre Critics Circle Awards aired September 13 at 7:30. The theme was “Lucky 13,” which featured local theatre artists telling their stories about the funniest mishap that happened during a show. The traditional Artsies band provide Zoom accompaniment, while Amy Berlin and Alan Sader acted as hosts. The awards were presented by members of the Critics Circle and the Theatre Alliance Panel.

 

TheatreLAB swept the night with 10 Artsies, most of them for “Urinetown,” which won the most overall Artsies, including Best Musical. Virginia Rep received 9, including Best Play for “Fences” and a special award for Excellence in Children’s Theatre. Firehouse received 5 awards, including Best Acting Ensemble for “Passing Strange.”

 

Susie Haubenstock, RTCC President noted “The RTCC embraces the rich diversity of backgrounds and perspectives that our local theater artists bring to their craft and is proud to honor and pay tribute to the excellence they bring to Richmond-area theater.”

 

The show is available for free viewing now at Artsies.org. There were no tickets sold this year, so online donations can be made to benefit the Theatre Artist Fund of Greater Richmond.

 

Since the 2019-2020 theater season was cut short, there were fewer nominations in every category. Here’s the list of nominations with the award recipient in BOLD.

 

BEST PLAY

Fences, Virginia Rep

Admissions, TheatreLAB

Stupid Kid, Firehouse Theatre Company

The Revolutionists, TheatreLAB

 

BEST MUSICAL

Urinetown, TheatreLAB

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Virginia Rep

Passing Strange, Firehouse Theatre Company

 

BEST DIRECTION, PLAY

Alison Devereaux, Stupid Kid, Firehouse Theatre Company

Deejay Gray, Admissions, TheatreLAB

Tawnya Pettiford-Wates, Fences, Virginia Rep

 

BEST DIRECTION, MUSICAL

Matt Polson, Urinetown, TheatreLAB

Kikau Alvaro, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Virginia Rep

Tawnya Pettiford-Wates, Passing Strange, Firehouse Theatre Company

 

BEST ACTOR, PLAY

James Craven, Fences, Virginia Rep

Tyler Stevens, Admissions, TheatreLAB

Adam Valentine, Stupid Kid, Firehouse Theatre Company

 

BEST ACTRESS, PLAY

Terri Moore, The Cake, Richmond Triangle Players

Katrinah Carol Lewis, The Revolutionists, TheatreLAB

Boomie Pederson, Stupid Kid, Firehouse Theatre Company

 

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE, PLAY

Joe Pabst, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Quill Theatre

Arik Cullen, Stupid Kid, Firehouse Theatre Company

Andrew Firda, Stupid Kid, Firehouse Theatre Company

Ron Fleming Jr., Fences, Virginia Rep

 

BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE, PLAY

Maggie Bavolack, The Revolutionists, TheatreLAB

Jacqueline Jones, Admissions, TheatreLAB

Lorin-Hope Turner, Stupid Kid, Firehouse Theatre Company

 

BEST ACTOR, MUSICAL

Scott Wichmann, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Virginia Rep

Keaton Hillman, Passing Strange, Firehouse Theatre Company

Alexander Sapp, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Virginia Rep

Matt Shofner, Urinetown, TheatreLAB

 

BEST ACTRESS, MUSICAL

Bianca Bryan, Urinetown, TheatreLAB

Grey Garrett, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Virginia Rep

Rachel Marrs, Daddy Long Legs, Swift Creek Mill Theatre

 

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE, MUSICAL

Luke Schares, Urinetown, TheatreLAB

Keydron Dunn, Passing Strange, Firehouse Theatre Company

Jamar Jones, Passing Strange, Firehouse Theatre Company

Durron Marquis Tyre, Falsettos, Richmond Triangle Players

 

BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE, MUSICAL

Kelsey Cordrey, Urinetown, TheatreLAB

Adrienne Eller, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Virginia Rep

Audra Honaker, Cinderella, Virginia Rep

Michaela Nicole, Urinetown, TheatreLAB

 

BEST MUSICAL DIRECTION
Sandy Dacus, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Virginia Rep

Paul Deiss, Daddy Long Legs, Swift Creek Mill Theatre

Leilani Fenick, Passing Strange, Firehouse Theatre Company

Travis West, Urinetown, TheatreLAB

 

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY
Nicole Morris-Anastasi, Urinetown, TheatreLAB

Matthew Couvillon, Cinderella, Virginia Rep

Christine Wyatt, Passing Strange, Firehouse Theatre Company

 

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN SET DESIGN, PLAY

Josafath Reynoso, Fences, Virginia Rep

David Allan Ballas, The Cake, Richmond Triangle Players

Tom Width, Holmes and Watson, Swift Creek Mill Theatre

 

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN SET DESIGN, MUSICAL

Chris Raintree, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Virginia Rep

Tennessee Dixon, Tuck Everlasting, Virginia Rep

Tom Width, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Swift Creek Mill Theatre

 

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN COSTUME DESIGN, PLAY

Ruth Hedberg, The Revolutionists, TheatreLAB

Anna Bialkowski, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Quill Theatre

Maura Lynch Cravey, Holmes and Watson, Swift Creek Mill Theatre

 

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN COSTUME DESIGN, MUSICAL

Sue Griffin, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Virginia Rep

Maura Lynch Cravey, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Swift Creek Mill Theatre

Jeanne Nugent, Cinderella, Virginia Rep

 

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN LIGHTING DESIGN, PLAY

Joe Doran, Holmes and Watson, Swift Creek Mill Theatre

Andrew Bonniwell, Fences, Virginia Rep

Michael Jarett, Level 4, TheatreLAB

BJ Wilkinson, The 39 Steps, Virginia Rep

 

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN LIGHTING DESIGN, MUSICAL

Michael Jarett, Urinetown, TheatreLAB

Bill Miller, Passing Strange, Firehouse Theatre Company

BJ Wilkinson, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Virginia Rep

 

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND DESIGN, PLAY

Nicholas Seaver, Fences, Virginia Rep

Kelsey Cordrey, The Revolutionists, TheatreLAB

Derek Dumais, The 39 Steps, Virginia Rep

 

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND DESIGN, MUSICAL

Jimmy Fecteau, Passing Strange, Firehouse Theatre Company

Derek Dumais & Joey Luck, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Virginia Rep

Joey Luck, Urinetown, TheatreLAB

 

ERNIE MCCLINTOCK BEST ENSEMBLE ACTING

Passing Strange, Firehouse Theatre Company

The Revolutionists, TheatreLAB

Urinetown, TheatreLAB

 

BREAKOUT PERFORMANCE

Lorin-Hope Turner, Stupid Kid, Firehouse Theatre Company

Dylan Jones, Passing Strange, Firehouse Theatre Company

Marjie Southerland, Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad, Virginia Rep

 

OUTSTANDING ORIGINAL WORK

Level 4, TheatreLAB

 

SPECIAL AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN CHILDREN’S THEATRE

Tuck Everlasting, Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad, Virginia Rep

Theatre inside and out

Theatre inside and out

Richmond Triangle Players will re-open after a six-month hiatus with two “pre-season” events:

 

Marjie Southerland

In the Virginia premiere of Carolyn Gage’s The Second Coming of Joan of Arc, Joan returns to share her experiences with the church, state, military and the misogyny behind male institutions. It’s directed by Chelsea Burke and features Marjie Southerland in the title role (she most recently played the title role in Virginia Rep’s Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad). The show opens 10/1 and will run for 6 performances with streaming options available.

 

After performing dozens of shows over the last decade, Georgia Rogers Farmer has the honor of being the most popular cabaret artist in RTP’s history. Her new one is called Virtually Insane starring Georgia Rogers Farmer and Joshua Wortham (Worthan is her musical director/accompanist). It runs 10/15-17 and streaming options will be available.

 

All performances will take place at the theatre with limited capacity and other safety protocols in place, including masks in the theatre. Tickets for the live performances go on sale 9/10 at 10:00 am. Streaming tickets will be available later this month.

 

Taking things to the streets, 5th Wall Theatre is presenting Porch Plays. Three teams of artists who have been living together in quarantine will be performing:

 

Matt Bloch and Rachel Rose Gilmour will present “Sugar” by Matt Bloch, a meet-cute scene of a person asking for a sugar caddy that inspires a discourse about the local trade agreements of sugar. Matt will also be doing the prologue from Shakespeare’s R&J, an adaption by Joe Calarco.

 

Kim Jones-Clark and David Clark will be performing “Matterhorn” by Rich Orloff. Stuck in a never-ending line at Disneyland, a husband and wife are just on the verge of killing each other — until they devise a novel solution to their marital woes.

 

Chandler Hubbard, Chelsea Burke, Adam Turk, and Daniel Daigle will be performing an excerpt from “Akeldama, a quarantine play” by Chandler Hubbard.

 

The event will happen on 9/15 at 5:30 (running time about 45 minutes) on the porch of Deborah Carlotti and Ken Kolb, 1517 Hanover Ave. People should wear a mask and bring a chair and refreshments if they like. They can sit on the sidewalk or across the street at Lombardy Park sidewalk. FREE!

 

A taste of the virtual Artsies (including a video teaser)

A taste of the virtual Artsies (including a video teaser)

The Artsies are RVA’s answer to the Tony Awards. Presented by the Richmond Theatre Critics Circle (of which I’m a member) it’s our celebration of excellence in local theatre. For the last 12 years it’s been a big live production with musical numbers, entertaining hosts and inevitable surprises.

 

This year’s show will be virtual. Since it’s the 13th year, the theme is Lucky 13, which will feature local theatre professionals sharing their funniest story of things that went wrong on stage. There will also be the awards presentations and a few special moments. Since the season was truncated this year, there are only 3 or 4 nominees in each category. Here’s a link to the nominations on the RTCC website.

 

The show is live:

Sunday, September 13 (yep, the 13th)

7:30pm

Artsies.org

 

After the live stream, it’ll be available on the site for later viewings. Since this is being offered free, donations to the Theatre Artist Fund of Greater Richmond will be accepted. Previously, all ticket sales to the Artsies went to the Fund, which has raised $83,446 in past years.

 

Here’s a teaser of some of the fun in store:

Broadway in 2021

Broadway in 2021

Hoping that life and theatre returns to normal next year, Broadway In Richmond has announced their 12th season, which will feature 2 Richmond premieres and 3 Broadway classics at Altria Theater in 2021.

 

JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR by Webber and Rice (2/23-28)

In celebration of its 50th Anniversary, this new production was staged by London’s Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre and won the 2017 Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival.

 

MY FAIR LADY by Lerner & Loewe (5/ 4 – 9)

This production is from Lincoln Center Theater that also created revivals of The King & I and South Pacific.

 

MEAN GIRLS by Tina Fey, Jeff Richmond and Nell Benjamin (7/13 – 18)

Direct from Broadway, this musical is based on the 2004 movie written by Tina Fey.

 

ANASTASIA Book by Terrence McNally, score by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens (8/3 – 9)

Inspired by the films, this new musical is from the Tony Award-winning creators of Ragtime follows a woman on her quest to discover her aristocratic roots.

 

HAIRSPRAY Music by Marc Shaiman with lyrics‎ by ‎Scott Wittman‎ & Marc Shaiman (8/24 – 29)

The musical is based on John Waters’ film set in ’60s Baltimore. This tour reunites the creative time that earned the show a Tony for Best Musical.

 

IN ADDITION:

Due to COVID 19, two shows of the 2019-2020 have been rescheduled for 2021 and tickets for the originally scheduled performances are valid for these new dates.   

Fiddler On The Roof (6/1 – 6)

The Band’s Visit (9/14 – 19)

 

Subscribing to the Broadway In Richmond series is the best way to guarantee seats with packages starting at $215 (plus applicable fees). Click here to read more and subscribe.

 

 

Firehouse announces a new show

Firehouse announces a new show

Firehouse Theatre is presenting the Richmond premiere of Holland Taylor’s ANN. This one-woman show features Jacqueline Jones as Ann Richards, the first female Democratic governor of Texas and a powerful voice in the pro-choice and women’s rights movements. Richards came to national attention when she gave the keynote address at the 1988 Democratic Convention.

 

The only other cast member is a voiceover Nancy Kohler played by Erica Hughes. The show is directed by Billy Christopher Maupin.

 

Firehouse will continue the contactless theatre procedures they started with THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY. It runs 9/16 – 10/11 with audiences limited to between 2 – 6 people. Some performances will be live-streamed. Click here for reservations to the live performances and click here to sign up for a streamed performance (or you can call 804.355.2001).

The Picture of Dorian Gray (review)

The Picture of Dorian Gray (review)

THE PLAY: A one-man show taken from the text of Oscar Wilde’s noted novel.

 

THE PRODUCTION: Since I’m reviewing the first live stream of this show, I’ll discuss the production itself before addressing the streaming (although it greatly undermined the experience).

 

Billy Christopher Maupin reads the descriptive sections from a book, while acting out the interactions between people. Since he plays all of the roles, it’s vital that the audience has a clear understanding of who’s speaking. Some of Maupin’s characters displayed little variation in characterization or delivery, which sometimes made it hard to discern who was involved. Even so, his assured presence sustained attention and created a few dramatic moments. Director Shirley Kagan’s staging was routine and the measured pacing kept the show from ever achieving any dramatic momentum. Edwin Slipek’s set featured a stylized version of London with a few pieces of furniture, most notably a chair covered in a variety of fabrics (none of them adding any information about the location). It wasn’t possible to judge the lighting and sound design because of the poor quality streaming.

 

As for that, this first venture was a disaster. First, there was endless buffering (the spinning wheel that indicates that the show is loading). Not only is this distracting, but it was nearly impossible to follow the narrative. Making matters worse was the low resolution output with murky video and muffled audio (made worse by placing the mic on Maupin’s shirt where it was occasionally hit by costumes or his breath). The camerawork was sometimes sloppy, mostly in medium or wide shots, depriving us of close-ups of Maupin. Instead of cutting between shots, they dissolved and dissolves imply a transition (like passing of time) and they didn’t work for this. Hopefully, they’ll be able to improve the quality before the next outing.

 

Maupin did manage one reference to his current situation when he read the line “the theatre was crowded” with an ironic nod to his live audience of 2. Speaking of, there are numerous safety precautions in place, including assigned bathrooms and entrance/exit times. Visit the website for more information. Running time: 2:30

 

THE POINT: Even though Maupin’s performance was confident, this bold experiment was marred by the flawed streaming.

 

1 out of 5 stars (1 / 5)

 

At Firehouse Theatre thru 8/7

 

Photos by Tom Topinka

Artsies theme and nominations annouced

Artsies theme and nominations annouced

Like most everything else right now, this year’s Artsies will be virtual. Since it’s the 13th year, the theme will be “Lucky 13,” highlighting the funny ways that theater can go wrong. Area theater artists can submit a 30-second video about their experiences with the unpredictable nature of live theater. The awards will be presented by the critics and TAP members from their homes.

 

This year’s celebration will be live streamed at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, September 13.

 

Since the season was truncated this year, there are only 3 or 4 nominees in each category. Here’s a link to the nominations on the RTCC website.

 

If you want to contribute a story for the Lucky 13 theme, click here for submission guidelines.

 

The Artsies are the primary fundraising event for the Theatre Artist Fund of Greater Richmond, which provides emergency financial assistance to theater artists. Since its inception, the Artsies have raised $83,446 for the Fund, which has written 10 grants totaling $13,000 for artists in need. While there will be no tickets sold for this show this year, people who can afford it are encouraged to make a contribution to support of the Theatre Artist Fund of Greater Richmond.

First show of the season

First show of the season

Firehouse Theatre is the first local theatre that’s announced a show to open since March. It’s the world premiere of Oscar Wilde’s novel, The Picture Of Dorian Gray. This is a slightly reduced version of the full text of Wilde’s 1891 Gothic tale and will be performed by Billy Christopher Maupin.

 

It’s the first production in their 2020-2021 Season Of Discovery. The theatre will maintain and enforce CDC recommended guidelines for contactless/physically distant performances. It will open on 6/18 and run thru 7/19 with SEATING CAPACITIES OF 2 TO 6 AUDIENCE MEMBERS.

 

Select performances will also be live-streamed. Visit their website, or call 804.355.2001.

Let’s get SORDID!

Let’s get SORDID!

The Del Shores Foundation is presenting an all-star live stream benefit reading of his most popular play, Sordid Lives.

May 31

8pm

Live on Facebook and YouTube

 

Sordid Lives started on stage, then moved on to film and TV. Members from every version will be appearing, including:

– Leslie Jordan

– Bonnie Bedelia

– Beau Bridges

– Caroline Rhea

– Del Shores

– Carson Kressley

– Alec Mapa

 

Sordid Lives was produced by Richmond Triangle Players, when they were still at Fielden’s on Broad Street. It featured Amy Berlin, Kathy Parker, Chris Hester, Leila Pendleton, Jennfier Frank Clevenger and Kirk Morton. Del later brought his stand-up comedy to RTP’s Robert B. Moss Theatre.

 

The funds raised will be split among 20+ theatres, including RTP.

Here are links to the broadcast:

YouTube Broadcast.

Facebook Live.

Starting 5/25, there’s also an online auction of unique items with all proceeds also benefiting select nationwide theatres, including RTP.

Legends take their final bows

Legends take their final bows

The Legends at Home series will take its final bow with 2 performances that include talented artists from Richmond, as well as natives from other parts of our country.

 

RICHMOND ALL STARS

Wednesday, April 29

12 pm & 7 pm

 

This one-hour special will include:

– Tasha Anderson and Michael Gray

– Taylor Baltimore

– J. Plunky Branch

– Michael Cole

– Kenneka Cook

– Grey Garrett

– Kelly Kennedy

– Katrinah Carol Lewis

– Rachel Marrs

– Mary Page Nance

– Ian Page and PJ Llewellyn

– RL Rowsey

– Matt Shofner

– Durron Tyre

– Dawn Westbrook

– SPECIAL GUEST Steven Skybell, fresh from his Broadway run as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof!

 

 

GRAND FINALE

Friday, May 1

12 pm & 7 pm

 

This one-hour spec8ial will feature some of the original Legends at Home and Legends on Grace stars, including

– Kikau Alvaro and Derrick Jaques

– Bianca Bryan

– Anthony Cosby-Knowles

– Susan Greenbaum and Chris Parker

– Audra Honaker

– Kelly Kennedy

– Jason Marks

– Cathy Motley-Fitch

– Desirée Roots

– Susan Sanford

– Jerold Solomon

– Ali Thibodeau

– Georgia Rogers Farmer

 

These performances will be streaming on Facebook @RPAAlliance and our website https://rpaalliance.com/rpaa-live-streaming-event. They’ll also be posted on YouTube after the live airings. Visit the website for more information and to make donations.

Curtains for local theatres

Curtains for local theatres

With the entire theatre community in a state of instability (along with the rest of the world), this week’s Curtain Call looks at our theatres and their response to COVID-19. It will air Friday, April 17 at noon on Open Source RVA (WRIR 93.6 FM) and the podcast will be posted on Artsies.org after 1pm.

 

This special 50-minute Curtain Call will feature 20 interviews, including a representative from every local professional theatre, as well as:

– Scott Garka (CultureWorks) about the COVID-19 Artists Relief Fund

– Jacqueline O’Connor (RPAA) about “Legends at Home”

– The quartet that lives together and created Quarantine Theatre

– Two artists who are creating online work

 

Producer Jerry Williams has crammed it full of information about:

– The productions that were affected

– How those involved with the shows were compensated

– How the theatre staff has been impacted

– What each theatre is doing to ensure its viability

– How/what the theatres  have planned for next season

– Words of support and hope

 

To add variety and a few moments of entertainment, all of the interludes feature music or sound design from shows that were cancelled or from online broadcasts. Even though this could be a downbeat podcast, it’s ultimately full of encouragement and optimism for the resilience and strength of our local theatres.

Local playwright a national finalist

Local playwright a national finalist

Local playwright Chandler Hubbard is a finalist for national recognition. His play Animal Control, which premiered last season, is one of 6 finalists for this year’s American Theatre Critics Association Harold and Mimi Steinberg / ATCA New Play Award.

 

It was actually produced by Firehouse Theatre two times with a slightly reworked cast. Here’s my review of the first production and here’s the 2nd.

 

About the honor, Hubbard responded”

In the past weeks and months I’ve been experiencing an overwhelming maelstrom of emotions, exacerbated by the fact that I couldn’t tell anyone until the finalists were announced. I’m simultaneously grateful and honored but also really anxious – I was supposed to go to the ATCA conference in April, be a part of a new works panel and attend the award ceremony, but that, of course, has been postponed. 

More than anything else, really, I’m shocked and blown away. I’m a small town kid, this is the first play I’ve written, and the show has really taken on a life of its own in the past two years or so.

Looking at the list of past Steinberg winners and finalists, I’m definitely a small fish in an enormous pond. Some of the past honorees include August Wilson, Arthur Miller, Lanford Wilson and Moises Kaufman. So many of the finalists have gone on to win other major national awards or be produced on Broadway. To be thought of in the same vein is astounding. I just hope and pray I’m not a one hit wonder!”

 

The ATCA has been administering this award since 1977, honoring the best new work premiering outside New York City. The top award of $25,000 and two citations with $7,500 each is funded by the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust. The award was to be presented during ATCA’s conference at the Pacific Playwrights Festival in Costa Mesa, but the COVID-9 intervened. A new date will be announced at a later time.

 

Here’s the list of finalists:

– Animal Control by Chandler Hubbard (Firehouse Theatre of Richmond VA)

– The Coast Starlight by Keith Bunin (La Jolla Playhouse)

– The First Deep Breath by Lee Edward Colston II (Victory Gardens Theatre, Chicago)

– How the Light Gets In by E.M. Lewis (Boston Court, Pasadena CA

– Nonsense and Beauty by Scott C. Sickles (Repertory Theatre of St. Louis) – Sheepdog by Kevin Artigue (South Coast Repertory, Costa Mesa CA)

 

Thx to local member of the ATCA Susie Haubenstock for the heads up.

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