“Antarctica” In this production, collaboration is key

I had the opportunity this week, to catch dress rehearsal for the musical production “Antarctica”, Directed by John Cecil. It was exciting to see this production come to life! Mr. Cecil has assembled an impressive group of performing artists, combining various disciplines. I enjoyed the glimpse I had into this fun and energized production and look forward to the show opening this Friday, February 3 through the 11th, at City Theatre in Austin, Texas.

In this show, Crank Collective is using a 5-person vocal ensemble along with a live band to fill out the vocals and provide a bigger sound and a more full harmonic range. Sometimes there are 21 people performing on stage at once - we have some pretty Antarctica-sized production numbers – John Cecil

I spoke with the choreographers, Kirsche Dickson and Yelena Konetchy about the creative process as dancers working with actors. In fact, they have a history of working together as dancers which helps create a bond and working methodology. Kirsche’s work is established in movement with actors, while Yelena’s focus is specifically dance. They described the pre-production phase as the most challenging and magical part of the creative process. The actual performance however, develops its own a natural rhythm. Their collaboration together with John Cecil translates into a smooth and organically performed dance and acting ensemble.

The production centers around the comical story line where unsuspecting group of passengers on a cruise ship are trapped in the Antarctic and battle frostbite, pack ice, and dancing penguins. This is a story of challenges met and overcome: from the crossing of a frozen continent; to the development of a new species; to the production of an over-the-top musical tribute to the luckless explorer Ernest Shackleton. Who in 1915, although becoming trapped in the ice with his crew and enduring great difficulties, their will to survive triumphed and not one member of his team died.

The cast includes Carl Guthrie, Alexandra Russo, Rob Faubion, Cassidy Schiltz, Lucy Miller-Downing and Christian Huey. The band is Jonathan Hoyle, Chris La Cava, Michael Walters and John Cecil. The vocal ensemble includes Shannon McDermott, Matt Melton, Laura Burgess, Kerri Atwood, and Doug Rensi. Choreographers Kirsche Dickson and Yelena Konetchy. The dancers include Laura Bond Williams, Sydnee Houlette , Payton Jones, and Alma Zavala.

Click here to purchase tickets

Blog by Lucas

A-Team Full Review: Into the Woods

I must admit that being a Stephen Sondheim fan has its perks- as I find I am not alone. I came to see City Theatre’s opening night production of “Into the Woods” with a packed house. I have seen two other productions of this show and knew the songs and words well. What I love about theatre is that with a cast and direction that you can be opened to a whole new way to appreciate the production and enjoy it from beginning to end.

I will not ruin the story for anyone who has not seen it but will offer this little blurb so those who are wondering what this show is about can have an answer. This musical intertwines several popular fairy tales and ties them together into a fascinating story. Kids of all ages will know tales of Rapunzel, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood and Jack and Beanstalk to name most of the stories origins. The basic plot line of all these characters is that they have a wish. I will let the audience discover what the wishes are and how they unfold. Continue reading

Top Weekly Events

Top 10 Current/Upcoming Events

fabulous_banner.jpg

1. The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told

The City Theatre Company

June 10-July 4, 2010

Ruby Sinclair from Austin, TX said:
“SO Fabulously worth it!!!!”

Lesson Learned #1: 11 Commandments (The first 10 plus don’t wear white after labor day!) Lesson Learned #2: Love, Faith, and Understanding takes time and patience. As controversial as this play has been in media, religious groups, etc…there is something that those “against” the play are missing. The message! Under the hilarity of this very well performed comedy, there is a deep message of love. That it isn’t easy. But that when you have faith in that love, you can overcome even the hardest of obstacles. I enjoyed this play so very much and commend the actors, director, and The City Theatre for not only a great performance but having the class and dignity to put up with all the hate! Continue reading

Top Weekly Events!

Top 10 Current/Upcoming Events

4476997242_6b7dc10cca.jpg

1. “Bash: Three Plays”

The Vestige Group

May 6-May 22, 2010

Avg. Event Rating (4.1 Stars): 4 out of 5 stars rating Reviews: 13

Event Name: “Bash: Three Plays”
4 out of 5 stars rating “Mesmerizing Misanthropy”
Review posted by: SilverStageSiren from Austin, TX, May 10, 2010

The vestige group has succeeded in achieving what all theatre companies aspire to do: leave the audience profoundly affected by what they have witnessed. The directors know the unsettling and disturbing power that the plays they are working with provoke, and they use that power to heightened advantage, from the uncomfortably intimate staging to the unwavering eye contact made by the actors with select audience members. Neil LaBute’s work is polarizing–each of the three plays sets up a cliched scenario reminiscent of a Lifetime special, and then just as the audience begins to lose interest, the character begins a descent down a twisted path that leaves the spectator unable to do anything but wait in breathless anticipation for what the actor will say next. Directorial and acting choices that seemed inappropriate at first suddenly make perfect sense. This is a production theater lovers will relish–honest, nuanced acting, strong direction, and emotionally charged audience reaction.
m6gt_katepetsmall.jpg

2. The Taming of the Shrew- Original Practices

The Hidden Room Theatre

April 30-May 23, 2010

Avg. Event Rating (4.5 Stars): 4.5 out of 5 stars rating Reviews: 5

Contessa from Austin, TX said:
“Fantastic!”

This was an AWESOME performance. The setting, the costumes, the music, and the actors were outstanding! This is not a performance to miss! Regardless of your feelings about Taming of the Shrew, GO SEE THIS PRODUCTION!!! You won’t be sorry! 

agnes_banner.jpg

3. Agnes of God

The City Theatre Company

April 29-May 23, 2010

Avg. Event Rating (4.6 Stars): 4.5 out of 5 stars rating Reviews: 8

Jo Ann Farrell from Austin said:
“Agnes of God”

Agnes of God is an outstanding production. The acting, direction, lighting, and stage design are all excellent. We are regular Austin theater-goers and this is one of the most impressive productions we have seen. It is surprisingly objective and painfully sensitive. Don’t miss the opportunity to see

bodies_main.jpg

4. Our Body: The Universe Within

H. J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture & Sports

April 24, 2010 – Ongoing

Avg. Event Rating (4.1 Stars): 4 out of 5 stars rating Reviews: 4

from said:
“Our Body”

Our Body,The Universe Within is an extraordinary exhibit in an promising new Austin museum. I left in deeper reverence and gratitude for the miracle of the human body, and for the generous souls whose bodies will forever grace humanity’s understanding of itself. This exhibit inspired me to become increasingly mindful of what I eat, as well as how and when I eat, breathe, move and exercise. Children seemed equally entranced and inspired. I heard several good questions from them, and not a trace of fear or disgust. I also left feeling even more convinced, that anything organized to work together in such an intricate awe inspiring way, has to be for some higher purpose.Hopefully, the more we understand how to do that, the better off our souls and humanity will eventually be. 

-1.jpg

5. Our Town

ZACH Theatre

April 15-May 23, 2010

Avg. Event Rating (3.8 Stars): 4 out of 5 stars rating Reviews: 5

Steven Fearing from Austin, Texas said:
“Our Town’s Message”

Director Dave Steakley has brought Wilder’s Our Town to Austin with a contemporary yet timeless feel. This is commentary on our town anywhere, anytime – on human life transitions and our short time on Earth. It could easily be the small town of Grover Corners, Texas. No matter, Our Town says: pay attention to what life brings and accept the inevitable seasons of change. Jaston Williams is a perfect Stage Manager to share the story of Grover Corners and invite us to learn Wilder’s universal lessons. Jordan McRae as Emily Webb is radiant and convincing but the entire cast is great, too many to mention. The audience moved into the rehearsal studio for Act II’s wedding. We were a community together, enjoying fantastic soloist, Laura Benedict. Staging in two places worked remarkably well. Performances aside, Our Town is about the opportunity (taken or missed) of human connection during “Life”, “Love”, and “Death.” I recommend seeing this play and hearing this message again.

josephandtheamazing_-small_for_web.gif

6. Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Georgetown Palace Theatre, Inc.

May 7-June 6, 2010

Avg. Event Rating (5.0 Stars): 5 out of 5 stars rating Reviews: 1

Larry G. from Austin, TX said:
“Great family entertainment!”

I took my family to Joseph last Saturday night and it was well worth the drive to Georgetown. The show rocked from start to finish, even better than the Donny Osmond movie. The leads were wonderful, especially Joseph and the Narrator, and everyone in the place is having a great time. You know how much we enjoyed it? We’ve bought the CD and we’re going back next weekend!


trunk_show.jpg

6. Out of Ink

Austin Script Works

May 13-May 22, 2010

Avg. Event Rating (5.0 Stars): 5 out of 5 stars rating Reviews: 1

Charla Hathaway from Austin said:
“Theatre of the Heart”

I can just imagine the camaraderie and flurry of creativity shared by these eight play-writers as they are given three arbitrary events to include in their 10 minute story and 2 days to write it in. And the eight stories come out so different, it’s fun to sleuth out the common ingredients. Enjoy a night at grassroots theatre, not your expected polish, but so well enacted and written. Experience theatre that percolates up from the soul and spills out into an intimate theatre of friends. What would you write…something sold, something traded, something given and refused? You leave the theatre experiencing the bravery of the playwrights and then, how would you put it together?


midsummer_moth.thumbnail.jpg

7. The DREAM: A Midsummer Night’s Dream with A Rock ‘N Roll edge

Austin Shakespeare

April 29-May 30, 2010

Avg. Event Rating (4.5 Stars): 4.5 out of 5 stars rating Reviews: 1

Ruby Sinclair from Austin, TX said:
“Bottoms Up!”

There is such a wonderful feeling about seeing Shakespeare in the park. Austin Shakes is back with another wonderful and free performance at Zilker Park! The Dream is just that as fairies and wonderment come alive to lights, colors, and a live rock band! And Bottom’s performance is AWESOME! This really is a must see! And with it being free…you can see it again, and again (well…until May 30th!) 

Top Weekly Events: Sound off!

Top 10 Current/Upcoming Events

2.jpg

1. A Chorus Line

Texas Performing Arts

May 11-May 16, 2010

Avg. Event Rating (4.9 Stars): 5 out of 5 stars rating Reviews: 8

Linda M. from Austin, TX said:
“Loved the show!!”

“Oh strut your stuff! ” “Can’t get enough!” Then go see A CHORUS LINE, it’s Fantastic! 

4476997242_6b7dc10cca.jpg

2. “Bash: Three Plays”

The Vestige Group

May 6-May 22, 2010

Avg. Event Rating (4.1 Stars): 4 out of 5 stars rating Reviews: 13

John Fitchen from Tucson, AZ said:
“You must see this”

Wow! If you like to see plays about “happily ever after” then this is not the play for you. But if you believe in live theatre and your taste runs a little (or a lot) darker and deeper, this production will remind you why you believe. It is intimate, gut-wrenching, tender, horrible, powerful, and thought-provoking. There’s nothing cheerful here (the third part is Medea Redux, so what would you expect) but you’ll be richer for having seen it. The other reviews correctly praise the performances of all the actors, especially Jen Brown. On a personal note, I drove from Houston to see this play, knowing nothing of the company and not having seen any reviews. The delivery of the opening sentence let me know it was worth it. By the time the plays had finished it was clear this had been a highlight of a long journey. Even seeing only the third play (Medea Redux) would have justified a drive from much further away than Houston. “Bash” has gotten under my skin and it won’t let go

m6gt_katepetsmall.jpg

3. The Taming of the Shrew- Original Practices

The Hidden Room Theatre

April 30-May 23, 2010

Avg. Event Rating (4.5 Stars): 4.5 out of 5 stars rating Reviews: 5

Contessa from Austin, TX said:
“Fantastic!”

This was an AWESOME performance. The setting, the costumes, the music, and the actors were outstanding! This is not a performance to miss! Regardless of your feelings about Taming of the Shrew, GO SEE THIS PRODUCTION!!! You won’t be sorry!


agnes_banner.jpg

4. Agnes of God

The City Theatre Company

April 29-May 23, 2010

Avg. Event Rating (4.6 Stars): 4.5 out of 5 stars rating Reviews: 8

Jo Ann Farrell from Austin said:
“Agnes of God”

Agnes of God is an outstanding production. The acting, direction, lighting, and stage design are all excellent. We are regular Austin theater-goers and this is one of the most impressive productions we have seen. It is surprisingly objective and painfully sensitive. Don’t miss the opportunity to see Agnes of God.

-1.jpg

5. Our Town

ZACH Theatre

April 15-May 23, 2010

Avg. Event Rating (4.3 Stars): 4.5 out of 5 stars rating Reviews: 4

Steven Fearing from Austin, Texas said:
“Our Town’s Message”

Director Dave Steakley has brought Wilder’s Our Town to Austin with a contemporary yet timeless feel. This is commentary on our town anywhere, anytime – on human life transitions and our short time on Earth. It could easily be the small town of Grover Corners, Texas. No matter, Our Town says: pay attention to what life brings and accept the inevitable seasons of change. Jaston Williams is a perfect Stage Manager to share the story of Grover Corners and invite us to learn Wilder’s universal lessons. Jordan McRae as Emily Webb is radiant and convincing but the entire cast is great, too many to mention. The audience moved into the rehearsal studio for Act II’s wedding. We were a community together, enjoying fantastic soloist, Laura Benedict. Staging in two places worked remarkably well. Performances aside, Our Town is about the opportunity (taken or missed) of human connection during “Life”, “Love”, and “Death.” I recommend seeing this play and hearing this message again. 

bodies_main.jpg

6. Our Body: The Universe Within

H. J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture & Sports

April 24, 2010 – Ongoing

Avg. Event Rating (3.5 Stars): 3.5 out of 5 stars rating Reviews: 2

Lassie from Austin, TX said:
“The Body – Uncovered”

This is a very interesting exhibit. To be able to view bodies, inside and out, up so close – was fascinating. It’s remarkable how the texture of the muscles has remained – the tendons of the arms and legs – all so perfect. I overheard a young student comment that she wished she’d come prior to her exam that day – she was sure she would’ve scored higher on it. It is a very frank showing – if you bring children make sure you’re prepared to answer their questions about anatomy – or prepare them in advance as to what they’ll see. The various systems of the body are shown in separate rooms – giving you plenty of room to move about and spend time taking in the different presentations. Several of the exhibits show diseased organs alongside healthy ones, making it easier to see the difference from a layman’s point of view. If you have any curiosity about the internal workings of your own body – seeing the exhibit is a great way to know it better.

midsummer_moth.thumbnail.jpg

7. The DREAM: A Midsummer Night’s Dream with A Rock ‘N Roll edge

Austin Shakespeare

April 29-May 30, 2010

Avg. Event Rating (4.5 Stars): 4.5 out of 5 stars rating Reviews: 1

Ruby Sinclair from Austin, TX said:
“Bottoms Up!”

There is such a wonderful feeling about seeing Shakespeare in the park. Austin Shakes is back with another wonderful and free performance at Zilker Park! The Dream is just that as fairies and wonderment come alive to lights, colors, and a live rock band! And Bottom’s performance is AWESOME! This really is a must see! And with it being free…you can see it again, and again (well…until May 30th!)

Review your own at NowPlayingAustin.com

Top Weekly Events: Did Your Event Make the List?

Rate your events on Now Playing Austin!
4476997242_6b7dc10cca.jpg

1. “Bash: Three Plays”

The Vestige Group

May 6-May 22, 2010

Avg. Event Rating (4.7 Stars): 4.5 out of 5 stars rating Reviews: 5

John Fitchen from Tucson, AZ said:
“You must see this”

Wow! If you like to see plays about “happily ever after” then this is not the play for you. But if you believe in live theatre and your taste runs a little (or a lot) darker and deeper, this production will remind you why you believe. It is intimate, gut-wrenching, tender, horrible, powerful, and thought-provoking. There’s nothing cheerful here (the third part is Medea Redux, so what would you expect) but you’ll be richer for having seen it. The other reviews correctly praise the performances of all the actors, especially Jen Brown. On a personal note, I drove from Houston to see this play, knowing nothing of the company and not having seen any reviews. The delivery of the opening sentence let me know it was worth it. By the time the plays had finished it was clear this had been a highlight of a long journey. Even seeing only the third play (Medea Redux) would have justified a drive from much further away than Houston. “Bash” has gotten under my skin and it won’t let go.


screen_shot_2010-03-08_at_11.49.02_pm.png

2. American Letterpress: The Art of the Hatch Show Print

Austin Museum of Art

February 13-May 9, 2010

Avg. Event Rating (4.8 Stars): 5 out of 5 stars rating Reviews: 4

Ruby Sinclair from Austin, TX said:
“AMAZING”

This is one of the most beautifully and artistically curated shows I have seen in awhile. Between the vibrant colors of the circus prints to the iconic images of Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and Grand Ol’ Oprey’s Minnie Pearl, these images tell the history and culture of our country. The “Make Readies” by Charles Anderson were outstanding and made you awe in wonder that they were created from one some may have considered “garbage”. This show is a MUST SEE!!


m6gt_katepetsmall.jpg

3. The Taming of the Shrew- Original Practices

The Hidden Room Theatre

April 30-May 23, 2010

Avg. Event Rating (4.5 Stars): 4.5 out of 5 stars rating Reviews: 5

Contessa from Austin, TX said:
“Fantastic!”

This was an AWESOME performance. The setting, the costumes, the music, and the actors were outstanding! This is not a performance to miss! Regardless of your feelings about Taming of the Shrew, GO SEE THIS PRODUCTION!!! You won’t be sorry!

agnes_banner.jpg

4. Agnes of God

The City Theatre Company

April 29-May 23, 2010

Avg. Event Rating (4.8 Stars): 5 out of 5 stars rating Reviews: 6

Jo Ann Farrell from Austin said:
“Agnes of God”

Agnes of God is an outstanding production. The acting, direction, lighting, and stage design are all excellent. We are regular Austin theater-goers and this is one of the most impressive productions we have seen. It is surprisingly objective and painfully sensitive. Don’t miss the opportunity to see it. Jo Ann 

5. Our Town

ZACH Theatre

April 15-May 23, 2010

Avg. Event Rating (4.3 Stars): 4.5 out of 5 stars rating Reviews: 4

Steven Fearing from Austin, Texas said:
“Our Town’s Message”

Director Dave Steakley has brought Wilder’s Our Town to Austin with a contemporary yet timeless feel. This is commentary on our town anywhere, anytime – on human life transitions and our short time on Earth. It could easily be the small town of Grover Corners, Texas. No matter, Our Town says: pay attention to what life brings and accept the inevitable seasons of change. Jaston Williams is a perfect Stage Manager to share the story of Grover Corners and invite us to learn Wilder’s universal lessons. Jordan McRae as Emily Webb is radiant and convincing but the entire cast is great, too many to mention. The audience moved into the rehearsal studio for Act II’s wedding. We were a community together, enjoying fantastic soloist, Laura Benedict. Staging in two places worked remarkably well. Performances aside, Our Town is about the opportunity (taken or missed) of human connection during “Life”, “Love”, and “Death.” I recommend seeing this play and hearing this message again. 

coppelia170a.jpg

6. Coppelia

Ballet Austin

May 7-May 9, 2010

Avg. Event Rating (4.5 Stars): 4.5 out of 5 stars rating Reviews: 2

Jay Y from Austin, TX said:
“Graceful and beautiful”

Those are the best words to describe Ballet Austin’s production of Coppelia. A supporter of the arts though I am, I have never been to the Ballet. Having seen it, I have an immense respect for the attention and effort necessary to successfully tell a story with dance and movement and no words. Coppelia is basically about a man who falls in love with what turns out to be a mechanical doll, and wants to bring her to life, and a series of unfortunate events (to borrow Lemony Snickett’s phrase) ensues, though it ends happily. The solo dance sequences were all amazing, and the lady who played the mechanical doll did a stupendous job of pulling off the sudden stiff then limp moves required for the role. Whether you’re new to Ballet or a long-time patron, you should see Coppelia.

For More events and other arts listings, visit Now Playing Austin!

Top Weekly Events! Who is in the Lead Now?

Top 10 Current/Upcoming Events

For these events and other arts listings, or to post your reviews, visit NowPlayingAustin.com

1. Sleeping Beauty
Vortex Repertory Company
April 2-May 2, 2010

Celia Hughes from Austin, TX USA said:
“Brilliant”

Bonnie Cullum has pulled off a masterpiece in a very small space. I loved every minute of this well crafted and costumed retelling of the Sleeping Beauty tale. There were several younger children in the audience, and they seemed engaged and entranced by it all. Really. Don’t miss it! Continue reading

Top Weekly Events: Did Yours Make the Cut?

For these events and other arts listings, or to post your reviews, visit NowPlayingAustin.com
Continue reading

Now Playing Austin:Top Weekly Events!

Check out which events made the cut this week! Review your own at nowplayingaustin.com. Continue reading

Top Weekly Events: Did your fav make the cut?

Every week our A Team members and other arts community members are hard at work reviewing local arts events and deciding which ones will head up our weekly top ten list. So what are these reviews? Which shows are shining bright every week? Well now these lists are coming straight to you! Feel free to read more of the reviews and see the rest of the Top Ten List here!