DTC is looking for gender-benders for ‘Rocky Horror’

lipeJoel Ferrell, who will be directing the Dallas Theater Center’s upcoming production of The Rocky Horror Show, needs your help.

Part of Ferrell’s concept for the show calls for “living set decorations” — gender-benders, elaborately tattooed and/or surprisingly pierced men and women, or those with special skills (think circus sideshows: sword swallowers, snake charmers and the like) to add atmosphere to the show. You don’t need to know how to sing, dance or act — just be fun to look at. (And, FYI, there’s no remuneration involved, it’s just for your own pleasure.)

To track down those who’ll fit, the DTC is hosting an open casting call at the Rose Room on Saturday, July 26. There are 50 audition slots open, which you can apply for my email to Laura.Colleluori@DallasTheaterCenter.org. Just send her your name, age, phone number and brief description of your talent. Auditions will start at 3:30 p.m. The production of Rocky runs Sept. 11–Oct. 19, and those selected will be expected to appear at about half of the performances.

Good luck!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

STAGE REVIEW: ‘Mary Poppins’

madeline_trumble_as_mary_,_con_oshea_creal_as_bert_and_the_company_of_mary_poppins._photo_by_jeremy_daniel[1]

There’s a spoof video on YouTube where the original trailer of Disney’s 1964 film Mary Poppins has been re-edited as Scary Mary, a slasher movie. The thing is, it’s not far from the truth: Looked at soberly through adult eyes, Mary Poppins is less benevolent nanny who twitches her nose like a guest star on Bewitched, and more a mysterious immortal with telekenesis — Carrie White after menopause. She’s like Glinda the Good Witch: magical, but not to be trifled with. There are elements to P.L. Travers’ book series that recall Harry Potter, though it’s all basically a harmless fantasy-adventure series, with loosely related vignettes that don’t tell a cohesive story like Rowling does; the structure most of us are familiar with came with the Disney movie.

The stage version of Mary Poppins, now at the Music Hall for a two-week run courtesy of Dallas Summer Musicals, is less an adaptation of the movie musical than a hodgepodge of elements from the first three books, plus songs from film, plus eight new songs. As a result, it’s not quite loyal to any one source, picking through the scraps in the fossil record like a magpie. Gone are some songs and plot-points from the film (“I Love to Laugh” and the tea party on the ceiling; “Sister Suffragettes” and the entire political subplot about women’s independence, etc.), and added are more numbers, some of which slide surreptitiously under the radar, evocative of the original score (“Being Mrs. Banks,” “Practically Perfect”) and some of which do not (“Brimstone and Treacle,” “Temper, Temper”). The result is that the stage version is neither fish nor fowl — not a musical for purists of the books or the film. If you go in expecting one or the other, you’ll leave unsatisfied.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

REVIEW: Crazy for You’

There’s nothing like a tuneful Gershwin musical, and Crazy for You, now at Theatre 3, is indeed nothing like one (at least not at the weekend preview I attended). The orchestrations are muffled and fail to emphasize the right instruments; some songs, like “Embraceable You,” are paced too slowly while others, such as “Someone to Watch Over Me,” are rushed. The production feels way too much like the “Hey gang, let’s put on a show in the barn” musical that its plot entails.

The plot, reworked by playwright Ken Ludwig after the cheesy 1920s script for Girl Crazy, involves an aspiring Broadway dancer, Bobby Child (Sam Beasley), roped into a corporate job for his mother’s bank. Work takes him to a podunk town in Nevada (which everyone in the cast mispronounces “Ne-VAH-da”), where Bobby promptly falls for the only girl in town, Polly Baker (Emily Lockhart, condemned to perform the entire show under a frightful red wig that looks like it hasn’t been combed out since Lucille Ball had a hit TV series). He impersonates famed impresario Bela Zangler (Brian Hathaway), whom Polly promptly falls for, while … Oh, you know how it goes. No surprises here.

None, in fact. Aside from some clever choreography and a might-as-well-give-it-my-best turn by Hathaway, the show lacks any kind of spark. Largely that falls in the lap of Beasley, who has zero chemistry with Lockhart or any other women onstage. There’s a line between  joyous energy and hysterical flamboyance, and it’s not even that thin; Beasley sets up camp on the flamboyant side like a Sooner staking a claim on 40 acres. It’s such a prissy, bland performance (he’s about as sexually charismatic as Ben Stein) that the entire premise falls flat, much like his singing. Considering how many Gershwin jukebox musicals are out there — from An American in Paris to My One and Only to the current Broadway show Nice Work If You Can Get It — you can wait until something better comes along.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

STAGE REVIEW: “Bloody” good show

Remember those elementary school history pageants where a kid plays Abraham Lincoln in an ill-fitting Sunday suit and stovepipe hat made out of construction paper and tape? Or the School House Rock sequences on Saturday morning cartoons? They were all about teaching history in accessible, simple ways.

Now imagine the same thing, only with people screaming “Fuck!” a lot and Martin Van Buren portrayed as a mincing fop. That’s Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.

An off-Broadway hit, Bloody made smaller ripples when it moved to B’way; no wonder. The musical is angry and funny and very outre — it’s Spring Awakening about politics, or Avenue Q with fewer puppets (there are some). It’s a hard sell.

But it shouldn’t be. The local-premiere production, now at Theatre 3, is as energetic as a freight train going downhill without a break. A cast of 16 moves frantically through about 70 years of early American history, from the expansion of the West into the Louisiana Territory and “the slavery question” and how the Native Americans were treated by the U.S. government. It touches on the internecine particulars of the “Corrupt Bargain” of 1824 and the inevitable hypocrisy of true populism as a political and governance philosophy. These aren’t topics many college kids grasp, but the script (by Alex Timbers) and score (my Michael Friedman) boil it down by turning Andrew Jackson (Cameron Cobb, in the rabidly maniacal performance of the summer) into a hard-drinking, vulgar rock star.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Ohlook gets new address, and chance to go North with gay play

Ohlook, the self-described “crazy little theater in Grapevine” which we’ve reported on in the past because of their odd, gay-friendly slate of definitely-not-the-’burbs theater, needs to raise some dough. As we noted last summer, their gay little production of Dog Sees God won some awards at a play festival in Rochester, N.Y. They have the chance to do the same in Canada, but need to raise funds to get it there.

They hope to represent the U.S. at the Liverpool International Theater Festival in Nova Scotia (May 16–20). Any contributions to their travel fund (you can donate at OhlookPerform.com) would help them spread a little queer culture north of the border.

In other news, Ohlook — which has been on a hunt for a new theater space — finally has nailed one down, and will open soon at 1631 W. Northwest Highway in Grapevine. To say goodbye to their old space, this Friday will be a marathon performance of Evil Dead: The Musical. Starting at 8 p.m., it’ll be performed every two and a half hours until they can’t go on. It’s BYOB (Bring Your Own Blanket).

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Five queer alternatives to the Super Bowl

Yes, Yes… I know… plenty of gay men enjoy football, are fans even, and there are lots of LBT fans as well, but if you’re like me you greet all the hoopla over the Super Bowl with a resounding “meh.”

So if you’re looking for a way to avoid a (morning) afternoon (and evening (seriously, how long are football games supposed to be?)) of indecipherable sports jargon, over-hyped commercials and disproportionate passion for the accomplishment of moving dead pig parts 300 feet here are some alternatives with a decidedly queer bent you might enjoy (don’t worry, you can Tivo Madonna’s half time show):

1. ¡Women Art Revolution at The Museum of Fine Arts

Starting from its roots in 1960s in antiwar and civil rights protests, the film ¡Women Art Revolution details major developments in women’s art through the 1970s. The Contemporary Arts Museum of Houston presents this documentary at 5 pm on Sunday at the The Museum of Fine Arts’ Brown Auditorium Theater (1001 Bissonnet). Artist Lynn Randolph and U of H art history professor Jenni Sorkin will be on hand to provide insight into the film

!W.A.R. features Miranda July, The Guerilla Girls, Yvonne Rainer, Judy Chicago, Yoko Ono, Cindy Sherman, and countless other groundbreaking figures. Tickets are $7 and are available at mfah.org.

2. The Rape of Lucrecia at Houston Grand Opera

Written by gay composer Benjamin Britten and scored by Ronald Duncan, The Rape of Lucrecia is set during the decline of the Roman Empire. When a group of soldiers unexpectedly returns home to Rome they find that their wives have all been unfaithful, with the excpection of Collatinus’ wife Lucretia. Later that night the king’s son, Prince Tarquinius, accepts a drunken dare to seduce Lucretia. After she rebuffs his advances Tarquinius forces himself on her spurring Collatinus to rebellion against the king.

The dialogue of the Opera (which is in English by the way) is punctuated by two choruses, one male and one female, who engage the audience in the emotional responses of the male and female characters respectively.

The Rape of Lucretia plays at the Houston Grand Opera (510 Preston) at 2 pm on Sunday. Tickets start at $38 and may be purchased at HoustonGrandOpera.org.

4. The Drunken City at the Rice University, Department of Visual and Dramatic Arts

“The city’s like a monster, like a sleeping dragon or some dark creature in the night that cracks open an eye, and whispers dark dangerous dark ideas into your ear.”

The Drunken City is populated by thoroughly unpleasant people, the kind of loud sequin-wearing party girls who can immediately turn a hip bar passe and the men who hunt them. Marnie, the alpha-female and soon-to-be bride, has taken her co-worker bridesmaids out on the town for a ladies night. Seriously inebriated, they soon run into Frank and Eddie. Frank quickly takes a shine to Marnie, despite her girlfriends objections. Eddie, on the other hand, isn’t interested in any of the girls but seems to know their shared boss quite well (if you catch my drift). The play is sprinkled through with warnings about human desire and the dangers of consumption.

The Drunken City is presented by the Rice University College of Visual and Dramatic Arts at Hamman Hall on the Rice Campus (6100 Main) at 3 pm. Tickets are $10 and are available at the door or by calling 713-348-PLAY .

Steve Bullitt as Hay and Mitchell Greco as Gernreich

4. The Temperamentals at Barnvelder Movement/Arts Complex

The off-Broadway hit The Temperamentals, by Jon Marans, explores the events surrounding the founding of the Mattachine Society, one of the first “gay rights” groups in America (although the Society for Human Rights has it beat by a quarter of a century). The story centers on Harry Hay (Steve Bullitt), a communist and Progressive Party activist and his lover Rudi Gerneich (Mitchell Greco), a Viennese refuge and costume designer. Set in the early 1950′s in Los Angeles, the play is an intimate portrayal of two men who created history and the epic struggle they overcame.

Sunday’s curtain for the Celebration Theater produced play is at 3 pm at the Barnvelder Movement/Arts Complex. Tickets are $30 and may be purchased at buy.ticketstothecity.com.

5. Closing Night of Bring It On: The Musical at Theater Under the Stars

Bring It On: The Musical finishes up its run at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts (800 Bagby Suite 300) on Sunday. Theater Under the Stars (TUTS) presents this musical re-imagining of the 2000 film with a matinee at 2 pm and an evening showing at 7 pm.

Two rival cheer-leading squads are out for the national championship, and neither is going to give up without a fight. The ensemble for the show features some of the nation’s most skilled competitive cheerleaders led by Taylor Louderman and Adrienne Warren as the leaders of the rival squads.

Tickets start at $24 and are available on-line at TUTS.com, by phone at (713) 558-TUTS (8887), or in person at the Theatre Under The Stars Box Office (800 Bagby).

—  admin

If you like it build a museum to it, Houston may get Beyoncé monument

I'm sure the plans for the failed 555 ft "Spirit of Houston" statue are still in a drawer somewhere. Just make it more bootylicious and put a ring on it.

Hometown heroes have always been honored with monuments; from Hannibal, Missouri’s Mark Twain Museum to Cleveland’s memorial to President Garfield, from Atchison, Kansas’ Amelia Earhart museum, to Concord, Ohio’s John Glenn historic site. Pity Houston! Which scion of our fair burg will rise up from the shackles of obscurity to clasp the liberty of immortality that only a dedicated monument can bring?

Beyoncé Knowles, that’s who, at least according to two men who skyped with Fox 26 and are expecting the Mayor to endorse their plans any day now. Steve White and Marcus Mitchell of Armdeonce Ventures say they want to honor the newly minted musical mother with a “statue or museum.” According to Mitchell,

““Our biggest thing is a lot of people get honored when they die, so our goal is to why not honor people why they’re still here? We felt as though it’s her time to be honored. We wanted to construct, like, a massive hall so as the doors open, if you donated to the monument, you’ll have a separate nameplate.”

Armdeonce Ventures has offices in Baltimore, Washington D.C. and Houston according to it’s website. The Beyoncé Monument is the only project currently listed on the site.

Watch the Fox 26 interview with the visionary twosome after the break.

—  admin

“Giant” today at the Wyly

Bigger is better

Any true Texan has likely seen Giant, the movie. It’s a thing, here. But now the story gets the stage treatment with musical numbers by Michael John LaChiusa ad directed by three-time Tony nominee Michael Greif. The Dallas Theater Center goes way big for this epic story of love, redemption and acceptance on the backdrop of the Texas flatlands and the booming oil industry.

DEETS: Wyly Theater, 2400 Flora St.2 p.m. $15–$85.DallasTheaterCenter.org

 

—  Rich Lopez

Say cheers to “Bring It On:The Musical” with OUT@TUTS

Bring It On: The Musical is currently showing at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts (800 Bagby Suite 300) through Feb 5. Theater Under the Stars (TUTS) presents this musical re-imagining of the 2000 film. Two rival cheer-leading squads are out for the national championship, and neither is going to give up without a fight.

Tomorrow night, January 26, join OUT@TUTSfor a post-show, cabaret-style event at Artista Restaurant (800 Bagby Suite 400) for TUTS’ LGBT friends. Open to both season and single ticket holders the event includes free bites and happy hour drink specials – a great opportunity to party and mingle with cast members and other musical theater lovers.

The ensemble for the show features some of the nation’s most skilled competitive cheerleaders led by Taylor Louderman and Adrienne Warren as the leaders of the rival squads.

Tickets start at $24 and are available on-line at TUTS.com, by phone at (713) 558-TUTS (8887), or in person at the Theatre Under The Stars Box Office (800 Bagby).

After the jump get a sneak peak of the energetic cast of Bring It On: The Musical.

—  admin

Sing along at Show Tunes Night at Woody’s

You know the words

Woody’s goes from macho to musical on Tuesdays with its long running Show Tunes Night. Sing along because you know will to all the classics from MGM up to today’s Broadway shows and likely a few surprises in between. It’s best with a group because then you can prove who the biggest theater queen is of the night.

DEETS: Woody’s, 4011 Cedar Springs Road. 9 p.m. DallasWoodys.com.

—  Rich Lopez