Thursday, May 29, 2008

Upcoming, part 1

I’ve started compiling my big list of shows in Richmond for next season (it’s in a tabbed and sorted spreadsheet because, yes, I am that much of a geek). Every year that I do this I’m always impressed. I’ve already got 31 shows listed, which includes the seasons I’ve seen announced from the professional theaters in town plus Theatre VCU. That total doesn’t include the planned productions from local stalwarts like AART, CAT, and the Barksdale (Willow Lawn) and only “Hamlet” noted for Richmond Shakespeare.

What I usually tell my out-of-towner friends is that, on average, one professional show opens per week here in Richmond (my spreadsheet for 2007-2008 has 59 shows opening, starting with "Urinetown" at the Mill last September, continuing until "Little Shop of Horrors" wraps up at Dogwood Dell middle of this August). I’m not sure whether that’s on par with other markets our size or not but it seems pretty impressive to me. Sure, we all want more theater (and especially more and more theater-goers) but while we continue to hope for expansion, I think it’s worth recognizing the width and breadth of what we do have.

Some comments on the schedules announced so far:

-- 2009 will see back-to-back productions of “Altar Boyz” – one at RTP and one at the Mill. This sets up a very nice “compare and contrast” possibility for local theater-goers and critics alike.

-- Two holiday-oriented sequels to other shows: “A Tuna Christmas” (Mill) and “Sanders Family Christmas” (Barksdale at the Tavern). Call me a cynic – this does not thrill me.

-- Favorite upcoming title: “Four Queens in Hawaiian Shirts” at RTP.

-- Several shows I have high hopes for and am awaiting with anticipation: “Side Show” at the Mill, “Richard III” at Henley Street, and “Rabbit Hole” at the Firehouse.

-- Interest most piqued: “Inspecting Carol” at Sycamore Rouge. Fascinating concept – does it work on stage?

-- Most intriguing season as a whole: Henley Street. Shakespeare, Stoppard, Shepard. Perhaps for the 2009-2010 season they’ll focus on playwrights whose names begin with ‘T’?

-- Will Theatre IV ever do “King Island Christmas” again?

I’ll have to do a part 2 on upcoming schedules once the rest have been announced. Would anyone else like to chime in with their thoughts?


Scott Wichmann said...

I would love to see Theatre IV do 'King Island Christmas' again. On eof my favorite TIV shows EVER.

Anonymous said...

I think you are right on with choosing Henley Street's season as most intriguing. Richard III will be provocative and an all-female cast for "Rosencrantz" will surely highlight the deep bench of female acting talent in this town.

Frank Creasy said...

Main thought Dave: One of the most amusing posts I've seen herein! More specifically: You're not the only geek, I'm a spreadsheet guy too (I often do character and scene breakdowns, with color-coded cells, to help in my rehearsal process - geek enough?) Also, "Four Queens in Hawaiian Shirts"??? The title alone is enough to make you want to go see it!

But, on theatre in the area overall: I think most of us lament the fact that if you are in a production at any given time, you often can't find the time to see other shows around town. So, you have to "triage" and pick specific ones. For me, I try to hit those that include friends I've worked with previously; shows including folks I don't know get lowest priority. So there's clearly a lot of theatre around town, because I hear the same complaint from others - friends who say they would have loved to come see a production I am in/was recently in, but couldn't because of their own production commitments. Hey, I understand.

But there are some fascinating productions planned for next year, no question...but I too am not a big fan of Christmas productions, whether sequels or not, Dave. I guess that means I'll have to do my turn as Scrooge in an upcoming Christmas Carol production one of these years! (But hey, BC - that doesn't mean I won't come see "Sanders Family" later this year!)

Thespis' Little Helper said...

Cynic. ;)

Oh, the cleverness of me!

OK...I'll stop laughing at my own lame jokes now.

I'm incredibly excited about Sanders!!! Especially since it seems that we're all coming back!

My favorite cast ever! It was such a perfect meshing. It just clicked, across the board, which doesn't happen often.

And the show is really fun. And June has a beautiful speech toward the end (but I won't give it away for those that haven't seen it).

And I think the Tuna shows are hysterical (but it's been probably almost a decade since I've read the Christmas one).

In spite of not being a holiday person, ESPECIALLY Christmas, I think I'm hanging up my cynic hat at least for the theatre part of the holiday season.

And Henley street's season kinda rocks!

And TIV doing Frog and Toad! Way excited about that!

Too long, BC...too long!

Thanks for the shout out Frank!!!

Unknown said...

I agree with the sentiment on King Island Christmas, I ran sound on the production oh so many years ago and had a blast, I never got tired of the show. Of course seeing Bruce and Phil both on stage, each with one talented child in tow, was a thrill as well.

I suppose though that the problem is that the show did not draw very large crowds. It didn't help that the wildly popular "It's A Wonderful Life" with Duke Lafoon was drawing HUGE crowds at TVA, but the lack of title recognition at the Holidays couldn't have helped any.

I hate to admit this, but we still pull out the soundtrack at least once every Christmas. Of the 40 or so Theatre IV productions I was either a part of or watched, this is one of the tops, hands down.

Robinitaface said...

I must admit, I giggled when I read about the spreadsheet. But then, someone's gotta be the stats guy! Geek Out all you want, Dave!

Anonymous said...

I've been hearing some pretty cool rumors about Richard III. Not sure if any of them are true, but I am intrigued. Also, it's just a great play. Nice to see someone else doing Shakespeare in this town!

Anonymous said...


Jacquie O. said...

I was in King Island Christmas and I will admit that I cried each night. The story and the music are just so moving. I also must add that the set was one of my favorites – check it out:

And the lights…Lynn rocked this! Well, shoot the show was just damn good. AND I have really fond memories of working with Bruce and Phil (Phil - who I still call Pie Boy to this day – his character in the show.) What a rare treat!

I have to agree with Steve, it was hard to compete with Wonderful Life. Come on Bruce…skip Best Christmas Pageant Ever next time, and put in King Island! You know you wanna!

Dave T said...

Thanks, anon. Correction in place!