Last week was a bit staggering in terms of the deaths of several monumental individuals who played important roles in the development of professional theater. These included playwright Romulus Linney; director and administrator Michael Langham, and theater pioneer Ellen Stewart. Their contributions were noted and lauded over the weekend, perhaps most poignantly when Linney’s daughter, Laura, skipped the Golden Globes. May they rest in peace.
The Times-Dispatch review of “This Beautiful City” came out last week. Give a look if you missed it.
Looking to the future, the Acts of Faith preview was last Friday, giving interested Richmond theatergoers a peak at what’s in store on stages over the next several weeks. I could only stay for the first half – I had an important appointment requiring the loss of my shirt in poker – but saw enough to have my emotions flung all over the place. I was heartened to see the cast from RTP’s “This Beautiful City,” whose voices and energy carried just as well (maybe better) on the big stage as they did in the little Altamont theater. The cast from Cadence’s “Godspell” had me all choked up with just a couple of selections from the show. That music is just amazing and, after the preview, I feel pretty confident Cadence will do well in presenting it.
The lead from the Mill’s “Once on This Island” – who I think is Kris Roberts? – was adorable and has a great voice, though a couple of notes seemed to go astray in her song. I expect that’ll tighten up as opening night approaches. The leads from CAT’s “The Fiddler’s House” had me a little concerned as their interactional rhythm was a bit rough. Here’s hoping this last week of tech and rehearsal helps smooth that out.
I was disappointed not to be able to see the second half of the preview but I was at least able to catch the fairly bizarre scene of Bruce Miller relating aspects of “Legacy of Light” accompanied by Audra Honaker’s tuneful humming. While that was a tad odd, it couldn’t match the presentation from “For Our Children Productions” in terms of weirdness. Devil masks on kids – I’m sorry but that’s creepy.
The whole event was presided over by the lovely Stacey Cabaj, a welcome presence regardless of the role she is playing. Even though the Acts of Faith festival has been going on for 7 years now, this was the first time I’d ever attended the preview event. You can bet I’ll make it a priority in the future. This kind of collective “appetite whetting” makes me wish something like this could happen near the end of the summer as well to preview all of the fall’s planned productions. Can you have a preview without a festival?