Monday, January 17, 2011

Passed, Present and Future

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?


Teddy Moore said...

Hi Dave, I really enjoy reading and following your well informed blog. I also attended the Acts of Festival for the first time and really enjoyed getting a sneak peek. I agree with you that the devil mask which looked like it was bought at the mall was a bit too much. I am looking forward to Legacy of Light and Godspell. The guy playing Jesus was spot on and had one of the best performances of the night. Act 2 was also great. I look forward to hearing more from this season and thanks for staying up to date on your blog. Supporting the arts is such an important thing, especially in states such as VA that are always cutting funds in the arts.


Thespis' Little Helper said...

Was really excited that Laura Linney won and very sad that we didn't get to hear her speech. That's a busy week. Starring in a Broadway show, father passing away, and winning an award.

I thought the Dog Sees God cast rocked it out at the AOF event too. ;)

(Apology letter forthcoming as soon as I get stamps.)

Anonymous said...

Liz Blake White and Jeff Cole doing the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet was a real highlight. Simple staging, honest emotion, and good looking actors... Lots of applause and woo hoos! Our group loved it!

Hopefully the play lives up to the promise laid out by this short snippet.

Looking forward to the rest of the AoF Festival!

Nancy said...

I am thrilled about this season! My family loves the professional theater in Richmond. My daughter grew up with Theatre IV in her schools. The AOF kickoff was entertaining and I was surprised at the turn out. My son was a bit scared by the devil mask and although I felt it was great to have Islam represented and needed especially today, it was more preachy and less of a performance. The Romeo and Juliet was warming and made me want to be a bit younger :(
I also have to agree and say that the Godspell performance almost had my choked up. The two female singers sounded so beautiful and the male lead was what i expect to see when I get to NYC! Fantastic. I don't know much about that theatre company but I'm going to check it out for sure. I'm still confused why we couldn't see some of the actors for Legacy of light? And I'm so glad Nunsense was extended as that made me laugh nonstop. I look forward to your reviews this season.