Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Art, Auditions, Annie, etc.

The “Live Art” concert was Sunday and, if you were there, I don’t have to tell you how incredible it was. And if you weren’t, well, I’m not sure anything I can write will capture the spirit and beauty of the event. It was the kind of show where you are smiling pretty much the whole way through, at least when you aren’t laughing out loud or on the verge of tears. The event brought more than 1,200 people down to the Carpenter Theater and shone a great big spotlight on all of the best aspects of the Richmond arts scene: the willingness of artists to experiment; the generosity that compels people to support each other and collaborate across different organizations; and the abundant delight local artists take in creating art and inspiring young people to push their limits.

I will be compiling a list of some of my favorite moments from the show because I know I’ve really appreciated when Jackie Jones put together such a list for the RTCC awards. But I need my Live Arts program for that and it’s currently lost somewhere in a stack of mail. In the meantime, there are plenty of other happenings to talk about.

For instance, have you heard that local writer and producer Jerry Williams will be stepping into the director’s chair for the first Richmond Triangle Players show next season? TVJerry has directed scores of videos but this will be his first stage play since his days at VCU when he directed a slew of shows for the Barn Dinner Theatre. I had the pleasure of being schooled by Mr. Williams nearly 20 years ago or so when I tried my hand at writing some videos for my then employer, the Dept. of Environmental Quality. He ever so gently – ok, not so gently – slapped that hand because the first draft script I wrote was so ridiculously bloated and impractical. Working as a critic for WTVR-6 for 15 years, he established himself as an uncompromising voice providing straight-forward views on movies and plays (something he continues at tvjerry.com). His connections in town run deep so it’ll be fun to see who he brings to the stage for “Regrets Only…” and what he does with them. (Auditions this weekend!)

As I’m sure you’ve seen on Facebook or elsewhere, another local actor has hit the big time. One of the highlights of the Theatre IV production of “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas” last season was the performance of young Taylor Richardson. The talented Richmond native has been cast in the Broadway revival of “Annie,” and it’s a kick to see her bio being listed in this run-down of the orphans. Richmond may truly be developing into a launching point to bigger things.

And while the pro theaters in town are readying their summer productions, you might take consider using your spare time next Monday or Tuesday to check out an evening of entertainment offered by a fledgling local effort. A group of former SPARC students have created the Full Circle Theatre Project and they are putting on a show at the SPARC theater. There’s a great slate of talent lined-up. I’m planning on going just to see if the title “Unplugged” is a riff on being “unplugged” from SPARC or if the performances are going to be all acoustic. Color me intrigued!

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