Anna Deavere Smith presented Let Me Down Easy at the Zach Theatre in Austin in 2009 before taking it to New York and elsewhere; the work included memorable one-woman portraits of Texas Governor Ann Richards and Lance Armstrong.
The prize, now in its 19th year, was established by Lillian Gish’s will and is awarded “to a man or woman who has made an outstanding contribution to the beauty of the world and to mankind’s enjoyment and understanding of life.” Ms. Smith, a familiar figure on stage, television and film, was chosen from a list of 30 finalists.
Darren Walker, vice president for education, creativity and free expression for the Ford Foundation and a member of the selection committee, credited Ms. Smith with creating “what is in some ways a new art form,” and using her position as an artist and educator “to address today’s major social issues.”
Ms. Smith, who burst onto the theater scene in the 1990s with one-woman shows like “Fires in the Mirror” (about the 1991 riot in Crown Heights) and “Twilight: Los Angeles” (about violence that erupted in 1992 after the acquittal of police officers in connection with the beating of Rodney King), is now a regular presence on television in the Showtime series “Nurse Jackie.” In addition to writing books and appearing in films, she is also a professor at New York University’s Performance Studies Department.
“The Gish Prize provides credibility and recognition for artists who invented a new path for themselves and their work,” Ms. Smith said. The prize will be formally presented in a private ceremony on Feb. 13th
Due to unforeseen scheduling conflicts with our venue (Dougherty Arts Center) we have swapped Edges and Avenue Q. Edges will now open February 28 and Avenue Q will open at the end of May. That means auditions for Edges are NOW OPEN! ATP's auditions take place on line. All of the needed information and dates are on the audition form.
"This contemporary song cycle explores the questions four young adults face as they come of age and seek simple truths in a complex world. With wit and charm, the musical vignettes follow them on a journey of confronting emotions, escaping expectation and deciphering complicated relationships. Find out just how many other people also spend Friday nights at home on Facebook or what to do when your boyfriend likes theatre and flower arranging a little bit too much" -- Broadway World
We're looking for crew members for our production of South Pacific. This amazing show opens February 22nd, and runs through March 24th, with 19 performances. We need a lots of help with lots of different positions. We can work around conflicts, though it's important you attend as many of the tech rehearsals as possible, which begin on February 6th. This show will be amazing, and you will have lots of fun. We can and will train you as well. So while experience is helpful, it isn't required. You'll also get 2 comp tickets as well.
Please contact Jessie, her email is
, if you are interested, or if you know friends or family who'd be interested.
Please forward to anyone you know who might be interested in helping. Thanks, Ron
If you're reading this at two o'clock in the morning, there's a good chance that Travis Bedard is awake and on the Internet.
He's probably poring over a vast assortment of theatre blogs from around the world, but he might be on Twitter. If he is, he's either telling the more than 2,500 theatremakers who follow @TravisBedard about the best things he's read on those blogs or treating them to cranky, pithy bon mots framed as advice. ("Approaching what you do as though it's holy can be the beginnings of beauty. Forcing others to do the same never is.") Or he could be preparing a post for 2amtheatre.com, the theatre discussion blog for which he serves as managing editor. But it's a safe bet that, if it's the middle of the night, Travis Bedard is awake, online, and thinking about theatre.
The amount of time that Bedard spends thinking – and talking – about theatre has built him a not-insubstantial international following.
as its inaugural production in conjunction with Frontera Fest 2013 Long Fringe. Little Mother is a harrowing fairytale of maternal love—a silent passion play, using shadow puppetry, physical acting, live musical performance, and original score by Shawn Jones (featuring members of The Eastern Sea, The Lovely Sparrows, Driver Friendly, and Dana Falconberry).
Outside the Austin skyline was bright and magical as ever while enthusiastic crowds gathered for last Thursday’s preview and Saturday’s performance of Invisible, Inc. The Hidden Room Theatre created a delicious, dark and intriguing world in the Rollins black box theatre at the Long Center, emerging from the secret shadows of the historic York Rite Masonic Temple on W. 7th Street and going big time. It's too bad that the company and its director and proprietary matriarch Beth Burns can't occupy that venue for a longer term, because Invisible, Inc. is an elegant and witty entertainment. It’s their first theatre outing since last year’s multiple-award-winning Rose Rage.
One special appeal is that its leads are Robert Matney and Liz Fisher, a young husband and wife pair who enjoy the sort of respect and affection in Austin that Alfred Lunt and Margot Fontanne had on Broadway from the 1930's through the 1960's. Noël Coward wrotehis 1933 Design for Living for that famous couple; coincidentally, Austin Shakespeare will be doing that work in this same venue in just a few weeks. Now, there's a thought experiment: substituting Matney and Fisher for Miller and Merino.
Burns presents a gorgeously designed package. Ia Ensterä's set makes the black box into a Manhattan highrise living room with a broad window at deep center stage, decorated in Art Deco via Bela Lugosi. At the audience's far left stands an upright piano that's part of the same playing space; at the far right there's a tumble of furniture representing a garret somewhere far downtown. With furniture shifts the central playing space can belong to either of these. With a shift in lighting, the flare of a spotlight and a change in the image at deep center stage, the space becomes a theatre complete with proscenium.
Patrons desiring premium seating can pay a bit extra to settle at one of the four-person nightclub tables on the floor with the performing space, where they'll be handsomely welcomed and entertained by an amiable professional magician who does up-close illusions and prestidigitation. On Saturday evening the company's Master of Magic (coach) J.D. Stewart was resplendent, gregarious and astonishing. He left us dumbfounded with his skills. We have no idea how those playing cards flew invisibly through the air or those coins appeared impossibly at his bidding.
Invisible, Inc. is soaked with atmosphere and its spookiness is boosted when the lights first go down and that upright piano erupts into lengthy evocative passes of the keys by the invisible Graham Reynolds. His score for MIDI-assisted player piano punctuates the action with the same dexterity as the big Wurlitzer organs at the cinema palaces of the 1930's.
Menzer’splay offers us the world of vaudeville magic acts and magicians in the 1930’s. The potential for a peek behind the magician’s cabinet is immense, and the playwright gives us several such peeks on our way through the story. The characters present magic turns in every scene, their very gestures accented with flash paper. Handcuffs fall off wrists; cards appear and disappear; straitjackets and cabinets cannot contain them. The disappearance of objects, people and reality raises the tension and the ante, and the onslaught of illusions challenges the audience’s perceptions and certitudes.
Murder Mystery Texas is looking for actors with strong standup, improv or MC experience to handle the role of a Homicide Detective for our upcoming Murder Mystery Dinner shows and corporate events starting soon on a regular basis primarily in Austin. What we are looking for are local actors with a great sense of humor who can be believable as a Detective, control a crowd, interact with the audience while advancing a plot, all with wit and a repartee. Male or female, 30-65, Caucasian, African-American, Latino, or Asian.
We will provide an initial paid training and performances pay $150 per night plus dinner. If you know of anyone who might be interested we would very much appreciate you passing this along. Our online videos that will give you an idea of how our shows work ... or you can get a video briefing for auditioners at our website.
We are also looking for experienced Stage Managers-Prop Masters to supervise/oversee the cast and guide the audience for our upcoming Murder Mystery Dinner shows and corporate events. We seek local Stage Managers with public speaking skills, a commanding voice and presence. Shy types need not apply. Intelligent, super-organized, confident, ability to multi-task.
Pictures, resumes, links to YouTube videos, and contact information by interested parties can be forwarded to
R. C. Banks, Casting Director, Murder Mystery Texas, Inc. -
This East Austin joint's a good story you could be part of
by Wayne Alan Brenner, 11:00AM, Fri. Jan. 11
There's a bullet hole and there's a story that goes with the bullet hole, and Bonnie Cullum – artistic director of Vortex Repertory Company, owner of the multipurpose Vortex compound near where Chestnut Avenue intersects the restaurant-studded stretch of Manor Road – Bonnie Cullum is telling me that story.
"It happened in the Seventies," she says. "This bar was at The Landing on San Antonio's Riverwalk. And the story goes, there was a cat burglar who kept coming and breaking the pane of glass, opening the door and coming in and taking all the money out of the cigarette machine. So they hired a private security dude, because they were going to be closed over Christmas, and they thought it would happen again. And the security dude looked remarkably like Santa: Big fat guy, white beard, white hair. And nothing's going down, so he takes a little nap on the bandstand. And here comes the cat burglar, he's breaking into the cigarette machine, and Santa stands up, says 'Hold it right there!' – and he's got a gun. The burglar starts to run and Santa fires the gun towards the ceiling. It's a cement ceiling, and the bullet ricochets off that and goes through the bar and slices off the beer tap. The cat burglar's fainted from hearing the loud bang, he's out cold on the floor, the beer is hitting the ceiling and splashing down, and the burglar wakes up and there's Santa Claus staring down at him, holding a gun, and the beer's pouring down all over him."
That's the story – the story of the bullet hole in the bar at the Butterfly Bar, the Eastside watering hole attached to the Vortex theatre. But the Butterfly Bar has its own story, too – a much more recent one, a story that's still evolving, and we'll get to that soon enough. Right now, let's look at the bar, the impressive artifact itself. The joint's had this gorgeous wooden bar for a while – it used to belong to Cullum's father, renowned San Antonio jazz man Jim Cullum.