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Missionary Position — Pleasure Journeys for the Intrepid Lady Explorer, Glass Half Full Theatre, Dec. 12 - 14, 2013

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Missionary Position Glass Half Full Theatre Austin TX
by Dr. David Glen Robinson

The Missionary Position: Pleasure Journeys for the Intrepid Lady Explorer is a droll and satisfying show just completing its initial one-weekend run at Salvage Vanguard Theatre in east Austin. It's likely to return, and the public should keep it in mind as a performance worthy of  their ticket-buying dollars.

The show was a period piece on lady explorers in late Victorian times. Caroline Reck and Cami Alys of Glass Half Full Theatre portrayed our intrepid lady explorers of the title, reporting to us the findings from their worldwide travels.

The setting  was a Chautauqua-type lecture hall, arranged in the weight room of a (no doubt) males-only health club, complete with punching bags hanging and swinging, ready for use. The audience was assumed to consist only of ladies, who had paid to receive insight from the intrepid travelers. Male audience members winked and played along. The performers skillfully created their comic world with the willing participation of the audience, amply compensated with gut-busting laughs.

It is no spoiler to reveal that the lecture concerned a line of menstrual garments designed with the benefit of the worldwide ethnological journeys of the stalwart ladies. They were trying, with spotty success, to fund their voyages by hawking these liberating devices to their audiences.

Late in the show it occurred to at least one casual observer that no obvious puppets or black-garbed puppeteers appeared in the show, despite their advance billing.  One of the punching bags wore a toy top hat, however, and our explorers demonstrated ladies’ self defense techniques on the punching bag with their bumbershoots. This highly abstracted male figure, representing a hostile attacker, swung crazily about under the jabs of the umbrellas, while the audience willingly chanted the attack points: eyes-bollocks-feet, approximately. The chanting audience completed the anatomy of the puppet as it enacted its part as a sinister character.

I didn’t really “get it” until much later; I whiffed in the event, and many in the audience probably also struck out. Still, the concept that the puppet is constructed and animated in the mind by the voices of the audience is sublime.  Though the attempt might have been only partially successful this time around, I await with anticipation the next go-round and further surprises of puppetry this group may spring on us. In promotional material Connor Hopkins of Trouble Puppet Theatre was given credit for puppetry in this show.

The charms of the ladies were immense, and the performance was multilayered, authentic, and anything but a simple laugh fest. Period elements were fairly stern: references to the White Man’s Burden, widows' rights to inherit property, and traveling without male escort all received breathless applause from the ladies of 1901. There was no mention of the right to vote, which lay in the future. (In the United States, women’s suffrage was gained with the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920, but the social movement for women’s voting rights began in the 1850s. Source: Wikipedia). Despite this comedic take on late Victorian times, the production avoided the common pitfall of patronizing historical views from the standpoint of 21st century moderns. This show was funny as well as thoughtful and mature -- certainly a rare combination.

Glass Half Full Theatre is deft and innovative even when performing a period comedy. The company provides full value, playing with (not against) the audience, and also reveals its innovative spirit and high creativity as it does so. This is a company to follow. Their program reports their next show will be a restaging of their Once There Were Six Seasons, to play at Salvage Vanguard Theatre, May 20 through June 7, 2014.


Auditions at Hill Country Community Theatre for All I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, musical, December 16, 2013

HCCT TexasHCCT is extending auditions to Dec. 16th, 7:00 pm for the musical All I Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten.  This tightly-woven musical revue has earned standing ovations from Singapore to Prague— from L.A. to D.C.  Based on the best-selling book, Kindergarten takes a funny and insightful look at what is profound in everyday life. A series of delightful songs and stories celebrate our very existence.  The production will be directed Austin theatre artist Jenny Lavery who directed HCCT's hit productions of Into the Woods and Willy Wonka. Anyone interested in auditioning will be asked to read from the script.  For more information please call the theatre at 830-693-2474 or online at www.thehcct.org.
(*) Guys and Dolls, musical by Swerling, Burrows and Loesser, Playhouse San Antonio, December 6 - 22, 2013



GuysAndDollsProgramCover375 opt

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by Michael Meigs


Broadway! The 1930's! Folks like Arthur Freed and Busby Berkley portrayed that fairytale sophistication in the black-and-white films they cranked out of Hollywood, but an even more magical version came from the typewriter of Damon Runyon, the sportswriter, gambler, drunk and divinely gifted portraitist of the demi-monde of Broadway.


Runyon knew those people intimately and his colorful prose was laden with slang and surprising turns of phrase often inherited from Yiddish. His writing portrayed a gallery of hustling lowlifes with hearts of gold and a stubborn attachment to their own odd notions of honor. He specialized in short stories with unexpected endings, a bit like those of O. Henry, but his were all written in the immediacy of the present tense, like anecdotes told over a couple of beers.  Few read Runyon these days, and that's a loss to our contemporary culture.


His semi-fictitious creations live on in movies -- twenty films have retold his stories -- and plays, including Guys and Dolls.  This light-hearted musical brings together two extremes of New York life: the crap-shooting, horse-betting gamblers and the uniformed Salvation Army staff with drum, trombone, kettle and their message of reform and a better life.  Nathan Detroit is the small-potatoes organizer of the "longest established floating crap game in the City of New York," and Miss Sarah Brown is the uniformed Salvation Army sergeant heading the sparsely attended 49th Street Mission.


As in Runyon's fiction, these gamblers aren't real criminals; they're dreamers and grifters, perhaps with a inclination to a simple con, but I am telling you that they are in all ways sincere.  Their markers -- should you be uninformed, those are their promises to pay, upon their honor -- are regarded with a seriousness not to be neglected or surpassed.


I am quick to say that the Playhouse production of Guys and Dolls does not entirely stick to the 1930s view of these denizens of the metropolis, but director and choreographer Michelle Pietri puts a robust and very masculine set of guys before you to scheme, avoid John Law and pitch the woo to dolls who are in my estimation most acceptable representatives of the female of the species.


GD Paige optPaige Blend as Miss Adelaide (photo: Siggi Ragnar)Putting aside the Runyonisms for the moment, there are two absolute standouts in this large cast, performers with total concentration and the gift of delivering their characters with special grace and style.  Paige Blend is Miss Adelaide, the woeful nightclub songstress left waiting for the altar for 14 years while Nathan Detroit attends to business.  She has presence, voice, quickness in detail and the vivacity of a true comedienne.  She's got some of best numbers in the show -- "Adelaide's Lament" about allergies caused by a continuing lack of matrimony, her duos "Sue Me" with Nathan Detroit (Miguel Ochoa) and "Marry the Man Today" with Miss Sarah Brown (Caroline Kittrell). She completely inhabits the persona of that not-too-bright but ever-so-sincere character.  Her two nightclub numbers with the Hot Box Girls -- "A Bushel and a Peck" and "Take Back Your Mink" -- are adorable.


J.J. Gonzalez as Bennie Southstreet, a minor adjunct to Nicely-Nicely Johnson (chunky comedian Gerardo Vallejo) is the other.  Bennie is written as a simple foil to a second banana, a handy harmonizer and straight man.  But Gonzalez is intent every second we see him, reacting subtly to events around him.  In a way, he represents us, the audience to the events of the play.  For the key scene of the second act where the gamblers reluctantly attend a Salvation Army all-night revival meeting, Director Pietri made the right choice to put him at center stage on the bench end closest to the audience.


GD 3 guys opt 430Robert Nauman, Gerardo Vallejo, J.J. Gonzalez (photo: Siggi Ragnar)

Chris Berry Caroline Kittrell Siggi Ragnar opt500Chris Berry, Caroline Kittrell (photo by Siggi Ragnar)Principal leads Caroline Kittrell as Sarah Brown and Chris Berry as high roller Sky Masterson could have come from cinema central casting.  She's a slim thing of porcelain beauty with an angel's voice; he's a tall trim ranger in a pinstripe suit who's mastered that Runyon talk nicely, nicely, thank you.  Miguel Ochoa as Nathan Detroit comes across as nervous and inhibited most of the time, hardly the personality type for a crap-game entrepreneur, but Ochoa does manifest a gentle though non-committal attention to Miss Adelaide.


Director Pietri has also done the choreography for the show, and to my mind her pacing and disposition of the dances significantly modulates this Guys and Dolls away from more familiar happy-go-lucky stagings.  The opening street scenes, comic encounters and vignettes done to music, are lively and appealing as they take place before the pastel-bright backdrops designed by Marcello Martinez.


When Masterson sweeps Sarah away to Havana to win a bet, however, the series of comic exchanges between them in the restaurant is dominated by Latino choreography that's almost menacing as it's performed under under red light and shadow.  An essential development in the plot is almost lost: Sarah gets innocently and comically tipsy on dulce de leche and Masterson, a man of honor, supports her and declines to take the opportunity to seduce her.  Later, in the middle of the second act, the crowd of gamblers gathers somewhere deep underground for the evening's game; a vigorous all-male ballet is performed -- again in stark shadow, but this time under a wash of lurid green.  Choreography and lighting are telegraphing sin and depravity, even though our understanding is that these guys are just out for the thrill of the dice.


Following this, luck heeds Masterson's appeal to be a lady and allows him to win those crap shooters' attendance at the Salvation Army revival.  The comic scene of gamblers being called to repent and testify might ordinarily be expected to be the climax of the show, for it's the penultimate number, just before "Marry the Man Today" by Sarah Brown and Miss Adelaide.  But "Sit Down, You're Rocking the Boat" isn't played as a glad revival, and it doesn't build. In his big solo, Vallejo as Nicely-Nicely sounds as if he's embarrassed, maybe even singing in a different key from that played by the orchestra.  The number concludes as if it were an obligatory offering deposited into the collection plate.


Costumes by Samantha Sandifer are true to period and to our musical theatre concept of Broadway style.


It's a treat to have a fourteen-piece orchestra down in an orchestra pit accompanying the stage action (in Austin, such accommodation is available only at the Zach Theatre's year-old Topfer theatre, at the Brentwood Christian school theatre used by the Gilbert & Sullivan Society, and Bass Concert Hall, used almost exclusively by large touring companies).  It initially seemed odd to find that music director Joshua Pepper was still rehearsing the musicians even after the house was opened for the first Saturday night performance.  Occasional uncertainties and some distinctly sour notes from the violins during the performance suggested that additional practice earlier in the week might have benefited the show.


Guys and Dolls is a classic, and even a classic benefits from thoughtful experimentation.  Playhouse San Antonio puts on a thoroughly enjoyable evening, I am telling you, one that reminds us with a smile that will not stop, that guys will be guys -- and dolls will be wives, if they can.


Review by Deborah Martin, San Antonio Express-News, December 10



Click to view the Playhouse San Antonio program for Guys and Dolls

GD BaphJwUCUAAEZ3  optPaige Blend and the Hot Box girls (photo: Siggi Ragnar)

(*) Video from Woodlawn Theatre, San Antonio: A Christmas Story, the musical, December 6 - 29, 2013

Video from

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The North Plan by Jason Wells, Street Corner Arts at Hyde Park Theatre, December 5 - 21, 2013

Highly recommended

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by Michael Meigs

north plan poster opt250GunnGraphicsRommel Sulit, Indigo Rael (poster: streetcornerarts.org)


Howls of delight met the finale and  curtain call of The North Plan at the Hyde Park Theatre last night, an ovation more ecstatic and spontaneous than any I’ve heard in my six years of theatre going in Central Texas.


Jason Wells’ black comedy about the chaotic breakdown of the United States sometime in the near future is a near perfect dramatic satire set in the jail and sheriff’s office in the mythical backwater town of Lodus, Missouri, deep in the Ozarks.


Street Corner Arts hit the crests two years ago their first time out, with Men of Tortuga, another work by Wells, a Chicago-based actor awarded the 2010 Osborn award for an emerging playwright by the American Theatre Critics Association.


Rommel Sulit, Gary Peters and Joe Penrod from the Tortuga cast are back again for this production. Both Wells plays set up scenarios of conspiracy and mock them mercilessly: Tortuga depicts an intervention in Caribbean politics by a collection of suits with manicures and shiny shoes, and North Plan shows the downhome effects of a U.S. government breakdown and a fascist putsch attempt.


This wildly funny evening is manna for the crowd of cheerfully skeptical youngish theatre-lovers who constitute the primary audience at the Hyde Park Theatre, the sorts who enjoy over-the-edge programming by HPT’s Ken Webster, Mark Pickell’s Capital T Theatre, and  the eponymous A Chick and a Dude Productions of Shanon Weaver and Melissa Livingston-Weaver.  Street Corner Arts is right up there with them in Austin savvy and gleeful insouciance.


NPTanya opt

Indigo Rael (photo: Street Corner Arts)


The North Plan opens in the jail behind a sheriff’s office in the remote Ozarks, where Tanya, a bedraggled, loud and angry trailer-trash woman is trying to talk her way out of detention. Her rant directed toward Shona the studious female warden (Kristen Bennett) is lengthy, disconnected and extremely funny. Indigo Rael with her lean, slinky athletic body and controlled fury has played similar characters before, and she burns like an unsecured live wire throughout this show.


A noisy offstage argument erupts behind the audience during Tanya's energetic pleas and imprecations, and then the impertrubable Chief of Police Swenson (Gary Peters) marches in rumpled mid-level former government official Carlton Berg (Rommel Sulit). Rapid fire dialogue from the urgently pleading Berg, interrupted by Tanya’s acid commentary, reveals that Berg has absconded with the enemies list of the repressive would-be government far away in the black hole of Washington, where the Army and Marine contingents are dug in at opposite ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, getting ready for a clash.


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Garry Peters, Rommel Sulit (photo: Street Corner Arts)


The North Plan – named for Oliver North, the overreaching lieutenant colonel unmasked during the Iran-Contra scandal of the Reagan administration – is the story’s MacGuffin, an object of great value that everyone’s scrambling to seize.  Berg has hidden it and he wants it to go to muck-raking journalist in Houston whom he trusts.


Putting Rael and Sulit onstage in their respective holding cages is like violently shaking the mixture of a chemical detonator. All she wants is to get out of the pen; all he wants is for her to recover the flash drive with the North Plan from under the noses of the police and the Homeland Security thugs about to arrive. He wants her to shoot them all, if need be; she is more interested in finding out how much he’s going to pay for the dirty work.


During the intermission designers Patrick and Holly Crowley of Dynamic Duo Productions quickly disassemble the bare jail set and convert the space into the front office of the police station. A team of two Feds takes over and rubs everyone the wrong way. Joe Penrod, back in Austin for this staging, is Dale the bureaucratic heavy who interrogates Berg.  His instrument of persuasion is a compact electroshock device lovingly nicknamed the “Scalia,” after the most conservative justice on our current Supreme Court.  Penrod embodies Hannah Arendt's concept of the banality of evil.  David Higgins as his pouting junior sidekick Bob Lee provides a fine comic balance. They’re Laurel and Hardy, played by the American Gestapo.


NPBergtie opt325Rommel Sulit, Joe Penrod (photo: Street Corner Arts)There’s strong stuff here. The depravity of the interrogation and the senior Fed’s arrogance is horrific enough to set your internal alarm bells ringing – as  the playwright whacks you with absurdities, mistaken identities and comic business. One of the funniest passages in the play is Dale’s lengthy and bureaucratically entirely credible telephone discussion about obtaining written authorization for summary executions, throughout which he’s being upstaged by desperate business going on behind his back.


Wells gives all of these characters pungent dialogue, sharp clashes and extended farcical turns, all the more comic because they’re so extreme. Each character is vivid, and very soon the audience is intently rooting for the underdogs – not only for Berg and Tanya but also for the reluctantly cooperating sheriff and warden.  That's right:  the real Folks.


Director Andrea Skola Summers and the cast maintain speed throughout, using accelerating rhythms modulated with attention-grabbing overlapping dialogue, insistent talk, unexpected physical action and threat. Balancing these dizzying developments are some exquisite pieces of silent comedy – particularly Rael’s bluffing, sneaking, hiding and tiptoeing, in pantomimes worthy of a Chuck Jones Wile E. Coyote cartoon.


NPSheriffShonda optGarry Peters, Kristen Bennett (photo: Street Corner Arts)

The North Plan is a fine fit for the Austin demographic, but it's no ideological rant.   Comedy arises directly from character and this cautionary farce is anything but unacceptably over the top.  Maybe Berg and Tanya are leftie conspirators -- but on the other hand, maybe they're the last wildly disparate resistance against a dysfunctional encroaching central government, Ron Paul liberals carried to the extreme.  Comedy occurs in our instant moment, while tragedy hovers mute against the horizon.  Street Corner Arts has put a terrific entertainment on stage, and it runs Thursdays - Saturdays, only until December 21st.


Highly recommended!



Note: Appreciating previous Street Corner Arts work, the author contributed to the Street Corner Arts Kickstarter campaign to help fund this production.



Review by Stacy Alexander Evans, Austin Chronicle, Dec 12



Click to read Jeff Davis's interview with artistic director and cast members, Broadway World, Dec. 21

Click to view the Streetcorner Arts program leaflet for The North Plan

NPJail opt

(*) San Antonio Auditions for Student Production of Bye-Bye, Birdie, Northside Performing Arts, December 16 - 17, 2013

Northside San Antonio


Each year, we produce an average of nine main stage productions and six workshop productions starring students from all around San Antonio.  Through our programs, young performers grow in confidence, improve technique, see teamwork in action, and make lasting friendships while working together to put on a show.

ByeByeBirdieOur spring 2014 Production is Bye Bye Birdie.

AUDITIONS: Monday, December 16 at 7:00pm OR Tuesday, December 17 at 7:00pm.  Students should prepare a one-minute song to sing and be prepared to read from the script.
REHEARSALS: Saturdays 3:30-5:00pm April 19
PERFORMANCES: April 24-26, 2014
TUITION: $250.00 (There is a $25.00 Registration Fee for new students)

It's A Wonderful Life, a Live Radio Play by Joe Landry, Penfold Theatre, December 6 - 22, 2013


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WL01 cover opt300Ryan Crowder(photo: Kimberley Mead)



by Michael Meigs


This is a warm, simple entertainment for the chill of the holiday season -- and it was so chilly in the Old Settler's Park in Round Rock last week that park employees had turned off the water at Rice's Crossing Store to prevent damage to the pipes.  Penfold folk, using that recreation of a village gathering place for their third annual staging of Joe Landry's adaptation of the 1946 Frank Capra film with Jimmy Stewart, had the right phone numbers to get the bathrooms working again by the intermission in this ninety-minute staging.


Hot cider and cookies are available to help against the chill, but the real warmth is provided by the evident enjoyment of the five-person cast as they bring to life the story that helped affirm hometown values and American identity after the dark years of World War II.  Grovers Corners is really Anytown, U.S.A.; George Bailey is the hometown boy who yearned for broader horizons but found himself bound by family and community obligations.  Clarence Oddbody, Angel Second Class, who has been trying to qualify for his wings for the past two hundred years, is a sort of George Bailey of the heavenly spheres.  The Powers Above set Clarence the task of bringing George through his darkest hour when the wily Mr. Potter, Scrooge-like as they come, is intent on driving our hero and his family savings and loan out of business and, perhaps, entirely out of existence.


RyanErinFront275Ryan Crowder, Erin Barlow (photo: Kimberley Mead)Capra didn't imagine that the film would be linked to the holidays.  It lost in all its Oscar nominations to the post-war story The Best Years of Our Lives, except that for Technical Achievement (for making non-crunchy snow).  In the 1970s CBS began showing it at the Christmas season, and the tradition was established.  This radio play version by Joe Landry is one of the most popular scripts in American community theatre.  Like Penfold, the Classic Theatre of San Antonio is making it an annual presentation.  The Bastrop Opera House, Austin Playhouse and Gaslight Baker Theatre in Lockhart have all done it in recent years.


Surely you've seen the motion picture.  If not, you can borrow the DVD from Netflix or purchase a streaming version from Amazon.com, or just watch it in HD for free on YouTube.  Or maybe visit the Zach Theatre this month to appreciate the one-man version being enacted by Martin Burke, one of Austin's favorites.


OnAir275opt(photo: Kimberley Mead)What you won't get from any of those versions, however, is the opportunity to time travel.  Landry's reworking of the familiar story puts you into the audience for a radio theatre version in the 1940's.  You're cordially invited to respond to the APPLAUSE sign, you'll watch the creation of those ingenious radio sound effects, and -- most of all -- you'll be engaged by the deft ballet before the big old microphones established by director Emily Rankin for these very capable actors   Each carries a bulky binder with the script.  That's largely to complete the illusion, for they all certainly know their lines by heart.

Robert Faires Reviews Untitled Zombie Hamburger Musical at University of Texas


Austin Chronicle




All Over Creation


A new musical by the 'Urinetown' team is born on the 40 Acres, and the chorus line craves bra-a-ains

By Robert Faires, Fri., Dec. 13, 2013

Chris Montalvo, Allie Donnelly (via Austin Chronicle)'Tis the season when much attention is given to what is born – the Son of Heaven, on Earth as man; the sun in heaven, returning with spring – but I didn't expect this year's births to include singing and dancing zombies.

Of course, really, who does expect singing and dancing zombies, at any time of year? In this instance, perhaps only their creators: playwright Greg Kotis and composer Mark Hollmann, whose names may ring a bell thanks to a keen little show they made a dozen years ago, Urinetown: The Musical. In the time since that satirical sensation snagged three Tony Awards (Best Original Score, Best Book of a Musical, and Best Direction of a Musical for University of Texas alum John Rando), it has become a favorite on the college and high school theatre circuits and its writers have gone on to celebrate in song and drama the origin of life on the ocean floor (Yeast Nation [the triumph of life]) and the making of a one-man musical vehicle for Bush 43 Attorney General John Ashcroft (Eat the Taste). Once you've carved out niches in the American musical theatre for those topics, what's left to tackle but the living dead?

In truth, the team had been approached about writing a musical history of the hamburger for a theatre company that, Kotis says, hoped such a work would draw backing from the fast-food industry. Kotis responded with a fast-food-related musical idea that he and Hollmann had pitched for a movie: A chain called Chicken Hutt has created a new sandwich that, unfortunately, turns those who eat it into the shambling, brain-craving undead. While Kotis openly admitted that the show wouldn't inspire anyone in the industry to throw money at it, True Love Productions went ahead and commissioned Kotis and Hollmann to write it.

Read more at Austin Chronicle. . .

Central Texas Theatre-related Grants from the National Endowment for the Arts


Following a December 11 press release by the National Endowment for the Arts,  the following theatre-related grants were found at the NEA's composite listing by state:


National Endowment for the Arts




Austin Creative Alliance


$25,000 Austin, TX

To support professional development for African-American and Hispanic teaching artists who will help implement the Kennedy Center's Any Given Child initiative in Austin. During a pilot professional development program, teaching artists will be trained to understand arts education and their role in providing leadership for arts education. They also will use data to make decisions about arts education programming in the community, and design, implement, and utilize high quality assessment of student learning in the arts in order to improve instruction. The project is a response to recommendations fromAfrican-American and Hispanic communities for the Community Arts Team for the Any Given Child initiative, which includes the Austin Creative Alliance, the Superintendent of the Austin Independent School District, the Mayor of the City of Austin, and MINDPOP, a coordinating body.

City of Austin, Texas


$30,000 Austin, TX

To support the development of cultural resource maps and associated community and economic development strategies. Project activity will include the creation of a series of maps with various layers of information that will integrate Austin's cultural resources across all facets of Austin city planning. The mapping will be a tool for creative economy strategy implementation and a guide for investment in the city of Austin's specific initiatives. For example, the mapping will inform projects such as sector incubators, creative corridors/hubs, and the development of cultural districts.

VORTEX Repertory Company

GRANT CATEGORY: Art Works FIELD/DISCIPLINE: Theater & Musical Theater

$10,000 Austin, TX

To support the creation and presentation of "Spirit," an interdisciplinary musical that will blend theater, dance, opera, and ritual. Conceived and directed by Bonnie Cullum, the piece will explore the universal human concept of the spirit, drawing on research into diverse world spiritual traditions and concepts of the spirit or soul. The production will be the last in The Elementals, a series of original works exploring air, fire, water, earth, and spirit. Live and recorded music will be composed by Chris Humphrey and Chad Salvata.

Zachary Scott Theater Center

GRANT CATEGORY: Art Works FIELD/DISCIPLINE: Theater & Musical Theater

$40,000 Austin, TX

To support a production of "The Gospel at Colonus," a gospel version of the Sophocles tragedy "Oedipus at Colonus" originally created in New York City in 1985 by Lee Breuer. The piece blends ancient Greek tragedy and modern gospel, re-c nceiving the play as a church service in which the Oedipus story functions like an Old Testament tale as a text on which sermons and spiritual lessons are set. The production will feature a large cast of African-American actors, gospel choir members, and musicians from Austin. Associated activities will include extensive outreach to the African-American community and a series of community engagement activities.

City of Round Rock, Texas

GRANT CATEGORY: Challenge America Fast-Track

$10,000 Round Rock, TX

To support a performance of "Light it up Blue" by Blue Lapis Lights, a site-specific aerial dance company. The performance will take place in Prete Main Street Plaza during Autism Awareness Month, providing an opportunity for low-income adolescents and persons affected by autism to be participants in an event that speaks to the issue of autism.

(*) 2014 Season for the Overtime Theatre, San Antonio


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The Overtime Theater Presents Its 2014 Season

We moved into the location near the Pearl Brewery in June of 2012. And we attempted a lot in 2013. But now – in our most ambitious season EVER - we will attempt to program two theaters completely without outside help.

The Overtime will continue its mission of ‘theater for the people’ – maintaining an affordable and relatable theater experience. But we will also push some boundaries with theater that you can’t see anywhere else. This year we will put on 15 never before seen plays. This year we will try things we’ve never tried before. This year we are moving forward.


To be performed in The Gregg Barrios Theater

Portmanteaux by Deborah Yarchun: (Jan 24 – Feb 22) Liza, a recent college graduate and composer, works a manic number of odd jobs. When she’s not Duck Tour guiding, selling ads for a magazine about creepy places in Pennsylvania, catering, or tutoring, she creates soundscapes of her isolated existence in her now roommate-devoid, shelled out apartment. Her life-agenda is thrown into disarray when she collides with Dale, a young anarchist with a diametrically opposed concept of life. Through misadventures including an ill-fated attempt to fly a kite, urban spelunking, and an epic rideshare journey, Dale and Liza alter each other’s worlds.

Blue Story by Kristin Newbom: (Mar 14 – Apr 12) A multi-media, anti-gravitational leap through puberty, love, and death, as seen through the eyes of two overly sophisticated twelve year olds, a couple of savage brothers, a poet slash bomb-maker, and a heartbroken narcoleptic.

The Canard of Vaucanson by James Burnside: (May 2 – May 31) Adam, Eve, and Cain are invited to view something never before seen​--history's first work of art created by Cain's daughter, Daffie. The first family has built layers of resentments and has their own viewpoints about serpents, apples, and Abel’s death. And the artwork? A sculpture of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil complete with Serpent. Audiences will identify with and laugh about the family dynamics in this thoughtful, serious and silly play.

Glen or Glenda by Rob Barron: (June 13 – July 12) This adaptation of the cult classic from director Ed Wood dares to ask several questions, questions for the ages. Such as: can there be true love between an angora sweater and a man? And if a man - a man's man, a manly man - decides to dress in women's clothing and walk down the street in 2014, will anyone care?

The Professionals by William Razavi: (July 25 – Aug 23) Delilah Small is a big star stuck in a small play. The lead actor has a restraining order out on her, her agent is selling her out for a can of beans, the supporting actress may have dengue fever and even the understudies have been replaced by other understudies. When a seemingly incompetent illusionist is thrown into the mix things take a turn and then go down the rabbit hole as every attempt to establish order only leads to more frenetic hilarity. The Professionals is a play to make you wonder if it is possible to remember any truth if your entire life is a series of performances.

The Little Sparrow by Rachel Joseph: (Sep 5 – Oct 4) Momma, the famous singer of “The Little Sparrow” nightclub, tells the world her daughter Baby is mute. But baby is no baby. She sings like an angel. Will Jean Paul, Momma's long lost lover, set Baby free? Or will it be the Waiter, who learns their dark secret? Seductive songs, creepy suitors, and a strange world on the brink of disaster haunts this Oedipal tale. Musical.

The Beasts of Baverly Grove by Michael Burger: (Oct 17 – Nov 15) Where history meets fable, a town and a castle sit amongst the trees in seclusion. This is Baverly Grove. Both castle and community live separately, little more than a whisper to the other. The audience will make a choice upon entering: whether to follow the castle track, or the village. Their choice will determine what they see … and what they don’t. This play takes place in both theaters.

Murder at the Chateau le Shadow by Scott McDowell: (Nov 28 – Dec 27) Welcome to The Chateau Le Shadow! A lush establishment nestled in the mountains of England. Come experience a night of luxury and decadence that will tantalize the senses and leave you gasping for breath...literally. When a group of strangers are brought together at Chateau Le Shadow mysteries arise and bodies drop dead. Come to the Overtime Theater to experience a theater experience where YOU, the audience, can pick the course of the play and see up to four possible endings each night!




To be performed in The Stables

Clowntime is Over by Joe Green: (Jan 10 – Feb 8) Max P. Twinkle is a television clown who lives to entertain, because he's too exhausted by life for anything else. Today, however, is different. Today he finds himself trapped in a room with a bitter llama, a loveless bunny rabbit, and a fitfully hungry serpent that may destroy them all. Before the final curtain falls, there will be jokes, and love, and death, and entrances and exits. Clowntime is Over is a surreal comedy suffused with dread, as the clown slowly learns that rescue may not be compatible with survival.

Stripped by Rachel Joseph: (Feb 21 – Mar 22) Dora is Ida’s shrink. Dave shrinks Dora. Henry and Ida are in love (or are they?). Dave shrinks Henry, and Ida wants to direct a masterpiece. They are all caught up in an unsolvable puzzle. Pull up a couch, lean back, and let this strange dance brush past madness in a round of musical chairs, shrinks and freaks, life and art.

Working Title: The Most Important Evening of Theater You Will Ever Attend by the Aesthetic of Waste: (Apr 4 – May 10) The newest devised work by the madmen and women of the Aesthetic of Waste, "Working Title: The Most Important Evening of Theater You Will Ever Attend" is a grotesque, chaotic vision of Americana and tragedy. With action spanning our entire nation, this play features absurd glimpses into our darkest hours. Lewd, cataclysmic and the most important event to take place in contemporary art. America will live forever and never die!

Clonster by Andy Thornton and Beth Lorio: (June 6 – June 14) What makes a Clown? What makes a Monster? How are they alike? How are they different? What part(s) of our psyche do they each inhabit? Can a Clown be Monstrous? Can a Monster Clown? What would push them into each other? What does one have that the other lacks?

Breather by Sophie Bolles: (June 27 – July 6) In one minute, Jennifer Owens will lose everything. She will become... Something different. Something dangerous. And it will be up to two detectives and two scientists to answer the biggest question: What happened to Jennifer?

The Queen’s Castle by Scott McDowell: (Aug 8 – Sep 27) Wonderland. Oz. Places from our childhoods and imaginations where there is always a story to be told. When the evil forces of The Red Queen and The Wicked Witch join their powers to destroy Alice and Dorothy once and for all, the heroines find themselves flung from far from home and into each others world. Lost and hunted Alice and Dorothy must find their ways home, make a few new friends along the way and stop the evil Villainesses before all worlds are destroyed. Heads will roll and the road home is never as simple as it seems. This original, fantasy serial will unfold in 8 weekly episodes.

The Beasts of Baverly Grove by Michael Burger: (Oct 17 – Nov 15) Where history meets fable, a town and a castle sit amongst the trees in seclusion. This is Baverly Grove. Both castle and community live separately, little more than a whisper to the other. The audience will make a choice upon entering: whether to follow the castle track, or the village. Their choice will determine what they see … and what they don’t. This play takes place in both theaters.

The Journey (Invisible Cities) by Kyle Gillette: (Nov 28 – Dec 27) Between destinations, where are you? Who are you? How do the landscapes of your mind interact with the cities you move through? Inspired by Italo Calvino’s enigmatic novel Invisible Cities, and drawing from travel narratives, urban wanderings in San Antonio, San Francisco, and Paris, and the journeys that create the worlds we inhabit, this story explores the way we navigate real and imaginary cities.

That’s the Overtime’s 2014 season. Please contact us if you have any questions. Thanks so much for reading it all!!

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About the Overtime Theater In business since 2007, the Overtime Theater is dedicated to providing innovative and accessible entertainment at an affordable price. The shows are all new, original works, or unconventional adaptations of old classics. The Overtime Theater specializes in world premieres of works never before seen on stage!

In just five years, the Overtime has produced over 50 new shows, including six original musicals: Sheer Bloody Lunacy!,Pirates Vs. Ninjas, The Brain That Wouldn’t Die, Dr. “S” Battles the Sex-Crazed Reefer Zombies: The Movie: The Musical, DOA: A Noir Musical and Open Sesame!: A Bollywood Pantomime. Other notable productions have included The Good Samaritan, Poet Faustus, Sob! Choke…LOVE!, Action Philosophers, All Good Things, Ugly People, Frames, Life or A Reasonable Approximation Thereof, A Hitman’s Guide to Surviving Life, I-DJ, and, most recently, in our 2013 season, Sex Party, Masquerade, Henchmen, The Screen Dreams of Buster Keaton, and original adaptations of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Night of the Living Dead and Plautus’ Haunted House. The Overtime Theater also collaborates with local visual artists, giving them a prominent local space in which to display their works in the lobby of our location near the Pearl Brewery complex, as well as musicians and performance artists.

The Overtime Theater is a nonprofit organization as determined by the IRS. This decision has been made to extend the Overtime’s mission of “art for the people” to the greater community, including through low-cost workshops in acting, playwriting, comedy improv skills, and art by working professionals. The OT Board of Directors and Operational Directors offer their expertise and talents as volunteers, and actors and the production crew are paid stipends through audience donations and grant funds. Our ticket prices are among the most competitive in the city, as we try to keep the costs down and the entertainment as accessible as possible. We are committed to building an audience with an appreciation for new, outside-the-box productions — an audience that will also support other local theaters and arts organizations. The Overtime Theater Board of Directors and Operational Directors for 2013 are listed above. All serve in these roles as volunteers.

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Overtime Theater Board of Directors: Robert Barron, Jr. , Suzanne DeMarkova, Mary Griffith, Abigail Entsminger, Aaron Krohn, Seth Larson, and Scott McDowell

Overtime Theater Operational Directors:  Michael D. Burger – Executive Director;  Kyle Gillette – Artistic Director; Rob Barron – Communications Director


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