LEAF CUTTER, written by Yasmine Rana (center, above), was a finalist for the City Theatre National Award for Short Playwriting. It was awarded a staged reading at the Olympia Theater in Miami at the CityWrights 2017 launch, and directed by Artistic Director Margaret Ledford (above, left).
“TL;DR: Thelma Louise; Dyke Remix” is a parody sequel, queer rock musical that asks the question “why do strong female characters always gotta die?” and turns the death as freedom narrative for women on its head. It starts mid-air in a Thunderbird convertible suspended over the Grand Canyon.
Starring Alison Lea Bender (Academia Nuts NYMF) and COURTNEY DANIELS (Shrek; National Tour) as T and L, TL;DR is backed by a band of badass rockstars. Loud and proud, TL;DR resists the idea that queer/lesbian narratives have to live in subtext and defies the “bury your gays” trope by giving our heroines the ending they deserve. TL;DR takes on the patriarchy, the gaytriarchy, and anything else standing in the way of T and L’s love.
TL;DR has a book and lyrics by EllaRose Chary and music and lyrics by Brandon James Gwinn (Dramatist Guild Fellows, Ars Nova Uncharted Residents, Feinstein’s/54 Below). The production is directed by Sash Bischoff (BWAY The Visit, On The Town, How to Succeed) and musically directed by ELLEN WINTER. The production features Scenic Design by Ann Beyersdorfer, Costume Design by JUSTIN NAKO, and is managed by CHRISTINE J. COLONNA. The band features SAM KASETA (Bass), WES RUIZ (Drums), and JULIET GARRETT (Guitar). NATE BERTONE produces the production.
This show is being produced as part of The Tank’s annual PrideFest 2017! Over the course of two weeks, The Tank is opening the floor to a wide variety of performances and discussions surrounding the topics of sexuality, gender, and equality. The works presented will celebrate this community, address challenges that are still faced as we strive for equal civil rights, and evoke or give way to new ideas and perceptions on how we define ourselves, individually, within our own community, and in the global community at large. Whether through unity or discordance, these performances and discussions, workshops and forums, ought to shed light on the dynamic individuals and groups who make up the vibrant LGBTQIAP community.
One comes to “The Merry Wives of Windsor” expecting broad farce, this being arguably the most comically potent play in the canon. Rich with humor and ribald in plotline, it’s among the most reliable workhorses in the Bard’s canonical stable.
As such, a director might be forgiven for dialing it in. Dawn Monique Williams was having none of that on opening night. Playing to a packed house on a perfect spring evening at the Allen Elizabethan Theatre, Williams and her troupe of bawdy thespians set the evening on fire with a night of theater that deliciously walks the line between classic Shakespearean hilarity and an entirely contemporary brand of satire. It takes guts to integrate 1980s culture into a play that was written circa 1597, but that’s what Williams has done, intermittently launching her actors into fabulously entertaining gyrations to the music of Whitesnake, Whitney Houston, and Blondie that somehow work ingenuously with the bawdy nature of the play. On production value alone, the costuming, lighting and musical composition are worth the price of admission — dance numbers by powerhouse choreographer Valerie Rachelle are superb. And we haven’t even gotten to the acting.
Read the full and raving review from Ashland Daily Tidings here.
The winner of the U of A Department of Theatre’s 2017 Kernodle New Play Award is Barbara Hammond for her play VISIBLE FROM FOUR STATES.
The reading committee—composed of faculty members, graduate students and area theatre-makers—also named Mia McCullough’s play Wisdom From Everything as a finalist. The contest, named in honor of U of A faculty member George Kernodle, had over 150 submissions this year, demonstrating the abundant diversity of new work being created by playwrights across the country.
VISIBLE FROM FOUR STATES is a lyrical drama that elegantly contemplates the intersection of commerce and faith. The play weaves together the plights of a struggling town that fights to stay on the map in contemporary America, while the residents confront their feelings about the death penalty as the prison up the road approaches its first execution in years. These themes and issues resonated deeply with the committee and pushed Hammond’s play to the forefront.
Hammond is a playwright living in New York and is currently under commission from the Royal Court Theatre. Her plays have won recognition and awards from many national and international sources, including New Dramatists, the National Endowment of the Arts, The Tyrone Guthrie Centre, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and more.
Hammond’s play will receive the $500 award and has been given a workshop as a part of the Arkansas New Play Festival. It received a staged reading Friday, June 16, at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and will be performed again Sunday, June 25, at 4:30 p.m. at TheatreSquared in Fayetteville.
Hammond is in residence to workshop the play. For details about Sunday’s reading, as well as the Arkansas New Play Festival, visit http://arkansasnewplayfest.com/.
Through the Kernodle Award, the Department of Theatre in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences supports and encourages the creation of new work for the American stage.