Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Autumn Players presents An Inspector Calls

An Inspector Calls
- A tale of the unexpected -

When Inspector Goole arrives unexpectedly at the prosperous Birling family home, their peaceful dinner party is shattered by his investigations into the death of a young woman. His startling revelations shake the very foundations of their lives and challenge us to examine all our consciences.

Written by
J.B. Priestly

An Autumn Players Readers Theatre Showcase production; in memory of Bernie Hauserman, 1937-2009.

Presented by The Autumn Players and Asheville Community Theatre, in partnership with the North Carolina Center for Creative Retirement - and with support from the Western North Carolina Jewish Federation.

Directed by
Margaret Sticpewich

When: Friday October 30, Saturday October 31, and Sunday November 1
Where: Friday and Saturday at ACT's 35below; Sunday at the Reuter Center at UNCA.
When: 2:30pm

Tickets: ACT Box Office: 828-254-1320 or at the door. $5.

The Big Bang wants you!

ACT's production of The Big Bang may not be until January, but the time to audition is right around the corner.

The Big Bang: A musical staged as a backers’ audition for an 83.5 million dollar, twelve hour stage history of the world from creation to the present. Eighteen side splitting numbers portraying Adam and Eve, Attila the Hun, the building of the pyramids, Julius Caesar and Columbus, among others, give potential investors a taste of the impending extravaganza. In the process, the opulent Park Avenue apartment “borrowed” for the occasion is trashed as the two snatch its furnishings to create makeshift costumes while singing and clowning their way through the show.

Audition details:

When: Sunday November 1 and Monday November 2: 7-9pm at ACT
Seeking: 2 Males
Details: Auditionees should prepare a 16 bar musical piece and bring sheet music for the accompanist.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Hallelujah Girls set for ACT in November

The Hallelujah Girls, a rollicking Southern comedy by the successful playwriting team of Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope, and Jamie Wooten, is coming to Asheville Community Theatre in November and December.

Hilarity will erupt when the feisty females of Eden Falls, Georgia decide to shake up their lives. The action in The Hallelujah Girls takes place in an abandoned church-turned day spa where this group of ladies gathers every Friday afternoon. After the loss of a dear friend, the women realize time is precious – and if they're going to change their lives and achieve their dreams they have to get on it now! But Sugar Lee, their high-spirited, determined leader, has her hands full keeping the women motivated. Carlene's given up on romance, having buried three husbands. Nita's a nervous wreck from running interference between her problematic son and his probation officer. Mavis' marriage is so stagnant she's wondering how she can fake her own death to get out of it. And sweet, simple Crystal entertains them all, singing Christmas carols with her own, hilarious lyrics.

The comic tension mounts when a sexy ex-boyfriend shows up unexpectedly, a marriage proposal comes from an unlikely suitor, and Sugar Lee's arch rival vows she'll stop at nothing to steal the spa away from her. By the time the women rally together to overcome these obstacles and launch their new, improved lives, you've got a side-splitting, joyful comedy that will make you laugh out loud and shout "Hallelujah!”

Having enjoyed long and successful careers in show business, Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope, and Jamie Wooten’s work has been seen by millions of people across the U.S. and around the world. Four of their plays have been performed at ACT, including the world premieres of Dearly Beloved, Christmas Belles, Southern Hospitality, and ‘Til Beth Do Us Part.


WHAT: The Hallelujah Girls; written by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope, and Jamie Wooten

WHO: Directed by Jessie Jones; starring LaNita Cloninger, Rick Sibley, Kerry Shannon, Susan Cain, Roger Magendie, Beth Heinrich, Rhonda Parker, and Joan Atwood

WHERE: Asheville Community Theatre – Mainstage. 35 East Walnut Street, Asheville, NC 28801

WHEN: November 20 – December 6. Fridays and Saturdays, 7:30pm; Sundays, 2:30pm

TICKETS: $22– adult; $19 – senior/student; $12 – children

ACT Box Office or online

Hope you will join us!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Meet Chris Martin, ACT's volunteer coordinator

Today we get back to featuring a prime player at ACT who is working to create a great theatre experience for our guests. Chris Martin has long been an active member of the ACT community. This season he took over as Volunteer Coordinator, a big, fun, messy job. Chris, who has done a bit of everything at ACT, is more than up for the job. In our Q and A Chris dishes on how he got started at ACT, and how you can as well.

Part of your job is getting people involved with ACT? How did you get started with ACT?
In the spring of 2000 I was working as an interim 1st grade teacher at Claxton Elementary School. I met Cindy Baldwin, a fellow colleague and well-known director and stage manager at ACT. She encouraged me to audition for the musical Robber Bridegroom. I was cast in the ensemble and thus began my journey at ACT. It wasn't until I received a volunteer insert from Jenny Bunn in the playbill of Deathtrap that I really began my commitment to ACT as a volunteer. Her enthusiasm and positive relationship with other volunteers contributed to my high level of involvement with ACT. From that moment on I went on to act in four other shows and began volunteering and working in almost every capacity, including stage manager, box office manager, house manager, Tanglewood Assistant Director and drama teacher, light board operator, sound board operator, costume assistant/dresser, props/running crew, props designer, and director.

Talk about some different roles that volunteers play at ACT?
Well, volunteers are utilized in the front of the house as ushers, house managers, and box office volunteers; backstage in productions as assistant stage managers, dressers, running crew, props crew; on stage as actors, in the technical booth as follow spot, light board, and sound board operators; and behind the scenes on our build crew as set builders and painters and the costume crew as stitchers and sewers. We are in need of volunteers for special events as well, including the Diva Cabaret, Divalicious, costume sale, Bele Chere parking, and many others. As you can see, there are many ways for our volunteers to become involved at ACT that fit their individual skill levels and needs.

What if you have absolutely no experience with the theatre. Can you still volunteer?
Of course. We encourage anyone who wants to be involved at ACT to learn different volunteer roles. We provide training for each volunteer role, so our volunteers gain valuable theatre experience and feel comfortable in their volunteer positions. Some of our volunteers keep the same position as an usher or light board operator for each show, while others try out other positions on different shows. I did this as a volunteer in order to learn more about the theatre and to find roles that best suited me. So anyone willing to try new things, meet new people, and have fun while doing it should volunteer at ACT.

Along with your volunteer coordinator duties, you served as the Stage Manager for Peter Pan. You must have been a busy man during that time. How did you get it all done?
Well, it was busy, but it gave me an opportunity to multi-task and get to know our many volunteers on that production. I had such a positive experience with Peter Pan because of the very organized and efficient creative team and the outstanding cast. It made my job very pleasant as well as manageable with everyone on the cast and crew pitching in and doing their jobs to their best abilities. The technical aspects of this show were challenging with everything from flying, pulling curtains, costume changes, crocodile wrangling, moving multiple scenery pieces many times for lots of scene changes, plentiful lighting cues, and yes -- live animals on stage. However, we had a successful run of this show due to the dedication of everyone involved.

You've got many years of teaching experience, yes? How does running a classroom compare to running a volunteer program?
They are very similar as both jobs require a high level of organization, people skills, multi-tasking, excellent customer service, delegating, patience, and flexibility. Both of these tasks require positive recognition of jobs well done, which is one of my favorite parts of this job -- not to mention getting to work with people of various backgrounds, talents, and unique contributions to ACT. I love planning volunteer events just like I plan classroom special events that involve as many people as possible.

Tell us about some important volunteer dates we should be aware of?

What: New Volunteer Orientation
When: Tuesday, October 13th at 6:30pm
Where: ACT Lobby
Why: Take a tour of ACT and learn what every volunteer role entails as well as meet other volunteers and find a role that fits your interests!
How: Just show up -- and call me at 254-1320 ext. 21 with any questions!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Bye Bye Maggie Hagen!

21 years, hundreds of costumes made, thousands of tickets sold.

Maggie Hagen began her tenure at ACT in February of 1988. She's done a bit of everything, including costume building for five years, set painting, and of course, managing the box office with expertise and grace. Today Maggie retired, so we celebrated and bid a fond farewell to a truly special member of the ACT family.

Maggie said she is going to sleep for a week, then take up her passion for knitting. We wish her all the best in her new endeavors!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Standing Ovation for Peter Tamm

I Am My Own Wife opened this evening in 35below at ACT. Based on the standing ovation from the audience, it's safe to say the performance was a hit.

"First performances are always interesting," said "Wife" director Andrew Gall. "You never know how an audience will respond, especially to a production that is as out-of-the-box as I Am My Own Wife is. However, we all felt a big sense of accomplishment and fulfillment at our first performance, and we are looking forward to having a great run."

Asheville's own Peter Tamm stars as Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, a real life transvestite and antique collector who survived the Nazi and Communist regimes. It's a one-man show, and what may be most striking about the play is Peter's ability to seamlessly transition from one character to the next. Shortly after the show a friend came up to me and said simply: "That was amazing." Yes it was. Great job to Peter, Andrew, and the entire production crew!

The show runs Thursday - Saturday evenings through October 24. Performance time is 7:30pm. Hope to see you at 35below.