Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Fresher Than a Fruitcake?

Now, nothing against those cellophane wrapped blocks we've seen stacked up at Ingles, but we are glad to have this year's production of The Santaland Diaries recognized as "fresher than a fruitcake"!

Apparently, you can keep a fruitcake indefinitely as long as you store it in an airtight container and baste it occasionally with liquor.  Our lips are sealed as to whether that's been the secret to an 11th year of The Santaland Diaries.

Thanks, Carol!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Preparing for The Grapes of Wrath

Our production of The Grapes of Wrath won't be until April, but if you'd like to brush up on your Depression-era facts, PBS is premiering Ken Burns' documentary The Dust Bowl next week. As Stephen Colbert said of Ken Burns, "If he brings the grapes, I'll bring the wrath."

Here's a preview of The Dust Bowl:
Watch The Dust Bowl Preview on PBS. See more from The Dust Bowl.

And here's a clip of Ken Burns' appearance on The Colbert Report:

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Moment When it All Goes Downhill: Inspecting Carol

Inspecting Carol is a laugh a minute comedy through the last days of rehearsal before what may be one theatre’s last opening night.  The Soapbox Theatre is presenting A Christmas Carol in four days, and let's just say it will be a production no one will ever forget - from last minute casting changes to wardrobe malfunctions to completely disregarding the "measure twice, cut once" rule for stage carpentry.

So we asked our cast and crew for true stories about their own performance nightmares.  You may want to turn your volume up before you watch this.

PS - Here's the info on the background music at the end: It's Laura Vane & the Vipertones - Christmas Day With Me (coverclub.nl) / CC BY-NC 3.0

PPS - Note to self: film in landscape when using a phone for a camera.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Tech Work: Inspecting Carol

Inspecting Carol has a lot of fun technical elements. During our build weeks, it's so much fun to walk through the theatre and see what the scenic and props crews are up to. This week, it's spray painting comically gnarled giant hands, constructing a tombstone that will smack an actor in the crotch, and attaching pieces of pantyhose to foam turkeys. Business as usual in this business!

Our Technical Director Jill Summers filmed the video above of our stage collapsing. They've rigged it so that it will happen on cue. Which cue? Come to the show and find out!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Cast List: Uncle Vanya

The next installment of The Autumn Players' Readers Theatre Showcase Series is Uncle Vanya.  The play will be performed November 9-11, 2012 and is directed by Anita Chapman.

Alexander Serebryakov - Mike Vaniman
Elene, his wife - Honor Elizabeth Moor
Sonya - Carol Cole
Maria - Lee Medart 
Vanya - Michael Lilly
Mikhail Astrov - Robert Linder
Ilya Telegin - Kermit Brown
Marina - Valerie Hogstrom
Yefim - Gary Gaines

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Cast List: The Santaland Diaries

It's a short list - since it's a one man show.  And the one man is:

Daniel Hensley!

The Santaland Diaries will be Daniel's ACT debut! We're super excited to have him as a part of the team.

Director Betsy Puckett reports that the caliber of talent in the auditions was extremely high.  Thank you to everyone who came out - we know we'll see each of you on stage again very soon!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Audition for "The Santaland Diaries"

For the first time since 2002, we are holding auditions for our insanely popular holiday production, David Sedaris' The Santaland Diaries.  Auditions are Tuesday, October 9 from 6-8 pm at Asheville Community Theatre.  All audition material is provided, so really, there's no reason not to come.

Yesterday, we caught up with director Betsy Puckett (who you may know as Augusta Wind on the LaZoom Tours or as one of the founding members of the all-female sketch comedy troupe LYLAS or from her numerous onstage roles at ACT).

Betsy, who's the perfect person to fill those curled toed shoes?
First of all, it's someone who's had a lot of life experience.  He's comfortable in his body and can express comedy from head to toe.  He's someone who can think on his feet, who's interested in a collaborative process, who is excited to try new things.  This should be someone with plenty of personalities and characters rolling around in his head - the more the merrier!  It could be someone with a background in sketch, or stand up, or just someone whose family thinks they're funny!

Rhymes with sunny: Director Betsy Puckett
Photo by Karri Brantley
Does he like romantic candle-lit dinners and walks on the beach?
Ha ha ha - why not?  Who wouldn't want to stroll along the seashore in candy cane striped tights?

What else should a potential auditionee need to know?
This script is by David Sedaris, who is a brilliant writer.  When Sedaris just stands behind a podium and reads his words, it's hilarious.  So trust the script.  I'm going to be there as a "tour guide of sorts" - yes, my quotes - and together we're going to have fun!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Hairspray: Fun Little Slideshow

We just thought this was a fun way to showcase some of the great photos from Hairspray.

But seriously, don't miss it.  Two more weekends!

(Photography by Tommy Propest.)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Cast List: Inspecting Carol

We are so excited to welcome our next cast!  Read throughs and rehearsals and fittings and photos and openings and WOW!  Inspecting Carol opens November 16!

M.J. (Mary Jane)………………. Cary Nichols  
Wayne Wellacre……………….  Frank Salvo
Zorah Bloch……………………  Beth Heinrich
Luther Beatty……………….....   Cade Wooten
Dorothy Tree-Hapgood………..  Evelyn Zebro
Sidney Carlton…………………..Walt Heinrich
Phil Hewlit……………………....Craig Justus
Walter E. Parsons……………… Damian Davis
Kevin Emery…………………….Eric Mills
Bart Frances…………………….Marcos Cunha
Larry Vauxhall…………………..Steven Turner
Betty Andrews…………………..Katie Keyser

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Hairspray Cast Spotlight: Carson Fox

The fantastic Mr. Fox!
Carson Fox is a junior at Enka High who is making his ACT Mainstage debut in Hairspray as a member of the Corny Collins Chorus!  Though he's a newcomer to ACT, he's a veteran performer.  From an opera at the Diana Wortham Theatre to the Asheville Symphony Chorus at both Arden Presbyterian Church and the Asheville Civic Center to the stage at Enka High, Carson has performed all over town.  We're so glad he's added ACT to his resume!

Carson, what convinced you to audition for Hairspray?
It has been a dream of mine to perform at Asheville Community Theatre ever since I saw my first musical there, Peter Pan. When I saw that they were holding auditions for Hairspray though, I had to go for it. I think that Hairspray is a bright and funny show, and I am so glad that I was cast! Everything about my experience here has been amazing!

Now that you're here, what have you enjoyed the most?
Well, my favorite moment during rehearsal was on Ron's birthday.  Ron tried so hard to hold a music rehearsal with us, but every few minutes there came balloons, cake, or visitors! I absolutely could not stop laughing

But my favorite number to perform is "You Can't Stop The Beat!" This is not only my favorite song from this musical, but it is the most fun to perform. It's so catchy, and Tina choreographed some awesome dances for it. This song is the closing number, and if it doesn't end the show with a bang for anybody else, it definitely will for me.

Carson with his most serious hat
When you're not at the theatre, what are you up to?
That depends on the time of year, and what I've gotten myself into! I go to school 5 days a week, and stay afterschool almost every day participating in some kind of practice or club. Every Sunday I attend Maple Ridge Baptist for church service. In between school and practices, I keep myself busy with school work or exercise.

You've performed all over town - is there anything in your Hairspray performance that will surprise people?
A lot of my friends and family know me as a quiet and respectful person to be around, especially my church family. If anything will be surprising to anybody who knows me, but not too well, it will surely be the "corny" kid that I am onstage!

Don't miss Carson in his ACT debut - get tickets here!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Hairspray Cast Spotlight: Phaidra Foor

Happy Birthday, dear Phaidra!
Today, Saturday, September 29 is cast member Phaidra Foor's 13th birthday! Happy happy birthday to Phaidra - and what better way to end a birthday than with 300+ people laughing, clapping, and jumping to their feet cheering?

So now that we know what your birthday will be like, what's a more typical day for you?
I usual wake up in the morning at 7, and then do all my chores like dishes and feeding the animals. Then my mom or carpool drives me to school. I go to Evergreen Community Charter School and have 4 classes a day, social studies, language arts, science and math. After school I come home, do homework, get all my stuff done. Then if I have time I love to go outside and do hand stands and flips and cartwheels. Then when my dad gets home, I grab a snack and head to rehearsal.

What has been your favorite part of rehearsals?
Just going on stage and dancing to the beat! But I also love hanging out with the other Junior Council Members during our breaks. We can always find some way to be entertained. :)

Do you hang out together when you're not at ACT?
Two other cast members and I have hung out downtown but other than that our friendship stays in the theater. We have a great cast. And I think I have connected with all the cast members!

Have you done many shows before?
I was cast as Zeneeta in last fall’s Music Man Jr. and I was a Munchkin in ACPA's Wizard of Oz. Other than that I haven't had much theater experience. I auditioned for Hairspray because I thought it would a great experience and something to take up my afternoon time. I love singing and dancing and I loved the Broadway production of Hairspray, so I knew that this show would be fun and exciting for me. :) None of my friends have ever seen me onstage, and before this show I was a very shy person. So I think a lot of people will be surprised that I even wanted to do the show!

Besides coming to see you, what would you tell a friend to encourage them to see Hairspray?
We have the best Tracy, Seaweed and Maybelle! They will blow you away. The show will just make you smile and laugh. You will love it! The whole cast and creative team have made a great show that is definitely worth seeing.

Come see Phaidra in Hairspray!  Buy tickets here!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Hairspray Cast Spotlight: Lupe Perez

Lupe as Mr. Pinky
If you have been an ACT patron since the 1990s, you certainly remember Lupe Perez from his onstage roles in The Fantasticks, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Ain't Misbehavin', Fiddler on the Roof and Bye Bye Birdie.  And you've enjoyed his directorial efforts with 1940s Radio Hour, You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown and Dames at Sea.  But after an almost 20 year absence (during which he and his partner have been raising their three lovely children), Lupe has returned to the ACT stage in Hairspray as the flamboyantly fashionable Mr. Pinky!

Lupe, what brought you back?
I wanted to enjoy working on and being in a show again! It was also a chance to work with my friend Jerry Crouch.   Plus, I get to perform with my 11 year old daughter, Maria. And actually, that's been my favorite part of the rehearsals - watching Maria dancing and hamming it up. It's like she's a totally different person!

What's your favorite number to perform in the show?
I get to perform as a wildly over-the-top dress shop owner, with fabulous assistants, helping the lead character and her mother realize a dream! Plus, I am dressed all in Pink, as my character is Mr. Pinky!

Theatre is obviously in your blood, but you've taken a break for the past two decades.  Are there people in your life who have never seen you onstage?
Yes. In addition to my children, there are a few nieces, in laws, and my coworkers.

Co-stars! Lupe and his daughter Maria backstage at Hairspray
Do you think anything will surprise them?
I am usually very quiet and calm outside of the theatre, and the character (and this show) is very much the opposite.

What’s the #1 reason someone should see this show? 
All of us have had a moment (or know someone who has) where we felt we didn't belong or weren't appreciated, or were bullied or overlooked. The main character, her mother, her best friend, and many others in this story come to realize how hard that struggle is, and the joy of having a moment (or more) where they turn that all around. There is a joy and electricity as a performer and as an audience member, being witness to that moment!

Don't miss Lupe's return to the stage! Get tickets here!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Hairspray Cast Spotlight: Keturah Dickerson

Keturah Dickerson is making her ACT debut as "Motormouth" Maybelle in Hairspray, and ever since she auditioned, anyone who has seen her perform has been trying to explain the phenomenon by basically doing a mime routine that suggests that the audience will be blown into next week, then will raise their hands towards the sky, then will pass out. Because words are ineffectual.

So, Keturah, what brought you to ACT?
I auditioned for Hairspray because I wanted to explore an opportunity to do something different and meet new people.  I've met some new friends in the show.  Mark, Lessie, Echo and Danielle and Cassidy, but I hung out the most with Elizabeth.

Where have we seen you before? 
You may have seen me singing at my church (Restoration Church of Asheville) or at the citywide prayer vigil for Trayvon Martin.

What is a typical day like for you?
Keturah as Maybelle in THE blonde wig! Photo by Ewa Skowska.
I go to work at 8:00 am, then grab dinner in the car on the way to rehearsal, then rehearse at rehearsal, then papers when I get home (I am in school at American Intercontinental University as a Business Management Major).

What has been your favorite moment from rehearsals? I love when Ron (the musical director) has character voices to express himself in music rehearsal. And also learning Tina's choreography and running lines with Libby.  

Which number in the show are you most excited about performing?  
I'm most excited about performing "I Know Where I've Been." I think the people in my life will be surprised to see that I'm learning how to act outside my usual singing.

What are your favorite costume pieces?
Edna's yellow suit and Maybelle's blonde wig!

What’s the #1 reason someone should see this show?
The story line - it's one that shows how people worked together to make change happen.   The show is funny and will make you cry.  It's an experience everyone in Asheville should have.

Ready to have your socks knocked off?  Get tickets to Hairspray!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Hairspray Cast Spotlight: Richard Blue

Relaxed Richard at Rehearsal
Richard Blue has played a candlestick who sings (Lumiere in Beauty and the Beast at Asheville Community Theatre) and a feline who rhymes (The Cat in Seussical: The Musical at Hendersonville Little Theatre), among other roles around Western North Carolina.  So he's used to performing in unusual costumes.  But in Hairspray, he slips into the role of Edna Turnblad - and her footwear!  "My costumes are over the moon," reports Richard. "But the most difficult part is the high heeled shoes."

Richard is a retired Rhode Island high school English teacher (28 years) who currently teaches one class at Blue Ridge Community College "to keep may hand in." He lives in Flat Rock with his "ever tolerant" wife Doreen.

Richard? Nope - this is EDNA! Photo by Ewa Skowska
We asked Richard about his favorite moment from rehearsals.  He replied, "Seeing the show develop.  I've done many, MANY shows over the years and this one will easily be one of, or THE best I've ever had the pleasure of being in."

Have you met any new friends?
"I've always said that community theatre is an easy way to meet a great many people at once.  The same is true this time, though I feel like a grandfather being the oldest member of the cast."

What’s the #1 reason someone should see this show?

Don't miss Richard in what may be his most incredible transformation yet!  Click here for tickets!

Hairspray Yourself!

Here at ACT, we always do something special for Opening Weekend.  Opening Night, there's always a pre-show champagne reception.  The first Saturday is "Sweet Saturday" and we give away chocolates before the show.  The first Sunday we call "Q&A Matinee" - there's a talk-back with the cast, crew, and artistic team immediately following the show.  All of this is free with your ticket!

But for Hairspray, we're ratcheting up the fun another notch or two.  In the Lobby before each Opening Weekend performance, we're snapping "Hairspray Yourself" photos.  Our fabulous costume designer, Deborah Austin, has pulled out a selection of scarves, a gaggle of glasses, and a murder of wigs (What's a good "w" word for a group? Couldn't think of one, and since these wigs are killer, ACT hereby announces that a group of wigs and a group of crows are now to be referred to as a "murder").

You choose a wig, a scarf, a pair of glasses, and your best facial expression - we'll take the photos!  They'll be posted on our Facebook page - you can tag yourself or not.

All this and free champagne?  Or chocolate?  Or an insider scoop? Yes, please!

Opening Weekend dates are:
+ Friday, September 21 at 7:30 pm
+ Saturday, September 22 at 7:30 pm
+ Sunday, September 23 at 2:30 pm
And tickets? You can get them here!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Hairspray Cast Spotlight: Kirby Gibson

The luminous Kirby!
Kirby Gibson is a fresh college graduate from UNC Asheville's Drama Department who loves musical theatre! ACT audiences have seen Kirby on the Mainstage a time or two before, first appearing in the Ensemble in RENT and then singing back-up for Ty Shelton in Diva*licious. But she wasn't a big fan of Hairspray - that is, before the rehearsals started!  "This process has really made me come to appreciate what Hairspray has to offer," Kirby says. "I felt that this particular musical could benefit from the diversity and talent combination I have to offer. Given some of the subject matter of the show (integration, racism, bullying) and myself being a bi-racial individual, it seemed like a great fit for me to try and be a part of."

What are some of those moments from rehearsal that changed you into a Hairspray fan?
I loved the moments in music rehearsals where everyone would sing and all the parts were there, and it just sounded great. It's just so satisfying. Same goes for learning choreography. You have to get through learning it all, but once you have it down, it's so satisfying to just pull it out and do it!  However, I have a feeling my favorite moment has yet to come. I always get very excited when we do our first run-through with all the lights! I am stoked!

Which number in the show are you most excited about performing?
"Welcome to the 60's" is exciting because it is the first appearance of The Dynamites in our full-on costumes and wigs. We also get to shine a little with a couple of brief solos. But we are going to look and sound amazing, and the number in general is big and impressive, so it should be great. "Run and Tell That" has always been a favorite of mine, even before I knew much about the musical. It's just great fun to sing and dance to. The energy is high, the song is fun, it's just a good time all around. Wes as Seaweed does a great job and I love the choreography. By the end of the number I am good and out of breath!

Now there are also numbers that I'm not in, that I'm just excited about the audience seeing! "Nicest Kids in Town" is a great number and one of the first in the show. It might be my favorite choreography in the show, and everyone in it worked incredibly hard. It just looks great, and the song is one of the catchiest for me and one of the most fun to sing. Another high energy number."It Takes Two" is brilliantly performed by our leads, Brad and Elizabeth. It makes for one of the funniest moments in the whole show. I can't stop laughing every time I get to see it.

What else should we know?
The Dynamites' wigs! Incredible!
The wigs all look stunning and wonderfully styled - they're my favorite costume piece! I'm also a big fan of my Dynamite dress, shiny and purple!

And, whether you know someone in the cast or not, this show is going to be the definition of a good time. There are 48 very talented performers of all ages, and even more folks behind the scenes who have worked so hard to make this show what it is. The set, costumes, and lights are all incredibly impressive. Everything put together makes a fun, energetic, musical comedy.

Come see Kirby!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Hairspray Cast Spotlight: Leslie Lang

Leslie and her handsome husband, James
Leslie Lang is back on the ACT stage after starring in last spring's Chicago as "Liz" and "Go To Hell Kitty."  What made her come back? Leslie says, "I had such a good time doing Chicago I was anxious to try and get back up on that stage.  ACT is by far the best Community Theatre I have ever worked with.  It is definitely a "Community."

In between the evening and weekend rehearsals, Leslie can be seen on Sundays singing on the praise and worship team at Skyland United Methodist Church. 

What's it like to be a working mom and wife by day and a star of the the stage by night?  Leslie lets us behind the scenes:

"My typical day begins with my spoiled rotten toy poodle "Sammy" grunting for me to turn off the alarm because he is too comfortable cuddled up on the other half of the bed. My fabulous, handsome, fun husband James is most likely making our coffee so we can go outside on the back porch before we start our day.  My gorgeous, mature, smart, reliable daughter is running out the door to enjoy breakfast at Asheville School and catching one of her teachers for clarification before classes begin.  (Note - Sammy and I are probably still in the bed while everybody is going full throttle and my coffee is getting cold on the back porch.)  So.... I will finally get up and convince Sammy to move and then I have to pick up our shitzu off of her Princess Zoey bed and head out to the back porch with James. 

Mother and daughter or sisters?
Shortly after, James will head off to his job at Asheville School where he works in the IT department.  He loves what he does and he really loves being able to see Elise thrive at the school. I leave and go to Givens Estates where I thank the Lord daily for my job as the Marketing Representative.  I meet with a huge variety of people who inquire and move into Givens Estates.  I get to hear peoples stories everyday.  I get hugs and smiles everyday!!!  After work, I stop by the house to see the two most spoiled dogs in the world, kiss my husband and take off for the theatre for "HAIRSPRAY!!"  I get even MORE hugs and smiles there!  (Not a bad day huh???)

Once rehearsals are done, I call James to let him know I am on the way. He will greet me with a glass of wine, candles lit and a huge hug. (Seriously... are you jealous?) (Editor's note: Yes!) We will sit down at the TV to decide what to watch on our DVR. I will send my daughter a text (because that is by far the best form of communication with your children these days....) to let her know that I am home and downstairs.  We all discuss our day, most likely have some laughs, love on the spoiled doggies some more and head to bed."

How does she do it?  Fortunately, being a member of the cast of Hairspray is a lot of fun!  "You can't help but make lots of new friends.  We usually go out afterwards once a week. (Thank you Pack's Tavern...)"  

Leslie Lang in full Velma Von Tussle mode! 

Leslie could not be more different from the character she plays in Hairspray, Velma Von Tussle.  Velma is a conniving and closed-minded former beauty queen - she was crowned "Miss Baltimore Crabs" in her heyday.  And the audience will really get to know the inner workings of Velma in a number by the same name!  Leslie says, "It is such a funny number.  Poor Velma just does not get it.  She is stuck in the past and can't seem to change with the times."  What else? Leslie practically screams, "My WIGS!!!! They are sooo fun.  Stephen Veltman has done an incredible job with so many wigs." 

Don't miss the lovely Leslie Lang as the venomous Velma in Hairspray - the show opens Friday, September 21 and runs for four weekends through Sunday, October 14. Need tickets? Get them here 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Hairspray: First Look at the Set

Can you believe this space housed Felix Ungar's Manhattan apartment just three weeks ago?

The set for Hairspray is designed by none other than our fabulous Technical Director, Jill Summers.

So cool.

So's the set!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Jeff Catanese's Other "Bio"

Jeff Catanese (Oscar Madison) – Since the unfortunate incident at the arachnid circus, Jeff has spent most of his time scouring antique shops for misidentified Picassos.  In the past he has played such diverse characters as Man in Shop, Guy in Store, and Fellow in Retail Establishment.  Jeff recently attained absolute enlightenment, but lost it on a three-day cheese-bender.  Jeff credits his longevity in the theater to not dying.  In the future, he hopes to be a gelatinous blob that rules quadrant AE-6. 

Yes, that was the bio actually submitted by Odd Couple star Jeff Catanese. We didn't print it in the playbill - we chose to use his directing bio from The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee instead - and now are hearing clucks of disapproval.  Well, maybe just one cluck.  Maybe just from Jeff.  

We love you, Jeff!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Costume Sale This Saturday!

Bradshaw Call shows off matching gold lame' jumpsuits
from the last ACT Costume Sale - they sold like hotcakes!
Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes! We're having another costume sale, and it's this Saturday (August 18, 2012) from 9:00 am - 12:00 pm. Though we'll have the groovy vintage dresses and the table of completely kooky hats, Saturday's sale will also feature items that don't show up as often.

We cleaned out the wig room, and thus will have a big box full of fun wigs. Who doesn't need a blond blowout for their next karaoke foray? Or a short bob with teeny tiny fluorescent snakes woven through it?

There's a rumor that there's a full-on Braveheart costume as well, which might be perfect for someone's Halloween party. Or bachelorette party.  This being Asheville...

We accept cash, checks, and credit cards.  All proceeds support programming at ACT - aka the classes and the shows!

Hope we'll see you on Saturday!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Opening Night: The Odd Couple

Adam Arthur as Felix and Jeff Catanese as Oscar
Photo by Ewa Skowska
Tonight's the big night!  The champagne is chilling, the phones are ringing, and the set is completely trashed (on purpose!)

One of my favorite moments on Opening is ripping off the tape that seals the box of playbills, which are delivered straight from the printer's (thanks, Daniels!). I like reading the bios, examining the headshots, looking for names on the donor list.  But mostly, I love the smell of the ink - it's so certain and steadfast. Is that weird?

Betsy Puckett as Gwendolyn and Sara Fields as Cecily
Photo by Ewa Skowska

Later in the day, the flowers start to arrive. Deliveries come to the box office, and one of us wanders backstage, cool vase in hand, through the darkened theatre towards the dressing rooms. The stage is dimly lit with one bare bulb, and it seems to be humming, almost drumming its fingers in anticipation for the seats to be filled and the lights to come up and the actors to burst through the doors.

The flowers go to the hair and makeup station of the recipient. The costumes are neatly hung, steamed and pressed for the show later on.  Wigs are on Styrofoam head forms, which over the years have been colored with markers to resemble femme fatales, clowns, or Paul Stanley from KISS (and therefore they're pretty creepy in the dark dressing room).

Around 6:00 pm, cast members enter through the stage door. After signing in on the stage manager's chart, they climb the back stairs and are in the Green Room, where we've left candy and cards and playbills. This is when the entire building really starts humming. The ushers are here, the corks are popped, champagne bubbles into the cups -

And then the play begins. It's Opening Night!

Why don't you come?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Unbelievable Variety in the Variety Show!

DramaRama ends tonight with The Good Old Fashioned Variety Show!  One of the acts pictured will walk away with $500!

And you'll walk away with a lot of show for your money! Asheville's top stand-up comedian, Greg Brown, is in the show.  The choreographer from Chicago and Guys and Dolls, Tina Pisano-Foor, is in the show. Some of ACT's favorite performers from the past year (Bradshaw Call, Matt Harper, Nana Hosmer, Jeff Thompson, Emma Stoneberg - we're looking at you!) are competing tonight. Clarke Spencer will drop your jaw with his singing and guitar playing.  Regina Loveday mixes gospel with classic jazz. And Lisa Ross is singing her heart out (and celebrating her son's second birthday) at tonight's show!  

We have blues guitar by Harold Robeson, original folk music by Sea Guisando, a gospel number from Total Praise, and a hip hop/Bhangra dance by Christine Garvin & Diana McCall.

Plus an artistic rollerskating routine from Jessica Adams.

Plus a number by the unstoppable Shirley Cohen.

Emcee-ing tonight are the fabulous Betsy Puckett and the debonaire Scottie McCall.  The luminous 2011 Diva*licious winner Sara Fields returns to the stage for a number.  We're welcoming three celebrity judges - Matt Lutz who just debuted on Broadway, Charlie Flynn-McIver who produces tremendous professional theatre in Asheville, and the honorable Mayor Terry Bellamy!  And our incredible band is fronted by the always awesome Aaron Price.

All week, people have been buzzing about how much fun they've been having at DramaRama events. Well, this is the last one for this year - you're going to want to be one of those buzzing tomorrow! 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

You're the One that LaNita Wants!

If you know LaNita Cloninger, you know that she LOVES the movie Grease.  Loves it with a white hot passion.  So when we thought about DramaRama and about showing the Sing-A-Long Version of Grease, we called two people - Neal Reed at the Fine Arts Theatre and LaNita.  And of course, LaNita is coming with her Pink Lady BFF, Jane Malec!

The Sing-a-Long version of Grease is going to be a lot of fun for two reasons:

Number One - LaNita and Jane will be there

Number Two - You will be there

(And if you don't know LaNita Cloninger and Jane Malec, you are missing out!)

Friday, June 29, 2012

Cast List for "Hairspray"

After the incredible turnout for auditions and the exciting round of callbacks, the cast for Hairspray has been chosen!

Hairspray will open our 2012-13 season.  It's directed by Jerry Crouch with musical direction by Ron Whittemore and choreography by Tina Pisano-Foor. With that team and this cast, it is virtually assured that you can't stop this beat!

Congratulations to ALL who auditioned - just because you're not on this list doesn't mean you won't be on the next one!

TRACY - Elizabeth Sheppard
EDNA - Richard Blue
AMBER - Sydney Troxler
VELMA - Leslie Lang
PENNY - Gracie Turner
LINK - Brad Mercier
MAYBELLE - Keturah Dickerson
SEAWEED - Wes McCleary-Small
WILBUR - Pat LaCorte
LITTLE IKE - Jalen Blair
THE DYNAMITES - Kirby Gibson, Kimberly Brown, Lauren Russell
PRUDY - Melinda Soosaar
MR. PINKY - Lupe Perez
GYM TEACHER - Cassidy Robbins
PRISON MATRON - Rain Alexander
PRISON GUARD - Scott Cameron
HOOKER 1 - Megan McDonald
HOOKER 2 - Jessica Savitt

Maggie Conner, Carson Fox, Rachel Gordon, Mary Chamberlain Harlan, Luke Haynes, Katharine Izard, Wolfe Lanier, Tess Miller, Lindsay Salvati, Kyle Smith, Kristian Wilken, Phaidra Foor, Lexie Moore, Adam Marszalek, Genevieve Wiedeman, Imanol Yepez-Frias

Damian Davis, Tim Geib, Liz Kerbs, Scottie McCall, Megan McDonald, Jessica Savitt, Echo Parry, Zina Featherstone, Danielle Gonzalez, Maria Perez, Beth Norris

Friday, June 22, 2012

Cast List for "The Odd Couple"

We are auditioning and casting and auditioning and casting in June (want to be on the next cast list? Audition for Hairspray next week!)  Here's who'll be starring in The Odd Couple, the buddy comedy that launched a thousand Will Ferrell/John C. Reilly movies:

OSCAR - Jeff Catanese
FELIX - Adam Arthur
ROY - Walter Goodrich
MURRAY - Walt Heinrich
VINNIE - Craig Justus
SPEED - Ben Puckett
GWENDOLYN - Betsy Puckett
CECILY - Kelly Christianson

Start laughing now so that your abdominal muscles will be in shape for August!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Cast Announced for "Last Stop, Old"

Here's the cast list for Last Stop, Old by Patsy Clarke & Ellen Landau and directed by Arnold Wengrow.  This staged reading will be a part of DramaRama's Kick-Off Celebration on Saturday, July 7 at 2:30 pm!

TED - Gary L. Gaines
DARRELL - Ben Oliver
MIKE - Rob Storrs
BELLA - Martha Hogenboom
RUBY - Janell McLeod
HOPE - Hazel Robinson
PATTY - Maria Thomas
LENA - Ellen D. Dennis
VIOLA - Eileen Walkenstein
SHARON - Carol M. Anders
TYRONE - Will Storrs

Congratulations to this excellent cast!  Come out and see them, meet the playwrights, and celebrate ACT with cake and champagne!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Meet the Cast of "Spelling Bee": David Ostergaard

So much fun hanging with David in the backstage wig room!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Meet the Cast of "Spelling Bee": Jeff Thompson

Jeff, is that kombucha? Share it with MK

And here's link to the tumblr site that Jeff correctly spells. All of us at ACT are big fans!

Meet the Cast of "Spelling Bee": Andrew Murray

Andrew just moved to WNC from Pennsylvania and has been working diligently on his aura! Maybe it's a nice sunshine yellow?

Also, for your own Local Food sticker, give the fine folks at Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project a shout. Or go pick one up at the City Market on Saturday morning.


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Friday, June 1, 2012

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Still On the Lookout for Acts!

We are looking for acts!  Individuals or groups - adults or kids - dancers or musicians or comedians or jugglers or puppeteers or - well, you get the picture.  Here's the skinny:

June 2, 2012 from 2:00-5:00 pm: individuals or groups (ages 18+)

Saturday, July 14

First, second, and third place winners receive cash prizes!  $500 for first, $300 for second and $200 for third!  We want to showcase Asheville's best performers - and most unique! More information is here. If you have questions, ask!

Meet the Cast of "Spelling Bee": MK Penley

MK brings her own word to the spelling challenge!

Meet the Cast of "Spelling Bee": Emma Stoneberg

Friday, May 25, 2012

Meet the Cast of "Spelling Bee": Bradshaw Call

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee opens next week, and in preparation, we sat down with members of the cast to ask them a few questions.  Now, you may have questions about the show itself, but honestly, the show is even funnier when you don't know too much about it.  So instead of asking questions about a character's motivation or why someone should buy a ticket, we tried to capture the spirit of the musical with an impromptu spelling quiz.  See what you think:

Here's a link to the music we used in the video:
What You Talkin Bout Instrumental     {Mekka Don} (6th Sense) / CC BY-NC 3.0

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

UPDATE: Seeking Designers!

As a part of DramaRama, ACT is presenting a fashion show!  We're looking for designers to create a wearable garment from one of four categories of materials: feathers, floral, tape, or paper.

Things to consider:
 + UPDATED - DEADLINE EXTENDED: Enter by June 15 to participate.  Download the entry form here - and get more information here.  Or, register now online - be ready to choose your category  at time of registration!

 + The actual event - Costume Drama: A Fashion Show - will be held on Monday, July 9 at the Renaissance Hotel.  Tickets are $10 and there will be a cash bar.

 + There are cash prizes for the winners!  $500 for Best in Show and $250 for Category.  Winners are determined by audience votes.  And because we're in a fashion savvy town, the audience is going to LOVE your wildly creative ideas!

Get a team together or do it on your own!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Auditions for the Variety Shows!

We are looking for acts!  Individuals or groups - adults or kids - dancers or singers or musicians or comedians or poets or puppeteers or - well, you get the picture.  Here's the skinny:

May 12, 2012 from 9:00 am - 1:00 pm: individuals or groups (ages 6-17)
May 15-16, 2012 from 6:00 - 8:00 pm: individuals or groups (ages 18+)

Friday, July 13 - Junior Version of the Good Old Fashioned Variety Show
Saturday, July 14 - The Good Old Fashioned Variety Show

First, second, and third place winners in EACH show receive cash prizes!  Big cash prizes!  We want to showcase Asheville's best performers - and most unique! More information is here. If you have questions, ask!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

"To Kill a Mockingbird" Study Guide

Want more information about our show?  Check out our study guide, which was sent to all school groups attending our student matinee performances!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Cast List for "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee"

Wow!  We've put together a great cast for our next show!  Thanks so much to everyone who auditioned - it was a terrific turn out and very hard to make final decisions!

Rona Lisa Peretti - Nana Hosmer
Douglas Panch - David Ostergaard
Mitch Mahoney - Jeff Thompson
Olive Ostrovsky - MK Penley
William BarfĂ©e - Bradshaw Call
Logainne S&G - Carson Rose Funk
Marcy Park - Emma Stoneberg
Leaf Coneybear - Andrew Murray
Chip Tolentino - Brad Mercier

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Behind the Scenes at "Hospitality Suite"

Here's a GREAT video that will give you a bit of insight on the play Hospitality Suite from the point of view of the actors. Filmed by twingravity.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

"American Masters" on PBS Highlights Harper Lee

Watch Harper Lee: Hey, Boo on PBS. See more from American Masters.

Did anyone get a chance to catch the full program? I haven't yet, but plan on it in the next few days. (Here's a link to the PBS website where you can find the full documentary.)

This year is the 50th anniversary of the film To Kill A Mockingbird (the book was published in 1960).  Do you remember the first time you saw the movie or read the book?  Why don't you share it? Enter your memories in the comments below and we'll randomly draw a name on April 17 for two free tickets to the show.

Friday, March 30, 2012

"Hospitality Suite" Opens April 5

We cannot wait to open this show! Hospitality Suite is one of those shows that is jam-packed with thought-provoking dialogue, interesting characters, and a powder keg of a set-up.  In a nutshell, Bob (Desmond Zampella), Larry (Dan Clancy), and Phil (Mike Vaniman) are three businessmen who discuss religion, ethics, and industrial lubricants as they await the arrival of the possible savior of their ailing company.

I've been reading reviews of other productions of the show, and this one, I think, is very compelling.  It's written by an Anglican priest after seeing a production of the show in Denver and focuses mainly on the themes of the show, especially on the characters' differing opinions of the role that faith and religion can and should play in the business world.  The best part about Hospitality Suite is that it presents this debate as an actual dialogue - as the reviewer states, there is no "bad guy" and no "religion bashing" - which is pretty refreshing.  And the other best parts about this production of the show are the stellar talent of the cast and the enthusiasm of the director.  This will be a thoughtful, exciting show!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Hey! Thanks, Spartanburg!

The Autumn Players' Readers Theatre Showcase production of Over the River and Through the Woods was named a "Best Pick" by the fine folks at the Spartanburg Herald-Journal.

There are three opportunities to come and see this funny, funny performance.  On Friday, March 30 and Saturday, March 31,  Over the River and Through the Woods will be at 35below here at Asheville Community Theatre.  On Sunday, April 1, the performance will be at the Reuter Center on the UNCA campus.  All performances begin at 2:30 pm and tickets are only $5 at the door.  Not bad for a best pick!

And on a side note, Sandie Kay (second from the right) brought in an Italian cheesecake to share with everyone today.  If word gets out to the press that's she's as good a baker as she is an actor, she'll be fighting off the paparazzi with a stick.  Yes, the cheesecake was that good!

Hope to see you at one of the shows!

You Spring Break It - You Spring Bought It!

TONIGHT! Thursday, March 29:

Listen to This: Stories In Performance is back with You Spring Break It - You Spring Bought It: A Wild Week of Spring Break Stories in One Night featuring performances by LTT faves Scott Bunn and Rod Murphy, newcomers Brett McCall and Jill Summers (ACT's most awesome Technical Director), AND songs by Silas Durocher.

The show begins at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $10.  Wine and beer are available. Airbrushed t-shirts, tattoos of Smurfette riding a skateboard, or fistfuls of skee ball tickets optional! 

Guess what? We only have a few tickets left.  You can click here to get one!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Cinderella Kids: Bio Excerpts

There is a lot of awesomeness in this weekend's performances of Disney's Cinderella Kids.  And it will start with the contents of the playbill.  Yep, that's right.  The playbill.

In addition to thanking parents and cast mates and listing schools attended, previous shows performed and hobbies when not at the theatre, many in the cast shared a little extra about themselves. Here are a few excerpts from the bios:

Sydney (age 10) has "3 dogs, a cat, a snake, a hawk, and 2 siblings."

Annabelle (age 6) is "excited to be a mouse in Cinderella because she likes to scurry about."

Erin (age 7 1/2) is "fascinated by dolphins."

Kate (age 9) has "a major interest in polar bears."

Henry's (4th grade) "best friend is Holden Dewey."

Gracelyn (5th grade) "would love to be a newscaster ... but that may change."

Break a leg, all you fabulous actors!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Disney's Cinderella Kids - Full Cast!

How cute are these guys and gals?  We are so super proud of this cast of talented students!  And you know what's even better?  Hearing them SING!

They're on the Mainstage right now, rehearsing for their performances March 23-25.  The musical director is none other than the incredible Aaron Price - so you know the music is top notch!

Just wanted to share.

And say - yay!  Kids doing theatre!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Costume Sale! Costume Sale!

Sweet! Every now and again, a magical day appears on the calendar. It's a day where people have found vintage marching band uniforms, graphite Edwardian morning coats, and tiny hats that look exactly like birds' nests. It is the ACT Costume Sale. And it has appeared on the calendar once again.

Get out your ink pen and write this down: Saturday, March 17 from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. 35below at Asheville Community Theatre. Then, draw a starburst around that information and maybe a glittery arrow pointing to it.  You'll be glad you did!

Here's a partial listing of things you can find:
Hats - from Easter Parade confections to sensible straw boaters
Dresses - from caftans to evening wear
Specialty - own a piece from Chicago or check out our "Wearin' of the Green" Saint Patty's Day rack
Other - coats, sleepwear, wedding gowns, and other eclectic pieces

The ACT Costume Sale is a bonafide treasure hunt. We have literally heard people squeal with spontaneous glee when sorting through the racks. On several occasions, we've asked friends where they got that fabulous 50s frock only to be told it was at our own Costume Sale.  And they paid, like, $5.00 for it. Gasp!

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Cast List for "To Kill a Mockingbird"

Wow! We had over 90 people audition for To Kill a Mockingbird - and word from the director was that he could have cast this show several times over.  Asheville, you are a talented town! We're so excited that the cast includes some old friends and so many new ones!

Here's the list:


Friday, February 17, 2012

More photos from "Chicago"

Can't get enough of Chicago? We can't either! Check out these great photos!

Photo by Tommy Propest

Photo by Tommy Propest

Photo by Ewa Skowska

Photo by Ewa Skowska

Photo by Tommy Propest

Photo by Tommy Propest

Photo by Tommy Propest

Photo by Tommy Propest

Photo by Ewa Skowska

Photo by Ewa Skowska
Photo by Ewa Skowska