WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
 

Growing Up

Louisville’s annual theater festival features imaginative new plays

0 Comments · Wednesday, April 9, 2014
The 38th Humana Festival of New American Plays, presented annually by Actors Theatre of Louisville, came to its tumultuous conclusion last weekend, capping off ATL’s 50th anniversary season...  

A Shot of Kentucky Creativity: Humana Festival No. 38

0 Comments · Wednesday, February 26, 2014
One of America’s most important theatrical events happens annually just 100 miles south of Cincinnati via I-71: the Humana Festival of New American Plays at the Actors Theatre of Louisville, kicking off its 38th year this week  
by Rick Pender 01.28.2014 85 days ago
Posted In: Theater at 09:53 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
onstage blog 1-28 - pirates of penzance @ actors theatre -photo by bill brymer

Advising a Louisville Theatre Field Trip

Actors Theatre's "Pirates of Penzance" is a joyous, festive hoot from start to finish

If I could charter a bus and offer you transportation to Louisville over the next few days to see a production at Actors Theatre, I'd happily do so. I made the drive to see a Sunday matinee of Gilbert & Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance, "reimagined by The Hypocrites." This zany group of theater artists from Chicago have found contemporary ways to inject new energy into traditional works from Shakespeare to Golden Age musicals. And that's what they've done with Pirates, a show that was a silly musical hit in the 1880s on both sides of the Atlantic. In fact, what this energetic cast of 10 does with the show is restore its comic brilliance in a way that's wholly suited to the 21st century but in keeping with the original. The story of soft-hearted pirates, a soft-headed major-general and his melodic daughters and a crew of incompetent cops remains intact and is inherently funny. But The Hypocrites have pushed it to a contemporary level. Entering Actors Theatre's arena-styled Bingham Theatre, audiences were immediately immersed in a beach party on the central stage. Beach balls were bouncing everywhere; the ushers were wearing floral shirts. The performers, also musicians, were leading a folksy singalong, tunes like the Lumineers' "Ho Hey" and Paul Simon's "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard." It was downright festive, and audience members who had seating onstage (many with kids) joined right in with the fun. When showtime arrived, a few ground rules were laid out by actress Christine Stulik, who played both the matronly awkward Ruth and the sweet ingenue Mabel. She asked those onstage to follow any requests made by the stage managers, dressed as Victorian lifeguards, so that actors would have clear paths to move to their required locations. She also mentioned that the show would be one hour, 20 minutes, with a one-minute intermission. (That's what really happened: a quick break, with actors sipping bottled water, audience members running up the steps to an in-theater bar, stretching and so on.) The performance follows Pirates' amusing tale of the virtuous young Fredric, who is a "Slave of Duty" (we were regularly reminded by the word DUTY, spelled out in giant red letters at the top of one audience section). The performers executed their roles in exaggerated fashion, squeezing humor out of every moment. They also played an astonishing array of musical instruments: guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, flute, clarinet, accordion, squeezebox and other esoteric items such as a toy piano, a kiddie xylophone and a saw(!). They were all accomplished singers, too, and just about everyone played multiple roles — including sweet young ladies who doubled as comically mustachioed police officers. It was a joyous, festive hoot from start to finish, a wonderful tonic for a bitterly cold winter. My only regret is that I'm late to the party: The production of Pirates of Penzance wraps up on Saturday. If you have the time to drive down I-71 and can score a ticket (Actors Theatre box office: 502-584-1205), you'll feel like you took a mini-vacation.
 
 

New Vistas

0 Comments · Tuesday, February 26, 2013
This week marks the opening Actors Theatre of Louisville’s 37th annual Humana Festival of New American Plays. First up is Meredith McDonough’s The Delling Shore, about two rival authors and their daughters, a work in which words become weapons.  

Hitting the Target

Louisville’s Humana Festival features shows that could please Cincinnati audiences

0 Comments · Monday, April 4, 2011
This year marks the 35th annual Humana Festival of New American Plays presented by Actors Theatre of Louisville. Every year this event draws the attention of theater professionals from across the nation and around the world. Six world premieres are offered in rolling repertory, an amazing feat made possible by Actors Theatre’s excellent physical complex with three stages.  

And That's the Truth

0 Comments · Wednesday, October 27, 2010
I occasionally write about concepts that theaters might consider to give us a broader array of performances. Know Theatre recently established an umbrella concept, the Jackson Street Market, that’s beginning to produce results. With a goal of building and retaining the local artist community, the Market seeks to help local “artistic entrepreneurs” to leverage Know Theatre’s resources on their behalf.  

The Kite Runner (Review)

Bestselling novel becomes a compelling play at Actors Theatre of Louisville

0 Comments · Thursday, September 9, 2010
Khaled Hosseini's debut novel, 'The Kite Runner,' spent more than five years on The New York Times bestseller list. Published in 42 languages and made into a 2007 movie, the story follows the life of a young Afghani from the mid-1970s until 2001 and has resonated with readers worldwide. It's now a play receiving its regional premiere this month at Actors Theatre of Louisville in a co-production with the Cleveland Playhouse, where it will transfer in October.  

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