July 3, 2008

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Curtain calls
By Heidi Masek hmasek@hippopress.com

• Sold-out Silvermans: Sarah and Laura Silverman visit Manchester to perform at the Palace Theatre Wednesday, July 9, with Sarah’s boyfriend Jimmy Kimmel hosting, and Nashua comedian Chris Romero also on stage. The show sold out by June 25. Tickets started at $55 for this fundraiser for New Thalian Players’ summer Theatre in the Park. The Silvermans’ mother, Beth Ann O’Hara, is behind New Thalian. So, yes, the Sarah Silverman brand of humor will be used to support a nice family performance of The Wizard of Oz in Veterans Park Fridays and Saturdays from July 18 through July 26. See www.newthalianplayers.org.

• It’s big: There’s been a rash of Broadway musicals based on movies from The Lion King to Legally Blonde and Spamalot. The Majestic Theatre is in on the trend, presenting Big, The Musical, based on the 1987 film in which a teen wakes up as a 30-year-old. Big runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. from July 11 to July 19, with a 2 p.m. show on Sunday, July 20. Tickets cost $10, $14 and $16 for the community show. The Majestic is at 281 Cartier St. in Manchester (669-7469, www.majestictheatre.net).

• Rent for kids: And so it begins. A rash of productions of Rent will probably follow, depending on how rights are made available. The first group in New Hampshire to get in line for Rent School Edition was Rising Star Theatre Company in Kingston, according to owner Maureen Doucette. Rising Star might even be the first in New England to use this cleaned-up version of the 1990s hit Broadway musical about New York creatives, many dealing with HIV.

Rising Star is in its third summer, and some of the Rent cast, ranging in age from 12 to 19, have worked at the Amesbury Playhouse and Seacoast Repertory. Doucette said the hope is to turn Rising Star into an education venue and place for new playwrights. Shows run Friday, July 11, and Saturday, July 12, at 7 p.m. Saturday night is a benefit performance for Broadway Cares/Equity Fight Aids. Understudies will play leads July 12 at 3 p.m. The final show is Sunday, July 13, at 3 p.m. at Sanborn Regional High School at 17 Danville Road in Kingston. Tickets cost $15; call 512-5408. See www.risingstartheatre.com. In Rent School Edition, the “Contact” sex scene is cut and some swear words replaced, but it’s the same story, Doucette said. Weathervane Theatre in Whitefield has rights to use the normal version of Rent in August.

• The view from the corner at Angels and Alcohol: The “critic” was punished at “Angels and Alcohol.” I chose a seat at the corner of the bar at the fundraiser Yellow Taxi Productions held at San Francisco Kitchen on Monday, June 23. That meant I had a good view of the three short plays performed — the actors were often two feet away from me. I think I also ended up as part of the scenery, which was unnerving, but the spot really proved dangerous when I was hit by Nadia Taalbi’s whip.

Yes, her whip.

Things got really crazy when the four male characters in The Joy of Having a Body by Jule Marie Myatt took their pants off.

“Oh, my, Main Street’s getting quite a show,” I thought. I was sitting next to one of the disrobing actor’s wives, so I felt like I should avert my eyes.

Then the shirts came off and I started wondering if a health code had been violated in the restaurant.

There were four guys in their shorts, performing in an intimate gathering of what looked like mainly friends and family, while diners in the adjacent room might not have been apprised of the situation.

Previous to that play was Stand-Up. The one-man short built slowly and ended with the audience roaring with laughter. At the beginning of the Neil LeBute play, actor Forrest Lancaster spoke as if he were doing his first stand-up comedy routine and had no jokes. It got much funnier and gave the actor reason to show a wide range within a few minutes, from nervous nice guy to total jerk.

The event opened with A Rustle of Wings, in which a woman relays a story about hitting on a person with wings. Leah Belanger did a brilliant job with the main character despite a daft journalist trying to strike up conversation with her before the show. The actors were incognito, you see. She started that piece leaning against the bar, while two actors were sitting with the “audience.”

The SFK event was held to raise money toward the summer production in Greeley Park, The Beard of Avon by Amy Freed. It will be free to the public, but YTP missed out on a grant to put it together, hence the extra fundraising. They are also offering a free “Lunch Box Series” at their new venue in 5 Pine St. Extension. See www.yellowtaxiproductions.org for the details.

• Romeo and Juliet and NASCAR: Many of the “Angels and Alcohol” audience members were in the cast of Ghostlight Theatre Co.’s closing production of R & J the day before. For their Romeo and Juliet set in a Southern trailer park, they kept to Shakespeare’s text but performed it with Southern accents. There were plenty of NASCAR emblems and the nurse wore scrubs. Three musicians on a porch to the rear of the stage played subdued Southern rock tunes between scenes, starting with “Sweet Home Alabama” and ending with the whole cast singing Blue Öyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper.” That was the most literal one, with the line, “Romeo and Juliet are together in eternity.” The performance was altogether well-crafted. It’s too bad it ran only for one weekend. .


Ryan LeBlanc and Lauren DeCloux in Rent School Edition. Bridgette Doucette photo.

6/26/2008 Curtain calls

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6/5/2008 This one time, at drama camp...
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5/1/2008 Forging ahead
4/24/2008 The Bard, condensed
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4/3/2008 Singing for a cause
3/27/2008 These aren't recitals folks
3/20/2008 Albee at MRT
3/13/2008 Murder and rhinos
3/6/2008 Murder and rhinos
2/28/2008 The art of theater criticism
2/21/2008 Breaking the cycle
2/14/2008 Curtain Calls
2/7/2008 NH Theatre awards sixth year
1/31/2008 Elvis fans and ghost stories
1/24/2008 Building an audience
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1/10/2008 Fate of Annicchiarico
1/3/2008 A little confidence
12/27/2007 Stage notables in 2007
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12/06/2007 Curtain Calls
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11/15/2007 One-man play turns audience into students
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11/1/2007 First times
10/25/2007 Curtain Calls
10/18/2007 Curtain Calls
10/11/2007 American History
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8/2/2007 That deaf, dumb and blind kid
7/26/2007 Potty humor
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7/12/2007 Jekyll vs. Hyde
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6/28/2007 Transformations
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5/3/2007 Curtain Calls
4/26/2007 Still going strong
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3/29/2007 Reluctant star
3/15/2007 In a town far away
3/8/2007 Curtain calls
3/1/2007 Into the future
2/22/2007 But will it play in New Hampshire
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2/8/2007 Family affair
2/1/2007 Curtain calls
1/25/2007 Curtain calls
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1/11/2007 Curtain calls
1/4/2007 Fork in the road
12/28/2006 Standout performances of '06
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11/30/2006 Lighthearted farce for the holidays
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02/23/2006 Yellow Taxi's Theater Festival opens March 1
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A Tribute To Music
Actorsingers Deliver On Superstar
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Crimes Of The Heart
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Greater Tuna
Humble Boy
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Kids Tackle Edgar Allan Poe
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Spending The Summer On Stage
Stages of learning
Steel Magnolias
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The Warmth Of The Cold
Three nights, three shows at the Palace
Tosca

Under the Caribbean with the little mermaid

Wake up to ‘night Mother