Do Kill the Messenger

Guest performers bring cameo cutups to 'The Comedy of Errors'

What hath Mother Ginger wrought? For several years now, Ballet Austin has been enlivening its annual productions of The Nutcracker by having prominent members of the community "dance" the role of Mother Ginger, the big mama – literally, two stories high – who opens her skirts to release dozens of children for the Bon Bon dance. Because the role is so limited and so easy to plug a different personality into each performance, the ballet has been able to lure mayors, congresspeople, newscasters, UT coaches, and other high-profile types to step into Ginger's skirts and perform a little show-stopping cameo.

Now, director David Yeakle is trying something similar with Tongue and Groove Theatre's production of The Comedy of Errors, opening at the Vortex this weekend. There's a messenger who shows up late in the play to deliver all of 15 lines that heighten the confusion over the play's two sets of identical twins. Well, each night that role will be filled by a different guest performer, who, in Yeakle's concept, will literally stop the show. Yours truly will be the sacrificial lamb on opening night, June 11, after which a number of otherwise dignified individuals will hurl themselves into this Shakespearean fray. Here's the lineup, so you may choose your performance carefully. For tickets, call 478-LAVA.

June 12: Guy Roberts, artistic director of Austin Shakespeare Festival

June 17: Jason Neulander, artistic director of Salvage Vanguard Theater

June 18: Zell Miller III, poet and actor

June 19: Shannon McCormick, actor and host of No Shame Theatre

June 20: Brendon Walsh, officially the Funniest Person in Austin

June 24: Latifah Taormina, executive director of Austin Circle of Theaters

June 25: Dan Dietz, playwright and artistic director of Austin Script Works

June 26: Michael Stuart, actor and artistic director of Onstage Theatre Company

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Robert Faires, Mother Ginger, Ballet Austin, The Nutcracker, David Yeakle, Tongue and Groove Theatre, The Comedy of Errors, the Vortex, Guy Roberts, Austin Shakespeare Festival, Jason Neulander, Salvage Vanguard Theater, Zell Miller III, Shannon McCormick, No Shame Theatre, Brendon Walsh, Funniest Person in Austin, Latifah Taormina, Austin Circle of Theaters, Dan Dietz

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