Now that the marathon broil commonly known as this past summer has finally yielded to sub-swelter levels, most of us will be able to stop throwing ourselves into the pool on a regular basis. But there are a trio of Austinites who only just started jumping into a certain pool -- a Pool with a capital P -- and they aim to make it a weekly routine throughout the winter. The Pool in question -- as if this coy act of mine could really fool you -- is Esther's Pool
, home of the fabulous Esther's Follies
, and it has three new members recruited from the ranks of Austin's theatre community. Boni Hester
, Allen Robertson
, and Blake Yelavich
are currently vamping it up and camping it up in the long-running beloved satirical revue. All three were courted for the troupe by Follies czarina Shannon Sedwick
, who wound up in the market for new performers this summer after a few of the cast regulars decided to leave Austin and try their luck out west. When a round of auditions didn't draw quite the kind of comedic talent that Sedwick wanted, she started scouting the theatre community. Certain names kept coming up in her search, chief among them Hester, Robertson, and Yelavich. She approached them individually and found all three intrigued by the prospect. They started rehearsing with the company in late summer and jumped into the deep end -- i.e., doing the weekend shows -- last month. Sedwick reports that Hester, a one-time singer with Ro-Tel and the Hot Tomatoes
, has returned to her Ro-Tel roots with "P.C. Angel," a send-up of Sixties pop. Yelavich is bringing to the Follies the same savvy wit that made his Naughty Austin
a stage sensation this past year. And Robertson, too often thought of as simply "that nice guy who wins all the Musical Director awards," is revealing his keen sense of timing and considerable comedic gifts in his portrayal of a renegade lounge pianist in a bit with Hester and another musical theatre alum Jerome Schoolar
, Forever Plaid
), and in the Biscuit Brothers, a country duo he and Schoolar cooked up. Catch the trio splashing about this weekend and every weekend. Call 320-0553 for more info.
And speaking of Esther's, here's an update on one of the Follies alums who headed west some years back and is doing pretty well for himself. Colom Keating, who created his signature character Mr. Manly while in Austin, then turned it into a smash hit on the syndicated radio market and parlayed it into more success through Mr. Manly books and CDs, has struck a deal with Twentieth Century Fox Television to develop a half-hour primetime comedy series based on the mega-macho character. Way to go, Manly!
Theatre Alliance Returns
Honing one's acting skills isn't always an easy thing to do. If the actor isn't getting cast regularly and able to develop skills through performance and hasn't the resources to take professional classes, options are few. That's what sparked Austin playwright and director Ken Johnson to found Theatre Alliance when he was running Hyde Park Theatre. Modeled after Los Angeles' Theatre East, the Alliance was designed as an ongoing monthly workshop in which actors, writers, and directors could present work and have it critiqued solely on the artists' objectives. Johnson is now reviving the workshop at the Dougherty Arts Center. One Monday a month, Johnson and any interested artists will meet and work. There is no fee. For more info, call 447-4338.