The sophomore production for the Actors Repertory of Texas theatre company.
ART Forges Ahead
One of the big arts stories last fall was the debut of Actors Repertory of Texas, the professional theatre company forged by local producer Charles H. Duggan and the UT Department of Theatre & Dance, which burst on the scene with a full production of the previously unproduced Tennessee Williams play Spring Storm. For those folks wondering what this ambitious new company was going to do for an encore, we finally have an answer -- I say finally because ART originally planned to follow its November premiere with a February staging of the Terrence McNally hit Master Class, with Faye Dunaway as Maria Callas. But conflicts with Dunaway's schedule forced ART to shift Class to the back burner. February came and went with no replacement show and no official word on the company's future plans, although the rumor mill had ART attempting an Austin run of If Memory Serves, a new comedy by Jonathan Tolins, author of The Twilight of the Golds, that Duggan had shepherded from California to Broadway, where it got a chilly reception last December. No plans to bring that show here ever solidified. Earlier this month, a new buzz began about ART's sophomore effort, and last week the company confirmed the rumor: In May, Duggan and ART will mount an Austin production of Love Letters, the popular epistolary romance by A.R. Gurney, with Joan Collins and Stacy Keach in the starring roles. Both actors have extensive careers in theatre, film, and television, and, coincidentally, both are making prominent returns to the tube this spring, Keach in a regular role in the Fox sitcom Titus, Collins in a guest-starring stint on the NBC sitcom Will and Grace. No doubt the familiarity of their faces will help boost sales for the Love Letters run and add a little star wattage to the first season of ART. Certainly, Duggan is working hard to make the most of his celebrity leads' presence for the show, with reports that he plans to supplement the run of the play with a "Hollywood in Austin" celebration at Fonda San Miguel on Monday, May 8; an Inside the Actors' Studio-style presentation at UT with Keach that week; and a "Famous Mothers and Daughters" tea the closing Sunday, which happens to be Mother's Day. This project may not be the boldest choice ART could have made for its second show, but if a proven work with proven stars can help this company get on its feet after its somewhat stormy debut and develop its profile locally, it will be well worth it. Love Letters will run May 6-14 at the Paramount. For more information, call 472-5470.
An Evening at Malaga: Tapas and Flamenco combines the savory Mediterranean cuisine and fiery footwork to benefit Blue Pearl, a new production site-specific work from choreographer extraordinaire Sally Jacques and the third part of her Scaffolding Trilogy. Teye and Viva el Flamenco will perform at the event, which takes place Sunday, March 26, 6pm, at Malaga, 208 W. Fourth. For info, call 444-1672.
Austin Script Works is soliciting qualified playwrights for its CORE membership for the year 2000-2001. Any playwright in the Central Texas region who has written one full-length play is welcome to apply. For guidelines and an application, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Austin Script Works, PO Box 9787, Austin, TX 78766. Deadline for applications is April 1, 2000. For more info, call John Walch at 454-9727 or visit http://www.scriptworks.org.