Director Don Toner makes his exit from the State Theater Company, and Austin creeps back into the pages of American Theatre magazine.
Don Toner, producing artistic director for the State Theater Company and Live Oak Productions for the past 13 years, has made his exit from that company. The director's last day was reportedly last Wednesday, August 30, the day of the opening of Toner's production of The Beauty Queen of Leenane (see review in "Exhibitionism"). Little public fanfare accompanied his departure, but at a meeting of the State's company artists the night before, Toner did share the news of his last day, which led to some notable private fanfare. These artists that he considered the heart of the company, that he liked to call "family," took their opportunity to tell Toner what he meant to them. One by one, they offered personal tales and testimonials to his influence on them, on the company, on theatre in Austin. By the end of the evening, not surprisingly, there wasn't a dry eye. This recognition of Toner's efforts follows another gesture made by the company and staff in an ad in the program for Beauty Queen. In print, they thank Toner "for bringing to life Austin's first and finest professional theatre. Without his singular dedication, far-reaching vision, and passionate spirit, this incredible theatre would not exist. For 13 years, working with Don has been our privilege and our pleasure. We wish him continued success in all his endeavors." What those endeavors may be are unknown at present. For the time being, at least, Toner is enjoying a big hunk of vacation time.
American Theatre Notices
Readers of American Theatre magazine, the premier periodical of the nation's stagehounds, keep finding mention of the Austin arts scene creeping into its pages. In the September 2000 issue, the mag notes: the hiring of Dan Fallon as the CEO for the newly merged Paramount and State theatres (p.11); the election of UT Austin Department of Theatre & Dance costume designer Susan Tsu to the board of directors of Theater Communications Group (TCG) (and bless her, she even includes the Austin Theatre Critics Table award in her bio) (p.83); that playwright W. David Hancock, who contributes an essay on theatrical space, has a new play, Ordering Seconds, opening at Frontera@Hyde Park Theatre in November (p.17); and in this year's version of the magazine's annual Theatre Facts report, writer Linda Geeson includes a Case Study on public arts funding in Austin, focusing on the Zachary Scott Theatre Center (which is a member of TCG), with quotes by Zach devo director Emily Cicchini and a big photo of Joe York as Frank N. Furter from Zach's take on The Rocky Horror Show (pp.42-43).
CMACA Input Needed
The Center for Mexican American Cultural Arts has been holding public workshops to involve the community in the design of its new facility. The last of these sessions will be held Saturday, September 9, 11am-5pm, at the Austin Parks & Recreation Department offices. CasaBella Architects and Del Campo & Maru, along with Mexican architect Teodoro Gonzalez de Leon will lead the workshop. Call 458-5700 or 474-7898 for info.
Long Center Update
ARTS Center Stage will host a public review of the schematic design -- basically, the detailed floor plan -- for the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Center for the Performing Arts on Tuesday, September 12, 5:30pm, at the Mary Ann Heller Opera Center, 901 Barton Springs Road. Leigh Breslau, design architect for Long Center, will lead the discussion. To go, call 482-0800x105.