Central Texas writer Tom Grimes has a play date in L.A., Deborah Hay duets with Baryshnikov in Brooklyn, and Jouét flies off to Louisville, plus legislative applause for Austin musicals Jouét and Oliver!
On the Road Again Again
Tom Grimes, noted author, director of the MFA program in Creative Writing at Southwest Texas State, and occasional Chronicle contributor, has a new play, New World, opening in Los Angeles this week. Set in the president's hunting lodge, the play depicts the commander-in-chief having a bad night: trouble with alcohol, the first lady, scheming aides, senility, and a war that he is more or less stumbling into. The MET Theatre, where Grimes directs the company's "Great Writers Series," is producing the play. He had his first play, Spec, produced there in 1991. (At the time, the small Hollywood theatre counted such lightweights as Holly Hunter, Ed Harris, Beth Henley, and Alfre Woodard among its board members.)
Deborah Hay is on the road -- and on the stage with Misha again. The accomplished local choreographer is one of several modern-dance pioneers of the Sixties and Seventies included in PASTForward, Mikhail Baryshnikov's celebration of some of the most influential American choreographers who came of age in the Age of Aquarius. The ballet superstar's White Oak Dance Project has been touring the program nationally, and this week it takes PASTForward to the Brooklyn Academy of Music, where Hay's dance Whizz, which she choreographed for the full company, will be performed every evening June 5-9. And on June 7, Hay gets to dance Single Duet, the piece she choreographed and performs alone with Baryshnikov.
Jouét may have given her final concert in Austin, but the global pop star isn't history. She'll be giving a whole new round of farewell appearances at one of the country's best-known resident theatres, Actors Theatre of Louisville, starting July 10. Marc Masterson, ATL artistic director and good pal of Zachary Scott Theatre Center Artistic Director Dave Steakley, came down for Zach's world premiere run of Allen Robertson's new musical and quicker than you can say "import," set about arranging for Jouét's second production in his own theatre. Three members of the show's original production team will fly to the Bluegrass State for the reprise: Robertson, who also plays backup band musician Svern, director Steakley, and Jouét herself, actress Meredith McCall.
Lege Lauds Lyrical Locals
Who knew those legislators were such musical theatre buffs? Before the 77th Lege gaveled sine die this past week, the Texas House of Representatives managed to adopt a pair of resolutions recognizing local stage musicals and the artists who made them. The aforementioned Jouét was the subject of House Resolution 1153, introduced by Rep. Ann Kitchen to honor composer Allen Robertson and star Meredith McCall "on the occasion of Jouét's triumphant world premiere and extend to them sincere best wishes for continued success in their many endeavors." Meanwhile, Austin Musical Theatre was recognized in HR 1010, introduced by Rep. Glenn Maxey to pay tribute to AMT as "an exciting addition to the performing arts in the Capital City" and "recognize the directing team of Scott Thompson and Richard Byron and Austin Musical Theatre on the occasion of the theatre's current production of Oliver! and for the success of the Performing Arts Academy and the Junior Company." Good calls, Lege!
Git Yer Red Hot Awards!
The Austin Theatre Critics Table is ready to hand out its annual set of awards, and we finally have a date and time for the ceremony: Monday, June 10, 7pm, at Bad Dog Comedy Theater, 110 E. Riverside.