A grand operatic production of Turnadot by the Chinese National Opera has been canceled, playwright C. Denby Swanson receives a McKnight Advancement Grant, Davy Crockett gets caught in the Web, and Peter Pan receives his own Amy's Ice Cream flavor.
It promised to be epic, grand opera with a capital G, an event that would have made the splashy production of Aida at Austin Lyric Opera a couple of seasons back look like a flea circus set around a plastic parakeet. It was a production of Puccini's Turandot by the Chinese National Opera, that would have featured 150 performers, including 36 Chinese ballet dancers, and installed a life-size replica of Beijing's Forbidden City right there in the Frank Erwin Center. Obviously, "was" and "would have" are the operative words here. The spectacular production, which was scheduled to arrive in Austin on September 12 as part of a 15-city world tour, isn't happening -- at least not on the scale originally announced by Tibor Rudas, the producing organization. Just two days after putting tickets on sale, during which time $40,000 in tickets were sold for the Austin date, Tibor Rudas decided that concerns about ticket sales and insurance coverage justified pulling the plug on the tour. It's possible that a less elaborate version of the show might still tour to six North American cities, but that decision has yet to be made, and in any case Austin didn't make the cut. Full refunds for the September 12 performance will be issued to all ticket buyers within the next two weeks. For more information, call the ALO box office, 472-5992.
King of the WWWild Frontier
This Friday, May 10, the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum is participating in a webcast for The History Channel, and included in the event will be a five-minute snippet from Riding the Storm: Davy Crockett in Texas, the short one-man play being performed as part of the museum's current exhibition on the frontier hero. Actor Doug Taylor, who alternates playing Crockett with Ken Webster, gets to portray Davy on the Web. If you want to catch his performance, go to www.thehistorychannel.com at 11am -- or go see him (and Ken) live at the museum just about any time this summer.
If all this issue's talk of Peter Pan has you jonesing for a taste of Neverland, you might head over to Amy's Ice Cream. In honor of the Ballet Austin version coming up this weekend, the shop has produced a limited-edition flavor called Peter Pan Mint Chip. In the interest of good journalism, this columnist sampled some and found himself flying about the shop. You can get the scoop at Amy's through this weekend -- and of course, you can see the ballet perform Peter Pan Friday through Sunday at Bass Concert Hall. Call 469-SHOW for tickets.