Cheer Up Charlies
"...In that context, playwright Robert Schenkkan has rushed to stage a script that the UT Department of Theatre & Dance promotes as having been written in "'a white heat' fury just before the November 2016 election." Based on some references, Schenkkan appears to have touched up the script since, but even so, it's dizzying to watch the play and balance its already dated interpretation of U.S. politics against today's interpretations, in turn against projections for what headlines will emerge next week...."
"...It is a story people really should know. The University of Texas Department of Theatre & Dance not only does a bang-up job of presenting Lucy Prebble's entertaining and historically accurate script, but further reframes and modernizes the play with a cast composed of actors whose gender identities are either female or nonbinary...."
"...The University of Texas Department of Theatre & Dance has a new chair: Dr. Brant Pope, head of the University of Illinois' Department of Theatre, who is nothing if not enthusiastic about his new position..."
"...If you seek entertainment of the musical theatre variety in the Austin area, you probably go to Zach Theatre. Or to the Paramount..."
"...A small, unassuming insert is tucked into the program for the University of Texas Department of Theatre & Dance's production of The Crucible. It gratefully acknowledges the solution to an undisclosed problem..."
"...The play functions in three worlds at once in the University of Texas Department of Theatre & Dance production, co-directed by Charles O. Anderson and Robert Ramirez..."
"...There was no question in this year's Fall for Dance what time was being addressed by Dance Repertory Theatre. Again and again, works in this program stated, emphatically, insistently, with purpose, that they were focused on this time, the present moment, now..."
"...Ernest and Sarah Butler are well-known and active in the local cultural scene (he serves on the UT College of Fine Arts Advisory Council; she's chairwoman of the Ballet Austin board of directors and a member of the Blanton Museum Council), and they have a history of major gifts to the Austin Symphony Orchestra, Austin Lyric Opera, Austin Museum of Art, Blanton Museum of Art, and the Long Center for the Performing Arts. Plus, they have been showing extraordinary support for UT's School of Music for a quarter of a century, funding nine endowments there, including a $2 million endowment for the opera theatre program that led to it being renamed the Butler Opera Center..."
"...The trick is not to focus on how Anne and her companions died, but rather (pardon the cliche) how they lived. The UT Theatre & Dance Department's impeccable production of The Diary of Anne Frank soars above the challenge in (pardon the pun) the loftiest of fashions...."
"...Members of the Austin Critics Table have considered the hundreds of stage productions, concerts, and art exhibitions mounted locally between May 1, 2017, and April 30, 2018, and settled on what was outstanding in dance, classical music, visual art, and theatre in that span and announced the nominees for the 2018 Critics Table Awards...."
"...Robert DeSimone, director, educator, administrator (UT Opera Theatre)..."
"..."New" isn't just another adjective when it comes to the David Mark Cohen New Works Festival. This biennial event, organized by the UT Department of Theatre & Dance and named for the influential playwright, critic, and educator who headed the school's playwriting program from 1990 until his death in 1997, is intently focused on the new on every level: new works, certainly, but new kinds of work free experimentation with style and narrative and mash-ups of disciplines like theatre and sculpture or film and dance and new ways of working, with those traditional authorial voices, playwrights, and directors, mixing it up more collaboratively with designers and performers and composers in creating a work's identity...."
"...Sometimes universities feel like the most insular of places, ivory towers where eccentricities and pontifical discourse are sheltered from the urgency of everyday life. But other times, as with Dance Repertory Theatre's program of dance works informed by African-American experiences and culture, the university feels like a watchtower, a vital refuge for truly considering, from myriad angles, some of the most serious issues of our time...."
"...1) 'BLACK WATCH' (Texas Performing Arts) The National Theatre of Scotland used every weapon in theatre's arsenal – language, movement, light, sound, costume, theatricality – to put us in the boots of Scottish soldiers in Iraq, and the unforgettable images and sublime stagecraft brought home all the pride, anger, pain, and loyalty of those brave men...."
"...In March of 2013, a room that I was sitting in suddenly went dark, and I was whisked away into an underground world of runaway orphans, midnight circuses, complimentary muffins in strange rooms, and breakneck escapes through butcher-paper forests before being led up a winding staircase into a magical dance party. This thrillingly theatrical odyssey, titled Slip River, was devised for that year's Cohen New Works Festival by a quartet of the UT Department of Theatre & Dance's most enterprising and inventive students at the time – Katie Bender, Stephanie Busing, Abe Koogler, and Gabrielle Reisman..."
"...1) Present Laughter (Zachary Scott Theatre Center) "I've been to a marvelous party," sang Noël Coward once upon a time, and that was my thought after seeing Dave Steakley's high-gloss, high-spirited revival of this Coward comedy. Cliff Simon's set and Susan Branch's costumes had style to burn, the cabaret numbers were intoxicating, and the comic verve of the cast – led by an uproarious Jamie Goodwin, giving a master class in theatrical vanity – left me positively elated..."
"...Coleman Jennings hasn't been a child for many, many years, but he has devoted his life to the child in all of us. For close to half a century, he has been studying, creating, and teaching others to create theatre for children and youth..."
"...Planet Theatre: Tomorrowland..."
"...1) 'THE DROWSY CHAPERONE' (ZACH THEATRE) A speakeasy's worth of cocktails couldn't match the intoxicating lift of this spoofy toast to musicals. A dream team of Zach all-stars – Martin Burke, Jill Blackwood, Meredith McCall, Jamie Goodwin, et al..."
"...When it comes to new plays, the UT Department of Theatre & Dance means business. Not only does it maintain one of the most respected playwriting programs in the country, with exceedingly fine playwrights, both established and emerging, on the faculty, it also makes a point of mounting new works by its students, through workshop productions in the biannual David Mark Cohen New Works Festival and full productions in the department's season..."
"...In Austin, these are good days for getting that razzle-dazzle rush that stage musicals provide. The theatre scene is bustling with Broadway-brand beltin' and steppin', with revivals of the classics of the American musical theatre and productions of newer shows that serve up the form's classic pizzazz, with companies committed to the works of this cherished form, and with artists who are breathing sweet, imaginative life into them..."
"...1) 'SLIP RIVER' (UT Dept. of Theatre & Dance/Cohen New Works Festival) Spiriting its audience beneath the Payne Theatre, past clotheslines and through butcher-paper forests, feeding it cornbread muffins, and leaving it onstage in a festive dance party, this exhilaratingly theatrical mash-up of 19th century novels and modern pop – its orphan hero chases freedom along an "underground railroad" run by Beyoncé! – packed more imagination, adventure, and wit into half an hour than most plays do in three times that...."
"...1) 'THE AMAZING ACRO-CATS' The performing cats wandered freely through the audience, making the whole theatre their set...."
"...This week, the young artists of Dance Repertory Theatre, UT's resident student dance company, will be making the leap to the national stage quite literally. On May 16, DRT will perform at the John F..."
"...3) An Evening With Anna Deveare Smith (Zachary Scott Theatre Center) This one-night visit to Zach revealed a master theatre artist at the top of her form, embodying people she's interviewed including several Austinites with uncanny skill. But more compelling was the manner in which she spoke powerfully to issues of justice and morality, and the sense of authority she brought to them..."
"...Recipients of the letter weren't reassured. Within days, Butler School of Music faculty and the Graduate Art History Association sent the dean letters of concern, which were followed by similar letters from faculty in the Department of Theatre & Dance and the Department of Art & Art History, as well as a letter signed by more than 400 alumni..."
"...1) Porgy and Bess (Zach Theatre) George Gershwin's 1930s folk opera rescored for the 21st century. Arranger Greg Bolin distilled the original's grand orchestra to an intimate combo, over which director Dave Steakley laid richly personal rhythms of jazz and gospel, as well as some deeply evocative visuals, to bring this American classic home with freshness and immediacy...."
"...Thursday, Oct. 19Austin Improv Collective: Thursday Night Awesome; The Hideout Theatre, 617 Congress..."
"...1) Ophelia (Tutto Theatre Company) Full of magic moments and dramatic direction, Ophelia wowed this admitted Bardophile from start to finish...."
"...Beyond seminal thought and timeless ideas, there are more practical reasons for producing the classics. The UT Department of Theatre and Dance is producing Shakespeare's Macbeth, but not necessarily because it is a great and enduring play..."
"...3) BLOOD, GUTS, AND FIGHT CHOREOGRAPHY IN 'TITUS ANDRONICUS' (Last Act Theatre Company)..."
"...The writer James Baldwin is part of the inspiration for Anderson's work-in-progress, Restless Natives, an excerpt of which his company, Dance Theatre X, will perform alongside an evening-length work by the South Africa-born, France-based Vincent Mantsoe. Mantsoe, a friend and collaborator of Anderson's, has performed solos in Austin twice thanks to Dance Umbrella, but this time UT's Department of Theatre & Dance is bringing him along with his company, Association Noa..."
"...Well, for the past few months, theatre and making a number of Central Texans uncomfortable...."
"...1) 'BOBRAUSCHENBERGAMERICA' (MARY MOODY NORTHEN THEATRE) Modern art's master of collage celebrated in a theatrical mash-up of chicken jokes, picnics, pingpong ball cloudbursts, lovers' spats, boot-scootin' Whitmanesque rhapsodies, and more. As offbeat, vibrant, and eager to see wonder in the mundane as Rauschenberg's work, this boisterous joyride was so exhilarating that when it ended, I wanted it to start all over again...."
"...The Austin Theatre Critics' Table have announced nominations for their eighth annual awards for achievement in theatre. The participating critics -- Michael Barnes, Jamie Smith Cantara, and Jeanne Claire van Ryzin, Austin American-Statesman; and Robert Faires and Sarah Hepola, The Austin Chronicle -- honored work produced on Austin stages during the period May 1999-April 2000..."
"...1) Urinetown: The Musical (Zachary Scott Theatre Center) This unlikeliest of Broadway hits a parody of Thirties political musicals, laden with bad puns, musical theatre in-jokes, and that put-you-off-your-lunch title landed in town with a mighty splash, thanks to director Dave Steakley and his polished production team, who not only got all its obscure jokes but served them up in a flood of high spirits and comic verve that left us breathless and giddy...."
"...It's a new year, and at the State Theatre that means much that's new, including the artistic director. Michelle Polgar, who was appointed acting artistic director following the termination of Scott Kanoff last October, has been named to the job for good, and as one of her first official duties, she's announced some new additions to the State season..."
"...When he first approached her about The Way She Spoke, Karen Rodriguez was more than a little nervous. She and playwright Isaac Gomez were dear friends and frequent collaborators, having become close as undergraduates in the Department of Theatre & Dance at the University of Texas at Austin, but Rodriguez had never tackled a solo piece before..."
"...After seeing all four productions in the current outing of UT New Theatre in the University of Texas Department of Theatre & Dance, this I can happily report. That rust-stained emblem of 20th century domestic drama and the onstage realism to which it stayed bolted like a fixture to a wall has not been installed in any of the 21st century theatrical structures erected here..."
"...His work can be heard all over the place, as witnessed by the cluster of Lang compositions being presented in Austin this spring. The University of Texas' Department of Theatre & Dance is currently staging The Difficulty of Crossing a Field, the one-act opera that Lang and playwright Mac Wellman adapted from Ambrose Bierce's short story about a Southern planter who abruptly vanishes in his field..."
"...Weighty subjects dominate the story, and its excess of violence, language, extreme sexual content, and substance abuse would likely earn it an NC-17 rating in the cinema. However, the undergraduate actors of this UT Department of Theatre & Dance production, led by MFA director Cara Phipps, handles the material with maturity beyond their young years..."
"...Then, on Thursday, nationally renowned dramatist Steven Dietz, who quietly joined the UT Department of Theatre & Dance faculty last year, was awarded an Edgar from the Mystery Writers of America for his play Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure. Commissioned by the Arizona Theatre Company, which premiered it last spring, the play conflates the Arthur Conan Doyle stories "A Scandal in Bohemia" and "The Final Problem" with William Gillette's wildly successful dramatic adaptation from 1899 into one jam-packed adventure featuring both Holmes' archenemy, professor James Moriarty, and his love interest, Irene Adler...."
"...They all say it. In one way or another, with serious eyes and earnest faces, or laughing, or mad, they all tell me, "Don't underestimate kids." They are the more than 30 preteens and teenagers interviewed for this story who are involved in various Austin youth theatre programs..."
"...The eight-member task force – consisting of two UT Libraries staffers, two Humanities liaison librarians, two faculty members (one from the Department of Art and Art History, one from the Butler School of Music), and two students (one undergrad from the Butler School, one grad student from the Department of Theatre & Dance) – had just three months to sort through all the complexities regarding the repurposing of the Doty Building's fourth floor for use by the college's new School for Design and Creative Technologies – a move that led to 150,000 items in the FAL collection being relocated off-site – and complete its report...."
"...In Lost Girl, the University of Texas Department of Theatre & Dance has built a world simultaneously steeped in magic and the mundane. Elements like the simple (yet elegant) set design, surprise movement pieces, and a Greek-esque chorus replace faith, trust, and pixie dust with fear, loneliness, and fireflies...."
"...Free theatre. A great way to get people to sample some of the art of the stage, yes? That was the thinking of Theatre Communi-cations Group, a national service organization for nonprofit theatres, when it launched the pilot program of Free Night of Theater in 2005, and the results were encouraging..."
"...The Austin Theatre Critics' Table have announced nominations for their sixth annual awards for achievement in theatre. The participating critics — Michael Barnes, Jamie Smith, and Anna Hanks, Austin American-Statesman; Jerry Conn, West Austin News; and Robert Faires, Adrienne Martini, and Sarah Hepola, The Austin Chronicle — honored work produced on Austin stages during the period May 1997-April 1998..."
"...Theatre Room, UT campus, through November 23, Running Time: 2 hrs..."
"...The lovely, young, and heartbroken Ophelia is a prime example. The promotional material for Tutto Theatre Company's upcoming production of Ophelia describes her as "literature's most woefully underwritten female." Dustin Wills, who wrote the play and is directing this production, is fascinated by what Shakespeare doesn't tell us..."