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Performer Match: Vortex Repertory Co.

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Warning! Nudity!
Austinites love to shed their clothes, and a number of them do it onstage -- what's up with that? Some of the city's most nakedness-prone actors, performance artists, and directors expose their reasons to arts writer Ada Calhoun.
Arts Story  April 14, 2000, by Ada Calhoun
"...When director Bonnie Cullum is doling out the nude roles at the Vortex, Dear is the first to raise her hand. She has disrobed for a number of VORTEX Repertory Company productions, including the cyber-operas of The X & Y Trilogy, Chad Salvata's film The Tetragons, and the recent ritual theatre piece Dark Goddess, in which she played the very naked Sumerian Goddess Inanna..."

B. Iden Payne Award Nominations, 1999-2000
Arts Story  August 18, 2000, by Robert Faires
"...Iden Payne, who spent his later years in Austin at the University of Texas. This year, 59 productions by 30 different companies were honored with nominations, the most favored shows being the Austin Musical Theatre production of The Music Man (10 nominations) and the VORTEX Repertory Company production of Despair's Book of Dreams and the Sometimes Radio (eight nominations)..."

The Grand Designs of Ia Ensterä and Jason Amato
PHOTO GALLERY  July 17, 2015
"...The Tempest, Present Company (2014). Austin Critics Table Award for Outstanding Set Design..."

The Frogs: Awkward Bawdy
Local Arts Reviews
Arts Review  July 28, 2000, by Ada Calhoun
"...The usual hazards of children's theatre are in full effect here at VORTEX Repertory Company's Summer Youth Theatre staging of Aristophanes' The Frogs. One boy was talking and rustling his program so loudly that I turned and glared at him with as much grown-up menace as I could muster, at which point he and his friend switched to crinkling their aluminum cans, seguing no doubt from making origami birds to fashioning a tire-slashing knife..."

Who Wants to Be a Theatre Geek?
A quiz to find out who knows what about theatre in Austin.
Arts Story  December 1, 2000, by Robert Faires
"...Founder of UT's Curtain Club d. First artistic director for an Austin theatre company..."

Top Ten Stage
Top Ten Theatrical Experiences of 1997
Arts Story  January 9, 1998, by Robert Faires
"...1. Ruthless! The Musical (Zachary Scott Theatre Center) This bastard love child of All About Eve and The Bad Seed may be just some pleasurably bitchy fluff, but it was so splendidly realized by Dave Steakley and company that it attained a sort of camp transcendence..."

Y Ask X and Y?
Arts Story  December 31, 1998, by Sarah Hepola
"...About as pleasant as a car wreck and just as compelling, VORTEX Repertory Company's TheX and Y Trilogy seemed to elicit the same gape-mouthed response from each of its audience members. Coined a "cybernetic opera," this trio of trance-music musical dramas -- The Black Blood, Panoptikon, and Triskelion -- staged by VORTEX over the past three years is the theatrical equivalent of a four-tab acid trip, a twisted vision part Hieronymous Bosch, part graphic novel, and part video game..."

New Works Theater Community
Austin theatre groups band together and land $90,000 to support making new work
Arts Story  October 29, 2010, by Robert Faires
"...So they started meeting and hammering out what they wanted their community to be and how they would utilize funding. Katie Pearl of Physical Plant Theater and Vortex Repertory Company Artistic Director Bonnie Cullum took on leadership roles in the process, and Greater Austin Creative Alliance Executive Director Latifah Taormina arranged for the alliance to serve as the community's fiscal sponsor..."

Moby's Play
Playwright Kirk Smith talks about trying to squeeze a great white whale into a tiny theatre with his adaptation of Moby Dick for Vortex Repertory Company's Summer Youth Theatre.
Arts Story  July 19, 2002, by Robert Faires
"...Smith, a gifted playwright and composer whose credits include The Deluge and Despair's Book of Dreams and the Sometimes Radio, has a way with 19th-century literary heavyweights, having previously turned Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities into a sleek piece of theatricality that had you racing breathlessly through the streets of Revolution-era Paris without ever leaving the cozy theatre of the Vortex. In 1997, Smith crafted that adaptation for Vortex Repertory Company's Summer Youth Theatre, where it proved stageworthy enough to be revived in a subsequent season..."

Culture Flash!
Art prize finalists, grants for a dancemaker and a new musical, and Mother Ginger
Arts Column  December 17, 2010, by Robert Faires
"...• Vortex Repertory Company has just scored its second grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for an original musical. Following up on the $15,000 grant in 2009 for its adaptation of Sleeping Beauty by Content Love Knowles and Vortex Artistic Director Bonnie Cullum, the company will receive $20,000 to support Sarah Silver Hands, an original all-ages musical inspired by the Grimm Brothers' fairy tale The Girl Without Hands..."

Moby Dick
In Kirk Smith's stage adaptation of Moby Dick, language comes forth in great waves, in storms of words, soaking our brains with images of the sea, of a white whale, and of a mad captain's pursuit of it, and while the Vortex Repertory Company Summer Youth Theatre production may not always convey every nuance of every line, it does communicate the feel of a life at sea, danger and dread, and the roles played by Destiny and Death.
Arts Review  July 26, 2002, by Robert Faires
"...You never see the sea in the Vortex Repertory Company's new stage adaptation of Moby Dick, but you sense it around you and under you, this great rolling expanse of ocean, spreading for leagues in every direction, blue as the sky above and deep as the heavens are high, a place of great beauty and mystery, home to the leviathan and stoneless grave for many a sailor. Your sense of it comes from the waves crashing and whales calling in Chad Salvata's soundscape, from the rippling light on the faces of the cast (an effect playfully created by Brian Davis with water in a bowl reflected into a spotlight), but mostly it comes from the language, from descriptions of "cold, malicious waves" and "fiery showers of foam" and "sullen white surf," of tides and wakes and things swimming and sailing, of reference after reference to the deep, the vast, unknowable deep...."

A Year's Cheers
The nominees for the 2010 Austin Critics Table Awards
Arts Story  May 14, 2010, by Robert Faires
"...The Jungle, Trouble Puppet Theater Company..."

1998-99 B. Iden Payne Award Winners
The year's best work on Austin stages.
Arts Story  September 17, 1999, by Robert Faires
"...However, I think I can at least say that the roughly three-hour ceremony came off without a disaster. And that the featured entertainment ­ which included Boyd Vance and Scott Schroeder performing a duet of "Wilkommen" from Cabaret; Tamara Beland and Lyova Rosanoff of Esther's Follies performing an ode to self-pleasure; Jeff Ellinger performing a mock Shakespearean soliloquy; Mick D'Arcy and Jo Beth Henderson relating a brief history of VORTEX Repertory Company in song; Lowell Bartholomee, Kara Bliss, John Howrey, and Shirley Reynolds singing "Old Friends" from Merrily We Roll Along; and Rob Nash performing an excerpt from Junior Blues ­ were well-received...."

Hay Fever: Child's Play
Arts Review  June 24, 1999
"...In the State Theater Company's smooth revival of Noel Coward's Hay Fever, the stage might as well be a playground, for director Jill Parker-Jones and her cast have turned back the clock on the play's notoriously ill-mannered Bliss family and made its members overgrown brats -- fashionably dressed, well-spoken, and devilishly clever brats, but brats nonetheless. They handle their intrafamilial intrigues and spats with all the maturity and grace of a crew of kindergarteners bickering over a game of tag..."

Invasion of the Kiddie-Lit Plays
Characters from children's literature storm Austin-area stages in July.
Arts Story  July 5, 2002, by Robert Faires
"...Edward, the Owl, and the Calico Cat The Pollyanna Theatre Company makes its debut with playwright Emily Cicchini's adaptation of nonsense stories and poems by Edward Lear. The play follows Edward, a boy who loves to make up new words and new worlds, on a search for his pet cat, who has run away with an owl..."

Robert Faires’ Top 10 Treasures in Theatre of 2018
It was a year in which theatre making the political personal left the deepest impressions
Arts Story  December 27, 2018, by Robert Faires
"...1) PERFORMANCE PARK (Vortex Repertory Company) Producing Artistic Director Bonnie Cullum marked her company's 30th anniversary with a celebration of everything Vortexian – its space, its artistic family, its love of myth and ritual, and its audience – in a sprawling, immersive theatrical game that we all were invited to play. A singular triumph of imagination, community, and generosity, in the best spirit of Austin...."

2008 B. Iden Payne Awards
A strong sense of community at possibly the funniest Payne Awards ceremony ever
Arts Story  October 31, 2008, by Robert Faires
"...Among the 35 awards given for outstanding theatrical work in the 2007-2008 season, three shows came out big winners: Tongue and Groove Theatre's production of The Red Balloon, which was voted Outstanding Production of a Play for Youth and honored for Mark Stewart's performance, Arthur Adair's set design, Justin Sherburn's score and music direction, and the animation by Leah Sharpe; Zach Theatre's Porgy and Bess, which was recognized for Robin Lewis' choreography, Derek Whitener's costumes, and the performances by Marva Hicks, Cedric Neal, and Janis Stinson; and Vortex Repertory Company's Troades: The Legend of the Women of Troy, which took home the prize for Outstanding Production of Music Theatre and was honored for Bonnie Cullum's direction, the ensemble performance of its seven-woman chorus, and the lighting by this year's recipient of ACoT's Special Recognition Award, Jason Amato...."

Sleeping Beauty
The Vortex Repertory Company's 'Sleeping Beauty' shows the company in a playful mood, delivering a musical adaptation that is fanciful, lighthearted, and disarmingly sweet
Arts Review  March 25, 2005, by Robert Faires
"...The world premiere of Sleeping Beauty from the Vortex Repertory Company shows the company in a playful mood. Artistic director Bonnie Cullum, who co-wrote and directed the show, and her musical collaborator Content Love Knowles have shaken loose much of the more, shall we say, Grimm aspects of the familiar tale – not to mention the darker shadings common to Vortex's own work – and concocted a musical adaptation that is fanciful, light of heart even to the point of silliness, and disarmingly sweet..."

Payne Pleasures 1999
Arts Column  August 12, 1999, by Robert Faires
"...Garnering 10 nominations apiece were the Austin Musical Theatre production of Gypsy (nominated for Outstanding Musical, with nods to Scott Byron and Richard Thompson for their direction and choreography) and the Sneck Up!/VORTEX production of Twelfth Night (nominated for Outstanding Play, with nods to all six performers and lighting designer Jason Amato), and the Zachary Scott Theatre Center's staging of the second half of its epic Angels in America production, Part Two: Perestroika, won nine nominations (for Outstanding Play, Outstanding Director of a Play for Dave Steakley, and nominations for four of the show's actors). Among shows for children, the VORTEX Repertory Company Summer Youth Theatre production of Machinal and the kidsActing revival of Bugs!won six nominations each, with both nominated in the categories of Outstanding Production and Outstanding Direction..."

Robert Faires' Top 10 (+1) Theatre Riches of 2017
From monsters to mountains, wolves to wild horses, the year came alive with figures boldly created onstage
Arts Story  December 28, 2017, by Robert Faires
"...6) WILD HORSES (Vortex Repertory Company) A boisterous bareback ride back into the wilds of being 13 in the Seventies, courtesy of Allison Gregory's brilliantly evocative script and Jennifer Coy Jennings' vibrant solo performance. A ride I'd take again...."

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