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Tuesday, April 2, 2019

REVIEW: "Crimes of the Heart" at CATS Playhouse

by Sadie Nickerson

What is your favorite classic television show? Are you an I Love Lucy fan? Perhaps MASH or The Brady Bunch come to mind. Watching shows like those may make us yearn for simpler times and a sense of wholesomeness. However, if one only gives them a second glance, the sexism and problematic portrayal of gender roles quickly reveal themselves. Decades later, much of our current society has not improved these attitudes. Beth Henley may have written Crimes of the Heart in 1986, but its focus on domestic abuse and female mental health make it topically relevant for audiences in the age of “Me Too”. Children and Adults Theatrical Studio (CATS Playhouse) made an astute choice when selecting it for their 2018-2019 season.


Saturday, March 30, 2019

PREVIEW: "Dream Aloud" at Ballet Lubbock

by Shane Strawbridge
Ballet Lubbock's Dream Aloud

Two times a year, you can find Executive Director Nicholas Dragga—clad in his trademark grey suit—welcoming audiences to Ballet Lubbock’s Open Barre, a preview of their upcoming mainstage performance. This time around, it is a preview of Dream Aloud, an evening of original choreography set to live vocal performances including solo singers, the Texas Tech Women's Chorale, the Joyful Noise Gospel Choir, and the West Texas Children's Chorus.


Friday, March 29, 2019

REVIEW: Flatlands Dance Theatre's "Delicious"

by Shane Strawbridge

Have you ever bitten into a cupcake so good that it made you want to dance a little? No? Maybe just a little shimmy? A twirl? A heelflip? Come on, admit it. No shame here. Safe space. In Flatlands Dance Theatre’s newest production, Delicious, the entire evening of dance centers around that culinary confection and the different ways it makes us feel. And like any good cupcake, it leaves you wishing for one more bite.


REVIEW: 9 in the Morning by Jacob Henry


Alex Webster as WOMAN. Photo by Bill West-Davis
by Shane Strawbridge

We all talk to the voices in our heads. We have conversations with ourselves, we rehearse that speech we just know we are going to have with that co-worker who has it coming, and we replay the moments that haunt us time after time. In 9 in the Morning, playwright and designer Jacob Henry has taken that concept and magnified it into a trippy twenty-minute journey through one woman’s psyche.

9 in the Morning follows a character we know only as “Woman” who wakes in bed, presumably hungover, and is unsure of exactly what happened the night before. On first glance, this story is tired, played out, and unworthy of your attention. What makes this production different—and worth spending the time to see—is the utilization of bone-conduction technology which allows the audience to hear both the words from the mouth of Woman and the voices inside her own head.


Tuesday, March 26, 2019

PREVIEW: TTU Opera's Double Bill - The Medium and Gianni Schicchi

The Medium. Photo by Bill West-Davis
by Shane Strawbridge

I was lucky enough to be invited by Dr. Gregory Brookes to attend one of the final rehearsals for the Red Cast of Texas Tech University School of Music Spring Opera Double Bill of The Medium and Gianni Schicchi. If what I witnessed during the rehearsal run on Monday night is any indication, there will be plenty that is worth your time once the performances begin on Wednesday.

The Medium is a short dramatic opera with words and music by Gian Carlo Menotti, originally performed at Columbia University in 1946. It tells the story of an alcoholic matron who holds phony seances at her home with the help of her daughter and a mute servant boy. During one of her fake seances, the matron feels something she believes to be real, leading to the unraveling of her own sanity.

The Medium has some of the most beautiful arias written for English language opera,” says Brookes. “The plot is dark and asks a lot of our graduate singers as they prepared these roles.”

Gianni Schicchi. Photo by Bill West-Davis

Monday, March 25, 2019

AUDITION ANNOUNCEMENT: Lubbock Community Theatre's Matilda

Lubbock Community Theatre is excited to bring you this summer's family-friendly production of Matilda The Musical by Tim Minchin and Dennis Kelly.

Auditions will be held on Saturday, May 4th from 2-5 and Monday, May 6th from 6:30-9:00 at Lubbock Community Theatre, 4232 Boston Avenue in Lubbock. Callbacks, if needed, will be on Tuesday, May 7th.

Production dates are July 4-7 & 11-14

If you plan to audition, please prepare 16 bars of music and be prepared for a dance audition as well as cold readings. Auditions are open to anyone between the ages of 7-60.


Sunday, March 24, 2019

FEATURE: A "Proper" Curtain Call

Christina Proper
by Shane Strawbridge

I arrive early to the interview location and take a seat facing the window. It is one of those Lubbock days where the wind seems to be blowing a mile a minute full of dust and debris. Outside the window, I can see the white flower-covered limbs of a tree whipping violently in the wind, threatening to break at any moment. Walking through that same wind comes actor and Texas Tech student Christina Proper, though she shows no signs of bending to the will of the fierce West Texas winds.

“I think the rock-solid wind image is an accurate interpretation,” Proper laughs when I recount the image I had witnessed. “Everyone has storms in life. I hit mine early, and I feel like I had to grow up earlier than some of my peers. I was a stupid kid. I thought that people were pawns to play with, and I was a rotten kid in high school and probably well into undergrad. I feel that one of the places where I overlap in a Venn diagram with Carnelle is that she is trying to tell her community that she isn’t who she used to be.”

The “Carnelle” Proper speaks of is the lead character in Lubbock Community Theatre’s upcoming production of The Miss Firecracker Contest which runs March 29 – April 14. The play is set in Brookhaven, Mississippi as Proper’s “Carnelle” attempts to repair her sullied reputation as “Miss Hot Tamale” by entering the town’s annual beauty pageant.


Wednesday, March 13, 2019

FEATURE: Devising a Relevant Perspective with Cory Lawson

by Paul Kortemeier

Safe Passage was created by an ensemble of nine artists in roughly four weeks.  An entry to the Devised Showcase of 2019’s Region 6 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF), Safe Passage made such an impression that the festival decided to create an “Award for Excellence” for the group led by director Cory Lawson.  The piece offers a unique commentary on borders with minimal spoken words from the actors.  I got the chance to chat with Cory, who is a Ph.D. candidate in Acting/Directing and Arts Administration at Texas Tech University. We discussed Safe Passage as well as the relatively unknown process of devising theatre.

“I talk a lot about framework, and I think a lot of artists start with a frame and then try to figure out how to fill that frame with material.  I like to start with the material and then figure out what frame best fits that material” (photo by Dóri Bosnyák). 


I would posit that if you asked most theatergoers about devised theatre, including veteran season ticket holders, you would get a lot of blank stares and “what is devised theatre?” responses.  I would go even further to say that some theatre professionals would respond with “well I’ve heard of it, but I don’t know much about the process.” How would you describe devised theatre, and what does it mean to you? 
I think people don’t know what devised is because there’s no singular definition for what it is.  At the very basic it’s a piece of theatre that’s created from the ground up.  You start with an idea or prompt that can either be given to or generated from the ensemble itself.  Then the ensemble explores that and creates the script from ground zero.  When people talk about devised it is text or script created or generated by a group.


Monday, March 4, 2019

FEATURE: Texas Tech Students Travel to Sharjah

Vorbeck, Midgley, and Murphey
by Shane Strawbridge

From February 2-10, 2019, three graduate students from the Texas Tech School of Theatre and Dance attended the Second International Theatre Festival at the American University of Sharjah to present Public Domain: A Play with Footnotes, a performance lecture that theatricalizes one man's battle with his research into O'Neill and Shakespeare.

For the full story, visit the TTU Theatre and Dance Newsletter.

AUDITION ANNOUNCEMENT - Lubbock Moonlight Musicals

Lubbock Moonlight Musicals has announced audition dates for their 2019 Summer Shows, Annie and Mamma Mia! They are looking for boys, girls, and adults of all ages to audition. Annie is scheduled to open in June, and Mamma Mia! in August. The show dates will be announced at a later time.

The available audition times for Annie are: Friday 3/8 from 7:00PM-10:00PM

The available audition times for Mamma Mia! are: Friday 3/22 from 7:00PM-10:00PM, and Saturday 3/23 from 10:00AM-4:00PM. Callbacks will be Saturday 3/23 starting at 6:00PM.

Applicants wanting to audition please e-mail auditions@moonlightmusicals.com with up to three available dates and times from the dates and times above, and you will later be contacted with scheduled audition date and time. For auditions please prepare the following: 16 bars of music, sheet music for your cut, and a one-minute monologue.  An accompanist will be provided at the audition. Auditions will be held at 2806 Ave. A Lubbock TX 79404.

For more information, and to view the roles available for audition, please visit http://www.lubbockmoonlightmusicals.org/auditions/

Sunday, March 3, 2019

REVIEW - "The Diary of Anne Frank" at Lubbock Community Theatre

Anne (Alyssa Steward) and Peter (Andrew MacPhie)
talk about their growing friendship in LCT's production
of The Diary of Anne Frank.
by Shane Strawbridge

In the waning moments of Lubbock Community Theatre’s production of The Diary of Anne Frank, Anne’s father Otto (played by Justin Deurmyer) delivers a beautiful and haunting monologue that sucks all of the air from the room. There isn’t a single eye, ear, or heart that isn’t turned 100-percent to the words that are coming from his mouth. It is a truly lovely moment of theatre. Unfortunately, you will have to endure the rest of the play to get there.

The Diary of Anne Frank is adapted by Wendy Kesselman, Albert Hackett, and Frances Goodrich from the book of the same name and follows the lives of the Frank, Van Daan, and Dussel families while they hid in an annex for two years during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands before being discovered and apprehended in 1944. In the director’s note, Jay C. Brown hopes that “this small picture of the past opens up our eyes to what is going on in the present.” But this past isn’t menacing, it’s merely inconvenient. Under Brown’s direction, the world of Anne Frank, a WWII Nazi Germany, is nearly devoid of any visible danger. Yes, the characters talk about what is going on outside, but you wouldn’t be able to tell that there is any sort of peril based on the behavior of the people in this annex. This trip into Amsterdam is watered down and safe, doing little to open our eyes to anything other than the location of the exits.