Maples Repertory Theatre Announces 2023 Auditions

Macon, MOMaples Repertory Theatre announces auditions for its 20th season: Season of Memories. This season’s shows consists of some of the biggest hits in Maple Rep’s history. They include:

BIG RIVER    June 14-July 9, 2023

DRIVING MISS DAISY    June 23- July 22, 2023

MAMMA MIA!    July 19-Aug 6, 2023

THE CHURCH BASEMENT LADIES    Sept 27-Oct 15, 2023

BAREFOOT IN THE PARK    Nov 3-12, 2023

SORRY! WRONG CHIMNEY!    Nov 29-Dec 10, 2023

Audition opportunities are as follows:

  • 2023 UPTA; Memphis, TN  February 3 – 6.
  • 2023 Open Audition at Royal Theatre;  102 N. Rubey St.;  Macon, MO- Date TBD
    102 N Rubey Street, Macon MO 63552
    Please prepare one song and one comedic monologue. Accompanist provided.
    Email todd@maplesrep.com to schedule a 10-minute audition slot and with any questions. Walk-in’s welcome. We will see both Equity and Non-Equity.
  • 2023 Auditions in Kansas City- Date TBD
    Please prepare one song and one comedic monologue. Accompanist provided.
  • 2023 SETC in Memphis, TN; March 1-5

For audition appointment or to submit electronically, email todd@maplesrep.com to schedule a 10-minute audition slot and with any questions. Walk-in’s welcome. We will see both Equity and Non-Equity.

Note: If there is inclement weather, auditions may be postponed. Please double check by calling the box office (660-385-2924) or visiting our Facebook page on the day you plan to audition.

Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre Announces 2023 Auditions

Arrow Rock, MO–Local auditions, held at the Lyceum Theatre in Arrow Rock, will take place on Thursday, February 23 and Friday, February 24 from 11AM-6PM. Please email headshots and resumes and audition time preference to casting@lyceumtheatre.org. No phone calls please. All auditions are by appointment only. Please prepare 16 bars of 2 contrasting songs or a brief monologue. An accompanist will be provided. All levels of experience are welcome. A Lyceum representative will be in touch to confirm your time slot. We are not accepting video auditions at this time.

Equity Principal Audition (EPA) Procedures are in effect for this audition. An Equity Monitor will not be provided. The producer will run all aspects of this audition. The Lyceum is committed to diversity and encourages performers of all ethnicities, gender identities, and ages, as well as performers with disabilities, to attend.

New York Casting will be handled by Jason Styres, THE CASTING COLLABORATIVE.

2023 Season

The Addams Family
June 9-23

BOOK BY MARSHALL BRICKMAN AND RICK ELICE
MUSIC AND LYRICS BY ANDREW LIPPA
BASED ON CHARACTERS CREATED BY CHARLES ADDAMS

They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious, and spooky—and now they are the stars of a hilariously ghoulish musical! Storm clouds are gathering over the Addams family’s mansion as Gomez faces every father’s nightmare: his daughter, Wednesday, the ultimate princess of darkness, has fallen in love with a sweet, smart young man from a respectable family. And if that wasn’t upsetting enough, Gomez must do something he’s never done before– keep the secret from his beloved wife, Morticia. Everything will change for the whole family on the fateful night they host a dinner for Wednesday’s “normal” boyfriend and his parents. One thing is certain: the Addams family will never be the same.

Beautiful–The Carole King Musical
June 30-July 9

BOOK BY DOUGLAS MCGRATH
WORDS AND MUSIC BY GERRY GOFFIN & CAROLE KING, BARRY MANN & CYNTHIA WEIL
MUSIC BY ARRANGEMENT WITH SONY/ATV MUSIC PUBLISHING
ORCHESTRATIONS, VOCAL AND INCIDENTAL MUSIC ARRANGEMENTS STEVE SIDWELL
ORIGINALLY PRODUCED ON BROADWAY BY PAUL BLAKE, SONY/ATV MUSIC PUBLISHING, MIKE BOSNER

Before she was hit-maker Carole King — she was Carole Klein, a spunky, young songwriter from Brooklyn with a unique voice. Beautiful tells the inspiring true story of one woman’s remarkable journey from teenage songwriter to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. From the string of pop classics Carole King wrote for the biggest acts in music, to her own life-changing, chart-busting success, Beautiful takes you back to where it all began—and takes you on the ride of a lifetime. Featuring over two dozen pop classics, including “You’ve Got a Friend,” “One Fine Day,” “Up on the Roof,” “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling,” “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” and “Natural Woman,” this crowd-pleasing international phenomenon is filled with the songs you remember—and the story you’ll never forget.

State Fair
July 21-30

MUSIC BY RICHARD RODGERS
LYRICS BY OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN II
BOOK BY TOM BRIGGS AND LOUIS MATTIOLI
BASED ON THE SCREENPLAY BY OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN II AND THE NOVEL BY PHIL STONG

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s only musical written directly for the screen is now a Broadway musical! Set against the colorful backdrop of an American heartland tradition, State Fair travels with the Frake family as they leave behind the routine of the farm for three days of adventure at the annual Iowa State Fair. Mom and Pop have their hearts set on blue ribbons, while their children Margy and Wayne find romance and heartbreak on the midway. Set to the magical strains of an Academy Award-winning score and augmented by other titles from the Rodgers and Hammerstein songbook, State Fair is the kind of warmhearted family entertainment only Rodgers & Hammerstein could deliver!

Laughter On the 23rd Floor
Aug 18-27

BY NEIL SIMON

A love letter to his early career as a TV writer on Sid Caesar’s Your Show of Shows alongside the likes of comedy legends Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks, Neil Simon’s Laughter on the 23rd Floor follows the roller coaster antics of a not-your-average 1950s writers’ room, as they frantically attempt to please their larger-than-life boss. Frantically scrambling to top each other with hilarious gags while battling with studio executives who fear the show’s humor is too sophisticated for Middle America, the writing and fighting of the team expose the social and political undercurrents of the 1950s.

The Mousetrap
Sept 8-17

BY AGATHA CHRISTIE

From the Grand Dame of mystery, Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap holds the world record for the longest running production, mesmerizing audiences for more than sixty years. Monkswell Manor welcomes a group of strangers in the midst of a snowstorm and on the heels of a murder in town. It soon becomes clear that the killer is among them, and the strangers grow increasingly suspicious of one another. A police detective, arriving on skis, interrogates the suspects: the newlyweds running the house; a spinster with a curious background; an architect who seems better equipped to be a chef; a retired Army major; a strange little man who claims his car has overturned in a drift; and a jurist who makes life miserable for everyone. When a second murder takes place, tensions and fears escalate. Will the identity of the murderer be revealed before they strike again?! The Mousetrap’s riveting plot will have you on the edge of your seat from start to finish!

Bright Star
Sept 29-Oct 8

MUSIC, BOOK & STORY BY STEVE MARTIN
MUSIC, LYRICS & STORY BY EDIE BRICKELL

Inspired by a true story and featuring the Tony®-nominated score by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, Broadway’s Bright Star tells a sweeping tale of love and redemption set against the rich backdrop of the American South in the 1920s and ’40s. When literary editor Alice Murphy meets a young soldier just home from World War II, he awakens her longing for the child she once lost. Haunted by their unique connection, Alice sets out on a journey to understand her past—and what she finds has the power to transform both of their lives. With beautiful bluegrass melodies and powerfully moving characters, Bright Star unfolds as a rich tapestry of deep emotion. An uplifting and nostalgic theatrical journey that holds you tightly in its grasp, Bright Star is as refreshingly genuine as it is daringly hopeful.

Ozark Actors Theatre Announces 2023 Auditions

Ozark Actors Theatre Announces Auditions for 2023 Season

In-Person Auditions – February 18th:

Auditions will be held by appointment on Saturday, February 18 at The Cedar Street Playhouse, home of Ozark Actors Theatre. 701 N. Cedar St., Rolla, MO 65401

To schedule an audition time, please follow this link.

Video Recorded Auditions – due February 15th:

Video auditions must be sent to casting@ozarkactorstheatre.org and received by February 15th.

What to prepare:

For your in-person or video recorded audition, please prepare a monologue and short song selection that show off your vocal range and storytelling abilities – no more than 2 mins long. Material from the season is acceptable and encouraged.

​Ozark Actors Theatre and Actors Equity Association’s contracts prohibit discrimination. AEA is committed to diversity and encourages all its employers to engage in a policies of equal employment opportunity designed to promote a positive model of inclusion. As such, AEA and OAT encourage performers of all ethnicities, gender identities, and ages, as well as performers with disabilities, to submit auditions.

​Questions or accommodations:

Please contact casting@ozarkactorstheatre.org

Play Summaries & Character Descriptions

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

Rehearsal: May 30 – June 14

Performance: June 15 – 25

Director: TBD

Music Director: TBD

Choreographer: TBD

Summary:

A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER won 4 Tony Awards, 7 Drama Desk Awards, AND it was nominated for a Grammy! This production is a hilarious farce following a young man’s luck at the prospect of inheriting a fortune, but he has 9 relatives ahead of him in the inheritance. This production will give one actor the opportunity to die 90 times on the OAT stage in this incredible comedy!

Character descriptions:

  • The D’Ysquith Family -The principal conceit of Gentleman’s Guide is that one actor plays all members of the D’Ysquith family. As such the actor portraying the D’Ysquiths must have a tremendous and transformational acting ability. Actor should have strong physical comedic skills and accent ability to help establish and differentiate multiple characters. Must have stamina to carry the different characters throughout the show and make extraordinarily quick costume changes.
    • Age: 30s to 50s
  • Monty Navarro – charismatic and cunning enough to ingratiate himself with both the audience and his prospective victims. He is a leading man, and often, the straight man, in the show. Monty should also have excellent physical comedy skills to adequately play along with the D’Ysquiths in their various incarnations. Charming and handsome, Monty is not upper class but has no trouble blending in with high society.
    • Gender: Male identifying
    • Age: 20s to 30s
  • Sibella Hallward – A beautiful and flirtatious social climber, Sibella has true affection for Monty but also true affection for social status. Sibella is smart, funny and stylish and, as far as relationships are concerned, she wants to have her cake and eat it too.
    • Gender: Female identifying
    • Age: 20s to 30s
  • Phoebe D’Ysquith – Monty’s cousin. Phoebe was raised high class with idealistic fantasies of love. As beautiful as Sibella, Phoebe foils Sibella in her interest in love over status, and a desire to find the true virtue in people. Though she is smart and earnest, she can also be naive. Must be an excellent singer with a legit, possibly operatic sound. A true soprano.
    • Gender: Female identifying
    • Age: 20s to 30s
  • Miss Shingle – Monty’s unexpected visitor. Sneaky and mysterious, Miss Shingle has an obvious sense of justice. She comes to tell Monty the secret of his D’Ysquith lineage with a pivotal song in Act 1 that sets up the story of the show. Actress should be a supreme and interesting character actress with a vocal style to match.
    • Gender: Female identifying
    • Age: 40s to 60s
  • The Ensemble – A group of strong and dynamic musical theatre performers who all play multiple featured roles. These actors will play 40+ roles including: Lady Eugenia, Miss Barley, Tom Copley, Detective Pinckney, The Magistrate, various clerks, newsboys, ancestors, maids, actors and many others. All Ensemble members are expected to be comfortable with some movement. Expected to work with the directing team to create dynamic characters.
    • Age: 16 to 99
    • Ensemble Vocal Ranges:
      • Soprano (coloratura) Ab4 Bb6
      • Mezzo Bb4 G5
      • Alto Gb3 Gb5
      • Tenor Ab3 B5
      • Baritone Ab3 G#4
      • Bass C2 G#4

Sunday in the Park with George

Rehearsals: June 19 – July 5

Performances: July 6 – 16

Director: Blane Pressler

Music Director: TBD

Summary:

SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE follows the story of the famous pointillist painter Georges Seurat. A fictional retelling of the painter and his immersive existence in creating a masterpiece. One of only 8 musicals ever to have won the Pulitzer Prize for drama. It was also nominated for 10 Tony awards and has had two major Broadway revivals. At OAT it will be under the direction of Artistic Director, Blane Pressler.

Character descriptions:

  • George – In Act 1: George Seurat, a rather cold artist obsessed with his work at the cost of his personal life. Constantly troubled and borderline obsessive. Act 2: Seurat’s burnt-out descendant and inventor-sculpture searching for his purpose.
    • Gender: Male identifying
    • Age: 25 to 40
  • Dot/Marie – As Dot, George’s headstrong mistress and occasional model so discontent with their relationship that she eventually leaves him. Age: 20 to 40. As Marie, George’s elderly wheelchair bound grandmother who helps him connect to his artistry through her grammar book notes.
    • Gender: Female identifying
  • Old Lady – George’s mother. A cranky and rather demanding fixture in the park. She is able to find solace in nostalgia and inspires George to find order in his art. Doubling as BLAIR DANIELS.
    • Gender: Female identifying
    • Age: 60 to 80
  • Nurse – The Old Lady’s attendant. She is calming and assertive. Doublings include HARRIET PAWLING and MRS.
    • Gender: Female identifying
    • Age: 40 to 60
  • Jules – A rival artist. Callous, critical, and ultimately shallow. He forces Frieda to engage in extramarital affairs. Doubling as BOB GREENBERG.
    • Gender: Male identifying
    • Age: 25 to 45
  • Yvonne – Jules’ pampered wife. She is as snippy and snooty as her husband. Doubling as NAOMI EISEN.
    • Gender: Female identifying
    • Age: 25 to 35
  • Boatman – A surly, blue-collared laborer, simple-minded and slovenly. Doubling as CHARLES REDMOND.
    • Gender: Male identifying
    • Age: 35 to 60
  • Celeste #1 – A young shop girl, gossipy and flirtatious. Her friendship with the other Celeste is strained when they fight over the Soldier and his companion. Optional Doubling as A WAITRESS.
    • Gender: Female identifying
    • Age: 18 to 30
  • Celeste #2 – Another young shop girl, gossipy and flirtatious. Her friendship with the other Celeste is strained when they fight over the Soldier and his companion. Doubling as ELAINE.
    • Gender: Female identifying
    • Age: 18 to 30
  • Louise – Jules and Yvonne’s spoiled little girl. She faces neglect and abuse from her parents, despite being honest. Doubling as BOY.
    • Gender: Female identifying
    • Age: 8 to 12
  • Franz – Jules’s German coachman and Freida’s husband. Disgruntled with his job. Has a bit of a temper and secretly yearns for the Nurse. Optional Doubling as DENNIS.
    • Gender: Male identifying
    • Age: 30 to 50
  • Frieda – As Frieda, Jules and Yvonne’s cook and Franz’s wife. Caring and positive as a surrogate nanny to Louise. Forced by Jules into an affair. Doublings include BETTY and YOUNG MAN.
    • Gender: Female identifying
    • Age: 35 to 55
  • Soldier – A French military man, polite and gentlemanly. Close with his companion, though he yearns for a separation. Doubling as ALEX.
    • Gender: Male identifying
    • Age: 20 to 35
  • Louis – A baker who Dot starts seeing to make George jealous. Kind, friendly, and very popular, but a bit dull. Doublings include BILLY WEBSTER and MAN.
    • Gender: Male identifying
    • Age: 35 to 55

Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville

Director: Suzanne Withem

Rehearsals: July 11 – 26

Performances July 27 – August 6

Summary: 

BASKERVILLE A SHERLOCK HOLMES MYSTERY comes from multi-award-winning playwright Ken Ludwig and follows Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson cracking the mystery of “The Hound of the Baskervilles.” With an original piano score by Jeff Horger and direction by our own Suzanne Withem, our intrepid investigators will take the stage at OAT portraying more than 40 characters!

Character descriptions:

  • Sherlock Holmes – The world’s greatest detective is sophisticated, quick-witted, and passionate. He is an English gentleman who is very precise in speech and manner. A strong standard British or RP dialect is required. This actor plays only one role.
    • Gender: The character will be portrayed as male, but all genders will be considered.
    • Age: 25-40

​​

  • Dr. John Watson – A kind amiable doctor and Sherlock Holmes’s faithful sidekick. A man of action, intellect and deep emotion. He is also very British. A strong standard British or RP dialect is required. This actor plays only one role.
    • Gender: The character will be portrayed as male, but all genders will be considered.
    • Age: 25-40

​​

  • Actor 1 – Plays more than a dozen characters – primarily the male-identifying villains and baddies. Must be a versatile character actor adept in physical comedy and various accents and dialects.
    • Gender: Male identifying
    • Age: Any

​​

  • Actor 2 – Plays nearly a dozen characters – primarily male-identifying heroes and gentlemen. Must be a versatile character actor adept in physical comedy and various accents and dialects.
    • Gender: Male identifying
    • Age: Any
  • Actor 3 – Plays more than a dozen characters – primarily female-identifying maids, nurses, and damsels in distress. Must be a versatile character actor adept in physical comedy and various accents and dialects.
    • Gender: Female identifying
    • Age: Any

​​

  • Roustabouts and Foley Artists- These two or three nonspeaking roles will assist with scene changes, participate in comedy bits, and serve as Foley artists providing live sound effects for the production from onstage. They should be creative problem solvers adept at physical comedy and familiar with silent storytelling. They are vital to the success of keeping the “trunk show” design of the production moving forward and creating the world of the theatre in which the play is performed.
    • Any Gender
    • Any Age

Family Drama

Lon Smith has been offered a promotion that requires him to relocate himself and his family to New York.  Lon’s family, especially his headstrong and troublemaking daughters, are dead set against the move.  In trying to derail the move, Lon’s eldest child, Rose, ends up derailing his job.  To find out how the family copes with this turn of events, watch Meet Me in St. Louis currently playing at Bellevue Little Theatre.

This show is unusual in that it first began life as a series of short stories by Sally Benson called The Kensington Stories in 1942 and these stories were later novelized under the title of Meet Me in St. Louis. Arthur Freed would convince Louis B. Mayer to buy the film rights and the stories were turned into a musical starring Judy Garland in 1944. Later, Christopher Sergel would turn the stories into a straight play. This production happens to be the straight play and it is very much a period piece.  It does seem a bit stronger than others of its ilk as it isn’t quite so draggy as its counterparts.  This production was also aided by a cast who were able to infuse the words and characters with some whimsy and charm.

Newcomer Jackson Newman really does get all that he can out of the script and any director that can manage to keep vibrancy with incredibly talky dialogue is clearly doing something right.  Newman strikes the right emotional beats with his control of the dialogue and gets his cast to project a strong sense of family.  He’s also led his cast to some effective performances and makes good use of the massive living room set.  It never feels empty in any spot and actors are well staged and blocked and can be seen at all points.

There were some exceptional performances in the supporting cast.  Chris Latta is an insufferable toady as Duffy.  Dannika Rees just bleeds snobbery as Lucille Pentard.  Randy Wallace amuses in the dual roles of the eccentric grandfather who claims he was once a king and as Lon’s blustering boss, Mr. Dodge.

This show had a real find in the form of Amy Wagner as Agnes.  Wagner struck all the right notes as the bratty and defiant tomboy who plays some pretty dangerous and mean-spirited pranks.  Wagner’s voice was clear and strong and could be heard throughout the theatre and her articulation was clear as a bell.

Francisco Franco is very sweet and fatherly as the family patriarch, Lon Smith.  Franco brings a real gentleness to Smith who is fully aware that he doesn’t have much control over the behavior of his children.  As such he uses persuasion and reason to convince his children of the soundness of his judgments as opposed to ordering them about.  What I truly admired about his performance was that he didn’t get angry when his kids screwed things up, he got hurt.  And his agony was more of a punishment to his children than his anger ever could hope to be.

Charity Williams imbues her Rose with the right blend of youth and nobility.  Rose has many positive qualities such as determination and forthrightness.  However, due to her youth, she can misuse these positive traits and can act with great idiocy.  Her mouth tends to run away with her and she often acts before she thinks which can lead to a world of trouble.  But sometimes her blitheness can save the day, too.

Joey Lorincz conjures yet another piece of theatrical magic with his gorgeous living room set that looks like it stepped right out of the early 1900s with its red patterned wallpaper and he closes the show with a colorful fireworks display shining through the living room window.  Rebecca Krause has the living room filled with period correct furniture.  Francisco Franco doubles up with sound design work with my favorite being a yowling cat used in a few gags.  Todd Uhrmacher’s costumes suit the period with dapper vests and suits for the men and fancy dresses, hats, and gowns for the ladies.

There were a few squeaks in today’s performance.  Pacing needed to be much quicker and cue pickups were lax.  Some of the movements seemed a little too staged and needed to be more natural.  Still, if you like a good vintage piece, then Meet Me in St. Louis will be right up your alley.

Meet Me in St. Louis runs through Nov 20. Showtimes are Fri-Sat at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2pm.  Tickets cost $25 and can be purchased at the Box Office, at blt.simpletix.com, or calling 402-413-8945.  Bellevue Little Theatre is located at 203 W Mission Ave in Bellevue, NE.

Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre Announces 2023 Season

Arrow Rock, MOArrow Rock Lyceum Theatre has announced its 2023 season.

The Addams Family
June 9-23

Book by MARSHALL BRICKMAN and RICK ELICE
Music and Lyrics by ANDREW LIPPA
Based on Characters Created by Charles Addams

They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious, and spooky—and now they are the stars of a hilariously ghoulish musical! Storm clouds are gathering over the Addams family’s mansion as Gomez faces every father’s nightmare: his daughter, Wednesday, the ultimate princess of darkness, has fallen in love with a sweet, smart young man from a respectable family. And if that wasn’t upsetting enough, Gomez must do something he’s never done before– keep the secret from his beloved wife, Morticia. Everything will change for the whole family on the fateful night they host a dinner for Wednesday’s “normal” boyfriend and his parents. One thing is certain: the Addams family will never be the same.

Beautiful–The Carole King Musical
June 30-July 9

Book by Douglas McGrath
Words and Music by Gerry Goffin & Carole King, Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil
Music by Arrangement with Sony/ATV Music Publishing
Orchestrations, Vocal and Incidental Music Arrangements Steve Sidwell
Originally Produced on Broadway by Paul Blake, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Mike Bosner

Before she was hit-maker Carole King — she was Carole Klein, a spunky, young songwriter from Brooklyn with a unique voice. Beautiful tells the inspiring true story of one woman’s remarkable journey from teenage songwriter to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. From the string of pop classics Carole King wrote for the biggest acts in music, to her own life-changing, chart-busting success, Beautiful takes you back to where it all began—and takes you on the ride of a lifetime. Featuring over two dozen pop classics, including “You’ve Got a Friend,” “One Fine Day,” “Up on the Roof,” “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling,” “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” and “Natural Woman,” this crowd-pleasing international phenomenon is filled with the songs you remember—and the story you’ll never forget.

State Fair
July 21-30

Music by Richard Rodgers
Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Book by Tom Briggs and Louis Mattioli
Based on the screenplay by Oscar Hammerstein II and the Novel by Phil Stong

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s only musical written directly for the screen is now a Broadway musical! Set against the colorful backdrop of an American heartland tradition, State Fair travels with the Frake family as they leave behind the routine of the farm for three days of adventure at the annual Iowa State Fair. Mom and Pop have their hearts set on blue ribbons, while their children Margy and Wayne find romance and heartbreak on the midway. Set to the magical strains of an Academy Award-winning score and augmented by other titles from the Rodgers and Hammerstein songbook, State Fair is the kind of warmhearted family entertainment only Rodgers & Hammerstein could deliver!

Laughter On the 23rd Floor
Aug 18-27

By Neil Simon

A love letter to his early career as a TV writer on Sid Caesar’s Your Show of Shows alongside the likes of comedy legends Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks, Neil Simon’s Laughter on the 23rd Floor follows the roller coaster antics of a not-your-average 1950s writers’ room, as they frantically attempt to please their larger-than-life boss. Frantically scrambling to top each other with hilarious gags while battling with studio executives who fear the show’s humor is too sophisticated for Middle America, the writing and fighting of the team expose the social and political undercurrents of the 1950s.

The Mousetrap
Sept 8-17

By Agatha Christie

From the Grand Dame of mystery, Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap holds the world record for the longest running production, mesmerizing audiences for more than sixty years. Monkswell Manor welcomes a group of strangers in the midst of a snowstorm and on the heels of a murder in town. It soon becomes clear that the killer is among them, and the strangers grow increasingly suspicious of one another. A police detective, arriving on skis, interrogates the suspects: the newlyweds running the house; a spinster with a curious background; an architect who seems better equipped to be a chef; a retired Army major; a strange little man who claims his car has overturned in a drift; and a jurist who makes life miserable for everyone. When a second murder takes place, tensions and fears escalate. Will the identity of the murderer be revealed before they strike again?! The Mousetrap’s riveting plot will have you on the edge of your seat from start to finish!

Bright Star
Sept 29-Oct 8

Music, Book & Story by Steve Martin
Music, Lyrics & Story by Edie Brickell

Inspired by a true story and featuring the Tony®-nominated score by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, Broadway’s Bright Star tells a sweeping tale of love and redemption set against the rich backdrop of the American South in the 1920s and ’40s. When literary editor Alice Murphy meets a young soldier just home from World War II, he awakens her longing for the child she once lost. Haunted by their unique connection, Alice sets out on a journey to understand her past—and what she finds has the power to transform both of their lives. With beautiful bluegrass melodies and powerfully moving characters, Bright Star unfolds as a rich tapestry of deep emotion. An uplifting and nostalgic theatrical journey that holds you tightly in its grasp, Bright Star is as refreshingly genuine as it is daringly hopeful.

And Then There Was Fun

Six people are invited to the retreat of Col. Rancour with a request for the Colonel to visit each of them individually.  However, when a storm washes out the bridge to freedom and guests start dropping dead, it becomes clear that among the guests, help, and trapped college student lies a murderer.  This is Something’s Afoot and it is currently playing at Maples Repertory Theatre.

It is really difficult to engage in an analysis of the script without revealing a salient plot point of this mystery, so I’m just going to leave things lie with my opening paragraph and you’ll just have to come watch.  What I can say is that James McDonald, David Vos, and Robert Gerlach definitely did a deep dive into detective fiction in general and Agathe Christie mysteries in particular to come up with the plot of this story.  In fact, it’s a good combination of the plotting of Agatha Christie and the presentation of Rex Stout (in the sense that the solution to the mystery is secondary to the colorful characters).  Wrapped in the stylings of an old-time British music hall performance, this show provides a unique twist to the musical genre and a fun night of theatre.

Colton Pometta gets this show.  This show is a very satirical poke at mysteries and Pometta rides that wave for all it’s worth.  He lets his characters go over the top just enough so that they’re larger than life and amusing, but keeps them away from the point where it would become farcical and gauche.  Pometta’s timing is spot on as his performers picked up cues like lightning and kept driving this show along.  His staging is strong with full use of the space and ratcheting up the tension once it’s clear the murderer is somewhere in the house.  Pometta has also led his actors to well-defined characters and tight performances.

There isn’t a weak link in the cast and each is a vital part of the machine.  Roger Williams has a very stiff upper lip as the very proper butler, Clive.  Justin Barron is a solid caretaker and a bit of a lech with his pinching of ladies’ glutes.  Deanna Mazdra is humorous as the very Cockney maid whose sense of self-preservation is exceeded only by her greed.  Bob Wearing invokes the spirit of Terry Thomas with his take on the slimy, money-grubbing nephew of Col Rancour.  Todd Davison is clinical as the family doctor.  Mike Ott is a scream as the blustering Col. Gillweather with some of the best extemporaneous asides I’ve ever heard and the funniest death scene I’ve ever seen.  Kim Braun is appropriately snooty as the grand dame, Lady Grace Manley-Prowe.

Licia Watson tickles the funny bone as Miss Tweed, the artist/amateur sleuth.  Clearly she is meant to be a combination of Agatha Christie and her creation, Miss Marple.  Most of her humor comes from the fact that she lacks the deductive prowess of Christie’s famed sleuth, though the dimes do eventually drop.  Watson’s Tweed definitely isn’t lacking in courage as she confidently stumbles her way through the investigation.  Watson also has a potent singing voice as she invokes British fortitude in “Carry On” and explains the secret to her deductive “brilliance” in “I Owe It All”.

Jacob Sefcak’s take on Geoffrey reminded me of a young Michael Crawford as Geoffrey definitely has that charming idiot vibe.  Sefcak nails the puppy dog loyalty and looks of young love and is clearly not the brightest of bulbs.  Sefcak also has a dandy tenor that captures every ounce of sap needed for “I Don’t Know Why I Trust You (But I Do)” and “New Day”.

Abigail Becker is darling as Hope Langdon.  Becker’s Langdon operates on the same intellectual plane as Geoffrey, but is such a ray of sunshine.  She is exactly what she appears to be (or is she?) and has a crystal clear soprano that joyously welcomes the guests in “A Marvelous Weekend” or moons over Geoffrey in “You Fell Out of the Sky”.

I was particularly impressed with the sound work of this production as Madison Phillips’ thunderclaps, creaks, and sounds of death traps add the proper atmosphere to the story.  Todd Davison has designed an elegant retreat for the wealthy Rancour with its purple walls and use of outlines and light to depict a large window.  Jenna Alley’s props help to flesh out the world, especially with the large portrait of Rancour.  Kelby King’s costumes suit the class statuses of the characters as well as the time period with accurate dresses and suits.  I also tip my hat to the lights which were suitably eerie when power was knocked out or the chandeliers were lit.  The band also effortlessly handled the music hall score.

Trust me, you don’t need to be a fan of murder mysteries to enjoy this show.  If you like comedy and some old-fashioned tunes, then you’ll like this show, too.  But accept the challenge of trying to solve the mystery and you’ll find yourself most thoroughly engaged.

Something’s Afoot runs at Maples Repertory Theatre through Nov 6.  Showtimes are 2pm on Oct 22-23, 25-26, 29-30 and Nov 1-2 and 4-6 and at 7:30pm Oct 23, 28, 30, and Nov 2. Tickets cost $33 for the Main Floor and $26 for the balcony and can be obtained at the Box Office or by visiting www.maplesrep.com or calling 660-385-2924. Maples Repertory Theatre is located at 102 N Rubey St in Macon, MO.

‘Something’s Afoot’ at Maples Repertory Theatre

Macon, MO–Inspired by the works of Agatha Christie, Something’s Afoot is a musical murder mystery suitable for the spookiness of the season.

Ten people are stranded in an isolated English country house during a raging thunderstorm. Suddenly, one by one they’re picked off by cleverly fiendish devices. As the bodies pile up in the library, the survivors frantically race to uncover the identity and motivation of the cunning culprit. Something’s Afoot is a zany, entertaining musical comedy that takes a satirical poke at Agatha Christie mysteries and musical styles of the English music hall of the ’30s.

Something’s Afoot runs at Maples Repertory Theatre from Oct 21-Nov 6. Showtimes are:

  • Fri. Oct. 21 – 2:00
  • Fri. Oct. 21 – 7:30 – Afterglow
  • Sat. Oct. 22 – 2:00
  • Sat. Oct. 22 – 7:30
  • Sun. Oct. 23 – 2:00
  • Tues. Oct. 25 – 2:00
  • Wed. Oct. 26 – 2:00
  • Fri. Oct. 28 – 7:30
  • Sat. Oct. 29 – 2:00
  • Sun. Oct. 30 – 2:00
  • Sun. Oct. 30 – 7:30
  • Tues. Nov. 1 – 2:00
  • Wed. Nov. 2 – 2:00
  • Wed. Nov. 2 – 7:30
  • Fri. Nov. 4 – 2:00
  • Sat. Nov. 5 – 2:00
  • Sun. Nov. 6 – 2:00

Tickets cost $33 for the Main Floor and $26 for the Balcony. Tickets may be purchased at the Box Office, by calling 660-385-2924, or by visiting www.maplesrep.com. Maples Repertory Theatre is located at 102 N Rubey St in Macon, MO.

Something’s Afoot features the talents of:

Kim Braun
Todd Davison
Bob Wearing
Mike Ott
Jacob Sefcak
Deanna Marzda
Abigail Becker
Justin Barron
Roger Williams
Licia Watson

Ozark Actors Theatre Announces 2023 Season “ACROSS THE POND”

Rolla, MO–Ozark Actors Theatre has announced its 2023 season. Titled “ACROSS THE POND”, the season features the following productions:

A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER won 4 Tony Awards, 7 Drama Desk Awards, AND it was nominated for a Grammy! This production is a hilarious farce following a young man’s luck at the prospect of inheriting a fortune, but he has 9 relatives ahead of him in the inheritance. This production directed by OAT alum Brittany Proia, will give one actor the opportunity to die 90 times on the OAT stage in this incredible comedy!

SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE follows the story of the famous pointillist painter Georges Seurat. A fictional retelling of the painter and his immersive existence in creating a masterpiece. One of only 8 musicals ever to have won the Pulitzer Prize for drama. It was also nominated for 10 Tony awards and has had two major Broadway revivals. Directed by Artistic Director, Blane Pressler.

BASKERVILLE A SHERLOCK HOLMES MYSTERY comes from multi-award-winning playwright Ken Ludwig and follows Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson cracking the mystery of “The Hound of the Baskervilles.” With an original piano score by Jeff Horger and direction by Suzanne Withem, our intrepid investigators will take the stage at OAT portraying more than 40 characters!

Audition information to be released in December.

Frightful Delight

October is here which triggers images of colorful leaves, bonfires, autumn, and haunted houses.

Yes, the season for spooks has arrived which means the country starts breaking out haunted house attractions by the bushel.  And in nearby Kansas City, MO lay two of the USA’s most famous horror attractions:  The Beast and Edge of Hell owned and operated by Full Moon Productions.

Now I had visited these two attractions many years ago, but that was before I became a travel writer and, also, my memories of my original visit had faded so I felt it was time to revisit them and put the power of the pen to work.

So it was that this past Saturday found me on the road with my haunted house loving friend, Eric Grant-Leanna, to revisit a pair of legends plus Full Moon’s other attraction:  Macabre Cinema.

So what makes for a truly great haunted house?

  1. It should be scary (or at least generate a certain level of tension)
  2. It should be long.
  3. If possible, it should be non-linear and open for exploration.
  4. Actors should be fully committed to their roles.

With those in mind, let us proceed.

Now each house costs $35, but you can get a combo pass for all 3 for $90 or a VIP pass for $150 which lets you bypass the line on all of them.  As we both detest waiting in lines, Eric and I went for the VIP Pass.

We first visited Macabre Cinema (1222 W 12th St) and Eric and I agreed that this one was the best of the three.

As we briefly waited for our turn, we were treated to a digital portrait that morphed into several characters which behaved ghoulishly to whet the appetites for the public.  Then my trusted companion and I ventured into the cinema.

You’re immersed into the attraction from the beginning as you enter a movie theater with a horror movie playing on the screen and you go through the screen and into the scares.

Now this house ticked all of my boxes as we wandered throughout the cinema.  It is very long as it took us over 30 minutes to venture through the theater.  It’s even a little non-linear as you have to do a little bit of searching to find your way out of each room, usually having to find a hidden exit of some kind.  We wandered through sets reminiscent of horror movies such as The Mummy and Killer Klowns from Outer Space.  Horror legends such as Michael Myers pursued as along with a psychotic clown which reminded me of The Joker’s moll, Harley Quinn who seemed to warp between rooms and floors to follow us with her creepy, high-pitched laugh.

Highlight of this house was the Bloody Mary room where you are forced to play the game.

After 4 floors of frights, we burst out into the cool night and made our way across the street to Edge of Hell.

Edge of Hell (1300 W 12th St) was definitely the weakest of the three largely due to its linear nature as Eric and I were able to complete it in about 15 minutes.  Now this house focuses more on phobias with some tight squeezes and the presence of the world’s longest, living snake.  But it also has some traditional spooks with vampires, crypts, and the like.  Two of its unique attractions was a room meant to be Heaven which serves as a respite from the scares at least until you’re given the boot.  While creative, one element of the room did push the boundaries of taste a bit and may offend people of faith.  The other unique attraction was the five story plunge down a slide to escape from the house.  Stairs are available for the fearful or those unable to slide.

From there we marched the few blocks to the legend:  The Beast (1401 W 13th St).

Now this was second to Macabre Cinema only by a hair.  I promise you that you won’t find a haunted house quite like this one.

This is the most non-linear house I have ever visited.  You begin by traveling around a swamp on shaky suspension bridges and I dreaded something coming out of the water.  There is also the feared Werewolf Forest (and, yes, it is a forest).  This is a maze so baffling that cast members sweep it periodically to help the hopelessly lost.  We got jammed behind a group of school girls who did get hopelessly lost here and in the castle maze (I wonder if they’re still wandering the halls).

Animatronic creatures pop out of walls to startle and scare and you’ll also need to find hidden exits to escape from some of the rooms.  This attraction also has its own multi-story slide to escape (stairs also available), but you use waxed paper to help speed you down.  They may want to rethink the paper as it makes you slide down like lightning and I nearly vaulted past the stop zone.

My only real critique of the three houses is that I thought the lights could be brought up just a bit as there are some considerable details put into the rooms of these houses and it would have been nice to make them out.  Sometimes it was so dark that I needed Eric’s glowing shoes to help guide me.  Also, proceed very carefully through the houses.  You will need to indemnify the houses before entering and these are old buildings where a bad step could lead to injury if you’re not careful.  But if you take it slow, you’ll have a great time.

But if you’re a fan of haunted houses, then you need to visit this legendary trio.  It’s a spooktacular good time!

Battle of the Bards

Nick Bottom is determined to be the bard of bards, but has to topple William Shakespeare from his perch to reach that goal.  Desperate to get out of debt and provide for his wife and soon to be newborn, Bottom consults a soothsayer in order discover the next big thing in theatre and to stick it to his hated rival by stealing Shakespeare’s greatest idea.  However, ol’ Will has a thing or two to say about that.  This is Something Rotten! and it is currently playing at Springfield Little Theatre.

This article is a personal milestone as it marks my 200th play review.  I was truly hoping to find something special for the occasion, but failed to do so with this show.

I didn’t find “something special”.  I hit the theatrical lottery.

I knew I was on to something from the first notes of Connor Sanders’ Minstrel and what I got was the pinnacle of theatrical kismet.  This show has everything.  An original and endearing story.  Marvelous melodies.  Dazzling costumes.  Stunning sets.  A director who knew how to put it all together.  A cast more than ready to perform and an audience hungry to be entertained.

Jamie Bower’s direction was nothing short of masterful.  The pace of the show was blitzing and started on high octane and worked its way up to volcanic fury by the end.  He had a nearly symbiotic connection with the beats as he knew when to be fast and funny, when to be slow and sweet, when to be heart attack serious, and when to be farcical and bold.  Bower made this anachronistic world quite believable and guided his troupe to virtually flawless performances.

The entire ensemble gets a standing ovation from me for their work.  All of them were always in the moment and you could see and feel the joy of performing radiating from them and contributed so much in bringing the audience into this world.  Some outstanding work in the supporting cast came from Claire Caubre as Nick Bottom’s wife, Bea.  Caubre’s Bea is the rock in her marriage and willing to do whatever it takes to support her man and makes sure he knows she’s his “Right Hand Man”.  Dean Price is hilarious as the holier than thou stick in the mud, Brother Jeremiah, determined to quash immorality (i.e. fun) while constantly making unintentional double entendres.  Joseph Galetti provides some yuks as Shylock, the Jewish moneylender who sounds like a Jersey version of Jerry Seinfeld.  Todd Smith darn near steals the show as the soothsayer, Thomas Nostradamus, with his over the top summoning of his visions and his ability to wring a boatload of laughter from the delivery of a single word.

Kaleb Patterson is superb in his SLT debut as Nick Bottom.  Patterson brings a real sincerity and, dare I say, vulnerability to the frustrated writer.  Patterson’s Bottom is a good man, but is slowly losing himself due to his jealousy of Shakespeare and his increasing desperation to be a good provider and make his mark in the theatrical world.  Patterson also has a gentle, soothing tenor and merges it with a wide range of interpretative ability whether he is snarking out in “God, I Hate Shakespeare”, being broad and theatrical in “A Musical”, or being honest and forthright in “To Thine Own Self”.

Andrew Wilson matches his “brother” step for step with his take on Nigel Bottom.  Wilson is wonderful as the shy, unassuming poet with an incredible gift for language.  His initial awkwardness around his love, Portia, is so natural and spot-on and his raw honesty with his brother about writing from the heart and truth always hits the mark.  The only tiny, tiny, tiny change I would make is that he got a bit shrieky on a couple of cries when a more plaintive cry would have had the audience sobbing.  Wilson has a mighty tenor of his own which is blessed with a gorgeous falsetto and put to excellent use in “I Love the Way” and his own take on “To Thine Own Self”.

Katie Orr is comedic gold as Portia.  I believe her to be sincere about attempting to be a good Puritan, but she just can’t deny her poetry loving heart.  Orr is just a scream as she has a “When Harry Met Sally” climax moment as she swoons to Nigel’s poetry and is a convincing drunkard after accidentally chugging a stein of alcohol at Shakespeare’s party.  Orr also has an angelic soprano, beautifully utilized in “I Love the Way” and “We See the Light”.

Eli DePriest is an arrogant, smug prick as William Shakespeare.  The Shakespeare of this story is the equivalent of a modern rock star and he just laps up the adulation.  DePriest’s Shakespeare is fully aware of his status as #1 and lords it over all and appears to have a pansexual appetite as he openly flirts with girls and guys and would sleep with himself if he could.  DePriest is also gifted with his own strong tenor as he wallows in his own greatness in “Will Power” or grouses about the hard work involved in being the best in “Hard to Be the Bard”.

This is my third time reviewing a show at SLT and, in my nearly thirty years in the business, I don’t think I’ve found a choreographer to match the skill of Chyrel Love Miller.  Miller’s dance numbers are always flashy, big, and full of pizzazz and this show is no exception.  Favorite numbers of mine were “Welcome to the Renaissance”, “A Musical”, “We See the Light”, and “Make an Omelette”.  John R. “Chuck” Rogers has designed another sensational set with the period correct village buildings, but my favorite piece of scenery was the raised stage with the lanterns for Shakespeare’s “Interpretation in the Park”. Jamie Bower pulled triple duty as he also designed the lights & sounds along with directing and my favorite moments with these were “Will Power” with the lit lanterns, star patterns in the spotlights, and the colorful backdrop which looked like the NBC logo and was also reused in the closing number, “Welcome to America”.  Kaley Jackson and Bailey Doran nailed the costumes with the period correct jerkins, cod pieces, tights, Puritan outfits, and petticoats and bustles.  But I truly loved the zing of the colorful Puritan garb when they started rocking out in “We See the Light”.  Danielle Hardin and her orchestra’s handling of the score was heavenly and pinpoint precise.

Truly, I can’t say enough good things about this show.  You just have to go and see it.  I promise you a good time and you may just want to go back again and again before the run is through.  It is amazing!!

Something Rotten! runs at Springfield Little Theatre through Sept 25.  Showtimes are Thurs-Sat at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2pm.  Tickets range from $23-$37. For tickets, visit http://www.springfieldlittletheatre.org or call the Box Office at 417-869-1334.  Springfield Little Theatre is located at 311 E Walnut St in Springfield, MO.