On The Boards
by George Patterson, New Orleans
A LESSON BEFORE DYING, Southern Repertory Theatre, 3rd Level, One Canal Place, 504.861.8163. Tommye Myrick directs the Louisiana premiere of Romulus Linny's theatrical adaptation of the novel by Ernest J. Gaines about a young black man who is wrongly convicted of murdering a white liquor store owner and sentenced to the electric chair. The cast includes Tory Andrus, Kevin Fricke, Don Guilory, Fahnlohnee Harris, Daniel LaForce, Aquentin Ray and Carol Sutton. Set design is by Chad Talkington; costumes, Trish McLain. Fri. & Sat., 8pm, Sun., 2pm, through Oct. 7.
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, Popp Fountain (Marconi above I-610), City Park, 504.595.8899. The Dog & Pony Theatre Co., under the direction of director/designer John Grimsley, begin their 13th season with Shakespeare's magical tale of horny humans manipulated and bedeviled by a forest full of fairies - the kinds that can change their form. The site-specific show encourages folk to pack a picnic basket, bring some portable chairs and a blanket and bring the family. The show features Tony Molina as Oberon and Lara Grice as Titania, the king and queen of the fairies, with Scott Jefferson as the donkey-headed Bottom and Justin Scalise and Billy Slaughter as two Pucks. Others in the large cast are Michael Arata, Luis Q. Barroso, Martin Covert and Andrea Frankel among many more. Cecile Casey Covert does the costumes and Natasha C. Bolden the musical direction. Thurs.-Sun., 8pm, through Sept. 30. Special performance Fri., Oct. 5, 8pm to benefit City Park.
BEETHOVEN AND BLUE JEANS, Orpheum Theatre, 129 University Place, 504.523.6530; www.lpomusic.com. Conductor Andre Raphael Smith leads the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra in a concert featuring American John Coolidge Adams' Lollapalooza, Bernstein's Suite from "On The Waterfront," Alexander Arutnian's Trumpet Concerto and Beethoven's Symphony No. 5. Dress casually. Thurs., Oct. 4, 7:30pm; Sat., Oct. 6, 8pm.
BELLS ARE RINGING, Rivertown Repertory Theatre, 325 Minor St., Kenner, 504.468.7221. Charles Ward produces the musical comedy from the 1950's recently revived on Broadway, with book and lyrics by Comden and Green and music by Jule Styne that features Cynthia Owen in the Judy Holliday role of Ella, the telephone answering lady who ultimately goes back to the Bonjour Tristesse Brassiere Company. Directed by David Hoover, with choreography by Tara Brewer, costumes by Julie Winn and musical direction by Gloria Fallo, the show also features Greg Di Leo, Susan Domangue, Amanda Norman, Chase Waites, Kalon Thibodeaux, H.G. Stelz, Steve Patrick, Kyle Daigrepont, Carlin Benz, Ellen Flohberger and Greg Bonin. An optional pre-performance buffet catered by Messina's Restaurant is also available. Thurs. - Sat., 8pm; Sun., 2:30pm, through Sept. 30.
BROWN, True Brew Cafe, 200 Julia St., 504.524.8441. Experience the sell-out improvisational comedy show formerly at Movie Pitchers featuring the quick wits of Andy Hebert, Bill Berry, P. H. Fred, Ken LaFrance, Rene Maxwell, Erika Hamburg and our favorite Sean Patterson. This sextet use audience suggestions to create on-the-spot original sketches, songs and sight gags. You are encouraged to bring a prop to the show and you may even be invited to join the cast for a game of "Freeze Tag." Sat., 11pm.
CYNTHIA OWEN IN CONCERT, Le Chat Noir, 715 St. Charles Ave., 504.581.5812, caberetlechatnoir.com. Local singing sensation Cynthia Owen, who now lives in Boston, has returned to the Big Easy to star in Bells are Ringing at Rivertown and will moonlight at the "cat" with a set featuring jazz and blues with Tom Hook on the piano and Rick Castrillo on guitar. Wed., Sept. 26, 9pm.
GEORGE M! Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre, 616 St. Peter St., 504.522.2081. New Orleans' oldest community theatre, now semi-professional, opens its season with this musical biography of Broadway's early 20th Century wunderkind, George M. Cohan, featuring the songs he wrote and popularized. Patrick Mendelson stars as George with Ann Casey, Sarah McMahon and C. Patrick Gendusa completing the Cohan family. Sonny Borey and Derek Franklin co-direct with Franklin also serving as musical director. Karen Hebert choreographs, Jay Haydel conducts, Florence Wingerter and Regina Schlotzhauer coordinate the costumes and Bill Walker designs the sets and lights. Fri. & Sat., 8pm, Sun., 2pm, through Sept. 30.
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH, Shim-Sham Club, 615 Toulouse St., welcome.to/hedwig. All Kinds of Theatre, Running with Scissors and Glitter present the New Orleans premiere of this rock opera written by John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask. Carl Walker and Richard Read co-direct and Flynn De Marco plays Hedwig, who was born as a boy named Hansel in East Berlin and seduced by a G.I. who promises to marry him if only he'll have a sex-change operation which he does but the botched operation results in his having only an "angry inch." The show also features Dorian Rush. Sun., 8:30pm, Sept. 30.
HELL HOUNDS, Le Chat Noir, 715 St. Charles Ave., 504.581.5812, www.cabaretlechatnoir.com. This original play by Rob Tsarov (Love Sauce), concerns a telemarketer who shoots a barking dog only to discover that the dog is Cerberus - the Greek mythological guard god of hell. The show stars Steve Zissis, Veronica Russell, Sara Stelatto, Kim Collins and Travis Acosta. Fri. & Sat., 11pm; Halloween, Oct. 31 at 8pm.
LATE NITE CATECHISM, Le Petit's Director's Studio, 616 St. Peter St., 504.522.2081; group sales, 504.822.7211. Theatricks, Inc. and The Directors Studio of Le Petit Theatre present the regional premiere of this off-Broadway comedy hit by Vicki Quade and Maripat Donovan. Local actress Amanda Hebert (or Adriana Bate) plays the Sister who teaches an adult catechism class to a roomful of "students" (the audience). Sister goes from benevolent instructor to authoritative drill sergeant. Thurs. - Sat., 8pm; Sun., 2pm & 6pm.
LOVE, SEX AND THE I.R.S. Carlone's Dinner Theater, 100 N. LaBarre Rd., 504.838.9906. This is a dinner theatre comedy written by William Van Zandt & Jane Milmore about two guys who pretend to be married in order to cheat the I.R.S. - a set-up for cross-dressing. John Brooks directs Jim Chimento, Stocker Fontelieu, John Hammons, Linda Hubchen, Earl Scioneaux, Kris Shaw, Kathryn Talbot and Julie Vorus. Fri. & Sat., buffet at 6pm, show at 8pm; Sun., buffet at noon, show at 2pm, through Oct. 14.
MICHAEL FLATLEY'S LORD OF THE DANCE, Beau Rivage Resort & Casino, Biloxi, MS, 888.566.7469. Michael Flatley, the original American star of Ireland's Riverdance, has created another such revue utilizing a cast of 40 dancers illustrating the battle between the Dark Lord and the Lord of the Dance, through a combination of tap, ballet and jazz techniques presented with an Irish flair. Michael Flatley, creator of Lord of the Dance, will function as artistic director for the run of the show. Tues. & Sat., 7 & 9:30pm; Wed. & Thurs., 8pm; and, Sun., 3 & 7pm.
MR. RICKEY CALLS A MEETING, Anthony Bean Community Theater, 1333 S. Carrollton Ave. (at Willow St.), 504.862.7529; anthonybeantheater.com. Written by Ed Schmidt, the play features five historical figures - Joe Louis (N.O. Councilman Oliver Thomas), Paul Robeson (Anthony Bean), Bill "Bojangles" Robinson (Floyd Bean), Jackie Robinson (Artis Silvester), storyteller Clancy Hope (Jason Bell) and Branch Rickey, white owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers (Charles Bosworth). The five meet in 1947 to discuss "promoting a black man to the major league." The drama analyzes issues of race in society that go far beyond the baseball diamond. Fri. & Sat., 8pm; Sun., 3pm, through Oct. 14.
NUNSENSE, United Methodist Church, 2524 Napoleon Ave., 504.913.8878. Cabaret Theater Productions and Napoleon Ave. Methodist Church present yet another revival of this Dan Goggin-penned musical comedy about the Little Sisters of Hoboken and their benefit to raise burial funds for the "four blue nuns on ice." Jonne Dendinger directs and musical directs Francine Finley, Jan Zeiger, Lori Nuti, Joy Chun and Christina Boye, while Karl Harrod teaches them Felton Smith's original choreography. Thurs. - Sat., 8pm, Sun., 2pm, though Sept.30.
PARTY, The Barn at Cowpokes, 2240 St. Claude Ave., 504.947.0505; www.ticketweb.com; www.partyonstage.net. Written by Chicagoan David Dillon, directed by Randy Brenner and produced by David Syner, this is a comedy about seven Gay twentysomething male friends who gather to play a card game called Facts and Fantasies, a variation on Truth or Dare, or Strip Poker.... The show has played in major cities to sold out crowds since 1992. The cast includes Jairus Abts, Jerry Banks, David Dillon, Brian Grosdidier, Gregory Lawson, Derrol Murphy and Kevin Steinberg. Randy Brenner directs; Adam Olson Davis does the scenery; and, Amy Rubin, the lights. Thurs.-Sat, 8pm; Sun., 3pm & 8pm, through Oct. 21.
SHAPIRO & SMITH DANCE, Lupin Hall, NOCCA, 2800 Chartres St., 504.940.2900; www.nocca.com. The NOCCA Institute and Freeport-McMoran present this Minneapolis-based modern dance ensemble that will present several selections of their latest work, including the widely acclaimed "Schtick." Fri., Sept. 28, 8pm; Sat., Sept. 29 2pm & 8pm.
SPIRITUAL GIFTS, Le Chat Noir, 715 St. Charles Ave., 504.581.5812, www.cabaretlechatnoir.com. Gambit's theatre critic, Dalt Wonk, brings us another of his original plays about life in New Orleans, specifically life on Bourbon St. Full of French Quarter characters and starring Charlotte Schully and Randy Cheramie, the cast also includes Kara Hadigan, Michael Hill, Patricia McGuire Hill and Bob Edes. Perry Martin directs. Thurs. - Sat., 8pm, Sun., 3pm, through Oct. 7.
WHEN YA SMILIN', True Brew Cafe, 200 Julia St., 504.524.8441. Ricky Graham unveils another of his delightful memory plays (And The Ball and All...) about growing up in New Orleans' Ninth Ward, circa 1958, which Roy Smith and The Producers Circle produces. Sean Patterson plays the central character, a 10 year old boy named Paulie Dufour who lives in a fantasy world. Others in the cast are Gavin Mahlie, Heidi Junius, Angela Mannino, Renee Maxwell, Becky Allen and Ricky Graham, who also directs. James Jennings designs the set; Dan Zimmer, the lights; and Roy Haylock coordinates the costumes. Previews now. Opening night, Fri., Oct. 5. Fri. & Sat., 8pm; Sun., 2pm, through Oct. 28. Krewe of Petronius sponsors the final preview, Sun., Sept. 30 at 6pm and tickets for that are available at 504.525.4498.
IN THE WINGS
BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS, Saenger Theatre, 143 N. Rampart St., 504.522.5555, broadwayacrossamerica.com; saengertheatre.com; and ticketmaster.com. The Broadway in New Orleans series begins the new season with this reworking of the Carol Hall, Larry L. King musical comedy about Texas' notorious Chicken Ranch with Ann-Margaret playing the madam and Gary Sandy the sheriff and her love interest. Oct. 30 - Nov. 4.
BLITHE SPIRIT, Joseph Maumus Center, 721 Friscouville Ave., Arabi, LA; 504.271.0833; 504.276.1885. Community Actors of St. Bernard Theater, Inc., under the direction of Kathy Maher, present Noel Coward's comedy about a disgruntled, dead wife conjured up by a ditzy spiritualist named Madame Arcati. The ghost manages to kill the second wife and together they do in the husband so they can nag him unto eternity. The cast features Wayne McCarthy, Rae Ann Callais, Kerri Brandt, Shawn Hotard, Tim Callais, Jessica Engeron and Chris Brandt. Fri. & Sat., 8pm, Sun., 3pm; Oct. 26 though Nov. 4.
DANCE THEATRE OF HARLEM, Mahalia Jackson Theatre of the Performing Arts, Armstrong Park, 504.522.0996; 504.522.5555; www.nobadance.com. Returning to N.O. after more than a decade, Arthur Mitchell's 36 member, world-renowned African American dance company will perform South African Suite; Dougla, a ritualistic dance that celebrates Trinidad's culture; and Return, a ballet that mixes the music of James Brown and Aretha Franklin . Sat., Oct. 20, 8pm.
SIMPLY IRMA, Anthony Bean Community Theater, 1333 S. Carrollton Ave. (at Willow St.), 504.862.7529; www.anthonybeantheater.com. Written by Anthony Bean and Irma Thomas, the New Orleans Queen of Soul, Irma Thomas, will play herself in this musical that documents the pitfalls and successes of her dramatic music career. Allen Toussaint, who wrote many of her hits, has written new songs for this production. Playing Irma in her younger years is Gabrielle Porter, and Sandra Richards portrays Ruth Brown, Irma's inspiration. Fri., Sat. & Sun., Nov. 2-5, 8pm.
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