The Year in Review
So, do I look at the cup half full or half empty, the “cup” being New Orleans’ 2023 theatrical season?
On one hand, about 25% of the productions I saw provided memorable, worthy evenings, some spectacularly so, certainly a respectable amount. On the other hand, the other 75% faded quickly from the mind, not even noble failures, “okay” but not much more. I mean Steel Magnolias? Again?
On one hand, I attended over 80 productions from the Saenger to the Northshore, from Jefferson Parish to St. Bernard, from high schools and universities to a firehouse, from one of the oldest community theaters in America to a hotel swimming pool. On the other, this was down about 20% from my pre-pandemic theatergoing.
On one hand, we didn’t lose any theater companies this year. On the other, we didn’t get any new ones either.
I suppose none of this should come as a shock. As reported by The New York Times, theatergoing is down around the country. Theaters are closing. Staffs are being cut back. People are looking for new ways to entertain themselves when they go out…or just staying home and streaming.
So while I’m still wondering why a variety of acclaimed plays (An Octoroon, Fairview, Mary Jane, The Antipodes, Circle Mirror Transformation, Bootycandy, Small Mouth Sounds, Between Riverside and Crazy, etc.–the same list as last year) have yet to be done here, I suppose I should be thankful for the moments, the many moments even, of 2023’s theatergoing that did cause me to smile, to applaud, to say “Yeah!”
Chief among them was No Dream Deferred’s (NDD) We Will Dream New Works Festival (WDD Fest) at the André Cailloux Center for Performing Arts and Cultural Justice on Bayou Road. Held from March through June, the Festival featured productions of three new plays by Black playwrights plus a staged reading of a fourth as well as other programming, an ambitious undertaking.
As Festival co-producer Tiffany Vega-Gibson stated at the WDD Fest’s kick-off party, “We were told maybe we should do less plays, but we said “No, we’re going to do four.” We were told maybe we should just do staged readings of all the plays, but we said “No, we’re going to do productions of three.” And they did.
Of those three, M.D. Schaffer’s interesting if not fully realized Drapetomania: A Negro Carol was about, well, a lot of things and had a knockout performance by Gwendolyn Foxworth as Dr. Anna Cooper, an early Black feminist, while The Defiance of Dandelions, by Philana Imade Omorotionmwan, explored the creativity and resilience of Black females; while full of joyful energy, its script too often had a generic, repetitive quality to it.
The third play, however, Brian Egland’s Where the Suga Still Sweet, part coming-of-age tale, part searing indictment of the Black Baptist church & small town closed-mindedness, and part Stephen King-ish horror story, kept you on the edge of your seat, waiting to find out what will happen next, as it told an involving story in dramatic fashion.
Gwendolyn Foxworth, Donyae Asante, and Justin William Davis in Where the Suga Still Sweet
Lauren Turner Hines, NDD’s Producing Artistic Director, directed with precision incorporating moments of immersive staging that enhanced, but never overwhelmed, the production. The superb cast (Donyae Asante, Atlantis Clay, Justin William Davis, Xel Simone, and Foxworth again) all gave passionate and compassionate portrayals. One can only hope that Where the Suga Still Sweet will go on to have other productions far beyond New Orleans.
If the WDD Fest marked No Dream Deferred’s blazing post-pandemic return, The Bodyguard, the Musical heralded the return of the Anthony Bean Community Theater (ABCT) to full-scale productions after about seven years of focusing on youth, school and camp programs due to a lack of a home space. This stage adaptation of the hit movie may not have engendered the greatest love of all, but, with fine performances by Assata Renay and Jake Wynne-Wilson in the Whitney Houston/Kevin Costner roles, it was definitely right and much more than okay to have ABCT back again and playing to sold-out crowds at the New Orleans Jazz Market.
Assata Renay and Jake Wynne-Wilson in The Bodyguard, The Musical
Given NOLA’s perennial shortage of venues, it was good to see the Jazz Market used as a theater space not only for The Bodyguard but for The Big Easy Boys’ The Big Easy Beat, a rollicking tribute to our city’s rich musical heritage, and New Orleans Opera’s production of Charlie Parker’s Yardbird.
Another new venue was Big Couch on St. Claude Avenue which became home to Fat Squirrel’s productions of Star-Crossed, A Midsummer Nightmare and Broken Codes after its season opened with The Baltimore Waltz at Gallier Hall’s Ty Tracy Theatre. It’s a nice space and I hope to see other companies there in 2024.
Glen Pitre’s Old Firehouse on Mandeville Street hosted Intramural Theater’s One-Act Wonders, an evening of short plays, in May; my favorite, Becca Chapman’s The Bed We Make, had a talking bed & pillow and offered surreal fun. As with Big Couch, hope I’ll be making many more calls to this firehouse.
Perhaps the most exciting new site came about somewhat serendipitously, when The NOLA Project parted ways with the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) and relocated to the Greenway Station on Lafitte Greenway for its splendid production of Pete McElligott’s Dracula. I understand The NOLA Project will be returning there with more productions; as a big fan of the Greenway, I’m delighted to see it become even more involved in our community.
The NOLA Project also made news as a new leadership team (Interim Managing Director Monica R. Harris and Co-Associate Artistic Directors Leslie Claverie and Pamela D. Roberts) took over the reins of the nearly two decade old company after long-time Artistic Director A.J. Allegra was tapped to lead Le Petit Theatre. I look forward to seeing in what direction Allegra will take the grande dame on St. Peter Street after a rather choppy 2023.
Interestingly, I did not, initially, expect some of the most outstanding productions of 2023 to turn out that way.
For example, how could The NOLA Project top their unforgettable 2011 A Midsummer Night’s Dream, its first production in NOMA’s Sculpture Garden, complete with the royals making their final entrance on a barge in the Garden’s lagoon?
Well, if Brittany N. Williams’ production did not top Andrew Larimer’s, it certainly equaled it in every way (except for that barge). She helmed a meticulously well-thought-out version in which the entire cast spoke the Bard’s lines trippingly, and conveyed each word’s meaning pellucidly to the audience. With not a draggy moment, Williams’ staging made full and imaginative use of the Garden’s verdant Oak Grove, and she wisely gave her cast free rein to interject some knowing ad libs. After all, Midsummer is a comedy, not King Lear.
And what a cast it was. James Bartelle brought bravado and fabulous pomposity to Bottom, the weaver with an outsized ego, who is transformed into a braying ass. Alex Wallace gave us a non-traditional Puck, a sprite approaching middle age, who’s visibly out of breath when he gets back from his journeys around the globe. Delighting in every syllable of every line, so fresh was Wallace’s performance that it seemed as tho he was making up the words, brilliantly, as he went along; in his rendering, a simple sentence like “I remember” became unforgettable.
Matthew Thompson and Alex Wallace in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (photo by Brittney Werner)
Ashley Ricord Santos, in the usually throwaway role of Hermia’s parent, created as vivid a portrait of a secondary character as one could hope for. J’aila Price captured Helena’s bewilderment and wounded pride while Alexandria Miles found the underlying comedy in Hermia’s serious situation (marry the guy she doesn’t love or get thee to a nunnery), balancing the two expertly. Khiry Armstead, Natalie Boyd, Keith Claverie, Tessa Dufrene, Matthew Raetz, Matthew Thompson, Megan Whittle, & Reid Williams along with Allegra & Harris completed this dream of an ensemble.
Dracula? I’d seen him and his Transylvanian ways before. Yet McElligott’s fiercely intelligent adaptation of Bram Stoker’s gothic-horror story not only left you dying of laughter but also had moments of heart-stopping tenderness and, overall, delivered a magnificent tribute to the power of theatrical imagination, delirious tomfoolery, and inspired storytelling.
Co-directors Armstead and L. Claverie seamlessly guided their quick-changing cast (Wayland Cooper, Joe Signorelli and Benjamin Dougherty in the title role plus Boyd, K. Claverie, Miles, Wallace & Whittle again, all as sharp as a bloodsucker’s fang) in and around the Greenway Station and demonstrated that bountiful inventiveness is a much more valuable asset than an overstuffed budget.
An early Tennessee Williams play whichhad never been mounted in the playwright’s lifetime? I can’t say I was expecting magic. Yet The Tennessee Williams Theatre Company (TWTC) took Spring Storm, cut an hour off its running time (with the permission of the Williams Estate) and condensed three acts to one to spell-binding effect.
Set in a small Mississippi Delta town in 1937, Spring Storm concerns itself with the interlocking passions of four young adults. Threaded with beautiful lines of poetic lyricism, Williams’ humaneness shines through as he details how people hurt each other, intentionally and not.
Nicole Miiller with Matthew Boese (in background) in Spring Storm (photo by Brittney Werner)
Salvatore Mannino’s pitch-perfect production brought out both the play’s passions and its humor. Matthew Boese, Charlie Carr, Nicole Miller, and Raetz all gave commanding performances as the four leads while, in smaller but equally vital roles, Margeaux Fanning, Maile Zox, Tracey E. Collins, Delphine J., and Miles Hamauei all contributed incisive portrayals.
Sure, I was looking forward to seeing Keith & Leslie Claverie (aka Mr. & Mrs.) as Seymour and Audrey in Tulane Summer Lyric Theater‘s Little Shop of Horrors. But otherwise, having recently seen two other productions of the Howard Ashman/Alan Menken musical, I would’ve been happy to have stayed home. I sure am glad I didn’t.
In addition to beautifully fluid staging, Director John “Ray” Proctor brought out the show’s often overlooked moral complexities and so engaged me in the characters’ actions in a way other productions haven’t. Jarrell Hamilton’s choreography was imaginative, wonderfully period-specific and character-defining.
Leslie and Keith Claverie in Little Shop of Horrors
19 years after I first saw Keith as Seymour, he still brought the same truthfulness, empathy and ineffable pizzazz to the lovable flower wrangler. Leslie’s Audrey, a perfectly calibrated mix of Marilyn Monroe-esque sexiness, well-earned pathos, and an underlying toughness all wrapped up in the warmest of hearts, bloomed like the sweetest of roses.
Sean Patterson (Mr. Mushnik), Aaron Brewer (Orin Scrivello, et al.) and Deiveon Martinsen (Audrey II) added their singular talents to Shop’s bouquet. And as Chiffon, Ronette & Crystal, the show’s girl group Greek chorus, The Mixon Sisters, Jessica, Whitney & Olivia charmed, sashayed and sang their way, gorgeously, throughout the show.
Not all of 2023’s highlights were unexpected.. Varla Jean Merman’s cabaret extravaganzas, February’s Ready to Blow, which wittily dealt with the diva’s fears and anxieties, and October’s Stand By Your Drag, a funny/serious plea to support drag performers in these crazy times, both gave big dollops of the videos, the songs, the shtik that we have come to know and love Ms. Merman for. Happily, we again got two servings of VJM in 2023, after 2022’s “Tic-Taccident” kept her down for a while.
Varla Jean Merman and Jasper
Beyond Shakespeare, Tennessee Williams, vampires, man-eating plants, and drag queens, more or less usual fare in NOLA, I especially appreciated works not seen before locally, done very, very well.
Exit, Pursued by a Bear by Lauren Gunderson, presented by The Radical Buffoons, could be described as a “revenge dramedy” as Nan, an abused wife, has had enough and has worked out an escape plan involving her new bff, the actress/stripper Sweetheart, and her old bff, Simon. Directed by Torey Hayward and Tenaj Jackson, I’m not sure who did what, but, together, they fully realized the script, kept the pacing tight, and provided a entertaining & thought-provoking evening.
Angie Z and Jon Greene in Exit, Pursued by a Bear (photo by Brian Egland)
As Nan, Natalie Boyd (again) conveyed the character’s sadness while also finding the role’s humor. Jon Greene tried to humanize Kyle, Nan’s husband, the ultimate piece of white trash, as much as possible, playing his stupidity with flair. Mint Blair, as Simon, fulfilled all of the archetypal best friend’s contours, while Angie Z tossed off Sweetheart’s lines with aplomb, expertly seeming to be “amateurish”.
In Crescent City Stage’s production of Cry it Out, under Director Jana Mestecky’s sensitive guidance, Tenea Intriago and Elizabeth Newcomer both gave lovely, touching, multifaceted performances as mothers of infant children with playwright Molly Smith Metzler exploring the challenges new mothers face as they deal with partners, careers, money, and their own emotional well-being.
If Metzler’s script sometimes veered into movie-of-the-week territory, the introduction of Adrienne who exhibits little interest in her own baby and who was played by Mary Thornton with just the right admixture of snobbiness, chilliness and prickliness brought a jolt of electricity to the stage.
Tenea Intriago, Elizabeth Newcomer and Mary Thornton in Cry It Out
Crescent City Stage also scored with a holiday presentation of Patrick Barlow’s adaptation of A Christmas Carol in which Michael A. Newcomer gave us a genuinely mean Scrooge, etched with filigreed detail; Erin Cessna, Eleanor Humphrey, Ryan Reilly, and LeBaron Thornton played all the other characters with actorly panache; and James Lanius III’s magical projections took us from Victorian cobblestone streets to sumptuous dwellings with cinematic fluidity.
How do you describe a play about a cave which has a personality of its own, as much a character as the four people who inhabit it? Let’s just call C.A. Munn’s CAVE weird in the best way possible. If its denouncement was a bit of a mishigas, the journey that got us there was so wild and imaginative that I, for one, didn’t really mind.
Benjamin Dougherty, Anna Karina Delage, Mary Claire Davis, and C.A. Munn in CAVE
Intramural Theater’s production of this quirky devised work about a group of spelunkers helped reopen Otter’s Backyard Ballroom in the Bywater. Stephen Thurber’s atmospheric lighting design and Bobby Burvant’s superb sound design added immeasurably to the mood on Adam Tourek’s incredibly realistic set. Bennett Kirschner’s direction sustained a high tension throughout CAVE while Benjamin Dougherty crafted an eerie portrait of a man who answers to a higher master, similar to but very different from his Dracula.
Seen during Carnival season at Jefferson Performing Arts Society’s (JPAS) theater in Westwego, you may not have left Sistas the Musical with a glittered shoe or coconut, but audiences were quite likely to exit with a collective smile on their face. That’s because Kiane D. Davis’ sure-handed, sweet production about five women tasked with cleaning out their recently deceased family matriarch’s attic spotlighted over thirty songs, from Bessie Smith’s A Good Man is Hard to Find to contemporary numbers by India.Arie, Beyonce´, and Christina Aguilera. A fabulous quintet of singing actresses (Jacquel Cockerham, Danielle Edinburgh-Wilson, Melissa McKenzie, Nicole Washington and Davis) sang with flair and danced with verve to guarantee a good time.
The cast of Sistas the Musical (l.-r., Danielle Edinburgh Wilson, Kiane D. Davis, Nicole Washington, Jacquel Cockerham, Melissa McKenzie)
A different kind of good time could be had at Le Petit during How I Learned What I Learned, Pulitzer Prize- and Tony-winner August Wilson’s memoir in monologue. In this solo work permeated by Wilson’s sharp intellect and ballsy personality, Lance E. Nichols commandingly held the stage as he embodied Wilson, while also seamlessly transforming into various neighborhood people who Wilson sprinkled throughout the script, giving each a complete individuality.
Lance E. Nichols in How I Learned What I Learned
And while it had been seen here before, the aforementioned Baltimore Waltz almost qualified as a local premiere as its initial production at the CAC in the 1990s was utterly forgettable. Directing for the first-time, Desirée Burrell found the proper balance for Paula Vogel’s dramedy between naturalism and the script’s inherent surrealism while preventing its sentimental underpinnings from ever turning into mere whimsy. As Anna, the play’s seemingly doomed heroine, Elyse McDaniel gave a touching, luminous and, by the finale, absolutely heartbreaking performance.
Jon Broder and Elyse McDaniel in The Baltimore Waltz
If I’ve lamented previously that NOLA’s theater scene has not been as quirky as it was pre-Pandemic, three original works, in addition to CAVE, helped bring quirkiness back.
Lisa Shattuck’s Wonder Wander Future Date zoomed its small, limited audiences to New Orleans in the year 2299, where, using headphones, folks met and went on a date with locals from the future (Grindr watch out!). Produced by Mondo Bizarro outdoors in the Marigny/Bywater, this approximately hour-long immersive walk’n’talk audio play reflected on how choices we make affect generations beyond us. While we may have heard its pro-environmental message before (is there such a thing as an “anti-environmental message”?), Wonder Wander did it in such a charming, imaginative, and unique way as to give a whole new perspective on it.
Filled with roller-skating whizzes, succubi, and two glittery drag queens, Roller Soul may have been more Vampire Lesbians of Sodom than Romeo and Juliet but no matter when it showered us with such delicious eccentricity. With great production numbers; thrilling skate-offs between Courtney Saylor & Christopher Carradine, a local skate instructor; knowing comedy from Mrs. Bernadette Weatherly; and a witches & werewolves ritual sex ballet finale– ON ROLLER SKATES–I can only hope that this troupe will come back to Café Istanbul with a new show in 2024.
Marlo Barrera and Christopher Carradine (center) with members of the cast of Roller Soul
Aqua Mob and its synchronized swimmers returned to the Drifter Hotel with Carrie: Blood in the Water, its most accomplished effort to date. Written and directed by Cody Evans with an eye towards clarity, Blood in the Water had tight swimming routines with thrilling lifts; a lesbian cheerleader water ballet sequence; an enormous blood-squirting pig; and a multi-talented cast of over 20. Maybe you could see something similar in other cities, but it seemed very “only-in-NOLA” to me.
The cast of Carrie: Blood in the Water
Much as I enjoy going to see shows at Northshore theaters, I didn’t see as many of them this year partly due to scheduling challenges and partly because they have, perhaps understandably, been programming more popular titles which I’ve seen one or two or three times before.
Rescheduled from 2020 due to Covid, Moby Dick Rehearsed, at Mandeville’s 30 by Ninety Theatre, was an extraordinary exception. Aided by Joe Lagman’s superb lighting, Director Tom Bubrig brought to pulsing life one of America’s greatest novels. As filtered thru Orson Welles’ brilliant mind, his script told Melville’s tale as tho a Shakespearean troop was enacting a theatrical version of it. In a phenomenal cast, Beth Harris stood out with an unforgettable, humanizing portrayal of the megalomaniac Captain Ahab. One wishes all our area theaters took such chances on such rarely done, exceptional works.
Back on the Southshore, the Saenger Theatre hosted the world premiere of A Wonderful World, a new, supposedly Broadway-bound musical about the life and loves of Louis Armstrong. On one hand, it featured a cast full of great voices, vibrant choreography, sumptuous costumes, impressive sets & projections and, of course, a score full of Armstrong classics. On the other, its book was all too Wikipedia-esque and rarely became emotionally involving. Other shows seen at the Saenger included Tina – The Tina Turner Musical, Fiddler on the Roof, Moulin Rouge! The Musical, and Wicked. I was disappointed that I had to miss To Kill a Mockingbird and MJ The Musical.
James Monroe Iglehart (center) and company in A Wonderful World (photo by Jeremy Daniel)
I’ve written before about how impressed I’ve been with productions at such local high schools as NOCCA, Mount Carmel Academy, Lusher Charter School, and Hahnville H.S. Add to that list the Isidore Newman School and Cabrini High School.
The former gave us a devilishly fun production of Chicago directed by Gregory Spencer Jr. with excellent performances by John Sanpietro (Billy Flynn), Sofia Gershanik (Velma) and, especially, Morgan Price as Roxie. Mary Argus’ fine production of Into the Woods at the latter showcased two outstanding young actresses, Jayda Bullard as the Baker’s Wife and Meredith Severa as the Witch. I look forward to seeing them all again in the future as well as more shows at all these schools.
While I always appreciate Daniel Nardicio for bringing such institutions as John Waters, Sandra Bernhard and Bette, Bathhouse & Beyond to New Orleans, this year we owe him an especial debt of gratitude for presenting entertainments at Café Istanbul featuring some of the most iconic and beloved queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Jackie Cox and Jan Sport in Jackie & Jan’s Jingle Jam!
Witch Perfect, a parody of the cult-classic film Hocus Pocus, starred Tina Burner as Winifred (the bossy witch), Scarlet Envy as Sara (the dithery one), and Alexis Michelle as Mary (the sensible one); together, they stirred up a cauldron of merriment. Jackie Cox and Jan Sport hosted Jackie & Jan’s Jingle Jam!, an evening of traditional & original songs, comedy, and holiday joie de vivre, a perfect alternative to the endless stream of Christmas parties. Can’t wait to see who Daniel has up his, er, sleeve for 2024.
Now, if you’ll indulge me in a little back-patting (not only my own, at least), I’m delighted that the Carol Sutton/Sherri Marina Memorial Grants, which I established in 2021 to support productions of new plays featuring roles for thespians of color, in general, and Black actresses, in particular, came to fruition this year with world premieres of our first three selections. (This is in addition to smaller grants we–myself and Advisers Gwendolyn Foxworth & Wanda Rouzan–gave in the first two years to The NOLA Project’s School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play and Goat in the Road’s The Family Line.)
After many years of trying, Voices in the Dark Repertory presented Tommye Myrick and the late Mark R. Sumner’s Le Code Noir, in Congo Square where much of its action took place. Louisiana’s first historical (early 1800s) outdoor drama, this spectacular production was directed by Myrick, and featured 2 dozen actors, Bill Summers & his Ethic Ensemble, and The Kai Knight Dance Theatre Ensemble.
Queen Shereen and Michael Forest in Le Code Noir
Harold Ellis Clark’s powerful play about redemption and responsibility, Back in the Day, was seen at the André Cailloux Center in a No Dream Deferred production. Lauren Turner Hines directed a topnotch cast (Martin Bradford, Karen Kaia Livers, Delphine J, April Louise, Riga Ruby); audiences responded with great appreciation for seeing onstage an all-too-seldom told story.
Loyola University presented Ann Mahoney and Gillian Shelly’s wildly imaginative tale of female empowerment, God Help Them If We Wake Up. In addition to seeing the play itself, it was incredibly gratifying to hear Loyola student cast members speak about what a transformative experience it had been to participate in bringing a new play to life.
I look forward to seeing the 2024 grantees, Clarence Holmes’ Bridge in the Distance, and The Colored Museum at New Orleans African American Museum.
And not only did I have the pleasure of meeting Sarah Brecht, granddaughter of the great playwright Bertolt Brecht and part-time New Orleanian, at David Symons and Harry Mayronne’s Brecht Fest IV, but later in the year I acquired a painting of hers from a Magazine Street gallery and then wound up chatting with this charming lady at a Holiday party. Overall, I guess my 2023 cup was more than half full. Much more than half.
Sadly, however, some members of the New Orleans theater community took their final bows this year.
Luis Q. Barroso (Oct. 31, 1944-Jan. 16, 2023) was adored by all for his easy charm and sly humor. He won a 2004 Ambie Award for Best Director of a Play for Tennessee Williams’ Something Cloudy, Something Clear and received an Honorable Mention that same year for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical for Little Shop of Horrors.
Levy Easterly (Sept. 1, 1962-Feb. 28, 2023) always had a smile on his face. He memorably appeared in such local productions as Beauty, inspired by the early works of Jean Genet, and the Brecht/Weill musical Happy End and, of course, the Academy Award-nominated film Beasts of the Southern Wild.
Tulane professor B. Michael Howard (June 11, 1944-Aug. 12, 2023) served as Artistic Director of Summer Lyric Theatre at Tulane University (SLT) (1997-2014) and mentored generations of students and performers. In 2005, he received two Ambie Award nominations for Best Director of a Musical, for West Side Story (with Edmond Kresley) and for Candide which won Best Production of a Musical that year.
Perry Martin (June 12, 1958-Oct.10, 2023) directed many productions at Southern Rep, True Brew, Le Chat Noir and throughout the greater New Orleans area despite the challenges of visual impairment. He was especially associated with the Bayou Playhouse in Lockport. At the 2003 Ambie Awards, he received an Honorable Mention for Director of a Play for David Mamet’s Sexual Perversity in Chicago.
They shall all be missed. Apologies to anyone who may have been inadvertently omitted.
On a happier note, in addition to those already mentioned above, other praiseworthy folks who trod the boards in 2023 include: Elizabeth Argus, Diana E.H. Shortes (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Le Petit); Donyae Asante (The View UpStairs, JPAS); Yvette Bourgeois (Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Crescent City Stage); Lizzy Bruce (Night of the Iguana, TWTC); Kameron Callahan, Helen Morlier (Peter and the Starcatcher, Mt. Carmel Academy); Myiarene’ Carter, Taylor James (The Color Purple, Le Petit); Leslie Castay (Looped, JPAS); Keith Claverie, Payj Ruffins (Twelfth Night, New Orleans Shakespeare Festival (NOSF)); Robinson J. Cyprian (Crumbs from the Table of Joy, Tulane Univ.); Arden Allen Dufilho (Into the Breeches, Playmakers Theater); Rebecca Gibel, Leicester Landon (Miss Rose, Salvage Art Productions); Victoria Guest, Jeffrey Gunshol (Dance Nation, Tulane Univ.); Monica R. Harris, Shelley J. Meier, Alexandria Miles, Edward Montoya, Michael Santos (Romeo and Juliet, NOSF); Rachel Looney (The Music Man, SLT); Fernando Rivera, Jr., Nick Straus (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Le Petit); Kaelyn Turkmany (Urinetown, Loyola Univ.); Tenaj Wallace (White, The NOLA Project).
As the curtain rises on a new year, I salute all the writers, producers, directors, designers, choreographers, music directors, musicians, hair & make-up artists, fight choreographers, dancers and thespians who made theatrical magic in 2023, and look forward to all you have to offer in 2024.