Les Misérables, or The Sun’ll Come Out Tomorrow?
How much have things changed in the past two months since everything shut down? Well, depending on who you are or what you’re asking about, a lot or a little. For, as some places begin to reopen, alas for live theater, it’s turning into a hard knock life. (Hmmm…two Annie references already, more than I’ve probably made here in the past two decades. Maybe we’ll get a new deal for Christmas…if not before!)
To go back a bit, the last show I saw before the shutdown was We’ll Meet Again, a tribute to the era’s blonde bombshell singers, at the WWII Museum’s Stage Door Canteen which I found to be a delightful bouquet of great songs terrifically tied together by Sean Patterson’s script and charmingly performed by Hannah Rachal (who also directed) and Bryce Slocumb.
The day after that, Friday the 13th ironically, productions began shutting down, sometimes with little warning. As I tried to juggle my schedule to squeeze in a few last shows before the inevitable stay-at-home order would go into effect, I did make it up to the North Shore to see one that, as of that afternoon, was going on that evening, but was cancelled less than two hours before curtain time. Oh well, I and a friend did have a wonderful meal at Trey Yuen.
Since then, it’s been a whole new world.
As theater is so ephemeral, I’d like to take this opportunity to recognize those shows whose runs were cut short; those that never opened and, sadly, had to be canceled; and those that were postponed and which we can still look forward to seeing.
Runs cut short
The Complete History of Comedy (abridged), Jefferson Performing Arts Society (JPAS)
The Miss Firecracker Contest, Slidell Little Theatre
Peter and the Starcatcher, Rivertown Theaters (rescheduled for Aug. 6-9)
The Piano Lesson, Le Petit Theatre
Rumors, 30 by Ninety Theatre
Bazzar, Cirque du Soleil
Beauty and The Beast, New Orleans Ballet Theatre
The Boardinghouse, Café’ Luke
Chaps!, Stage Door Canteen
Charlie Parker’s Yardbird, New Orleans Opera
The Demolition Downtown and The Chalky White Substance, Beaubourg Theatre
Dido & Aeneas, Loyola
Dina Martina’s Forgotten But Not Gone, Daniel Nardicio
Dreams, Radical Buffoons
Driving Miss Daisy, See ‘Em On Stage
Edmund Bagnell–He Plays the Violin, Mark Cortale
The Elephant Man, UNO
Evita, Summer Lyric Theatre
Fiddler on the Roof, Saenger
Follies, concert version, Summer Lyric Theatre
God’s Favorite, Playmakers Theater
Good People, Playmakers Theater
Hedy!, Stage Door Canteen
The Juilliard String Quartet, UNO
KindHumanKind (return engagement), Goat in the Road Productions and the CAC
Legally Blonde, Summer Lyric Theatre
Moby Dick Rehearsed, 30 by Ninety Theatre
Songs That Won the War (return engagement), Stage Door Canteen
Tennessee Williams and Saints & Sinners Festival
Troilus and Cressida, N.O. Shakespeare Festival
Twelfth Night, N.O. Shakespeare Festival
Urinetown, The Musical, Tulane
Postponed, with rescheduled dates when available
An American in Paris, JPAS
Anastasia, Saenger, Aug. 18-23
Angels in America Part 1: Millennium Approaches, Le Petit Theatre, October 2020
Chemin Du Bayou, Southern Rep, October 2020
The Drowsy Chaperone, Rivertown Theaters, Sept. 11-27
Fairykind; The Musical, Slotted Spoon Productions/Sisterhood Studios
42nd Street, JPAS
Hank and My Honky Tonk Heroes, Stage Door Canteen
Jasper In Deadland, NOCCA
In the Bar of a Tokyo Hotel, Tennessee Williams Theatre Company of N.O., Mar/Apr 2021
Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo,NOBA
The Magic Flute, New Orleans Opera, Mar. 19 & 21, 2021
Margaret Cho, Daniel Nardicio
Mean Girls, Saenger
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Radical Buffoons/Delgado, Aug. 26-31
Spring Collection, New Orleans Ballet Theatre, Fall 2020
Sweet Potato Queens, JPAS
Treasure Island, NOLA Project/NOMA, May 2021
Trevor Noah, Saenger
Vessels, Junebug Productions
World’s Greatest Johnny Cash Experience, Stage Door Canteen
I want to acknowledge all the hard work that went into these productions, and hope that everyone’s talents will soon be seen again. Apologies to any productions I may have left out inadvertently.
Until our theaters do open again, many have moved online to provide entertainment and amusement for all the stay-at-home, I’m-about-to-go-stir-crazy people out there.
Le Petit recently announced the launch of a series of radio plays. The first installment, Sorry, Wrong Number, debuts Friday, May 22, at 7:30pm. The drama will feature Leslie Castay as Mrs. Elbert Stevenson and Tracey Collins as the Telephone Operator as well as Curtis Billings and Helen Jaksch.
Sorry, Wrong Number is the classic story of a bedridden woman who hears two men plotting a murder over crossed telephone lines (back in the days before cell phones!). Orson Welles called it “the single greatest radio script ever written”. To find out if Mrs. Stevenson will be able to stop the gruesome deed before it is carried out, you can join the watch party on Le Petit’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/LePetitNOLA) or after the event when the video will be posted to social media.
Southern Rep’s long-running Debauchery! moved online last month. Conceived and written by Pat Bourgeois, this send-up of soap operas follows the exploits of sisters Chanel and Cartier as they flounce and fight their way through a maze of outrageous plot twists and turns.
The cast features such local comic stalwarts as Robin Baudier, Tracey Collins, Kyle Daigrepont, Sean Glazebrook, Matthew Mickal, Sean Patterson, Allee Peck, Jessica Podewell, Hannah Rachal, Michael P. Sullivan and Mandy Zirkenbach, along with special guest stars. To find out when the next episode will be check out www.southernrep.com/debauchery or Debauchery’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/WeloveDEBAUCHERY).
Not only has Goat in the Road Productions (GRP) been posting video playlets written by playwrights from here “and beyond” on its website (www.goatintheroadproductions.org), but it’s going ahead with its 11th Annual Play/Write Showcase which presents short works by students from area schools.
This year’s Showcase will feature 14 scripts brought to life via virtual performances produced by eight local theater companies. The plays will go live on Wednesday, May 20, at 6 pm on the GRP website and will remain up throughout the summer.
Rivertown Theaters has been presenting its “Quarantunes Challenge”, a musical entertainment via a singing contest in which two performances are posted each day and viewers vote for their favorite; each vote costs $1. All videos are submitted by volunteers from their own self-isolation, so they’re, understandably, not finished products, but do offer a way for local talent to stay creative and connected with audiences. More info at www.rivertowntheaters.com
For The NOLA Project, check out A.J. Allegra’s PAST PRESENT FUTURE article here.
While a few events are still scheduled for June, at this point, I’m not sure if the shows will go on. I should have updates by our next issue along with any new online offerings that will be debuting. Till then stay safe’n’sane!