As we approach Halloween, here are the shows that will be running in October. Hope they’ll all be treats!
One event that is sure to be a treat is New Orleans Ballet Association’s presentation of Ukraine’s Kyiv City Ballet as part of its first U.S. tour.
On February 23, the company unknowingly boarded what would be one of the last flights out of Ukraine for a long-planned tour. They have since not been able to return home and have been sheltered by France, performing throughout Europe. Tribute to Peace, a program of works by Ukrainian choreographers, will attest to the talents of these heroic artists at the Mahalia Jackson Theater on October 22.
From classical ballet to Ukrainian folk dances, the evening will showcase the best of Ukraine’s rich cultural heritage as it features two of the top prima ballerinas of Ukraine–Krystina Kadashevych and Oksana Bondarenko–and Vsevolod Maevskiy, formerly with St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Ballet. “Touring the States for the first time with a range of ballets makes an important global statement,’ said Artistic Director Ivan Kozlov. “It demonstrates the resilience of the Ukrainian people.”
For more information and tickets, go to https://nobadance.com/performances/kyiv-city-ballet/
Another treat is likely to be Christine Ebersole who’ll be kicking off the Broadway in New Orleans concert series. The last time this two-time Tony Award winner (42nd Street and Grey Gardens) put on a show here, in December 2018, I noted “her amazing ability to bring to utterly convincing life an astonishing range of characters” and “her beautiful, clarion voice” that she used in a wide variety of songs and how she gave “a master class in musical theater performance.”
I suspect that, accompanied by the legendary Billy Stritch on the piano, Ebersole will be just as magnificent in this return engagement on October 15 at Rivertown Theaters in Kenner. For tickets, go to https://www.tix.com/ticket-sales/RivertownTheaters/4053
Also in Rivertown, from October 21 till November 6, will be the crowd-pleasing musical The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas featuring the ladies who work in the title character and the chorus of shirtless Aggies who patronize them. Tickets can be found at the same website above.
Another musical that played at the 46th Street/Richard Rodgers Theatre, In the Heights, will be done by JPAS at the Jefferson Performing Arts Center in Metairie. With a score by Lin-Manuel (Hamilton) Miranda that won him his first Tony, this musical paints a vibrant portrait of Manhattan’s Dominican community in Washington Heights with a score that pulses to Latin rhythms.
In the Heights features a cast of 22 Latinos from throughout the Greater New Orleans and Houston areas in a production directed and choreographed by New Orleans native Michelle Pietri, For tickets and more information, go to https://ci.ovationtix.com/35874/production/1120313
For those who prefer their entertainments without music, The NOLA Project begins its 18th season in NOMA’s Sculpture Garden with the world premiere of Gab Reisman’s new play The Seagull or How to Eat It, a modern-day adaptation which resets the classic Chekhov dramedy across the lake on New Orleans’ Northshore.
In Reisman’s take, Simon loves Mandi, but Mandi loves Connie, but Connie loves Nina, but Nina loves Barry, and Barry just loves himself. To see how things turn out, plan a visit to City Park October 12-30, and get tickets at https://ci.ovationtix.com/35693/production/1130481mc_cid=78cda0149d&mc_eid=bd5a597568
Things will be more serious at the CAC, October 13-16, with the premiere of Requiem for a Stranger, a work of movement-theater, music, and interactive design exploring the vast heartspace of grief. A response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the production is devised by creators Vagabond Inventions and Renee Benson as a love song for the stage. Tickets and more information can be found at https://cacno.org/performing-arts-2/requiem-for-a-stranger
Fat Squirrel continues its debut season with Justin Maxwell’s The Canopic Jar of My Sins: A Medieval Morality Play for Latter-Day Postmodernists, a play about culpability. The narrative follows Ralph Wiley, the scientist who invented plastic, as he fights to survive a show trial held on the massive island of plastic in the North Pacific Ocean. His tribunal consists of an angel, a dead bird, and Roger Waters. After the trial, Wiley finds himself on the beach at Easter Island, where he meets the last Easter Islander and Robert Oppenheimer. Then the angel shows up, and things get strange.
Trick? Treat? You decide October 19-30 at the Fortress of Lushington when Bennett Kirschner directs Laura Bernas, Becca Chaman, Andrea Watson, and Cammie West in this world premiere. Get tickets at https://fatsquirrelnola.square.site/product/canopic-tickets/15
For sheer wacky fun, The Play That Goes Wrong, at Le Petit October 20-November 6, will be hard to beat. Reviewing the 2017 Broadway production, I wrote “This award-winning comedy from London shows, with acrobatic precision, what happens when everything conspires against an amateur theatrical troupe attempting to put on a creaky murder mystery. Once the plot tumbles into action, Play sends up every possible theatrical bugaboo–doors that don’t open, lines written on hands, missed cues, warring egos, misplaced props, etc. etc. Play pays tribute to the fortitude of those applause-hungry actors who persevere at all costs no matter what’s occurring around them.” More information at https://www.lepetittheatre.com/
A portrait of a real-life actress can be found at the WWII Museum’s Stage Door Canteen October 21, 22, & 23 in Bette Davis: Larger Than Life in which actress/playwright Jessica Sherr, channels the iconic Oscar-winning actress and shows how she fought against the male-dominated studio system to win challenging roles and compensation on par with her male counterparts. For tickets and additional info, go to https://www.nationalww2museum.org/programs/bette-davis-larger-life
On the Northshore, Playmakers Theater opens its 68th season with the simple, but charming love story Southern Comforts which depicts the journey of a widow and a widower who meet late in life. It’s the story of Gus, a taciturn Yankee, and Amanda, a vivacious grandmother from Tennessee, who find what they least expect–a second chance at love.
Originally performed by husband-and-wife Dixie Carter and Hal Holbrook, in Covington this funny, awkward romance will be performed by husband-and-wife Edward Dufilho and Arden Allen Dufilho with Edward directing. Southern Comforts runs through October 16 and tickets are available through BonTempsTix.com. For more information, go to https://playmakers-theater-05.webself.net/
To the east, Slidell Little Theatre presents One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Dale Wasserman’s adaptation of the 1962 novel by Ken Kesey that is a tribute to individualistic principles as mental hospital patient Randle McMurphy leads a revolt against the domineering Nurse Ratched. Tickets available at https://www.slidelllittletheatre.org/html?PageId=167631
Not seen in our area for many years, the wild and wacky Vampire Lesbians of Sodom will be mounted at the Wine Garden in Slidell October 20, 22, 28, and 29. Charles Busch’s long-running Off-Broadway comedy tells the saga of two fatally seductive vampiresses whose paths first collide in ancient Sodom. Their bitter rivalry as bloodsuckers, but more importantly as actresses, endures for two thousand years, with stops in 1920s silent movie Hollywood and contemporary Las Vegas. Laughs are guaranteed. Tickets are at https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100085384891382
The spectacular Night of 1000 Stevies New Orleans returns on October 8 to One Eyed Jacks’ new location (1104 Decatur St.), the first time here since January 2020. Neither a contest nor a karaoke show, NOTS promises the ultimate Stevie Nicks celebration, a profusion of shawls, lace, baby’s breath, twirling, tambourines and performances by “Legends of Stevie Realness” from all over the country. More info and tickets at http://1000stevies.com/nots-new-orleans/?fbclid=IwAR3MGYDx-aDZmfJNSWdiP_pMsrhxSVdP0KVhcjqZY-QAMOYutgGNNbuIZ0Y
And there’ll be lots of treats at the Saenger Theatre (https://www.saengernola.com/) this month with Pretty Woman: The Musical, (Oct. 4–9); Amy Schumer (Oct. 20); The Lion King (Oct. 27–Nov. 13); RuPaul’s Drag Race Night of the Living Drag (Oct. 22), though I’d watch out for some tricks in that last one. Enjoy!