Tuesday, December 29, 2009

What were the best musicals of the 2000s? Here are some opinions.

End-of-year lists can be painful to read, but end-of-decade lists can feel excruciating as people sit back in their chairs and think, "Gosh, did blah-de-blah happen only eight years ago? It feels like forever! And look here, bloo-de-bloo began just three years ago. My gosh, how time flies."

Still, there are a lot of opinions out there about what can be perceived as high points or low points of the decade. Here are some writers' thoughts about the best in new musical theatre for the 2000s.

Chris Caggiano has written a countdown of the Top 20 musicals on his blog "Everything I Know I Learned From Musicals". He includes commentary on each of his choices and there are links galore to his original reviews and sometimes his re-reviews of the shows. For those who want more than just "Best Of," Caggiano also includes "Underrated" and "Overrated" lists on his blog. Caggiano's choice for best musical of the decade? Urinetown.

• * Top Musicals as per Chris Caggiano, #20-11.
• * Top Muscaisl as per Chris Caggiano, #10-1.

Wade Bradford of About.com also writes a countdown titled "Top Ten Musicals of the 00s." He writes that the musicals on the list are among "the most exceptional and inspiring" of the hundreds written in the last 10 years. Bradford's choice for the best musical of the decade? In the Heights.

• * Top Musicals as per Wade Bradford, #10-1.

Kerry Lengel of The Arizona Republic offers a list titled "Top 10 coolest Broadway musicals of the 200s" on the newspaper's Web site. As with the other lists, Lengel offers plenty of commentary. Lengel's choice for #1 is Spring Awakening.

• * Top Musicals as per Kerry Lengel, #1-10.

Rogue Zentradi (yes, it's a pen name) has listed "20 Musicals for the 2000's" in his blog "An American Look at London Theatre." Rather than ranking musicals, however, Zentradi offers a chronological list of musicals that "provided either a major contribution or simply serve as the most memorable works of the decade."

• * Top Musicals as per Rogue Zentradi in chronological order.

There are a lot of opinions out there. What are your choices for the best musicals of the 2000s? Share your thoughts.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Announcing auditions: Snow White


Audition dates have been announced for Snow White, the third production in Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette's 2009-2010 Civic Youth Theatre season. Auditions will take place from 6-9 p.m. on Monday, January 4 and Tuesday, January 5 in the Civic Theatre office at 313 N. 5th Street in downtown Lafayette.

Director Missy Freels asks that all auditioners prepare a memorized monologue no longer than one minute in length.

This humorous take on a classic tale includes a bumbling prince, a very involved mirror and not just one, but three attempts on Snow White’s life. Add a lot of dwarfs and a happily-ever-after ending and you have a great play for all ages.

Snow White will open Friday, February 26 and run through Sunday, February 28.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

My Top 11 moments from Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette shows in 2009

As 2009 comes to a close, I'd like to share what I thought were memorable moments from shows produced by Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette during the calendar year.

My Top 11 moments are listed in alphabetical order by show name. Every MainStage, Civic Youth Theatre and Civic Under the Stars show that appeared in the Monon Depot Theatre or Tippecanoe County Amphitheater in the 2009 calendar year is included.
  • * Children of Eden - The entrance of the animals from throughout the theatre and into Noah's ark.
  • * A Christmas Story - The fantasy sequence in which Ralphie saves his friends in the jungle. He fires his trusty gun and a snake falls from the sky.
  • * Guys and Dolls, Jr. - Nicely-Nicely Johnson leads the cast in raising the roof of the Save-a-Soul Mission in "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat."
  • * The Importance of Being Earnest - The final line of the play brings together a pun on all the proceedings that came before and the play's title.
  • * The King and I - The "Small House of Uncle Thomas" ballet at the beginning of Act II.
  • * The Man Who Came to Dinner - Nurse Preen, after being insulted and tormented by Sheridan Whiteside throughout the play, fires back at him in a caustic monologue and leaves.
  • * The Mousetrap - The song and lyrics of "Three Blind Mice" are eerily sung or played on piano, creating tension in the boarding house.
  • * Our Town - Emily says goodbye to all of the things in the world that she will miss before returning to the cemetery and rejoining the dead.
  • * Private Lives - The maid enters to a messy apartment, cleans it, shows her utter disdain for the people there and their messy lives (through the use of some well-chosen French phrases and withering looks) and leaves in a flurry of action.
  • * The Stinky Cheese Man and other Fair(l)y (Stoopid) Tales - Foxy Loxy and the Stinky Cheese Man's trip across the river is performed using puppets.
  • * You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown - Linus, Lucy, Schroeder and Charlie Brown sing about their book reports on Peter Rabbit in "The Book Report."
What were the moments you'll most remember from the 2009 calendar year at Civic Theatre?

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas from Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette

Warmest wishes to you and your loved ones this Christmas day from Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Announcing the free New Volunteer Orientation, January 23


A free New Volunteer Orientation will be held Saturday, January 23 from 10 a.m. to noon at the historic Monon Depot Theatre in downtown Lafayette. People interested in volunteering with Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette will have the opportunity to speak with several Civic veterans who can share their experiences as actors, directors, designers, committee members, office volunteers and more. Refreshments will be served.

The New Volunteer Orientation is open to everyone, regardless of age or hometown. Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette is a member of the Tippecanoe Arts Federation, which serves the population of 14 counties in Indiana: Benton, Carroll, Cass, Clinton, Fountain, Howard, Jasper, Montgomery, Newton, Pulaski, Tippecanoe, Tipton, Warren and White. These are also considered part of the community in our community theatre.

The New Volunteer Orientation will take place in the historic Monon Depot Theatre, located at the corner of 5th Street and North Street in downtown Lafayette. Although walk-ins are welcome, people are encouraged to RSVP so organizers can better plan the event.

To learn more about the free New Volunteer Orientation or to sign up to attend, please call either Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette's office at 765-423-7529 or e-mail steve@lafayettecivic.org.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Announcing the cast of A Raisin in the Sun


Director Steven Koehler has announced the cast for A Raisin in the Sun, the third production of the 2009-2010 MainStage season at Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette. The script is by Lorraine Hansberry.

The cast includes:

  • * Ruth Younger - Ebony Kennedy
  • * Travis Younger - Joseph Ricksy
  • * Walter Lee Younger - Jos Holman
  • * Beneatha Younger - Ashley McElroy
  • * Lena Younger - Valerie Baynard
  • * Joseph Asagai - Jaymes Osborne
  • * George Murchison - Terrance Youngblood
  • * Bobo - Allias Jones
  • * Karl Lindner - Ted Hingst

A Raisin in the Sun will open Friday, January 29 and run three consecutive weekends through Sunday, February 14 at the historic Monon Depot Theatre in downtown Lafayette. Friday and Saturday evening performances will begin at 8 p.m. Sunday afternoon performances will begin at 2:30 p.m.

For more information about the show or to order tickets, call Civic Theatre's office at 765-423-7529 or Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette's Web site, http://www.lafayettecivic.org/.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Share Your Thoughts: A Christmas Story


Now that A Christmas Story has closed, share your thoughts about the production.

What will you most remember about the show? What were your thoughts about the performances? The design? The story and theme? What were the standout moments?

Friday, December 18, 2009

What theatre-related items are on your gift list this year?

Now that we're one week from Christmas, it's time to share: What theatre-related items are on your Christmas gift list this year? Does your list include tickets to a show, a cast recording on CD, an anthology of plays by your favorite writer, or maybe a show poster/program from a Broadway hit?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Winter/Spring 2010 Acting Classes from Civic Youth Theatre: Improv Techniques


Civic Youth Theatre Director Melanie R. Buchanan will be teaching three classes in late winter/early spring 2010: Creative Dramatics, Musical Theatre for the Younger Actor and Improv Techniques. Each class has two separate sessions. Students can choose one session or the other.

Improv Techniques is for students in Grade 6 or higher. The first session of the class begins January 14 and runs through February 18, with classes from 4:30-5:30 p.m. each Thursday. The second session of this class begins April 8 and runs through May 13, with classes from 4:30-5:30 p.m. each Thursday.

Students will get a large dose of improv in this class. The actors will learn a variety of games and techniques that will help them improve as actors. This class will be just plain fun. At the conclusion of the class there will be a Share Day, when parents will be invited to observe the class.

The cost of this class is $65 for members of Civic Theatre, $70 for non-members. There are a limited number of scholarships for classes.

For more information about this class, e-mail cyt@lafayettecivic.org, call the Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette office at 765-423-7529 or visit the Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette Web site.

Melanie comes to Civic Theatre from Chicago where she studied graduate acting at DePaul University. She has a theatre degree from Creighton University and has worked in Los Angeles. Melanie, who has lived all over the world with her family, has a wealth of experience in musical theatre, improv and acting.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Winter/Spring 2010 Acting Classes from Civic Youth Theatre: Creative Dramatics


Civic Youth Theatre Director Melanie R. Buchanan will be teaching three classes in late winter/early spring 2010: Creative Dramatics, Musical Theatre for the Younger Actor and Improv Techniques. Each class has two separate sessions. Students can choose one session or the other.

Creative Dramatics is for students in Grade 4 or 5. The first session of the class begins January 13 and runs through February 17, with classes from 4:30-5:30 p.m. each Wednesday. The second session of this class begins April 7 and runs through May 12, with classes from 4:30-5:30 p.m. each Wednesday.

This class will focus on character development and basic acting techniques. Students will learn to read a script, and create a character and scene from the lines. At the conclusion of the class there will be a Share Day, when parents will be invited to observe the class.

The cost of this class is $65 for members of Civic Theatre, $70 for non-members. There are a limited number of scholarships for classes.

For more information about this class, e-mail cyt@lafayettecivic.org, call the Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette office at 765-423-7529 or visit the Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette Web site.

Melanie comes to Civic Theatre from Chicago where she studied graduate acting at DePaul University. She has a theatre degree from Creighton University and has worked in Los Angeles. Melanie, who has lived all over the world with her family, has a wealth of experience in musical theatre, improv and acting.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Winter/Spring 2010 Acting Classes from Civic Youth Theatre: Musical Theatre for the Younger Actor


Civic Youth Theatre Director Melanie R. Buchanan will be teaching three classes in late winter/early spring 2010: Creative Dramatics, Musical Theatre for the Younger Actor and Improv Techniques. Each class has two separate sessions. Students can choose one session or the other.

Musical Theatre for the Younger Actor is for students in Grade 1, 2 or 3. The first session of the class begins January 12 and runs through February 16, with classes from 4:30-5:30 p.m. each Tuesday. The second session of this class begins April 6 and runs through May 11, with classes from 4:30-5:30 p.m. each Tuesday.

Students will learn the basics of musical theatre, and different techniques for acting in a musical will be explored. Students do not need to have any previous training in theatre or vocal performance to participate. At the conclusion of the class there will be a Share Day, when parents will be invited to observe the class.

The cost of this class is $65 for members of Civic Theatre, $70 for non-members. There are a limited number of scholarships for classes.

For more information about this class, e-mail cyt@lafayettecivic.org, call the Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette office at 765-423-7529 or visit the Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette Web site.

Melanie comes to Civic Theatre from Chicago where she studied graduate acting at DePaul University. She has a theatre degree from Creighton University and has worked in Los Angeles. Melanie, who has lived all over the world with her family, has a wealth of experience in musical theatre, improv and acting.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

December 19: Writing a Play - Part 2


On Saturday, December 19, Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette will offer a class titled "Writing a Play – Part 2." It will be held 12 noon to 2 p.m. in the historic Monon Depot Theatre in downtown Lafayette.

Class participants will develop their own play over the course of the theatrical season. Classes feature a supportive and creative process that will result in a final script suitable for submission to Civic Theatre's 2010-2011 Staged Reading Series. The instructors are Civic veterans Steve Gooch, Arliss Jeffries and Steve Martin. The two-hour class costs $20.

To register for the class, call Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette's office at 765-423-7529. Space is limited.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Happy Hanukkah from Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette

Warmest wishes to you and your loved ones during the Festival of Lights from Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette.

Friday, December 11, 2009

NEA releases results from 2008 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts


Officials at the National Endowment for the Arts released the results of their 2008 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts. For adults aged 18 and older, there was a decline in the attendance of "benchmark" cultural activities between 2002 and 2008. "Benchmark" cultural activities include theatre, movies, concerts, museums/galleries visits and more.

In an article written by Hillel Italie of The Associated Press, Jesse Rosen of the League of American Orchestras said, "There is a fundamental change happening in our lives. There's a sense that we have an old way of defining participating in the arts and that the public is redefining what participation means. The challenge for us is to see where the public is and engage with them and adapt."

You can read the full article written by Italie here on the Web site of the Journal & Courier, Lafayette and West Lafayette's daily newspaper. You can read the full survey here.

A number of reasons for the decrease were suggested in Italie's article, including cuts in arts classes, a decline in personal leisure time and the rise of the Internet. Consider the environment for cultural activities in Tippecanoe County and the surrounding area - live theatre, concerts, movies, museums and galleries, and more. What events do you attend? What influences your decisions on whether to attend?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Visit the world-renowned Humana Festival of New American Plays in Louisville


Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette is organizing a trip to visit the world-renowned Actors Theatre of Louisville's Humana Festival of New American Plays in 2010.

You can read details about the Louisville, Kentucky-based festival at this link.

A special package including transportation, hotel accomodations, group meal, plays and more has been developed for less than $500 per person (assuming double occupancy in the hotel).

For specific details about the trip or to sign up, call Ruth Wukasch, chair of Civic Theatre's Development Committee, at 765-463-2814.

The deadline for deposit reservation is January 7, 2010.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Share Your Thoughts: The Exonerated

The staged reading of The Exonerated took place last night at 7:00 p.m. at the historic Monon Depot Theatre in downtown Lafayette with 30 people in attendance. More than 100 people saw the staged reading at Mallett Theatre in Pao Hall on the Purdue University campus. As with other staged readings in the series, it was followed by a question-and-answer session between the audience, the cast and director Rachel Lambert.

Did you attend the staged reading? What did you think about the characters, the plot and other elements of the script? What were some of the high points? What will you remember most about this staged reading?

Time magazine lists the top 10 plays and musicals of 2009


Richard Zoglin of Time magazine has ranked the top 10 play and musical productions of 2009. The variety is solid: some new plays and musicals, some revivals, and even a production of Hamlet.

The top spot is reserved for Lynn Nottage's Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, Ruined. There is a Civic Theatre connection to the show: Andrew Russell, the assistant director, is a veteran of several Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette productions.

You can read Zoglin's list, with commentary about each production, here.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Review Is In: A Christmas Story


The review of A Christmas Story was published in the Journal & Courier, Lafayette and West Lafayette's daily newspaper. It was written by Dick Jaeger. You can read the full review here.

A Christmas Story begins the second weekend of its three-weekend run this Thursday at 8:00 p.m. and continues with shows at 8:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday evening and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. The show closes Sunday, December 20. All performances take place at the historic Monon Depot Theatre in downtown Lafayette.

To inquire about tickets, please call the Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette office at 765-423-7529.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

December 12: Breaking Down the Script


On Saturday, December 12, Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette will offer a class titled "Breaking Down the Script." It will be held 12 noon to 2 p.m. in the historic Monon Depot Theatre in downtown Lafayette.

This class covers script analysis – techniques used to determine a play's course of action, conflict, characters and more. Actors, directors, designers and audience members will learn valuable information in this workshop. The instructors are Civic veterans Steve Martin and Larry Sommers. The two-hour class costs $20.

To register for the class, call Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette's office at 765-423-7529. Space is limited.

Friday, December 4, 2009

A Christmas Story on WLFI

John David Collier, director of A Christmas Story, recently appeared on the WLFI noon news to talk about the upcoming show.

A Christmas Story opens Friday, December 4 and runs Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 and Sundays at 2:30 through December 20th.

Tickets are selling fast with several performances already sold out. Tickets are $15 for adult, $10 for you and can be purchased at the Civic Theatre office located at 313 North 5th Street, by phone at 765-423-7529 or on-line here

Opening night for A Christmas Story: production photos
















A Christmas Story opens tonight, December 4, at 8 p.m. at the historic Monon Depot Theatre in downtown Lafayette. The show will run three consecutive weekends through December 20. To order tickets, call Civic Theatre's box office at 765-423-7529. Thanks to Kris Kazmierczak for taking these production photos.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Preview of A Christmas Story on www.jconline.com


A preview of A Christmas Story appears online at http://www.jconline.com/, the Web site for the Journal & Courier, Lafayette and West Lafayette's daily newspaper.

You can read the preview here.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Staged Reading Series: The Exonerated on December 8














Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette's 2009-2010 Staged Reading Series continues with The Exonerated by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen. The staged reading is produced in association with Purdue Theatre.

Rachel Lambert directs the cast, which includes Oge Agulue, Nico Caldwell, Bobbie Sue Ferrell-Brey, Mickala Hinnant, Allias Jones, Alex Manich, Collin McShane, Trish Peterson, Steven Saltsman, Greg Seiters and Matt Webb.

It will be performed at the historic Monon Depot Theatre in downtown Lafayette on Tuesday, December 8 at 7 p.m. It also will be performed at the Carole and Gordon Mallett Theatre in the Yue-Kong Pao Hall of Visual and Performing Arts at 552 W. Wood Street at Purdue University on Saturday, December 5 and Wednesday, December 9 at 7:30 p.m. There will be a question-and-answer session between the audience, cast and director immediately following all of the readings. Audience members are encouraged to pay what they can for admission.

To learn more about The Exonerated, call 765-423-7529 or visit Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette's Web site, http://www.lafayettecivic.org/.