May 16th, 2013
ALT’s 9 to 5 will finish its run with four performances this Thursday – Sunday, May 16-19. As I have made clear more than once in this blog space, this is a big show with lots of great music, dance, comedy and fun! If you haven’t seen the show yet, you should snag one of the precious few tickets that still remain for this weekend.
I look forward to seeing you at the theatre.
Shannnon Mashburn as Roz and the female ensemble.
May 9th, 2013
After a very successful opening weekend (better than I could have imagined) we are excited to be starting our second week of performances tonight at 8:00 pm. In previous posts I talked about the difficulty of this show and the rehearsals leading up to the opening. It was truly one of the most excruciating and frightening Hell weeks we have had in a long time. It seemed like we were snake bit and if something could go wrong – it did. Believing in the “magic” in the theatre, but more importantly the tenacity and commitment of ALT’s volunteer performers, we launched the show into a full house last Thursday and it was GOOD!! Not perfect by any means, but good. What a relief for everyone involved. After a successful first show, the tension and anxiety disappeared and the cast got down to having fun…………..which is the main reason they do this.
ALT audiences seem to be loving this show. It is indeed charming and funny with lots of great music and dance. It also features wonderful performances by our three leading ladies Heather Manderson, Terry Robertson-Baker and Rebecca Hayes. Richie Garza is also terrific as the lying, egotistical, bigot, Mr. Hart. AND Shannon Mashburn is lighting up the stage with one of the funniest roles in the show.
I predict that the show will find its “groove” this weekend and for the remainder of the run. It is a ton of fun!! If you haven’t made reservations, you should do that today. You don’t want to miss this fun show. Remaining performances are May 9, 10, 11, 16, 17 and 18 at 8:00 pm and May 12 and 19 at 2:30 pm.
Attached are a couple of photos from the show.
I look forward to seeing you at the theatre.
Rebecca Hayes, Heather Manderson and Terry Robertson-Baker in a scene from 9 to 5.
Ritchie Garza and Terry Robertson-Baker in a scene from 9 to 5.
May 1st, 2013
Ready or not, here we go!! ALT’s final production of the 2012-13 season will explode onto the stage for our preview performance tomorrow night (Thursday, May 2 at 8:00 pm.) I guess it’s only fitting that we are closing with one of the biggest, most difficult shows of the season and perhaps one of the most difficult ever!! This show is a monster. We have had some late nights both Monday and Tuesday and probably tonight. It reminds me why we call the week of opening “HELL WEEK.” This week has certainly lived up to its name thus far. I have always believed that with mighty struggles come great rewards……………so I believe our cast and our audiences are in for a spectacular treat as the run of this show gets underway.
If you haven’t made reservations to see this big, bright and funny show, you should make them today!!!
April 26th, 2013
ALT’s final production of the season is just a week away from opening. Rehearsals have been long and tedious, but great progress is being made each day. I am not sure anyone expected this to be such a monster of a show when we first selected it. This is one BIG show folks. The music, which is really good, is also very difficult and has proven to be quite a challenge. The accompaniment is being performed by a rocking 11 piece orchestra. There are over a dozen major set pieces for the show and our shop is completely full of scenery pieces. There are over a hundred costumes, including some surprises that no one would ever believe could be in a production such as this. (Have I teased you sufficiently yet?)
I am pleased to be among the first theatres in this part of the world to produce this show. But, trust me, I know why it is not being produced as extensively as some other popular titles. It is pushing us to our limit in many ways. Don’t get me wrong though, we are going to be very successful with this production. Our cast is phenomenal. I am especially excited about our three leading ladies, Heather Manderson, Terry Robertson-Baker and Rebecca Hayes. They are going to be great. Also doing a great job is Richie Garza in the role of the egotistical and bigoted boss, Mr. Hart. Shannon Mashburn is also going to be excellent in the role of Roz, Mr. Hart’s brown-nosing assistant.
9 to 5 is going to be a wonderful closing production for what has been a very successful season. If you haven’t made a reservation yet, don’t hesitate any longer. You won’t want to miss out on this great show.
I look forward to seeing you at the theatre.
Doralee, Violet and Judy get their revenge on Mr. Hart!
April 9th, 2013
ALT mourns the loss of two very dedicated and beloved patrons, with the passing of Renee’ Rhynehart and Harlow Sprouse. Both died last week.
Renee’ was an avid ALT supporter for many years. Her family was extremely involved with ALT several years ago until Renee’ began dealing with serious health problems. Renee’ served on the ALT Board of Directors and her family generously supported many ALT productions, including being major underwriters for our special event featuring Jane Monheit. Renee’ had the sweetest spirit and a truly infectious personality. Every person that knew her loved her. AND she loved every person she knew! The Rhynehart family had not been as involved at ALT in the past few years as Renee’ was very ill. However, their support for our work continued throughout. Renee’ leaves behind a wonderful husband, Chris, a son, Tyler, and daughter, Abby. This was a heartbreaking and tragic loss for our entire community.
Harlow Sprouse also served on the ALT Board of Directors and was one of our most staunch supporters. He was truly one of ALT’s best Ambassadors. One of my favorite Harlow stories is that he played a “G-Man” in You Can’t Take it With You. It wasn’t a big role, but he was thrilled to take the stage with so many of the actors he admired and called friends. He was also scared to death!! The role was so small that I had told Harlow he didn’t need to stay throughout the show if he didn’t want to. He quickly responded that he “wanted to be part of the cast and he would do whatever everyone else was doing. I know he cherished that experience as he talked about it often. Harlow was an extremely good friend to me and his encouragement and kind words buoyed me through many a tough time. He would drop by my office fairly regularly just to check in on me and to boost my spirits. He was one of those people who made me want to be a better friend and person. The same goes for Renee’. They will be missed.
The ALT family is poorer today because of the loss of these two great individuals.
March 26th, 2013
The shows just keep coming here at ALT. This week ushers in the opening of God of Carnage at the Adventure Space. This is a great play!! In fact, it won the Tony Award for Best Play in 2009. I was lucky enough to see the show with its original cast in NYC in 2010. I loved it at the time and have wanted to produce it at ALT ever since. It has taken us a couple of years to secure the rights, but now we have it and it is going to be great.
The play is a dark comedy. It focuses on two wealthy couples who have come together to discuss a recent playground altercation between their respective 11 year old sons. The meeting starts off with understandable politeness and social grace. However, it doesn’t take long for the discussion to become heated. In fact, it becomes very heated. Sparks fly as the couples defend their “territory” and argue for their own points of view. Civilized discussion devolves into a battle of angry words.
The dialogue in this show is some of best crafted and “smart” of the season. It is a real pleasure to have an opportunity to work with such great material and such fine actors. I can’t wait to unveil this show to our audiences.
If you haven’t made reservations for this great show, do it today. You don’t want to miss it.
March 21st, 2013
I was one of the lucky people who got to see today’s 12:30 pm performance of the ALT Academy’s The Little Mermaid. This was the fourth special daytime performance staged for area school children. Around 2,000 were in attendance during the two days. Public performances begin Friday evening and continue through Sunday. Sadly for any of you who don’t have a ticket, all public performances are sold out!!
Even for someone prone to hyperbole, I don’t have enough adjectives to describe this show!! Astounding! Stupendous! Breathtaking! Divine! All of those words fit, as do any others one can come up with. ALT’s Academy shows have been making this organization proud for many years, however this one may be the best yet. Director Jason Crespin and Music Director, Brandon Bellar (who must be mentioned for his unbelievable work in this show) have taken 80 kids and molded them into a remarkable theatrical unit that creates pure theatre magic for 90 minutes. I guarantee you it is 90 minutes that sail by very, very quickly. In fact, one of the most breathtaking moments in the show takes place right at the end of the first act and I didn’t want the show to stop for intermission.
The costumes, many rented from a professional costume house and many others created by Alexandra Bennett, are incredible. The set, created by ALT’s Technical Team, transports the audience to a magical world below the sea. The vocals are stunning and powerful and are augmented by wireless microphones – just like any major ALT production on the mainstage. ALT Sound Engineer, Gary Graham, is expertly running 28 microphones for this show. We used only 6 more (34) in Les Mis. There cannot be many, if any, youth programs in the country that enjoy such first rate technical resources. And believe me the show benefits greatly from all of it.
I mentioned in my last Director’s Notes article that I felt “overwhelmed,” “tired” and “old” due to the hectic schedule this season at ALT. A show like The Little Mermaid goes a long way toward reinvigorating my mind and my spirit. I told the cast and crew after the show that today I was very proud to be a part of ALT………very proud. I promise you that I will go to my God of Carnage rehearsal tonight with a renewed enthusiasm and energy. We have a lot to live up to.
My advice to you is to get yourself on the waiting list for a precious ticket to this show. You won’t be disappointed……….unless you can’t get in.
Congratulations to the cast and crew of The Little Mermaid!! You have created a masterpiece.
March 7th, 2013
ALT’s production of The Sunshine Boys will begin its final weekend of performances tonight, Thursday, March 7. Performances continue Friday, Saturday and Sunday. This is a very strong show featuring two of ALT’s most prolific actors – Don Washburn and Don Shipman. Unfortunately, this show is not selling as well as other shows in our season. If you had asked me in August which of the shows of this season were most certain to be “hits,” I would have picked this one to be one. It goes to show you that I still don’t know what our audiences are thinking, even after 29 years. If you haven’t made reservations to see this funny and touching show yet, please consider it. I don’t think you will be disappointed. I am attaching a couple of photos from the show to tease you.
We just completed auditions for 9 to 5: the Musical, which were Monday and Tuesday of this week. The cast list gets posted at noon today. As is pretty usual, we had an abundance of talent present – especially talented women. We had to make some very tough casting choices, but I believe that we have an excellent cast selected. Vocal rehearsals begin on Monday for that show. This new musical promises to be lots of fun. I hope our audiences embrace it warmly.
I am currently in rehearsals for God of Carnage. This show opens at the Adventure Space on March 28. It was the Tony Award winning play as Best Play in 2009. The script is brilliant and I believe it is one of the best of the season. Good things are happening at ALT. It is certainly a busy time. Thanks for coming along for the ride.
Don Washburn and Don Shipman in "The Sunshine Boys."
Don Washburn and Justin Duncan in "The Sunshine Boys."
March 1st, 2013
The show must go on is another one of the sayings that you hear a good deal around the theatre. It can be applied to many areas too, and this week was no exception. It may be Friday today and not much snow left out on the streets and grass, but Tuesday was a whole other story for us.
The city of Amarillo had the “wonderful” blizzard of 2013 on Monday, and we all had to deal with it. Ryan had to work to be at work early – 6am. He missed a good deal of it, but he drove the truck – our 4wheel drive vehicle. And I would have probably gotten the Saturn stuck backing out of our driveway, because the street had some large drifts in it. Luckily, I had my computer at home and was able to get a few things done. Gregg showed me a few pics from his house and he had some 6ft and taller drifts. Jacob has a truck but it is not 4wheel drive and Don just lives across the way. Needless to say, we took the city snow day. Allen was able to get in later in the afternoon – He got to use the 4wheel drive on his beautiful new truck!!
Come Tuesday though, we all made it in to the office. The guys beat me in. I had Jason pick me up and when I got here, they were working on the clearing our sidewalks off. David LeGrand, one of our new volunteers this season, was also here. He has a small handheld snow plow that he brought up to the theatre to help us clear off the all the patio and sidewalks. And what he could not get, we were shoveling off. I dropped off my stuff and joined them. It was a work out – 19inches of wet snow is not light.
Here is a good picture of us on the North side of the building working on clearing the snow out front of the studio doors.
Allen Shankles, Jacob Kuker and David LeGrand clearing snow at the MainStage.
Needless to say, even though it was work, we did toss a few snow balls. We needed to get things in working order for the show to go on, or in our case on Tuesay – WORK! Sunshine Boys had preview last night, so we had hell week this week – and in this case the SHOW must go on. Since Tuesday, Krause has come and cleared our parking lots and the sun has started to melt the snow. There is now room for cars to park and since we have a show that opens tonight, this is a very good thing!!
February 14th, 2013
As I predicted in my last blog, audiences are absolutely loving The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee! We start our second sold out weekend of performances tonight. For those many patrons who waited too long to get tickets to this great show, we have added a complete third weekend of performances. Extra performances are scheduled for Friday, February 22 @ 8:00 pm and 11:00 pm. (Yes, we are doing a late show! It promises to be wild and crazy. ) We also have performances on Saturday, February 23 @ 8:00 pm and Sunday, February 24 at 2:30 pm. If you haven’t made reservations yet, you better hurry. I’m telling you this show is really fun AND funny.
Below is a photo of one of the best moments in the show featuring Jason Crespin as Leaf Coneybear.
Jason Crespin in "....Spelling Bee."