Tedder

Smyrna Does Shakespeare Right

Lamplighters Theatre’s production of Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” was very lighthearted and colorful with a beautiful stage set and oratory you could hear and understand and actors who put their very heart and soul into the person they were portraying. Ronnie Meeks directs this show, the first Shakespeare that Lamplighters has attempted. I must say, along with Tucker Theater’s “Romeo & Juliet” last fall, this is the type of Shakespeare I enjoy, and believe most audiences do as well. The clarity, the scenery and the reality of the actors make this show most enjoyable. This is how Shakespeare should be done.

A large cast makes this another one to go see, as it continues through Feb. 24.

Vaginas in abundance

In a hairy twist to reviewing plays, Wall Street Bar and Grill played host on Valentine’s evening to a double shot of vaginas. Well, actually three; the show just played twice. The 9:30 production, with actresses Jamie Storvik, Dana Richardson and Sara Hoyal, played to about 75 people, and delivered the “Vagina Monologues,” a one-and-a-half-hour oratory on their private places.

With the red stage lights, the smoke and haze encircling the air with ceiling fans, the cold beer, and the brown crumbling walls surrounding us, we thought we were on the Upper East Side of New York, or in the Haight-Asbury district of San Francisco. The ambiance was perfect, and the actors did a wonderful job. They became the perfect V, and toward the end of the show, Ms. Storvik put on a “moaning” performance for five minutes that had her husband, Philip, collapsing in the audience from exhaustion. The show played again at 11 p.m. to another well-attended audience. Ms. Hoyal is to be commended for her direction.

The “Vagina Monologues” will be playing again, with completely different actors and direction, at Patterson Park Theater on March 7-8. It will be worth your while to see it. Look for more on this particular production in the March 6 issue of The Pulse.

A dark chapter of black history

“The Face of Emmitt Till,” playing at Murfreesboro Little Theatre, is a very powerful and riveting true story of a 14-year-old black boy from Chicago who in 1955 went to Mississippi to visit relatives and ends up being murdered.

I don’t want to give away the rest of this story, as I want you to go to MLT and see this production. It makes you realize just how political the NAACP is, and you find out that “President Eisenhower is a nice guy, but if he had fought World War II the way he had fought for Civil Rights, we’d all be speaking German.”

Mary McCallum as Emmitt’s mother, and Joel Zachery as 14-year-old Emmitt Till, were so spellbinding, you forget to breathe. An all-star cast put this wonderful show in perspective?the blocking, the lighting, the music?all incredible.

Mr. Shane Coffey, in his directorial debut, did an outstanding job. But as do most directors, he had a wonderful tech cast that made this show blend into the great work that only MLT could do during Black History Month.

“The Face of Emmitt Till” continues through Feb. 24, so get tickets before they’re gone.

Adventures in babymaking

Saturday, Feb. 16, had me going to see “Baby: the Musical” at MTSU’s Tucker Theater stage. Another direction by Dale E. McGilliard, this show was about three couples: two 20-year-olds in college, expecting; two thirty-something yuppies trying real hard at expecting; and two “upper 40-year-olds” with three kids out of college who are having an “oops.”

The play takes place over a period of . . . you guessed it, nine months, and has the dealings and anxieties of having a baby out of wedlock, shooting blanks, and being, well . . . old.

Tonya Pewitt, Patrick Benneyworth, Daniel Joyce, Angela Calcaterra, Alan Smith and Tiffany Kelley all did an outstanding job with their choreography, singing and oratory. Mr. McGilliard himself had a cameo appearance in this production.

This production continues at the Tucker through Feb. 23,

and again, I was impressed and ask that you go see it. This is some very funny stuff.

?Cinderella’

Unimpressive, in a word. Unless you were a 10-year-old girl in a chiffon blue dress.

I have seen several works of Director Andrew Ford, and he usually puts on a great show, but being in the majestic old Center for the Arts, and watching a few parents bored to tears with all their little angels sitting in the front row on a Friday night?well, it just wasn’t the family fun time I expected. The original 1957 score from Rodgers and Hammerstein was loud and drowned out the exceptional voices of the actors, Cinderella flubbed lines, and her wicked stepmother was a better queen than Prince Charming’s mother.

With the exception of choreographer Julie Wilcox’s magical wand, making the dancers most exquisite, and the beautiful set, built and staged by Bill Johnson and Dayton Brown, and the colorful period dress, by Candilyn Ford, this production is only for those close-knit yuppie moms and dads whose little girls want to be a princess. The bright spots in the show itself: Adrian Marshall as the King and Lena Welch as the Queen, did a great job with their solos and duet; Kinsey Brewer as Prince Charming has a beautiful voice, and beautiful Cali Moore, who played Cinderella, is a good actor. If only, if only we could have heard her voice over the music.

“Cinderella” has another weekend at the Center, which makes me wonder: Why did an incredible, sold-out show like “Seussical the Musical” only play two weeks, while Cinderella plays for three? “Seussical” could have gone to Patterson Park Theatre for another two weekends and sold out that 311-seat venue as well.

Children’s Theater in the ’Boro

A little bird has told me a group of local actors are discussing starting a Murfreesboro Children’s Theater. Another little bird states that some of our community theater’s elite are getting together to hash out differences in the theater society and work on building the olive branch that has long been needed.

A pair of queens

Finally, a huge bow and kudos to David Cummings (er, Dixie Carlisle), who magnificently played the wicked stepmother in “Cinderella.” Cummings must have the spirit of Robert Preston within him. If you remember, he portrayed Mr. Preston’s part (Harold Hill) in “The Music Man” several months ago, and in “Cinderella” he is an absolute dead-ringer for Preston in drag in the movie Victor/Victoria. Cummings was the show stealer, dancing perfectly in very high heels and very high feather boas. In the same respect, MTSU theatre professor Dale McGilliard’s cameo is to be commended: His scene was that of an elderly lady, complete with heels, dress and beautiful blue-white hair. His presence was commanding aside all the sexier, curvier young ladies on stage.

Murfreesboro theater must be coming of age with vaginas, pregnancies, black history and two drag queens all on stage within a week. Isn’t it great?

Finally, my apologies to Matthew Frazier-Smith, mentioned last issue in “Underwear: the Musical” as Matthew Frazier-Scott. He was mistakenly given fellow actor and current squeeze Alli Scott’s last name.

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