There were two really good theatrical shows in our town in June, both very top notch and professionally done, and both very deserving of high accolades for their work.
I saw “DOUBT” at Out Front on Main, on Thursday, June 10, and I was impressed with the story line that Director George W. Manus Jr. set before his opening night crowd. Set in 1964, at a Catholic school, Kathy Warren portrayed Sister Aloysius, a stern, disciplined, school principal, who had no time for art, gym, new ideas, ballpoint pens or priests who showed compassion for certain male students. Ms. Warren was the only actor who played in both casts, as the always imaginative Mr. Manus casted two sets of actors for two weekends, then had them “flip-flop” for the final weekend.
Ms. Warren was perfect for the role. I actually wanted to go to confession after watching her first performance, and I am not even Catholic. Her determination, her ire, her belief in her church and the Rules of Rome were beyond compare. I was delighted to see her in both casts, as she carried the show and strengthened the other actors in the process.
J.R. Robles and Peter Hawkins played the roles of Father Flynn, and although I did enjoy Mr. Robles’ talents and abilities, to me he looked too young to be portraying a priest who was also headmaster and church pastor. Mr. Hawkins looked more the part, and he was magnificent on the stage; his body language and sincerity made him more in tune to his surroundings and perhaps a man with a secret.
Melissa Hudson and Sienna Holl were cast as Sister James, the innocent and shy teacher who came into the school with new ideas and innovations and a deep love of her students, which Sister Aloysius abhorred. Both actors were great in their part; both showed their love of their subjects and their Church with ease and devotion. I thought Ms. Holl had the slight advantage over Ms. Hudson, however, with her ability to stand up to Sister Aloysius and still show respect to her superior.
Raemona Little Taylor and Cheryle Smith played Mrs. Muller, the mother of the boy who, although never seen, was the central figure of the entire show. Being an African-American woman in 1964 was no easy feat. Being the wife of a policeman and the mother of a 12-year-old boy who showed signs of being “that way” in a Catholic school was perhaps unbearable, and both actors did an incredible job of showing the strain and pressure laid upon them. Both had their strong points, and the only reason Ms. Smith was slightly better on stage was due to her undeniable strength in standing up to Sister Aloysius during confrontation.
I went, obviously, to the show twice, to see both casts, and the lighting and sound were both better as well the second weekend, so obviously the glitches were perfected as the show continued. My bows for a successful show and a sold-out last weekend.
Murfreesboro Little Whorehouse
Wayman Price is arguably the best director in Murfreesboro, and I am sure I will hear from other directors about that, but “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,” at Murfreesboro Little Theatre, could not have been done better. The show was just awesome, and I enjoyed it immensely. The large cast, with all the blocking, choreography, music and singing, and innuendos, was incredible, just brilliant. My deepest bows to Gary Davis as Senator Wingwoah, David Cummings as Rev. Melvin P. Thorpe and Shane Lowery as the shady Texas Governor, and then of course to Jolie C. Bell as Miss Mona Stangley. Ms. Bell, new to MLT, has a melodious voice, conviction to her craft, and would have given Dolly Parton a run for her money had the two auditioned together.
I counted at least 25 actors on the MLT stage, many of them new faces that I hope to see again. I do, however, have to give mention to Kaylin Davis and her beautiful voice and Caleb Peterson and his acrobatics, both, along with the Aggie boys and Miss Mona’s angels, gave great depth, action and reality to the show.
The costuming, lighting and sound were all perfect opening night. The designers, the set builders, the entire crew are to be commended for what this reviewer considers to be one of the best shows he has seen at MLT.
I anxiously await the Awards Show in August. What Mr. Price may lack in warmth and charm, he truly makes up for when he directs a show. My applause for a show very well done.
See ya at the show!
“Murder at Cafe Noir”
at Center for the Arts
Directed by Jared Scott
(dinner theater catered by Outback Steakhouse)
at Out Front on Main
at Out Front on Main
July 22–Aug. 1
Directed by George Manus Jr.
July 23–Aug. 1.,
Directed by Jamie Storvik
at Out Front on Main
Monday, July 5, at 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 6, at 6 p.m.
Roles available for 4 white males ages 18–29, 2 black males ages 18–29 and 2 white males ages 30–55.
For more information, contact George W. Manus Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org