Thursday, October 25, 2012

LTA's Cantorial (Video Blog)

Here is the fourth video in a series of video blogs for Cantorial.  In this video, you learn more about Cantorial's set and meet cast member James Myers.

Thanks again to Jim Hartz for his outstanding work on these videos!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

C. Evans Kirk's Director Notes (Cantorial)

     I was first introduced to the works of Ira Levin in fourth grade through a cousin who loved
horror novels. Rosemary’s Baby was a must read. You can only imagine the letter home
to my parents from the school concerning my choice of reading. My mom’s response was,
“You mean he’s actually reading a book!”
     Having directed area productions of Stephen King’s Misery, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting
of Hill House and Bram Stoker’s Dracula, I was excited at the prospect of adding a work
by Levin to my résumé. And as I read Cantorial for the first time, I kept turning the page
waiting for that moment like Rosemary walking down the long hallway to see her baby
for the first time.
     I don’t think I’m giving anything away by stating that the moment never came! From the
mastermind behind Rosemary’s Baby (and its unfortunate sequel), The Stepford Wives,
Deathtrap and The Boys from Brazil is this realistic story. Yes, a “ghost story,” but only
because there’s a ghost in it. Instead of horror, suspense or espionage, Levin has given
us a personal journey…a story of an adopted boy searching for his missing link.
The world we live in is enchanted and mysterious. It is not a symbol or a metaphor.
However, we often make up symbols and metaphors to explain the unknown. In fiction,
it may be hard to believe in vampires and time travel, so it becomes a work of horror and
science fiction. But what if they were real? Do you believe in angels and miracles? If so,
do you actually see them, and are they a part of your everyday life? In magical realism,
writers write the ordinary as miraculous and the miraculous as ordinary. As Freud might
have said, “Sometime a ghost is just a ghost.” In short, there is no answer; you just believe.
I hope you enjoy this production of Cantorial as much as I have enjoyed working on it.
Don’t be afraid to believe. You may just discover something new or missing in your own life.

C. Evans Kirk (Director/Set Designer for Cantorial) joined LTA in 1978 as a student in Helen Todd’s junior acting class. Over the years, he has taken classes and been a teacher; has been onstage,
backstage and in the front of the house; and has worked in the business office and served
on the board. Chris is always excited to return to his favorite role, director. Chris directed
Widdershins for LTA two seasons ago and with his team won LTA’s Outstanding Production
of the Year, along with Best Director and several other awards. Special thanks to a creative
cast and crew, especially Jamie, Eileen and Becky, for departing on this “spiritual journey.”


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Meet the Cast of Cantorial!

Heather Benjamin (Lesley Rosen) is happy to return to LTA after playing Rose in Enchanted April in 2008. Recent work includes The Confines of Flattery at the 2012 Capital Fringe Festival and Stage Door at American Century Theater. Heather has also performed with Quotidian Theatre, Adventure Theatre, Embassy Players, New Old Theater and Silver Spring Stage, among others. Recent film roles include Sarah Haynsworth Gayle in a documentary about Francis Scott Key, Proof Through the Night, and a lead in the short film The Pardon. Her next project will be directing Copenhagen at Rockville Little Theatre in March 2013.

Heather Benjamin
John Franklin (Philip Quinn), an accomplished trainer, Toastmaster and award-winning public speaker is returning to the stage after a long absence with his LTA debut in Cantorial. Past performances have included Thornton Wilder’s The Skin of Our Teeth and numerous dramatic interpretations, including Neil Simon’s The Star-Spangled Girl and Woody Allen’s Death Knocks. He lives in Falls Church with his wife, Linda, and their two German shepherds, Sam and Iris.

John Franklin
James Myers (Warren Ives) a versatile artist who has performed with a wide variety of organizations, including the Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center, Signature Theatre, the Washington Savoyards and Theater of the First Amendment.  He has also performed in Germany with the Middle Saxony Opera Theatre. He holds a master of music degree in vocal performance and, when he is not performing, teaches a thriving studio of talented singing artists. James is honored to work with the wonderful cast and crew of Cantorial and is thankful for the love and support from dear friends and family.

James Myers
Fé Vivas Patriciu (Donna Quinn) is thrilled to be making her LTA and DC-area debut in Cantorial. Past notable roles include Tess in Six Degrees of Separation at the Boston Centre for the Arts, Giulia in The Vice and Lil Bit in selected scenes from How I Learned to Drive for the Bowdoin College theater department. Fé is an avid theater enthusiast and is passionate about arts funding. Follow her on Twitter (#FeVPatriciu) to learn more. Of special significance, Fé shares a birthday with two fantastic members of the Cantorial crew, Jamie and Eileen. Fé sends her love to her husband and Tootsie for keeping life running during her nights away at rehearsals.

Fé Vivas Patriciu
Steve Rosenthal (Morris Lipkind) is happy to be back at the Little Theatre of Alexandria. Previous roles at LTA include Argante in Scapino, Raffaele Priore in Saturday Sunday Monday and Claude Upson in Auntie Mame. His most recent roles include Gorgibus in The Confines of Flattery for the Capital Fringe Festival (directed by Heather Benjamin), Ira Stone in Laughter on the 23rd Floor at TAP and Father Bowdern in Hellspawn at Active Culture’s Theatre. Special thanks to Mr. Herman Taube for his help. Steve also gives thanks as always to his wife, Sue, for all her love and support.

Steve Rosenthal
John Shackelford (Williams Ives) has appeared a number of times at LTA. His most recent appearance here was in Funny Money as Bill, and before that he appeared in Heaven Can Wait as Max Levene (nominated for Best Supporting Actor, LTA). Between the latter two, he portrayed Michael Watters in Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me at PCP. Also at LTA, he played Bill Lesley in It Runs in the Family, for which he received Best Supporting Actor. Other favorites include Juror #11 in Twelve Angry Men at ACCT, Dr. Lyman Hall in 1776 at LTA, Clem Rogers in The Will Rogers Follies at LTA, and Charlie Martin in On Golden Pond at Heritage Theatre. In film, John co-starred in an independent film, Bride and Doom, as British Detective Nicholas Smythe.

John Shackelford
Rick Flint is somewhat surprised to be making his LTA debut in Cantorial. He has acted in several local church productions, including Fools, Omelet, Prince of Denmark, and acted and sang the roles of two of the three kings in Amahl and the Night Visitors, thus proving that a degree in music was not totally wasted on someone who has spent his career in banking.

Photos by Shane Canfield.

LTA's Cantorial (Video Blog)

Here is the third video in a series of video blogs about Cantorial!  Director C. Evans Kirk continues his talk about Cantorial's set design along with set dressing.

Thanks again to Jim Hartz for putting this together.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

LTA's Cantorial (Video Blog)

Here is the second video in a series of video blogs about Cantorial. Director C. Evans Kirk talks about the set design and costumes.

Thanks again to Jim Hartz for continuing to do great videos for us!

LTA's A Christmas Carol (Video Blog)

Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol has been cast and rehearsals started for this year annual production of the classic at The Little Theater of Alexandria.

This year will feature an all-new adaptation by Donna Ferragut and directed by Rachael Hubbard.

The show runs from November 30 to December 16.  And it features choreography by Grace Machanic who returns this year for her 22 season. 

In this segment, which is a part of a longer documentary for the theater, she shows how easy it is for the adult actors in A Christmas Carol to learn the steps.

Thanks to Jim Hartz for putting this video together.

Friday, October 12, 2012

LTA's Cantorial (Video Blog)

The Little Theater of Alexandria’s next production, Cantorial (October 27-November 17), is a play by Ira Levin (Rosemary’s Baby, Deathtrap, No Time for Sergeants). 

C. Evans Kirk returns to direct the play, which is billed as a “ghost story.”  A dead cantor returns to a former synagogue on New York’s lower east side, but that’s only a small part of the story. 

Here is the first in a series of video blogs about Cantorial.  Background from Director Kirk.

A special thanks to Jim Hartz for putting this video together.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

LTA Volunteer Video

The volunteers who worked backstage for Sweeney Todd, The Little Theater of Alexandria’s opening show of the 2012-2013 season, were singled out for special praise by several local critics. 

Jordan Wright of The Alexandria Times wrote:

Countless elements contribute to the realism of the show. Art Snow adds much in terms of special effects including designing blood-spurting razors synchronized to the slashing of Todd’s victims’ throats, a chair that sends victims sliding into an abyss, and a dungeon-worthy oven billowing smoke and flames.

The technical complexities of the show are impressive: the two double-decker turntable stages rotate an astonishing 64 times. Add to that the 80-plus sound cues and dozens of mood-shifting lighting cues designed by the WATCH Award-winning team of Ken and Patti Crowley, and you have a tremendously dynamic stage set.

Audiences seldom applaud sets and props but the mechanical barber chair that sent Sweeney’s victims rocketing through a trap door down to the pie store’s big oven drew gasps, laughter and applause.  Now you can see how the special effect was created.  And at the same time learn more about how to volunteer to work backstage. 

A special thanks to Jim Hartz for putting this video together.