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For tickets to these shows please contact Richardson Theatre Center for Tickets. (972) 699-1130
'Twas the Night Before Christmas
Comedy By Ken Ludwig
December 8-31 (no performances on Sunday, December 24)
"'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse." But wait! A mouse is stirring - because Santa missed his house last year. Before you can say "Merry Christmas!", we're off on the wild adventures of a mouse, an elf, and a spunky little girl who just won't take no for an answer. Don't miss this joyful tribute to the holiday season!
Cast: Charles Alexander, Chris Berthelot, Shylo Demman, Thomas Mckee, Budd Mahan, Bill Olds, Richards Stephens Jr., and Maddie Worley
Review by Rusty Harding, Patron
Rachael Lindley, the Artistic Director of Richardson Theatre Centre, has – among many, of course – an exceptionally unique talent. She can take the offbeat and quirky and somehow make it even more so, and almost always with the most delightful results. While most of the area theaters are performing the standard, ubiquitous holiday fare (A Christmas Carol, The Nutcracker, etc.), Rachael has chosen Ken Ludwig’s (Lend Me A Tenor, Moon Over Buffalo) silly little farce, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, as RTC’s seasonal offering for 2017. And it’s an excellent choice, believe me. In and of itself, Ludwig’s (very) short little romp isn’t particularly outstanding – at least in comparison to his other plays – but Rachael has, through skillful direction, a brilliant cast, and an unbelievable set, managed to elevate the mundane to near classic. The play is a somewhat “fractured” retelling of Clement Moore’s timeless holiday poem, but – instead of viewing Christmas Eve through the eyes of the startled pater – we’re treated to a more “behind the scenes” exposé of a dastardly plot to steal Santa’s “Naughty & Nice” list. There’s music, dancing, a “French-farce” sort of stage chase, sword fighting, and even hip-hop. Yes, that’s what I said – hip-hop! You’ll have to see it to believe it – word! Chris Berthelot has built a set that defies description. You’ll see an ordinary, holiday-bedecked living room transform to Santa’s workshop – quite literally – before your very eyes. (Impressive is an understatement – kudos, Chris!). Richard Stephens Sr.’s sound is a delightful addition; a collection of the more offbeat and unknown holiday songs & carols that perfectly compliment the quirky plot. Recently-added LED lighting creates a festive atmosphere, highlighting the chase, dance and (I swear it’s true!) hip-hop numbers. Once again, RTC’s cast is impeccable. Budd Mahan is “Uncle Brierly”, the play’s narrator. Mahan is an actor’s actor; an absolute joy to watch. He has the uncanny ability to slip seamlessly into almost any role, big or small, and elevate it to something memorable. His Uncle Brierly is no exception: quite, dignified, proper, and polite; a perfect storyteller, delivering his tale with a jolly twinkle in his eye. And he’s never fazed, even when confronted by a giant, talking mouse (played to hilarious perfection by Tom McKee). While “Christmas” is only his third performance at RTC, McKee is proving himself more and more to be quite the diverse actor. He actually plays a dual role: “Amos”, the mousy (pun intended) house rodent (yes, the same mouse who isn’t stirring in the house – or is he…?), and his far more courageous twin brother from Kansas, also named “Amos” (short story – but well worth hearing). McKee infuses a genuinely distinct personality into each character, and his comic timing is great, especially during the chase and sword-fighting scenes. Maddie Worley plays “Emily”, Uncle Brierly’s (wardrobe-challenged) niece, and Amos’ (the house mouse) best friend. Emily knows that something isn’t quite normal this particular Christmas Eve (maybe the stirring mouse was a clue..?) and she encourages the reticent Amos to help her set things right. Worley tackles her role with a genuine eagerness and energy, and she’s a terrific compliment to McKee. I enjoyed their frenetic chemistry. Charlie Alexander also tackles two roles; Wendell Sneed and Santa Claus, and it’s hard to tell which he enjoys more. Like Mahan, Alexander is another veteran actor who can slip easily between comedy and drama – or comedy and comedy, in this particular play – and make it seem so incredibly easy. He even looks the part of Santa: white beard and all, and the kids – and maybe even a few of the grownups – in the audience definitely seemed to perk up whenever he was on stage. Bill Olds plays Wendell’s wife – yes, that’s right; wife – “Britannia”. I can’t really find the words to describe Olds’ performance, as the mere sight of his character left me completely…well, speechless. Perhaps it was the dress, or maybe the flawless (???) makeup. Best to judge for yourself. I got a big laugh out of the character (and I’m sure Olds did, too). Shylo Demman is “Calliope”, one of Santa’s (Jewish!) elves (there are only five of them, and they don’t work Fridays). Calliope has come to Emily’s house to enlist her and Amos in a desperate attempt to thwart an evil plot to steal Santa’s Naughty & Nice list. Be warned, however – Demman’s exuberant enthusiasm is overly-infectious, especially when he invokes the “Elf Pledge”. You may find yourself – albeit “slightly” compelled – pledging along. Richard Stephens Jr. plays “Sir Guy of Gisborne” (which may or may not be his real name); one of Santa’s elves who has fallen from grace for trying steal Santa’s sleigh – you’ll never believe why – and who now has his sights set on Santa’s Naughty & Nice list (a veritable treasure trove for retail toymakers). Stephens plays the part with just the right amount of pompous, self-deprecating gusto, hamming it up perfectly during the chase and “dueling” scenes. He also does a killer hip-hop (I’m telling you, it’s true!). In addition to his remarkable set, Chris Berthelot trods his own boards quite skillfully as “Mulch”; Gisborne’s evil minion in crime. Another actor who obviously enjoys his role, Berthelot plays the part with a whining – and convincing – British accent, and he and Stephens sing a rather diabolical version of “Deck the Halls”; touting their sinister plans to disrupt Christmas (which actually had one young audience member sitting near me rather disconcerted!). But – rest assured – good ultimately triumphs over evil. The costumes and props were first class (kudos to Rachael, Pasia Omega, Laura Keller, and the rest of the crew!), and the set changes went off perfectly, especially the workshop transition. While it’s a relatively short production, “Twas the Night Before Christmas” is absolutely hilarious. It’s playing now through December 31 (extended because of the holidays) at Richardson Theatre Centre, and I promise you will thoroughly enjoy each and every second. Word…!!!
Arsenic and Old Lace
Comedy/Farce By Joseph Kesserling
Directed by Rachael Lindley; Stage Manager: Leigh Wyatt Moore; Assistant Stage Manager: Wyatt Moore
Cast: Josh Bangle, Jon Doege, Elaine Erback, Fradonna Griffin, Rusty Harding, Karen Jordan, Julia Kendry, Budd Mahan, Ben Richardson, Dan Slay, Richard Stephens Jr., Richard Stephens, Sr., and Lloyd Webb
We meet the charming and innocent ladies who populate their cellar with the remains of socially and religiously "acceptable" roomers; the antics of their brother who thinks he is Teddy Roosevelt; and the activities of the other brother—these require no further description or amplification here.
Cast: Josh Bangle, Jon Doege, Karen Jordan, Fradonna Griffin, Elaine Erback, Rusty Harding, Julia Kendry, Budd Mahan, Dan Slay, Ben Richardson, Richard Stephens Jr., Richard Stephens Sr., and Lloyd Webb
Review for Arsenic and Old Lace
Death By Design
Comedy By Rob Urbanati
March 17-April 2
What happens when you mix the brilliant wit of Noel Coward with the intricate plotting of Agatha Christie? Edward Bennett, a playwright, and his wife Sorel Bennett, an actress, flee London and head to Cookham after a disastrous opening night. But various guests arrive unexpectedly – a conservative politician, a fiery socialist, a nearsighted ingénue, a zany modern dancer – each with a long-held secret. When one of the guests is murdered, it’s left to Bridgit, the feisty Irish maid with a macabre interest in homicide, to solve the crime.
Director: Rachael Lindley
Assistant Director/Stage Manager: Collin Miller
Cast: Elaine Erback, Hal Heath, Brittan Monroe, Gustavo Rodriguez, Richard Stephens, Jr., Blair Taylor, Patrick Vincent, and Glynda Welch
Review by Dean Lindsay, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN http://thecolumnonline.com/review/03-23-2017_DEATH-BY-DESIGN/
Mama, the Musical
By Nancy S. Munger playwright and lyrics; Jennifer Scriggins Brummett, music; Adam Wright, arrangements
There is much joy when a child is born – and trepidation and fear. And then, the parent experiences the emotions of watching that child grow up, become independent, and leave home. A parent has such a huge effect on the child’s life – no matter how old the child! Through words and song, laughter and tears, Mama, the Musical explores the wonderful joys and the overwhelming sorrows of the mother/daughter relationship from both points of view – that of the parent and of the child.
Cast: Mira Are, Cori Andrew, Megan Bellinghausen, Debbie Deverich, Karen Jordan, Robin Liesenfelt, and Darla Meek
One Who Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest
Dramatic ComedyBy Ken Kesey,Dale Wasserman
July 21-Aug 6
Audition Dates: Sunday July 23; 7-10 and Monday July 24; 7-10
Callbacks Tuesday July 25 at 7pm
A mordant, wickedly subversive parable set in a mental ward, the play chronicles the head-on collision between its hell-raising, life-affirming hero Randle Patrick McMurphy and the totalitarian rule of Nurse Ratched. McMurphy swaggers into the mental ward like a blast of fresh air and turns the place upside down, starting a gambling operation, smuggling in wine and women, and egging on the other patients to join him in open rebellion. But McMurphy's revolution against Nurse Ratched and everything she stands for quickly turns from sport to a fierce power struggle with shattering results.
Cast: Robert Banks, Jonathan Dickson, Raul G. Flores, Emory Lambert, Randle P. McMurphy: Budd Mahan, Kimmy Mauldin, Collin Miller, Kevin Paris, Audie Preston, Gustavo Rodriquez, Leonardo Rodriguez, Sara Schochler, Steven Shaw, Dan Slay, Kristi Smith, Richard Stephens Jr.
Chef Bromden Understudy: Floyd Harrison
Scott Hazard, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN review of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest
Patron Review of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest
Savannah Sipping Society
Comedy By Jones, Hope, Wooten
In this delightful, laugh-a-minute comedy, four unique Southern women, all needing to escape the sameness of their day-to-day routines, are drawn together by Fate—and an impromptu happy hour—and decide it’s high time to reclaim the enthusiasm for life they’ve lost through the years. Over the course of six months, filled with laughter, hilarious misadventures, and the occasional liquid refreshment, these middle-aged women successfully bond and find the confidence to jumpstart their new lives. Together, they discover lasting friendships and a renewed determination to live in the moment—and most importantly, realize it’s never too late to make new old friends.
Cast: Sue Goodner, Robin Liesenfelt, Robin Mead, and Blair Taylor
The Savannah Sipping Society review by Jeri Tellez, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
Thriller By Patrick Hamiton
Oct 27-Nov 12
For the mere sake of adventure, danger, and the "fun of the thing," Wyndham Brandon persuades his weak-minded friend, Charles Granillo, to assist him in the murder of a fellow undergraduate, a perfectly harmless man named Ronald Raglan. They place the body in a wooden chest, and to add spice to their handiwork, invite a few acquaintances, including the dead youth's father, to a party, the chest with its gruesome contents serving as a supper table. The horror and tension are worked up gradually; thunder grows outside, the guests leave, and we see the reactions of the two murderers, watched closely by the suspecting lame poet, Rupert Cadell. Finally they break down under the strain and confess their guilt.
Cast: Joshua Bangle, Rusty Harding, Julia Kendry, Thomas McKee, Budd Mahan, Collin Miller, and Joe Porter
Rope review by Mildred Austin, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN