Stage Talk by Carol Viescas
‘Truth Dare...’ — American Southwest Theatre Company presents the play by Tori Keenan-Zelt through March 5, at NMSU’s Center for the Arts. Performances are 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $5-$17. Information: (575) 646-4515 or nmsutheatre.com.
Thirteen-year-old Urea, Hannah, Linnet and Maeve live in world built on secrets, loves, and backyard ghosts— until a traumatic accident forever changes things. Four years later, questions and accusations fly as the young women try to understand what happened, what they have lost, and how to live now.
‘Into The Woods’ — El Paso Community College Theater presents the musical by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine March 2-12 at Transmountain Forum Theater, 9570 Gateway North, directed by Keith Townsend. Ticket sales benefit EPCC student scholarships. Showtime is 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $15 ($10 non-EPCC student/military with ID, $7 EPCC students, faculty, staff, seniors with ID). Ages 7 and older only admitted. Information: 831-5056 or forumtheater.wix.com/epcc.
The musical intertwines the plots of several Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault fairy tales, exploring the consequences of the characters’ wishes and quests. The main characters are taken from “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Jack and the Beanstalk,” “Rapunzel,” and “Cinderella,” as well as several others. The musical is tied together by a story involving a childless baker and his wife and their quest to begin a family and their interaction with a witch who has placed a curse on them.
‘No Sex Please, We’re British’ — Las Cruces Community Theatre, 313 N. Main in the Las Cruces Downtown Mall, presents the farce by Anthony Marriot and Alistair Foot March 3-19. Directed by Norman Lewis. Performances are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets: $12 ($11 student, senior, military, $9 children under 6; $10 per person for groups of 10 or more; $5 student rush tickets offered 15 before show time. Information: (575) 523-1200 or lcctnm.org.
A young bride, who lives above a bank with her husband who is the assistant manager, innocently sends a mail order off for some Scandinavian glassware. What comes is Scandinavian pornography. The plot revolves around what is to be done with the veritable floods of pornography, photographs, books, films, and eventually girls that threaten to engulf this happy couple.
The Moth in El Paso — Public radio’s “The Moth” presents “Eyewitness: The Moth in El Paso,” a live storytelling program, at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 7, at the Scottish Rite Temple, 301 W Missouri. Hosted by Peter Aguero with stories by Nestor Gomez and Martha Ruiz-Perilla, and El Paso's own Tuff Hedeman, Robert Holguin and Rosa Guerrero. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Admission: $20. Information: 917-974-0022 or themoth.org.
The Moth presents true, personal stories by luminaries in the arts and sciences, as well as others ranging from an astronaut and undertaker to a voodoo priestess and a retired NYPD detective. Each show is composed of simple, old-fashioned storytelling on thoroughly modern themes, told live on stage, without notes.
The Moth Radio Hour is heard on over 450 public radio stations nationwide and podcast is downloaded 44 million times a year.
‘Broadway Today!’ — Megan McQueen and Cameron Lang’s celebration of Broadway is 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 10, at the NMSU Center for the Arts
1000 E. University Ave Las Cruces. The evening features 22 varied selections from 19 musicals that played Broadway within the last year. This year’s production includes a cast of over 50 people, ranging from students of the current NMSU musical theatre course to community members who have rich performing histories in Las Cruces and beyond. Tickets: $20 reserved; $15 general admission. Information: (575) 646-5952, email@example.com or nmsutheatre.com.
Featured shows include American Psycho, Bright Star, Cats, Falsettos, Fiddler on The Roof, Hamilton, Jersey Boys, Les Miserables, Matilda, Motown, Natasha and Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812, School of Rock, She Loves me, Something Rotten, Sunday in the Park With George, The Color Purple, The King and I, Tuck Everlasting and Waitress.
‘Dr. Dolittle’ — A Children’s Theatre of the Mesilla Valley presents the classic story at 7 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday, March 10-11, at the Rio Grande Theatre, 211 N. Downtown Mall, in Las Cruces, featuring actors age 5-17. Tickets: $6 in advance from any ACT. $7 at the door; $8 online at RioGrandeTheatre.com. Information: (575) 644-9561 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Dolittle loves to tend animal patients more than his human patients, causing a financial crisis in his practice. All this is quite a concern to his housekeeper – his sister, Sarah. When Dr. Dolittle learns how to actually speak with the animals from Polynesia, his parrot, he creates a thriving veterinary practice.
‘Miscast: A Musical Revue’ — Sun City Musical Theatre, 3733 Shell Suite C, presents its first “Miscast,” a new take on Broadway modeled off of the annual MCC Theatre Fundraiser held every year in New York, at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 10-11 and March 17-18. Tickets: $20 ($15 children under 12); available at the door or at suncitymusicaltheatre.com or on Facebook. Information: 637-1618.
The revue allows performers to sing Broadway songs they would normally never get to sing, stripping away the lines of gender, age and race. Appropriate for all ages.
‘Killing Buddha — Theatre Dojo from Deming, N.M. offers an award-winning modern take on an ancient North Indian legend about a serial killer seeking atonement from the divine teacher at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, March 12, at the Philanthropy Theatre (next to the Plaza Theatre), as part of El Paso Community Foundation’s Jewel Box Series. Tickets: $16 (Ticketmaster). Information: 533-4020 or epcf.org.
Writer-director Algernon D’Ammassa plays all of the characters, accompanied by Native American musician Randy Granger on wind, string and percussion.
The next event in the series is Eden Enterprises’ “Bernabe,” Luis Valdez’s play about a young man whose love of the earth is rooted in Aztec mythology, at 7 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, April 8-9.
‘The Conference of the Birds’ — No Strings Theatre Company presents the play by Peter Brooks and Jean-Claude Carriere, based on the poem by Farid ud-Din Attar, March 17-April 2, at Black Box Theatre, 430 N. Downtown Mall, in Las Cruces. Directed by Karen Caroe. Performances are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., 2:30 p.m. Sundays March 26 and April. 2; and at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 30. Tickets: $15 ($12 students and seniors over 65; $10 all seats Thursday. Reservations: (575) 523-1223.
The play, based on a 12th century Sufi poem by Farid ud-Din Attar and adapted for the stage in 1979 by Peter Brook is an exuberant experiment in ensemble storytelling. The Hoopoe has called the birds of the world together in order to undertake the journey to find their true king—a benevolent and beautiful bird known as Simorgh.
‘Lydia’ — The UTEP Department of Theater & Dance presents the play by Octavio Solis March 22-26, at UTEP’s Studio Family Theatre. Directed by Kim McKean. Adult content: strong language and nudity. Show time is 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $14 ($11 faculty/staff, seniors, military, groups of 10 or more, alumni and non-UTEP students, $9 for UTEP students. Information: 747-5118, theatredance.utep.edu or on Facebook.
In the 1970s, the Flores family welcomes Lydia, an undocumented maid, into their El Paso home to care for their daughter, Ceci, who was disabled in a car accident on the eve of her quinceañera. Lydia’s immediate and seemingly miraculous bond with the girl sets the entire family on a mysterious and shocking journey of discovery.
‘Driving Miss Daisy’ — El Paso Playhouse, 2501 Montana, presents the classic drama by Alfred Uhry March 24-April 16. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $11 ($9 seniors; $8 students and military). Information: 532-1317 or elpasoplayhouse.com.
The place is the Deep South, the time 1948, just prior to the civil rights movement. A warm-hearted, humorous and affecting study of the unlikely relationship between an aging, crotchety white Southern lady, and a proud, soft-spoken black man. Winner of the 1988
Pulitzer Prize and the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway Play.
‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Jr.’ — Kids-N-Co. presents their musical take on Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book March 24-April 9, at First Presbyterian Church, 1340 Murchison. Directed by Anthony Michael Stokes. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. Sundays. Tickets: $7 ($5 children, students, senior citizens, military), available at the door. Information: 274-8797 or on Facebook at El Paso Kids-n-Co.
One-Act Play Festival — Las Cruces Community Theatre, 313 N. Downtown Mall, Las Cruces, hosts its one-act showcase Thursday through Sunday, March 30-April 2, featuring original works by area playwrights and directors; plays to be announced. Performances are 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $10. Information: (575) 523-1200 or lcctnm.org.
Auditions & classes
‘Seussical The Musical’ auditions — Sun City Musical Theatre, 3733 Shell Suite C, hosts auditions 6 to 9 p.m. Sunday, March 5 for its spring production. The show is a musical version of “Horton Hears a Who” and “The Cat in the Hat.” Appropriate for all ages - all roles open none have been pre-cast. Performers under age 18 must have a parent or guardian signature on the audition form. Information: 637-1618, suncitymusicaltheatre.com or on Facebook.
Rehearsal begin early April with performance dates are May 12-28.
Candidates must be available for four to six weeks of rehearsal and a 3 to 4 week performance run. Interested performers should bring a resume, photo and 16-32 bars of a song on an MP3 Device. No Accompanist will be available at this time. Auditions will include cold reading from the script and a dance audition. Candidates must be available for four to six weeks of rehearsal and a 3 to 4 week performance run.
Seussical takes the audience into the world of Dr. Seuss to revisit beloved characters such as The Cat in the Hat, Horton the Elephant, Gertrude McFuzz, Lazy Mayzie, and JoJo.
Viva! El Paso auditions — El Paso Community College and El Paso Community Foundation host auditions for Viva! El Paso’s 2017 season 6 to 9 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, March 6-7, at EPCC’s Transmountain Campus, Forum Theatre, 9570 Gateway North. The production runs weekend from the second week in June through early August. No cost to audition. Information: 637-4029 or forumtheater.wix.com/epcc.
To audition, bring photo ID; Social Security card or employment documentation; 8 x 10 headshot and resume. Singers require a 90-second song, along with sheet music for the pianist; actors will give a 90-second monologue of their choosing.
Production personnel also needed.
Kids age 6-12 can audition 6 to 8 p.m. March 6-7 for are sought for the new Viva! Kids! workshops. The creative dramatics workshops are part of the EPCC Children’s college, directed by Margaret Barreras. They will meet once a week at EPCC to learn basic theatre performance skills as well as production processes and procedures through the use of creative dramatics theatre games appropriate for children. The company will learn a couple of VIVA songs and dances and get the opportunity to participate in the summer production. Parents must accompany their children to the auditions to receive complete information regarding this program.
El Paso Playhouse loses 2 veterans
Tragedy. Like lightning, it shouldn’t strike twice in the same place. But for El Paso Playhouse, it struck just days apart in February.
The first loss was that of long-time actress and director Louise Guard-Ramirez on Feb. 11.
Louise had been sick for quite a while. She was diagnosed with pancreatitis in late 2015. A blood check then showed she had pancreatic cancer. Then came congestive heart failure. Always at her side was fellow actor and husband Jake Ramirez.
I met Louise back in the late 1970s when I first started performing and did a few shows at the Playhouse. She already was a legend. She and I shared one definite love – mysteries and Agatha Christie. I think she must have directed every Christie work that was ever adapted into a stage play.
Performer and director Alexander Wright wrote about Guard-Ramirez: “The first full-length production I directed was the same one done by this incredibly talented woman. I spent an afternoon with her picking her brain about the production and about directing in theater in general.”
Another former performer, Alejandro Novelo, wrote in Facebook: “Louise Guard-Ramirez was part of the very first cast I worked with on stage in ‘Lend Me a Tenor’ about 17 years ago. I have great memories of her. She was not just a great actress, but an amazing person.”
Even more shocking was the death of long-time EPPH favorite Marguerite Caruthers on Feb. 15. She was on her way to a rehearsal at the Women’s Club when a truck struck her down on Mesa Street.
She was one of those ladies who just lit up a room – or a stage – when she entered. She mentored many a young actor and director. Her last performance at the Playhouse was as the matriarch of the family in “August: Osage County” last August.
“Marguerite Caruthers will be deeply missed and remembered as many things: actress, teacher, life of the party, karaoke queen, and mama,” wrote Aaron Hernandez. “I did a lot of growing up learning lines, eating chocolate pie, sampling wines, anxiously waiting for cast lists to finalize, whining about or celebrating shows and rehearsals, and building friendships in her home, and never felt anything other than family.”
Eurydice Saucedo, actor, director, and photographer for the Playhouse, had a wonderful tale to tell about Caruthers.
“I always share the story of when you genuinely, and in your Marguerite voice lovingly introduced me to what it meant to be a true actor. You said, ‘There is never ONE. We are part of an ensemble, and do bad, we all do bad. Everyone is here because they love it, respect it. We are a family. Now let’s have some wine.’”
Long-time friend Mario Rodriguez-Alvarado worked many times with Caruthers. He wrote a wonderful dedication to her, and these lines from that dedication seemed to reflect everyone’s comments.
“You lived life to the fullest. That is something everyone can agree on — you were bigger than life. I thank you for the endless support over the years, for the advice, the trust, the loyalty, the generosity, and the genuine care and love you showed me.”
In honor of both ladies, the Playhouse dimmed their lights one minute prior to the opening of the Feb. 19 performance of “The Women.”
Indeed, they were both very special women.
As long-time Playhouse performer Erika Moeller wrote on her Facebook page, “A great light has been dimmed in this city’s theater community. Their legacies will keep their lights forever lit, never snuffed out.”
Carol Viescas is a veteran of
community theater and teaches
journalism at Bel Air High School.
Feature storyCopyright 2017 by Cristo Rey Communications.
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