Stage Talk by Carol Viescas
‘The Magic Shoes’ — Kids-N-Co. presents the Cinderella story presented from the animals’ points of view 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2:30 p.m. Sundays through April 7, at First Presbyterian Church, 1340 Murchison. Directed by Anthony Michael Stokes. No performance on Easter Sunday, April 1. Tickets: $7 ($5 children, students, senior citizens, military), available at the door. Some subject matter may be considered offensive for this show, so parental guidance is advised. Information: 274-8797 or on Facebook at El Paso Kids-n-Co.
Cinderella’s story would have been very different if it weren’t for the mice … and the dog, and the cat and the horses! Like humans, animals all have their eccentricities. Sally is a romantic. Dandelion just likes to eat cheese, but when both of them are told that the prince needs to get married, they take matters into their own hands.
‘Waitless’ — No Strings Theatre Company presents the new dramedy by Cailin Harrison exploring the challenges of uprooting April 6-22 at Black Box Theatre in Las Cruces. Directed by Ceil Herman. Harrison will attend the opening weekend. Performances are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., 2:30 p.m. select Sunday April 15 and 22; and at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 19. Tickets: $15 ($12 students and seniors over 65; $10 all seats Thursday. Reservations: (575) 523-1223.
Shelly and Trent find love, top-notch careers, and excitement in New York City. But with a job transfer for Trent, they must swap this for a new life in London.
El Paso Nuevo Siglo Festival — The festival will offer a range of Spanish language plays Wednesday through Saturday, April 7-14, at the Chamizal National Memorial Theatre, 800 S. San Marcial. Information: 532-7273, nps.gov/cham or nuevosiglo-elpaso.org.
Formerly known as the International Siglo de Oro Drama Festival, the festival was the only festival in the world completely dedicated to presenting works drawn from Spain’s Golden Age, generally considered as spanning the late 15th century to the late 17th century. The renamed festival will still offer “Golden Age” plays along with works by modern playwrights, and will offer a wider variety of activities at various venues.
Play performances are at 7 p.m. Early arrival encouraged starting at 5:30 p.m., as seating is limited. Tickets are free, but must be picked up in person.
• Saturday, April 7: Eden Enterprises performs the modern Latin production “Bernabé” by Luis Valdez. A poor young man who lives with his mother in a small town whose people think he’s crazy. Obsessed, he fantasizes the Earth is a woman and calls on his Aztec ancestors to help him protect her. For mature audiences.
• Sunday, April 8: XIPE Colectivo Escénico performs the modern Latin play “Aquerón: el río de la tragedia” by Xavier Villanova. For mature audiences.
• Wednesday, April 11: Jazz Vila of Cuba performs “La Vida es Sueño” by Pedro Calderón de la Barca. The play portrays King Basilio as the stars predict that he will be overthrown by his son Segismundo. To avoid fulfillment of these predictions, the monarch decides to isolate his offspring in a distant tower.
The cast is made up of Cuban and Mexican actors, including multi-awarded Afro-Cuban actress Yordanka Ariosa, winner of the Silver Shell.
• Thursday, April 12: Telón de Arena of Mexico performs an adaptation of “Fuenteovejuna” by Lope de Vega.
• Friday, April 13: Teatro Inverso performs “Rosaura,” an adaptation by Paula Rodriguez and Sandra Arpa of Calderón’s “La vida es sueño.” Two storytellers guide the audience through time and space,
• Saturday, April 14: Efe Tres Teatro of Mexico performs “El Meolico: Entremeses Cervantinos Bululuados,” one-man adaptations of three of Miguel de Cervantes’ original works: “El viejo celoso,” “El retablo de las maravillas” and “La Cueva de Salamanca.”
The El Paso Museum of Art, UTEP’s Centennial Museum, El Paso Museum of History, El Paso Museum of Archaeology, El Paso Community Foundation, Creative Kids and others host special events as part of the New Siglo Festival April 7-15. Full schedule: nuevosiglo-elpaso.org.
‘Hamilton’ seminar series — Megan McQueen will host the series on the inventive storytelling of the hit musical at 11 a.m. Saturdays, April 7-28, at Dona Ana Arts Cultural Center, 1740 Calle de Mercado in Mesilla. Sessions will cover the creative team, choreography and design, songs with a feminist perspective and other aspects of the musical “Hamilton.” Cost: $50 for all four sessions. Information: or daaarts.org.
Each presentation will end with a live performance of at least one number from the show presented by Las Cruces talent.
‘Lengua’ — UTEP Theater and Performing Arts presents the original play written and directed by Adriana Dominguez at 6 p.m. Friday, April 13, in the Basement Theater of UTEP’s Fox Fine Arts Center. The 30-minute presentation is a series of short scenes that investigates the question “What is in a name?” Donations requested to benefit the student scholarship fund. Information: 747-5606.
One-Act Play Festival — Las Cruces Community Theatre, 313 N. Downtown Mall, Las Cruces, hosts its one-act showcase Friday through Sunday, April 13-15, featuring original works by area playwrights and directors. Plays and times to be announced. Admission is free; donations accepted. For details, see “Stage Talk.” Information: (575) 523-1200 or lcctnm.org.
Shakespeare for Kids — Middle and High School age students perform abridged versions of “Macbeth” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, April 13-14, at EPCC Valle Verde Campus in the Cafeteria Annex (Building C), as part of Shakespeare on-the-Rocks’ new initiative for young people as part of its 30th anniversary celebration. Directed by Vanessa Keyser. Information: 540-3813 or shakespeareontherocks.com.
‘Icons’ — Burlesque on the Rio burlesque troupe performs 8 p.m. to midnight Saturday, April 14, at Touch Bar & Nightclub, 800 E San Antonio, with local and national performers from Texas, New Mexico, California, and Oregon. Burlesque, “boylesque” and drag performers bring their talents to the stage. Musical opening performers are The Double Clutchers. Doors open and the band starts promptly at 8 p.m.; burlesque show at 9 p.m. Tickets: $10; $15 at the door, age 18 and older only. Information: burlesqueontherio.weebly.com.
‘Soldadera’ — El Paso Community Foundation’s Jewel Box Series presents Los Actores presentation of Josefina Niggli’s 1938 one-act English-language drama at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, April 15, at the Philanthropy Theatre (next to the Plaza Theatre), directed by Hector Serrano. Tickets: $16 (Ticketmaster). Information: 533-4020 or epcf.org.
The show explores how women’s roles in the Mexican Revolution helped changed Mexican society. Seven female soldiers capture a spy and must confront their own demons.
The final Jewel Box performance of the season is “Nouveau Chamber” featuring saxophonist Daniel Rivera and a seven-piece string ensemble at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, May 20.
Chamizal open casting — Chamizal National Memorial hosts an open casting call for ages 18 and older 2 to 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, April 19-21, for an original contemporary play aimed at portraying themes of U.S.-Mexico border culture. Schedule, information: 532-7273, ext. 123 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
‘A 60 Year Gala’ — Alamogordo Music Theatre’s presents gala performance celebrating their 60th anniversary 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, April 20-21, at the Flickinger Center, 1110 N. New York in Alamogordo. The revue performance features music from many Broadway and cinematic productions. Tickets to be announced. Information: alamogordomusictheatre.org or on Facebook.
‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ — UTEP Dinner Theatre, in the UTEP Student Union West building, presents the 35th Anniversary Production of the Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Weber musical for the whole family April 20-May 6.
Show time is 7 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday; non-dinner matinees are Sunday 2:30 p.m. April 29 and May 6; dinner matinee is 1:30 p.m. Sunday, April 22. Tickets: $33.50 to $43.50 Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday discount dinner performances; $36.50 to $48.50 (Friday and Saturday dinner performances), and $19.50 to $29.50 no-dinner matinee performances (Ticketmaster). Information: 747-6060 or utep.edu/udt.
Arguably one of the most popular musicals in the world and one of the most enduring shows of all time, “Joseph” is a reimagining of the Biblical story of Joseph and his coat of many colors. This musical is full of catchy songs in a variety of styles, from a parody of French ballads (”Those Canaan Days”), to country-western (”One More Angel in Heaven”) along with the unforgettable classics “Any Dream Will Do” and “Close Every Door.”
‘Lend Me A Tenor’ — El Paso Community College Theater Ensemble presents the comedy by Ken Ludwig April 20-29 at Transmountain Campus Forum Theater, 9570 Gateway North, directed by Matthew Smith. Performances are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $15 ($10 non-EPCC students and military; $7 EPCC students and staff and senior citizens); available at the door. Ages 7 and older only admitted. Reservations: 831-5056.
‘Love From a Stranger’ — El Paso Playhouse, 2501 Montana, closes its season with the Agatha Christie mystery April 20-May 12. Directed by Frieda Voeks. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $15 ($12 seniors 62+,students, military). Information: 532-1317 or elpasoplayhouse.com.
Cecily Harrington has led a staid and proper existence, and yearns for adventure after winning a large amount of money. When a charming stranger sweeps her off her feet, she soon learns a ghastly truth about her new love.
‘In the Next Room’ — The UTEP Department of Theater & Dance presents the Sarah Ruhl comedy April 27-May 6, at UTEP’s Fox Fine Arts Wise Family Theatre. Show time is 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Adult content Tickets: $14; $12 UTEP faculty/staff, seniors, military, groups of 10 or more, Alumni with card, non-UTEP Students; $9 UTEP students and children. Information: 747-5118, theatredance.utep.edu or on Facebook.
‘Rent’ — American Southwest Theatre Company closes its season with Jonathan Larson’s Tony Award winning Broadway hit April 27-May 6 at NMSU’s Center for the Arts’ Mark and Stephanie Medoff Theatre. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Friday and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets: $18 ($15 seniors; $11 students; $5 high schools students with current I.D.) Tickets: (575) 646-41420 or nmsutheatre.com.
This rock musical is loosely based on Giacomo Puccini’s opera “La Bohème.” It tells the story of a group of impoverished young artists struggling to survive and create a life in New York City’s East Village.
1-act play festival
Envisioning what one’s work will look like only exists in a playwright’s mind until the show is produced. That’s why programs like Las Cruces Community Theatre’s One Act Play Festival are vital.
“These small plays give new artists a way to practice and work with more experienced people so we are able to develop the artistic community,” said one of the festival’s coordinators, Gail Wheeler. “Of course we also hope to be able to grow our audience with any new work and encourage them to keep coming back to support local theater.”
The festival started out a number of years ago as an “Ides of March Festival,” Wheeler said.
“It was actually a full-blown competition with a prize for the winner. In recent years, it has been much less formal and there have even been years where it hasn’t happened for one reason or another. Some challenges in the last few years have made us wonder whether or not to even continue the festival. Rather than scrap it all together, however, we decided to really try and promote it, and it has worked beautifully so far. I think the thing that is driving it is a mix of old and new participants combined with clear parameters for scripts and technical considerations.”
Wheeler credits fellow coordinator Norman Duttweiler, who has a long history as a professional actor and director, with this year’s success.
“He had this beautifully organized from the start with clear applications, lots of publicity, and a streamlined process. Once the scripts were chosen, we were able to find four excellent directors (in addition to Norman and I) and we are letting them do their thing. We are all using the same set pieces and the communication has been easy so far. I expect that we will have some small things to work out once we’re all on the set, but we’ll work those out the last week.”
Duttweiler said the organization is in the details.
“First you decide the format of the evening,” he said. “Then you solicit scripts, which was about a six-week process. Then the committee judges the scripts – I hate to use that word but what other word is there — and selects which ones we want to produce. We specifically wanted very short plays about 15 minutes at max, so we could present a half a dozen of them. We received I think 11 entries from which we selected six, so I was pleased that we actually had a fair number of choices to choose from.
“Then we do a casting process with all the playwrights there. Then we fill out an elaborate rehearsal schedule to divide the rehearsal time amongst the various places. We also are anticipating that since the plays are short, there will only be eight to 10 hours of rehearsal. Then we put it all together in tech week in which I, as production supervisor, will direct so to speak the entire evening to make sure the plays fit in together and the transition between each play is smooth. And then we open.”
The six plays are: “Switched Dreams” by Gabriele Teich, directed by Susie Ouderkirk; “No, Baby, No” by Gwendolyn Joyce Mintz, directed by Gail Wheeler; “Escape to Mesilla” by Bhodan Czmola, directed by Norman Lewis; “Big Mama” by Roxana Gillett and Gorton Smith, directed by Gorton Smith; “Nightmare” written and directed by Robert McNamara; and “Crosstown” by DAC, directed by Dave Edwards.
The biggest challenge, Duttweiler said, is the casting process.
“We need a lot of actors, and we don’t usually have that big of a turnout. It’s not like we’re doing ‘Death of a Salesman’ and every actor dreams of playing Willy Loman. These are unknown plays by unknown playwrights, so it is a bit difficult to generate actor interest in the project, since it’s more about the writing than the acting. But we manage. The biggest joy is seeing the playwrights see their work realized, the joy of seeing them being encouraged in their creativity.”
Wheeler said she loves watching the shows come together.
“It’s a lot like looking at a puzzle come together and form into a whole picture. It’s always fun to give people good news, too, a young actor’s eyes light up when you tell them they have a role is always fun.”
Duttweiler said the festival offers a big variety for the audiences – and it’s all free, although they are asking for donations.
“We have a great selection of original local voices for the LCCT 2018 One Act Play Festival. Light comedies, politically charged dramas, and brief cuttings from longer original works – we have it all. Taken altogether, we’re hoping it creates a short yet interesting evening of new works. If you’re interested in the contemporary theatrical reactions to our ever-changing world, please join us for our One Act Play Festival. Admission is pay-what-you-want — just a donation to help us continue our work.”
Carol Viescas is a veteran of
community theater and teaches
journalism at Bel Air High School.
One Act Play Festival — Las Cruces Community Theatre the one-act showcase Friday through Sunday, April 13-15. Information: (575) 523-1200 or lcctnm.org.
Feature storyCopyright 2018 by Cristo Rey Communications.
Here's the Ticket
Southwest Art Scene
At the Museum
Keep on Bookin'