Stage Talk by Carol Viescas
‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ — The UTEP Department of Theater & Dance opens its season with Oscar Wilde’s “trivial comedy for serious people” Sept. 28-Oct. 8, at UTEP’s Fox Fine Arts Wise Family Theatre. Directed by Kim McKean. Show time is 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $14 ($12 UTEP faculty and staff, seniors, military, groups of 10 or more, alumni (with card) and non-UTEP students; $9 for UTEP students. Information: 747-5118, theatredance.utep.edu or on Facebook.
The audience is invited for a bit of “bunburying,” as heroes Algernon and Jack endeavor to find idyllic love in spite of their mediocre monikers.
‘Don’t Drink the Water’ — Las Cruces Community Theatre, 313 N. Main, Las Cruces, presents the Woody Allen comedy Sept. 29-Oct. 15. Directed by Christopher Lininger. Performances are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets: $15 ($12 student, senior, military; $10 age 12 and younger). Information: (575) 523-1200 or lcctnm.org.
Allen’s first professionally produced play premiered on Broadway in 1966. The farce takes place inside an American Embassy behind the Iron Curtain.
‘Annie’ — Sun City Musical Theatre, 3733 Shell Suite C, presents the beloved musical at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 29-Oct 1. Tickets: $15; $12 students and military; $10 age 12 and younger. Information: suncitymusicaltheatre.com or on Facebook.
‘Equivocation’ — American Southwest Theatre Company opens its season with the Bill Cain play at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 29-Oct 1, at NMSU’s Center for the Arts, 1000 E University Ave. Tickets: $17. Information: (575) 646-4515 or nmsutheatre.com.
The play proposes the question: what if the government commissioned William Shakespeare to write the definitive history of a national crisis, “the Gunpowder Plot,” in one of his plays?
‘Real Women Have Curves’ — El Paso Playhouse, 2501 Montana, presents the Josefina Lopez play at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 29-Oct 1. Tickets: $11 ($9 seniors; $8 students and military). Information: 532-1317 or elpasoplayhouse.com.
Set in a tiny sewing factory in East L.A., this outrageously funny story is about five full-figured Mexican-American women who are racing to meet nearly impossible production deadlines in order to keep their tiny factory from going under.
‘Little Shop of Horrors’ — No Strings Theatre Company presents the smash hit musical by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman Oct. 6-29 at Black Box Theatre in Las Cruces. Directed by Diane Thomas. Performances are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., 2:30 p.m. Sundays Oct. 15, 22 and 29; and at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 26. Tickets: $15 ($12 students and seniors over 65; $10 all seats Thursday. Reservations: (575) 523-1223.
A deviously delicious Broadway and Hollywood sci-fi hit “Little Shop Of Horrors” has devoured the hearts of theatregoers for over 30 years.
‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ auditions — Kids-N-Co. will host auditions for its holiday production 3:30 to 6 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 7, at First Presbyterian Church, 1340 Murchison. “A Charlie Brown Christmas” will be directed by Arazelia “Sally” Perez, with musical direction by A.J. Kumar. Tentative performance dates are Nov. 24-Dec. 10. For other audition times: 867-4179.
‘Cabaret for a Cause’ auditions — Las Hermanas de Sangre seeks performers for a cabaret show coinciding with an art opening 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 7-8. All accepted performers will be paid or may choose to donate their funds to their specific cause. Limited number of performer slots available. Anyone with an act, or who wishes to create one for the show may contact email@example.com.
‘Breakneck Julius Caesar’ and ‘Breakneck Hamlet’ — No Strings Theatre Company and Tim Mooney Repertory Theatre present “Breakneck Julius Caesar” at 2:30 p.m. and “Breakneck Hamlet,” at 8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 8, at Black Box Theatre, 430 N Main Street in Las Cruces. Tickets: $15 ($12 students and seniors over 65). Reservations: (575) 523-1223 and no-strings.org.
“Breakneck Hamlet” is “recklessly sliced” from Shakespeare’s original, cutting what is usually a four-hour play down to a single hour with a single actor. Mooney’s “breakneck performance” reveals Hamlet as a thrilling chameleon, with an immense intellectual capacity and a hilarious, wicked sense of humor. Rather than the usual melancholy Dane, Mooney’s Hamlet fights like hell throughout, with barely a second-long pause through the entire performance.
‘Earth Aural Rover 1 Project’ — El Paso Community Foundation’s Jewel Box Series opens its season with Las Cruces artist Brack Morrow’s remote-controlled, sound-recording, music-making rover at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 8, at the Philanthropy Theatre (next to the Plaza Theatre). Presented by Impact | Programs of Excellence. Tickets: $16 (Ticketmaster). Information: 533-4020 or epcf.org.
The program features an introduction by Morrow, a musical performance of the rover, and a short film about EAR1’s travels to places such as the White Sands National Monument.
Season tickets for all eight Jewel Box shows available for $103.
‘Failure: A Love Story’ — Coronado High School Thunder Theatre presents the comedy Oct. 12-14, at the high school’s Lee Ross Capshaw Theatre, 100Champions Place. Showtime is 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and 2:30 and 7 p.m. Saturday. Admission: $5 in advance; $7 at the door. Information: 474-2952.
Phillip Dawkins’ play, a quirky, artistic and hilarious look at the Roaring 20s, is about the three charming Fail sisters, and the year they are met with finding the loves of their lives, as well as their untimely demise.
‘The Addams Family’ — UTEP Dinner Theatre, in the UTEP Student Union West building, opens its season with the ooky spooky musical for all ages Oct. 13-29. Dinner shows are at 7 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday; non-dinner matinees are Sunday 2:30 p.m. Oct. 22 and 29; dinner matinee is 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 15. 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.
Everybody’s favorite weird and wonderful family comes to devilishly delightful life in this magnificently macabre new musical comedy. Wednesday Addams, the ultimate princess of darkness, has grown up and fallen in love with a sweet young man from a respectable family (a man her parents have never met) and if that weren’t upsetting enough, she confides in her father and begs him not to tell her mother. Now, Gomez Addams must do something he’s never done before — keep a secret from his beloved wife, Morticia. Everything will change for the whole family on the fateful night they host a dinner for Wednesday’s “normal” boyfriend and his parents.
El Paso Playhouse auditions — El Paso Playhouse, 2501 Montana, hosts these auditions for upcoming shows. Information, audition times: 532-1317 or elpasoplayhouse.com.
• Oct. 15-16: ‘A Christmas Story’ by Philip Grecian. Show dates are Dec. 1-10.
• Dec. 17-18: ‘On Golden Pond’ by Ernest Thompson. Show dates are Feb. 9-March 4.
‘Dolores’ — Kids-N-Co. presents the bilingual original play by Lluvia Almanza & Orlando Rodriguez at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2:30 p.m. Sundays, Oct. 20-Nov. 5, at First Presbyterian Church, 1340 Murchison. Directed by Eurydice Saucedo. 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.
Jose Luis is a young boy who lost his sister, Dolores, at a very young age. Although he has had the support of his parents, he has not really been able to cope with losing someone he loved so much. As his family prepares to honor her on Día de los Muertos, he bumps into an old friend, Juan. The thing is, Juan has been dead for quite some time now. With the help of Juan, Jose Luis embarks on an adventure to be able to see his sister again, but soon realizes that the world of the living and the world of the dead cannot exist together.
‘Frankenstein’ — El Paso Playhouse, 2501 Montana, presents Mary Shelly’s classic Oct. 20-Nov. 5. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Directed by Becky Condra. Tickets: $11 ($9 seniors; $8 students and military). Information: 532-1317 or elpasoplayhouse.com.
Set in 19th-century Switzerland, this classic tale of horror and suspense details the ill-fated experiments of Dr. Frankenstein as he attempts to fathom the secrets of life and death.
‘Mariachi Girl’ — American Southwest Theatre Company presents the bilingual musical by Roxanne Schroeder-Arce about achieving one’s dreams Oct. 21-22, at NMSU’s Center for the Arts. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Friday and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets: $17. Information: (575) 646-4515 or nmsutheatre.com.
‘Bloody Shakespeare’ — The UTEP Department of Theatre and Dance student organization, The Playmakers, present a 30-minute journey — part haunted house, part classic theatre — to the darkest corners of Shakespeare’s mind 7, 8 and 9 p.m. Friday and Monday through Wednesday, and 2, 3 and 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 27-Nov. 1, at the Fox Fine Arts Studio Theatre. Tickets to be announced Information: 747-5118, theatredance.utep.edu or on Facebook.
Murder, witchcraft, and poetry blend into a ghoulish mix as guests walk from one macabre chamber to the next. Proceeds benefit the student scholarship fund.
‘Jugface’ — The Border Theater presentation is 8 p.m. Friday through Sunday, Oct. 27-29 and Nov. 3-5, at Glasbox, 201 Poplar. Door open at 7:30 p.m. Ticket information: 412-5283 or bordertheatre.org.
‘The Rocky Horror Show’ — Sun City Musical Theatre, 3733 Shell Suite C, presents the Richard O’Brien musical Oct. 27-28 and Nov. 3-4. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. plus special interactive midnight shows Saturdays. Tickets: $15; $12 students and military; $10 age 12 and younger (parental advisory strongly recommended; adult content). Audience participation bags: $5. Information: suncitymusicaltheatre.com or on Facebook.
The outrageous musical comedy feature a Transylvanian transvestite, a cryogenically preserved motorbiker and Frankenstein's monster in Greek god form. This sexual parody of horror and science fiction films premiered onstage in London in 1973, becoming the popular cult classic film in 1975.
Shakespeare Festival — Shakespeare on the Rocks presents “Antony & Cleopatra” Oct. 28-29 in the first of three weekend shows of its annual festival Oct. 28-Nov. 12 at the Chamizal National Memorial, 800 S. San Marcial. Showtimes are 7 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $10 ($8 for full-time students with valid id, seniors 65 and older, active military; $6 group rate,10 or more. Information: 474-4275,firstname.lastname@example.org, shakespeareontherocks.com or on Facebook.
• Nov. 4-5: Much Ado About Nothing
• Nov. 11-12: Richard III.
Hector Serrano created the original festival at McKelligon Canyon Amphitheater in 1981. In 2010 the Festival moved to the Chamizal National Memorial, its current home. The Festival is produced by Eden Enterprises in cooperation with the National Park Service and the El Paso Community College.
stays busy with
full fall schedule
Although he is officially retired, that doesn’t mean that theater maestro Hector Serrano has stopped working in theater. In fact, he is busier than ever.
He has two projects that begin this month.
The first is an “entremes” or one-act Spanish play that will be part of the “Dia de la Hispanidad” or Hispanic Day Celebration, Oct. 13 at Coronado Country Club.
“El Muerto,” by Francisco Bernardo de Quirós, is a short comedy piece first produced by Serrano’s Eden Enterprises several years ago.
“It’s basically about a girl in love with a guy,” Serrano explained. “But her brother refuses to let her marry him. She gets her friend, the pharmacist, to convince the brother he’s dying. That’s the joke. When he thinks he’s dying, the brother gives the girl permission to marry whoever she wants.”
Serrano was asked by Honorary Consul of Spain Martha Vera to do the entremes. He had previously produced the first play ever done in what is now the United States — a story written in 1598 about baptizing the natives — as part of the Rio Grande Festival in San Elizario that Vela helped organize.
The challenge for the show has been the rehearsal schedule. “El Muerto” only has three characters – the brother, the pharmacist and the sister. But the two male actors aren’t in El Paso most of the week.
Gerry Saucedo, who plays Lorenzo, the brother, is an airline steward for American Airlines and is only in El Paso a day or two a week when he comes to see family. Gustavo Urrea, who plays the pharmacist, El Boticario, owns a trucking business, so he is in and out of town. Lorely Rodriguez plays the girl, Eurasia. She rehearses with each man separately for now, with Urrea’s wife, Viridiana, standing in for the missing character.
“They really are an amazing group. They are ALL very flexible,” Serrano said.
While that’s going on, Shakespeare on the Rocks is gearing up for its 29th season, playing three weekends starting Oct. 28 at the Chamizal.
The opening show will be “Antony and Cleopatra” directed by stage combat expert Daniel Rios, followed by “Much Ado about Nothing,” directed by veteran Jesse Snyder, and finally, “Richard III,” directed by Serrano.
A who’s who of El Paso actors have the lead roles. Brian Seely is Antony to Amanda Vasquez’s Cleopatra. Jonathan Cantrell and Lorely Rodriguez are Benedict and Beatrice in “Much Ado,” and Austin Savage portrays Richard III, with Vanessa Keyser as Queen Margaret.
Serrano said he has Dr. Ron Stroud of EPCC to thank for allowing them use of a room at the Valle Verde campus to rehearse. About 30 people make up the company this year.
“I hoped that everybody would be in all three shows, like a real company, but some people simply have too many conflicts,” Serrano said.
It really is a season of threes, he added. The shows represent all three Shakespearean genres, tragedy, comedy, and history. This also will be the third and final time all three shows will be produced by the company. SOTR will offer a season ticket, a flex pass, that theatergoers will be able to use however they want.
“If you want to see these shows, see them now,” Serrano said, “because we won’t do them again.”
Carol Viescas is a veteran of
community theater and teaches
journalism at Bel Air High School.
For information on “Dia de la Hispanidad”: border-heritage.com. For Shakespeare on the Rocks, go to shakespeareontherocks.com
Feature storyCopyright 2017 by Cristo Rey Communications.
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