September 2019

On Stage


Stage Talk by Carol Viescas

Menu of this month's listings, stories and columns

‘Rumors’ — El Paso Playhouse, 2501 Montana, presents the Neil Simon comedy through Aug. 30. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $15 ($12 seniors, students, military and teachers; $9 children). Information: 532-1317 or

Cloudcroft melodramas — Cloudcroft Light Opera Company’s live open-air melodrama performances of “The Secret of Charity Teach” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 31-Sept. 1, at Zenith Park’s pavilion on Burro Ave. Admission is free, but seating is limited. Early arrival recommended. Information: (575) 682-2733 or on Facebook at CloudcroftLightOperaCo.

‘Disney’s High School Musical’ — Kids-N-Co. closes its season with the musical based on Disney Channel's smash hit movie through Sept. 1, at First Presbyterian Church, 1340 Murchison, directed by Anthony Michael Stokes with the assistance of Raul Chavez, and musical direction by Ajith Kumar. Shows are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $7 ($5 students, seniors, military), available at the door. Information: 274-8797 or on Facebook at El Paso Kids-n-Co.

‘The Mrs. Wheatland Pageant’ — No Strings Theater Company presents the rollicking comedy by Lisa Wagner Erickson, directed by Ceil Herman, Sept. 6-22, at Black Box Theater, 430 N. Main in Las Cruces. Showtime is 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2:30 p.m. Sundays, and 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19. Tickets: $15 ($12 students and seniors over 65; $10 all seats Thursday). Information: (575) 523-1223 or
  Nostalgic sitcom fantasies, strange fertility regimens, and gender norms collide in one woman’s search for certainty in a world that is anything but.

‘My Sister in This House’ auditions — El Paso Community College Theatre Arts hosts auditions for its first production of the season 7 to 9 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 9-10, at the Forum Theatre on the Transmountain Campus. Directed by Ted Karber Jr. Needed are four women, ages 18-60. Auditions consist of cold readings taken directly from the script. Show dates are Nov. 15-24. Information: 831-3205 or
   The play by Wendy Kesselman tells the story of Christine and her little sister Lea, the maids who were known as the gems of 1930’s Le Mans society. In the crucible-like atmosphere of this home, the sisters become more isolated and less human. One afternoon their rage surfaces in a horrifying and shocking manner.

Shakespeare on-the-Rocks — Shakespeare on-the-Rocks’ 31st season runs Sept. 6-22, at El Paso Community College’s Transmountain Campus Forum Theatre. This season is in partnership with EPCC in celebration of the college’s 50th anniversary. Showtime is 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2:30 p.m. Sundays. Tickets: $10 ($8 for students with valid ID, seniors 65 and older, active military; $6 group rate for 10 or more; available in advance online or at the EPCC Valle Verde Campus cashiers. Information: 540-3813, or on Facebook.
Sept. 6-8: “The Taming of the Shrew,” directed by Hector Serrano.
Sept. 13-15: “Julius Caesar,” directed by Vanessa Keyser.
Sept. 20-22: “A Midsummer Night's Dream,” directed by Hector Serrano.

‘The Wolves’ — American Southwest Theatre Company opens its season with the Sarah DeLappe Pulitzer-nominated play Sept. 26-Oct. 6 at NMSU’s Center for the Arts in Las Cruces. Directed by Nichole Hamilton. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, plus 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 5-6. Preview night is 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26. Tickets: $17 ($14 seniors; $10 students; $5 high school students with current I.D.) Tickets: (575) 646-4515 or
  The story of a girls’ high school soccer team illuminates the way young selves are formed when innate character clashes with external challenges.

‘Bocon’ — Los Actores presents the one-act Spanish language play by Lisa Loomer at 7 p.m. Friday and 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 27-28, La Fe Culture and Technology Center, 721 S. Ochoa. Admission: $6 ($4 age 12 and younger). Information: 820-6351, or
  “Bocon” is the story of a young boy who flees his home in war-torn Central America to reach safety with his aunt who lives in the United States. Witnessing the violent abduction of his parents, he loses his voice. Along his way he encounters mythic characters such as La Llorona and a dastardly coyote who steals his money.

‘God of Carnage’ — Las Cruces Community Theatre, 313 N. Main in the Las Cruces Downtown Mall presents the comedy Sept. 27-Oct. 13. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets: $17 ($14 senior, student and military; $10 groups and children). Information: (575) 523-1200 or
  A playground altercation between eleven-year-old boys brings together two sets of Brooklyn parents for a meeting to resolve the matter.
  Cake and non-alcoholic beverages with the cast and crew follow opening night performance Friday, Sept. 27.

Festival of Monologues — The UTEP Department of Theater & Dance in partnership with Tec de Monterrey presents an evening of monologue performances at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, at UTEP’s Fox Fine Arts Studio Theatre. Tickets: $8. Information: 747-5118, or on Facebook.

STAGE TALK by Carol Viescas

Play makes premiere at Black Box Theatre

modity in El Paso. Most theaters have learned the hard truth that the classics fill seats – new shows, not so much.
That’s why it’s exciting when this part of the country hosts an area premiere of a new work like “The Mrs. Wheatland Pageant” by Lisa Wagner Erickson, Sept. 6-22 at the Black Box Theatre in Las Cruces.
But then new shows are nothing new for director Ceil Herman. She and her husband, Peter, both retired NMSU professors, travel the country (make that world, since they just returned from a trip to England) and love seeing what each area has to offer theater-wise. They see at least 100 productions a year. Their love of theater is why they began the No-Strings Theatre Company.
They found this show on a trip to Denver.
“The playwright, Lisa Wagner Erickson, was at the performance so I went up to her after it ended and introduced myself,” Herman said. “I asked if we could produce it at the Black Box in Las Cruces. She was very happy to let us do so.”
She said the story is comedy about marriage, friendship and acceptance of people in spite of their quirks.
“June and Jim seem to be happily married, but in the small town where they live, there is not much to do,” Herman said. “They entertain themselves by dressing up and playing sit-com games from different decades. June feels that she is under pressure from her friends to have a baby before the age of 30, and she is fast approaching that deadline. She attempts to use various strategies, but in the process discovers that her husband has an attraction to some of the costumes they have been using. June and her friends, Vivian and Barb decide to enter the local beauty pageant, each woman with her own agenda. In the end, all is well, and June realizes that her desire for a rigid life must yield to the possibility that anything can happen.”
Herman said the challenge of directing this small-cast show “is to make sure that all four characters come across as real people that the audience can empathize with, rather than stereotypes.”
The show is led by Ashley Dahl as June.
“She is new to the Las Cruces area, but was recently seen in ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,’ which I also directed,” Herman said. “Robert Senecal plays June’s husband, Jim. He has been seen at the Black Box Theatre in ‘Emilie.’ ‘The Rivals,’ and ‘Outside Mullingar.’ Vivian is played by Karen Buerdsell, who was seen in ‘Glorious’ at Las Cruces Community Theatre and ‘The Rivals’ at the Black Box. Gina DeMondo, who plays Bar, was seen in ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’ and ‘Crimes of the Heart.’”
She added that she is lucky to have these excellent actors as well as a great production team. Joshua Taulbee is both scenic designer and assistant director. Her husband, Peter is lighting designer; Bobcat Yung is costume designer; and Darlene DeMondo is properties artisan. Bekah Taulbee runs light and sound, Monte H. Wright designed the T-shirts and poster, and Kathi-Jane Alvarado is house manager coordinator.
Wagner Erickson will travel to Las Cruces from Denver the last weekend of the show to do a talkback with the audience Sept. 21.
Herman said she thinks the audience will get more than laughs from the comedy.
“The show has a positive message about acceptance of other people’s differences – very important in our current times.”

Carol Viescas is a veteran of
community theater and teaches
journalism at Bel Air High School.


This month's listings,
stories and columns

Feature story
Here's the Ticket
Program Notes
On Stage
Southwest Art Scene
At the Museum
History Lessons
Film Scene
Keep on Bookin'
Liner Notes
Stage Talk
Gallery Talk

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