Stage Talk by Carol Viescas
‘Parallel Lives’ — Las Cruces Community Theatre, 313 N. Main in the Las Cruces Downtown Mall presents the play based on the Kathy and Mo Show Sept 28-Oct.14. Directed by Teddy Aspen Sanchez. Performances are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets: $15 ($12 student, military and seniors, $11 per person groups of 10 or more) Tickets: $25 ($15 student). Angel Tickets (includes post show meet-and-greet) are $50. Information: (575) 523-1200 or lcctnm.org.
Virus Theater Fall Festival — Virus Theater in Silver City, N.M. hosts its inaugural festival Sept. 28-Oct. 21, featuring four original productions by area groups. Events are at El Sol Theater, 406 N. Bullard, Downtown, except for the melodrama “Weasel in the Hen House.” Festival pass: $30. Individual show prices vary. Passes available at Leyba & Ingalls, 315 N. Bullard or at virustheater.com.
• “Oeddy Wrecks,” a Greek escape from tragedy, is 7:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday, Sept. 28-30, Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 6-7, Thursday and Friday, Oct. 11-12 and Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 20-21, and Tickets: $15.
• “The Red Stilts” production by Kids Circus and Theater Workshop is 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 6-7. Admission is free.
• “Blatant Attempts at Understanding” a collection of reflective essays by Melanie Zipin transformed for the stage by Poetry in Motion, is 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Oct. 4-5, Sunday, Oct. 14, and Thursday, Oct. 18, and 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, and Friday, Oct. 19. Tickets: $10.
• “A Weasel in the Hen House” melodrama is 9 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 13-14; 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17; 9 p.m. Friday, and 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 19-21, at the Buckhorn Opera House in Pinos Alto. Rated PG-13. Tickets: $10.
Shakespeare on the Rocks — Shakespeare on the Rocks 30th season runs at 7 p.m. Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays, Sept. 29-Nov. 4, at Chamizal National Memorial, 800 S. San Marcial, featuring three selected productions from previous seasons. Tickets: $10 ($8 for full-time students with valid id, seniors 65 and older, active military; $6 group rate, 10 or more. All season is general admission. Information: 474-4275, firstname.lastname@example.org, shakespeareontherocks.com or on Facebook.
Season passes are $15 for all three shows (available through Sept. 21 at 540-3813.
• Sept. 29-30: “Macbeth,” directed by Amanda Vasquez. The production, last seen in 2002, is set in a post-apocalyptic world where gender roles are often reversed.
• Oct. 13-14: “The Comedy of Errors,” by Megan O’Toole-Pitts. This comedy about two sets of twins begins with mistaken identities and ends with the triumph of love and reconciliation.
• Nov. 3-4: Hector Serrano’s production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” with a pastiche of lovestruck nobles, bumbling mechanicals, and mischievous fairies.
‘Bless Me, Ultima’ — UTEP Department of Theater & Dance presents the play based on the Rudolfo Anaya book Oct. 3-17, at Fox Fine Arts Wise Family Theatre. The department is one of 79 organizations nationwide to receive an NEA “Big Read” grant, with El Paso’s activities focusing on “Bless Me, Ultima.” Directed by Rebecca Rivas. Show time is 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 7 and 14. No Oct. 10 show. Tickets: $12-$18; $10 Wednesday, Oct. 3 performance. Information: 747-5118, theatredance.utep.edu or on Facebook.
Young Antonio Márez winds his way through a world filled with vaqueros, witches and corridos. With the guidance and protection of the curandera Ultima, he finds his roots in the traditions of the llano and spreads his wings.
‘The World Goes ‘Round’ — No Strings Theatre Company presents the musical revue of distinguished and celebrated writing team, Kander and Ebb Oct. 5-21 at Black Box Theatre, 430 N Downtown Mall, in Las Cruces. Directed by Nora Thomas-Medina. Performances are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., 2:30 p.m. Sunday Oct. 14 and 21; and 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18. Tickets: $15 ($12 students and seniors over 65; $10 all seats Thursday. Reservations: (575) 523-1223.
The nonstop hit parade features unforgettable gems from “Cabaret” to “Chicago,” including "Mr. Cellophane," "Maybe This Time," and "New York, New York."
‘Disney’s The Little Mermaid’ — Kids-N-Co. opens its season with the play featuring music by Howard Ashman, Glenn Slater and Alan Menken, with book by Doug Wright Oct. 6-21, at First Presbyterian Church, 1340 Murchison, directed by Justin Hogue. Shows are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $7 ($5 children, students, seniors, military), available at the door. Information: 274-8797 or on Facebook at El Paso Kids-n-Co.
‘Memories - A Temple in Las Cruces’ — Temple Beth-El and NMSU Department of Theatre presents the theatrical production 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 7, at NMSU ASNSU-Center for the Arts, Espina and University in Las Cruces, followed by a panel discussion. Admission is free, refreshments served. Information: (575) 382-1396 or tbelc.org.
This play is derived from interviews with Temple Beth-El members about the history of Temple Beth-El and the Jews of Las Cruces.
‘Why Would I Mispronounce My Own Name?’ — No Strings Theater Company presents Irma Herrera’s solo show, a new work that weaves history and comedic insights into stories about names, shedding light and throwing shade on societal prejudices and assumptions, at 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 7, at the Black Box Theater, 430 N. Main in Las Cruces. Free post-show talkback following both performances. Tickets: $10-$15; available at no-strings.org. Information: (575) 523-1223.
Herrera’s notes from American history and humor invite audience members to consider what it will take for everyone to get along. The show earned a Best of 2017 San Francisco Fringe Festival Award.
‘Young Frankenstein’ — UTEP Dinner Theatre, in the UTEP Student Union West building, opens its season with the Mel Brooks musical comedy Oct. 12-28. Show time is 7 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday; non-dinner matinees are Sunday 1:30 p.m. Oct. 21 and 28; dinner matinee is 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 14. 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.
This musical re-imagining of the Frankenstein legend follows young Dr. Frankenstein and Igor as they attempt to create a monster, with scary and hilarious complications. Features memorable tunes such as “The Transylvania Mania,” “He Vas My Boyfriend” and “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” adding theatrical flair to the screen sensation. Includes some language and mature subject matter.
‘The Ballad of Roobie Rookie’ — El Paso Community Foundation’s Jewel Box Series opens it 5th season with Del Valle High School’s post-apocalyptic Western with a robot sheriff and animal outlaws 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 14, at the Philanthropy Theatre (next to the Plaza Theatre). Tickets: $16 (Ticketmaster). Information: 533-4020 or epcf.org.
The play originally was written as a screenplay by Del Valle student Robert De La Rosa, who has autism. Del Valle students performed it last April on World Autism Day.
Season tickets for the series are $90; available at the El Paso Community Foundation, 333 N. Oregon, or epcf.org/give/donate.
‘Jeckyll & Hyde’ — El Paso Playhouse, 2501 Montana, presents the play based on the Robert Lewis Stevenson horror classic Oct. 19-Nov. 3. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $15 ($12 seniors 62+, students, military; $9 12 and younger). Information: 532-1317 or elpasoplayhouse.com.
‘Witness! The Curiosity House Vol. II’ — Desert Ghouls Productions presents the immersive theatrical experience is 8 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 19-20 and Oct. 26-27, at El Paso Community College Valle Verde Campus Building C, Room 401 (Black Box) at 919 Hunter, with staged tales of horror including versions of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” and “La Llorona,” and a curiosity museum for patrons to browse before the show. Admission is free. Information: email@example.com.
‘Super Scary’ — ACT (A Children’s Theatre) of Mesilla Valley presents the Halloween comedy for all ages at 7 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. Saturday. Oct. 26-27, at Rio Grande Theatre, 211 N. Main in the Las Cruces Downtown Mall. Tickets: $7. Information: (575) 541-2290 or riograndetheatre.org.
“Fear! Horror! Terror!” That’s what the Storyteller wanted for his night of spooky tales. But everyone in the theater, including a vacuuming janitor and an audience member who really has to pee, keeps interrupting to share their own, less-than-chilling versions of the stories.
‘Las Brujas de Macbeth’ — Sapiens Sapiens Teatro Laboratorio of Mexico City presents the Spanish language performance inspired by the characters of witches in the tragedy of Shakespeare’s “MacBeth” 6 p.m. Saturday, and noon Sunday, Oct. 27-28, at Adobe Horseshoe Theatre, Main, in San Elizario. Admission: $46.95 Saturday dinner show; $24.95 non-dinner matinee Sunday. Parking lot is private. Information: 976-7077, AdobeHorseshoe.com or on Facebook.
‘Addams Family’ — Alamogordo Music Theatre’s presents the Tony Award-winning fairy tale adventure Friday and Saturday, Nov. 2-10. at the Flickinger Center, 1110 N. New York in Alamogordo. Tickets: $12. Showtimes, information: alamogordomusictheatre.org or on Facebook.
‘Moon Over Buffalo’ — El Paso High School’s Tiger Theatre Troupe presents the comedy by Ken Ludwig at 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 1-4, at El Paso High School Auditorium, 800 E. Schuster. Admission: $7 ($5 students). Information: 236-2500 or msmossephs.weebly.com.
UDT brings ‘Young Frankenstein’ to life
What’s funnier than a Mel Brooks/Gene Wilder comedy? Nothing, except perhaps that comedy set to music written by Brooks.
That’s what comedy fans have in store this month at UTEP Dinner Theatre with its presentation of the musical version of the Brooks film classic, “Young Frankenstein.”
It’s not quite the Mary Shelley version of Frankenstein so many know, director Greg Taylor said.
“Years ago, Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder came up with a very funny way to tweak and adapt the story into a wacky reimaging of the oft-told tale,” said Taylor, who has directed more than 120 shows and produced more than 150 at UDT. “In this version the original Dr. Frankenstein from the novel has passed away and left his castle to his only grandson who has spent his life avoiding his familial legacy and forging a career as a legitimate doctor. When he travels to Transylvania to see about his inheritance, he discovers his grandfather’s written notes about bring people back to life. He decides to join the family business and create his own creature.
“While this sounds like a straightforward story, it is not because you have the creative genius of Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder telling the story in typical Mel Brooks wild, wacky and punny way. Many critics have listed the original film of ‘Young Frankenstein’ as one of the funniest movies of all time.”
For fans of that movie, he added, Brooks has included all of the favorite scenes from the movie, along with some great songs. And, of course, October is the perfect time to present this spookily funny fare, just like last year’s “Addams Family.”
“We were very pleased with the response to ‘The Addams Family’ last year,” Taylor said. “The combination of a title familiar to a lot of people plus the subject matter and the fact that we did it during the Halloween season all combined to make it our most successful show (financially) of last season. I had often thought about doing ‘Young Frankenstein’ since Mel Brooks’ ‘The Producers’ was one of our most successful shows in our 35-year history. So, wanting to do another Mel Brooks musical coupled with the success of a ‘spooky’ show last Halloween, we thought this would be the perfect time.”
Brooks’ comic genius will be brought to life on the UTEP Dinner Theatre stage by a cast of UDT veterans and favorites. Danny Lopez, who was Gomez Addams last year, returns as Victor Frankenstein this year.
“Danny starred in ‘The Producers’ at the UDT and he has been wanting me to do this show ever since,” Taylor said. “Another UDT veteran is Selena Stair, who is playing Frau Blucher (cue Horses). Courtney Curtis is playing Victor’s fiancée Elizabeth and UTEP Musical Theatre majors Nichole Hardgrove and John Levick are playing Inga and Igor. The monster is being played by a UDT newcomer Calvin Chervinko.”
Indeed, Taylor said, with this experienced group, rehearsals have been nothing but fun. He said the entire cast has been “laughing our way through the script.”
Not that there haven’t been challenges. Because it is Frankenstein, the show requires quite a bit of spectacle.
“Everyone on the planet is familiar with the Frankenstein legend and will come to the show anticipating the famous scene where the monster is brought to life. So, creating the sets and special effects for those scenes will be of great importance and will require as much theater magic as we can muster.”
Taylor only has one warning. Because it is Mel Brooks there is a lot of adult humor and language in the show, so it isn’t recommended for young children.
However, Taylor said, “If you like Mel Brooks humor, you will love this show! If you love the original movie starring Gene Wilder, you will love this show! If you enjoy the Frankenstein legend/story you will not believe the way Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder have made the story fresh, weird and wacky!”
Carol Viescas is a veteran of
community theater and teaches
journalism at Bel Air High School.
UTEP Dinner Theatre presents “Young Frankenstein” Oct. 12-28. Information: 747-6060 or utep.edu/udt.
Feature storyCopyright 2018 by Cristo Rey Communications.
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