May 2019

On Stage


Stage Talk by Carol Viescas

Menu of this month's listings, stories and columns

‘Young Frankenstein’ — Las Cruces Community Theatre presents the musical based on the Mel Brooks comedy April 25-May 12. Directed by Susie Ouderkirk. Performances are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. Ticket information: (575) 523-1200 or Tickets: $15 ($12 students, seniors and military; $11 groups of 10 or more, $10 children under 12). Information: (575) 523-1200 or
  Grandson of the infamous Victor, Frederick Frankenstein inherits his family’s estate in Transylvania. With the help of a hunchbacked sidekick, Igor, and a leggy lab assistant, Inga, Frederick finds himself in the mad scientist shoes of his ancestor.

‘My Fair Lady’ — American Southwest Theatre Company closes its season with the beloved Lerner and Loewe musical April 26-May 5 at NMSU’s Center for the Arts in Las Cruces. Directed by Megan McQueen. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Friday and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets: $18 ($15 seniors; $11 students; $5 high school students with current I.D.) Tickets: (575) 646-41420 or
  When Eliza Doolittle, a flower-seller on the streets of London, overhears phoneticist Henry Higgins joke that he could - by changing the way she speaks - turn her from a “guttersnipe” into a lady, she takes him up on the offer and approaches him for speech lessons.

‘Oedipus El Rey’ — The UTEP Department of Theater & Dance presents the contemporary adaptation of Sophocles’ “Oedipus Rex” written by Luis Alfaro April 26-May 5, at UTEP’s Fox Fine Arts Wise Family Theatre. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, April 26-27, and Thursday through Saturday, May 2-4, and 3:30 p.m. Sundays April 28 and May 5. Directed by guest director Deanna L. Downes with choreography by Christina Goletti. Tickets: $14-$18 ($10 for April 26 performance). Information: 747-5118, or on Facebook.
  Alfaro’s adaptation is set in the prison system and a barrio of Los Angeles, California. With seamless choral song and movement, Alfaro’s adaptation questions whether a Latino can change his tragic and predestined fate within the American culture.

‘Peter Pan’ — El Paso Playhouse, 2501 Montana, presents the family classic about the boy who never grew up based on the book of J.M. Barrie May 3-19. 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

‘Fallout’ — No Strings Theater Company presents the play by Laura King and directed by Ceil Herman, May 3-19, at the Black Box Theater, 430 N. Main in Las Cruces. Tickets: $15 ($12 students and seniors over 65; $10 all seats Thursday). Information: (575) 523-1223 or
In the claustrophobic confines of a family fallout shelter, two strangers must decide if what is outside is more terrifying than what they are hiding inside themselves. Winner of the 2016 Georgia Theatre Conference One-Act Play writing competition.

‘Sally Cotter and the Censored Stone’ — Kids-N-Co. presents the play by Dean O’Carroll May 3-19, at First Presbyterian Church, 1340 Murchison. Shows are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $7 ($5 children, students, senior citizens, military), available at the door. Information: 274-8797 or on Facebook at El Paso Kids-n-Co.

‘May the Fourth Be With You’ — Burlesque on the Rio presents a “Nerdlesque” show 8 to 11:30 p.m. Saturday, May 4, at Touch Bar & Nightclub, 11395 James Watt, with performers from Los Angeles, Houston, Colorado Springs, Albuquerque, and El Paso. Tickets: $10 in advance; $15 at the door. VIP tables are $100; includes treats, one bottle of champagne, and four chairs. Additional chairs available for $20 each (limit six per table). Age 18 and older admitted. Information:
  Costume contest for audiences including best dressed and funniest costume. All fandoms welcome, not just Star Wars.

‘Pirates of Penzance’ auditions — Gilbert and Sullivan Company of El Paso hosts auditions for its 50th annual community production at 2:30 p.m. Sunday and 7 p.m. Monday, May 5-6, at UTEP’s Fox Fine Arts “Choir Room” M340. All roles are open for casting including principals, demi-leads and chorus. Audition may be a cappella unaccompanied, with a CD, mp3, or pre-recorded song (bring a player) or an accompanist will be provided (bring copy of the sheet music). Costume and prop makers, and set builders also sought. Information: 479-2485, or on Facebook at GandSElPaso.
  Rehearsals are 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 2:30 p.m. Sundays; performance are late July and early August. Students that participate in the production are eligible to apply for the Joan P. Quarm Scholarship Fund annual competition.

‘Mamma Mia!’ — UTEP Dinner Theatre, in the UTEP Student Union West building, presents the hit musical inspired by the music of ABBA through May 19. Show time is 7 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday; non-dinner matinees are Sunday 1:30 p.m. April 28, May 5, 12 and 19. 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
  The musical tells the story of a young woman’s search for her birth father. On the eve of her wedding on a Greek island paradise, a daughter’s quest to discover the identity of her father brings three men from her mother’s past back to the island they last visited 20 years ago. Featuring classic ABBA songs including “Dancing Queen,” “SOS,” “Mamma Mia,” “Super Trouper,” “Take a Chance on Me,” and “The Winner Takes it All.”

‘Bullshot Crummond’ — Dona Ana Repertory Theatre (DART) presents the parody of low-budget 1930s detective movies, typifying British heroism at its dumbest, at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday May 17-19, at Rio Grande Theatre, 211 N. Main in the Las Cruces Downtown Mall. Created by Ron House, Diz White, Alan Sherman, John Neville Andrews and Derek Cunningham. Admission: $10. Information: (575) 541-2290 or
  Teutonic villain Otto Von Brunno and his evil mistress Lenya crash their plane in the English countryside and kidnap Professor Fenton, who has discovered a formula for making synthetic diamonds. Bullshot Crummond is called to the rescue by the professor’s daughter Rosemary. The two meet at the Carlton Tea Rooms, where Crummond is convinced that their waiter is Otto in disguise.

Cloudcroft melodramas — Cloudcroft Light Opera Company’s live open air melodrama performances at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, May 25-26, 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.

‘Emilie: La Marquise Du Chatelet Defends Her Life Tonight’ — No Strings Theater Company presents the play by Lauren Gunderson, directed by Nikka Ziemer, May 31-June 16, at the Black Box Theater, 430 N. Main in Las Cruces. Tickets: $15 ($12 students and seniors over 65; $10 all seats Thursday). Information: (575) 523-1223 or
The fast, funny and sexy show rediscovers one of history's most intriguing women.

STAGE TALK by Carol Viescas

No Strings presents 2-person, 1-act play

No Strings Theatre likes to produce new, thoughtful, and insightful plays that do what theater does best – make the audience think.
That is certainly true in its latest production, “Fallout” by Laura King. The play won top awards at the One-Act New Play Competition at the Georgia Theatre Conference and; the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, Region IV.
“We like to produce a new play for No Strings Theatre Company every year,” director Ceil Herman said. “This one appealed to me when I read the short description sent by Laura King. When I read the full script, I was incredibly moved. I called up Laura and said we wanted to produce her play.”
The play starts with the unimaginable.
“Anna has a well-equipped fallout shelter built by her father,” Herman said. “When the sirens sound one day, she pulls David, her lawn handyman, in with her. As the play unfolds, the audience discovers many hidden truths about both.”
Then the play continues with the unpredictable.
“Two people locked in a fallout shelter sounds so predictable, but this play is not,” Herman said. “The relationships change between both characters so many times in the relatively short script. The ending is a mystery. The audience will have their own ideas about it, I’m sure. The message, which I think is quite clear, is about overcoming immense obstacles and getting through to the other side.”
Starring in the two-person play are Joshua Taulbee and Gina DeMondo, who were in “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.”
“In that play, they were a divorced couple, parents of Christopher, the young boy who was trying to find out who killed the neighbor’s dog.”
Herman said the two are a joy to work with – “two exceptional actors who are totally invested in the work.”
Taulbee is doing double duty, as actor and set designer. Bekah Taulbee will be running lights and sound. Herman’s husband, Peter, the resident designer, designed the lights.
The Hermans started No Strings in 2000 after retirement and will celebrate the 20th anniversary next season, based out of the Black Box Theater in Las Cruces. Season picks are still in the works, but Ceil Herman promises two new plays, which she plans to direct.
The theater has a Summer Showcase coming up in July.
“Joshua Taulbee will be starring in a one-man play, ‘Nocturne’ by Adam Rapp, which I will direct, and Monica Mojica will be directing ‘Weighing In,’ her own play about women’s weight issues. These two short plays are scheduled to run at the Black Box for two weekends, from July 12 to 21.”
But her current show, she said, has had its challenges.
“The biggest is to make every exciting moment count. The playwriting is so rich, and I don’t want the audience to lose track of any element of the ultimately very positive story.”
As a special treat for “Fallout,” award-winning playwright King, an instructor of theatre at Gordon State College and Wesleyan College, will come from Atlanta for the opening weekend of the play. She will do a talkback after the performances May 3 and 4.
Ultimately, Herman said, she hopes that the play’s audiences “see that despite how difficult life may be, there is a light at the end of a very dark tunnel.”

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

No Strings Theater Company presents “Fallout” May 3-19 at the Black Box Theater, 430 N. Main in Las Cruces. Information:


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

Copyright 2019 by Cristo Rey Communications.