Shop at Arkansas Repertory Theatre’s Costume & Prop Sale Saturday

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Patrons will get the chance to peruse the fabulous costumes from the 2011-2012 production of The Wiz.

Just in time for Halloween, Arkansas Repertory Theatre is thrilled to announce they are giving the public a chance to shop its expansive closet of costumes and props at its Costume and Prop Sale this Saturday, Oct. 4.

From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the lobby of the The Rep, located at 601 Main St., Little Rock, patrons are invited to shop for custom hand-made pieces from the Rep’s costume department, as well as props used onstage and Christmas decorations. The sale will feature items from past Rep productions, including Avenue Q, Joseph & The Technicolor Dreamcoat, The Wiz, White Christmas, A Chorus Line and more. Items will start at $2.

The sale will be open coinciding with the 4th Annual Main Street Food Truck Festival, which will feature 30 food trucks and several musicians, artists and other vendors on Main Street from 4th to 8th streets.

Proceeds from the sale benefit Arkansas Repertory Theatre’s production office.

Behind the Curtain Q&A: Special Events Coordinator Ronda Lewis

With the start of a new MainStage season, we want to showcase the people behind the Rep stage in a series called “Behind the Curtain.” This weekly Q&A series highlights staff members who keep the Arkansas Repertory Theatre running on a daily basis.

Someone who helps with special events surrounding our MainStage productions– including our biggest gala of the year, Saints & Sinners– is Ronda Lewis, our special events coordinator.

Here is what she has to say about her theatre experience here at The Rep:

How long have you worked at The Rep? One year, three months

Education/training: Bachelor of Science in Marketing

How’d you get into the theatre biz: It’s not a interesting story. I applied for the job because I love the fact that theatre is so diverse.

Why your job rocks: Planning special events is eventful in itself! The satisfaction of knowing that I participate in making an event successful and the overall feeling of knowing that I contribute to helping keep the theatre moving forward.

Best work day ever: When I cross every goal for the day off of my to-do list and we have a membership gathering with wine (wink). Also, meeting the actors during Meet & Greet.

Favorite Rep show you’ve worked on and why: I have not worked on any shows but my favorite show so far was Clybourne Park.

One thing people would be surprised about your job: I think people would really be surprised to know how the staff literally juggles 15 things at once. Also, how dedicated we are as a staff and how much the actors LOVE the staff and our Southern hospitality.

Favorite seat in the house: Orchestra-F15

Best job perk: Wine—duh! Drinking on the job and all of the great talented actors and staff who you meet. Getting to see the creativity from beginning to end; whether it’s a show or putting together small or big events and seeing the final product. P.S. I am not a alcoholic!

Be sure to check back every week to get a glimpse at a different member of The Rep staff. Buy your tickets to Wait Until Dark here!

Behind the Curtain Q&A: Sound Designer & Engineer Allan Branson

Allan Branson, our Resident Sound Designer & Engineer, is responsible for all of the sound in production-- from actor's lines to music and singing.

Allan Branson, our Resident Sound Designer & Engineer, is responsible for all of the sound you hear in every production– from the actor’s lines to the music to the singing. Les Miserables, shown here, was one of his busiest productions.

With the start of a new MainStage season, we want to showcase the people behind the Rep stage in a series called “Behind the Curtain.” This weekly Q&A series will highlight staff members who keep the Arkansas Repertory Theatre running on a daily basis.

Someone that brings all of the sound to the stage– an actor’s lines, the ensemble or the music, etc.– is our Resident Sound Designer & Engineer Allan Branson

Here is what he has to say about his theatre experience here at The Rep:

How long have you worked at The Rep? 2 years

Education/training: Sound Technology and Live Sound Certificate at South Plains College; Advanced Sim and System Design at Meyer Sound

How’d you get into the theatre biz: A friend from high school referred me to a local (West Texas) artistic director of a theatre company. I was with them for four seasons while also working for a regional production company doing festivals and concerts. I then applied to the Rep, and here I am.

Why your job rocks: I get to mix great musicals like Because of Winn Dixie and Memphis. I believe that is the definition of rocking.

Best work day ever: Going into a show and having everything come together. The show connects with the audience, and it just seems perfect.

Favorite Rep show you’ve worked on and why: Avenue Q– it was a wonderfully funny show every night, no matter how many times I mixed the show, I was never tired of it.

One thing people would be surprised about your job: I mix every musical, line by line. That means that I pull up a fader everytime someone says and sings a line. In some shows, I have to plan out moments to get a drink of coffee or water. I stayed very busy during Les Miserables.

Favorite seat in the house: Center seat, front row on the 1st mezzanine. No question.

Best job perk: Being able to work with so many talented designers, actors and musicians.

Be sure to check back every week to get a glimpse at a different member of The Rep staff. Buy your tickets to Memphis here!

The Rep’s Bob Hupp Directing Disfarmer for ACANSA Arts Festival

Mike Disfarmer

Mike Disfarmer

Arkansas Repertory Theatre’s Producing Artistic Director Bob Hupp is stepping out of the theatre and directing a special production Disfarmer for the first-ever ACANSA Arts Festival in central Arkansas this week.

The production, which is written by award-winning Arkansas playwright Werner Trieschmann, will premiere at 8 p.m. today (Sept. 25) at Argenta Community Theatre, 405 Main St, North Little Rock.

The production is a comedic portrait that tells the story of Mike Disfarmer, an eccentric photographer from Heber Springs, Ark., who charged townsfolk and visitors a quarter to have their picture taken in the early ’40s—and caused a minor mania decades later as New York gallery owners “discovered” his work and descended on the small Arkansas town.

Disfarmer will run every night through Saturday (Sept. 27). Showtime is at 8 p.m.

General tickets for the show are $30, with additional student and VIP options. Get ticket prices and purchase online here.

Get more information about the show here.

Memphis Monday:Q&A with Wig Master Rob Pickens

 

With Memphis currently underway, we have been highlighting some of the cool aspects of the show in a short series called “Memphis Monday” every Monday through Sept. 22.

This week, we are looking at a fascinating part of the costumes: the wigs!

Jasmin Richardson, who plays top-notch signer Felicia in Memphis, wears several wigs throughout the play, including this one.

Jasmin Richardson, who plays top-notch signer Felicia in Memphis, wears several wigs throughout the play, including this one.

The man behind these masterpieces is 19-year-old Rob Pickens, who recently won an ariZoni award for his wigs for Les Miserables and has created wigs for other Arkansas Rep productions, including Because of Winn Dixie.

We had a chance to talk to the college freshman about his start in wig-making for theatre, his inspiration and design process and what he enjoys most about being a wig designer.

Here is what he had to say:

How did you get into making wigs for theatre? My fascination with theatrical wigs began at a very young age. After becoming involved in the theatre, I soon discovered that the actors I was seeing on Broadway were not wearing their own hair. To me, this was fascinating. Soon after, I began to research into how these wigs were created. I bought a few books on the wig-making process, the tools required and started learning to tie hair.

I started at The Rep after contacting Rafael Castanera with a sampling of my work. he called me in a for a meeting the following day and the rest is history.

While getting fitted for costumes, actors like Michele May Clark (White Mother/Store Clerk/US Gladys) also got fitted for their wigs.

While getting fitted for costumes, actresses like Michele May Clark (White Mother/Store Clerk/US Gladys) also get fitted for their wigs.

How do you get inspiration for your creations, particularly for MemphisWhen designing, I first began by reading the script and listening to the music. This is the start of my inspiration. With Memphis, I knew from the very beginning, the hair needed to capture the feeling the score invokes. When you listen to these songs, you just can’t help but be inspired!

What is your wig design process from start to finish? The first step in the process is always reading the script. You can’t begin to design a show unless you know what it’s about! The next step is always discussing the show with the costume designer. At this time, we will decide how many different wigs each actor will have; basic styles (curly, straight, long, short, etc…); and decide on hair colors. Following this meeting, the research begins.

I start by pulling as many photos as I can of people from the proper time period. Some of these photos come from the costume designer if they have something specific in mind. Then, I assign the different photos to each character. Some may have more than one reference photo for the same style. If I can’t find a photo of something similar to what I would like, I will often do a quick sketch of the hair just for my reference.

Once I have run all of my styling ideas by the costume designer, I begin the construction process. I start by looking at my stock of wigs to decide what can be used from a past production and what cannot. I will usually always build brand-new wigs for the main characters. For those wigs (and others not in stock),  the 10-50 hour process of tying hair into the wig will begin. This is by far the most time-consuming and tedious part of the process (most hairs are knotted a single strand at a time). In order to create a wig with a natural front, individual strands of hair are tied one by one into a fine piece of lace through a process called ventilation. This process is very labor intensive and can take anywhere from 10-50 hours depending on the complexity of the wig.

Ann-Wig Fitting

Ann-Ngaire Martin (Gladys) wears several beautiful wigs throughout Memphis.

After the wig is built, I cut, color, roller-set and style it to my liking. This is when I use the photos as inspiration. The costume designer and I will then have fittings with the actors where we can alter anything if need be. It is also a time when I make sure the actor feels comfortable in their wig. I always want my design to enhance their performance, not hinder it.

What do you enjoy most about being a wig designer? The part of my job I enjoy the most is seeing the transforming power wigs have. Much like a costume, the wig plays an important part in helping the actor feel completely immersed in their character. It’s always such a joy to be a part of that and see them bring their characters to life.

Don’t miss your chance to see this award-winning musical through Sept. 28 with an additional Saturday matinee added on Sept. 27! Purchase tickets online here and get more information about the show–including special events– here.

Memphis Adds Saturday Matinee; ‘Ladies Day Out’ to Offer Special Perks

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Due to popular demand, Arkansas Repertory Theatre has added an additional performance on Saturday, Sept. 27 to its four-week run of Tony Award-winning musical Memphis.

Touted as “Ladies Day Out,” the matinee will offer complimentary mimosas to ticketholders 21 years and older. Those who show school spirit by wearing their team colors to the performance will be entered into a raffle for a one-hour massage. Plus, groups of 10 or more will receive $5 off per ticket. Showtime is 2 p.m. and doors will open at 1 p.m.

Memphis opened on The Rep stage on Sept. 5 to rave reviews from audiences and critics with Little Rock Soiree saying “The chemistry of the entire cast glowed on stage, making the jokes more hilarious, the trials more tragic and the music more meaningful,” while the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette raving that it’s a “145-minute rhythm-and-blues roller coaster ride– one we didn’t want to end.”

In the Beale Street nightclubs of 1950s Memphis simmers a new sound, born of the blues, gospel and rock ‘n’ roll and birthed in the Delta. It takes a young DJ, a white man in a black world, to catapult this new sound to the airwaves of Memphis radio and into the living rooms of white Memphis. What follows is a major cultural divide that tests the boundaries of racial tension and the igniting of a musical revolution that grips the entire country.

Tickets

  • $55 for “A” seating; $40 for “B” seating
  • $5 off tickets for groups of 10 or more

For tickets to the matinee, call The Rep’s Box Office at (501) 378-0405 or visit www.therep.org.

Les Miserables Wins 4 AriZoni Awards

arizoni-logoBig news here at the Arkansas Rep!

The Arizoni Theatre Awards were announced Monday (Sept. 15) and some of our staff and cast won for the Phoenix Theatre production of Les Miserables, which took the stage here last March during our 2013-2014 MainStage Season.

Congratulations to these winners:

*Rep staff/creative team or has performed here on The Rep Stage

The ariZoni Theatre Awards is a not-for-profit organization that promote the vitality of theatre in the Valley of the Sun and Maricopa County in Phoenix. Nominations were announced in July.

Les Miserables nabbed 9 previous ariZoni awards for its 2008 production at the Phoenix Theatre, including Best Musical.

Get more information about these awards here and check out the full list of winners here!

Video: Memphis Preview

memphis-the-musical-at-the-repThe Rep’s first show of the 2014-2015 MainStage Season, Memphis, is still going strong and will continue to take the stage until Sunday, Sept. 28 (with an additional matinee added to Saturday, Sept. 27!).

Get a preview of the show below:

The reviews are coming in for the show– Little Rock Soiree says “it’s funny and powerful and musically intoxicating,” while the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette raves that Memphis “masterfully melds laughs, tension.”

Be sure to check out the preview and share with friends and family and don’t forget to get your tickets (if you haven’t already!) for the high-energy musical that is taking Little Rock by storm! Purchase tickets here.

Behind the Curtain Q&A: Memphis Production Stage Manager Katie M. Dayley

backstage 2With the start of a new MainStage season, we want to showcase the people behind the Rep stage in a series called “Behind the Curtain.” This weekly Q&A series highlights staff members who keep the Arkansas Repertory Theatre running on a daily basis.

Someone who helps keep productions running smoothly– including Memphis, running through Sept. 28– is Production Stage Manager Katie M. Dayley.

Here is what she has to say about her theatre experience here at The Rep:

How long have you worked at The Rep? Off and on from November 2012

Education/training: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Stage Management from the University of Utah

How’d you get into the theatre biz: I fell in love with stage management in college.  My senior year, I did a one-show internship at the Pioneer Theatre Company that turned into a two-year job.  When that was over, I had earned my equity card and have been working as a professional stage manager ever since.

Why your job rocks: I get to be with each production from before the first rehearsal until the end of the last show. Throughout the process, each show grows and comes together like a living creature that then emerges on opening night.  I love being a part of that, knowing the show so well that I see the little adjustments and discoveries that happen after we open and knowing that I am able to help present these amazing pieces of collaborative art to the public.

Best work day ever: My favorite day of the process is the first dress rehearsal.  At that point, we’ve been working for three weeks putting together the acting, choreography and music and then adding the lights, music, set and props. But for me, the show finally looks complete when the actors are dressed in costume.  It is a truly magical feeling see all of the hard work and long hours come together in the instant the show starts.

Favorite Rep show you’ve worked on and why: This one!  My current show is always my favorite.

One thing people would be surprised about your job: How physical it is.  Most people hear ‘manager’ and assume I sit behind a desk directing others what to do, but a lot of my job involves running around moving furniture and set pieces, which is very demanding work.

Favorite seat in the house: Slightly house right of center in the front row of the 1st mezzanine.

Best job perk: Meeting new people.  Every show is an instant family and you learn so much about each other by spending time together in rehearsals and hanging out at the company apartments.

Be sure to check back every week to get a glimpse at a different member of The Rep staff. Buy your tickets to Memphis here!

Memphis Monday: More About the Cast

With Memphis on The Rep’s MainStage right now, we thought it would be fun to showcase more of the cool backgrounds of some of the actors and where you might have seen them before they made it to our stage!

See last week’s post here.

JasminRichardsonHeadshotMemphisWebsite1We will start off with one of the stars of the show, Jasmin Richardson (Felicia). Before joining the Arkansas Repertory Theatre for our regional premiere of Memphis, she was Felicia on the national tour of the show, in addition to being Deena in Dreamgirls. She played the leading role in Aida and joined several cruise lines in her career.

Brent Michael DiRoma (Huey)BrentDiRomaHeadshotMemphis was a part of the popular Jersey Boys and Avenue Q national tours and was in West Side Story at the Gateway Playhouse in Long Island, N.Y. Off the stage, you’ll probably find him playing his guitar.

Tony Perry (Delray) has had a long career in theatre, appearing in numerous New York City productions, including Allegro (Astoria Performing Arts Center), 74 Georgia Avenue (The National Yiddish Theatre), Shelter In Our Car (Symphony Space), Martin: Before The Dream (Negro Ensemble Company), Repo: The Genetic Opera (Wings Theatre), The Groove Factory (New York Musical Theatre Festival) and The Bonus Army (Gym at Judson). Regional credits include Ain’t Misbehavin (Mason Street Warehouse), Five Guys Named Moe (Pioneer Theater), TonyPerryHeadshotMemphisDreamgirls (ReVision Theatre), Big River (Theatre Harrisburg), Me and My Girl (Capitol Theatre), Smokey Joes Café (Irving Street Rep), The Rocky Horror Show (Capitol Theatre) and A Grand Night For Singing (Ramada Express Casino). You also may have seen him in films like Mickey and Finding Oz: A Journey Home. Here is something else that is very cool that you didn’t know: He has traveled North America in a concert of Yiddish and African-American music and has three albums available on iTunes.

 

Before making his Rep debut, Gregory L. Williams (Gator) appeared in the first national GregoryWilliamsHeadshotMemphistour of Hair and Lincoln Center Production of South Pacific; Off-Broadway credits include Broadway’s Rising Stars III (The Town Hall) and The Wake (The York Theatre Company); Regional: South Pacific (Paper Mill Playhouse), RENT (Pioneer Theatre Company), A Funny Thing… (Triarts Sharon Playhouse).

Read more about these performers and the rest of the talented cast of Memphis here!