Behind the Curtain Q&A: Company Manager/Casting Associate Peter Mensky

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.

Peter MenskyIn honor of Memphis Cast Week, we thought it would be fun to highlight someone who knows brings the very actors who you see on stage: Company Manager/Casting Associate Peter Menksy.

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

How long you have worked at The Rep: 9 years

Education/training: Bachelor of Arts in Dramatic Arts with a concentration in Acting at Dickinson College. I also attended a year-abroad program at The University of East Anglia in Norwich, England with a concentration in playwriting and attended New York University’s CAP21 Conservatory for musical theatre.

How’d you get into the theatre biz:  I lived in New York City for nearly a decade where I worked in (and out) of the city as a professional AEA actor.

Why your job rocks:  I enjoy helping people, so both aspects of my job suit this interest.

Best work day ever:  Whatever today may be!

Favorite Rep show you’ve worked on and why: It’s difficult to narrow down to one.  When we have a very large cast who works well both on and off stage, I always feel that everyone in the building from cast and crew to staff and designers has done well to honor the collaborative spirit of the theatre.

One thing people would be surprised about your job:  I’m lucky to be the first and last staff member who a visiting actor interacts with at The Rep.  First, I contact them to set up their audition appointment, and last, I take them to the airport to see them off on the day after their show closes.

Favorite seat in the house:  BB4 in the First Mezzanine.

Best job perk:  Free theatre and the coffee machine in the admin office.

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!

Learn more about auditions here.

Memphis The Musical: Engage With Us

With our 39th Season having opened last Friday (Sept. 5) with Memphis, we have a full month of opportunities to engage with The Rep and the musical currently on our MainStage. From shopping and a beer tasting to a concert and after-party with the cast, we have special programming and events for everyone.

Read below for full details about what’s happening this month at The Rep.

The After-Party sponsored by Heartbeat1919091_356731151104_7709067_n
Saturday, September 13
After the show – until the party stops!

Stick around after the show for drinks, and look for members of the cast of Memphis to make an appearance in Foster’s.

Girls Night Out with Beehive sponsored by Inviting 10511285_618969088217835_7659425666994540551_nArkansas
Thursday, September 18
5 – 7 p.m.
Complimentary champagne pour from 5 – 6 pm; Cash bar from 6 – 7 pm

Shop ’til you drop with Little Rock boutique Beehive in Foster’s before show time.

Live from Foster’s with Christopher Key CashUntitled
Friday, September 19
6 p.m.

Get your evening started early with live pre-show music from musician Christopher Key Cash in Foster’s.

 

Beer Night with O’Fallon Brewery sponsored by Arkansas Times and Golden EagleOFallonBrewery
Thursday, September 25
5:30 p.m.

Join the Arkansas Times and Golden Eagle before the show to have a beer from O’Fallon Brewery.


Great seats are still available for Memphis.  Purchase yours online or by calling the Box Office at (501) 378-0405.

Memphis Monday: All About the Cast

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

We will starDanielMcDonaldHeadshotMemphist off with Daniel McDonald (White DJ/Mr. Collins/White Father/Gordon Grant/US Mr. Simmons). While he has spent a lot of time in the theatre world, performing in national touring productions like Grease, Singin’ in the Rain and Chorus Line and a variety of regional plays, he also has a few TV credits to his name, including Sex and the City on HBO, along with The Carrie Diaries on the CW and The Affair.

BillNewhallHeadshotMemphisBill Newhall (Mr. Simmons) is another one who has played a few parts on TV. The longtime actor who has appeared on Broadway in Something Wonderful! and Off-Broadway in productions such as Wuthering Heights, Anna Karenina, Walk on the Wildwise, plus tons more, has rounded out several soap operas, including All My Children (ABC), One Life to Live (Online Network), Another World (NBC) and As the World Turns (CBS).

TatianaGreenHeadshotMemphis

Tatiana Green (Ensemble/”Someday” Backup Singer) has a long background in dance, training at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Ballet Hispanico. In addition to being a performer on Carnival Cruise Lines and dance instructor, she has worked with world-renowned dancer Aszure Barton on Dance Dance Revolution, named for the super-popular dance video game.

 

 

J Nycole Ralph (Ethel/”Someday” Backup Singer/Ensemble /US Felicia) has workedJNycoleRalphHeadshotMemphis on several productions, including the Broadway tour of West Side Story and the original production of Elements. Additionally, the actress has been involved in film, working alongside Chris Rock in Finally Famous and other projects with big stars such as Adam Sandler, Whoopi Goldberg, Jerry Seinfeld, Rosario Dawson, Ice-T, Deirdre Goodwin and many others.

 

JamesRobertsHeadshotMemphisJames Roberts (Ensemble/”Be Black Trio/US Gator) has crossed international lines for his theatrical performing,acting in the Diana Paulus-directed national revival of Hair in the United States, Canada and Japan. Aside from his theatre experience, he stepped out on his own when his solo cabaret show premiered in summer 2013 in New York City.

RyanFarnsworthHeadshotMemphis

 

Ryan Farnsworth (Ensemble/Perry Como/US Huey) has appeared in several Off-Broadway productions, including Candide, Never Let it Go and Zombie Strippers-The Musical. In addition to being a part of the national Jingle Bell Rock tour, Ryan has recorded several songs with Disney Records, Get Bizzy Records and Niagara Records, and has performed in several award-winning independent films.

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

Eat Out at Macaroni Grill for Special Fundraiser Night Sept. 10

Macaroni+Grill+Giveaway+(4)Next week, The Rep will be having its first Macaroni Grill Fundraiser night, where the restaurant will donate a percentage of its sales back to the theatre.

It’s happening ALL DAY from 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 10 and we are inviting you to come dine in at Macaroni Grill, located at 11100 W. Markham St., Little Rock.  Bring in the TheRepBW attached flyer or show it on your smart phone anytime that day.

They will keep track of the sales. In return, they will donate the following percentage according to our turnout:

Accumulated Spending                  Percentage Donated To Your Cause

$1.00 to $1,000                                                      10%

$1,001 to $5,000                                                    15%

$5,001 and above                                                  20%

For more information, email Ronda at rlewis@therep.org.

Behind the Curtain Q&A: Set Designer/Technical Director Mike Nichols

Mike Nichols is The Rep's resident set director, designing such sets as last season's Les Miserables.

Mike Nichols is The Rep’s resident set director, designing such sets as last season’s Les Miserables.

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.

Memphis is starting this week and someone behind the cool set is our Resident Set Designer/Technical Director Mike Nichols, who has been with the theatre for more than three decades.

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

How long you have worked at The Rep: 32 years

Education/training:  BSE in Speech/Theatre Arts at the University of Central Arkansas and a MA in Drama at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville

How’d you get into the theatre biz:  I fell into it when the scene shop foreman job came open at UCA.

Favorite Rep show you’ve worked on and why:  West Side Story and Towns Facing Railroads because of the design process and result.

One thing people would be surprised about your job:  I design every aspect of each set and those pieces are built, painted and installed under my supervision in The Rep’s scene shop.

Favorite seat in the house:  BB17

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: A Look at the Man Behind the Musical, Dewey Phillips

 

Wildman DJ Dewey Phillips introduced white kids to "race" music.

The premiere of Memphis The Musical is fast approaching and to highlight some of the cool aspects of the show, we’ll be doing a short series called “Memphis Monday” every Monday through Sept. 22.

Before fans feast their eyes on the high-energy regional premiere of the show, it’s important to showcase the man behind the musical, real-life disc jockey, Dewey Phillips.

We recently had the chance to catch up with Tom Bonner, a retired broadcaster who worked with the legendary disc jockey on WHBQ for a short time in the 1950s. Read more about how Phillips took the music scene in Memphis and across the country by storm and watch our special interview with Bonner below!

Early Start

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Dewey Phillips was credited with introducing Elvis Presley to the world on Memphis’ WHBQ radio station.

Phillips got his first 15-minute radio slot in 1949, jumping into it from his job managing the record department at the W.T. Grant 5 and 10, where he spun a mix of the latest records – hillbilly and “race” music, sacred and profane, Frank Sinatra and Wynonie “Mr. Blues” Harris – over the store’s PA.

From the start, he drew an equally mixed, equally eclectic in-house audience – as many young as old, as many black as white – in a

segregated store, in segregated Memphis, located in the heart of the Deep South. His radio show, which aired on WHBQ, was titled “Red, Hot and Blue.” Within a year, he was on the air six nights a week, two hours a night.

Top Record Survey from July 18, 1958 provided by Tom Bonner

Top Record Survey from July 18, 1958 provided by Tom Bonner

 TV Time

His television show, Pop Shop, went on the air in 1957. A version of Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, the show was, for a period, the biggest thing going in Memphis.

Don’t miss your chance to see this award-winning musical Sept. 5-28! Get your tickets to show- single tickets are available now! Purchase online here and get more information about the show–including special events– here.